New York State Education Department has allocated funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to Binghamton University and Fordham University to launch the New York State Cares for Communities (NYSCFC) initiative, designed to leverage support in identified communities most adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. NYSCFC will build upon the existing resources and experience of community-based and faith-based partners supporting regional capacity to address the needs of families related to the pandemic. This funding is designed to support nonprofits serving communities hardest hit by COVID-19 across the state, to be distributed through this Call for Applications.

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted New York’s students, who have suffered from protracted social isolation, struggled with remote learning, experienced personal and community loss of connection, witnessed ongoing civil unrest, been impacted by economic hardship, and for many, lost loved ones. Through partnerships with community-based and faith-based agencies, NYSCFC will support the distribution of CARES Act funds so that services and support for students and families can be put in place without further undue suffering and lost instruction.

NYSCFC will also partner with and convene community and faith-based organizations to provide support and help build capacity for 1) parent and family engagement, 2) alignment and leveraging of resources in partnership with school districts, and 3) addressing the stress of remote learning while also meeting social-emotional and mental health needs of students, families, and staff members, with particular focus placed on addressing the needs of special populations and demographic groups most adversely impacted by the coronavirus. NYSCFC will build upon the resources available through the NYSED CSTACs to expand social-emotional and mental health professional development and training to school staff and community providers to further enhance this effort. Resources will be available through a NYSCFC website.

Binghamton University and Fordham University have each received a $1.25 million New York State Education Department (NYSED) contract to help leverage resources and allocate funding to regions identified based on data related to the pandemic that highlight areas with the most adverse impacts of the coronavirus. NYSCFC at Binghamton University will serve the following counties: Erie, Monroe, Niagra, Orleans, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Schenectady, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.

Program Areas: Eligible organizations may apply for an award of $10,000 – $25,000 in one or more of the following areas: Academic enrichment to stem learning loss for an enrolled group of students; Social emotional learning and/or mental health services for students; Digital literacy for students and/or families; Family services such as job readiness/placement or family education workshops

Proposed initiatives and/or programs should supplement existing services provided by the organization. Allocation of awarded funds may support a range of offerings and/or ongoing services (e.g., enrichment or intervention programs to support students’ academic development, resources to address social/emotional needs, guidance for families navigating virtual platforms), and should not be designated to one-time purchases. Funding may cover more than one program area, but organizations may only submit one application. 

Note: NYSCFC reserves the right to distribute funding based on applicant eligibility, as well as to fund proposals for less funding than requested.  

Timeline and Resources 

  • Monday, May 10 – Announcement of partnership awards, Call for Applications released
  • Tuesday, May 18 – Virtual workshop detailing the application and awards process
  • Friday, June 4 – Notice of Intent Optional but strongly encouraged notice to NYSCFC that you plan to submit a proposal
  • Application worksheet – optional form to prepare your application responses prior to entering them in the application, which will not save your progress
  • Friday, June 18 – Applications and budgets (Google Form & downloadable file) due
  • The NYSCFC team will contact applicants upon completion of the review process

Elements of Proposal

Evaluation Criteria
Eligible applicants are community or faith-based organizations, located or providing programming in the eligible regions listed above, with services and resources designated to supporting students, families, and communities that have been impacted by the pandemic. Applicants will be evaluated in the following categories:  
Organizational Context: background information about the organization, relationships within the community, description of pandemic response, and key staff capacity
Program Design and Evidence-Based Strategies: description of proposed use of funding (programs/services), implementation model, and plan to address academic and social/emotional needs 
Community Connectedness: evidence of intentional practices to ensure meaningful partnerships with stakeholders and prioritization of equity and culturally responsive programs and services 
Needs, Evaluation, and Impact: indication of data used to assess community needs and systems to evaluate the success of proposed services
Capacity to Manage Resources and Budget: description of administrative capacity to manage the requested funds and an outline of how funds will be allocated