Indigenous-Led Solutions to Advance Health Equity & Wellbeing Webinar Transcript

00:00:00:00 - 00:04:41:10
Erin: Hello again. Welcome to all of you who are joining us. I can see there's still a few more people coming, but we're going to go ahead and get started. We have a lot to cover today. So welcome to those of you are here. I'm Erin Hagan. I'm the Deputy Director for Evidence for Action.

And we're thrilled to share more with you about our Indigenous-Led Solutions to Advance Health Equity and Wellbeing Call for Proposals. I'm going to take this opportunity to briefly introduce my colleagues and co-hosts this morning, Claire Gibbons is Evidence for Action’s Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Amani Allen is the Director of Evidence for Action; and Melissa Wells is the Co-Director of the Center for Indigenous Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a close collaborator with us in developing this call for proposals.

We also have my colleague Jeana Morrison and Claudette Grinnell-Davis. Jeana is at E4A and Claudette is our partner in delivering our technical assistance services through this call for proposals. And they'll be talking with you a little bit later this morning or afternoon, depending on where you are, about those services. I also do want to take just a moment before we formally jump in to thank Dr. Wells and her team at the Center for Indigenous Health, for their really invaluable partnership in developing this call for proposals. They, along with dozens of other Indigenous scholars and community members, were really pivotal in guiding the development of this solicitation. And I just want to express our deep gratitude for your partnership in this effort on behalf of the entire Evidence for Action team and our colleagues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

So without further ado, let us just give you a quick sense of what we're going to cover today. We will cover information on why and how the call for proposals was developed. We'll do an outline of the key dates and the application process. We'll talk more about the review process as well. We're going to give you some more detail about the funding and selection criteria and walk you through the application system.

We have a lot of time for Q&A reserved. We're going -- this is a long webinar because there's a lot to cover -- and so we're going to break it up a little bit and take some questions along the way. So we're not going to, we will have time at the end for Q&A and we will have time throughout the webinar interspersed to answer questions along the way as well.

Please use the Q&A feature for your questions. Welcome to use the chat to converse with each other or to flag comments for our staff or for your your fellow colleagues on the webinar. But I would ask that you use the Q&A feature to submit questions. It will be easier for us to field. We do have over 400 people currently on the webinar, so that will help us to be able to make sure to get to your questions. So just a couple of housekeeping notes to share before we jump in. As participants, you are muted and you're off camera. So the main way to communicate with us is through the chat or the Q&A. And I mentioned that Evidence for Action has staff on the back end that can help to address any troubleshooting or technical difficulties that may arise. You can also email the program office if you feel like you're not getting a response through the chat, or if for some reason your chat is not working. We will have a recording available of the webinar posted to our website, the Evidence for Action website and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's website. After the session, probably sometime next week, you will also be able to download the slides as well as a transcript of the webinar, and we will be emailing those resources to everyone who was registered, whether they attended or not.

So there will be ample access to the recorded presentation, the slides, and the transcript in the coming week. And now, without further ado, I'd like to turn it over, Melissa, to you to sort of ground us before we dive into the contents.  

00:04:41:10 - 00:06:27:07

Melissa: Miigwech Erin, and Boozhoo everybody. This is a beautiful community of people. I can see a lot of familiar names and people I haven't talked to in many years, so I just want to say Boozhoo Indinawemaaganidog. Mememgwaa nindizhinikaz. Miigizi indoodem.

I am Melissa Walls. I am Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation. Ojibwe on my mom's side, a German Swede mix on my dad's side. I live and work here in Minnesota, very near what is now called Duluth, Minnesota. And as I engaged in this work that you're going to hear about today, I was mostly writing and meeting here from these seated traditional lands of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe. And of course, these lands continue to be home to many of us as Indigenous Peoples. And, you know, we are all pretty used to land acknowledgments now, I think, especially if you're on this webinar, but my goal in doing this is to remind us that Indigenous Peoples, we're still here, we're active, we're making meaningful changes in society today as we've done in the past.

And I invite all of us who are here in this virtual space together to really work to affirm the sovereign rights of Native Nations and consider how some of us are very privileged and frankly, uninvited guests on Indigenous lands. I understand that the work that so many of you all do is an attempt to address the lingering impacts of settler colonialism on the health of our communities. And when we acknowledge this and when we acknowledge the land that we're on, we also hold, work to hold our institutions accountable to acting and doing more to bring truth, reconciliations, and reparations forward. And many of you are aware of this website, but I'll share this ( If you aren't aware of the Indigenous Lands, you sit, work and play upon in the chat I've posted a link to a wonderful resource where you can find out no matter where you travel, who’s lands we hang out on. So miigwech for being here. We're excited to share more and I'll pass it back now. 

Erin: Thank you so much for that grounding for us and acknowledgment, Melissa. I'm going to turn now to Claire to give us some overview of the Foundation and the work that we're doing with you all.    

Claire: Everyone, thanks so much for joining us today.

00:06:54:19 - 00:10:54:04
Claire: I am Claire Gibbons, a Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And I have the privilege of working with Evidence for Action very closely. And I also have been able to work with Melissa closely on a few things in the last a year or two, I'm going to give you a little bit more background on RWJF than I typically would because I'm wondering if maybe some of you haven't worked with us or aren't aren't too familiar with the Foundation.

So the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is actually the largest private philanthropy in the US that focuses exclusively on health. Our North Star is really working towards a Culture of Health where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live a healthy life. We've been engaged in the push for greater health equity for a long time, building on the principle that much of what creates health happens outside the doctor's office.

Some of our most direct commitments to those come from work of the Commission to Build a Healthier America, which the Foundation formed in 2013, to consider how the places we live, work and learn and play influence our health. And the Commission's recommendations set the stage for the Culture of Health agenda that I just mentioned. And in the years since, we've been continuing to dig into the root causes of the widespread disparities in health outcomes and the realities of structural and systemic racism have become more clear to us.

We've been reaching out to colleagues and communities to better understand the experiences of Black and Indigenous people and other people of color. And we've been working to better understand the history of the United States, including our settler colonial past, and what that means for people's health today. This work was galvanized further by the murder of George Floyd and many other police killings of people of color.

Together with the disparities laid bare by COVID and has firmed our resolve to set aside code words and name structural racism as a direct cause of so many health inequities we're working to address. In 2022, we commissioned a series of papers to inform the Foundation's forward looking grant-making strategy, and we funded folks from a variety of disciplines, focus areas, and perspectives.

And among that group was Dr. Melissa Walls on this webinar today and Dr. Joseph Gone, who, along with more than ten other Indigenous researchers, authored a report describing the current health contexts of Indigenous Peoples in the United States and made recommendations to RWJF about how to move forward in our work related to Indigenous Peoples. This report directly led to this funding opportunity.

At the same time that we've been learning how to better center community and real people in our work, particularly in our research and evaluation. This is an ongoing process. We're still learning about the best approaches to this. And in the context of the CFP, we've done our very best together with Evidence for Action, with guidance and partnership from the Center for Indigenous Health and Johns Hopkins, along with many other Indigenous researchers and community members, to develop a CFP that reflects a useful and meaningful opportunity to support health among Indigenous communities in the United States.

So that's a little bit about where we're coming from and I'm happy to answer any other questions about RWJF that might come up for you all in the course of this webinar. And I just also want to extend my thanks very much to Erin and Steph and the other staff at Evidence for Action for their tremendous work on this. And Natalie, to Melissa and her excellent colleagues at the Center for Indigenous Health and to all of the many Indigenous scholars and community members who contributed to developing this CFP. So thanks very much and I'll look forward to this conversation. Amani, I'll turn it back to you.    

00:10:54:06 - 00:15:56:16

Amani: Great. Good morning and good afternoon, everyone. I'm so thrilled to be here with all of you today to talk more about this really unique and exciting call for proposals. Again, my name is Amani Allen and I'm the Director of Evidence for Action, As Claire mentioned, Evidence for Action, which I will refer to as E4A, is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Our mission is to promote the field of action-oriented health equity research by practicing an approach that is intentionally anti-racist, anti-colonial and focused on solutions that are innovative and push beyond the status quo.

We do this through four primary activities first grant-making, which I will say more about in a moment. Second, providing technical assistance to our grantees, which we will also talk more about later in this webinar. Third, communications intended to stimulate discourse and spur action around critical issues for advancing health equity. This includes disseminating findings from E4A-funded research and engaging diverse partners in conversation and co-learning.

And last, we engage in a variety of other field building activities. These broader activities include working with partners across sectors to shift power dynamics in the health science knowledge system and embrace a shared understanding of scientific rigor that is inclusive of a variety of ways of knowing. So what do I mean by the health science knowledge system?

Here, I'm referring to the traditional gatekeepers of scientific knowledge, which has consisted of academic and other research institutions, journals, scientific review boards, research funders and other entities making decisions about what constitutes scientific knowledge. Recognizing the many voices and experiences left out in terms of what constitutes and is valued as scientific knowledge, which is itself a structural inequity and undermines our ability to make real progress, we wish to shift those dynamics and elevate knowledge, experience, and ways of knowing that provides more cultural awareness and honors the lived experience of marginalized and oppressed communities. This includes learnings about both the threats against optimal health and well-being of impacted communities, as well as the strength and resilience of those communities and using what we know to promote a more liberated knowledge system free of the conventions that have stymied efforts towards health equity.

In terms of our grant-making, which is what we're all gathered for today, E4A aims to fund research that deeply interrogates potential solutions to racism and colonialism as fundamental causes of health inequities. As a program, we have been evolving and the Indigenous-Led Solutions to Advance Health Equity and Wellbeing Call for Proposals is an effort to engage in more meaningful thought partnership for engaging a broad and diverse group of scholars and practitioners and supporting research focused on the health of Indigenous Peoples.

Melissa will talk more about this in just a moment. Our aim with this CFP is to support research driven by Indigenous communities focused on advancing systems level solutions to promote health equity and well-being for Indigenous Peoples and communities. As a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we work toward achieving the Foundation's goals of advancing health, wellbeing, and racial equity by supporting systematic inquiry and investigation that will lead toward building a Culture of Health.

As part of this, I wanted to mention that we have an open and rolling call for proposals through which we fund work, primarily evaluating the health and racial equity impacts of programs, policies, and other interventions. For those interested, we just put the link to that call in the chat. Please share with your networks. However, in addition to the open and rolling call, we're really excited to be running this Indigenous-Led Solutions to Advance Health Equity and Wellbeing call.

We look forward to all that can be learned from these Indigenous-led projects to inform the actions Indigenous peoples and communities, as well as Indigenous Serving Organizations, can take to advance the health and well-being of themselves and their communities. We are a program that prioritizes continuous learning and improvement. So from our learnings from this call, as well as from our future grantees, we will update our open and rolling call and commit to improving inclusiveness and actionability in all of our activities.

Thank you so very much for joining us today. Now I will turn it over to Melissa to talk more about how and why this call focused on Indigenous-Led Solutions for Health Equity and Wellbeing was developed.    

00:15:56:18 - 00:19:40:24

Melissa: Thank you. Miigwech. So yes, I'm going to talk about, where did the CFP come from? You see the link in the chat and you can check it out, but I presume a lot of you have looked at this already. As Claire mentioned, there were many of us, many of my esteemed colleagues involved in the development of this call for proposals or CFP. And you probably all know that there's momentum around funding research focused on and for Indigenous peoples and communities here in what is now the United States. And I think that Evidence for Action really brought a very unique approach to designing this CFP.

So they integrated the perspectives of Indigenous scholars and community members throughout the development of what you see on that link. They worked closely with us at the Center for Indigenous Health at Johns Hopkins, where we conducted three listening sessions nationally with 37 scholars and community members of varying Indigenous backgrounds. After the E4A team, the Evidence for Action Team, wrote the initial draft, we did multiple rounds of review with our team members at the Center for Indigenous Health and other scholars and community members. Many iterative revisions went into what you see on the final CFP. So that call for proposals you can download and review is a result of a very collaborative and rigorous process. And I want to thank all of you, some of whom are on this call, for inserting your voice, your perspective, your thoughts, your critiques on how to make this process better.

We know that there's always room to grow, as was said previously. But we want you to check out the full list of contributors, and the link will be in the chat on this webinar. So I mentioned earlier that this particular Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding complements other spaces where there is renewed energy for prioritizing Indigenous health. So, for example, we know that the National Institutes of Health has dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to the arts program and more recently through the N CREW program. There's many private and foundation grants focusing on a range of topics far too numerous to go into detail on. And I would say that Evidence for Action at Robert Wood Johnson are contributing to these efforts in a new and unique way in this call for proposals. One, there is this explicit centering of Indigenist and decolonizing approaches that you should see when you read through the call.

There were extreme efforts to create supportive application processes. This webinar is just one aspect of that. But I want to encourage all of you to tell your friends, tell your relatives, tell your aunties who are working at the grant writing office in our tribes to reach out if there are questions. The hope is for a culturally safe process to writing and applying for these grants. And if anything feels amiss, reach out to us, please. That is our hope. This call also prioritizes Indigenous ways of knowing in the CFP and in many ways to become beyond this. I have to share a personal anecdote. I received written feedback through social media, actually in a private message that someone read this call and said it was the most beautifully written CFP they had ever read.

This is a testament to the efforts Erin described earlier. So with that, I'm going to turn it back over to Erin to share more about what you're here to learn about, this call for proposals the application and review process. And soon we'll be getting the questions.   

00:19:40:24 - 00:29:13:11

Erin: Thank you so much, Melissa. That really is a humbling and appreciated compliment that you received. And I want to explicitly thank Natalie DiRocco, E4A's [Strategic] Initiatives Manager, for starting us on that process and working so closely with your team as well as, again, the community of reviewers, Indigenous reviewers who participated in the review of the CFP and will participate in the grant selection process as well. We'll talk more about that in a little bit.

Before we turn to the nuts and bolts of the application. I do want to just take a moment to answer a few questions that have come in during this initial conversation about the background and the process for development of the CFP. We've received some of those in the Q&A here, and a few questions that are relevant that people submitted when they were registering, I also do want to note that there are a handful of questions in the chat and the Q&A that we anticipate get into in the next section.

So we'll we'll get to those in a bit. But Claire, I want to start with you. There was a question about Native representation or Indigenous representation on RWJF’s Board of Trustees. 

Claire: Yeah, and I can put the link to our board in the chat so you all are free to peruse who they are. We have a really diverse group of board members with different backgrounds and experiences and of that group, Edgar Villanueva is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. So we do have some Native representation on our board.

Erin: Great, thank you so much. And then I think that I'll just pause a moment to see if anyone wants to chat in any other questions that came up around this background or the process by which we've gone through to develop the CFP.

I do see the other questions that are still pending answers, and I believe we're going to get to those in the next section. So if there aren't, if there aren’t more at this moment, we'll go ahead and move on to the additions, or the the conversation around the funding and in particular this the the comment I'll start with and then transition on is about a question that was received about how we define health. And I think we'll talk a little bit more about that as we continue through the presentation. But I do want to say that we have quite a broad view of health and in particular, one of the pieces of feedback we received during the development of the CFP is that many Indigenous people have a different view of health than what might be considered typical in more Western society.

And we really embrace the view that your community would bring about what you mean when you think about health and wellbeing. And we recognize that there is often a lot of interrelatedness between community health and environmental health and a more holistic sometimes perspective of health and wellbeing. And so we welcome that interpretation as well and would just encourage you to sort of describe what you mean by health when you're applying to the CFP.

So and I saw someone just asked, how about financial health? So I think ultimately we are thinking about sort of human wellbeing and both physical, mental, emotional, spiritual wellbeing. And so, I will also say, and then I'll transition on because we'll get into more detail about this. We don't have a limit on the way in which you might be conducting the research or assessing the outcomes.

So you might be including financial health and wellbeing along with socioemotional wellbeing, for example. Okay. We're going to transition on now and we'll get to some more questions in just a little bit. Thank you again, Melissa, for your background, really appreciated. So through this call for proposals, we intend to award up to $4 million in total.

We do not have budget caps. We'll get to that in a moment. But what that means is that for individual projects, so it means we don't have a hard and fast count of how many awards we will make yet. It will sort of depend on the projects that we receive. Ultimately, we'll make grants through two tracks. We've gotten a lot of questions already about what those checks about how to select into those tracks.

And so we'll talk more about that in a little bit. But the awarding through the two tracks is really a recognition that we heard through the feedback process of developing the CFP that there is the need to develop research capacity within Indigenous communities and partnerships between communities and researchers. And so we do intend to support some of that work as well as larger scale research projects.

And we anticipate that the awards through the tracks will be a pretty wide range, anywhere from around $100,000 on the smaller end to 750, 800 thousand dollars on the larger end. Again, we'll talk a little bit more about that in more depth in a bit. We have a preference for durations of between 24 and 36 months, but we will consider projects of up to 60 months, which is five years.

Those would be quite long projects for RWJF, but we recognize that they may be necessary in some cases and so with appropriate justification, you could be considered for a longer grant. So moving on to our next topic about key dates. So our brief proposal stage is open right now. You could, you can begin the process of applying. Applications are due March 1st. We will then have the month of March internally to review those applications and we will make decisions and notify applicants by April 1st about whether you are invited to submit a full proposal or not. I want to really underscore that the March 1st deadline is firm, and I mentioned that the CFP is open. It's been open since November 8th.

This is quite a long duration to have a call for proposals open for RWJF. That was purposeful based on feedback that we heard that often, especially for Indigenous communities who may need to go through additional approvals or community input processes, that they needed more time to be able to apply to these sorts of opportunities. And so we are leaving the call for proposals open for about four months.

So we do have a hard deadline, though, for fairness on March 1st, 3 p.m. Eastern Time is that deadline. I encourage you to submit before the deadline. The Foundation is not able to make extensions for things like my internet died. So brief proposal notifications on April 1st and then you will have until June 28 to submit full proposals. People who are invited to submit full proposals will have again until June 28th at 3 p.m. Eastern.

We do intend to make additional opportunities for conversation and guidance available and additional resources available to people who are invited on to the full proposal stage. So we'll have a webinar just for full proposal applicants and additional resources, as I mentioned, if you're invited on to that stage. And then final notifications will be made about funding recommendations by July 31st and grants will begin on October 1st.

All of the grants will begin at the same time, and that start date is uniform for all grants. So the eligibility criteria is relatively basic. The lead organization must be based in the United States or its territories. You could potentially collaborate with partners outside of the United States. That is acceptable. But the lead organization must be in the United States. For track one, and I'll go over more details about the tracks again in a minute, but for track one, the lead applicant must be a Tribal entity or an Indigenous Serving Organization. For track two, we do not have the same requirement, but there is still a preference for applicant organizations that are Tribal entities or Indigenous Serving Organizations, and that would include Urban Indian Organizations. We do have a definition of what an Indigenous Serving Organization is written into the CFP, and I'll go over it here for you again in a minute as well.

But I first want to just start by acknowledging that both RWJF and E4A respect the sovereignty of Indigenous Tribes and communities, urban and rural, regardless of US and state governmental acknowledgment. I think that's really important to say. Unlike federal funders, you are not required to be acknowledged by the federal government or by a state government in the United States to be eligible to serve as a lead for these applications.

00:29:13:13 - 00:34:38:09
Erin: We recognize that Indigenous Peoples are descendants of independent and sovereign nations who experience contemporary health inequities due to centuries of intentional colonial subjugation. So for the purposes of this funding opportunity, Indigenous Peoples means Tribal Nations based in the US, again, regardless of federal or state recognition, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders of the US territories.

For the purposes of the CFP, Indigenous Serving Organizations are defined as entities with a core mission to serve Native Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians or peoples Indigenous to the US territories that can demonstrate a track record of successfully meeting that mission, are poised to reach these populations, and can obtain appropriate verification from a Tribal or Indigenous governing body that the applicant meets these requirements as a contingency of the award.

All eligibility requirements are applicable to the applicant organization. We do not have eligibility requirements related to the project directors. Having said that, I do want to mention that while there are no explicit criteria for the project directors, we have a, we really welcome and invite a wide range of characteristics for our project directors. So we recognize at Evidence for Action that there are many types of valuable experience and expertise and that those don't all require an advanced degree or other sort of certification.

And the project director really just needs to be able to oversee and be responsible for the project. So we have six selection criteria on which we review applications and you should be able to meet as a criteria for funding. All brief and full proposals regardless of the track that you are submitting under, will be evaluated on these six criteria.

I'm going to go through them briefly now. Relevance to improving Indigenous health suggests that projects should be relevant and important to improving Indigenous health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on addressing root causes and improving social and structural determinants of health. Actionability refers to the fact that findings from the proposed research should be actionable, solutions oriented, and clearly tied to informing or driving plausible systems level actions to improve Indigenous peoples' health and wellbeing.

The proposed methods should be appropriate and studies must include a clear research question and use methods and frameworks that are appropriate for answering those questions. These can be inclusive of Indigenous research methods and frameworks, and including qualitative and quantitative or mixed methods, or a mixing of Western and Indigenous methods. We're really looking for the research methods to be aligned with answering the research question, and I perhaps should take a moment to pause here and reiterate that this is a research funding opportunity, meaning we are funding only research through this call for proposals, not program implementation or other policy relevant work.

Projects must have a clear focus on improving health equity for Indigenous populations. And while there is no singular viewpoint on Indigenous concepts of health and wellbeing, applicants are encouraged to consider Indigenous concepts of these domains.

Projects must be able to be conducted within the proposed scope, including evidence of respect for Indigenous data sovereignty and governance, which recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to govern and control data pertaining to their communities, lands, cultures, environments, and knowledge systems throughout the entire data lifecycle from collection and storage to application and utilization and interpretation and dissemination. There should be timely access to appropriate data and/or people who might be participating in the study, as well as a reasonable budget and timeline that accounts for sufficient and equitable engagement of relevant partners.

And finally, project teams must demonstrate that together they collectively have the qualifications to conduct the proposed project. This includes evidence of authentic and durable relationships among team members, and that would be indicated by a history of previous partnerships. Project teams who are in the early stages of building relationships, which may be the case for applicants under Track One, should be able to demonstrate an intent and describe the steps that will be needed to develop long standing and sustainable partnerships. Work and resources should be equitably distributed across collaborating organizations, and teams should be Indigenous led or include members who have extensive experience working with Indigenous communities. The qualifications of the team are really about whether the team collectively has the capacity to conduct the proposed project rather than the qualifications of any one person on the team.

I really want to emphasize again that we do not have any specific criteria for project directors. They just must be responsible for managing the project and meeting the expectations of the grant, but there is no degree, discipline, or other qualifier associated with this role.

00:35:11:17 - 00:38:35:08
Erin: So I'm going to talk a little bit now about the review process. So the initial - this is a two stage application process. The first stage is a brief proposal. Once the proposals are submitted, E4A team members and Center for Indigenous Health team members will screen the applications for eligibility. Those that are eligible will be reviewed by a group of Indigenous scholars and community members who will evaluate how well the proposal aligns with the CFP and our selection criteria. The review committee will decide which applications are invited on to the full proposal stage. Again, I'll remind you that there is an acknowledgment video on our website of the Indigenous scholars and community members who have been participating and will continue to participate in the review process and again thank them.

I don't think we can thank them enough or too many times for their service to this effort. The same review committee will evaluate the full proposals and recommend those proposals that are best aligned with the CFP and the selection criteria for funding. And then the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will approve final funding decisions. Projects that are not funded through the CFP could be eligible for funding under our open and rolling racial equity call for proposals, as Amani mentioned, and we dropped into the chat earlier. That call is continuing to run concurrently with this CFP and we expect that there are some projects that could be eligible under either call for proposals.

And if you have questions about that, we're happy to answer them through our office hours or through direct email. If you'd like to discuss the application options. If you are turned down, we do recommend that you reach out to the program office to better understand why your proposal was turned down and determine if there are ways to better align your project with our other racial equity call for proposals. It is RWJF's policy not to provide proactive feedback on applications that are turned down, but we are allowed to provide it upon request. And so again, I encourage you to email the program office for feedback if you receive a turn down.

I've mentioned a couple of times who our review committee is, but to reiterate it is composed of Indigenous scholars and community members, some of our Evidence for Action National Advisory Committee members, and leadership from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These individuals were also involved in the development of the call for proposals and we are training them and norming them together as a group to ensure that selection criteria are consistently applied across the brief and full proposals. The people who are members of this review committee were invited to participate based on recommendations from the Center for Indigenous Health and people who participated in our listening sessions, as well as other recommendations, and reviewers were ultimately invited based on being Indigenous themselves and having relevant expertise in health and Indigenous research practices.

There are 22 Indigenous reviewers representing 23 different Indigenous communities on the review committee. And just to let you know that people who are part of this review committee or reviewed the call for proposals in advance are ineligible to apply for funding through the call for proposals or to be affiliated with an application submitted.

00:38:35:08 - 00:45:15:24

Erin: So let's talk a little bit about the tracks. I know this has been a buzzing question for many of you. The first track is focused on initiating and developing research capacity and infrastructure and is for projects, intended for projects that are a little earlier in the research development continuum or spectrum. The second track is intended to support later stage sustained research efforts as the name suggests, and it's for projects that are a little further along in the research spectrum.

As part of the brief proposal application process, you will need to self-select into one of the tracks. I want to stress that while you should do your best to select the track that most aligns with the stage of your proposed project, if you select the wrong track, it will not negatively impact your application in any way. The track selections are simply to help guide our reviewers when comparing projects to others of similar nature.

You're welcome to reach out to ask for guidance on track selection. But again, don't worry, you can't select the wrong track. And if we believe your project should be in a different track after it's submitted, we can reassign it at that point. It's really just intended to serve as guidance for the reviewers. So to talk a little bit more about Track One, we anticipate that it's for projects that are really focused on developing and building trust, relationships, community feedback processes, or research infrastructure. Proposals in Track One should clearly demonstrate a plan for ongoing and sustained collaboration and continued work with newly engaged partners.

And while there is no budget cap, we do anticipate that projects funded through track one will be somewhere between about 100 and 400 thousand dollars. Again, there's not a cap. So if you propose a budget that is higher, that won't disqualify you for consideration. This is just to provide guidance to you. The applicants around what we're anticipating funding as budgets through this track.

The most important thing to note about Track One is that primary applicant organizations for projects submitted under this track must be a Tribal entity or Indigenous Serving Organization. The rationale for this decision is to ensure that these partnerships are led by Indigenous communities. This is changing the model from community engaged research to researcher engaged research, and also to note that communities themselves are researchers. And so the idea is that Indigenous communities are really leading this work, are prioritizing that the research is important. And if you need partners who are not Indigenous to be part of your work, that's totally appropriate, but it should be led by Indigenous entities.

Track Two is intended to fund projects where relationships are already established. The research may already be underway, in fact, or projects that are really poised to test whether a solution will address the needs and priorities identified by the community. Again, there is not a budget cap for projects submitted through Track Two, but we are anticipating that projects under this track will budgets for projects under this track will be in the range of about half a million to three quarters of a million dollars. We do still strongly encourage Indigenous leadership through this track in terms of the lead application, but we recognize that again, there may be established relationships, other entities may be better poised to serve as the financial and grant administrator for these tracks. And so it is acceptable to have non-Indigenous primary organizations, but we would still expect that there be that these project teams reflect Indigenous participation, leadership within the team structure. So which track is right for you?

The main distinction between the two tracks, again aside from the requirement around the lead organization, is just the stage of the proposed projects. So if the team is applying to build research capacity or identify potential solutions to community identified challenges then track one is likely to be the best fit. Track one is also appropriate for those who are working to build equitable research partnerships, and it requires, again, that the lead applicant be a Tribal entity or Indigenous Serving Organization.

If the team already has established partnerships and you're proposing to test a community driven solution, then Track Two is likely to be the best fit. But again, there's no penalties for selecting the wrong track. And ultimately the tracking is really intended to facilitate our review process. For some proposals, there may not be an exact fit and again, you can reach out to ask for guidance on which track you should submit under. And as I mentioned, we could reassign the track for your application after submission if we think it would be appropriate. Let me walk through a couple of examples. I want to stress that this is not an exhaustive list and it is not meant to suggest a preference for the types of projects that would be funded under this call for proposals.

But Track One examples include things like conducting Indigenous-grounded needs assessments, community driven processes to identify solutions that enhance wellbeing, and developing new approaches to data collection or new instruments to better assess the health wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples. Track Two might include developing an intervention, a solution focused on restorative justice approaches, for example, that might promote healing, measuring the impact of some solutions or strategies to remedy structural or systemic inequities for Indigenous populations, or assessing whether a specific policy or practice impacts the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples.

Again, not intended to be an exhaustive or limiting list or prescriptive in any way. So I'm going to talk a little bit about Project Fit and go through the budget requirements and then we'll take a pause to answer some Q&A.

00:45:15:24 - 00:51:05:23
Erin: So under this call for proposals, we will fund projects that are led by Indigenous Peoples and communities.That is our goal. This means that the work is driven by the needs and priorities as identified by the communities where the projects are happening. We anticipate a broad range of projects being funded from those that are seeking to build infrastructure and research relationships to those conducting later stage systematic inquiry to test solutions.

At E4A and at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we focus on research that is examining systems and policy level changes and we get a lot of questions about what is meant by system level interventions. So basically these are things that are related to changing the environment or laws or social practices and norms that create inequities, rather than asking individuals to change their behavior within an inequitable system.

Sometimes the distinction is really clear. Most types of educational programs or curricula like health literacy or nutrition education are targeting individual behavior change. Things like smoking bans or guaranteed income initiatives are clearly and systems level changes. But we recognize there is a lot of gray area, too. And I'm just going to use one example to illustrate a situation that's not quite so clear and could go either way.

Again, I want to emphasize any examples that we use on the webinar are not intended to serve as guidance or direction or expectations or prioritization for projects or topics that you might apply with. It's just for illustrative purposes. So let's think about implementing different approaches to food production, and that those approaches are sustainable and culturally relevant and healthful. A program that is focused solely on teaching individuals or even teaching neighborhood groups about the value of and how to grow food using one of these alternative approaches would be considered an individual level change.

However, it could be considered a systems level intervention if there were a sustainable source of financing or Tribal and regional support for large scale implementation. So you can see that there's just some slight distinctions there between what might make something a systems level change versus an individual behavior change.

So let me speak just a little bit about the budget and then, as I mentioned, we’ll pause for some Q&A. I already mentioned that the total funding amount that will be awarded through the CFP is up to $4 million. For both tracks, there's not an actual budget cap, but we do have some ranges to guide you on our expectations. Again, about 100000 to 400000 under Track One or about half a million to about three quarters of a million under Track Two. This is to represent that we do expect to make multiple awards, not just one or two large awards through the CFP.

During our listening sessions, we heard a wide range of suggested funding with individuals from smaller nonprofits indicating that they would not be able to manage large awards. So the different amounts are really intended to be responsive to the different types of organizations and projects that we expect to receive through the CFP. We also did hear from people during the CFP review process that Track One projects could be easily as expensive and resource intensive as Track Two projects, and we appreciate that this very well could be the case in some instances.

These budget ranges again are intended to offer guidance about our expectations. They do not serve as rigid parameters, but at the same time they do reflect how the Foundation is prioritizing funding allocation through this solicitation. While we may not be able to offer the same of funding as the NIH and other government funders, we do offer other benefits like flexibility and support for applicants in organizations that might not be matched by some of those larger funders.

We'll talk a little bit more later about E4A’s expectations for working with grantees and applicants and of the support that we can provide you. Grants can cover all research related aspects of the project that includes staff time, travel stipends, support for participant involvement, consultants, data collection, analysis, interpretation, dissemination activities, meetings, supplies, support for intellectual contributions from, for example, review sessions or advisory board services and research capacity building as well.

Grant funds also do cover indirect costs, so when you submit a budget request, it should be inclusive of indirect costs. RWJF offers a varying rate of as low as zero for for-profit entities, although RWJF does fund for-profit entities, to 12% for universities, and up to 20% for nonprofits. So this rate depends on the type of organization that is the lead. Funds cannot, though, cover costs of clinical trials of drugs or medical devices, construction or renovation of facilities, so capital expenses or lobbying or political activities. For the brief proposal, we only need a budget estimate and you should round to the nearest $10,000. Do not provide a detailed budget at the brief proposal stage. At the full proposal stage, significantly more information is required about the budget. Applicants who are invited to the full proposal stage will also receive additional guidance and support in developing their budget.

00:51:05:23 - 01:00:12:18
Erin: So we're going to pause for just a minute before we go into our grantee expectations and begin talking more about other aspects of the grant to see what questions have come in about eligibility. I do know, Claire, I'm going to put you on the spot again to start us off that there have been some questions about organization eligibility and in particular around the C statuses and which ones may be eligible or not.

Claire: Yeah, specifically we got a question ahead of the webinar about whether C4 organizations are eligible and yes, they are eligible. I will say RWJF does not fund lobbying. That's part of our requirements by the IRS. We can't do it, but we can fund C4 organizations. There isn't sort of a blanket ineligible category. You guys do not fall into that for us. So those, you know, proposals are welcome.

Maybe, Erin, if you don't mind, I'm just I saw a couple questions come up about specific topic areas and folks asking, is this important to RWJF or is that important to RWJF? And the answer to that is really it doesn't much matter what's important to RWJF, right. What's really important is the communities that you're working with are facing a variety of health challenges, that they can articulate clearly and want to, you know, work to improve folks’ health. And so we're really looking for an argument about why that issue is a health problem for that community rather than, you know, RWJF does not have a long list of what's health and what isn't health.

We have quite a broad view. And what's important to us is that this is a a challenge that a community has identified and wants to work on. So I wanted to make sure that we we try to make that clear. Thanks.    

Erin: Thank you so much for adding that. I see a host of questions in the Q&A about eligibility of certain types of organization.

So I'm going to run through those really quickly right now. So there was a specific question about Alaskan Native Village or Regional Corporations. Yes, those entities are eligible to apply. There were also a number of questions about fiscal sponsorship. And yes, the Foundation is happy to accommodate fiscal sponsorship. And I would say for Track One, if you're a Native-led or Indigenous Serving Organization but you need a fiscal sponsor, that's fine.

You would still list initially list your lead applicant as the Native-led or Indigenous Serving Organization in the brief proposal stage. And then we can give you guidance about how to accommodate the fiscal sponsorship if you're invited on to the full proposal stage. There were questions about institutions of higher education. Yes, they are eligible to apply and if there's an IDC ceiling for Tribal governments, this is a great question.

Claire, if you happen to have the answer, you can join in now. But I do know that typically government entities have an indirect cost rate of zero for general RWJF Grants, but I'm not sure how Tribal governments are considered in that classification. Claire, do you have more information?

Claire: I apologize. I do not have more information. But in the chat earlier, some of your E4A colleagues did put in the link to RWJF’s indirect policy. So maybe Steph you can repost that for folks. I will say that our indirect cost rates are being revised slightly upwards, which is great news, and I do think that that will be a, I don't think that's like if you're starting a grant today, I don't think that's available, but I do think that will be available for new grants by the time these start. So that is shifting upwards a little bit and we're all really, really happy about that. But that that's publicly available on RWJF’s and E4A will post that link again, Thanks. Yeah.

Erin: And we also will just double check about whether Tribal governments are considered similar to other government agencies in terms of the indirect cost rate. There are also questions about whether state agencies are eligible to apply.

Yes, they are. The great thing here with RWJF in particular as a funder is the answer is almost always yes in terms of who is eligible. In fact, a few years ago RWJF even started allowing funding of for-profit entities to recognize that some smaller organizations choose to incorporate as a for profit entity, but that they don't operate in the same manner as other larger corporations. And so probably the answer is yes, you are eligible, but certainly you can email that program office as well if you have specific eligibility questions.

I just saw another question about the budget limits proposed. So thank you for that question. The budget is inclusive of the entire grant period. So you should be you should be requesting a budget that will span the duration of your grant. So if you have a three year, if you're requesting a three year duration, then the budget should reflect all three years. And at the full proposal stage, you would have a budget period breakdown. Again at the brief proposal stage, you will not provide that level of detail around the budget.

There's a number of questions about what funding can be used for and there's some similarities across them. So I will say a couple of things. First of all, on our website, on the E4A website, there is quite an extensive list of FAQs, but among them are a more detailed list of what sort of budget expenditures are allowed versus not allowed. And I will say that in general that you need to be able to tie your budget expenses to research activities.

We cannot provide funding for program implementation. So if you were running a gardening program, we cannot pay for you to purchase the plants that you are planting. But there may be some gray area where we can pay for small portions of implementation. Claire, do you want to speak a little bit more about how we might think about that?

Claire: Yeah, I mean, this is a little tricky because we're trying to be as flexible as possible with this kind of approach, and we've been especially at RWJF and especially with E4A. So we have not been really willing to say like you can spend up to 5% or 10% of your budget for program implementation, but we do understand that there are sometimes program implementation costs that are specifically associated with a research or a, you know, a kind of a formal inquiry learning project. And so I think it's acceptable to have a small portion of your budget support that implementation. But if you come in with a budget where it's kind of split 50/50, we're going to say this isn't this isn't really what we're looking for. Yeah, And again, I think we have a little bit of flexibility. So again, if you come back, if your letter of intent, you submit that and then it gets turned down, I think, you know, you have an opportunity to come back to the program office and talk a little bit about why that is. And also, we had this existing rolling call for proposals in Evidence for Action that you may be eligible for. Yeah, So it's a little bit tricky, but I wouldn't say $0, but I wouldn't say, you know, a large proportion either.    

Erin: Thanks so much, Claire.

And there are a couple of other questions about can the grant cover equipment needed for research? Could it cover technology development? I think both of those fall sort of under Claire's answer just now - within reason, and it sort of depends. Certainly you might be able to purchase iPads for data collection. You would just need to justify that at the full proposal stage and you might be able to have some development of, for example, a data repository infrastructure.

But we have funded previously evaluations of different technology solutions. But the tech solution was funded separately from our research grant. So again, it a little bit depends. And if you have specific questions again, please feel free to reach out to the program office. We do have office hours that we're hosting where we can answer questions with a little more nuance and straightforward questions can be answered via email as well. I think we're going to go ahead and move on in the presentation. Now, I know there's still some more questions being asked and of course we'll have quite a bit of time to get to the questions again in just a little bit. So I'm going to keep going now and then we'll have more time for questions in just a little bit.

01:00:12:18 - 01:07:45:20
Erin: So let me talk a little bit about if you become an Evidence for Action grantee. If you receive an Evidence for Action grant and become a grantee, what that means for you, because we do operate differently than other funders. So we engage and provide a lot of support to our grantees. Now, I want to stress that that doesn't mean we're micromanaging your project for you.

We're really trying to be partners and collaborators and help to do problem solving as needed. In these grants, in particular, we have an expectation that that applicants are developing and conducting their research in alignment with the tenets of the CARE Principles. And I'm assuming many of you on this webinar know those principles already, but they stand for collective benefit, authority to control, responsibility, and ethics.

And those were developed to support data innovation and Indigenous self-determination when it comes to data management and ownership and oversight. Grantees and E4A staff work collaboratively throughout the grant period, and we have periodic progress check ins. Jeana Morrison, who will be on this call a little later to talk about our technical assistance, is also our grantee manager and will serve as sort of a de facto program officer for you for these grants.

And so you'll work closely with her if you become a grantee. We by default, have these check-ins by phone, and it's driven really by the timeline for your grant, not a rigid schedule. So it's a grant by grant developed check-in schedule. If you would like, we are able to visit you on your site in your research location so that is an option if it's something that you desire. During the check-ins grantees and our staff can celebrate successes and milestones, but also brainstorm strategies to work through any issues that arise and provide additional support around conducting, analyzing, interpreting, disseminating research, and potentially connect you to other grantees or other projects that are similar to yours for peer learning.

We also do expect that you share your research findings or learnings with RWJF and with Evidence for Action as well as submit annual financial reports. They're very simple the financial reports and currently RWJF has waived their requirement for narrative reports that may or may not come back in the future. So the financial reports are very high level accounting for your expenditures over the grant period.

We do host in-person meetings through E4A and RWJF and we expect our grantees to attend those meetings. You will budget for attendance in your budget at the full proposal stage, so you will pay for that attendance through the grant. Those meetings, their location varies and their timing varies as well, but you'll be given ample notice for when those are happening.

We also host virtual peer networking sessions, and that could include people who are funded through this call for proposals as well as grantees through our open racial equity call for proposals. And so you'll be invited to attend those as well. Those events are typically organized around the needs and interests identified by our grantees, and they're generally focused on topical areas or methods or capacity building activities.

You also will with our team to develop and implement an appropriate dissemination strategy, and we'll talk more about dissemination in more depth in a little while. We do expect you to disseminate your findings during your grant period. And I do want to take just a moment to assuage any concerns about the word dissemination. That does not inherently mean publication in a peer reviewed academic journal. We'll talk more about what dissemination looks like and what might be appropriate. But the point here is to note that you should budget both time and money to do that during the grant period. So it could include things like community engagement, meetings, conferences and other forms of dissemination that are appropriate for your research.

We also encourage you to register your study with Open Science Framework. For our open and rolling call for proposals, our racial equity call, we do require registration with Open Science Framework, and we encourage grantees through this CFP to do the same. But we are able to make exceptions in cases where pre-registration would compromise data sovereignty or other Indigenous research agreements.

Finally, if you do decide to publish an academic journals, I don't want to discourage you from doing that, you must do so open access. So you must make your publications open access and you can budget for open access fees in in your grant budget. I know this sounds like sort of a lot, but these expectations are intended also to reflect our desire to work collaboratively with you and to support our grantees in completing their projects, growing their networks, and building their capacity.

So let's talk a little bit more about dissemination here. A portion of all of the grants, again, should be dedicated to dissemination and that is different from many research grants provided by other funders where the funding ends with the completion of the analysis. So we expect you to be disseminating your findings during the grant period.

They could include, as I mentioned, hosting community sharing sessions, they could include presenting at conferences, either academic or otherwise, or publication in popular press or in academic journals. We have a team, our stellar Steph Chernitskiy and Elissa Carey, who are also operating the back end of this webinar today, and they will work closely with you to optimize your dissemination activities.

How you end up disseminating really depends on the objectives of your research, who the audiences should be and the best ways to engage with them. We also understand that some of the information obtained through the research that's funded under this call for proposals may be deemed sacred or proprietary, and that is acceptable. However, with approval from Tribal or Indigenous communities, we do expect that some aspects of the research or even learnings from the process of conducting the research should be shared publicly.

The E4A team is committed to supporting grantees when it comes to dissemination, and we can help you think through the best way to do that. We really want to just partner with you in a way that feels good both to you and the communities that you're working with.

01:07:45:20 - 01:11:08:13
Erin: So I'm going to take one more brief break here before we jump into the depths of the application system, to answer a few more questions that may have come up, and in particular, any questions about our grantee expectations or the dissemination plan. I see one question about who owns the research. And so that really should be decided based on the partnership of the team that is applying. You need to work out these details of data ownership. Certainly there is a letter of agreement that comes from the Foundation that you will sign and will talk about data ownership. But in general, the grantees do own their data through E4A-funded grants.

And there's a question about, or at least someone has interpreted, that I've been suggesting that the CFP cannot support policy research. So I want to clarify that, that that is not true. We absolutely will support policy research. So that means research about policies that have been passed or research to help develop a policy platform. We only cannot support lobbying. And there is a pretty bright line between doing research that could lead to advocacy and lobbying. And we are all at the program office and the Foundation very well attuned to where that line is and pretty adept at helping you get as close to that line as is legally allowable. Claire, do you want to say a little bit more about the policy work from the Foundation?

Claire: Well, just to echo what you said, I'm glad. Thanks for that clarification, Erin. Yeah, we fund a lot policy work. We have a policy department. We have a program like Evidence for Action that's called Policies for Action that is sort of bread and butter for RWJF. So investigations of the impact of policies are really critically important. I would be very happy to see some proposals like that come in. I came off camera, Erin, because there was another question that came in that I wanted to to bring up, but I can wait until you're ready.

Erin: Please go right ahead and bring up the question.    

Claire: Okay. I hope you don't mind me jumping in like this. There was a question. I'm actually quite concerned about this. Somebody mentioned that the typical indirect rate for Tribal governments is sometimes over 20%. And so that feels like RWJF is making sort of a categorical ineligibility decision based on that indirect rate. And I'm really worried about that. So I would like to learn more. And I would also like to invite you if you were thinking if you're from a Tribal government or if you're thinking about submitting a project in partnership with a Tribal government, don't not apply. Come to the office hours or get connected with Evidence for Action, and they'll gather some information that I can go back to our finance folks because I know that we are not intending to categorically create this ineligibility criteria. So I just want to encourage you all to if you can just maintain some flexibility and patience for RWJF as we continue to learn to how to make sure that we're an accessible organization for all Indigenous organizations and governments. That would be really helpful. So thank you.

Erin: Thank you so much. I appreciate you answering that.

01:11:08:13 - 01:17:18:00
Erin: I'm going to forge ahead and I'm going to do so relatively quickly because I want us to make sure we have time to get more in depth in our technical assistance and answer additional questions that may come up. So the next thing we want to do is really walk you through our application system. I'm going to do this pretty quickly, but again, I want to reiterate we can provide assistance as needed in navigating RWJF's Application and Review System. And so I'm going to breeze through this quickly and encourage you to reach out if you have any technical difficulties or clarifying questions about filling out the application. This is what it looks like when you log in to create a system. Each of these sections must be completed before you can submit your application, which must be before 3 p.m. Eastern on March 1st.

The first question is around the eligibility criteria. The only true eligibility question is that your lead applicant organization be based in the US or its territories. We also are asking questions here about the track that you choose that you intend to apply to, and then providing the information about the Tribal or Indigenous community or Indigenous Serving Organization. The CFP provides guidance about track selection.

In the project summary, you will provide a title, the total budget amount that you're requesting rounded to the nearest 10,000 at this point in time, and a proposed project start date. It was intended that this start date be forced to October 1st, 2024. I was in the system this morning and it looks like that might not be happening. So just so you know please select October 1st. If you select a different date and you're awarded a grant, it will still start on October 1st regardless of the date that you select. So that's when the grants are starting. You then will just request a duration in months, sorry, a duration in months and provide a project summary on this page.

The project Information questions are really the crux of, the meat of, the application - the brief proposal at this stage. And so this is guiding you through that information that we want. There are character limits and those character limits are there because we want you at this point to be succinct and we're forcing you to be so. And so, do the best to describe your project at a high level. We need enough information for the reviewers to feel like your project is well aligned with the solicitation and be interested in inviting a full proposal where you will provide more information.

The questions are the same for both tracks but in some cases, you may provide different types of answers depending on the track. So for example, the third question prompts applicants to explain the solution that's being investigated. And for projects under Track One, identifying a solution may be the purpose of your grant, so you won't know what that solution is yet. But you should describe your expectations for that solution, how it will be identified, what community identified need will be addressed, what root causes of inequities might be remedied. For projects under Track Two, you should be able to share details about how that solution operates and is implemented. There are other slight distinctions on how you might answer these questions depending on the track.

And so again if you have questions, you can feel free to reach out to the program office for guidance. The applicant questions are really about the characteristics of the applicant team and organizations and not the project. So that's the distinction here.

The Demographics section is a new section that RWJF just began implementing. Because it's new we haven't gotten a lot of feedback about it yet, except we know it's a little bit long and may be asking you for information that you are not sure about. I just want to reiterate this information is not used to make funding decisions. Please just do your best to answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. It's really used for tracking purposes for the Foundation internally. In fact, we will not have access to this information during the review process. So again, please do not spend an inordinate amount of time on this section and do feel free to provide us feedback about your experience completing this section of the application.

The technical assistance stage is where you will select whether or not you are interested in being considered for technical assistance. If you are not funded in just a moment, Claudette and Jeana will talk more about the TA option through this CFP. Space is limited for participation in the TA cohort. So even if you select yes it is not a guarantee you will be selected into the program. But similarly, if you select yes and you are invited, it's not yet a binding commitment on your part. So you could still decline the invitation if you receive it. A no response here will in no way influence the decision about your application. It just means that we won't consider your team for technical assistance if you are not funded.

There's two sections that are included in the application system at this phase, which, to be totally honest, were a little premature. The polls and survey section and the open access section, we really don't actually need this information from you unless you're funded for a grant. So it should have been included at the full proposal stage, but it can't be omitted now, so you should just answer these questions. Happily, they're just yes or no answers. Answer them to the best of your ability if you don't know yet whether you will, whether you will field polls or surveys answer no. And open access again, if you don't know whether you intend to publish open access, just select yes because that means not necessarily that you are publishing, but that if you do so, you understand that you must do so open access.

01:17:18:00 - 01:22:13:13
Erin: So with that, I'm going to open it up to Jeana and Claudette to talk more about our technical assistance program that we're going to operate through this CFP.

Jeana: Hello, everybody. Greetings. It is great to see all the folks joining us today. My name is Jeana Morrison, I am the Research and Program Manager with Evidence for Action. And as Erin pointed out, if you are awarded a grant under this call, I will be sort of the most forward facing person that you interact with. So looking forward to that. And then, of course, I will also be responsible for running the technical assistance for this program. And so before we talk about technical assistance, I’d like Claudette to introduce herself. Claudette, you’re muted.   

Claudette: I always forget my apologies. Boozhoo. My name is Claudette Grinnell-Davis. I am faculty of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma. I have been participating in the development of this call for proposals and I am actually a current Policies for Action grantee with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation doing a policy analysis on the implementation of the State Indian Child Welfare Act statute in the State of Nebraska and working with community partners there on that.

Jeana: Thank you, Claudette. And just to add very quickly, Claudette will be co-facilitating the technical assistance program with myself. And so the goal of TA and I think the main point that we want to iterate today is that we want to build upon applicants’ strengths and enhance the approaches applicants are already engaged in. So we definitely do not want to convert the research to apply to more Western frameworks or methodologies.

And I'm hoping that that is already clear in a lot of what Erin has covered. And so we will reiterate that and emphasize that for the technical assistance program in the way that it is ran, select applicants will be invited to participate in the TA program using the following criteria. First, those who are not awarded funding through the CFP. Secondly, applicants whose projects align with the spirit of the E4A program. We’ll also be looking for folks who demonstrate potential for meeting the criteria for E4A’s rolling CFP, the racial equity call that was mentioned earlier. And lastly, we want to or excuse me, we’ll anticipate inviting about half a dozen applicants to participate. TA or technical assistance, we call it TA, will be co-developed based on the needs of applicants using a cohort model.

And we anticipate the focus to be on knowledge and skills related to research approaches and methods, as well as grant writing and dissemination. You know, and I just want to emphasize here that the part about co-development, we recognize that you all are coming with your own expertise, your own experiences, and we want to be able to incorporate that as we develop TA. And so a lot of this will develop organically from the cohort as they let us know what it is that they need and what they want. A couple of other things just to share with you. Applicants will receive individual team support as well as opportunities to teach, learn, and network with other cohort members.

Participation will also include modest financial support of up to ten thousand dollars per participating team. And lastly, participants should be able to commit to actively engaging in the duration of the TA cohort, which will likely last from about 9 to 12 months beginning in September 2024. So if you are selected to join the TA cohort, we ask that you make that commitment of about 9 to 12 months and I'll stop there and turn it back to Erin.

01:22:13:15 - 01:29:31:02
Erin: Thanks so much, Jeana and Claudette. And we now have gotten to almost the end, we thought we were going to have so much extra time, but we are only 5 minutes from the end of our time together. So again, I want to really underscore the virtual office hours that we are offering. You do need to register, but anyone can register. It's just to give us a sense of who will be there. And I'm going to try go through a few more questions that we have in the Q&A feature. Now, before we move on, we are typing some answers in if you want to refer to those answers.

One of the questions is about IRB approval. And we do expect that some groups may need to obtain Tribal IRB approval. I recommend that you do this in alignment with whatever your Tribal IRB process is. I will say that we at RWJF and ErA do not have a requirement around when you get IRB approval. So you could in fact build that into your grant timeline. You do not have to have it from our respect prior to submitting. But if it's required by the tribe you're working with, it would be contingent on receiving that approval. But we understand that sometimes that timeline varies depending on the tribe. And so certainly you should be working in adherence with the Tribal IRB. The Foundation does not have a requirement around when that would happen, but we certainly would expect it to happen, if you're working with a tribe that would require an IRB.

There are a number of relatively specific questions about the project that people are proposing. And so again, I would suggest that you either email us or join an office hour. Joining an office our is probably your best option. So join an office hour to chat about your specific project.

There also was a question about tribal set asides and set asides for federally recognized tribes. So I would say again, we are not adopting, we E4A and RWJF, are not adopting the federal government's tribal recognition requirements. And so we are requiring Indigenous representation and participation and leadership in these grants, but we do not have a requirement related to federal recognition.

There are also a few questions about different types of Tribal entities and how you might verify what our verification approach is for Indigenous Serving Organizations. I will say our intent here is to be as welcoming to all different Indigenous communities in the US and at the same time to prevent predatory or exploitive research practices. And so we will work with the applicants to determine the appropriate verification method. In some cases it's very straightforward. If you are a recognized Tribe, then the tribe would need to provide that verification. Native Hawaiian communities, for example, are not Tribal entities, and so perhaps you might obtain a letter of support from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, but you also may not feel like that's the appropriate body to obtain support from. And so we can discuss where that verification might come from.

I want to take we have a few more minutes and I'm going to keep scanning through the questions, but I do want to give a moment to my co-hosts to bring up any questions you've seen that you think would be important to answer. Claire, I saw you. I think you had one.    

Claire: Yeah. Just because I think this is coming up a little bit. And I did try to answer this, but I don't think I really got it. So there is a question about, of course, the United States has current boundaries that aren't really relevant to people who were here before that, you know, populations before those boundaries were drawn. And so there were questions about eligibility for people who span those boundaries. So maybe people who live in what's now the United States and Canada. And I think that those projects would be eligible if the applicant organization is based in the United States. We can't do global grants through this, through this work. And so as funny as it sounds like Canada would be considered a global grant. So if that if the population goes over the U.S., I'm just giving that as an example, the U.S. Canada border, that is not a problem that contains people that live in the United States, but the applicant organization would also have to be based in the United States. Thanks. 

Erin: I also do want to underscore there's been a couple of comments about federally agreed upon rates and how people are paid and how people are paid using Tribal dollars. And just to remind you that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a private foundation. And so federal tax rules do not apply to private foundation dollars. So they would be considered. So you shouldn't be required to adhere to those federal requirements around funding agreements when receiving these funds. We're certainly, again, happy to talk to you in more detail, especially at the full proposal stage. But certainly if you think it affects your application at the brief proposal stage, we can have those conversations with you in advance.

And again, I really want to underscore Claire's earlier comment. If you're interested in this solicitation, but there's some, especially some, logistical challenge that you're experiencing, please reach out to us. Please do not self-select out of applying because of your interpretation of some logistical requirements. At least let's have a conversation, because our goal really is to try to be inclusive and to do work in a different way that hasn't been done before. And so we're also learning through this process, and even if we are not able to accommodate you in this call, it may influence our ability to accommodate you under future calls for proposals.

So I just can't reiterate enough to please provide us feedback about this process, how it works for you, or how it doesn't work for you. We are right at the end of our time, so I do want to open it one more time to my co-speakers to see if there's last words or comments or questions you want to address before we close. I want to again express deep appreciation to all of you who joined today over 100 tribes were represented on the registration. And we had at one point nearly 500 participants on the webinar. So we're really honored that you were willing spend your time with us this morning and we look forward to working with you through the rest of this process.

Again, thank you to all of our team at Evidence for Action, our partners at the Center for Indigenous Health, to Claudette and to our other Indigenous community members who are reviewers and are working closely with us to to issue this call for proposals and award these grants.

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