Financial Assistance

Access to federal funding is a top priority for local communities and is generally the type of assistance most requested of an interagency federal team, especially at the initial stages of the team’s engagement. The below list identifies four categories of financial assistance: 1) demonstration projects, 2) disaster grants, 3) discretionary grants and cooperative agreements, and 4) formula and block grants. While a local community may often be focused on the largest amount of funds that can be accessed, in many cases, it is smaller, but more targeted or flexible funds that can have a greater impact in addressing a specific challenge or filling a much needed gap, while also leveraging other resources.

Demonstration Projects

Federal agencies have limited authorities from Congress to support demonstration projects that develop and test new or expanded interventions to a specific challenge. In some cases, these projects include new funding while in others they allow a grantee to use existing federal grant funds differently. While demonstration projects are not explicitly designed for place-specific projects, they tend to target challenges in particular places that often fit within focus areas of an interagency federal team serving a local community. Members of interagency federal teams should consult with their agency colleagues to determine demonstration authorities that may be available and useful to the partnership community.

Agency Name: Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Program Name: Summer Food for Children Demonstrations
Eligible Applicants: State agencies authorized to administer USDA Food and Nutrition Service summer feeding program.
Award Information: Award size varies but is typically tied to additional children or meals served.
Primary Purpose: Program is intended to develop and test methods of providing access to food for low-income children in urban and rural areas during the summer months when schools are not in regular session.
How to Apply: Entities interested in the program should send questions to CNDInternet@fns.usda.gov and visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/ops/summer-food-children-demonstrations

Agency Name: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Program Name: Medicaid Demonstration Projects (Section 1115 Demonstrations)
Eligible Applicants: State Medicaid agencies.
Award Information: Demonstrations must be budget neutral, meaning they are a re-purposing of existing Medicaid funds rather than awarding of additional funds. Projects are approved for an initial, five-year period.
Primary Purpose: The program is intended to support new approaches for: 1) expanding eligibility to individuals who are not otherwise Medicaid eligible; 2) providing services not typically covered by Medicaid; or 3) using innovative service delivery systems that improve care, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.
How to Apply: Applications can be downloaded with submission instructions here: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-program-information/by-topics/waivers/1115/application.html. For more information visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-program-information/by-topics/waivers/1115/section-1115-demonstrations.html

Agency Name: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Program Name: Alternative Methods Demonstration Projects (AMDP)
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit healthcare organizations
Award Information: The AMDP program does not provide new funding but allows for flexible uses of existing resources.
Primary Purpose: AMDPs allow eligible nonprofit healthcare organizations to operate projects and programs outside 340B Drug Pricing Program guidelines when traditional models do not meet these organizations’ ability to provide affordable and accessible services to low-income communities.
How to Apply: Eligible applicants must submit their AMDP proposal to the HRSA Office of Pharmacy Affairs for approval prior to implementation. Proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis; there is no deadline for submission. For more information visit: http://www.hrsa.gov/opa/implementation/alternativemethods/index.html

Agency Name: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Program Name: Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)
Eligible Applicants: Public Housing Authorities
Award Information: The RAD program is cost-neutral and does not increase HUD's budget. This program shifts units from the Public Housing program to the Section 8 program so that providers may leverage private capital markets to make capital improvements.
Primary Purpose: RAD was created to give PHAs a tool to preserve and improve public housing properties and address the nationwide backlog of deferred maintenance. RAD also gives owners of HUD supported properties the opportunity to enter into long-term contracts that facilitate the financing of improvements.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information visit: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/rad/

Agency Name: Department of Labor (DOL)
Program Name: Dislocated Worker National Reserve Demonstration Grants
Eligible Applicants: State workforce agencies as designated under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Local workforce agencies and nonprofit organizations can participate in the program as sub-grantees to the state.
Award Information: Total available funds are no more than 10 percent of the Dislocated Worker National Reserve, or approximately $20 million, depending on annual appropriations. Primary Purpose: To carry out demonstration and pilot projects for the purpose of developing and implementing techniques and approaches, and demonstrating the effectiveness of specialized methods, in addressing employment and training needs of dislocated and other types of workers.
How to Apply: Interested applicants should contact the appropriate point of contact in the DOL Employment and Training Administration’s regional office. For more information visit: https://www.cfda.gov/index?s=program&mode=form&tab=core&id=6b2a6a9b15282ec2a93d8697eca7264f

Disaster Grants

A community becomes eligible for a number of grants when a federal disaster has been declared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or another federal agency. Common resources to consider include:

Agency Name: Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Program Name: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Grants (Disaster Assistance Grants)
Eligible Applicants: States experiencing a major disaster or emergency. Local governments and nonprofits can participate in the program as sub-grantees to the state.
Award Information: Small projects are for eligible activities costing between $1,000 and $120,000. Large projects are those with more than $120,000 in estimated costs. The federal share of assistance is at least 75% of the eligible costs of the project.
Primary Purpose: FEMA provides federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain nonprofit organizations. The program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.
How to Apply: The governor of the affected State must submit the request to the President through their FEMA Regional Administrator within 30 days of the occurrence of the incident. For more information visit: http://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit

Agency Name: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Program Name: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Assistance
Eligible Applicants: States, units of local governments, Indian tribes designated as disaster areas.
Award Information: Grants are available based on supplemental funding approved by Congress. Grantees must use at least half of Disaster Recovery funds for activities that principally benefit low-and moderate-income persons.
Primary Purpose: CDBG Disaster Recovery Assistance provides flexible grants to help cities, counties, and States recover from Presidentially declared disasters, especially in low-income areas, subject to availability of supplemental appropriations. In response to Presidentially declared disasters, Congress may appropriate additional funding for the CDBG program as Disaster Recovery grants to rebuild the affected areas and provide crucial seed money to start the recovery process. Since CDBG Disaster Recovery Assistance may fund a broad range of recovery activities, HUD can help communities and neighborhoods that otherwise might not recover due to limited resources.
How to Apply: CDBG grantees should contact the HUD Community Planning and Development Specialist for their state. For more information visit: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/cdbg-dr/

Agency Name: Department of Labor (DOL)
Program Name: Emergency/Disaster Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs)
Eligible Applicants: State workforce agencies as designated under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Local workforce agencies and nonprofit organizations can participate in the program as sub-grantees to the state.
Award Information: Awards range in size based on the documented need.
Primary Purpose: Disaster DWGs provide funding to create temporary employment opportunities to assist with clean-up and recovery efforts, when an area impacted by disaster is declared eligible for public assistance by FEMA or another federal agency with disaster declaration authority.
How to Apply: Applicants apply through DOL’s electronic application system, though it is recommended that they first contact the appropriate point of contact in the DOL Employment and Training Administration’s regional office. For more information visit: https://doleta.gov/DWGs/Types-of-DWGs/Disaster-Emergency-DWGs/

Agency Name: Department of Education (ED)
Program Name: Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV)
Eligible Applicants: Local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) that have experienced a traumatic event of such magnitude, such as school shootings or other serious violent incidents, as to severely disrupt the teaching and learning environment. Award Information: Award size varies from as low as $25,000 to as high as $3 million, depending on documented need.
Primary Purpose: Program funds short-term and long-term education, recovery, and counseling related services for LEAs and IHEs to help students recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the learning environment has been disrupted.
How to Apply: Applications should be sent via email to Hamed.Negron-Perez@ed.gov. For more information visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvppserv/index.html

Discretionary Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Federal agencies have discretionary funding tied to specific programs that allow them to award grants or cooperative agreements on a competitive basis to eligible applicants. Agencies can decide to make or not make an award based on the programmatic, technical, or scientific content of an application, and can decide the amount of funding to be awarded. The difference between a grant and cooperative agreement is that a cooperative agreement tends to have substantial involvement between the federal awarding agency and grantee in carrying out the activities contemplated by the funding. The below list is just a sample of competitive programs that have been used to support place-specific efforts.

Agency Name: Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
Program Name: ARC Project Grants and Distressed Counties Grants
Eligible Applicants: State and local agencies, local governing boards, and nonprofit organizations within ARC’s footprint. For the distressed county program, counties must meet ARC-designated criteria for economic distress based on three economic indicators: three-year average unemployment rates, per capita market income, and poverty rates.
Award Information: Generally, ARC grants are limited to 50 percent of project costs, but this limit can be raised in economically distressed or at-risk counties to up to 80 percent.
Primary Purpose: ARC Project Grants fund specific programs or projects with the goal of supporting economic development, human capital, telecommunications infrastructure, and organizational capacity in the Appalachian region.
How to Apply: Potential applicants should contact their state ARC program manager to request a pre-application package. For more information visit: http://www.arc.gov/grants

Agency Name: Delta Regional Authority (DRA)
Program Name: State’s Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP)
Eligible Applicants: State and local governments, public bodies, and nonprofit organizations within the 252 counties and parishes served by the DRA.
Award Information: Total annual funding is about $10 million.
Primary Purpose: SEDAP provides direct investment into community-based and regional projects that address the DRA’s Congressionally mandated four funding priorities: basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and business development, emphasizing entrepreneurship.
How to Apply: Eligible applicants should work with Local Development District (LDD) offices to prepare and submit applications to the DRA. For more information visit http://dra.gov/funding-programs/states-economic-development-assistance-program/

Agency Name: Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Program Name: Community Facilities Grant Program
Eligible Applicants: State and local governments, community-based nonprofit organizations, Indian tribes.
Award Information: Depending on the population size and average income of the applicant community, grants cover between 15 and 75 percent of project costs.
Primary Purpose: The program provides funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted year round. Interested applicants should contact their local Rural Development office. For more information visit: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program

Agency Name: Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Program Name: Rural Economic Development Grant Program
Eligible Applicants: Local utility organizations.
Award Information: Maximum award of $300,000.
Primary Purpose: The program provides grant funds to local utility organizations which use the funding to establish revolving loan funds (RLF). Loans are made from the RLFs to projects that will create or retain rural jobs.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted year round. Interested applicants should contact their local Rural Development office. For more information visit: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-economic-development-loan-grant-program

Agency Name: Department of Commerce (DOC)
Program Name: Economic Development Administration (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance Program
Eligible Applicants: States, political subdivisions of states, district organizations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations. Certain economic distress indicators around unemployment and income must be met.
Award Information: Individual awards can range from $100,000 to $3 million.
Primary Purpose: Grants are intended to support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, encourage economic development, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.
How to Apply: Proposals can be submitted on a rolling basis to the appropriate EDA regional office. EDA staff is available to answer questions and help with the application process. Direct inquiries to the regional office contact with jurisdiction. For more information visit https://www.eda.gov/funding-opportunities/

Agency Name: Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
Program Name: AmeriCorps VISTA
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations, and local, state, or federal agencies can become an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsor. Project sponsors must be able to direct the project, supervise members, and provide necessary administrative support. Award Information: Awards cover a portion of the VISTA members’ stipend and related administrative costs.
Primary Purpose: AmeriCorps VISTA provides full-time AmeriCorps members to organizations and agencies working to create and expand programs that bring individuals and communities out of poverty. VISTA members can perform a range of non-direct service activities. Note, the VISTA program has been used to provide capacity for local teams, such as a mayor’s office or nonprofit, that have served as the primary partner of the interagency federal team.
How to Apply: To apply, a potential sponsor should contact the applicable CNCS State Office to discuss application requirements and procedures. For more information visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-vista

Agency Name: Department of Education (ED)
Program Name: Promise Neighborhoods
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes. An eligible organization must operate or propose to work with at least one public elementary or secondary school that is located within the identified geographic area.
Award Information: The program was first authorized in 2010 and provides planning grants and implementation grants. The maximum planning award has been $500,000 and the maximum implementation award has been $27 million.
Primary Purpose: The purpose of Promise Neighborhoods is to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in the most distressed communities across the country.
How to Apply: Competitions are held based on funding availability. For more information visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/promiseneighborhoods/index.html

Agency Name: Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)
Program Name: Brownfields Grant Programs – Area Wide Planning (AWP) Grants
Eligible Applicants: Local governments, public authorities, regional councils, Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations.
Award Information: Individual grants are typically up to $200,000.
Primary Purpose: AWP grants fund communities to research, plan and develop implementation strategies for an area affected by one or more brownfields. Developing an area-wide plan will inform the assessment, cleanup and reuse of brownfields properties and promote area-wide revitalization.
How to Apply: Competitions are currently held every other year, as funding is available. For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding#tab-5. For information on other EPA Brownfields grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding.

Agency Name: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Program Name: Choice Neighborhoods
Eligible Applicants: Local municipalities, public housing authorities, nonprofit organizations.
Award Information: The program was first authorized in 2010 and provides planning grants and implementation grants. The maximum planning award has been $500,000 and the maximum implementation award has been $30 million.
Primary Purpose: The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. The program is designed to catalyze critical improvements in neighborhood assets, including vacant property, housing, services and schools.
How to Apply: Competitions are held based on funding availability. For more information visit: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph/cn

Agency Name: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Program Name: Continuum of Care (CoC)
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, public housing agencies. An eligible applicant must be designated by the Continuum of Care. Funds may be used for projects under five program components: permanent housing, transitional housing, supportive services only, homeless management information system, and, in some cases, homelessness prevention.
Award Information: Total amount available per year is approximately $1.9 billion, which is awarded to organizations in all states and territories.
Primary Purpose: HUD established the competitive CoC funding application process to provide resources to communities to implement community-wide, coordinated efforts for assessing and addressing the housing and service needs of individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
How to Apply: HUD requires representatives of relevant organizations to form a CoC to serve a specific geographic area. Funding competitions are held annually. For more information visit: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/coc/

Agency Name: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Program Name: Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program
Eligible Applicants: States, cities, urban counties.
Award Information: Loans typically range from $500,000 to $140 million, depending on the scale of the project or program.
Primary Purpose: Section 108 provides communities with a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities, and other physical development projects, including improvements to increase their resilience against natural disasters. This flexibility makes it one of the most potent and important public investment tools that HUD offers to state and local governments.
How to Apply: Public entities may contact either the Community Planning and Development staff at the appropriate local HUD Field Office or the Section 108 office in Washington at (202) 402-4654. For more information visit: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/section-108/section-108-program-eligibility-requirements/

Agency Name: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Program Name: Our Town
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit arts organizations partnering with government, other nonprofit organizations, and private entities to achieve livability goals for communities.
Award Range: Individual awards range from $25,000 to $200,000.
Primary Purpose: Support for projects is offered in two areas: 1) arts engagement, cultural planning, and design projects, and 2) projects that build knowledge about creative place-making. NEA defines creative place-making as artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrating arts and culture into community revitalization work.
How to Apply: Grant competitions are held on an annual basis. For information visit: https://www.arts.gov/grants-organizations/our-town/how-to-prepare-and-submit-an-application-b

Agency Name: Department of Justice (DOJ)
Program Name: Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)–Local
Eligible Applicants: Units of local government appearing on the JAG Allocations List.
Award Information: Individual awards vary based on available allocations. For large cities, allocations can be over $1 million.
Primary Purpose: The JAG Program - Local provides local governments with funding to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court, prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives. Note, the JAG program has been leveraged to reimburse local communities for public safety costs related to crises that did not receive FEMA or other federal disaster or emergency declaration.
How to Apply: All applications must be submitted via the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Grants Management System (GMS). Registration is required for all applicants, even those previously registered in GMS. For information visit: https://www.bja.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?Program_ID=59

Agency Name: Department of Labor (DOL)
Program Name: YouthBuild
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations, local government agencies.
Award Information: Individual awards range from $750,000 to $1.1 million.
Primary Purpose: YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24. Youth learn construction skills while constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their own neighborhoods. Funds can also support job training in other sectors and industries beyond construction.
How to Apply: Competitions are held on an annual basis. For information visit: https://www.doleta.gov/Youth_services/YouthBuild.cfm

Agency Name: Small Business Administration (SBA)
Program Name: Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME)
Eligible Applicants: Micro-enterprise organizations, nonprofit organizations, Indian tribes.
Award Information: Up to $250,000 per award.
Primary Purpose: PRIME provides assistance to organizations that help low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain access to capital and expand their small businesses.
How to Apply: SBA holds competitions for new awards based on availability of funds. For information visit: https://www.sba.gov/content/steps-becoming-prime

Agency Name: Small Business Administration (SBA)
Program Name: Microloan Intermediary
Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations with at least one-year experience making direct microloans (defined as loans up to $50,000).
Award Information: Loans of up to $1.25 million per organization with grants up to 25% of loan amount to pay for loan servicing and technical assistance costs.
Primary Purpose: The program provides small businesses with microloans for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and/or equipment. SBA makes funds available to nonprofits, which then make loans to eligible borrowers that may include nonprofits establishing childcare businesses.
How to Apply: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Organizations should contact their SBA district office. For more information visit: https://www.sba.gov/category/lender-navigation/working-with-sba/other-partnerships-with-sba/how-become-microloan-interme

Agency Name: Department of Transportation (DOT)
Program Name: Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER)
Eligible Applicants: State, local, tribal governments; transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, and other political subdivisions of state or local governments.
Award Information: Minimum award of $25 million for large projects (generally defined as projects larger than $100 million) and $5 million for small projects.
Primary Purpose: The TIGER Program funds capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure for projects that have a significant economic impact on a metropolitan area or region.
How to Apply: Grant competitions are held on an annual basis. For information visit: https://www.transportation.gov/tiger

Agency Name: Department of Transportation (DOT)
Program Name: Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE)
Eligible Applicants: State, local, tribal governments; metropolitan planning organizations, and other political subdivisions of state or local governments.
Award Information: Maximum award is $100 million. Average award is $14.5 million.
Primary Purpose: The FASTLANE program funds critical freight and highway projects across the country that address increased congestion on the nation’s highways and the need for a strong multimodal transportation system to support the expected growth in freight movement both by ton and value.
How to Apply: Grant competitions are held on an annual basis. For information visit: https://www.transportation.gov/FASTLANEgrants

Agency Name: Department of Treasury
Program Name: Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Program
Eligible Applicants: Certified, nonprofit CDFIs.
Award Information: Financial Assistance awards up to $2 million; Technical Assistance awards up to $125,000.
Primary Purpose: The CDFI Program offers both Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards to CDFIs. These competitive awards support and enhance the ability of these organizations to increase the availability of capital in the communities they serve.
How to Apply: Grant competitions are held on an annual basis. For information visit: https://www.cdfifund.gov/programs-training/Programs/cdfi-program/Pages/default.aspx

Formula and Block Grants

Formula and block grants are awarded directly by federal agencies to eligible recipients, typically state or local governments, as authorized by statute. Statutes or appropriations acts specify how the funds will be allocated among the eligible recipients and sub-recipients (such as states and local areas). Allocations are typically based on a calculation from census data, population, and relevant socioeconomic factors. Depending on local needs and areas of priority, federal teams should review relevant formula and block grants in a local area and determine if there are unspent funds that can be re-purposed to address priorities. Formula and block grants frequently allow for flexible uses that enable communities to fund new or creative strategies to meet local needs. Local communities may not always be aware of the full flexibilities allowed by these grants.

Here are examples of formula or block grants that could be leveraged by a federal team:

  • HUD Community Development Block Grant is used by cities and urban counties for a range of community development, economic development, and affordable housing projects.

  • HHS Community Services Block Grant is used by local areas to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities.

  • HHS Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a state block grant designed to help low-income families achieve economic self-sufficiency.

  • ED Title I formula grants provide financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.

  • DOL Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is a state formula grant that funds state and local employment and training programs for adults, dislocated workers, and youth.

  • DOJ Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program encourage states and units of local government to implement accountability-based programs and services and strengthen the juvenile justice system.

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