RCC Program Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated July 26, 2022


Q: Were the workshops recorded and available to view?

A: The General Audience webinar was recorded: View general audience webinar.

Q: Will SGC be able to provide a platform for applicants to network with other interested stakeholders in their region?

A: SGC recently created a LinkedIn Regional Climate Collaboratives Program Networking Hub that prospective applicants can join and use to connect with potential partners. The California Energy Commission’s Empower Innovation platform also provides an opportunity for partners interested in various grant programs (including RCC) to connect with one another.

Q: What do you mean by capacity building?

A: For the purposes of this program, capacity building refers to the process of strengthening local coordination, leadership, knowledge, skills, expertise, and access to resources in under-resourced communities with the goal of helping to develop or increase the ability of that community to independently compete for grants and implement projects in the future. Capacity building activities include identifying and planning for needed climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in a given region and identifying the tools and resources needed to successfully access, apply for, and receive grant funding.

Q: Are there specific implementation grants that SGC would like RCC grantees to apply for?

A: No, SGC does not expect that RCC grantees will apply for any specific funding sources and will aim to share a broad range of funding opportunities with future grantees. Grantees will be encouraged to apply for implementation grants across funding sources, including state programs or other programs from federal or foundation source.

Q: What are the main differences between RCC and the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program?

A: The TCC program funds community-led development and infrastructure projects that achieve major environmental, health, and economic benefits in California’s most disadvantaged communities. TCC Implementation Grants fund neighborhood-level proposals that include multiple, coordinated projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve other community benefits. TCC also offers planning grants (unlike RCC), which fund planning activities to prepare disadvantaged communities for future funding opportunities in programs that align with the TCC Program’s objectives. RCC is a capacity-building grant program that enables community-rooted and cross-sectoral partners to deepen their relationships and develop the processes, plans, and projects that will drive and sustain climate action. RCC does not fund infrastructure. Instead, RCC program objectives focus on strengthening local coordination, leadership, knowledge, and skills to increase access to funding and implement multi-benefit projects.

Q: Can we submit applications for both RCC and TCC?

A: Applying to TCC does not preclude applicants from applying to RCC. However, TCC and RCC are distinct programs that fund different types of projects, so it would be important to apply to the RCC program with a different project than the project submitted for the TCC implementation grant. A key difference between the TCC Implementation grant and RCC is that the RCC program does not fund any infrastructure or construction costs. Also, while TCC project eligibility is focused on the neighborhood level, RCC project eligibility is focused on the regional level, with specific communities of focus selected for place-based projects within the region.

Q: Will there be additional rounds of RCC funding?

A: Yes, SGC does anticipate receiving funding for at least one additional round of the Regional Climate Collaboratives Program. SGC plans to release the Notice of Funding Availability for Round 2 of RCC in 2023.

Q: How similar will Round 2 of RCC be to Round 1?

A: The second round will be very similar to first round. The guidelines will look similar and will incorporate lessons learned through this first round. The RCC program is meant to help set communities up to access greater funding opportunities for implementation of their projects.

Q: How many grants will be awarded?

A: The range of possible award amounts is $500,000 to $1.75 million and SGC has a total of $8.35 million to award. Therefore, the number of awards could range from four to sixteen grants depending on the amount requested by the selected grantees.

Q: When will you make awards?

A: Award recommendations will be adopted by SGC’s Council on December 15, 2022.

Q: Where can applicants direct questions about the program?

A: Please send all questions to ta@sgc.ca.gov. SGC staff regularly monitor and respond to this email inbox.

Is implementation funding included in RCC capacity building and project development?

A: RCC is a capacity building program that is meant to help communities develop actionable projects and plans and equity-centered processes. Grant funds can be used to build community capacity to apply for grants and to support the equitable implementation of them. RCC does not include any funding for infrastructure.

Q: How does the RCC program address equity?

A: The RCC program addresses equity in many ways, particularly through the initial program development, the required activities, and advanced payment. Advancing equity is one of the RCC program's core objectives. The program was developed in large part from engaging with stakeholders around the state – our team engaged with over 400 stakeholders and were as responsive and inclusive as possible.

Required activities are focused on working with stakeholders and vulnerable populations to advance equity. The required activities section on page 3 of the Guidelines are designed to ensure that an RCC is incorporating environmental justice principles in their projects. For example, an RCC acting as a local TA provider to offer assistance and training on grant application development allows more funding to reach underserved communities.

Additionally, we can offer advanced payments to applicants. 25% of the total grant award can be administered through the advanced payment option. Page 21 in our Guidelines state, "SGC may provide advanced payments to reduce barriers and ensure RCC activities are initiated in a timely manner. Advance payments can be up to 25 percent of the total grant award, which can be provided in one payment or spread across a series of smaller installments and is to be determined in the Grant Agreement. All Collaboratives will be required to prioritize Partners that experience low cash flow to receive advances."

Q: Can we still submit a Full Application even though the Pre-Proposal deadline passed?

A: It is not required to fill out a Pre-Proposal, but we cannot guarantee technical assistance to applicants who did not fill out a Pre-Proposal. We held a recording of the Full Application webinar on YouTube. You can also find application materials and a number of other resources on our application RCC webpage.

Q: Will awardees have flexibility to reallocate funding as needed?

A: Grantees will have opportunities to amend their budget in consultation with and as approved by SGC.

Q: Can SGC share a sample agreement between the Managing Stakeholder and SGC?

A: SGC is unable to provide a sample grant agreement. Applicants can review the General Terms and Conditions provided by the California Department of General Services to review standard language many state agencies include in agreements.

Q: Will Round 1 awardees be eligible to apply for Round 2 funds, or will Round 2 funding be reserved for new Applicants (or those who were not awarded in Round 1)?

A: While SGC reserves the right to modify award amounts, SGC generally intends to award the selected Applicants the amounts they requested and does not anticipate drastically reducing award amounts. Applicants should develop a work plan that addresses community need and use the budget template to develop a budget that will enable project Partners to successfully carry out the work plan. It is not likely that SGC will award R1 grantees another award in R2 because SGC currently only has funding for two rounds of the program and aims to support multiple Collaboratives across the state. This could change in the future, however, should SGC receive funding for additional rounds following R2.


Q: Are the Pre-Proposalapplication answers limited to a maximumnumber of characters?

A: There is not a maximum number of characters. However, SGC did provide a recommendation on the maximum number of words for each responseon the Pre-ProposalApplication.

Q: Do you have a Word document of the Pre-Proposal questions so that we can work through those as a group before submitting?

A: Yes, we have recently posted a Word document with the Pre-Proposal application questions for drafting purposes. Applicants should still submit their final responses to each question through the Pre-Proposal form.

Q: Is the signed Partnership Agreement for the Collaborative needed for the Pre-Proposal application or is this only due for the final application?

A: The signed Partnership Agreement only needs to be included in the final application. The Pre-Proposal is an opportunity for applicants to draft their ideas, including possible Partners and a Managing Stakeholder. These can be different from what is eventually submitted in the full application.

Q: Are letters of commitment needed from stakeholders in the Pre-Proposal application?

A: Letters of commitment are not needed at the Pre-Proposal stage but will be required as part of the final application.

Q: For the scoring component “Project Need and Region”, can you describe what factors you use to evaluate the “region”?

A: The "region" scoring is looking for justification as to why a collaborative selected that region and communities of focus. Reviewers will be looking at whether the 51% of communities of focus requirement was just met or goes above and beyond. SGC will be looking for a strong explanation that applicants have put thought into the boundaries of the region and communities of focus.

Q: On the Pre-Proposal, how much detail should be provided on the budget estimates for proposed activities?

A: Applicants should include as much detail as possible, but won't be held to numbers in the Pre-Proposal if those shift before the final application. The Pre-Proposal isn’t taken into account in the final application evaluation.

Q: Once Pre-Proposals are submitted and reviewed, will SGC issue formal invitations to apply to the grant by October 7th?

A: SGC will not send a formal invitation to apply. The Pre-Proposal phase is a chance to provide feedback to applicants. There will be very clear instructions released once the full application is available.

Q: Does the project need to be part of an existing climate action plan?

A: The project does not need to be a part of an established climate action plan. However, if a project that a collaborative plans to work on is in an existing climate action plan, it would be good to indicate that in the application.

Q: For Full Application Narrative Questions responses, do we need to adhere to the word count?

A: Word counts are listed for each question on the Full Application Narrative Questions. Adhering to word counts is strongly recommended, but not required.

Q: Can the type of organization that serves as the Managing Stakeholder change between the Pre-Proposal and the Full Application?

A: Ideally it would be good to determine who will be the Managing Stakeholder as soon as is possible, but no one will be disqualified at the Pre-Proposal phase. It is really an opportunity for Applicants to think through as many of the details of their Collaborative as possible and receive feedback from SGC staff and TA Providers.

Q: Would this program be open to receiving an application that tries to integrate different climate related solutions?

A: In line with the RCC Program Objectives, Applicants are encouraged to focus on a number of different climate-related solutions within their RCC, leading to the development and alignment of climate mitigation, resilience, and adaptation plans and projects. There are opportunities to broadly address various climate issues that communities are concerned with. There may be places where wildfire, energy resilience, protecting agricultural land, clean transportation or other key climate issues are a focus. RCCs are encouraged to focus on issues that are prioritized by the under-resourced communities they serve.

Q: Do you have any guidance on how narrow/focused we need to be to strengthen our Application?

A: Applicants are free to decide how broad or narrow they would like to their strategies and tasks to be as long as they address all of the RCC mandatory activities. However, regardless of how broad or narrow each strategy is, Applicants are encouraged to include as much detail and specificity as possible to help reviewers understand what each strategy will entail.

Q: Can two complementary and collaborative proposals from the same region each be eligible for receiving an RCC award?

A: The RCC program guidelines does not restrict SGC from awarding two proposals working in the same region. While complementary activities between collaboratives is welcomed, SGC will evaluate each proposal independently which may impact the competitiveness of each, regardless of how integrated they are with one another.

Q: When will Applicants receive Pre-Proposal feedback?

A: SGC provided feedback to RCC applicants in early August, approximately 2 weeks after the Pre-Proposal deadline.

Q: Are the evaluation and peer-to-peer learning pieces their own standalone strategies, or are they to be included as part of another strategy or part of a budget item?

A: The evaluation and peer-to-peer learning pieces should be their own standalone strategies. See the required strategies table or the example work plan in the Application workbook – in the RCC Round 1 Full Grant App Packet – for an example of how to include those pieces in the work plan.

Q: The Pre-Proposal form does not allow submission of supplemental graphics, documents or images. Is there a way to submit these supplemental materials separately?

A: Supplemental graphics, documents or images were not a requirement for Pre-Proposal submission. We are not able to accept additional information related to any Pre-Proposals after the Pre-Proposal deadline, but we will accept these visuals for Full Application submission.

Q: Is SharePoint the only means of sending materials? Our organizational software set up has not proven compatible thus far.

A: All Application materials should be submitted via Sharepoint. If you think you may have issues using Sharepoint, we recommend filling out the Full Application Intent Survey as soon as possible and test uploading files to the Sharepoint folder. If you are still having issues and uploading via Sharepoint really does not seem like a viable option, please contact SGC at TA@sgc.ca.gov and we will work with you to find out a solution.

Q: Will Pre-Proposal feedback let us know if we’re on track for meeting the scoring criteria?

A: The feedback offered on Pre-Proposals is focused on ensuring Applicants meet the application threshold criteria. There will be no feedback related to competitiveness or the scoring criteria. The TA providers will be able to offer Applicants who submitted a Pre-Proposal more guidance on developing competitive Full Applications.

Q: Will the Pre-Proposals be made available for public view?

A: We are not sharing Pre-Proposals publicly during this round.

Q: Should staff hour rates be inclusive of costs for benefits and/or indirect costs for the staff cost detail?

A: Please include the fully burdened rate for the staff cost detail. The indirect cost rate is set up separately as part of the budget. The indirect cost rate is 30%, and the staff hour rate is the fully burdened rate.

Q: How many Pre-Proposals were received?

A: SGC received approximately 86 Pre-Proposals.

Q: Can you explain the "contiguous counties" requirement?

A: The 1-8 contiguous counties requirement is that they need to be touching in order to be considered regionally focused. Collaboratives are then able to focus their place-based work on Communities of Focus within the regional boundary. Please see our Region & Communities of Focus guidance memo for more information.

Q: Which total should we be using for the peer-to-peer learning and evaluation? Is it out of the total ask amount, or the total direct cost?

A: Peer-to-peer learning and evaluation should each be 3-5% of the total ask amount.

Q: Should Applicants follow the stated word count guidance on the Application Instructions document, or the Narrative Questions document? Will SGC and the interagency review panel read responses that exceed the word limit?

A: Applicants should follow the instructions on the Application Instructions document. The instructions in the General Narrative Document were updated to reflect the same guidance as is in the Application Instructions documents. Reviewers will read responses that exceed the word limits.

Q: What constitutes a "project" in the RCC Guidelines?

A: A project is how a Collaborative will demonstrate how they will perform the program activities and advance the program objectives. An RCC project encompasses the strategies, tasks, and activities the grantees plan to carry out. Please review the Strategy Guidance to help Applicants think through how they organize their RCC projects.

Q: Who may sign the Letter of Authorization for an organization - the CEO or the governing board? Must the Letter of Authorization be submitted within the Full Application?

A: The Letter of Authorization can be signed by an organization's director/CEO or the governing board. This will depend on each entity's own policies or processes related to pursuing funding and entering into contracts on behalf of the organization. The Letter of Authorization does need to be submitted within the Full Application.

Q: I don’t see a column for Direct Costs in the Overall Budget Tab. Should we add a Direct Costs column?

A: The costs you see in the Budget worksheet (Staff, Travel, Admin, etc) are direct costs, so there is no need to add another column. Please see the "Eligible Costs" section on page 8 of the Guidelines and the "Direct Costs" and "Indirect Costs" definitions on page 35 of the Glossary in the Guidelines.

Q: Do only Tribal Applicants need to submit a Letter of Authorization? Or should all Managing Stakeholders (who are not a public agency) use that template as a form of authorization passed by the organization's governing body?

A: If the Managing Stakeholder is not a public agency, the Managing Stakeholder must still include an authorization in the form of a formal letter or resolution passed by the organization’s governing body that includes authorization to apply for and accept an RCC Grant, and authority to execute all related documents if awarded. Federally Recognized Tribal Governments may provide an approved resolution or a letter of authorization.

Q: Does SGC have any requirements beyond the description in the Application Instructions for the Organizational Chart or Diagram? If Applicants believe that their structure will be similar to the chart SGC provided in the Program Guidelines, can they use a similar chart?

A: Applicants may use a similar chart to the one provided in the RCC Guidelines or develop a different visual that better suits their collaborative.

Q: Are Applicants expected to add more personalized details to the first two required strategies?

A: There is no need to modify the required strategies related to peer-to-peer learning and evaluation.

Q: Question 2 on the Narrative Questions document states the response should be 4-5 sentences, but has a 500 word limit. Are applicants expected to limit their response to 5 sentences or can they just adhere to the 500 word limit?

A: Applicants should prioritize staying within the suggested word limit for each question.

Q: Will SGC provide templates for letters of support?

A: SGC is not providing templates for letters of support at this time.

Q: Our program uses air quality monitors as a teaching tool for children as part of the Collaborative activities. Once we use the monitors in a class, we donate the monitors to the kids. Are these air quality monitors an eligible cost?

A: If the air quality monitors are being used as education materials for an eligible activity in the work plan, and are not already funded by another source, they would be an eligible cost under "supplies" (Page 8 of the Guidelines).

Q: What is the SGC looking for in the Partner Commitment letters that isn’t already in the template for the Partnership Agreement?

A: There are templates for the commitment letter and the partnership agreement on SGC's website. There is also information on pages 16-17 of the RCC program guidelines about all of the required elements of the partnership agreement.

Q: What is the SGC looking for in the applicant reference letter(s)? Are the reference letters meant to speak to the competency of the applicant whereas the letters of support are about supporting the project as a whole?

A: Yes, that is correct. Both reference letters and letters of support are optional and reference letters are meant to provide a reference for specific applicants while the letters of support can be from community partners who stand to benefit or are in some way interested in supporting the project itself.

Q: What must Applicants include on the project area map?

A: The project area map should show the regional boundary, the Communities of Focus, and the under-resourced communities criteria that pertain to the Communities of Focus. (See the Application instructions page in the RCC application packet for more information).

Q: Is there a limit on the quantity or size of supplemental uploads?

A: No. However, we ask that applicants please provide a reasonable amount of documentation so that reviewers will feasibly be able to review it.

Q: Under what category would consultants be categorized? Staff Costs?

A: Yes, consultants would be listed under Staff Costs.

Q: Could an Applicant propose a timeline shorter than the 3-year grant timeline?

A: All RCC grant terms need to be three years per the enabling legislation for the RCC program.

Q: How many hours should applicants anticipate for the mandatory Administrative, Project Evaluation and Tracking, and SGC-facilitated peer-to-peer learning activities?

A: The hours will vary depending on each Collaborative's distinct workplans. Each Collaborative will be responsible for identifying which of their members will participate in SGC's statewide peer-to-peer learning and can expect to participate in virtual quarterly sessions. These sessions will range between 1-2 hours. Grantees can put an estimate of their peer-to-peer learning in their workplans and adjust during the Grant Agreement process and/or when creating the RCC Action Plan. Applicants should have multiple representatives from different Partners participate in the peer-to-peer learning. It should not be only the Managing Stakeholder. If Applicants want to facilitate local and regional peer-to-peer learning outside of the SGC-facilitated quarterly sessions, then Applicants will need to determine what that looks like and how many hours to dedicate.

Q: The Staff Cost Detail tab only allows for the Managing Stakeholder and two Partner organizations. Should we add columns to accommodate additional Partners?

A: Yes, please add columns for additional partners.

Q: Does each Co-Applicant need a dedicated line item in the budget specific to their organization? Or could there be a budget line item for equity group staff time compensation (inclusive of Co-Applicants and additional unnamed partners) that will be more specifically allocated through a participatory budgeting process?

A: All co-applicants must have a funded role within the workplan and should be represented in the budget. The staff cost detail sheet in the workbook is where applicants can specify the amount of staff hours each co-applicant will spend on RCC activities. The co-applicants should do their best to estimate staff time before submitting their final application. It will be possible to make minor changes to the budget during the grant term in consultation with SGC, but making substantial budget and work plan changes will be more challenging and may not be possible.

Q: In the "Overall Budget" tab of the Application Workbook, is it required to break down the costs by Partner or just offer one number inclusive of all Partners? Is there another location/document where partner-by-partner cost breakdown would be necessary?

A: In the "Overall Budget" tab it is not necessary to break down the cost by partner. The breakdown by partner will be shown in the "Staff Cost Detail" sheet of the application workbook. It is not necessary to specify in the application which co-applicants will be responsible for other types of costs.

Q: How do Applicants show future additions to the Collaborative on the org chart?

A: Applicants can add a placeholder for a Partner that has not yet been selected in the org chart that they submit with the full application if they wish by adding an organization that is labeled as TBD and/or adding any additional information about the type of Partner they are seeking.

Q: Our team just submitted the RCC Full Application Survey and were wondering if we would be able to allow additional people access to the Sharepoint folder later.

A: Yes, please send an email requesting that we give access to additional people to TA@sgc.ca.gov from an email address that already has access to the folder, and we can grant them access.

Q: What types of documents would be included as part of the "Background Documentation"? Are staff resumes expected to be included?

A: Applicants are encouraged to submit to submit Background Documentation that demonstrates the Managing Stakeholder and/or Co-Applicant's previous relevant experience related to the RCC program objectives. Staff resumes would qualify as appropriate Background Documentation.

Q: The "Threshold Uploads" section of the RCC Application Instructions document (page 6) lists "Managing Stakeholder Reference Letter" as a required submittal item for Applicant Eligibility, but Reference Letters are also listed under "Supplemental Uploads (optional)" section. Can you confirm that Reference Letters are optional uploads for the RCC Application?

A: Thank you for flagging that error. This is a typo and SGC staff are working to correct it. Reference Letters are optional for the RCC Application.

Q: Which mapping resources will SGC accept for determining eligibility of Communities of Focus? Will SGC accept if an Applicant references 2020 census data in their narrative?

A: Applicants should refer to resources provided by State and recommended by SGC, including the CCI Mapping Tool (which uses CES 4.0 and was last updated in May 2022) and the DWR Disadvantaged Communities Mapping Tool (which uses ACS 2016-2020 data) to identify the Region/Communities of Focus. However, if applicants have used 2020 data to determine the eligibility of their Communities of Focus, SGC will accept that as well.

Q: For the required shapefiles, do applicants need to submit one shapefile for the region and one for all the Community of Focus census tracts, or one per Community of Focus Tract?

A: It is allowable for applicants to merge all of the individual Community of Focus tracts and into one shapefile.

Eligible Activities

Q: The mandatory activities section of the Guidelines suggests that all of the listed activities need to be addressed in the workplan unless the SGC determines, in consultation with a Collaborative, that an activity is unnecessary. Should applicants do their best to address everything either way, or would an application still be accepted without all of the activities addressed?

A: Applicants should ideally aim to fulfill all the required activities for the program. However, if the applicant has a compelling reason for why a specific required activity would not be beneficial or appropriate, SGC recommends that the applicant include a note in their Pre-Proposal application explaining the reasons why their Collaborative should not be required to fulfill that activity and SGC will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Do grantees need to solicit additional funding to implement the plans/projects developed through the RCC grant?

A: Yes, the RCC program funds the technical assistance and capacity building activities needed to plan for and implement projects and plans, but does not fund any infrastructure. Some of the mandatory activities for the problem that relate to soliciting grant funding include: conducting outreach and building awareness of competitive grant programs; providing policy, program, and technical assistance expertise to develop and align multi-benefit projects with potential funding supports; offering assistance and training for grant application development, project management, implementation, and monitoring; and serving as an intermediary between stakeholders and technical experts from State agencies and other organizations. Applicants must specify how they plan to address these and all other mandatory activities in their work plan. The mandatory activities for the RCC program can be found on page of the Guidelines. Q: Can RCC fund relationship building events and activities to build community and resiliency at the same time? For example, could it fund a garden work day that brings together folks from around the community to connect, collaborate, and build resiliency? A: The RCC program can fund a wide variety of relationship-building activities. As long as the project components meet the requirements in the program guidelines, there is an opportunity to be creative.

Q: What is the breadth of environmental and climate related topics that should be covered in a Collaborative? Is there a target number of sectors that each should propose to address (greening, transportation, water, air quality, etc.)?

A: There is no target number of sectors that a collaborative should propose to address. It would be good to avoid focusing all the RCC activities narrowly on one climate-related issue, but it’s really up to proposers to determine which climate-related issues to focus on and how many of them to address. It may be helpful to look at the scoring criteria in Section XI of the Program Guidelines. It is important for the applicant to ensure that the proposed project addresses priority climate issues experienced by communities within the region and that the organizations within the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure have the subject matter expertise to carry out the work plan.

Q: What can grant funds be used for?

A: For a full list of eligible costs, please see pages 8-9 of the RCC Program Guidelines. For a list of ineligible costs, please see page 10.

Q: How specific can the strategies be?

A: The strategies can be specific or broad depending on the way the applicant chooses to organize their work plan, but the overall workplan should demonstrate that the collaborative is across a range of climate-related issues. However, Collaboratives are not required to focus on every climate-related issue and should develop the scope of their RCC work plan based on the needs of the communities they will serve and the expertise of the organizations that are a part of the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure.

Q: Can you specify what you mean by "lobbying" as an ineligible cost? Would a regional campaign on local development standards be eligible? What about a "commissioners training" program?

A: RCC cannot fund any direct lobbying efforts related to any proposed legislation at the federal, state, regional, or local levels. However, RCC could potentially fund a training program for local commissioners focused on climate resiliency/adaption efforts. The applicant team must demonstrate how this program would align with the overall vision of the collaborative.

Q: Can we explore the establishment of a new administrative entity, such as a JPA or Special District, during the grant period?

A: Establishing a new administrative entity could be an eligible activity as long as it helps the RCC advance climate-related goals, and the applicant can show that this is aligned with the RCC Program Objectives and the Collaborative's vision statement.

Q: Who is expected to lead peer-to-peer activities?

A: We will enlist TA providers for the implementation phase of the grant, and they will facilitate regular peer-to-peer sessions. Grantees are just responsible for actively participating in them.

Q: Who should the budget be set aside for? Are the funds meant to pay SGC and its contractors or to pay for the RCC’s own grant activities? Is it possible for us to coordinate with other RCC applicants if we wanted to have peer-to-peer activities that spanned a larger cluster or region?

A: Applicants are required to hold 3-5% of their total project budget to participate in virtual peer-to-peer learning sessions and trainings. This set-aside is meant to cover staff time for Collaborative members to join these. Grantees can also use RCC grant funds to organize their own peer-to-peer learning sessions among collaborative members or other local and regional partners and/or stakeholders. While participating in SGC-led peer-to-peer learning sessions is a mandatory activity for all RCC grantees, organizing other forms of peer-to-peer learning is an optional but eligible activity.

Q: Does it make more sense for the strategies be broader categories (policy change) or more specific to particular campaigns/action issues?

A: RCCs may support a broad array of strategies as long as they address all of the RCC required activities and align with RCC Program Objectives. SGC does not want to be overly prescriptive on what the strategies can look like and will defer to grantees on how broad or focused they want strategies to be. SGC created an Example Strategy Guide to help Applicants with building out their strategies and work plans.

Q: Is there a required number of strategies?

A: We do not have an expectation for the number of strategies an RCC should propose - we will leave that up to the Applicant to decide. The only requirement of the strategies is that they address all the required activities in the grant.

Q: What are examples of cases where a Collaborative can justify omitting a required activity?

A: SGC will consider the omission of certain required activities on a case-by-case basis. Applicants should contact SGC at TA@sgc.ca.gov if they would like to discuss this possibility. There may be cases where activities won’t be a good fit, and we don’t want grantees to do something that does not make sense in a local context.

Q: Are drought resiliency projects focused on water supply eligible under the grant?

A: Strategies related to drought resiliency are eligible. The RCC program is able to fund capacity building activities related to climate mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency. The RCC Guidelines offer more detail on eligible strategies and activities starting on page 3.

Q: Can you elaborate on anti-displacement policy/program development?

A: This is part of the required activities in the Guidelines (pages 3 to 5) and Applicants must include how they will assist in the development of local job training and anti-displacement policies and programs. Applicants should develop these policies and programs based on local and regional context and community engagement.

Q: Can RCC funds be used for environmental testing and surveying to inform community process and project development? Can these documents then be included in a CEQA EIR?

A: The Applicant should explain in the application how the proposed studies support capacity building and advance community priorities and the Collaborative’s work plan. SGC could fund studies that contribute to a CEQA EIR as long as there is a clear connection to capacity building. Lastly, it would not be very competitive if studies like this took up a significant portion of the budget, since it is an optional but not core activity for the program.

Q: What does it mean for a Collaborative to act as a local TA provider?

A: One of the required activities for the RCC grant includes acting as a local TA provider and helping to coordinate and connect community members to existing TA programs.

Q: Would a universal basic income pilot be an eligible cost?

A: No, a universal basic income pilot is not an eligible cost or activity for the RCC Program.

Q: Can we modify or rearrange Strategies 1 and 2 to include other tasks?

A: Applicants are welcome to organize the Strategies in their Workplan as they see fit as long as all the required activities and deliverables listed on Pages 3 – 7 of the RCC Guidelines are being addressed. It is encouraged that Applicants utilize a similar structure to the one that is provided in the application Workbook.

Q: Can the workplan include efforts with communities outside the identified Communities of Focus? If so, how much time/budget can be allocated to more regional engagement versus place-based engagement in the CoFs?

A: As long as the requirements for the Communities of Focus are met (see our explainer document for more information), both regional and place-based engagement may be allocated among the budget and workplan depending on the Collaborative's overall vision and goals. Project activities that include a place-based focus, such as informing the development of local plans and projects, must demonstrate how the selected under-resourced communities within the Region will be included in and benefit from project activities. Project activities that take place at a broader regional scale, such as informing a regional transportation plan, must demonstrate how residents and organizations from the Communities of Focus will be involved in informing and contributing to these efforts. It is important to focus capacity building activities at multiple scales, given that plans and policies at various scales can work together to inform outcomes in neighborhoods. Collaboratives should conduct capacity building work within a set of under-resourced communities within a region to identify climate-related priorities and opportunities for funding, as well as inform initiatives at the regional level with experience and knowledge of local needs. The Collaborative should also work across selected under-resourced communities within the region to identify shared needs, priorities, challenges, and strategies that can be addressed by policy strategies at the local, county, and regional scales.

Q: Would local and regional advocacy/engagement efforts to advance community priorities around climate be an eligible activity?

A: The RCC Program cannot fund any direct lobbying efforts. The Applicant will need to specify what types of advocacy efforts are being proposed and explain how they will advance community priorities.

Q: Would urging the Board of Supervisors to, for example, improve the general plan to address the lack of access to affordable housing, be an eligible activity?

A: Ineligible costs related to lobbying include advocacy work to lobby for the passage of specific bills or local propositions, including funding for specific projects. Urging the Board to update its general plan could be construed as lobbying, and likely would not be a competitive proposal. Rather, consider demonstrating efforts that go beyond simply urging the Board, such as including tangible community engagement, capacity building, and technical assistance work that supports the push for stronger general plan policy.


Q: Can poorly executed local process or gaps identified by these processes be a justification for project need?

A: Lack of capacity and gaps identified by local processes can certainly be a component of an applicant’s justification for project need. The project need section should be specific and clearly outline the climate, environmental, and socio-economic, and community-wide factors that necessitate capacity building at the various scales proposed by the Collaborative. Project need should build on the vision statement and inform the scope of work. There is more information about considerations related to project need on page 27 of the Guidelines.

Q: How do you define academic institutions? Would public school districts qualify?

A: Yes. It will be important to demonstrate how the school district plays a key community-based outreach and/or technical assistance role within the region. If the school district plans to be a Managing Stakeholder, it will need to demonstrate the management and financial capacity to be accountable for the grant.

Q: Are fiscally sponsored nonprofits eligible to apply?

A: Yes, non-profits with fiscal sponsors are eligible to apply as project Partners, but SGC recommends that they not apply as Managing Stakeholders if they do not have the financial and administrative capacity to fulfill that role. In some cases, the fiscal sponsor could apply as a Managing Stakeholder for the Collaborative, particularly if the fiscal sponsor plays a trusted role in the communities the proposed Collaborative will serve. See SGC's recommendations for the key attributes of a Managing Stakeholder on page 15 of the Guidelines for more considerations applicants may want to take into account when selecting a Managing Stakeholder.

Q: Are UCs eligible applicants?

A: UCs are eligible Applicants; they would have to partner with other organizations to compose a collaborative stakeholder structure. They wouldn’t be able to receive funding on their own for this program.

Q: Would a Collaborative composed entirely of Tribal Governments be eligible for the program or would a local agency have to be included in the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure?

A: Tribes are eligible to be either a Managing Stakeholder or project Partner and there is no requirement for a local agency to be included in a Collaborative. However, the enabling legislation for the program (SB 1072) does emphasize diverse partnerships and the scoring criteria for RCC includes a consideration of the diversity of organizations within a Collaborative. If all of the project Partners are the same type of organization, applicants may want to consider reaching out to other types of organizations that could contribute meaningfully to the activities of their proposed Collaborative.

Q: Are you looking for organizations within the same county or from several counties?

A: The makeup of the Collaborative is dependent on how applicants choose to define the boundaries of their region, which can be between one and eight contiguous counties. It is important to ensure that the organizations within the Collaborative have a history of working within the selected region and communities of focus.

Q: What types of entities are eligible Co-Applicants?

A: Eligible co-applicants for a Collaborative include, but are not necessarily limited to: California Native American Tribes, community-based organizations, joint powers authorities, local government agencies, small businesses, and other organizations with a history of providing community-based outreach or technical assistance. (See page 14 of the Guidelines for a full list).

Q: What is the difference between “under-resourced” and “disadvantaged” communities?

A: The "under-resourced" terminology comes out of SB 1072, which refers back to “disadvantaged communities” under the Department of Water Resources’ DAC and “disadvantaged” or “low-income” communities under the California Air Resources Board’s Priority Populations. If communities qualify as disadvantaged or low income according to these resources, they would qualify for the RCC program.

Q: Can we work with communities that are not under-resourced?

A: Applicants can work with communities that are not under-resourced and still meet the program requirements as long as they meet the 51% of census tracts requirement.

Q: Are small businesses eligible applicants?

A: Eligible applicants for the RCC Program are listed on page 14 of the Program Guidelines and include small businesses and "other organizations with a history of providing community-based outreach or technical assistance." If the business meets either of those criteria it would be an eligible applicant for the program.

Q: Can small/informal organizations apply as Managing Stakeholder?

A: Managing Stakeholders must Applicants must provide sufficient information to demonstrate their management and financial capacity to enter into a grant agreement with SGC and adhere to the reimbursement processes of the RCC Program and defined by the Grant Agreement, ensuring prompt payment to Partners, and meeting reporting timelines. See pages 15 and 16 for additional information about the key attributes for Collaboratives to consider when deciding which organization within the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure will serve as the Managing Stakeholder.

Q: Does the RCC Program have a Tribal set-aside?

A: The RCC program does not have a Tribal set-aside. However, we have been very intentional about engaging with Tribes throughout the development and implementation of the program through listening sessions and workshops and are providing technical assistance to help with the application.

Q: Would an Applicant remain eligible if their community scores poorly in CalEnviroScreen?

A: Yes; the definition of under-resourced communities for the RCC program comes from the enabling legislation for the program (SB 1072). It includes Disadvantaged Communities according to CalEnviroScreen but also incorporates other definitions as well, including low-income communities according to AB 1550 and disadvantaged communities according to the DWR DAC Mapping Tool (Census tracts with a median household income less than 80% of the statewide average). See the Region and Communities Guidance Memo on SGC's website for more information.

Q: Does a private landowner in a Disadvantaged Community have a role in an RCC?

A: All project Partners need to be eligible applicants, as described on page 14 of the Guidelines. It is important to partner with organizations that have the expertise and knowledge to carry out the tasks in the workplan in line with the RCC's vision and the Program Objectives. Additionally, there are opportunities to engage organizations that are not a formal member of the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure as an informal partner.

Q: If most Tribal Partners in an application are in the same census tract, but there are at least 2 adjacent census tracts, is that eligible?

A: It is allowable for a Tribal partner to focus on a specific census tract within a RCC's proposed regional boundary. SGC requires that there are a minimum of two under-resourced census tracts that are designated as communities of focus. The census tracts do not need to be contiguous. See our guidance memo for more details on the requirements related to Region and Communities of Focus.

Q: Would a workforce development, community development, and economic development organization that trains workers in carpentry and building affordable housing be eligible for the RCC program?

A: Thank you for your interest in the RCC program. RCC program activities must build the capacity of under-resourced communities to secure funding for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience projects. As part of the required program activities, Collaboratives must include job training and anti-displacement components to the project. Given the workforce development alignment with your activities, we recommend contacting other potential applicants in your region that may be able to complement your expertise to be able to meet all of the required RCC activities specified on pages 3-5 of the RCC Guidelines. Please let us know if you would like us to put you in contact with other potential applicants in your region.

Q: How should non-funded partners or match resources be treated in the partnership agreement, work plan and budget?

A: Non-funded partners and match resources may be mentioned in the full application narrative responses and in the workplan, but should not be included in the partnership agreement or budget. Non-funded partners can submit letters of support for the full application if desired.

Q: Do anti-displacement efforts for the program need to be directly related to climate change?

A: The anti-displacement efforts would not need to directly address climate change. However, they should be tied to climate-related activities in the RCC work plan. For example, applicants may engage in developing anti-displacement plans and/or policies to protect residents from any potential gentrification related to climate-related projects developed through RCC activities.

Q: How do tribes self-identify on the application? Would they need to provide supporting documentation (beyond a Tribal Letter of Authorization)?

A: In order to qualify as a California Native American Tribe, they would need to be on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC). If not, they can select "other" and provide a short description of their organization's status. Documentation is optional, but they should explain any past experience providing community-based outreach or technical assistance.

Project Area

Q: How does the RCC Program define region?

A: The selected region must:

  • At minimum, include two under-resourced census tracts that the proposed activities will focus on (these do not need to be contiguous)
  • Cover a geographic area of between one and eight (1–8) contiguous counties

Q: Would SGC fund two or more applications from the same region if they have entirely different strategies? Or would you suggest that these applicants collaborate instead?

A: In the event that SGC receives multiple Pre-Proposals from the same region, SGC's technical assistance providers may connect the different applicants to see if they are interested in partnering on a joint proposal. At the full application stage, SGC does not preclude itself from funding more than one Collaborative in the same region as long as (1) the Collaboratives are focused on distinct activities and issue areas and (2) there is a demonstrated need for more than one Collaborative in that region.

Q: Do you intend to award only 1 proposal for each region? A: This program does not include a regional allocation. Grantees will be selected based on the scoring criteria provided in the Guidelines. While geographic diversity will be taken into account in the selection process, there is no guarantee that SGC will fund an RCC in every region. Q: There are many different regional definitions in the State of California. Can applicants utilize regional boundaries that are already established?

A: Outside of the 1-8 contiguous counties and two under-resourced census tracts requirements (See page 10 of the Guidelines for more information), the definition of region for this program is adaptable and meant to be responsive to local context. As long as the program's threshold definition for region is met, using a pre-established region is fine.

Q: Would a smaller group of Under-Resourced Communities within one county be more competitive in this program than a Collaborative that covers multiple counties?

A: SGC does not have a preference for broader regional collaboratives versus a single county and is instead interested in funding a wide range of collaboratives that work at different scales. In the Full Application, Applicants will be required to make a clear case for their definition of the region and communities of focus proposed with an explanation of why the selected under-resourced communities within the region were selected. In scoring applications, reviewers will consider both the proportion of under-resourced communities served above threshold requirements and the proportion of under-resourced communities within the overall region, but not the size of the region.

Q: Must the Collaborative reach/serve an entire county at a minimum? For example, if the Collaborative has a focus on connecting communities within the city of Los Angeles, is this a wide enough reach?

A: A Collaborative's regional scope must be between 1–8 continuous counties. Applicants are required to select Communities of Focus within their proposed region (51% of the selected census tracts for Communities of Focus must meet the definition of under-resourced and are not required to be contiguous). Applicants should seek to focus capacity building activities at multiple scales, given that plans and policies at various scales can work together to inform outcomes in neighborhoods.

Q: Should the RCC activities happening in the Communities of Focus tie into county level regional planning and or development/climate activities?

A: Collaboratives should consider strategies that build capacity at various levels and with various beneficiaries within a region. For example, not all capacity building strategies should focus on increasing resident knowledge of climate change just as they should not all focus on addressing capacity gaps at the local or regional government level. Effective collaboratives will work to build capacity among residents and community organizations at the network scale, at the local government level, and within regional government efforts.

Q: How do we know if our census tracts qualify?

A: In order to confirm eligibility, please refer to two mapping resources here:

  • A ‘disadvantaged’ community according to the California Air Resources Board's Priority Populations Map OR
  • A ‘low income’ community according to the California Air Resources Board's Priority Populations Map OR
  • A ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘severely disadvantaged’ community according to the California Department of Water Resources' DAC Mapping Tool

If the intended project covers a geographic area of between 1-8 contiguous counties and a minimum of 2 under-resourced census tracts, then the other piece to consider is whether 51% of the communities of focus under the project are under-resourced. SGC will soon be posting a guidance document to help applicants understand how to use these tools.

Q: Would 1 of 2 census tracts qualify?

A: No – if the project only covers 2 census tracts, then both would need to be under-resourced. 51% of the census tracts selected for the project must be under-resourced.

Q: Do cities qualify as regions?

A: A city does not qualify as a region under the RCC program. The region must comprise between 1 to 8 contiguous counties. The selected Communities of Focus, however, could be comprised of census tracts in a specific city.

Q: Does the 51% under-resourced requirement apply to regions?

A: The 51% under-resourced requirement applies to the census tracts that are selected as communities of focus and does not apply to the regional boundaries.

Q: Can we choose communities within a single, large census tract to be our Communities of Focus? More broadly, does there need to be parity among Communities of Focus receiving benefits from the program? Could a particular community of focus will receive more support from the RCC?

A: It is possible to focus on specific communities within a census tract. In your application, you may include additional details on your Project Area Map and narrative responses about the communities you are focusing on. Applicants are free to determine how support will be allocated among census tracts. If there are significant discrepancies between the budget for each Community of Focus, it will be beneficial to offer a justification explaining why the budget has been allocated in that way.

Q: Does the Applicant need to include a Community of Focus in each of the counties selected for the Region?

A: The RCC Guidelines does not require that each county in the Region include a Community of Focus, but the Applicant will need to justify why the county without a Community of Focus was included in the Region.

Q: How do federally unrecognized Indigenous Tribes or Nations link specific census tracts with indigenous homelands that are relevant to the proposed activities and strategies (e.g. homelands may span multiple tracts/county/state-relegated geographic boundaries)?

A: Census tracts selected as Communities of Focus need to be 51% under-resourced according to the definition provided in the Guidelines. Applicants can use the CCI Mapping Tool or the DWR Disadvantaged Communities Mapping Tool to identify these communities. The Applicant is able to have Communities of Focus that span multiple census tracts and Communities of Focus do not need to be contiguous like the regional boundary requirement.

Collaborative Stakeholder Structure

Q: Can the Managing Stakeholder change between the Pre-Proposal and Full Application phase?

A: Yes. The Pre-Proposal phase is an opportunity for applicants to think through as many of the details of their Collaborative as possible and receive feedback from SGC staff and TA Providers. No one will be disqualified at the Pre-Proposal phase. However, it is advisable for applicants to select their Managing Stakeholder as soon as they can, since this is an important role in the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure. If it is possible that the Managing Stakeholder may change, please note that in the comment box on the Pre-Proposal form. It may also be helpful for the Technical Assistance team if you list some of the other potential Managing Stakeholders.

Q: Do you have templates and models to share with best practices for the Partnership Agreement and governance structure?

A: SGC has recently released a Collective Impact Resources document providing best practices and examples of collaborative efforts. We will also provide a template Partnership Agreement soon. Q: In the Guidelines it states that the Managing Stakeholder must have “Experience and expertise in climate change mitigation, adaptation, and/or resilience, with a focus on the areas of intervention proposed within the workplan.” Is that a requirement? A: The list of key attributes of a Managing Stakeholder on page 15 of the Guidelines is meant to help guide applicants in determining who would be an ideal Managing Stakeholder for their Collaborative. Managing Stakeholders are not required to fulfill these attributes in order to be eligible for the program. They are only required to provide sufficient information to demonstrate their management and financial capacity to fulfill the role of Managing Stakeholder for the grant.

Q: Is there a limit to how many Partners can team in one submission?

A: No, there is only a required minimum of 4 stakeholders (1 Managing Stakeholder and 3 project Partners). However, it is important to keep in mind that all project Partners should have a funded role in the RCC work plan and budget.

Q: Will teams be able to add Partners in the second stage (for example, to fill a gap or need identified after submission review)?

A: Yes, new Partners can be added to the Collaborative after the final application has been submitted. Up to 15% of the grant award can be reserved for new Partners who are added during the grant term.

Q: Should only partners be listed who would receive funding from the grant, or other organizations who will participate in the Collaborative but not need funding for their participation (e.g., a local utility or district)?

A: Only funded Partners should be named as part of the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure and included in the Partnership Agreement.

Q: What is the role of county governments and regional planning bodies in a collaborative? Can they participate as a partner without being an official co-applicant?

A: County governments are eligible applicants for an RCC Collaborative. They can apply as part of a Collaborative to receive a grant award. County governments can also be Managing Stakeholders (the entity that executes the grant agreement with SGC and is the primary point of contact between the Collaborative and SGC) and must provide evidence of a passed formal resolution in the full application that includes an authorization to apply for and accept an RCC Grant, and authority to execute all related documents if awarded. It is possible for the County to play a role without being a formal applicant. That role could be as involved as partner-level without being an official Collaborative partner. You may choose to include a letter of support to the Collaborative without being formally included in the budget. Regional planning bodies can apply as a Partner with a formal function in an RCC if they have a history of providing community-based outreach or technical assistance. If not, a letter of support will suffice.

Q: Can my organization be a Managing Stakeholder and/or Partner on more than one RCC application?

A: Organizations may apply with multiple applications as either the Managing Stakeholder or a Partner, provided the projects are separate and distinct from one another, and that the organization in question can provide a justification that they have accounted for adequate staff time to engage in all grants they have applied to if awarded.

Q: Can a Managing Stakeholder invoice for Partners' overhead costs?

A: The overall overhead amount can be up to 30% of the overall budget. When the grantee invoices SGC, they will add a line item for overhead, which can include overhead for the Managing Stakeholder or any project Partners. The Managing Stakeholder would oversee the invoicing process with Partners and will be responsible for distributing overhead payment among project partners.

Q: Do Tribal coalitions need to include non-Tribal partners?

A: A Tribal collaborative does not need to include non-Tribal partners. However, it is advisable for applicants to consider that the RCC scoring criteria includes points for whether a collaborative is diverse in types of organizations and approach. A diverse partnership could be defined broadly – this could include tribal-serving organizations, small businesses, school districts, etc. A public agency does not need to be a part of a collaborative. SGC and the RCC TA providers can work with applicants to think through the partnership agreement and how to protect Tribal sovereignty.

Q: What is “established trust” and how does one determine that?

A: The RCC program does not have a set definition for established trust, but we hope that this program will be a good opportunity for applicants to begin thinking about who the anchors in their community are. Engaging trusted partners in the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure as either a Managing Stakeholder or project Partner is critical to be able to effectively carry out the partnership development, convening, and community engagement activities associated with RCC. This established trust can also ensure that the relationships and capacity built during the grant term will sustain into the future.

Q: Is the Managing Stakeholder the only one in a Collaborative that needs the resolution from the governing board?

A: Yes, the Managing Stakeholder is the only member that needs the resolution from the governing board. All partners will need a letter of commitment to join the collaborative. These documents will need to be submitted as part of the final application.

Q: A lot of our work is agency to agency collaboration rather than with community groups. Are we still eligible if we do not involve community groups?

A: Our required Activities (pages 3-5 of the Guidelines) include conducting community engagement with under-resourced communities and centering community engagement and decision making in Collaborative activities is one of the four RCC Program Objectives. While including community-based organizations in the Collaborative is not a threshold requirement, it will be important for applicants to consider how they will be able to meaningfully meet required activities and program objectives without including community groups within their Collaborative Stakeholder Structure.

Q: Can a Partner hire a consultant to help with some of the tasks?

A: RCCs may hire contractors to help accomplish parts of the work. Page 19 of the Guidelines describes the role contractors may play in an RCC. Applicants should ensure that contractors do not take an outsized portion of the budget, and that they prioritize helping Partners build their capacity.

Q: What does the following quote from the Partnership Agreement template mean and how will it be enforced? “The Managing Stakeholder and each Co-Applicant shall have equal standing and collective accountability for implementing grant program requirements within the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure.”

A: The Partnership Agreement template is meant to be a starting point for collaborative members to use when developing their agreement. Applicants are not required to use the Partnership Agreement template, and if they do, are encouraged to adapt the template to fit their purposes. Applicants should ensure that their Partnership Agreement fulfills all the requirements listed on pages 16-17 of the RCC Guidelines. This quote from the Partnership Agreement template indicates that the Managing Stakeholder and all funded Partners have the same level of responsibility to implement the program according to the workplan. This is suggested language to help the collaborative partners set expectations around accountability for RCC activities and will not be enforced by SGC. The Managing Stakeholder is the entity that executes the grant agreement with SGC and is the primary point of contact between the Collaborative and SGC.

Q: Can you provide sample dispute resolution language?

A: SGC is unable to provide sample dispute language. It is up to each Collaborative to determine how they will handle disputes.

Q: Is it possible to submit separate signed letters from Partners or do all signatures need to be combined and submitted as a singular document?

A: All members of the Collaborative will need to sign and submit one (1) Partnership Agreement. Signatures may be digital and can be on separate signature pages if needed. Applicants should merge all signature pages into one (1) document.

Q: Will the Partnership Agreement be evaluated by any criteria?

A: The Partnership Agreement will be evaluated based on the detailed scoring criteria, which starts on page 26 of the Guidelines. Applicants can score up to 8 points based on the Partnership Agreement's completeness and inclusion of "effective and equitable governance structures, decision making protocols, group agreements and policies, and conflict mitigation and resolution strategies." (Page 29). Additionally, pages 16-17 describe what Partnership agreements should include. The Partnership Agreement Template also provides guidance on what Applicants need to include.

Q: Are all collaborative members expected to participate in the peer-to-peer learning, or just the Managing Stakeholder?

A: Each Collaborative will be responsible for identifying which of their members will participate in SGC's statewide peer-to-peer learning and can expect to participate in virtual quarterly sessions. These sessions will range between 1-2 hours. Grantees can put an estimate of their peer-to-peer learning in their workplans and adjust during the Grant Agreement process and/or when creating the RCC Action Plan. Applicants should have multiple representatives from different Partners participate in the peer-to-peer learning. It should not be only the Managing Stakeholder.

Q: Within the Partnership Agreement sample template, it states "The RCC Proposal implementation will be managed in [location and description]." What is SGC looking for in terms of location and description?

A: The section of the Partnership agreement stating "The RCC Proposal implementation will be managed in [location and description]" refers to the location where the Managing Stakeholder will conduct the grant management. However, the Partnership Agreement template is meant to be a starting point for Applicants to use to develop a partnership among themselves and can be adapted as needed. If Applicants do not find this line helpful or relevant to their Collaborative, they are welcome to remove it.

Q: Is there any concern over having an indemnification/insurance clause within the Partnership Agreement? Is there any sample language of what that may look like?

A: The Partnership Agreement template is meant to be a starting point for Applicants to use to develop a partnership among themselves and can be adapted as needed. SGC does not have any concerns with Applicants adding an indemnification clause to their agreements.

Q: Are members of the Collaborative required to make their meetings public? Is there a minimum number of these meetings that must be public?

A: This component asks applicants to identify their own minimum number of meetings. SGC does not have any requirements around the minimum number of public meetings, so applicants can decide that amongst the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure members.

Eligible Costs

Q: Can any of the time spent developing and planning for this application be written into the grant?

A: Unfortunately SGC is only able to fund activities that take place during the grant term, so we cannot cover the cost of filling out the application. However, staff is doing everything we can to make sure that the application is as simple as possible and offering application technical assistance to ease the burden of applying.

Q: Can Collaboratives hire a grant writer to draft applications for partners during the grant period?

A: Yes, the salary for a grant writer would be an eligible cost under the staff salary eligible cost category.

Q: What's the difference between "participation compensation" (eligible) and "direct cash benefits or subsidies to participants" (ineligible)?

A: The RCC Guidelines include participant compensation as an eligible cost, which is an exchange of payment for services rendered in the development of community work products, and appropriately documented with deliverables such as sign in sheets or written surveys. Direct cash benefits or incentives are ineligible costs and would include paying someone to show up to a meeting without them contributing in a way that meaningfully contributes to work products. Compensation is defined as payment for work or services performed, whereas an incentive is something that persuades parties to engage in certain conduct. For example, a stack of gift cards to distribute to all attendees at an event does not count as an eligible cost.

Q: Does participant compensation need to be based in the IRS Volunteer Rate?

A: No, the RCC Program Guidelines do not require that participant compensation need to be based in the IRS Volunteer Rate. However, reviewers will take into account the extent to which the budget reflects overall project objectives and program goals with meaningful costs associated.

Q: Can participation compensation be in the form of a stipend?

A: The RCC Program Guidelines define participant compensation as payment for work or services performed. The program also allows for transportation stipends and provision of transportation services for community residents, such as a vanpool as an eligible cost.

Q: Can an RCC create a seed fund to provide to local communities?

A: Activities related to creating a seed fund could be an eligible cost for RCC as long as it's clearly tied to program objectives, but RCC funds cannot be invested into a seed fund themselves.

Q: How do we compensate participants who are not a formal Co-Applicant, but are involved in RCC activities?

A: Section III of the RCC Guidelines provides additional information on providing participant compensation: "Participant compensation that is an exchange of payment for services rendered in the development of community work products, and appropriately documented with deliverables such as sign in sheets or written surveys.”

Q: Are conferences an eligible cost?

A: Conferences and convenings are eligible activities for the Collaborative and are an eligible cost. Ensure the costs related to it are justified and clearly connected to the workplan and focus of the collaborative.

Q: How can this grant help fund staff that augment capacity building?

A: The RCC grant can be used to fund staff salaries for full time or part time staff focused on capacity building activities. Grant funds may also be used to fund new positions, such as an intern or fellow, or a contracted technical assistant consultant. Please review the Eligible Costs section in the RCC Program Guidelines on page 8 for additional information.

Q: Is SGC offering guidance on eligible community engagement costs?

A: SGC staff is currently working on some guidance related to eligible community engagement costs and will post it publicly (and send you a link) as soon as it is ready.

Q: How should consultant-led tasks be delineated in the budget?

A: Consultant costs should be classified as staff costs in the budget. If the consultant has not yet been selected and the staff positions and staff rates are not yet known, applicants can simply write in "consultant" in the staff cost detail sheet and include the amount allocated for consultant costs in the row for the appropriate task without specifying hours and rates.

Q: Can expenses incurred during application development be reimbursed through advance payment?

A: SGC cannot fund expenses incurred during the RCC application development.

Q: How much support can we expect from the TA providers to develop the RCC action plan and Community Solutions Inventory? How much effort should we expect to contribute?

A: Collaboratives will take the lead on developing RCC Program deliverables and can expect support from the Implementation TA Providers. At the start of the grant term, each Grantee will have a kick-off meeting with the TA Providers to develop a tailored technical assistance plan and identify areas where specific help is needed, including general support on grant deliverables.

Q: Can RCC funding be used to compensate focus group participants?

A: The RCC Program Guidelines list the following as an eligible program cost: “Participant compensation that is an exchange of payment for services rendered in the development of community work products, and appropriately documented with deliverables such as sign in sheets or written surveys.” So, if the focus group is supporting the development of a work product that is specified in the grantee’s work plan, and there is adequate documentation of the focus group members’ participation, that would be an eligible cost. Our Guidelines define compensation as payment for work or services performed, whereas an incentive is something that persuades parties to engage in certain conduct. Our program can cover compensation costs but not incentives.

Q: What is considered overhead versus direct expense?

A: Per the RCC Guidelines, the definition of direct costs are costs directly tied to the implementation of the RCC grant, including, but not limited to: personnel costs, subcontracts, equipment costs, travel expenses, etc. Overhead would be any administrative costs that are not directly tied to implementation of the RCC grant.


Q: Will SGC provide templates for Annual Reporting?

A: Page 7 of the Guidelines outlines the information that SGC will expect for grantees to include in their Annual Reports. SGC will provide additional guidance and/or templates for Annual Reporting once RCC grants are underway.

Q: Are there examples of successful action plans and/or successful capacity building toolboxes that you can point to?

A: Since this is the first round of the program, SGC does not have examples of past action plans or capacity building toolboxes but staff recently released a Collective Impact Resource document that includes case studies of other collaborative efforts that might be helpful to applicants.

Q: What are the program's expectations beyond the 3-year grant period?

A: SGC does not have specific expectations past the grant term, though we would love to see the work continue into the future and demonstrate that capacity has been built. As part of our grant requirement, we ask that the collaboratives assemble a capacity building toolbox for other regions to use as a helpful resource. We also require that collaboratives fill out an inventory of the projects they worked on.

Q: What are the expectations surrounding the climate solutions inventory? Is it correct to state that the inventory should be a discrete task that should have someone in charge, and to be populated and maintained by the program managers?

A: Collaboratives must work with SGC to develop an inventory of the priority plans and projects that the Collaboratives developed or updated during the grant term and intend to seek funding to implement. SGC hopes that this will help ensure that the work of the Collaborative will continue after the grant term is completed. SGC will be able to provide additional guidance to grantees about what this will look like during the grant term.

Q: Will the peer-to-peer learning be done remotely, in-person, or a combination of both?

A: SGC-facilitated sessions will be remote/virtual. If Applicants want to facilitate local and regional peer-to-peer learning outside of the SGC-facilitated quarterly sessions, then Applicants will need to determine what that looks like and how many hours to dedicate.

Grant Administration

Q: Could the whole grant award be received through advanced payment or would this need to be in combination with a reimbursement method?

A: Advance payments can be up to 25 percent of the total grant award, which can be provided in one payment or spread across a series of smaller installments and is to be determined in the Grant Agreement. All Collaboratives will be required to prioritize Partners that experience low cash flow to receive advances.

Q: How will SGC reimburse the Managing Stakeholder and project Partners?

A: The Managing Stakeholder will be the entity that executes the grant agreement with SGC and is the primary point of contact between the Collaborative and SGC. RCC grantees are eligible for advance payment of up to 25% of the total grant amount and the invoicing process between the Managing Stakeholder and SGC will be defined by the Grant Agreement once grantees have been selected. Per the Prompt Payment Act, SGC is required to pay properly submitted, undisputed invoices within 45 calendar days of the initial receipt.

Q: Is the award amount range of $500,000–$1.75 million the yearly or total award amount?

A: The award range of $500,000–$1.75 million is for the total grant award.

Q: Can you advise on start and end date of grant?

A: Our Council will make final award decisions at our Council Meeting on December 15th. After that we will work with grantees to get grant agreements in place. The grant term will end 3 years from the state date of the agreement.

Q: What is the reporting structure for the RCC Program?

A: All Collaborative members can expect to participate in regular touchpoint meetings with RCC Program staff. The Managing Stakeholder, as the liaison between SGC and the Partners, will participate in more frequent check-in meetings with SGC. Scheduling of the Grantee check-in meetings will align with the invoicing frequency. SGC will work with Grantees to determine the invoicing frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.) that best works for them. Partners will participate in two full Collaborative check-ins each grant year. As part of the evaluation requirements, Collaboratives will be responsible for collecting data for annual reports and the implementation technical assistance providers for the program will help applicants gather any data needed for that evaluation process. Page 22 of the Guidelines provides more information about the type of information SGC will need grantees to include in the annual reports.

Q: Can fiscal sponsorship fees be covered by an RCC grant?

A: Yes, this can count as an indirect cost for the grant. The program caps the indirect cost rate at 30% of the grant amount.

Q: What happens if grantees do not end up spending the (optional) 15% set-aside in their budget for additional partners?

A: In this case, the grantee would be able to amend their budget to reallocate those funds to other activities in consultation with SGC.

Q: Do we need to divide the budget equally among the strategies?

A: No, the budget for each strategy can be different. Some strategies may include more tasks, or require more staffing or other expenses than others, and would cost more as a result.

Q: Can we estimate the budget for strategies in the Pre-Proposal, or should it add up to the total? And does SGC want to see a dollar amount or a percentage?

A: We are looking for budget estimates in the Pre-Proposal. Applicants will not be required to keep the same budget for the full application. Please include the dollar amount for each strategy, not a percentage of the total.

Q: Is it possible to add a community of focus after the grant agreement has been signed?

A: SGC would need to determine this on a case-by-case basis depending on the justification for adding an additional community of focus. Please note that we would not be able to add additional funds to a grant after the agreement has been signed, so any modifications to the work plan or communities of focus would need to be no-cost amendments. We recommend doing your best to decide on the communities of focus that you would like to include in your final application submission because we’d likely only be able to make these types of modifications in rare cases where there is a strong justification for the change. Nonetheless, it is completely fine to change things between the pre-proposal and final application.

Q: Are UCs eligible to use the 30% Modified Direct Total Cost rate (in accordance with AB 20 Model Contract Language for Agreements with California Universities) in lieu of the 30% max Indirect Cost rate?

A: Our program requires applicants to cap indirect costs at 30% of the direct cost amount. UCs are welcome to use 30% of the MTCD if they would like, since that should necessarily be equal to or lower than our 30% max ICR rate.

Q: How should we calculate the indirect cost rate and the evaluation and peer-to-peer learning rate?

A: Both the indirect cost rate and the evaluation and peer-to-peer learning rate should be calculated using the direct cost amount.

Q: Do all rates have to be listed hourly, even when the position is a monthly/salaried position? For example the payroll records for UCR will only include a monthly rate for exempt employees and will not report an hourly rate.

A: Yes, SGC requires applicants to use the fully burdened hourly rate for positions. For salaried positions, applicants can simply divide the monthly salary by 174 (the average number of working hours in a month) to estimate their hourly rate.

Q: Do all rates have to be inclusive of fringe benefits?

A: Please use the fully burdened rate (including fringe benefits). It is not necessary to separate out the varying benefit rates.

Q: Is it expected that similar positions across partner organizations should have the same hourly/benefit rates or are we able to budget per organization by actual salary costs? The sample budget lists the same rates by position across organizations.

A: There is no expectation that the organizations within the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure have the same hourly rates for positions. The examples in the application workbook are meant to help applicants understand how to fill out the spreadsheets. The budget amounts are random and are not meant to be used as a model budget.

Q: How do we account for anticipated salary increases over the three-year project, especially in cases where the strategy spans multiple project years? It looks like there is just one rate allowed per person per organization by strategy.

A: Applicants can include a COLA of up to 3% annually in their budget. If the applicant chooses to include a COLA for staff, they should add the total COLA amount across the three year grant term to the staff cost detail sheet in their application workbook.

Q: According to the Guidelines (p. 22), SGC is open to discussing billing frequency and determining an invoicing process that works best for the grantee. Would SGC agree to use a task-based billing structure to reduce administrative overhead for grantees?

A: SGC does have flexibility around billing frequency, but would generally prefer for grantees to set a regular schedule for invoicing and reporting. If this presents a significant barrier for grantees, SGC can work with them to find a process that works for both parties.

Q: If there are community organizations, residents, and other stakeholders that will be compensated for their active participation in the RCC activities but are not Co-Applicants, will they also need to sign the Partnership Agreement by the time of the grant deadline?

A: The Partnership Agreement is reserved for signature from Managing Stakeholder and Co-Applicants who will be funded by the grant. Even though these additional participants will get some kind of compensation as part of the proposed capacity building activities, it does not mean they sign the Partnership Agreement.

Technical Assistance

Q: How do applicants request Technical Assistance?

A: Applicants simply need to submit the Pre-Proposal by July 15th to receive application technical assistance support.

Q: Can you share who the Pre-Proposal TA providers are? How can interested applicants get in touch with them?

A: SGC is working with a team of third-party TA providers, including staff from Estolano Advisors, the California Coalition for Rural Housing, the Institute for Local Government, and Better World Group. The TA providers will mostly be helping with outreach in the Pre-Proposal phase. Once applicants have submitted a Pre-Proposal, SGC will review, provide feedback, and connect applicants to a TA provider to help support the development of a full application. Questions can be sent to SGC's TA email (ta@sgc.ca.gov).

Q: If a group has experience working with one of the TA providers, can that be taken into consideration during the TA assignment process?

A: There is an opportunity in the Pre-Proposal to add additional comments, including TA provider requests. SGC will take these requests into consideration but cannot guarantee that applicants will be placed with their preferred TA provider.

Q: Would the TA providers consider introducing teams to each other if they see alignment in the Pre-Proposals, instead of teams competing against each other for similar visions/concepts?

A: The TA team is trying to link people together as much as possible now, and they will continue to do so after the Pre-Proposals are submitted. Once we receive Pre-Proposals, the TA providers will lead that connection process more formally. Applicants can also connect with other applicants on the LinkedIn Hub.

Q: Can you say more about the TA program? What types of technicalities are being assisted with?

A: Technical assistance providers will work with each RCC Grant Applicant to create a work plan for the development of their RCC application. The technical assistance provider will meet regularly with the RCC Applicant and will be able to provide supportive services, including but not limited to:

  • Responding to Applicant questions and providing clarity around program goals and requirements;
  • Providing guidance on stakeholder engagement and outreach to develop work plan elements;
  • Supporting Applicants in facilitating an effective partnership development and Collaborative Stakeholder Structure;
  • Providing mapping support as needed;
  • Supporting the Applicant in preparing for SGC interviews during the selection process

Q: Will the Pre-Proposal feedback only consist of written feedback? Do we speak with the TA providers as well?

A: SGC will provide written feedback to all pre-proposal applicants. Applicants with eligible projects will receive TA provider contact information. TA providers and applicants will arrange a time for an initial intake call to begin the TA process.


Q: How does the RCC program interact with CERF?

A: The CERF Solicitation calls for the High Road Transition Collaboratives (HRTCs) created through the CERF program to work directly with Regional Climate Collaboratives (RCC) Programs where applicable. The HRTCs will implement transparent and inclusive processes to advance long-term prosperity and equity and include balanced representation from labor, business, community, government, and other stakeholders. Together, these partners will form their respective regional HRTC to engage in strategic planning for economic resilience and equitable pathways to high road opportunities. HRTCs will work across industries, agencies, and communities to encourage engagement from all stakeholder groups, create inclusive and equitable economic plans, build capacity, break down silos to maximize the effectiveness of planning and implementation projects, and generate systemic changes to advance economic resilience. Through this process HRTCs will coordinate with RCCs in their region to ensure alignment and collaboration where applicable.

Q: Can public agencies join a collaborative later, for example, in the implementation round?

A: Yes, public agencies can be added to the collaborative later. This could be done through the 15% set-aside for additional partners, or public agencies could join as informal, unfunded partners.

Q: How do social, environmental and economic impacts (like wildfires) factor in evaluating severely disadvantaged communities?

A: In terms of being evaluated as severely disadvantaged, the RCC program's threshold requires that at least 51% of the Communities of Focus meet the definition of under-resourced, which is based on the three measures included in the guidelines:

  • A ‘disadvantaged’ community according to the California Air Resources Board's Priority Populations Map OR
  • A ‘low income’ community according to the California Air Resources Board's Priority Populations Map OR
  • A ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘severely disadvantaged’ community according to the California Department of Water Resources' DAC Mapping Tool

While mega-disasters such as wildfires are not considered in the "under-resourced communities" definition, applicants can speak to needs related to such disasters in their application and will be scored based on project need. The scoring table for the RCC program is in Section XI of the Program Guidelines.

Q: How can I find grants that pay for infrastructure?

A: Applicants can find information about grant opportunities on the State Grants Portal and the Collective Impact Resources document on SGC's website.

Q: What is the purpose of the climate solutions inventory and does the inventory require ARCGIS?

A: The climate solutions inventory is an opportunity to capture the projects that were developed during the grant term to help ensure that they can be easily accessed and implemented even after the grant term has ended. Mapping out these projects will not be required.

Q: Is last year's RFP for Capacity Building for Local Governments currently providing support for the RCC program?

A: The Capacity Building for Local Governments RFP was an old RFP for TA providers for the BOOST program. The second round of that program is currently underway, but we hope to have future rounds of the program. Please sign up for SGC's technical assistance listserv for updates on BOOST and other capacity building programs at SGC.

Q: Does RCC provide networking opportunities among webinar attendees and program applicants? Is the RCC applicant support process similar to CERF's?

A: SGC hosted a series of workshops and networking sessions in June 2022 for potential applicant teams to connect. SGC also created a LinkedIn Hub where applicants can connect with one another.

The RCC applicant support process will be distinct from CERF. SGC is providing state-funded application assistance to applicants who submitted a pre-proposal by the July 15th deadline. Due to the volume of pre-proposals received, other applicants cannot be guaranteed tailored technical assistance (TA) support but can still reach out to SGC for any application-related questions at TA@sgc.ca.gov.