Mental Health Policy Fellow and Peer Policy Fellow Grants: Questions and Answers

The foundation does not accept phone inquiries about grant projects, however, questions may be submitted to hogg-grants@austin.utexas.edu (we will respond within two business days). Those who are interested in applying are encouraged to review the Mental Health Policy Academy and Fellows webpage and this Questions and Answers resource for the most up-to-date information.

Registration for the informational Teleconference for Applicants is closed. Responses to questions addressed have been added to this page.

What are the key dates and deadlines associated with this request for proposals?
  • Teleconference Registration Deadline– February 13, 2018 (11:59 p.m. CST)
  • Teleconference for Applicants (optional, highly recommended)– February 14, 2018 (2:00 – 4:00 p.m. CST)
  • Fluxx Registration Deadline– Create or update account by February 23, 2018 (3:59 p.m. CST)
  • Proposal Submission Deadline– March 2, 2018 (11:59 p.m. CST)
  • Notification of Grantee Selection– April 2018
  • Grant Start Date– July 1, 2018
Is there a print-friendly version of the request for proposals?
When is the proposal due and what is required upon submission?

March 2, 2018, 11:59 p.m. CST

Please follow the instructions for completing an application in Fluxx, the foundation’s grant management system. The project narrative must be no more than 2,500 words and must follow all of the guidelines laid out in the request for proposals. The word limit does not include the mentor resumes, fellow job description, or budget.

Note: The proposal requirements state that the project narrative should include a detailed project description including goals and strategies. This is not a request for the goals and strategies of the organization, but rather for the fellow. We want to know what the fellow will be working on, learning, and researching, as well as the issues they will be trying to address, and the strategies you propose.

Are letters of support required?

Letters of support are only required if an organization is using a mentor external to their organization. The letter is needed as evidence that the external partner has agreed to the mentoring tasks required by the grant.

Who is eligible?

Examples of eligible entities include, but are not limited to:

  • Nonprofit organizations (i.e. 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), etc.)
  • Nonprofit governmental agencies
  • Nonprofit universities (A university department or center can submit a proposal. Respondents with a higher education institution must submit either written approval from the institution’s grant office (such as the Office of Sponsored Projects or Grants and Contracts), or a letter stating that such approval is not required for this type of grant application. The grant office review and approval process may take several business days, so please check with your institution and plan accordingly. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their proposals to their grant office with sufficient time for review and approval before the proposal deadline.)
  • Nonprofit entities affiliated with The University of Texas
  • Existing Hogg Foundation grantees (Please note that current Policy Fellows/Peer Policy Fellows are not eligible to be funded for an additional fellowship cycle. Organizations who have had a fellow in the past are welcome to reapply for a new policy fellow grant to be filled by a new fellow. There is no requirement that a new fellow focus on the same issues as the previous fellow.)

Please note, the foundation only makes grants within the state of Texas. If your organization is under the provision of an international or national agency, but has offices, programs, and services in Texas, you may submit a proposal for this grant if your Texas office is an independent entity that can apply for and use grants for its own programs.

When will the grants be awarded?

The foundation plans to notify applicants in April 2018. Grant funding is expected to begin July 1, 2018. The period between the announcement of the grant awards and the start date is to be used to recruit fellows.

Full payment for the first year is dispersed after the statement of agreement is signed. Payment for the second year is made in two phases: 50% at the renewal date and 50% after the first year fiscal reports are reconciled.

How many grantees will be selected?

Up to ten 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, or higher education institutions will receive grant funding: five organizations will receive a Policy Fellow Grant and five organizations will receive a Peer Policy Fellow Grant.

We typically receive 20-30 proposals in each of the two grant categories.

What is the total grant award and is the project budget flexible?

The total amount of the award depends on the salary paid to the fellow and the fringe benefit percentage of the organization. Additionally, the grant includes a $5,000 mentor stipend, professional development dollars to be used exclusively by the fellow ($2,000 for Policy Fellows and $3,000 for Peer Policy Fellows), and 10% overhead. The overhead is 10% of the combined total of the salary, fringe, mentor stipend, and professional development stipend and is calculated automatically in the budget template after the salary and fringe percentage are entered.

The only variables in the budget for this grant are the annual salary and the fringe benefits. The fellow salary is expected to be between $38,000 to $45,000 per year, plus fringe benefits. We include a salary range to allow for the variations in the salary structure of different organizations, however we understand that some applicants may wish to pay their fellow at a higher rate. The foundation funds up to 95% of a salary of $48,000 ($45,600). If the fellow’s salary exceeds that limit, the difference is the responsibility of the grantee. The foundation funds 100% of the fringe benefits. Fringe benefits should be specified and included on the budget template.

All costs associated with participation in Policy Academy activities are paid for by the Policy Academy grantee, Texans Care for Children.  All other travel costs (outside of the available professional development funds provided by the grant) are the responsibility of the grantee.

What are the requirements of a mentor?

Policy Fellows and Peer Policy Fellows must be provided with both policy and mental health mentoring and supervision. This may be the responsibility of one person with expertise in both areas or it may be provided by two mentors—one with expertise in mental health and one with expertise in policy. Only one mentor stipend will be included in the grant. The mentor(s) may be internal or external to the organization although experience has shown us that having an internal mentor typically works better.

More about mentors:

  • Mentors need not be licensed mental health professionals. The foundation will review proposals to ensure mentors have appropriate levels of mental health and policy experience and expertise so that all fellows have access to quality mentorship.
  • Because mentors are pre-identified in the grant proposal, the foundation expects that they participate in the fellow’s hiring process.
  • While the foundation and Texans Care for Children (the Policy Academy grantee and coordinator) are available to help support the fellow-mentor relationship, it is the grantee organization’s responsibility to manage any related personnel issues.
  • All mentors are expected to attend and participate in the Policy Academy’s Washington federal immersion program. All expenses are paid through the Policy Academy.
  • Mentors of Peer Policy Fellows are expected to participate in a post-award teleconference to discuss various aspects of supporting peer employees. This is NOT required of individuals mentoring non-peer Policy Fellows.
Does the fellow need to be selected prior to submitting a proposal?

No. Grantees will be announced in April 2018 and will have the opportunity to conduct recruitment and hiring activities in May and June. Proposals must include the job description* that will be used during the recruitment process. Fellows are expected to begin working on/around July 1, 2018.

*While we do not offer a job description template, we encourage applicants to build a description reflective of the standards and criteria set out in the request for proposals.

What qualifications are required of the Policy Fellow?

Policy Fellows are required to have a master’s degree or higher in a related field, including but not limited to: law, social work, public policy, psychology, public health, etc. The individual must have graduated within the previous 18 months from starting the fellowship. (Current or former volunteers/staff of the applying organization may be considered for the fellow position if they meet all other eligibility criteria.)

Note: The answer above only pertains to non-peer Policy Fellows. If you are considering submitting a proposal for the Peer Policy Fellow Grant, please see the Peer Policy Fellow qualifications in the question below. 

What qualifications are required of Peer Policy Fellows?

Peer Policy Fellows must be certified* as mental health peer specialists or substance use recovery coaches. This is to ensure that they have a lived experience of mental illness and/or a substance use condition and they’re willing to share their story with others. We also require that they have two years of recent employment of some type (paid or volunteer). The idea is to have some indication that the individual is in recovery and ready to do the work of the fellowship. Peer Policy Fellows are NOT expected to have a higher education degree. (Current or former volunteers/staff of the applying organization may be considered for the fellow position if they meet all other eligibility criteria.)

*If a grantee prefers to hire a Peer Policy Fellow without certification, they may request an exception from the foundation during the hiring/recruitment process. With enough evidence that the individual has a lived experience of mental illness and/or substance use condition, and they’re willing to share their story with others, exceptions may be granted.

Note: This answer only pertains to Peer Policy Fellows. If you are considering submitting a proposal for the Policy Fellow Grant, please see the Policy Fellow qualifications in the question above. 

How long is the fellowship period and can we plan for more than one fellow during the period?

The fellowship period is two years. If a fellow departs prior to the end of the grant period, the grantee must get approval from the foundation before hiring a replacement. The foundation will decide on a case-by-case basis if hiring a new fellow to complete the fellowship is appropriate.

It is not possible to plan for one fellow per year as this fellowship is expected to be a two-year training experience for one individual.

If awarded this grant, is the selected fellow candidate classified as an employee or contract labor?

The fellow is expected to be a full-time employee of the grantee receiving the same benefits as other employees. Recruitment and hiring of the fellow is the sole responsibility of the grantee. The fellow is not an employee of, and does not represent, the Hogg Foundation.

What percentage of the fellow’s time should be devoted to mental health policy?

The fellow is expected to devote 100% of his/her time to policy and/or advocacy activities related to mental health.

Should the fellow focus on one area of mental health or focus more generally on the mental health system?

Having a policy fellow focus on a particular area of mental health (e.g., criminal justice, child welfare, education, etc.) is at the discretion of the applicant. The foundation is interested in ensuring that fellows have meaningful learning experiences, which may be accomplished by becoming an “expert” in a particular area or by participating in a variety of policy issues.

Does the foundation restrict a fellow's lobbying activities? Are grantees required to track the fellow’s lobbying time/activities?

Grantees are expected to follow their own lobbying restrictions. The foundation supports 95% of the fellow’s salary to allow time for lobbying activities, at the grantee’s discretion. The foundation does not require any tracking or accounting of the fellow’s time.

Do the duties outlined in this grant preclude a fellow from performing services in a clinic for mental health?

Yes, this grant is not intended to provide clinical experience. The purpose of this grant is to fund policy fellows engaging in mental health policy work in Texas.

Does the foundation require deliverables, such as reports, manuals or studies, to be produced by the fellow?

No, the foundation does not pre-determine or require the fellow to produce deliverables such as the ones described in this question, however, the applicant’s work plan and proposal can reference projects and products they want the fellow to produce.

Will the foundation provide a list of approved professional development opportunities, or is this at the discretion of the applicant?

Professional development selection is at the discretion of the applicant, but should be related to mental health and/or policy.

Can the Peer Policy Fellow Grant be used to hire a peer provider for our program?

No. This grant program is intended to develop policy and advocacy skills. It cannot be used to fund peer support services.

What are the grant reporting requirements?

The foundation requires annual fiscal and narrative reports (to be submitted through Fluxx, our online grants management system). Narrative reports should describe the activities, progress and accomplishments of the fellow, as well as the support and development opportunities offered by the mentor. The fiscal report should represent an accounting of funds spent during the first year.