The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) established the Community Matching Fund (Fund) in 2016. The Fund promotes collaborative partnerships among City of Alexandria community organizations by providing matching 1:1 dollars for groups that propose fundraising for park and recreation improvement projects. The Fund fosters public/private partnerships and cultivates innovative ways for residents to have a greater stake in improving the park and recreation facilities that they use. These partnerships will also provide opportunities for developing positive relationships between the City and the community.
Fiscal Year 2019 Application Process
The FY19 Application is closed. The FY20 application process will begin in February 2019. To learn about the process you can click here to view a recorded online information session held on Monday, March 5, 2018.
How Does the Matching Fund Work?
Following closure of the application process, RPCA staff will evaluate the proposals and recommend specific projects to proceed (see rating criteria below). Staff will present the proposals to the Park and Recreation Commission (PRC) in a Public Hearing at their May meeting. The PRC will provide approval or request additional information at their June meeting. Groups may proceed with fundraising efforts once given PRC approval. City matching funds will be available at the start of the fiscal year on July 1. Following approval, the City and the community group will enter into a formal agreement that outlines both the City and the group's responsibilities.
The community group must raise their funds within one year of the award. Upon reaching the goal, the City and organization will work collaboratively to implement the project.
How Many Community Groups Will RPCA Select and How Much Money Will They Award?
Beginning July 1, 2018 there will be a total of $100,000 in City matching funds. RPCA will give 1:1 matching award in an amount up to $25,000, which allows a minimum of four selected proposals. Awards may be given in any amount between $5,000 (for project totals of $10,000) to $25,000 (for project
totals for $50,000).
Who Can Apply?
Any community group that lives and/or works in the City of Alexandria can apply for the matching fund. The group must demonstrate in their proposal a capacity to build a stronger and healthier community through park and recreation facility improvements. Proposals must show that the project will:
- Provide a public benefit, free and open to all members of the public;
- Be located on City owned parks property or recreational facility;
- Emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the neighbors and community members impacted by the project; and
- Demonstrate the ability to raise the community match within one year.
A successful proposal will include completed and detailed sections that demonstrate the group has planned well, is able to organize broad community support, and knows how to secure the resources needed to complete the project.
Rating criteria will include:
- Proposed Idea (up to 30 points)
Applicants must demonstrate the project's effectiveness in creating a stronger, more connected, and vibrant neighborhood and community. The proposal must include a detailed work plan, explain how the project will benefit the broader community, and why they want to do this project. If applicable to the project site location, projects should also show consistency with the Citywide Park Improvement Plan (2014), the Neighborhood Park Improvement Plan (2016), or other City planning documents.
- Neighborhood Involvement/Community Building (up to 30 Points)
Applicants must demonstrate the project's effectiveness by including as many diverse groups and individuals as possible and should reflect the demographics of the neighborhood/community, including youth, seniors, renters, homeowners, and business organizations.
- Project Resources & Readiness (up to 30 points)
Applicants must demonstrate the ability to obtain widespread and diverse match contributions of cash, volunteer labor, donated professional services, and donated materials as indicators of community support. Community groups must show that they can raise their matching funds and have the project started within 12 months. They must also show a project timeline. Proposals that demonstrate a maintenance assistance plan will receive higher consideration.
- Outcomes (up to 10 points)
Applicants must identify how they will measure project success with specific outcomes, both tangible and/or intangible results.
Community Matching Fund Requirements
- Awards will not be made to individual persons, individual businesses, government agencies, political groups, district councils, universities, hospitals, newspapers, organizations outside the City of Alexandria, or applicants who have failed to successfully carry out projects awarded in the two preceding years.
- Awards will not be made to duplicate an existing public or private program, support programs or services, supplement existing projects, pay for operating expenses not directly related to the awarded project, or to purchase land or buildings.
- Community groups can have only one match award at a time. Proposals not accepted one year can be submitted again the following year if it meets all requirements.
- All design and capital projects must provide readily accessible facilities per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- The organization must sign a commitment agreement by July 1, 2018.
- If the project includes purchases that have a life span of under five years, the organization must be prepared to pay the maintenance costs.
Cash donations can come from fundraising events, individuals, foundations, businesses, and/or community groups. Community groups may seek grants to fulfill their 50% portion of the project; however, these grants may not come from other City funded resources. If the organization seeks grants, they must provide grant documentation requirements for City staff review to ensure eligibility.
Groups may count in-kind physical labor and professional services towards the match, but must be fully explain their strategy in the proposal. In-Kind professional services cannot exceed 15% of the total project budget. Donated professional services must be relevant to the project and proportionate to its needs. The group must document and submit to the City all volunteer hours, whether labor or professional services.
All donated materials and supplies are valued at their retail prices. Donors of the materials and supplies must provide documentation on their letterhead of the value of the match.
An applicant does not need to be an IRS-recognized charitable organization (known as a 501(c) (3) agency) to receive Matching funds. However, the group must have a fiscal sponsor or designated person to manage the project's funds, and assumes financial responsibilities related to successful completion of the project. Applicants ought to be aware of and in compliance with the state requirements to register for charitable solicitation: http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/57-49/
Upon completion of fundraising the City and Organization will discuss the following two procurement options and determine the best approach for the particular project:
- The Organization will provide the City with a check for their full-fundraised amount. The City will then assume responsibility for procurement of all project contractors and/or consultants and will serve as the project manager.
- The Organization makes all of the purchases and provides the City with an invoice for reimbursement. This option assumes that the Organization can pay the full amount up front. If this method is used and there is work expected on City property, City staff must review and approve all plans. NOTE: Organizations cannot use the community match funds towards architectural and engineering services (A&E). If the project involves A&E services, the City must the procure the services OR the Organization may procure the services using private funding above and beyond the matching fund amount.
The two parties will document the procurement method in a signed agreement.
All award recipients must submit progress reports, documentation of community match, and invoices, as appropriate, throughout project, as will be documented in the City and organization agreement upon award.
If a community group determines by June 1 of the following calendar year that it cannot meet their matching goals, the City will rescind the award and the City's matching funds will be used for another community group award in the upcoming fiscal year.
The approved projects shall have a recognition sign, dedication, or some other recognition signifying the project is part of the City's RPCA PARKnership Program Community Matching Fund.
What Type of Projects Have Previously Been Awarded Matching Funds?