DASH Mentor 3.0 Program 

Frequently Asked Questions

** Questions submitted to info@dashconnect.org using “DASH Mentor Program” in the subject line, will be added to this LIVE Q&A and responses will be posted on Fridays. **

Posted February 12, 2021.

Please note that these answers reflect content included in the Mentor Brochure and guidance within the online application at. All Mentor program resources are available online at dashconnect.org/mentor-program/.  If your question is not answered in either of those two places or below, please send it to info@dashconnect.org and include “DASH Mentor Program” in the subject line.

GENERAL

Q: Will this presentation be available after the meeting?

A: Yes, this presentation has been recorded and available on our website along with the slides and FAQs: https://dashconnect.org/mentor-program/

Q: What’s the best way to reach out to you with any follow-up questions?

A: If you have any questions about the application, please email the DASH Program Office at info@dashconnect.org with the title “DASH Mentor Application.” If you come across technical difficulties, please email Susan Martinez at susan.martinez@iphionline.org immediately.

Q: How would I know if I/the partners I am considering for this Mentorship are too far along?

A: DASH has developed some questions to help assess readiness and capacity. One question that may help in particular is your stage of collaboration and data sharing. If your data sharing project is in the implementing or scaling phase you may not benefit from this program. Some Mentors have shared it can be harder to coach Mentees that have already signed a contract with a vendor or already have an established data system. However, if you are further along and still feel you would benefit from the program, you may be best suited to apply for the San Diego 2-1-1 Mentorship on Community Information Exchange or the Corporation for supportive housing on health and housing data integration.

Q: Why is membership in All In: Data for Community Health part of the selection criteria?

A: An organization or collaboration does not have to join All In in order to apply to be a Mentee, but will join the All In Online Community as a condition of acceptance. The DASH Mentors will use the Online Community as a home for sharing materials and coordinating activities, which will leverage the important lessons and content for the larger All In community.

Applicants are encouraged to join the Online Community at any time to explore the resources available and participate in the larger peer learning network regardless of receiving an award from DASH or other All In partner community. Participating in All In is a great way to understand the kinds of communities that are already participating in the network, and also allows applicants to begin to familiarize themselves with the network resources.

ELIGIBILITY

If you would like assistance outside of the Mentorship on the same or different project, DASH and the broader All In Network have other mechanisms to support technical assistance, such as the All In Affinity Groups and DASH Community Impact Contracts (CICs). You are also welcome to inquire within the All In Online Community for peer expertise and networking.

Q: I participated in a previous Mentor round. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Previous awardees are welcome to re-apply. However, priority is given to applicants who have not previously received DASH funding. Your application should demonstrate how you anticipate building upon your previous work, or if your goals have shifted, how the Mentorship will aid you in your new focus.

Q: The functional lead for the DASH mentoring is a community-based organization in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status. The fiduciary lead for this collaboration is a local University. Would this approach be a problem for satisfying eligibility criteria?

A: As long as staff from some of the community organizations involved in the DASH Mentor program participate in program activities along with key staff from the university, the requirement would be met. We would consider the sectors represented in the application as 1) academic and 2) community-based organizations. In the application, it would also be helpful to know the social service areas covered by the organizations for example children and families, food access, housing, benefits enrollment, etc.

Q: Our organization manages the 211 system for our region and we are considering applying with a nonprofit.  Would our organization be considered to be from two different industries, or since we are both nonprofits would that put us in the same industry?

A: With respect to the various industries or sectors that partner organizations represent, we consider a few factors including the primary ‘industry’ (governmental, non-profit, etc.), the skill set, portfolio of services and background of the staff, and the primary role the organization plays in the partnership (e.g. technology/data system host, service provider, etc.) It would be helpful for applicants to distinguish their sectors by the services they provide. For instance, in the example above, one agency serves as the technology lead hosting 211 and one agency serves as the social services lead offering legal services.

Q: How do you define sectors?

A: By sectors, we are referring to fields or people/organizations working in a specific area of expertise. DASH is interested in sectors relevant to community health improvement objectives (e.g., health care, public health, behavioral health, housing, human services, community development, education, transportation, criminal justice, public safety, the private sector, or other sector that has a stake in or impact on community health).

Q: Can you apply if you are working on behalf of a community? In other words, if I’m a consultant working with a community who will be implementing a community data sharing network?

A: The DASH Mentorship is designed to build capacity across organizations working together on a shared project. If you are working on behalf of a lead organization or a partner organization and can make a case, it might work however, we don’t fund individuals. The idea behind the program is that the organizations involved are part of a collaboration. It might be a new collaboration or an existing collaboration that wants to focus on a collective initiative, e.g. engaging community members and other stakeholders, defining shared value, or designing the data systems rather than a 1:1 mentorship to develop one person’s skills.

Q: What can the funds be used for?

A: In the Mentor 3.0 program description we’ve outlined the following use of funds: The funds contracted to Mentees are intended to support staff participation in the Mentor program activities (e.g. check-in calls, webinars, etc.) registration fees for virtual or in-person meetings that may include attendance at national conferences, such as those hosted by Mentor organizations (2-1-1 San Diego’s CIE Summit, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Civic Canopy, etc.) or others as directed by the Mentor. Funds could also support community member incentives.

Q: I have applied for or received funding from DASH in the past. Am I eligible for this opportunity?

A: Yes, although priority will be given to new applicants.

Q: I’m a founder/employee for a private foundation with a business license (LLC), but not part of a public entity or a non-profit 501(c)(3). Will I be eligible to apply for the program?

A: Unfortunately, private foundations are not eligible to receive DASH funding. We encourage you to join the online community and participate in the peer learning community. There may be other Program partners in All In with funding opportunities that do not face the same constraint.

Q: I work for local government (e.g. Public Health) and we are not a 501(c)(3) organization – are we able to apply?

A: Local governmental public health departments are eligible organizations for the DASH Mentor program.

MY APPLICATION

Q: How do I know if my organization would be a good candidate for this program?

A: Applications from a wide variety of sectors are encouraged, so long as there are partnerships involved and the collaboration is looking towards sharing data with one another. We encourage you to take a look at our program materials available on the dashconnect.org website, particularly our program brochure and our one-page summaries of the DASH Mentors. If, after reviewing these materials and the FAQs, you find that you have a question not addressed by the application, please e-mail info@dashconnect.org with “DASH Mentor Program” as your subject line.

Q: Is it possible to speak with a DASH Program Officer about the fit of my project for the Mentorship?

A:  In fairness to all applicants, the DASH Program Office will not accept any requests for consultation/conversation with potential applicants. Applicants are encouraged to take a look at our program materials available on the dashconnect.org website, particularly our program brochure and our one-page summaries of the DASH Mentors. If, after reviewing these materials and the FAQs, you find that you have a question not addressed by the application, please e-mail info@dashconnect.org with “DASH Mentor Program” as your subject line.

Q: I applied by the original January deadline. Are we able to revise and resubmit our application?

A: Applicants are welcome to resubmit their application before the new February deadline, so long as you e-mail info@dashconnect.org (subject title “[Name of Lead Applicant Organization]) about the resubmission. This is so we can ensure the most accurate application is reviewed. In fairness to all applicants, the application form has remained the same.

Q:  I applied by the original January deadline. I’d like to make an update to one of the Mentor questions but don’t need to change anything else.  Is there any way to tack that on as an appendix to what you already have?

A: To make minor edits, please send the edit to info@dashconnect.org with the name of the lead applicant organization as the subject title to append to your original submission.

Q: Does a loose connection with an existing United Way prevent my organization from applying for mentorship by a non-United Way mentor organization?

A: You are welcome to apply to any mentorship that helps you advance the goals as you have outlined. But no, a loose connection with an existing United Way will not prevent you for applying to a non-United Way mentor organization.

Q: Should I answer the supplemental questions for all of the Mentors?

A: The application form will ask you to answer supplemental questions for only your first-choice and second-choice Mentors. It will not be necessary to answer all of the Mentors’ questions.

Q: Would we be able to include multiple organizations in our application group?

A: Mentee teams will designate a primary contact for participation in the program and are encouraged to consider inviting other team members such as colleagues or collaborative partners to participate in learning collaborative activities. At minimum, it is expected that Mentees will share learnings from the experience or facilitate activities with their colleagues and/or collaborative partners.

Q: What would be the ideal make-up/expertise of the team from a Mentee group?

A: The ideal team would bring one to two people from multiple different organizations in the community that are trying to collaborate with each other to tackle a specific issue. Representation from multiple partners would make the learning experience much more effective.

ABOUT THE MENTORS

Q: Are we able to reach out to mentors to discuss fit further?

A: In the interest of providing a fair opportunity to all applicants, we strongly discourage applicants from reaching out to the DASH Mentors. After reviewing the Mentor one-page profiles, please reach out to the DASH Program Office at info@dashconnect.org and we can address any questions on behalf of the Mentors.

Q: Have any DASH Mentors have had experience working with newer organizations that are not tied to traditional ways of doing things?

A: If by more recently formed organizations or collaborations, yes, all the Mentors have experience working with newer organizations. If your organization in the early stages of collaborating with the partners you’ll be engaging through the DASH Mentor program, you are encouraged to especially consider the Mentorships with CORE, Civic Canopy and The University of Pittsburgh/Drexel School of Public Health. In your application, please describe to the extent possible your non-traditional approach, to help us make the best match to a DASH Mentor.

Q: What would you estimate the percentage of resources (staffing, financial support) towards this data sharing effort in relation to your overall program?

A: We estimate on average, individuals on Mentee teams will contribute 1-5 hours per week toward the project. DASH does not expect that the Mentorship project is a large scope of work for your overall agency, but it might tie with, align, or advance some of the work your agency or collaboration is leading through other grant-funded programs or initiatives. There is no expectation of any financial match for the Mentorship grant.

Q: What time commitment can we expect from the mentors and how much time is needed among our own staff to dedicate to this partnership?

A: Exact percentages will vary slightly across the Mentorship program. Each Mentor has a specific schedule and cadence to which they schedule 1-on-1 coaching calls and group meetings or other learning opportunities for Mentees. Mentors schedule 1-on-1 calls on a monthly to bi-monthly basis, share trainings/resources in between those check-ins, and/or host group cohort calls/webinars. Mentee teams will get out what they put in, meaning those that respond to emails promptly, come prepared for calls, and request follow-up conversations typically make more progress implementing their work plans. The cadence of activities is discussed at the beginning of the relationship between the mentor and mentee(s). 

Q: For the San Diego 2-1-1 Mentor, is your mentorship designed to mostly address Community/Collective Impact?

A: The opportunity with San Diego 2-1-1’s mentorship is best suited for applicants that wish to make progress towards planning for and development of a Community Information Exchange in their own communities. (Applicants do not need to be from health care organizations; all sectors are welcome to apply.) Potential Mentees include non-profit organizations in communities that are ready for deeper learning on holistic, person-centered care, and more mature non-profit organizations that already have referral capacity and are looking for specific guidance on next steps. 2-1-1 Mentors can work with Mentees who are operating under a collective impact model, as can all Mentors. Please see the “Mentor Profiles” at: https://dashconnect.org/mentor-program/.

Q: For San Diego 2-1-1, will you provide information on the technical implementation of a CIE?

A: Yes, technical implementation of a CIE will be explored through the SD211 Mentorship. SD 2-1-1 is technology agnostic and does not recommend one type of platform or vendor over another. In the CIE toolkit and in Mentor cohort sessions, staff will discuss ways in which Mentees might engage community-based organizations, healthcare partners, and community members on determining the existing technology assets and technology infrastructure needed to build a CIE. 

In addition, the San Diego 2-1-1 and the CSH mentorships may be best suited for Mentee team applicants that are slightly further along, e.g. thinking about data systems or datasets they’re going to leverage or may have already have data sharing agreements in place (or might not).

Q: I’d like to hear more about the United Way “Getting Started” track.

A: The opportunities provided to United Ways through the United Way Worldwide mentorship are for Mentees will are ready for deeper learning and idea exchange on the fundamentals of equitable and sustainable data sharing and care coordination, those that want to work more closely to integrate 211 data and capabilities across platforms, and those who are using data to inform decisions but are not yet integrating data from other sectors. 

There will be two tracks offered: 

  1. Getting Started: For United Ways ready to set the foundations of equitable and sustainable data sharing and navigate a new direction for impact both internally within their organization and externally with community.
  2. Accelerating Partnerships: For United Ways that already have defined partners and preliminary alignment in efforts and are seeking to accelerate their efforts together. Read the specifics associated with this Mentor here.

Q: Will we be able to email Mentors to ask specific questions about our project?

A: If your inquiry is in relation to your application and Mentorship fit, please direct all questions to info@dashconnect.org rather than contact the Mentor directly.

Q: Which mentorship should I apply for if I am just getting started?

A: The Mentor profiles will help clarify which Mentors may be able to provide guidance and expertise in your specific areas of need. For communities who may be in early stages and are looking for guidance, the University Center for Social and Urban Research may be particularly helpful for understanding local data assets and developing a strategic plan. The Civic Canopy will also guide communities interested in crafting or refining community engagement strategies, selecting and prioritizing community health indicators, and overcoming hurdles to data access.   

In addition, the United Way WorldWide Mentor team is offering two tracks: Getting Started for which a partner organization is strongly encouraged but not required, and Accelerating Partnerships for those United Ways with more established collaborations

Details on your specific activities and learning objectives will help the DASH staff and Mentors to make the best fit for your community.

Q: There is really only one Mentor that fits our project, and I’m struggling to select a second choice. Are we required to select a second choice?

A: We ask that all Mentee applicants submit two choices so that there is a better chance they will be matched with a Mentor. You are not required to select a second choice, though doing so may reduce your chance of being part of a Mentorship.

If you decide to select a second Mentor, explain what it is that you’d like to accomplish in your project, even if it feels like your answer does not quite answer the Mentor-specific questions. Our Mentors have more expertise than they were able to showcase in our short webinar. They are quite versatile, and because we know them well, we may see ways to match them to your needs that you are not able to see. The Mentors will also be working with one another, so it may be that you get assigned to your second choice Mentor but still can receive advice from your first choice Mentor.

Q: What is meant by “civic data”?

A: Civic data describes the context of our communities. Civic data can include not only data produced by governmental organizations, but also non-profits, civic institutions, and other community-based organizations. Data created by or about individuals is also in scope. Sometimes law or policy requires that certain civic data be open to the public. However, not all civic data is open data. Sometimes that’s because of the need to protect privacy or legitimately confidential information. Other times, it’s because there aren’t enough resources allocated to do the work required to prepare, describe, and publish the data. And, in some cases, civic data is legally ‘open’ but, because of access procedures and format, not practically ‘open’. Source: (Civic Switchbook Guide).

FUNDS AND REPORTING

Q: I (the lead applicant) have two partner organizations on board and am waiting to hear from a third. They are very interested but approval may take longer than we have anticipated. If they are able to commit after we turn in the application, is there a way to add them to our group at a later date? Will they still be eligible for monetary stipends for their time? 

A: If the lead applicant has additional partners (up to 3) that are committed to engaging in the Mentor program at the time of the application submission, please include that information in your application. The partner organizations do not have to be formally ‘approved’ but should agree to participate in Mentorship activities (and ideally provide a letter of support as an attachment in the Mentee application), even if the funds are disbursed to that partner after the program starts. The award amount will be determined based on the number of partner organizations listed (up to 1 lead and 3 partners). Please see the program brochure page 4 and our FAQ page for more details about the contract fund disbursement. It is up to the lead applicant to manage and distribute the funds to their respective partner organizations.

Q: Is there any guidance on how to distribute the funds to the participating organizations?

A: We see the funding as a way to equitably support each organization’s participation in the program. Therefore, we recommend indicating how your partnership envisions distributing the award. Awardees will be responsible for contracting and dispersing funds. DASH will distribute 90% of the award amount when contracts are initiated, paid to the lead agency on the application.  The 10% balance of the award will be provided upon completion of the final report.

Q: Can you explain the funding levels?

A: Collaborations will receive $2,500 per participating organization (a minimum of two organizations is required for most Mentorships, strongly encouraged for all). A total of $10,000 is available for collaborations with a maximum of four partners to support participation in the DASH Mentor program for ten months.

Q: How does the Mentor fit into the funding?

A: Mentors are funded separately for their participation in the Mentorships, and Mentees will not be expected to distribute any funds to their Mentors.

Q: Are there any guidelines for spending of the funds?

A: The funds contracted to Mentees are intended to support staff participation in the learning collaborative activities. Awardees can check with the National Program Office if they’d like to use the funds for additional activities.

Q: Will there be any in-person meetings for Mentors/Mentees? Is travel required to participate?

A: Travel is not required to participate in the Mentor Program. Program activities will primarily be virtual, and Mentor groups will utilize the All In online community as the space to share/post resources, continue discussions, and make connections between All In members and the cohorts.

Q: Is the funding intended for use by multiple staff members at a single organization (i.e. may my entire team participate in the program, or is it just meant to be one individual per organization?)

A: Mentee funds will be distributed to the applicant organization, with the understanding that its primary use will be to support staff participation in the Mentorship. Mentees will designate a primary contact for participation in the program and are encouraged to consider inviting other team members such as colleagues or collaborative partners to participate in learning collaborative activities.

Q: Can you speak more to participation and reporting requirements?

A: The DASH Mentor Program grants are intended to be a low-administration award. Mentees will participate in group webinars with their cohorts, as well as have individual check-ins as a part of their technical assistance relationship with their Mentors. Participants are also expected to engage in cross-cohort webinars throughout the year, which will be led by a different Mentor on a subject matter. Participants will be encouraged to engage in discussions with their peers and Mentors on the All In online community, and will have minimal interaction with the National Program Office. NPO staff will be available for additional consultation if requested. Upon completion of the grants, awardees will be expected to participate in a final evaluation discussing the successes and challenges of their participation in the Mentor Program. Each cohort will also participate in a Share & Learn webinar to talk about lessons learned and any products developed as part of the Mentorship.

Q: When and how are funds paid to the participant?

A: DASH will distribute 90% of the award amount when contracts are initiated, paid to the lead agency on the application. Awardees will be responsible for contracting and dispersing funds, in accordance with their proposed work plan. The 10% balance of the award will be provided upon completion of final activities. In the event that your collaboration relies on one organization to be the fiscal agent and another to lead the proposed work plan, please notify NPO staff at the time you receive your award letter.