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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions on the We Choose Health RFA or about the overall initiative, submit your questions to DPH.wechoosehealth@illinois.gov. IDPH staff will post all questions and corresponding answers on this website, so check back regularly for updates.


My organization is in Cook County, and serves Cook County. Can I apply?

No. Due to the way in which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided funding for the Community Transformation Grant, counties with populations of more than 500,000 (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will and Lake counties) are ineligible for direct funding from the Illinois grant.

Why are the big counties excluded from this funding opportunity?

The CDC’s Community Transformation Grant application, issued in May 2011, explicitly required all counties with a population of 500,000 or more to apply separately for funding.  All counties with populations of less than 500,000 were required to join an application with a statewide entity; the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) submitted an application covering all counties outside of Cook, Kane, Lake, Will and DuPage.  Those five counties each submitted their own applications, and none of these counties were selected for funding by the CDC.

Can only local health departments apply for funding?

No.  Eligible applicants can include local health departments, non-profits, hospitals, schools, or others types of organizations. However, a letter of support is required from all local health departments within your geographic area.

We are a local health department.  Can we apply for this grant?  If so, do we need to submit a letter of support from our administrator with our application?

Yes, local health departments are eligible applicants.  You do not need to submit a letter of support from your own administrator with your application.  However, if additional jurisdictions are included in the grant application, a letter of support is needed from the local health department serving those jurisdictions.

Can local health departments provide letters of support to more than one entity?

Yes, local health departments may provide letters of support to more than one grant applicant.

Does a local health department have to provide a letter of support to a competing agency within their jurisdiction?

No, it is up to the local health department to choose who they provide letters of support to.  We hope this requirement will encourage collaboration in their region.

Should developing and funding the evaluation be included in this grant, or should they be included in the upcoming Technical Assistance grant?

Applicants are expected to budget 10 percent of a designated staff person’s time to evaluation activities as there will be a robust evaluation component. Funded communities will be working with the evaluation team from the University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Public Health, on these activities.

Can our existing Pioneering Healthier Communities coalition be a coalition for this grant as well?

Yes, it may be a part of this grant, as long as all other criteria are met.


My organization serves three counties; do I need to submit three different applications?

No. Only one application is required for each proposed program. Coalitions have the flexibility to determine their geographic area based on their existing coalition reach.  However, you will need letters of support from all health departments within the geographic area.

How many organizations will be funded in each area?

Only one grant application will be selected to cover each geographic area.

Will this funding have a statewide impact if funding is only going to certain communities?

The goal of We Choose Health (WCH) is to transform communities, which will have cumulative effect on the health of the state. While WCH funding cannot be used for activities in Cook, Kane, Lake, Will and DuPage counties, everyone is invited to participate in the work groups that are focused on each of the interventions. The WCH’s Leadership Team is charged with developing a plan to ensure that the best practices of funded communities is shared with all communities in the state, and the Department is working with Cook, Kane, Lake, Will and DuPage counties to align efforts occurring across the state.

The map on your webinar shows Woodford County is considered urban instead of rural.  Our largest community in the county has a population of 4,500.  Can you explain the criteria in determining urban versus rural?

The Department is required to use the same criteria used by the CDC to designate urban and rural communities, the Metropolitan Statistical Area data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  

You stated the grants will be awarded to a region.  How are these regions defined?

Only one grant per geographic area will be funded, but there are no designated areas for funding. The applicant has the freedom to determine their community’s geographic area based on existing coalitions. If there is any area of overlap in geographic area between multiple applicants, only one of these applicants will be funded.  This requirement is intended to encourage collaboration.

Questions received since May 16, 2012

Can you please define community?

In the RFA, community may be defined as the geographic area that applicants propose to cover. The applicant determines the geographic area.

Does an application have to represent geographic areas that are contiguous?

Yes, each application should be for one contiguous geographic area.

Questions received since May 18, 2012

Will my organization be penalized for being located in an urban area?

No, it will not be penalized. There is no preference given to an organization based on whether they are located in an urban or rural area.

Questions received since May 30, 2012

What happens if your geographic area overlaps? For example, if a county health department submits a grant for their county and another entity submits to service the same county plus additional counties. Is that considered to cover the same geographic area?

Yes, that is considered the same geographic area. Any overlap of geographic area between applications is considered the same geographic area. Only one applicant will be funded per geographic area.

Selection of Strategies

My organization would prefer to only do two Healthy Eating and Active Living strategies: the Coordinated School Health Model and Safe Routes to School.  Is that allowed?

No, each funded community must implement at least one Smoke-free strategy and one Healthy Eating and Active Living strategy.

If my organization selects three strategies, is my organization eligible for more funding then if my organization only selects two?

Not necessarily. Selection of strategies should be dependent on the coalition’s readiness to implement. Funding range will be determined not just by number of selected strategies, but also by reach and careful evaluation of the budget. Some communities may be only ready to implement two strategies, while others may be able to implement three or four strategies. As a guide, funding should range between 50 cents to $1 for each person in the proposed covered geographic area.

One of the strategies is Smoke-free Public Places; doesn’t the Smoke-free Illinois Act cover public places?

Correct.  The Smoke-Free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in indoor public places and worksites.  The smoke-free public places strategy is designed to implement smoke-free policies in places not covered by the Smoke-free Illinois Act such as parks, bathing beaches, and entire work-site campuses. Additional details can be found in the Policy Briefs resource located with the application materials under “Funding Opportunities.”

My organization would like to choose the Healthy Hearts program.  Is it being funded at the community level?

No. The Healthy Hearts program, also known as the Public Health Node, is a project which will integrate the use of electronic medical records and population health data to better understand health in communities.   Communities will not be funded to implement this project as it will be implemented at the state level.  Those interested in being involved in the Healthy Hearts project are encouraged to join the workgroup.  If you are interested in participating in a workgroup dedicated to any of these interventions, please send an e-mail to DPH.wechoosehealth.illinois.gov.

Are the community health centers already chosen for the Healthy Hearts initiative?

The Department is currently evaluating possible sites for this intervention.  If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, please consider joining the workgroup. For more information on the workgroups, please send an e-mail to DPH.wechooosehealth.illinois.gov.

We currently conduct a Coordinated School Health program in one of our county school districts. Would it be an appropriate strategy to expand this program and implement it in another school district in our county and possibly a school district in a neighboring county?

Yes, you may expand the work already underway in your region.  However, please keep in mind that applicants must choose at least one Healthy Eating and Active Living strategy and one Smoke-free Living strategy.

On the letter of intent, we must select the strategies we hope to implement.  Can we change our strategies on the application?

Yes, you may select different strategies on your application than you select on your letter of intent. However the letter of intent, with the strategies you intend to apply for at the time, is required in order to apply for the grant.

Why are there no categories under the Healthy Eating and Active Living which deal with food access such as community gardens or farmers markets?

Activities designated to address access to healthy foods may be integrated into the Coordinated School Health Model and Worksite Wellness interventions, but will not be funded as a separate strategy.

Questions received since May 16, 2012

Must we choose a Healthy and Safe Built Environment strategy?

No, applicants do not need to select a Healthy and Safe Built Environment strategy. All applicants must choose to implement at least one Healthy Eating and Active Living strategy and at least one Smoke-free Living strategy. However, applicants may select as many additional strategies from each category as they would like.

If a proposal covers a multi-county area, do all of the strategies selected have to be implemented in all of the communities/counties?

No, strategies do not have to be implemented in each county.  If multiple counties are included in an application, the counties will be considered one community or geographic area. The strategies selected must be implemented somewhere in the geographic area proposed in the application.

Any examples of projects previously funded?

Please review Appendix C, the policy briefs, located with the application materials under Funding Opportunities on the We Choose Health website for examples of activities for each strategy.

Questions received since May 18, 2012

Would the implementation of a program that promotes social and emotional wellness be eligible for funding?

Yes, it could be. The Coordinated School Health Model includes a social and emotional wellness component. Based upon the School Health Index assessment, a social and emotional wellness program could be implemented with We Choose Health funds.

Questions received since May 29, 2012

Is the Baby Friendly Hospitals initiative the only model accepted through this grant to increase the rate of breastfeeding initiation and uptake by making hospital environments conducive and supportive of breastfeeding?

Baby Friendly Hospitals is the only stand alone strategy to support breastfeeding mothers. However, the worksite wellness initiative may include activities or strategies that support breastfeeding mothers such as implementing a breastfeeding policy or designating areas for lactation pumping.

When implementing Coordinated School Health as a strategy, is there a preference for addressing all eight CSHM components at one school verses addressing two components at all county school districts?

The Coordinated School Health Model (CSHM) has eight components. The recommended implementation of the model requires an assessment of the school health needs; that assessment will provide guidance on what components should be implemented. However, there may be components in a school that are already being addressed and therefore, a new policy or program is not necessary. Funded communities will be expected to assess the school health needs of all schools in which they intend to implement CSHM, and ensure there is a plan that will include all eight components.

Funding and Fundable Activity

Can we create a Head Start Program with this grant?

No. This grant is for policy and systems change, not direct services.

Can research be funded in this grant?

Research of existing projects cannot be funded by the grant. However, there will be an evaluation component of the interventions, which is why applicants are asked to dedicate 10 percent of a designated staff person’s time to evaluation activities.

Can funds be used for marketing and promotion?

Yes, you may use the funds for marketing and promotion of the activities you are planning to implement. You must justify the need for spending funds on marketing and promotion, and how marketing and promotion activities are essential to the success of implementing the activities.

In the RFA, it states we should consider only applying for 50 cents to $1 per person in our area.  If you are a county that has just over 100,000 individuals, that would not be a lot of money with the evaluation requirements.  Why base a rural grant on population density?  Are we held to that recommendation?

This is a population health approach to public health and reach is a strong priority of the grant. The CDC used a $1 per person funding formula to determine all Community Transformation Grant awards as well. Illinois received $4.8 million to cover 4.8 million people, with 10 percent set aside for evaluation.  This funding is not for direct services and the formula is a good general guideline for broad initiatives. We also encourage collaboration and broad coalitions to increase reach, which is in part why the determination of the geographic area is left to the applicant. The funding formula is only a guideline and gives applicants a sense of what we are looking for in a budget.

Would health education be considered direct services?

It would depend on the activities that are proposed in the grant application that are specific to the evidenced-based programs the grantee selects.  We would need more information regarding the specific education activities in order to answer this question in more detail.

Are registered dieticians considered technical assistance providers?

It depends on the type of activities they are supporting as it relates to the objective in the grant application.  If a registered dietician is an active participant in implementing the activity in the evidence-based program, it would not be considered technical assistance.

Questions received since May 16, 2012

Can Coordinated School Health grant funds be used as seed money to initiate Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health (CATCH) programming in schools?  Seed money would be used to purchase curriculum and physical education equipment.  Are these allowable expenses?

Yes, the Coordinated School Health grant funds could be used to implement the CATCH program.  Curriculum and physical education equipment could be purchased, but is subject to review and approval.  They must be an integral part to the strategy and be included in the budget.

Are smoking cessation services considered direct services?

Yes, they are considered direct services.  This grant will not fund direct services, but rather the implementation of the smoke-free policy. When implementing a smoke-free strategy, such as smoke-free multi-unit housing, an important component will be to utilize the Illinois Tobacco Quitline and referral system where individuals may obtain smoking cessation services.

Can funds be used to complete a construction project for Safe Routes to School?

No, funds may not be used for construction of sidewalks or roads for the Safe Routes to School initiative.

Can we submit a request for resurfacing a bike path with this grant?

No, this would be considered a construction project and construction is not a fundable activity.

Can funds be used for signage?

Yes, funds may be used for signage as long as the need is justified in the budget.

Are bike racks an eligible cost?

Yes, bike racks could be an eligible cost, but is subject to review and approval.  They must be an integral part of the strategy and be included in the budget.

Can we apply for more than the maximum award amount if we are a network of health coalitions working across an entire region of the state?

No, the maximum award amount is limited for funded community.  Even if your population exceeds 300,000, the first year’s maximum award amount is $300,000 dollars and years two through five are limited to $250,000.

 If we choose the Worksite Wellness strategy, can we provide health services to our employees such as cholesterol screening?

No, funding may not be used for delivery of direct services, or for clinical care.

Questions received since May 18, 2012

Would staff professional development and training be eligible for funding?

Yes, professional development and training could be eligible for funding if it is an integral part of implementing a strategic direction or activity. The cost must be included in the budget and is subject to review.

Questions received since May 29, 2012

Providing a place to rest along the way encourages more regular use of pedestrian routes and a higher level of healthy exercise. Would furniture of this nature be permissible given that it benefits anyone needing to rest along a pedestrian route?

Furniture or equipment of this nature may be proposed in the budget, but is subject to review. It must be an integral part to the strategy and be included in the budget.

Questions received since June 6, 2012

Can compensation to defray increased formula cost associated with becoming a Baby Friendly Hospital be covered by the grant?

No, funds should focus on the implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital policy.

As a follow up to our filing of the Appendix A, we did pursue the supporting text pertaining to Appendix B . As of this date we do not have the initial design and engineering costs pertaining to this project. We are all faced with the same old problem, no monies available. The question we ask, Is it possible to apply for a grant to cover the design and engineering costs?

In order to determine if this is allowable expense, we would need to understand how this cost directly relates to a specific strategy. As a reminder, no construction is fundable. See Page 11 of WCH RFA Instructions.

Are we allowed to plan or implement any communitywide physical fitness activities with this funding or are the funds restricted to worksites and schools?

Fundable activities must be integral to the implementation of one of the strategies. Strategies in the Built Environment strategy, for example, may have some important communitywide physical fitness activities. Worksite Wellness and Coordinated School Health have defined settings but may involve policies that outreach to the community. Please check out the Policy Briefs and the resources page of the website.

Application and Timeline

My organization is going to submit an application; do I need to turn in a letter of intent (LOI), too?

Yes, if an organization wants to apply for a grant from the We Choose Health initiative, the organization must submit an LOI by May 18, 2012.

If I submit an LOI, must I submit an application?

No, an LOI is not binding and does not require the submission of an application if you decide not to apply or if you choose to partner with another applicant.

How can a consultant or non-profit qualify as a technical assistance provider?

This RFA is to provide funding for interventions at the community level. The Department is currently assessing the technical assistance needs for funded communities, and will issue a separate RFP to select Technical Assistance grantees in late June.  Eligibility for Technical Assistance grantees will be defined in the RFP released in June.

In the geographic description on the application, should we include any demographic data?

Yes. The Department needs these data to determine the reach of the entire statewide project, as well as the extent that health equity is being addressed.

Should the letter of intent be submitted by the primary applicant, or by each member of the coalition?

Only one letter of intent should be submitted by the primary applicant, on behalf of your coalition.

Are the services of the fiscal agent the only one considered under the personnel services expense?  Do we include the collaborating agencies personnel expenses under contractual services?

If the collaborating agencies’ personnel provide specific activities related to the grant, their personnel expenses also would be included under the personnel services section of the application.
IMPORTANT! THIS ANSWER HAS BEEN UPDATED: After further discussion, it is more appropriate for this type of personnel to be listed under contracts in the budget. Any personnel, outside of the lead agency, providing specific activities related to the strategy and paid through the grant is a sub-contractor. These sub-contractors should be listed in the Contracts section of the budget proposal (section H).

Can an applicant for this RFA also provide technical assistance under the late June RFP?

There may be a potential for an applicant to be eligible for community funding as well as the Technical Assistance RFP, however, it is unlikely. The Technical Assistance grantees will be selected based on their experience and expertise in the selected strategic areas, and will be funded to provide expert technical assistance to all funded community grantees implementing those strategies. It would be difficult for one organization to both implement the We Choose Health initiative and to provide technical assistance to all other funded communities.

Questions received since May 16, 2012

Do letters of intent need to list coalition members?

No, letters of intent do not need to list coalition members.

Should the letter of intent project the next four-year budget?

No, applicants should not include a projected budget in the letter of intent.

If we received a grant from another state of Illinois agency, or the federal government, must we list these grants on our application?

Yes, applicants are asked to submit a list of all grant awards from state and federal sources for the most recent three years. If an applicant receives hundreds of grants, please submit a spreadsheet listing the most recent year's grants. If a grant number is not available, please indicate the federal or state RFA number associated with the grant award.
IMPORTANT! THIS ANSWER HAS BEEN UPDATED: Please submit a complete grant history as a separate attachment if needed.

We do not have a health department in our county. Will this be an issue for us?

Applicants of Edwards or Richland counties, the only counties without a local health department, will not need a letter of support from the local county health department. However, if the proposed geographic area extends into any other county, a letter of support from the corresponding local health department is required.

Can you submit a letter of intent for your organization/local health department and then add more collaborators during the proposal writing time and submission as a result of seeing the other letters of intent submitted?

A description of collaborators is not required in the letter of intent but, if listed, may be changed in the application. The letters of intent will be posted online to encourage collaboration.

The only question the letter of intent asks is regarding the geographic area that will be impacted. Do we need to give an overview of the project we intend to pursue? If so, where should that info be included?

No, an overview of the project is not required and no additional forms or materials will be accepted or reviewed with the letter of intent.

Are any other materials required for the LOI besides Appendix A?

No other materials are required or will be accepted aside from LOI form Appendix A.

Do we need to submit an authorization signature page for each health department that is collaborating with us for the application or just the lead agency/main applicant?

No, an authorization signature page is only required for the lead agency/main applicant.

Questions received since May 18, 2012

The application states we should attach up to 20 letters of support from our coalition partners, and letters of support from each local health department serving our targeted population. If we cover 13 counties, and must submit the letters of support from the local health departments, we would only be able to submit seven letters of support from our coalition partners. What should we do about this situation if we can’t include all the letters of support?

Letters of support from the local health departments will not count toward the 20 letter limit. Applicants may attach up to 20 letters of support from their partners, not including the required local health department letters.

Questions received since May 29, 2012

Will there be another round of funding available if we missed the letter of intent date?

No, there will not be another round of funding available. All applications for funding must be submitted by June 15, and the applicant must have submitted a letter of intent by the May 18 deadline. Those that did not submit a letter of intent are not eligible to submit an application but may collaborate with an organization that did submit an LOI. Applicants are allowed to propose an altered geographic area and may collaborate to strengthen their application.

Questions received since May 30, 2012

Our Coalition submitted an LOI and, in the spirit of collaboration, reached out to two other organizations that also wrote for our communities and now our population reach is over 300,000. Is it acceptable to re-group our coalition and submit two separate applications?

Submitted letters of intent may change the geographic area covered in the submitted application. An applicant may submit more than one application. However, one grant will be awarded per geographic area.

With regard to the Application Form Section 2 (applicant Grant History), we have a five-page document that contains the information. Can we refer to an attachment and submit that document as a separate PDF Attachment when we submit our RFP?

No, do not submit any attachments other than the Letters of Support. Please fill the allotted space and indicate that a more comprehensive list is available upon request.
IMPORTANT! THIS ANSWER HAS BEEN UPDATED: A complete grant history must be submitted. It can be submitted as a separate attachment with the W-9 and the Letters of Support.

Other than the Letters of Support, are we allowed to submit supporting documents/information as an attachment to the application?

No, additional documents will not be accepted. Please use the space provided.
IMPORTANT! THIS ANSWER HAS BEEN UPDATED: The only separate attachments allowed are the following: a complete grant history, the W-9 and the Letters of Support.

With regard to the Application Form Section 5 (Grant Project Proposal), "Brief Project Description," you have inserted a sentence. Do you want applicants to expand upon that sentence for the project description, or leave as is?

The Brief Project Description of Section 5 should be left as is. The form does not allow the insertion of text in that section. A detailed description of the proposed activities should be submitted in Section II: Project Proposal.

What do you mean by “Short-Term Outcome Measure”? Could you give an example?

Short-Term Outcome Measure is the product that will exist by the completion of the Milestone/Activity. Please see the Definition Worksheet in the Grant Application Materials under the Funding Opportunities tab of the We Choose Health website.

What is the difference between “Est Reach (people)” and Est reach (units)? Could you give an example?

Estimated Reach (people) is the population impacted. Estimated reach (units) would be the unit of measurement related to the strategy for example number of schools. Please see the Definition Worksheet in the Grant Application Materials under the Funding Opportunities tab of the We Choose Health website.

Can you provide explanation/instructions on what the column "activities related to health disparities" means? What type of information goes in this column?

If applicable, specify activities that will be carried out to impact health disparities among the population group(s) of focus. For example, activities could be overcoming barriers such as access; cost; transportation; capacity and resources; awareness; limited health literacy; and lack of community engagement. Please see the Definition Worksheet in the Grant Application Materials under the Funding Opportunities tab of the We Choose Health website.

You have 9 applicants listed for Rock Island County, but there are only 7 on the list. Are there others that are not on the list on your website?

There are eight, not nine, all are listed on the website.

Questions received since June 1, 2012

When we request letters of support from our community partners, to whom and what address should the letters be addressed? I understand we, as the applicants, will be submitting them electronically, but typically letters of support are addressed to the funding agency.

Letters of support may be addressed to Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, Director, Illinois Department of Public Health, 122 S. Michigan Ave., 20th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603. Letters of support will only be accepted as an attachment with the application. Letters sent via U.S. mail or fax will not be accepted.

The application we are preparing is for a number of health departments who will work as a coalition, with one department functioning as the lead agency. Do we need to provide the list of state and federal grants for all participating departments or just the lead agency functioning as the applicant?

Please provide the grant history for only the lead agency applying. Fill in the space provided; if the allotment is not sufficient, indicate that a more comprehensive list is available upon request. Do not attach any additional documents other than the letters of support.
IMPORTANT! THIS ANSWER HAS BEEN UPDATED: A complete grant history must be submitted. It can be submitted as a separate attachment with the W-9 and the Letters of Support.

On the work plan sheets it asks for milestones/activities. Would this include evaluation activities? For example, if we are working on multi-unit housing, we would start with a baseline survey of attitudes and behaviors. So would this activity be listed in the milestone section even though it is also an evaluation activity?

Yes, please include all milestones/activities integral to the strategy in the work plan, (limit to 10 activities) including evaluation activities. Please review the sample work plan included with the Grant Application Materials under Funding Opportunities.

The work plan is for the first 14 months of the grant; however, our objective for Smoke-free Outdoor Spaces will not be achieved by then. Can the drafting and adoption of policies be moved in to future years due to the amount of work needed to be completed prior to, such as assessment and education?

Yes, year one activities may end prior to the adoption of policy. The work plan should reflect a realistic assessment of what can be completed in the "current year" or the first 14 months of the grant. Activities that take place in subsequent years should not be included. Please state the goal for the grant period in the in the Multi-year Objective, such as the adoption of policy for Smoke-free Public and Outdoor Places. The Current Year Objective should be achievable by the end of the first grant year.

Can we scan and submit our grant application or must it be sent in the fillable format?

No, applications must be submitted in the original format. Submitting a scanned application would significantly delay the review process, therefore all applications must be submitted in the original electronic format.

Questions received since June 6, 2012

The grant application form requests a copy of the W-9 for the lead agency. I want to be sure we should submit that as an attachment. Should it be part of the letters of support attachment?

Yes, the W-9 must be submitted along with the letters of support and, if needed, an attachment with the full grant history (This is a correction from a previous FAQ). It can be a separate attachment.

The application file document you have available for editing is a .PDF file. The actual file does not allow for much editing of font size, spacing etc. Are there limitations on space for answering each section? Do you have a Word file available that we can use?

Application responses are limited to the spacing provided for each question. Due to the evaluation process, it is critical that the data on the application is maintained as an electronically available PDF file. All applications must be completed electronically and submitted in the original format. Applications may not be completed and rescanned in. Letters of support, the W-9 and, if needed, an attachment with the full grant history are the only allowable attachments. (This is a correction from a previous FAQ) Please make efficient use of the space provided to describe the proposed projects.

The application (Appendix B) asks only for the year 1 budget. Should we include any information on budgets for future years? For example, to indicate that we are planning to expand our coordinated school health program in year 2 (second cycle of funding) and will need additional resources to be successful.

Please provide a complete budget for the 14 month funding period of August 2012 - September 2013. The project narrative provides an opportunity for you to express your intent for the funds for the future years of funding. The project narrative should include the objectives and description of activities for the entire grant period, through 2016.

In Section 5, the project period is fixed as the "year 1 and year 2" (14 month) period, so I'm assuming that Total Amount of Funding Requested from IDPH should be the total for "year 1 and year 2" - is that correct? Is there any way to indicate that we are interested in future funding as well?

Yes, the total amount of funding requested should be the first 14 month period. Funding will be renewed to awarded communities for each subsequent year, pending continued available funds and progress reports. The project narrative should include objectives and description of activities for the entire grant period, through 2016.

In Section 7d, there is space to list information for only two subcontractors. We have more than two; how should we handle this? If an organization is a key partner in the work plan, should we include them as a subcontractor? Do we need to include local health departments as subcontractors? More guidance on what you consider as a subcontractor, and how to list more than two will be greatly appreciated.

In Section 7d (Page 5) of the application, applicants may indicate that a full list of subcontractors is located in section H. A sub-contractor is any personnel, outside of the lead agency, providing specific activities related to the strategy and paid through the grant. These subcontractors should be listed in the Contracts section of the budget proposal (section H). Key partners that are not paid through the grant do not need to be included in the budget but should be listed in the work plans and in the project narrative.

In a previous FAQ post, it was indicated the outside agencies personnel should be listed under personnel services. After further discussion, it was determined that it is more appropriate for this type of personnel be listed under Contracts.

On Page 4, Section 5 of the application, under Total Amount of Funding Requested from IDPH-do you want the amount we are requesting for the first year or for the total five years?

Total Amount of Funding Requested is for the first year project period, August 2012-September 2013.

On Page 5, Section 6 of the application, do you want our budget summary for the first year or for the total five years?

The budget summary is for the first year project period, August 2012-Spetember 2013.

You write in the FAQ that "If the collaborating agencies' personnel provide specific activities related to the grant, their personnel expenses also would be included under the personnel services section of the application." Do you really mean to put staff from other health departments under personnel time and not contracts?

In a previous FAQ post, it was indicated the outside agencies personnel should be listed under personnel services. After further discussion, it was determined that it is more appropriate for this type of personnel be listed under Contracts.

We have had several specialized organizations (technical assistance) contacting us for inclusion in our proposal. Do we need to set aside dollars and name specific organizations in the grant for technical assistance? I was under the impression there will be future opportunities for grant dollars for agencies to provide technical assistance to the grantees.

No, you do not need to set aside dollars or name specific organizations in the grant for technical assistance. We are currently in the process of evaluating technical assistance needs and assessing national resources. A separate technical assistance request for proposals will be released for agencies to provide TA to the grantees.


Will this grant funding have an impact on the communities of color?

One of the CDC’s priorities for this program is to address health equity, including racial and ethnic disparities. Applicant coalitions should ensure that they are working across all communities in their proposed region, and that their coalitions represent the communities that exist in their region.

My organization has locations throughout the state including sites in the counties excluded from funding.  Can grant funds be used to support initiatives at all of my sites?

Grant funds cannot be used to support initiatives in the five largest counties (Cook, Lake, Kane, DuPage and Will). If you would like to implement activities in sites located in the excluded counties, you may do so, but grant monies from the We Choose Health RFA may not be used to fund services or activities in those locations. Activities in those five counties should be clearly identified as “in-kind.”

How many awards do you anticipate funding?

At this time, we do not have an answer to that question.  We will have a better sense of the number of awards based on the letter of intents we receive.

At the Rural Health Institute, a heavy emphasis was placed on policy development versus program implementation in relationship to the Community Transformation Grant.  Can you address this?

The focus of the CTG is to implement evidenced- and practiced-based approaches rather than implementing direct services.  The emphasis on this project is to not provide direct services or direct interventions, but rather population- based interventions that are sustainable.

May a provider be in more than one coalition that involves several different counties?

Yes.  Providers and organizations that serve more than one community are expected to participate in the coalitions that serve their respective communities.

Questions received since May 16, 2012

If administrative or indirect costs are allowed, what is the cap amount?

It is the Department’s intent that the funding awarded be used for implementation of strategies and activities to ensure success at the community level.  If administrative costs are requested in the grant application, thorough justification must be provided to explain why reimbursement of these costs is requested. The Department will review the justification to determine whether the request is appropriate for funding. It is recommended that if administrative costs are deemed necessary, the request should be less than 10 percent of the total for which you are applying.  Indirect and indirect cost plan allocations are not allowed.

Is there a match requirement?

No, there is not a match requirement.

Questions received since May 18, 2012

Can you define direct service?

Direct services are clinical or medical services provided to a client. Programs that directly impact one person at a time such as a blood pressure screening or cancer screening are considered direct services. These types of individualized services are not fundable; We Choose Health is funding population-based approaches.

Can you give an example of how an organization can secure and promote free, or reduced, price access to exercise facilities?

Joint Use agreements are one way communities may increase access to safe facilities to exercise such as a school gym. The policy brief document, located with the Community Grant Application Materials under the Funding Opportunities tab of the We Choose Health website, provides resources on Joint Use agreements. Additional resources may be found on the Resources tab on the website as well.

Is there any advantage to posting a letter of intent on the We Choose Health website?

Since funding is limited to only one applicant in each geographic area, those that do not collaborate will compete for funding. By posting a letter of intent on the website, other applicants may see who also is proposing to work in their community and identify potential partners. Applicants may be able to strengthen their application and broaden their reach through collaboration. As a reminder, all applications submitted must have a letter of support from local health departments located in the geographic area of the proposed work.

If my organization did not submit a letter of intent, can we collaborate with an organization who did submit an LOI?

Yes, one may collaborate on an application with an organization that submitted a letter of intent. Applicants are encouraged to strengthen their application and broaden their reach through collaboration.

After submitting our LOI, we were approached by another county. We know we can add collaborators, but may we add geographic locations for potential funding?

Yes, additional geographic locations that were not included in the letter of intent may be included in the application. A letter of support is required from every local health department in the newly defined geographic area.

What is the evaluation metrics for each of the strategies listed in the RFP?

Evaluation metrics are being developed in collaboration with the CDC. The evaluation metrics will vary based on the strategy but will be outcome focused not process focused. The metrics have not been finalized. Applicants must plan for 10 percent of a designated staff person’s time to participate in evaluation efforts.

WCH Question and Answer Session — June 11, 2012

Can you define what type of technical assistance (TA) will be available for free to grantees?

As of yet, we have no defined outline for technical assistance for grantees. Later this month we will release a request for proposal (RFP) that will outline what the technical assistance needs are for grantees. After the RFP is awarded, technical assistance will be provided to grantees at no cost. For example, through trainings and webinars to support work in each of the funded strategies.

Can you confirm that health education services are considered to be direct services? We cannot go into a worksite and provide nutrition education or exercise programming, correct?

The example of nutrition education is not classified as a direct service. It is important when determining your intervention to consider the sustainability of the activity. All budget items are subject to review and should be justified. Please include your strategy and justification. The following is not eligible for funding: clinical care, food, construction, furniture, or research. Please see RFA information packet for more information.

The font type and size in Appendix B form is Helvetica 12. Do we need to use that same particular font type and size when completing the Appendix B application form sections?

The PDF should have a fixed font size and type embedded within the form. Please do not scan in forms but fill them out in the original application form in Adobe. Copying and pasting from a Word document is fine.

If we are subcontracting to collaborate on this project, how much detail do you need for the budget regarding what services the subcontractor will provide?

Section 7D asks for details about the subcontractors (name, address, description of services, budget for services). Please use Section H to include information about subcontractors that did not fit in Section 7D, including a breakdown of the total budget.

For this RFA submission, the budget should only reflect the 14 month, Year 1/2 period up to $300,000, is that correct?


Do we need to show the contractual agency budgets? We were not going to have the contractors provide specific budgets until after a grant award is made and the exact contract amount is known.

If you are selecting contractual agencies through a competitive process, please discuss this in detail with your justifications in the section H.

Do we only submit the summary budget or also submit the IDPH Excel budget?

Only the summary budget is provided in the application, in addition to details about subcontractors. The negotiation process may require additional information. Section H requires detailed budget and justification, so provide details there.

I understand that we have to select one strategy from each area. However, are you saying that we must use some of the template programs/evidence-based practices given in the application package?

There should be one strategy from Health Eating and Active Living and one from Smoke-free Living. You must choose strategies from the options given. See the policy briefs on the website for examples; however, it is not a comprehensive list. In terms of models and toolkits, you may use your own as long as it meets the requirements of the strategy and it is evidence based.

Should we include evaluation in our grant or will the technical assistance help with evaluation?

Programs are evaluated through an evaluation team. You must budget for a 10 percent FTE toward evaluation activities, plus a program-wide evaluation.

In Section II. C, Proposed Outcomes and Activities (Page 19), there is a requirement for outcomes and objectives in the first funding period and for multiyear. Is this for the 14 month funding period and for the 4.5 year grant period?

Yes, in this section of the project narrative please include both the first funding period objectives and the 4.5 year grant period objectives. This is the only opportunity to describe the full scope of work for the entire project period (4.5 years). The work plans provide space to state the multiyear objective and the current year (14 month) objective, but the activities in the work plan are to achieve the current year objectives. Please note: the budget is for only the first funding period (14 months).

Did you say that there should be one total attachment which includes the W-9, all letters of support, and the full grant history? Or can the W-9, the letters of support and the full grant history be submitted as three attachments each?

Please submit the letters of support in one attachment. The other documents do not need to be packaged. We understand that you may have technical difficulties sending large attachments, but it is ideal that the letters of support are bundled in one attachment. The following can be sent as an attachment: letters of support, W-9, signature page (if you cannot send electronically) and full grant history (if the allotted space is not sufficient).

If we are collaborating with another county and are going to pay them a portion for staffing do we list them as a subcontractor on 7D?

Yes, any other partnering agency (county, organization, etc.) should be listed as a subcontractor. If you do not have enough room in Section 7D, please use Section H.

In addition to name, address, phone and description of services the subcontractor will provide (Section 7D), on the budget, we can just include the total amount the service will cost, correct?

Section H should include a breakdown of the total budget.

I realize you can’t buy food for meetings, but can you purchase food items for education and tasting at a healthy foods demonstration?

No, food is restricted.

Can the applicant and subcontractor purchase equipment and can you elaborate on approved equipment and software included in equipment or supplies?

Any proposal for equipment must be justified in how it relates to the strategy. See Page 6 in the RFA information packet for more details. In your justification, you should describe why you could not do the work without the equipment and what will happen to it after the grant ends.

Can hospitals provide screenings for worksites, such as those provided at a worksite health fair, as part of the worksite wellness program? Is there any part of that service that could be justified, such as hospital staff time and not medical supplies?

You should not provide direct services. You may collaborate with a partner to offer the services in kind. However, the intent of the grant is to put in place sustainable programs with reach. Collaboration is sustainable, but using grant money to screen is not. Also, health fairs are not an evidence-based practice. See the policy briefs for good examples.

Based on the last question, are you saying that we cannot use the grant to cover the cost of screenings supplies?

Correct, you cannot use the grant to cover the cost of screening supplies.

We do not have a digital ID signature. How do we submit our signature on the application?

If you have no digital signature, you may scan and sign that one page.

For the CSH model, is a district-wide Wellness Committee (with all district schools participating) acceptable as opposed to a Wellness Committee at each separate school in the district?


Your guideline for funding request is $.50 - $1 per population. We have asked for a little more and feel this is justified. Will this work against us in our application? Also based on this guideline we are requesting more than this the first year as it is 14 months. Is this appropriate?

No, this will not work against you as long as you effectively justify the costs; the range is a guideline.

How detailed do you really want on the CSH section in the narrative? We have focused on key things to be done and accomplished in year 1/2 from that the details will be tailored by community, district, and/or school building as appropriate.

That is appropriate.

I have received letters of support addressed to me (Administrator of Lead Agency). Is this acceptable?

Yes, as long as the letter is specific to this funding opportunity.

Are you aware that Section 1, Page 10, Number 3 allows unlimited (so it seems) space when adding text? It keeps adjusting the font size to accommodate as much text as you want to insert.

This is a flaw. Please respect the limits that are set for that question.

For the worksite wellness programs… the point is to help worksites set up wellness programs and policies, not conduct the programs ourselves, correct? The point of this grant is not to be the worksite program coordinator, correct?

Yes, the focus should be on developing sustainable work.

Can general costs related to health fairs be included? This would be related to stage presentation to general audiences (banners, rental of pipe-and-drape, table skirting, etc.). Also, can funding be assigned to promotional materials that help brand the programs?

The funding should be for evidence-based approaches. In this case, health fairs are not evidence-based approaches. Funding for promotional materials and branding should be justified. Keep in mind that this grant is for population-based strategies.

Can funding be used for a scholarship for worksite wellness sites to match employer contributions for things like bike racks and fitness equipment? What about for gym membership coupons?

All requests for funding should be justified. The strategy should be sustainable. In this case, bike racks are sustainable but gym membership coupons are not. We encourage working collaboratively with businesses and other organizations.

If we are having technical issues with the PDF document, who can we call or e-mail?

Please make sure you have an updated version of Adobe. This will solve many technical issues. If you are still having problems you can e-mail Jason Rothstein at jasonro@uic.edu. Please do not send questions at the last minute on Friday as it will be difficult to respond.

What is really being requested on Page 11 of Appendix B – “Coalition Information.” It is just a listing of agencies or are we also to discuss their roles/relationship to project?

You should discuss their roles and relationship to your project.

Once awarded will there be any dollars upfront or is everything reimbursed month by month?

Applicants should be able to fund projects until reimbursements can be made. This will likely be on a monthly basis. Once grantees are determined, we will consider the individual payment needs of the grantee. Note: these are federal funds which process relatively quickly.