RFP—Grant Management Services



Proposals Due: By Email on November 12, 2018 by 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time with Hard Copies Postmarked by November 13


Answers to all questions submitted about the project, services needed, or this RFP are posted at RFP Questions—Grant Management Services


INTRODUCTION

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is inviting proposals from qualified candidates to assist with administering, overseeing, and evaluating the effectiveness of its new 2017 Hurricanes and California Wildfires Disaster Relief Grant Program. LSC’s Disaster Relief Grant Program is funded per LSC’s portion of the 2017 Disaster Supplemental Appropriations, which provided special federal funding for survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the 2017 California wildfires. LSC’s Hurricanes and California Wildfire Disaster Relief Grants will allow legal aid providers in the areas significantly affected by those disasters to enhance the delivery of storm- and fire-related legal services using mobile resources and technologies and pro bono coordinators.

Key details of the project include:

  • Hiring timeframe—December 2018
  • Performance begins—January 2, 2019
  • Grant Management Plan—January 31, 2019
  • Assist with administering Disaster Relief Grant Program and with overseeing and evaluating grantee performance—January 2019–October 2020
  • Grant Program Evaluation and Report—December 2020
  • Project Completion—December 2020

Proposals are due by email by 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, on Monday, November 12, 2018 with hard copies postmarked no later than November 13, 2018.

ABOUT LSC

LSC is a congressionally established, funded, and overseen, yet private and independent, nonprofit grantmaking organization that supports civil legal aid providers across the country. Its mission is to expand access to justice by funding high-quality, free attorneys for low-income Americans in basic civil matters like divorce, child custody, and eviction. It does not provide direct legal services itself.

LSC is headed by a bipartisan board of directors, whose 11 members are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Much like federal agencies, LSC receives an annual appropriation and is subject to ongoing congressional oversight. But as a private nonprofit, it enjoys greater independence and flexibility than federal agencies. (It’s quasi-governmental status is similar to that of Amtrak and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.)

LSC awards grants through a competitive process. LSC grants almost 95 percent of its total funding to legal aid providers. LSC currently has 133 grantees with more than 800 offices covering every county in the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Micronesia.

LSC performs robust oversight of its grantees, conducting audits and on-site evaluations of grantee quality and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and various funding restrictions. LSC also provides training and technical assistance to grantees. LSC encourages its grantees to leverage limited resources by partnering with state and local governments, Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts programs, state access to justice commissions, the private bar, philanthropic foundations, law schools, and the business community.

LSC grantees are independent nonprofit organizations. They provide services based on the unique and pressing needs of the communities they serve. The most common practice areas, however, are family, housing, income maintenance, consumer, health, and employment law. The types of cases frequently encountered by LSC grantees include evictions, debt collection, foreclosures, divorces, child custody, spousal abuse, child abuse or neglect, access to health care, and benefit claims such as unemployment, disability, food stamps and public assistance.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, LSC became involved in disaster response work. Most disaster response organizations were unaware of the legal issues facing disaster survivors and the critical role that legal aid lawyers can play in preparing for and responding to disaster-related problems. For example, legal aid attorneys can help disaster survivors:

  • Apply for emergency benefits;
  • Replace important legal documents like personal identification cards, property titles, orders of protection, and end-of-life documents (which are often necessary to apply for disaster relief benefits and insurance proceeds);
  • Obtain emergency child custody, visitation, support and other court orders requiring modification as a result of disaster-related displacement, injury, or job loss;
  • Appeal wrongful denials of FEMA benefits and private disaster-related home, life, and medical insurance claims;
  • Negotiate with landlords, homeowner associations, and insurance companies to make repairs to or provide fair compensation for damaged property;
  • Negotiate rent and mortgage modifications during repair or condemnation periods;
  • Fight unlawful disaster-related evictions and foreclosures;
  • File for bankruptcy to promote family stability and protect homesteads in the face of a disaster-related home or job loss;
  • Combat disaster-related consumer fraud, including price gouging, sham charities, and unlicensed construction contractors;
  • Petition for alternate schooling arrangements for displaced and traumatized children; and
  • Apply for important disaster-related tax breaks, like casualty loss deductions and filing extensions.

With the help of private grants, LSC has begun developing a comprehensive, national system to prepare for and respond to the legal needs of low-income Americans when disaster strikes. For example, LSC-funded projects have developed a mobile app to help disaster survivors better reach legal aid programs after a disaster occurs, a model of best practices for legal services programs to utilize in preparing for and recovering from a disaster, an interactive web portal consolidating disaster-related recourses, and a statewide legal disaster response training program for attorneys and other stakeholders.

In February 2018, LSC received a $15 million supplemental appropriation to help survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires recover and rebuild. Congress appropriated these funds to allow LSC grantees to provide: (1) mobile resources, (2) technology, and (3) pro bono coordinators to enhance the delivery of storm- and fire-related legal services to LSC-eligible clients in the areas significantly affected by those disasters.

LSC developed the Disaster Relief Grant Program to award and oversee its $15 million disaster-related appropriation funds. In May 2018, LSC issued a Notice of Funds and Request for Applications for disaster relief grants. Applications were due in June, and after a competitive review process, in September 2018, LSC awarded 11 Disaster Relief Grants to existing grantees in eligible disaster areas. Here is a summary of the approved grant projects and a press release about them.

LSC has a team of grantmaking and oversight professionals who specialize in disaster-related legal aid and who currently administer LSC’s Disaster Emergency Grant Program. LSC is looking to enhance its disaster relief capacity and, per this RFP, seeks a qualified individual or firm to assist with the administration of LSC’s new Disaster Relief Grant Program and oversight of its 11 Disaster Relief grantees.

Specifically, the successful candidate will:

  • Be familiar with and enforce the requirements of the 2017 Disaster Supplemental Appropriation, LSC’s customary grant rules and regulations, LSC’s Disaster Relief Grant Program and corresponding Grant Terms and Conditions, and Disaster Relief grantees’ respective project plans.
  • In coordination with LSC’s disaster team, develop and implement a grants management oversight plan, detailing how the consultant will maintain regular contact with grantees, perform onsite oversight visits of the grantees, review grantee reports, and report to LSC on grantee progress and the consultant’s grant management activities;
  • Maintain regular contact with Disaster Relief grantees to ensure that their grant projects are proceeding according to their approved project plans, including meeting project milestones, staying on budget, and providing necessary progress reports;
  • Review all required reports submitted to LSC by Disaster Relief-grantees (e.g., periodic progress and financial reports and final evaluation report) to ensure that grantee projects are proceeding on time and on budget and are achieving the stated grant objectives;
  • Review grantee milestone reports and payment requests, assessing whether required milestones have been satisfactorily completed, and recommending to LSC’s disaster team whether to pay the respective installment payment or require corrective action/technical assistance;
  • Review any project scope, schedule, or budget modification requests, assess whether the requested change is warranted and reasonable, and recommend to LSC’s disaster team whether LSC should approve or deny the proposed modification.
  • Mid-way through the grant term and at other times as necessary, perform desk and on-site evaluations of each Disaster Relief grantees’ grant performance, including assessing the functionality and quality of technology-based projects, and prepare reports of findings and recommended corrective actions or technical assistance, as necessary;
  • Regularly coordinate with LSC’s disaster team on Disaster Relief grantees’ progress, identifying any concerns or shortcomings and recommending technical assistance or specific corrective action, as necessary; and
  • Assist Disaster Relief grantees with grant close-out process, ensuring that all funds were properly spent and are accounted for and that all projects are substantively and satisfactorily complete;
  • Coordinate with LSC’s Public Relations team as necessary to highlight notable Disaster Relief grantee accomplishments and success stories; and
  • At the end of the grant cycle, evaluate the grant program’s strengths and weaknesses, compiling lessons learned and making recommendations for future programmatic enhancements.

Project Timeline

Task
Timeframe
Review and understand all regulatory requirements and terms and conditions applicable to grantees
January 2019
Finalize grantee project plans
January 2019
Monitor grantee progress
January 2019 – September 2020
Review milestone reports and payment requests and recommend whether LSC should pay corresponding installment payments
Beginning May 2019, every six months, until October 2020
Evaluate grantee progress (on-site and desk reviews) and prepare reports of findings
Beginning May 2019, every six months, until October 2020
Assist grantees with grant close-out process
September–November, 2020
Evaluate grant program effectiveness, preparing a report of findings, lessons learned, and recommendations for future improvement
October–December 2020
 

Project Deliverables

Deliverable
Deadline
Attend Project Kick-Off Meeting
January 2, 2019
Draft and Deliver Grants Management and Oversight Plan
January 31, 2019
Deliver reports on grantee progress
Quarterly and at other times as circumstances require
Perform 11 Desk Grantee Evaluations
January 2019 – September 2020
Perform 11 On-Site Grantee Evaluations
January 2019 – September 2020
Deliver On-site Grantee Evaluation Reports
January 2019 – September 2020
Deliver End-of-Grant-Program Report
December 2020
Attend Close-Out Meeting
December 2020
 

RFP-RELATED QUESTIONS

Answers to all questions submitted about the project, services needed, or this RFP are posted on LSC’s website at https://www.lsc.gov/about-lsc/doing-business-lsc-rfps.

RFP Schedule

Date
Event
October 17, 2018
RFP Issued
October 24
Deadline for respondents to submit RFP questions to LSC
October 29
LSC posts responses to RFP questions on its webpage
November 12
Deadline for respondents to submit proposals electronically
November 13
Postmark deadline for hard copies of proposals also submitted electronically
November 13–December 7
Evaluation of proposals and interviews
December 10
Notification to successful applicant of preliminary selection
and contract negotiation
December 10–31
Contract negotiations and approval
January 2, 2019
Work begins
 

PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS

All proposals must be concise (7 pages or less, not including resumes, brochures, and samples of comparable work), well-organized, and demonstrate how your proposed services, approach and methodology, qualifications, experience, and terms meet or exceed LSC’s requirements. Proposals must contain the following:

Consultant Contact Information

  • Your full name, address, telephone number, contact person, email, and website.
  • Firm overview, including a brief history, mission, number of employees, and number of years in operation.
  • Your RFP point-person. Please include title, phone number, and email address.

Firm or Key Personnel Qualifications

LSC seeks the services of consultants with demonstrated expertise and experience in grants management and overseeing projects involving the development and implementation of information technology systems. Experience in disaster response activities is highly preferred.

Please provide examples of your experience and expertise in these areas, samples of comparable work, and résumés for the key personnel involved in the project.

Other required qualifications include:

  • Excellent written communication skills with demonstrated ability to produce professional, clear, well-written work products;
  • Excellent oral communication and interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to reach different audiences and effectively manage conflicts;
  • Experience analyzing complicated concepts and offering cogent conclusions;
  • Ability to work well with people who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and working styles
  • Ability to function in a discreet, diplomatic, and confidential matter;
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and articulate well-informed and objective recommendations;
  • High degree of flexibility, capacity for self-management, and attention to detail;
  • Strong organizational skills; and
  • Understanding of and commitment to legal aid and disaster preparation and relief.

Project Approach and Management

Provide a work plan for completing this project. Include an estimate of the hours you believe it will take for your team to complete each phase of work.

Your proposal must describe your approach for assisting with administering and overseeing LSC’s Disaster Relief Grant Program, including how you plan to communicate with LSC’s disaster team and Disaster Relief grantees to effectively facilitate the exchange of necessary information and how you plan to monitor and evaluate grantee performance, both on-site and remotely. Provide a detailed, step-by-step process for how you propose performing on-site and remote grantee performance evaluations. Your process must include a comprehensive review of grant-related documents and budget materials, interviews with relevant grantee staff and stakeholders, and an examination of the implementation of technology projects as well as the usability of the technology.

Cost  

Provide a budget for this project, including an itemization of expected direct and indirect costs and expenses, including travel expenses, taxes, and service fees, administrative costs, maintenance/customer support costs, system or software conversion costs (all expenses must be reasonable and necessary, billed at-cost (as demonstrated by receipts or other appropriate documentation), and consistent with LSC’s expense and travel policies, which are similar to that of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Federal Travel Regulation). We anticipate awarding a time and materials contract; accordingly, your proposal must include

  • hourly rates for each proposed consultant assigned to the project;
  • an estimate of the total number of days or hours the applicant expects to bill for the project;
  • an estimate of the total cost of the project, including expenses.

References

Provide professional references (including full contact information) concerning the applicant’s performance on three comparable, recent projects.

Other Information

You may provide other information or materials that you believe is relevant to our evaluation or that provides additional features or value to LSC.

PROPOSAL DEADLINES AND MODE OF DELIVERY

Deadline for Submitting Proposals

All proposals must be received by LSC by email no later than 5:30 P.M., Eastern Time, on November 12, 2018 with three hard copies postmarked no later than November 13, 2018. You are solely responsible for ensuring that your proposal is delivered and postmarked on time. Late proposals may be accepted in LSC’s discretion. Delays caused by delivery service providers are typically not grounds for an extension.

Delivery of Proposals

Please email (in Word or PDF format) and mail three hard copies of your proposal to:

Rebecca Weir, Contracts Coordinator
C/O Karly Satkowiak
Legal Services Corporation
3333 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20007

Email: rweir@lsc.gov and satkowiakk@lsc.gov

Proposal Preparation Costs

Applicants are responsible for all costs incurred in preparing their proposals. The final contract will not reimburse the successful applicant for proposal preparation costs.

PROPOSAL EVALUATION CRITERIA

The contract will be awarded to the applicant who provides the best value – the most advantageous balance of price, quality, performance, reputation, and willingness to accept LSC’s contractual terms – to LSC:

Price

  • The reasonableness of the price for the services being offered.
  • Whether the price is realistic (especially if it is an estimate), reflects a clear understanding of LSC’s need, and is consistent with other parts of the proposal.
  • The cost of incidental expenses, including taxes and service fees, administrative costs, maintenance/customer support costs, system or software conversion costs, travel and transportation costs.

Quality

  • Qualifications and experience of proposed staff
  • Technical expertise
  • Project plan and approach

Performance

  • Timeliness of deliverables
  • Capacity
  • Understanding and ability to meet LSC’s needs
  • Responsiveness to LSC
  • Professionalism of representatives (sales team, customer support, technical assistance designated consultants, etc.)

Reputation for excellence in price, performance, and quality

  • Demonstrated history or reputation for excellence in price, performance, and quality.

Willingness to accept LSC’s contractual terms

  • Estimated Cost, but Not to Exceed Clause (for time and materials contract)
  • DC governing law and venue
  • Mandatory mediation before filing suit
  • No binding arbitration
  • Each party pays own attorney’s fees and costs in event of dispute
  • No limitations on liability
  • Indemnification for third-party suits only
  • No waiver of debt collection rights

Proposed contractual language for these provisions is available upon request.

LSC’s RIGHTS

LSC reserves the right to:

  • Accept or reject any or all proposals, or any part thereof;
  • Waive any informalities or technicalities contained in any proposal received;
  • Conduct discussions with respondents and accept revisions of proposals after the closing date;
  • Make an award based upon various selection criteria;
  • Request clarification from any respondents on any or all aspects of its proposals;
  • Cancel or re-issue this RFP at any time;
  • Retain all proposals submitted in response to this RFP;
  • Invite some, all, or none of the respondents for interviews, demonstrations, presentations and further discussion.

CONFIDENTIALITY

During the RFP process, you may be given access to LSC’s confidential or proprietary information. You agree not to use this information for your or any third-party’s benefit and that you will not disclose this information to any person who does not have a need to know.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and associated LSC regulations may require LSC to release to the public upon request certain third-party bid proposals. LSC will not, however, release a proposal that would cause competitive harm to the applicant. If your proposal is requested under FOIA, LSC will contact you before releasing some or all of it. Applicants are encouraged to label documents containing sensitive business and confidential information as such at the time of submission.