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Technical Assistance FAQ

Updated: August 2016

Overview

  1. What is the purpose of the Strategy Labs Technical Assistance Program?

    The purpose of the Program is to support state and local nonprofit efforts to increase higher education attainment.

    The program provides funding to reimburse the eligible expenses of state- and locally-based nonprofit organizations and governmental organizations to present and learn about higher education policy information, research and nonpartisan analysis to advance Goal 2025.

    Lumina Foundation strongly believes that technical assistance requests be locally led and locally driven.

  2. Why must all technical assistance requests be aligned to the State Policy Agenda?

    The State Policy Agenda is Lumina’s response to state leaders who were asking how they could reach Goal 2025. It is a collection of evidenced-based policies and practices that have worked in several states to increase higher education attainment.

    Lumina Foundation does not endorse a one size fits all approach and encourages state leaders to shape technical assistance requests to their particular state contexts within the frame of the State Policy Agenda.

  3. Eligibility

  4. Who is eligible to apply for technical assistance?

    The applying entity must be an organization that is classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as public charities under section 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the Code, or be a state, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing.

    Technical assistance requestors may not apply to have their organization provide the technical assistance.

  5. Who is eligible to provide technical assistance?

    The eligibility requirements for technical assistance requestors do not apply to the technical assistance providers. The provider of technical assistance does not have to be a 501(c)3 or a 509(a) 1, 2 or 3, or a government entity.

    In order to assist technical assistance requestors, Lumina maintains a State Policy Expert Directory available as a guide to applying entities. However, applying entities may include names of individuals and organizations not in the Directory in the application. New names and suggestions are welcome.

  6. How does Lumina Foundation define government officials and what is the policy regarding their participation as technical assistance providers or beneficiaries?

    Government officials are individuals employed within the governor’s office or executive agency(ies); legislator office, committee or other body; and state higher education coordinating or governing boards (SHEEOs).

    As technical assistance providers, government officials (governor’s office/staff; legislators/staff; and SHEEOs/staff) are only eligible to receive reimbursement for travel expenses, but not an honorarium.

  7. Fund Amounts and Payment

  8. Is there any flexibility in the funding available for technical assistance support?

    Yes, there are two types of technical assistance funding available.

    • $1,000—$8,500 Micro Grants: To pay for expenses associated with a one-time activity (e.g., a meeting, fact sheet or an opinion editorial).
    • $9,000—$50,000 Policy Support Grants: To fund a policy awareness strategy with multiple tactics over a 3-6 month period.
    • Justification needs to be provided for all anticipated expenses to be covered by the Strategy Labs.

  9. How will Lumina Foundation handle payment to technical assistance requestors?

    For Lumina-approved technical assistance requests, The Tides Center, acting as fiscal intermediary, will directly administer grants to the requesting entity.

  10. Eligible Expenses

  11. What types of activities can be supported through technical assistance?

    Examples of activities supported by technical assistance include:

    • Non-partisan, evidenced-based policy expertise: honoraria or travel expenses for policy experts to provide testimony; keynote addresses; or present/participate in meetings with stakeholders and the public.
    • Convening and facilitation support for expenses related to meetings, including board meetings, workshops and summits, including expert facilitation.
    • Research: Expenses related to external data collection and analysis or evaluation of policy alternatives to support state attainment goal and aligned policy development or implementation.
    • Communications to support broader public understanding and support for the state attainment goal and/or aligned agenda.
  12. What does Lumina Foundation consider to be ineligible technical assistance expenses?

    As a private foundation, Lumina does not support or oppose any specific legislation or legislative proposal and is expressly prohibited from supporting such activities both directly and indirectly through organizations receiving Lumina funds.

    As a result, funds may not be used to support the following activities: direct or grassroots lobbying expenditures; gift or ethics rules violations; or payment to government officials (not including travel expenses).

    In addition, technical assistance funds should not be used for events that have already occurred or events already receiving Lumina sponsorship or grant funding.

  13. Application and Reporting Requirements

  14. In what format should technical assistance requestors submit the application and supporting documents?

    Lumina requests that the application and supporting documents be submitted in an editable format, preferably Word.

    Applications can be submitted to: luminastrategylabs@hcmstrategists.com

  15. What is Lumina Foundation’s expectation with regard to submission of supporting documents?

    Lumina Foundation requests draft and final versions of materials associated with each technical assistance request. This includes, but is not limited to, agendas, invitee lists, and slide presentations.

    If the request pertains to the hosting of an event, Lumina Foundation requires a final participant list to accompany the follow-up report.

    Lumina Foundation requires that all technical assistance supported requests be nonpartisan or bipartisan in nature. If an event includes elected officials, the approved requesting entity is responsible for including political affiliation in the invitee and final participant lists for each applicable individual.

  16. Why must all approved technical assistance requestors sign the Acceptance of Terms and Conditions for Receipt of Lumina Foundation Strategy Labs Technical Assistance Funds form?

    Once Lumina approves the technical assistance request and before the technical assistance begins, Lumina requests that the approved entity submit this form.

    It is the responsibility of the requestor to ensure that all participants and technical assistance providers are aware of the terms and conditions of the program as well as the restrictions associated with the use of funds.

  17. Are there any reporting requirements for receiving technical assistance funds?

    In addition to supporting materials provided with the application for technical assistance funds, Lumina Foundation requests technical assistance requestors submit a brief follow up report within 7 days of the conclusion of the technical assistance activity. The report should include final materials (agendas, participant lists, reports, etc., as applicable), key findings and any related next steps as it pertains to the specific policy area for which technical assistance funds were requested.

    Please direct any questions or comments to: LuminaStrategyLabs@hcmstrategists.com