Each time we open a new funding opportunity at St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, our goal is to make sure we’re funding organizations that offer the right mental and behavioral health services for kids and families in St. Louis County. We are entrusted with public sales tax funds, and we take our task of investing it responsibly very seriously.
To receive CSF funding, organizations must first apply, explaining to us what services they plan to provide and what impact they expect those services to have on kids and families in St. Louis County. Once applications are submitted, it’s time for our team to begin reviewing so we can make recommendations to our board on who should receive funding. Our board makes the final decision on all funding opportunities.
Although our staff members bring deep knowledge and expertise to the review process, we feel strongly that members of the community also have a say in how sales tax funds are put back into the community. Each time we open a new funding opportunity, we invite people from outside of our organization to help us review applications.
What Background Do You Need?
We are looking for people with two types of backgrounds (or both!) to help us review applications and make recommendations to our board.
First, we’re looking for people with lived experience in the mental and behavioral health field. This means you have had some personal experience with mental or behavioral health or substance use treatment and prevention services. You may have used these services yourself, or you may have experience helping kids navigate them. Both are valuable experiences to draw from when helping us decide which services are best for our community.
We’re also looking for people who have professional experience working with kids and families and/or experience working in mental and behavioral health, as well as those with grant writing experience. If your background is in social work, psychiatry, counseling, grant writing or any other relevant subject area, your experience can help us make the right choices.
Who Cannot Be A Community Reviewer?
Community reviewers cannot currently work for or provide services for an organization that is applying to receive CSF funding. While many people who work for these organizations have strong expertise in the mental and behavioral health field, we feel it’s important to keep this separation to ensure the process is as fair as possible.
What Does A Community Reviewer Do?
To put it simply, community reviewers review applications to help us determine if an organization is a good fit to receive funding from CSF. In general, community reviewers are responsible for:
- Reading and scoring applications
- Providing feedback
- Meeting with CSF staff to discuss feedback and make funding recommendations
Each community reviewer will be placed in a review group with CSF staff. Everyone in the group will be assigned the same applications to review. You will review them through our online platform on your own time to score them and take notes. Your group leader (a CSF staff member) will then schedule a time for your group to meet and discuss feedback and which organizations they would like to recommend for funding.
Do You Need Anything Specific To Participate?
There are a few things each community reviewer will need to participate, including:
- Reliable Internet access
- Ability to commit 10 hours per week (you determine when) throughout the review period (approximately 3-4 months)
- Ability to use our online application reviewing platform (training will be provided)
- Ability to manage timely communications with CSF staff via email or phone throughout the review process
Before we start reviewing, we have an orientation session for all reviewers to walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have. Our staff is also available throughout the review period to support you and make sure you understand your role and responsibilities.
What’s In It For You?
Being a community reviewer is an opportunity to have a say in how St. Louis County sales tax dollars are reinvested into the community. It’s also a chance to be part of making sure the right kid has access to the right service at the right time. Your thoughts, ideas, and expertise around what services will have the greatest impact will help us make the best decisions for the community. In short, your participation will help make a difference in the lives of kids and families in St. Louis County.
Because your time and expertise are valuable to us, you will also be compensated for being part of this process. We pay our reviewers a flat rate of $250 for each application they review.
If you’re interested in being a community reviewer or know someone who would be a great fit, the next step is to apply! As we have opportunities arise to join our review team, we will share information here and on our social media channels.