Last Updated: January 19, 2024
What is SIPPRA?
The Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA) was signed into law on February 9, 2018, to provide effective federal funding of certain social services. Under SIPPRA’s “pay for results” model, the federal government will fund a State or local government’s project only if predetermined project outcomes have been met, as validated by an independent evaluator. Congress appropriated $100 million for such projects, called “social impact partnership projects,” and feasibility studies to prepare for those projects. The SIPPRA program is primarily administered by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury).
How can I keep up to date on new SIPPRA information?
Visit Treasury’s website, Treasury.gov/SIPPRA, to sign up for email updates. Additionally, updates to these FAQs will be published on that website. Information related to Grants.gov can be found at www.Grants.gov.
My question is not on this FAQ list. Who can I ask?
Questions can be sent to SIPPRA@treasury.gov. We will provide additional information as it becomes available, via updates to these FAQs, the SIPPRA website, and the SIPPRA email distribution list.
What is the application deadline for project applications?
Applications under the FY24 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) can be submitted no earlier than February 12, 2024, and no later than April 15, 2024 electronically via www.Grants.gov.
When will project awards be made?
Treasury anticipates announcing awards for projects no later than October 15, 2024, 6 months after the April 15, 2024, application deadline.
When will a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for feasibility studies be published?
Treasury may release a NOFA for feasibility studies if sufficient funds remain after the current funding round.
Will there be subsequent Notices of Funding Availability (NOFA)?
Treasury anticipates publishing a subsequent NOFA if funds remain after the current NOFA.
What were commonly made mistakes during the first NOFA?
- The applicant was not a state or local government and therefore was ineligible to apply.
- Only States or local governments are eligible applicants. Please see Section C of the FY24 NOFA for more information.
- The applicant tried to use federal funds to fund a SIPPRA project.
- Federal funds are not allowed to be used to fund other federal grant applications.
- The application failed to propose a project with a “pay for results” model.
- The required “pay for results” model differs from many other federal grant programs, in which the federal government funds the cost of programs and services prior to implementation of the programs. Under the “pay for results” model (also referred to as the “pay for success” model), the federal government agrees to make payments only if specific, pre-determined, measurable outcomes are achieved. If the intervention does not achieve the pre-determined outcomes, then the federal government will not make an outcome payment.
- The applicant did not submit all required forms.
- Please see Section D.2 of the FY24 NOFA for a list of all required forms.
- The applicant did not leave enough time to obtain a Unique Entity Identifier created in SAM.gov.
- Please see Section D.3 of the FY24 NOFA for more information.
- On April 4, 2022, the federal government stopped using the DUNS Number to uniquely identify entities. Now, entities doing business with the federal government use a Unique Entity ID (UEID) created in SAM.gov.
Who is eligible to apply for and receive a SIPPRA grant? (NEW)
We are not able to confirm eligibility status or other parts of a potential application before it is submitted. Eligibility requirements can be view in the Notice of Funding Agreement, FAQs, as well as the Eligibility & Application Fact Sheet.
Can a jurisdiction that received a previous SIPPRA program award apply in this funding round? (NEW)
Jurisdictions that have received a SIPPRA program award are eligible and encouraged to apply with a different project proposal.
Who is eligible to apply for and receive a SIPPRA grant?
Only State and local governments are eligible to apply for SIPPRA funding. SIPPRA defines “State” as each State of the United States, the District of Columbia, each commonwealth, territory or possession of the United States, and each federally recognized Indian tribe. “Local Government” means any unit of government within a State, including a—(a) County; (b) Borough; (c) Municipality; (d) City; (e) Town; (f) Township; (g) Parish; (h) Local public authority, including any public housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937; (i) Special district; (j) School district; (k) Intrastate district; (l) Council of governments, whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under State law; and (m) Any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-State or local government. See 2 CFR § 200.64.
Can an eligible applicant submit more than one application under this program?
Any eligible applicant may submit more than one application but may submit only one application per target population to be served. Each application must be submitted to Grants.gov separately.
Can multiple divisions within an eligible state or local department submit separate applications for a project?
Yes, multiple divisions within a state or local department may each submit a separate application.
May multiple divisions within a state or local department submit a joint application?
Yes, although one division must be designated as the lead applicant and take responsibility for coordinating payment if successful.
May multiple states or local governments submit a joint application?
Yes, although one jurisdiction must be designated as the lead applicant and take responsibility for coordinating payment if successful.
Application qualifications and requirements
The Notice of Funding Availability links to an older version of the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-4. Which version should we use? (NEW)
Applicants should use the most current version of the OMB Circular A-4 or other guidance cited in the NOFA.
What is the required application structure and format?
Refer to Section D.2 of the FY24 NOFA to see the list of required sections and page limits.
Which types of projects qualify for SIPPRA funding?
Treasury will award grants for pay-for-results social impact partnership projects designed to produce one of the outcomes listed in 42 U.S.C. § 1397n-1(b). See Section A.4.b of the NOFA.
Can federal funds be used to fund a SIPPRA project?
No. State or local governments must finance the project with non-federal public sector funds or find investors, either not-for-profit or for-profit entities, to provide funding for the interventions. While state and local governments receive federal funding that may be used for a variety of activities, these federal funds may not be used to finance the intervention. The state or local government and/or the investors accept the risk that they will not be repaid in the event that the target outcomes are not achieved.
May I submit a SIPPRA application to fund an existing project?
Proposed projects in SIPPRA applications cannot serve individuals currently being served by an existing project, whether pay-for-results or traditionally funded.
Must all agreements (e.g., partnership contracts, funding agreements) be finalized at the time of application?
Project funding should be arranged at the time of application. Treasury expects that applicants will provide, as part of their application: a signed contract between the applicant and all parties that comprise the partnership or a draft contract accompanied by letters of commitment from all partners. The letters of commitment may state the commitment is conditional on a SIPPRA award. Final arrangements will be made prior to award of the grant.
Are there requirements for matching funds or cost sharing for projects?
Cost sharing or matching funds, are not required, and the financial contributions from any investors for project implementation are not characterized as cost sharing or matching funds.
How are projects “that directly benefit children” determined?
Treasury will consider a project to “directly benefit children” if 1) the target population is children (aged 0-19 at the beginning of the project); or 2) the target population is parents of children. If the project benefits parents, in order to be considered a project that directly benefits children, being a parent must be a part of the project’s eligibility requirements and the application must present strong evidence demonstrating a close logical, causal, and consequential relationship between the project’s effect on parents and the resulting positive effect on the parents’ children. Portions of projects can directly benefit children without having the entire project directly benefit children.
Are we required to use a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in our intervention? (NEW)
Applicants may use either experimental designs or quasi-experimental designs. If the applicant does not use an RCT, Treasury recommends explaining why randomization is not feasible (e.g., legal or ethical) in their application. Treasury recommends applicants review the SIPPRA legislation, especially Section 2055 of the SSA, 42, U.S. Code 1397N-4 – Evaluations.
What criteria will be used to select projects for funding?
Section E of the FY24 NOFA details the criteria that Treasury, with the assistance of the Commission on Social Impact Partnerships (the Commission) and in consultation with the Federal Interagency Council on Social Impact Partnerships (the Interagency Council), will consider in selecting projects for funding.
Will randomized controlled trials (RCTs) be scored more favorably than quasi-experimental designs?
There is no preference for experimental vs. quasi-experimental design approaches in the FY24 NOFA’s review criteria. Applications will be judged according to how appropriate the chosen design is for the project and target population of interest.
Is there a preference for using either Bayesian or Classical Significance Testing?
There is no preference. The independent evaluator will be critical for determining whether to use either significance test. If the applicant chooses Bayesian significance testing, applicants must conduct prior sensitivity analysis to ensure any causal result is not due only to a dominant prior.
What is a theory of change?
A theory of change is a method that explains how a given intervention, or set of interventions, are expected to lead to a specific development change, drawing on a causal analysis based on available evidence. Applicants are encouraged to research theory of change models and develop one that best fits their application.
What is a logic model?
A logic model is a visual way to illustrate the resources or inputs required to implement a program, the activities and outputs of a program, and the desired short, medium, and long-term program outcomes. Logic models clearly and concisely show how interventions affect behavior and achieve a goal.
Are we required to explain why we have chosen a specific evaluation design method?
Yes. Treasury requires that the applicant justify the selected evaluation design plan (See Section D. Application and Submission Information). As a part of that justification, if an applicant is not using randomized controlled trials, Treasury recommends explaining why randomization is not feasible. The Interagency Council will determine if the chosen evaluation design “allow[s] for the strongest possible causal inferences when random assignment is not feasible.”
Will I be required to work with an independent evaluator?
Yes. An independent evaluator must determine whether project outcomes have been met before the federal government can make payments based on those validated outcomes. 42 U.S.C. § 1397n-2(c)(2).
What is the role of the Independent Evaluator during the application process?
The applicant can choose how to incorporate the independent evaluator into the design of the project. At a minimum, the independent evaluator should be heavily involved in writing the evaluation design plan that Treasury, the Interagency Council, and the Commission will use to assess the evaluation design approach. However, given the importance of incorporating prior evidence and ensuring the project’s outcomes of choice can be evaluated, Treasury recommends, if possible, using the independent evaluator’s expertise in drafting other portions of the application.
When does the Independent Evaluator need to be selected?
Given the importance of incorporating prior evidence and ensuring the project’s outcomes of choice can be evaluated, Treasury recommends that an independent evaluator be incorporated into the planning process as soon as possible. In order for the independence of the evaluator to be assessed, the applicant must name the independent evaluator in its application and provide a copy (or the executed version) of the contract the applicant intends to enter into (or has entered into) with the independent evaluator.
How should I choose an independent evaluator?
The independent evaluator should have the experience, skills, and qualifications relevant to determine if the project achieved the pre-determined outcome levels as outlined in the project agreement. See Section D.2.a.g.4 of the FY24 NOFA for more specific information on independent evaluator qualifications.
The independent evaluator must not have a financial or other stake in the project that would undermine its objectivity, and the applicant must avoid the selection of an independent evaluator whose objectivity might be impaired.
Can another state or local agency be the independent evaluator for a state or local agency applicant?
No. Another state or local agency within the applicant’s jurisdiction is not considered sufficiently independent to evaluate the results of the program.
How is the independent evaluator paid?
An awardee will be eligible to receive up to 15% of the project grant award to pay the independent evaluator. Since the Act limits the amount of SIPPRA funding that may be used to pay for evaluations, the project recipient and its partners may need to bear some of the cost for the independent evaluator and should consider that during the planning process. The federal government will determine the amount it will pay the independent evaluator during the application review period, and this amount will be finalized through the award agreement.
Will any funding be available to pay the evaluator prior to the final outcome?
The costs of independent evaluators are paid regardless of whether outcomes have been met. SIPPRA does not prohibit a federal agency administering a SIPPRA grant award from paying the grant recipient for the costs of the independent evaluator prior to the independent evaluator submitting its final report. The payment of the costs of the independent evaluator would be subject to the agreement between the relevant federal agency and the grant recipient related to the independent evaluation and the Cost Principles of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in Subpart E of 2 CFR Part 200.
PROJeCT AWARDS & Payments
How many SIPPRA project awards will Treasury make?
The number of project awards will depend on the quality and viability of project applications and the amount of funds requested by individual applicants. While not certain, Treasury estimates that it will make between four to six awards under the FY24 NOFA.
Are there specific metrics an award recipient must meet in order to receive payments after a project is completed?
The award recipient must achieve the outcome target(s) proposed in the application within the intervention period to trigger a federal payment. An independent evaluator must verify the intervention achieved the outcome target(s), determine whether an outcome payment should be made, and, if so, determine the size of the payment. The payment will be less than or equal to the value of the proposed outcome calculated in accordance with Section A.4.c of the FY24 NOFA.
What happens after an applicant is selected for an award?
Upon notification of a successful application, the awardee and Treasury will negotiate a grant agreement. The amount of time it will take to negotiate a grant agreement will vary for each awardee.
Once the grant agreement has been signed, the period of performance for the project begins. Each awardee will have a grant agreement that aligns with their specific project, outcomes, value and savings estimates, payments, and reporting requirements. All awardees must submit an annual performance report within 90 days of the end of each calendar year, for each year as noted in the award agreement. A final performance report is due 90 calendar days after the period of performance end date.
SIPPRA project awards must end by February 2032 to allow for up to six months for final measurement, analysis, evaluation, submission of the independent evaluator’s final report, and submission of payment requests to the federal government.
If I submit an application in response to the FY24 NOFA, will I be precluded from submitting applications in response to any subsequent NOFAs?
No. Each application will be evaluated based on the criteria established in the NOFA independently of all other applications, including previously submitted applications by the same applicant in response to a previous NOFA.
Is there a maximum award amount (among of outcome payments) that can be requested for each project?
Yes. Treasury is capping outcome payments at $10 million per award.
What are the payment options for an intervention?
Outcome payment schedules are project dependent. Applicants have latitude to propose different approaches for receiving payment.
The simplest approach is to propose one outcome that will be measured at the end of the project period. This will result in one federal payment at the end of the project, based on the value of the outcome that was achieved. Actual payment would be subject to the required independent evaluator validation and would be equal to or less than the proposed payment agreed to at the beginning of the project.
Applicants may also propose projects with multiple outcomes, with the value of each calculated and paid out separately. Under this approach, if the applicant achieves one, but not all, of the outcomes, the applicant receives payment for only the outcomes successfully achieved.
Applicants may also propose a tiered outcome payment schedule where the outcome payment amount can vary based on the degree to which the outcome target is achieved.
Applicants may choose to have payments made throughout the project period instead of solely at the end of the project.
In all cases, the independent evaluator would have to be able to observe the level change at each point that payment is requested.
Is there money available to compensate applicants for time spent during the application period?
No. Applicants will not be compensated for time spent on the application.
How can intermediaries be paid for their time?
Intermediary costs are considered program costs and therefore should be submitted with the programmatic budget.
value and savings calculations
The applicant must demonstrate savings to the federal, State, or local government. Does that include savings to Tribal governments as well? (NEW)
Yes. The applicant may demonstrate savings to Tribal governments and include them in the calculation of value to the federal government.
To what extent are applicants expected to risk-adjust their impact estimates based on local context and priority population makeup? (NEW)
Risk should not affect the outcome payment amount through either a savings calculation or benefit-cost analysis. The outcome valuation approach should incorporate local context and priority population where appropriate.
Regarding Appendix J and Medicaid savings, do we have to demonstrate that the intervention has an impact on capitation rates? (NEW)
The FY24 NOFA requires that applicants demonstrate that the intervention has an impact on capitation rates, given that, if an application’s intervention effect is small and/or the population impacted by the intervention makes up a relatively small proportion of the rate cell, we would not expect to see a change in capitation rates providing savings to the federal government.
Therefore, part of the applicant’s responsibility is to show why the intervention’s effect and/or the size of the population is meaningful relative to the size of the managed care program. This will be heavily dependent on the intervention and the jurisdiction. Subject matter experts will take this into account when they are assessing the quality of the application and the size of the savings.
How will the “value to the federal government” be determined?
Value to the federal government is estimated from the benefit cost analysis (BCA) based on the associated effects of the intervention. Value should be calculated for each proposed outcome and for the aggregate intervention calculated in accordance with Section A.5.a of the FY24 NOFA.
Is a separate BCA required for each proposed outcome?
A separate BCA is not required for each outcome payment. The BCA is for the entire intervention. The Outcome Payment Template will be used to construct translate value (from the BCA) to outcome payments. If applicants propose a tiered outcome payment, they should illustrate the estimated value in the year in which they observe the outcome effect.
How long may applicants evaluate and value the effects of the intervention?
SIPPRA project awards must end by February 2032 to allow for up to six months for final measurement, analysis, evaluation, submission of the independent evaluator’s final report, and submission of payment requests to the federal government. Treasury expects the period of performance to generally be about 48-60 months, but this will be heavily dependent on the nature of the project interventions. Requests to extend the period of performance after an agreement is awarded will not be considered.
An applicant may assess the value of the outcome to the federal government over a period not exceeding ten years from the date implementation commences.