Request for Proposals: Evaluation Services Delivered to the City of Philadelphia for the Philly Joy Bank
THIS OPPORTUNITY IS NOW CLOSED.
The Philadelphia City Fund and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health seek an evaluation partner for the Philly Joy Bank, a guaranteed income pilot for 250 pregnant and postpartum people in Philadelphia. The Philly Joy Bank will provide $1,000 of monthly, no-strings-attached cash to participants throughout pregnancy and through 12 months postpartum, with the goal of improving financial stability for participants and reducing infant prematurity.
This RFP is for an evaluation partner who will work closely with the Philly Joy Bank steering committee to design the pilot and develop an evaluation plan. We seek an evaluation partner with experience in community-based participatory research, content expertise around maternal/child health and/or reproductive justice, and methodological expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Questions about this RFP
Q: I see in the RFA that CAN has decided against an RCT method for this pilot. But assuming that interest in the program is greater than funding, has the CAN decided how they will allocate resources? Are they looking for the evaluator to propose a method? It seems like this may have implications for an evaluation plan.
A: The CAN has preliminarily discussed using a lottery to select from eligible applicants, but has not yet committed to any plan, pending input from the evaluation partner. We would welcome proposals from the evaluator that support a strong evaluation plan.
Q: On page 4 of the RFP, it lists the desired characteristics of the evaluation partner which includes “Accessible and able to be present in the Philadelphia area to facilitate meetings, training, and relationship-building with community members and researchers.” Do you have a sense of how many in-person activities are expected for this project? For example, are there specific meetings and other activities that you would expect the evaluation partner to be present in Philadelphia area?
A: While we are unable to predict the number of in-person activities that will be needed, we anticipate that especially in the beginning of the project, there may be several meetings (e.g. with the Philly Joy Bank Steering Committee) in which it would be helpful to meet in-person, as we finalize design and implementation of the pilot and evaluation. In addition, depending on the type and level of involvement of community researchers, there may be additional in-person trainings and meetings that may be needed to facilitate successful engagement and inclusion.
Q: Is there an indirect rate for administrative costs associated with the grant?
A: There is no specific indirect rate, however any proposed indirect rate should be included within the $400K budget, and applicants with lower administrative costs will be more favorably reviewed.
Q: Are participants to be incentivized (reimbursed) for completing evaluation surveys? If so, are the costs intended to be within the 400k/3 years?
A: We would prefer for participants to receive incentives for completion of surveys, however we will defer to the evaluation partner in terms of how these costs may fit within the allocated budget. We will accept proposals that exceed the given $400K/3 years if the applicant is able to demonstrate a history of successful grant awards and willingness to collaborate on applying for additional grant funding to supplement the allocated budget.
Q: Would you allow for a non-randomized trial design that still uses a control group?
A: We have heard from community stakeholders that a randomized, controlled trial design involving guaranteed income would feel coercive and potentially exacerbate mistrust among community members. We welcome alternative proposals that mitigate this concern while supporting as robust of an evaluation as possible.
Q: Additional information would be helpful in crafting a proposal response that best fits the details of community researcher involvement. Has a specific role been defined already for community researchers to play in conducting the evaluation, or is the preference that prospective evaluation partners suggest a role for consideration as part of their proposals? If the former, what are the details of the role that community researchers will play?
A: A role has not specifically been defined as of yet. We would welcome proposals from prospective evaluation partners that articulate how community researchers may be involved in the evaluation.
Q: Has the process for selecting community researchers already been established? If so, can details of that process be provided?
A: No, the process would be up to the prospective evaluation partner to propose, and would be finalized in collaboration with the Philly Joy Bank implementation steering committee.
Q: Have specific eligibility criteria for community researchers already been established? If so, can details of that criteria be provided?
A: No, please see above.
Q: Is it anticipated that a specific number of community researchers will participate in the evaluation? If so, can that number be provided?
A: We do not have a specific number in mind, and imagine it may vary depending on the level of involvement (and budget) proposed by the prospective evaluation partner.
Q: What proportion of the budget should be allocated to supporting community researchers?
A: This would be up to the prospective evaluation partner, depending on the proposal.
Q: Would a proposal deadline extension beyond July 10th be considered, given that answers to questions impact proposal responses extensively, and may be provided only 3 business days prior to the existing deadline?
A: Although there is a final Q&A deadline of July 5, answers to questions are posted as they are received, typically within 2-3 business days.
Q: Should the budget include incentives for participation in data collection efforts?
A: Yes, please include participant incentives within the proposed budget.
Q: To help us offer recommendations for when to collect data throughout the course of an individual’s involvement in the Philly Joy Bank program, at what point in pregnancy will individuals be eligible to start receiving $1,000 per month?
A: Participants will be eligible starting in the 2nd trimester, although we will also accept participants in their 3rd trimester.
Q: Has PDPH selected a method for distribution of the $1,000 per month for participants, and if so, can details of that method be shared?
A: We plan to distribute the $1,000 monthly by reloadable debit card or direct deposit, with final details to be determined by our distribution partner (see below).
Q: Does PDPH anticipate contracting with a distribution partner to facilitate the transfer of $1,000/month to participants, and if so can PDPH share details about the process and timeline for selection of the distribution partner?
A: We will post an RFP for a distribution partner in August (after selecting an evaluation partner), with anticipated selection by October 2023.
Q: Is there a particular conference that PDPH would like to prioritize for dissemination of findings from this evaluation?
A: Not at this time, but would prioritize conferences that have a public health and/or health policy focus.
Q: Is PDPH open to a combination of virtual and in-person engagement with the evaluation team, potentially including hybrid engagement (e.g., where one member of the evaluation team is present in person, and others join virtually)?
A: Yes, if the prospective evaluation partner is able to demonstrate success in fostering connections with diverse stakeholders via hybrid/virtual arrangements.
Q: Would it be possible to get select Philly birth records (of those who are not participants in the pilot program) when they are received by PDPH, rather than waiting to request them from the state more than a year later?
A: Our current data license agreement (DLA) with the state only allows for use of the data for public health reasons, and does not allow for us to share data with external partners for research and evaluation. This request would therefore involve a DLA amendment between PDPH and the state, or that the evaluation partners work directly with the state to request those specific data.
Q: Can you share a high-resolution image of the Philly Joy Bank Conceptual Model that was included in the RFP?
A: Yes, here is a high-resolution PDF of the conceptual model.
Q: Is there a target date to begin distribution of guaranteed income that evaluators should consider in the proposed timeline?
A: Our goal is to begin disbursements of cash payments in Quarter 1 of 2024, latest by March 2024.
Q: Does the Funder have a specific budget template, or can the Bidder use their standard template?
A: Applicants can use their own template.
Q: For Part A. Organizational and Personnel Qualifications, can resumes for key personnel be included as an appendix?
Q: The RFP states “Once selected, the evaluation partner would need to enter into a data license agreement (DLA) with the City, in order to access and share Philly Joy Bank data.” Can you share what kinds of data would be shared with the evaluation partner?
A: Depending on the applicant’s proposal, shared data could include enrollment data for applicants and participants (which may incorporate a baseline survey) and/or available City records for participants who consent to share them (which may include birth records and other data).
Q: Can you confirm whether the Fund and MCFH are only looking for a research firm that is full-time based in Philadelphia?
A: No, full-time residence in Philadelphia is not required.
Q: Are there any restrictions for teammates working temporarily or permanently outside the United States? Our team also has a global presence and could tap into the experience/expertise within those teams, as needed / is helpful, although we anticipate the core team will be U.S.-based staff.
A: No, we would welcome the additional experience/expertise that may be helpful.
Q: The RFP states that “While the Philly Joy Bank Steering Committee has decided that it will not move forward with randomized-controlled trial (RCT) evaluation designs, due to concern for unintended harm and mistrust among community members, all other innovative evaluation approaches are welcome.” We interpret this to mean that the data collection activities would only include participating individuals, and that Philly Joy Bank is not interested in collecting data on a comparison group. Is that interpretation correct?
A: No, we welcome proposals that involve a comparison group—we would just like to minimize unintended harm and mistrust, which we have heard from community stakeholders are not the case with randomized-controlled study approaches.
Q: Does the Fund or MCFH have a preferred IRB, or should the contractor propose their own? And is the expectation that the contractor should build IRB fees into their proposed budget?
A: The evaluation partner would have to work with the City of Philadelphia IRB.
Q: If the contractor proposes a budget over $400K, what is the best way for the applicant to “demonstrate a history of successful grant awards” (e.g., a narrative section of the proposal with a list of won grants)? Does the Fund or MCFH have particular grants in mind to supplement the allocated budget, or is the expectation that the applicant is fully responsible for this?
A: A brief narrative or bulleted summary of prior grant history and awards would be sufficient. The applicant would work in collaboration with MCFH to identify and apply for relevant grants.
Q: Does the Fund or MCFH expect the contractor to carve out any resourcing needed for participant incentives or community researcher fees from the $400K rather than a separate pool of money available through the Fund?
A: Participant incentives and community researcher fees should be built into the $400K budget. Currently, there is no additional pool of money available to supplement the existing evaluation budget.
Q: Is there a publicly available rubric that these proposals will be evaluated against?
A: No, the evaluation rubric is not publicly available.
Q: Will this contract definitely be issued as a grant? Are there profit restrictions we should be incorporating into our budget?
A: This will be issued as a professional services contract, not as a grant agreement. Proposed budgets do not need to factor in any profit restrictions. The Fund’s payment of the vendor will be conditioned upon the satisfactory performance of the services as agreed upon in the professional services contract.
Q: After carefully reviewing the RFP we’ve noticed that Appendix A that contains details about Diversity Disclosure Report was not included in the RFP. Could you please forward it?
A: Apologies for the confusion. The Diversity Disclosure Report is linked from the webpage, rather than included as an appendix.
Q: The RFP mentions that contract will be awarded. Could you let us know the anticipated contract type?
A: The contract will be awarded as a professional services agreement.
Q: Does the Fund limit any costs in the cost proposal (cap on salaries, Indirect rate…)?
A: There is no specific cap on any costs, however all costs (including any proposed indirect rate) should be included within the $400K budget, and applicants with lower administrative costs will be more favorably reviewed.