Smart Start Activities for FY2021/2022 to 2023/2024

The Partnership for Children of Cumberland County is accepting proposals for the Smart Start Funding cycle of July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024. Potential funded activities must provide early childhood services that address the needs of children ages birth to five, their families, and caregivers. This is a three-year funding cycle with the first-year contract beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022. The contract will be renewed ONLY after a satisfactory evaluation of performance and availability of funds is confirmed.

Our Background

We are a local, private/public nonprofit. We administer state funds through the North Carolina’s Smart Start program and the NC Pre-Kindergarten Program, as well as private funds and grants. Our vision is to live in an economically prosperous community where families are successful and children thrive. Since 1993, we have invested in support for families with children birth to 5-years-old.

Investment Areas

In keeping with our organizational priorities, we invest in three key areas:

  • Advancing Children’s Well-Being
  • Strengthening the Early Care and Education System
  • Empowering Families

    Our FY18/19 Impact Report has more information on current programs in these investment areas.

Right now, we are at an important crossroads in the opportunity to impact the lives of children and their families. Each year, we continue to learn more about young children’s brain architecture and the impact of their early experiences. We believe every child should have the opportunity to thrive, dream, and succeed regardless of their living situation, race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal laws.

Last year, NC released its Early Childhood Action Plan. The long-awaited Leandro Case consent order was signed by Judge David Lee, requiring a plan of action for the provision of the constitutional Leandro rights must ensure a system of education that includes “a system of early education that provides access to high-quality pre-kindergarten and other early childhood learning opportunities to ensure that all students at-risk of educational failure, regardless of where they live in the State, enter kindergarten on track for school success.” These and other priorities will help us be laser-focused in our stewardship of Smart Start funding across Cumberland County.

Grant Information

For more information on factors guiding decision making on grants for the next allocation cycle, please review the websites and documents recommended below: (documents or links to be uploaded)

About Us 
Factors To Consider 
NCPC Early Childhood Profile Indicators for Cumberland County 
EdNC Leandro 
Why Smart Start Works 
NC Early Childhood Action Plan
NC Early Childhood Action Plan Cumberland County Data Report 
Center on the Developing Child - Harvard University – Key Concepts in Early Childhood

To be eligible, organizations must meet the following criteria:

  1. Organizations must be classified as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and as public charities under Section 509(a).
  2. Schools, municipalities, and government programs are eligible.
  3. Individuals, child care facilities, and for-profit organizations are not generally funded, except in some instances where there is no suitable tax-exempt organization to carry out a program or project.
  4. Organizations that do not meet the above criteria (1, 2, or 3) may not use conduit organizations to apply for funding.
  5. Serve the Cumberland County area.
  6. Serve children birth to five* and their families and/or service providers of children birth to five*.
  7. The proposed program must be in one of our three key priority Investment Areas with measurable outcomes.
  8. Organizations should have at least a three-year history of programming.
  9. All requests for assistance must include a copy of the applicant’s most recent audit report for an amount of over $500,000. For amounts under $500,000, applicants will be required to submit a Certification and Sworn Statement if funding is approved.
  10. If a contract is awarded for Smart Start funds, organizations other than governmental agencies are required to provide fidelity bonding at their own expense. Non-governmental agencies are encouraged to understand and estimate the related costs of fidelity bonding in advance.

*Children who are 5-years-old, must not yet be enrolled in a Kindergarten program.

The State of North Carolina allocates Smart Start funds under Section 10.5(k) of the NC General Statutes. The availability of funds is determined annually and contingent upon the final budget adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly and approval from the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC). Programs funded through Smart Start must meet Evidence-Based, Evidenced-Informed expectations of approved programs, or provide evidence that meets specific standards. An overview of NCPC’s EB/EI practices, definitions, and approved programs is provided for your information.

We will accept and review proposals that address an identified community need as it relates to families and children ages birth to five*  in at least one of the following areas: Early Childhood Education, Family Support, Health, and Subsidy Programs. (Please note that other activities may be given due consideration based on the strength of how well the program substantiates and documents an EB/EI connection.)

*Children who are 5-years-old, must not yet be enrolled in a Kindergarten program.

Applicants were required to attend a mandatory bidder’s conference. The two bidder’s conference sessions were held on October 12, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Bidder's Conference Presentation

The full RFP Allocation grant packet will be released to those registered for the Bidder’s Meeting. The website to load grant documents will be available on November 9, 2020. Please be sure to give yourself adequate time to manage the application upload process by not waiting until the last minute.

Applications are due on December 9, 2020, by 5:00 p.m.

October 12, 2020: Mandatory Bidder’s Meeting – 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (select one from "Applicant's Next Step" above)
December 9, 2020: Proposals due electronically by close of business (5:00 p.m.)
Jan – March, 2021: Partnership Review Process
March 2021: Annual plan recommendations for programs and funding reviewed by the Partnership Board of Directors for approval
March 31, 2021: Annual plan due to the North Carolina Partnership for Children
April 2021: Notice to applicants regarding proposal approval
Late May 2021: Notice of tentatively approved allocation with a request for any changes to the initial budget if it differs from that submitted with the proposal
June 2021: Notice of pre-contracting documentation requirements
July/August 2021: Partnership will process FY 2021-2022 contracts
August 2021: Direct Service Provider Mandatory In-Service


Application Resources

Contract Activity Description (CAD):
Current Cumberland

A. Capacity:
NC Smart Start EB/EI Program Information
NC Smart Start Early Childhood Profile – Cumberland County
Factors to Consider (including PFC Strategic Objectives)
FY18/19 Impact Report

B. Expertise
• Program Specific EB/EI Guide (to be sent to each DSP)

C. Addressing Barriers to Access & Equity:
• COVID 19 Impact Surveys (to be sent to each DSP)

D. Sustainability and Fiscal Capacity
Program Match Manual 

E. Collaboration
Collaboration Sample

F. Evaluation and Data Collection Plan
• See Logic Model Section for Resources

A. Need Statement:
EB/EI Program Implementation Guidelines
NC Early Childhood Action Plan
NC Leandro Summary

B. Target Population:
EB/EI Program Implementation Guidelines
Target Population Examples
• Program Specific Current Logic Model (to be sent to each DSP)

C. Activity Elements:
• Program Specific EB/EI Guidelines (to be sent to each DSP)

D. Outputs:
FY 2020-21 NCPC Outputs (FY 20-21 Outputs Instructions)
Sample Year-End Report

E. Outcomes:
FY 2020-21 NCPC Outcome Measures
Measures Guide

F. Long-Term or Community Early Childhood Profile Outcomes
NC Early Childhood Action Plan Cumberland County Data Report
NC Leandro Summary
NAEYC Advancing Equity Initiative


For more information or questions about the Smart Start RFP Allocation process, please contact Pamela Federline at [email protected]
.