Application Evaluation

The City anticipates implementing the following process for reviewing and evaluating proposals:

  1. City staff will review grant applications for completeness and eligibility. When necessary, applicants may be asked to revise proposals or supply additional information.

  2. The Mayor’s Tech Council will review and score all eligible applications using the Innovation & Growth Fund Policy Guidelines and Criteria, and designate the highest-ranking applications as semi-finalists.

  3. The Mayor's Tech Council will conduct a more in-depth review of semi-finalist applications using the RAILS Application Scoring Criteria, and designate the top 20 applications as finalists.

  4. Finalist applicants will be invited to a Pitch Day event in which they will have five minutes to pitch their project and five minutes to answer questions from the Mayor's Tech Council.

  5. The Mayor's Tech Council will nominate the top projects from Pitch Day and recommend preliminary awards and amounts to the City Council.

  6. The City Council will vote to amend or adopt the preliminary awards and amounts.

  7. The City Council's decisions about awards and amounts are final and not subject to appeal.

The City may modify this process in its sole discretion if, based on the number of applications submitted, the City determines that another process is more appropriate.

Innovation & Growth Fund Policy Guidelines

RAILS grants must advance economic development projects and programs that result in at least one of the following:

  1. Create Jobs: Projects and programs that create or retain permanent jobs.

  2. Make it Easier to Conduct Business: Projects and programs that decrease or eliminate barriers for businesses to operate in the City.

  3. Leverage Funds with other Private or Public Funds: The Fund will fill financial gaps in projects and programs.

  4. Increase Revenue to the City: Projects and programs using Fund resources that directly or indirectly increase short-term city revenue or long-term revenue potential.

  5. Accelerate Growth: Projects and programs that promote the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the commercialization of innovative research and products, or promote emerging industries.

  6. Encourage Diversity: Projects and programs that encourage diversity and inclusion in the innovation community.

Minimum Criteria

All eligible applications will initially be evaluated based on the following minimum criteria:

  • Proven track record

  • Clear, actionable plans that achieve RAILS objectives

  • Fills an industry gap or local market need

  • City funds would be "catalytic" to completing the project

  • Value to the Sacramento innovation ecosystem

  • Program deliverables and metrics

Semi-finalist and Finalist Application Scoring Criteria

Semi-finalist and finalist applications will be scored as follows:

  1. Potential Impact (40 points)

  2. Equity & Inclusion (25 points)

  3. Investment Leveraged & Financial Sustainability (20 points)

  4. Community Partnerships & Collaboration (15 points)

Applications may receive preference points for any or all of the following:

  1. Applicant is an employer actively participating in the Thousand Strong program (5 points)

  2. Project has a geographic focus in at least one underserved community such as (5 points):

    • Strawberry Manor

    • Del Paso Heights/Nuevo

    • Wills Acres

    • Richardson Village

    • South Hagginwood

    • Noralto

    • Old North Sacramento

    • Twin Rivers

    • Alkali Flat

    • Marina Vista-Alder Grove

    • Oak Park

    • Lemon Hill

    • Woodbine

    • Meadowview

    • Parkway

    • Valley Hi/North Laguna

Applications for programs serving youth will be additionally vetted to determine how the proposed project: (1) promotes equity of access to students throughout the city, and (2) integrates the youth development framework and one or more of the social justice principles in the Citywide Youth Development Campaign Plan ensuring a high-quality experience for participants.

Conflicts of Interest

Application reviewers will comprise both City staff and the Mayor’s Tech Council. No reviewer may be financially interested in a grant.