Standing Beside Alaska's Non-Profits

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a Foraker Group Partner to apply?
An organization does not need to be a Foraker Group Partner to apply for the Pre-Development Program. However, if accepted into the program it is expected that the organization will become a Partner.  For information on the cost of joining and other benefits contact Andrew Cutting, Director of Nonprofit Research & Partnerships, at 907-743-1221 or acutting@forakergroup.org.

When can I apply?
Applications can be submitted at any time of the year.  Organizations considering a capital project are encouraged to contact one of our Funding Partners early in the process to discuss the appropriate time in the course of a project to submit an application.

How long does the application process take?
Each of our Funding Partners has its own process for accepting, reviewing and selecting projects.  Consequently the time required will vary.  Some applications are processed immediately and some require several weeks for internal review. When a Funding Partner has decided to recommend a project to the Pre-Development Program it is submitted to the Oversight Committee for final action.  The committee is made up of representatives of each of the Funding Partners and meets quarterly to make decisions on project selections.  Organizations will be notified when a final decision has been made on whether a project has been accepted.

How are projects selected?
Each Funding Partner has its own selection criteria for evaluating applications.  If a project is selected by a funder, it moves on to Step Two in the process – review by the Oversight Committee.  This committee looks for opportunities for support from additional funders:  the more funders interested in the project the more likely it is to be selected for the program.  Other criteria include the capacity of the organization to undertake the project, evidence of commitment on the part of the organization to the project, and special circumstances such as natural disasters and time limited funding opportunities.  In addition, certain types of projects are selected each year for preference.  In 2011, the preferred projects are libraries, clinics, projects serving the Mat-Su Borough residents, and housing for special needs populations.

How long does it take to complete Pre-Development?
An organization can complete all the tasks associated with the pre-development phase within a few months.  However, this is rare.  More typically, it takes a couple of years or longer.  Much depends on the complexity of the project and the ability of the organization to make decisions quickly.  It is common for an organization to start with a concept of what is needed, go through the planning process, and decide the original concept is not feasible.  Much of the planning process is then repeated to develop a sustainable project.  This requires time but results in a better project.

Why are the funders paying for this service?
Capital funding agencies typically engage in due diligence reviews before funding a project.  The Pre-D funders decided they would rather assist organizations plan effectively from the beginning, rather than wait and find problems after planning was completed.  The advantage to the funder of paying for the planning process is that the planning will be done to its standards.  The advantage to the organization is that it can be assured that the funders will accept the planning process as valid.

What is a sustainable project?
The term “sustainable” is in increasingly common use but that does not mean a common definition exists.  The specific meaning of “sustainable” in the capital project context refers to the long-term viability of both the facility and the organization and programs it houses.  In a broader context, sustainable capital projects should contribute to the long-term survival of our communities and the planet.

The Foraker Group’s Nonprofit Sustainability Model© focuses on the elements that support the successful operation and longevity of an organization. In the Pre-D Program we work with sustainable organizations to develop appropriate facilities.  The right project can contribute to the sustainability of an organization while the wrong project can threaten it.

So what is an appropriate project?  There are several elements.  The first is making sure the building is the right size for its purpose.  If it is too large, it will waste resources.  If it is too small, it will diminish staff productivity and limit the delivery of services.

Another critical element is consistency with strategic and community plans.  It makes no sense to design for today’s needs if the organization’s strategic plan calls for program expansion.  The organization’s plan must also reflect the reality of the community’s growth and development.

In terms of design, a sustainable project is one that minimizes operating expenses through the choice of long lasting, low maintenance materials and energy efficient systems.

Does Pre-Development assist with funding applications?
Pre-D provides the documentation needed for most funding applications but does not assist with the actual preparation of the applications.

Can I claim the services provided by Pre-D as a contribution to the project?
You will need to check the restrictions established by each funder but in most cases you will be able to claim the services provided by Pre-D as part of your matching funds.  Pre-D will provide you with a dollar value for the services received.

Do I have to use the same design team for the design phase?
Pre-D assigns a design team to your project to develop the site plan, architectural program and concept design during the pre-development phase.  We select the consultants that are most appropriate for your project, from among those under contract to us.  However, once the pre-development phase is completed and you are ready for the design phase, most organizations will go through an open competition to select a full design team.  The firms who provided services through Pre-Development are not restricted from competing but there is no expectation that they will be favored in the selection.  In our experience to date, some organizations have chosen to stay with the same design team they worked with in pre-development – but many have not.

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