Last week on Jan. 19, 2022, the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF) Committee approved additional steps in the review process for grant applications currently under review. This approach will support successful project implementation and offer more structured support for new, emerging and growing organizations. It will also address potential risks related to project implementation and financial management, and create specific paths for staff to adjust proposals.
A subset of submitted applications will have additional review, specifically those where proposals are requesting significantly more funds than their annual revenues, where the organization has less than 3 years of non-profit designation, or where staff note significant concerns about the budget, organizational finances, and/or experience.
Staff will request additional information about applications that are identified for review and, in some cases, recommend modifications prior to the application moving to the next review stage. In rare situations where there have been significant misrepresentations made, staff will recommend that proposals not be considered for funding.
This additional review process will add 4-6 weeks to the decision-making timeline, and staff anticipate announcing award decisions in late May 2022.
Specific details of the Committee’s action
The PCEF committee decision was in alignment with the January 16 staff memo, with a couple of additional elements. Notably, the Committee affirmed their rejection of the use of any background checks on individuals in the review process.
The Committee specifically approved:
- The additional review process as identified in the “PCEF Memo on updated risk evaluation approach – January 16, 2022, which amends 4. B. to allow more options for proposal modifications as conditions of advancing in the scoring process;
- Direction for PCEF staff to meet regularly with the grant review audit subcommittee to review and provide feedback on staff’s implementation of the additional review process; and,
- Affirmation of the Committee’s support for not requiring background checks as part of this process in alignment with broader ban-the-box efforts, as well as the City of Portland’s long-standing policy to remove barriers to opportunity for all historically marginalized communities.
These approved changes to the review process meet objectives to support successful PCEF project implementation, and provide more structured support for new, emerging, and growing organizations.