Frequently asked questions

What areas do you serve?

Health Forward serves Kansas City, Missouri, including portions of Clay and Platte counties; Cass, Lafayette, and Jackson counties in Missouri; and Allen, Johnson, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.

What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying?

Advocacy is the process of stakeholders making their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the lives of others at the local, state, and national level. It also means helping policy makers find specific solutions to persistent problems. Examples of advocacy include:

  • Telling legislators how a state or federal grant your organization received has helped your constituents
  • Educating a legislator about the effects of a policy
  • Inviting a legislator to visit your organization so that they may see firsthand how federal or state funding or policy affects day-to-day operations and the difference it makes
  • Providing technical assistance or advice to a legislative body or committee in response to a written request
  • Making available nonpartisan analysis, study, or research
  • Providing examinations and discussions about broad social and economic issues
  • Communicating with a legislative body regarding matters that might affect the existence of the organization, its powers and duties, its tax-exempt status, or the deduction of contributions to the organization
  • Updating the members of your own organization on the status of legislation, without a call to action

Lobbying includes activities that directly support or oppose a specific piece of legislation. There are strict rules about what portion of a budget can go toward these activities. There are also prohibitions on the use of federal funds. Examples of lobbying include:

  • Asking your legislators to vote for, against, or amend introduced legislation
  • Emailing a “call to action” to your stakeholders encouraging them to contact legislators in support of action on introduced legislation or pending regulations
  • Preparing materials, or organizing events, in support of lobbying activities.

For more information, see the National Council on Aging’s guidance on non-profit activities, or email Health Forward Impact Strategist – Policy Nate Madden.

Is there a dollar limit to how much an applicant may request?

Dollar limits vary by funding opportunity. Please refer to the funding opportunity announcement or call Health Forward at (816) 241-7006.

What is a fiscal sponsor?

Health Forward defines a fiscal sponsor as an organization with a public charity tax status or a public agency/unit of government that agrees to receive and disburse funds in support of another group’s activities. The activities must further the fiscal sponsor’s own charitable mission.

The group that the fiscal sponsor supports to carry out the activities is called the fiscally sponsored organization.

Fiscal sponsors assume the legal, accounting, and financial reporting responsibility for funded partnerships. As such, they receive payments on behalf of, and disburse funds to, the other organization. Fiscal sponsors also record and document funding-related transactions according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Note: Health Forward considers the applicant the organization of record. This means that if an organization is acting as fiscal sponsor and applies on behalf of another organization, the funding application should be submitted under the fiscal sponsor’s portal account. Payments and reporting will flow through the fiscal sponsor.

Fiscal sponsors may apply for a funding opportunity and submit an application on behalf of another organization. In this case, be sure your application makes it clear what your organization’s role is and what organization(s) you are applying on behalf of.

Who is eligible to serve as a fiscal sponsor?

A fiscal sponsor must:

  • Be a nonprofit organization
  • Be designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(1), 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(9) designation
  • Have strong support systems and staff to assume administrative services, oversight, and legal and financial responsibility for the funded activities

When is an organization required to use a fiscal sponsor?

A fiscal sponsor is required if Health Forward funds an organization that has applied for a 501(c)(1), 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(9) designation, but has not yet officially received that designation from the IRS.

Note: Fiscal agency is not the same thing as fiscal sponsorship. As of August 2021, Health Forward ceased requiring fiscal agents for organizations that do not have a current audit. In place of an audit, Health Forward may request internally prepared financial statements. These items are not used as a screening tool for funding approval, but are intended to assist Health Forward staff in gaining an understanding of our partners’ financial position, fiscal readiness, and fiscal management. We may make additional requests — depending on documents and responses provided — to better understand your organization’s fiscal strengths and challenges.

If my organization needs a fiscal sponsor, how do I find one?

Sometimes an affiliate organization of the applicant can serve as a fiscal sponsor. Occasionally small, grassroots organizations find a fiscal sponsor among the larger partner organizations that they work with.

What steps should an organization take before agreeing to serve as a fiscal sponsor for a Health Forward partner?

The organization should make sure it meets the following legal requirements and Health Forward eligibility requirements for fiscal sponsor organizations:

  • Ensure the funded charitable activities align with the fiscal sponsor’s tax-exempt purposes
  • Assess the funded organization’s financial records and practices to ensure that it can provide the fiscal sponsor with timely, accurate information supported by appropriate documentation (payroll records, receipts, invoices, etc.)
  • Arrive at a clear, and preferably written, understanding with the funded organization about each party’s rights and responsibilities

Will Health Forward provide endorsements for consultants, advocates, or organizations?

No. If Health Forward is a client or a funder, you may list us or include our logo on any pertinent communications, however we do not provide endorsements. Notify your impact strategist or a Health Forward associate before publicizing our name or logo.