Funding Opportunities

NEW! Funding Opportunities (October 2020)

Parent Education

First 5 Merced identified Parent Education and Family Strengthening as a priority in the 2020 to 2025 Strategic Plan.  This is in response to consistently high rates of abuse and neglect among children, particularly young children ages 0-5, in Merced County.  Family support is at the core of optimal child health, safety and development. Funding for prevention and early intervention strategies such as parent education, home visiting, and crisis intervention provide direct support and coordination of services that strengthen and promote child well-being for at-risk families. The desired results are to increase the use of effective parenting skills and to decrease trauma and child maltreatment.

Parent Education (Empowered Families) (RFP)

Help Me Grow

Research shows that early intervention and referral services can greatly improve a child’s development to help mitigate challenges associated with developmental or behavioral delays and/or disabilities.

In 2018, First 5 Merced started the process to become a state and/or national affiliate of the Help Me Grow (HMG) system model. HMG utilizes and builds on existing resources to provide a comprehensive approach to early childhood prevention and intervention by: 

  1. Increasing early identification of delays through developmental and behavioral screenings, 
  2. Educating families, healthcare providers and the community about the importance of early identification and intervention, 
  3. Connecting families to services and supports and 
  4. Reviewing data to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

By joining the HMG statewide and national movement, Merced County will have a better opportunity to improve, expand, and sustain a comprehensive developmental detection and referral system for young children and their families. This system also improves First 5’s ability to inform policy, programs, and legislation about the far-reaching impact of early detection and early intervention service for a child’s healthy development.

Help Me Grown (RFA)

Prenatal & Postnatal Care

Some may view maternal and infant health as separate issues, but studies show that maternal health during pregnancy and early childhood impact infant health and child development. Unfortunately, statistics at the national, state, and local level do not paint a positive picture. According to the CDC, the number of pregnancy related deaths in the U.S. has increased from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 16.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016. Even worse, there are significant disparities by race in pregnancy outcomes - from 2011-2016, there were 42.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for Black women, compared to 13.0 deaths per 100,000 live births for White women.  Infant mortality rates are also dismal – in 2018 the U.S. infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births was 10.8 for Black infants, versus 4.6 for Whites. The top five leading causes of infant mortality nationally in 2018 were due to: birth defects, preterm and low birth weight, maternal pregnancy complications, sudden infant death syndrome, and injuries.

Disproportionate outcomes in pregnancy and birth exist at the local level as well. The percentage of women who begin prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy in Merced County is 16% less than the California state average.  The percent on births with mothers receiving adequate number of visits in Merced County is 12.7% less than the California state average.  In Merced County 6.4% of babies are born low birth weight (<2500 grams).  The percentage of women with post-partum depression in Merced County is 4.3% higher than the California state average, this can affect children’s emotional and behavioral outcomes. 

This RFP is specific to reducing infant death due to perinatal conditions. Perinatal condition deaths occur when a child dies during pregnancy or within the four weeks after birth. These types of deaths can be attributed to health issues such as prematurity, low birth weight, congenital defects, and chronic or infectious diseases in the mother.  The focus of this RFP is to fund community based activities to reduce risks for poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, including premature births, low birth weight births, and infant death.

Prenatal and Postnatal Support Services (PDF)

Community Engagement Sponsorship Program (Revised as of 07/01/2020)

First 5 Merced County supports activities throughout Merced County, and partner together with a diverse group of organizations, groups, businesses, and other entities to engage community members and begin discussions around the Bill of Rights and children’s needs, and connect families with needed services.

Funding up to $1,000 per event that serves children 0 to 5 can be awarded until allocated funds are exhausted. A letter of request must be submitted to First 5 Merced County in order to be considered for funding. Letters of Request must be received at least 21 days prior to the event. There is no deadline for applying, but June 9, 2021 is the last day to apply with the required 21 days advance.
View the Community Engagement Sponsorship RFA (PDF)

General Mini-Grants (Revised as of 07/01/2020)

The First 5 Merced County General Mini-Grants Program will provide one-time funding for up to $10,000.00 for a new or expanded program that serves children 0 to 5 and their families. ALL Applications for the 2020/21 fiscal year are due by Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by 4:00 P.M. (No Exceptions)

View the General Mini-Grant Guidelines and RFA (PDF)

Innovation Grants (Revised G.R.O.W. Application as of 07/01/2020)

The First 5 Merced County Innovation Grant is designed to solicit proposals for funding from qualified applicants for innovative projects that support and strengthen families, improve child health and increase the availability and quality of early learning efforts that meet First 5 Merced County's standards and contribute to achieving intended outcomes.

Innovation grants are intended to fund activities that result in long-term change to an organization's culture, professional norms, policies, procedures, or increase efficiencies that have impact on children 0-5 and/or their families. First 5 Merced County expects to fund up to a maximum of $100,000 for the duration of any contract period.

Innovation Grant Documents

Innovation Grant RFP (PDF)