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PCEF Draft RFP #2 is available for public comment through September 3

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The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) Committee and staff are seeking input and comment on the draft application, scoring criteria and funding allocations for PCEF’s second request for proposals.
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We want to hear from you!

The second request for proposals (RFP #2) will award a total of $60 million of funding for clean energy, regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure, workforce and contractor development, and innovation/other projects. While projects may range from energy efficiency retrofits to culturally relevant community gardens, to apprenticeships for low-income people of color and women to enter careers in clean energy construction, all of the projects funded must tackle climate change, benefit those most impacted, and advance racial and social justice.

The public comment period for the draft application and evaluation criteria will be open for three weeks, until Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Your feedback plays an important role in ensuring that PCEF programming responds to community priorities.

What are we asking for public comment on?

The RFP #2 documents being released for public comment have three components: application forms, scoring criteria (included with each application below), and funding allocations.

  1. Key funding allocations
  2. Draft application for planning grants (Grants up to $100,000, up to 12 months)
    1. The planning grant application is intended for project proposals focused on planning efforts, with no project implementation activity.
  3. Draft application for small standard grants (grants up to $500,000, up to 3 years)
    1. The small standard grant application is intended for projects that propose implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy, green infrastructure, regenerative agriculture, and/or innovation solutions under $500,000. These projects may have a planning component but must be primarily project implementation.
  4. Draft application for large standard grants (grants up to $10 million, up to 5 years)
    1. The large standard grant application is intended for projects that propose implementing energy efficiency, renewable energy, green infrastructure, regenerative agriculture, and/or innovation solutions between $500,000 and $10,000,000. These projects may have a planning component but must be primarily project implementation.
  5. Draft application for small and large workforce and contractor development grants (grants up to $10,000,000, up to 5 years)
    1. The small and large workforce and contractor development grant application is intended for projects that propose implementing green workforce and/or contractor development solutions up to $500,000 for small and $10,000,000 for large grants.

How to share your opinion

  • Online survey: open until Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. 

Take the survey

  • Email: If you cannot take the online survey, please send your feedback via email. Send an email to cleanenergyfund@portlandoregon.gov. Please put “Draft RFP 2 Public Comment” in the subject line.
  • Phone: Leave a comment with PCEF staff or leave a message at 503-823-7713.
  • Co-host a virtual discussion and feedback session: If you represent a frontline community and are interested in co-hosting an information and feedback session, let us know. Staff will work with you on event coordination support, interpretation, and/or other needs to ensure your community has a trusted space to provide feedback on the draft grant scoring criteria. Email cleanenergyfund@portlandoregon.gov if you’re interested.

How will your input be used?

The PCEF Committee and staff will compile and review public comments and use them to suggest changes to the draft applications, scoring criteria, and funding allocations. The feedback received will be summarized and shared out by PCEF staff. The goal is for the Grant Committee to approve the final applications, scoring criteria, and funding allocation to release the final Request for Proposal (RFP) on September 28.

How has previous feedback shaped the RFP?

The PCEF program is committed to continuously learning from our community and improving the program to best serve our communities. Leading up to our first RFP last September, we received hundreds of comments and had countless conversations with members of the community that ultimately led to our first $8.6 million in grant awards. The draft applications, scoring criteria, and funding allocations for RFP #2 builds on those efforts. RFP #2 has been updated with feedback from interviews with staff, Committee members, RFP #1 grant applicants, and others. We want to acknowledge that while we have learned a lot in the past year, we will continue to learn more with each funding cycle. Read a summary of RFP #1 evaluation findings and resulting key updates to RFP #2.

Why is the scoring criteria, in particular, important?

Each application is scored by a panel of reviewers. These reviewers use a set of standard criteria to evaluate and score each grant application so that applications are reviewed and scored according to the same expectations. Applications that best meet the scoring criteria will be scored higher, resulting in a higher rank in preference for funding.

Given that the scoring criteria is the basis for how grant applications are considered for funding, it is important that the criteria reflect the program’s goals and sets clear expectations for what we are looking for in projects.

Standardized criteria ensure that funding decisions are accountable to program goals, such as serving low-income people and communities of color. They also promote a fair and transparent review process and can be used by nonprofits as a guide to complete their applications or deciding whether the grant is a good opportunity for them.

What happens next?

Key dates for PCEF grant program are below. All dates are approximate and subject to change.

  • Public comment period on grant eligibility and scoring criteria: August 16 – September 3, 2021
  • Grant application open date: September 28, 2021
  • Grant application due date: November 30, 2021
  • Grant applications reviewed and scored, Committee members deliberate funding portfolio options: December 2021 - March/April 2022
  • Grant awards announcement: March/April 2022

Questions?

Do you want to ask staff just a few questions about draft RFP #2? Or ask many questions? Join staff at a virtual help hour. Help hours are limited to 8 participants to make sure each participant gets the attention and help they need.

Sign up for PCEF virtual help hours:

For an overview of draft RFP #2 application, scoring criteria, and funding allocations, please join us for a webinar on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 12PM.

Sign up for Zoom webinar

Contact

Portland Clean Energy Fund