Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

U.S. DoT BUILD Grants for Transportation - Open to Public Entities

Posted by Vickie Garton-Gundling on Tue, Jun 5, 2018 @ 09:06 AM

If your municipality or county organization provides public transportation services, you probably are familiar with U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) grant funding and
the fact that it is usually reBusserved almost exclusively for state departments of transit and other official transit agencies.  However, in late April the DoT announced a new program, the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program, which will be open to any public entities who seek funding for “surface transportation infrastructure” initiatives.

This new BUILD program for FY 2018 replaces the previous Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program through DoT, a program that has provided over $5.6 billion dollars to 463 projects throughout the U.S. and its territories over the last nine years. For FY 2018, preference for BUILD grant awards will be given to projects that focus on or include rural communities, with at least 30% of the overall funding reserved for rural entities / projects. 

Below is some key information about this new grant opportunity.

BUILD Project Focus Requirements

  • Must be a surface transportation infrastructure initiative
    • Examples: roads, bridges, and buses, but not subways or air travel
  • Must provide substantial local or regional impact, including improved quality of life
  • Must include clear safety protocols
  • Must consider and work toward environmental protection
  • Must be innovative
  • Must include partnerships
  • Must generate revenue to use for future transportation infrastructure projects

Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to “any public entity, including municipalities, counties, port authorities, tribal governments, MPOs, or others.”

Award Amounts

  • Maximum award is $25 million per institution.
  • A single state cannot receive more than $150 million.

Application Process and Due Dates 

  • Webinars are available for more information on the full grant application process. While the June 5th webinar is already full, and the June 6th webinar is for rural and tribal entities only, all webinars will be recorded and posted here for subsequent viewing.
  • Applications are due Thursday, July 19th, 2018

If you have additional questions about this grant, you can contact the DoT directly.

If you are interested in applying for this grant and could use help planning your project or writing your application, contact The Grant Helpers today.

Photo Credit: shrinkin' violet

Topics: grants for transportation, transportation grants, transportation, road grants, bridge grants, bus grants

Transportation Grants for Municipalities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 20:02 PM

As the need for grant funding for municipal transportation projects increases,

transportation

it’s important to be aware of many different grant sources for transportation funding.  Federal funds, state funds, and private foundations can fund grants for public transportation, grants for road and highway maintenance, grants for recreational paths, grants for emission reduction and alternative fuel programs, and many more.  We have selected a few such opportunities to highlight below.

TIGER Grants

The government recently appropriated $600 million for Fiscal Year 2014 to the TIGER program, also known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant Program, run by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This program funnels grant money toward road, rail, transit, and port projects. This is a very competitive grant program that funds mostly multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects. Last year, funds from these grants were awarded to 52 capital projects in 37 states. Requests for Proposals will be issued later this year.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)

This program provides grants to states that then disperse the money to transportation programs. Each state decides how to allocate the money.  Some have open grant competitions while others allocate through legislative and political processes. Authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the funds are dispersed among several programs including: The National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Program, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Railway-Highway Crossings Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program, and Metropolitan Planning. All of these programs have different requirements, eligibility conditions, and deadlines. The government authorized $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for MAP-21.

FedEx EarthSmart Outreach Programs

FedEx offers this grant program focusing on sustainable transportation solutions that reduce emissions and congestion and/or enhance safety and expand accessibility. A municipality would need to partner with a nonprofit organization to apply, and only specific program needs will be funded. Applications are accepted year round and are available online.

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

This program, established in 1994 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), has awarded more than $24 million to over 1,400 community-based organizations since its inception. These programs support communities seeking solutions to local environmental and public health issues. Building partnerships, such as municipalities pairing with a local transit agency or a nonprofit organization, is a key in this program. In the past, these grants have helped communities deal with greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, energy efficiency, and renewable energy—all major components of transportation projects. Just last year (2013), Sunflower Community Action, Inc. in Wichita, Kan. received a grant to help with energy efficiency as it relates to air quality. This project encouraged the use of clean technologies that will help reduce soot and smog.  Requests for proposals are expected in October 2014.

Illinois Recreational Trails Program

In our home state of Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources is currently accepting applications for its Bicycle Path, Off Highway Vehicle and Federal Recreational Trails (RTP) grant programs until March 1, 2014. Funds from these grants can be used for trail construction and rehabilitation, restoration of areas adjacent to trails, construction of trail-related support facilities, and land acquisition. This program does require a 20% non-federal funding match. For the Recreational Trails Program, there is a maximum grant award of $200,000. There is no maximum grant award limit for acquisition projects and for motorized projects. Check with your state’s DNR to find similar programs.

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Whether you already have transportation projects planned or are simply seeking information on what projects are fundable by grants, we are here to help. Our services are completely customizable to your needs. Contact us today and our municipality expert, Rebecca Motley, will walk you through the process. And remember, the first consultation is always free. 

Photo credit: mSeattle

Topics: critical needs, funding strategy, funding sources, funding needs, transportation grants, recreation trails, air quality, government grant, federal grant, grant opportunity, foundation grant, municipality, bus grants, environmental grant, transportation, grants for transportation, emission control

Real-World Examples of How to Use a Grant

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, May 8, 2013 @ 14:05 PM
Lowes Foundation Orcas Island 272x331

We routinely list a selected sample of grants available to municipalities, schools, and non-profit organizations for a variety of uses. Sometimes it may be difficult to imagine how your entity could use the grants to meet your goals, or you may struggle to imagine all the ways a grant could impact your school or community. In this blog, we will revisit some of the grant opportunities we have shared with you in the past and give you real examples of how organizations  have used the specific grants. Maybe these examples will give you some ideas where external funding could make life better in your community.

Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation

Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation have awarded more than $175 million in grants to help to help improve communities. One recipient of the charitable efforts was the Orcas Island School District in Washington. The district received more than $50,000 in funds from the Foundation to upgrade kitchen appliances and purchase supplies for the district’s Farm to Cafeteria Program. In the program, the students harvest, prepare, and eat fresh food from nearby farms.

Bus and Bus Facilities Grants

The city of Driggs, ID, will construct a 1,500-square-foot passenger facility and a portion of 110-space Park and Ride lot thanks to assistance provided through the Bus and Bus Facilities Grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The city received an $830,000 grant in 2012. This grant is available to local governments and state transit systems to purchase new buses as well as upgrade or build new bus facilities.

United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facility Grants

In March 2011, Palestine, IL, lost its grocery store, leaving only the gas station as the destination to buy the basics of milk and eggs. The village already had a successful farmer’s market where local vendors sold produce and homemade goods. Additionally, the village had built a shell of a building in their downtown two years earlier. Village officials thought that if improvements could be made to that building, the farmer’s market could be held more frequently and for an extended period of time. The village received a $30,750 community facility grant to finish the interior of the building as well as to add accessible bathrooms, heating, and air conditioning. Now the farmer’s market is open in the early spring to late fall, giving the residents of the small village a reliable place to purchase needed produce, baked goods, and wares.

Walmart Giving Programs

The Walmart Foundation aims to meet four core areas: 1) hunger relief & healthy eating; 2) sustainability; 3) women's economic empowerment; and 4) career opportunity with its local, state, and national giving programs. In 2012, Action for Healthy Kids was one organization that received a piece of $9.5 million in grants to organizations with a shared mission of promoting healthy eating habits. Action for Healthy Kids was granted $1.5 million to help increase access to healthy food, and to improve nutrition education at 400 schools nationwide. The program expects to increase access to nutrition programs to 160,000 school-age children.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Educated Kids Grant Program

The YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity received a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2013 through the Foundation’s focus on educated kids. The YMCA is using the grant to help improve the quality and quantity of affordable, accessible child care for low-income families in its coverage area. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year.

The Mary Kay Foundation Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program

The Mary Kay Foundation awarded Alice’s Place in Winslow, Ariz., a $20,000 grant in 2012. Alice’s Place planned to use the grant to help support its recently opened shelter, Laura’s House. The grant will help cover operational expenses and develop programs to aid people in the domestic violence recovery process. Shelter Grant Applications for 2013 are available from now until April 30, 2013.

Whether your vision is for a new community facility or money to enhance an ongoing educational program, we are here to assist you in locating and applying for the proper grant. See a complete list of all of our services or contact one of our grant experts to get started.

Photo credit: Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation

Topics: health and wellness grant, community development grant, domestic violence, domestic violence grant, support for domestic violence, community facility grants, corporate grant for education, bus facilities grants, child care grants, school food grant, domestic violence funding, bus grants, grant seeking

Municipal Economic and Community Development Grants

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

In our previous blog, "Municipal Water and Wastewater Grants," we outlined several grants available to municipalities that will aid in water and wastewater grants and tradevelopmentining.  In this blog, we detail several grants available to those municipalities hoping to improve economic and community development. These grants fund everything from community facilities to planning efforts to bus programs. There are many more of these types of grants available so let us help you find the optimal ones for your needs. Contact us for your free initial consultation.

Investments for Public Works and Economic Development Facilities

The U.S. Department of Commerce administers this grant program, which aims to support the construction or rehabilitation of integral public infrastructure and facilities. Projects covered under this agenda include business parks, industrial access roads, brownfield redevelopment, telecommunications, and broadband infrastructure improvements, as well as many others. Projects awarded grants must be necessary for business creation, retention, or expansion.

Economic Development_Support for Planning Organizations

Those municipalities aiming to create an economic development plan can look into this grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This program provides assistance to eligible recipients to create a regional economic development plans. These plans should identify and leverage the unique asset of each region, including those that help create and retain higher-skill and higher-wage jobs. These grants applications are accepted on a rolling basis and awards are announced throughout the year.

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program Planning Grant

There is an estimated $45 million available for this grant program in fiscal year 2013. Municipalities eligible for these grants must be developing programs that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. This grant program puts an emphasis on partnerships, including non-traditional partnerships such as arts and culture, public education, or food systems.

FY 2013 Economic Development Assistance Programs

Both rural and urban towns can apply for this grant program from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This program supports 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. There are two deadlines remaining for this program: June 13, 2013 for funding cycle four of fiscal year 2013, and September 13, 2013 for funding cycle one of fiscal year 2014.

Bus and Bus Facilities Grants

Local governments who operate a bus transportation system can receive assistance for their programs through the Bus and Bus Facilities Grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Eligible expenses covered under this program include the purchase of new buses, bus maintenance, mobile radio units, park-and-ride stations, shop and garage equipment, passenger shelters, and more.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

There are several different headings under this U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program. The CDBG Entitlement Community Grant allows larger cities to apply for funding to create affordable housing and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, particularly for low to moderate income individuals. The Small Cities CDBG Program, administered by individual states, assists local governments to carry out community development programs. Each state develops funding priorities annually. Also, different states have different mechanisms for distributing HUD funds, so procedures and deadlines vary from state to state. Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, HUD awards grants to communities hardest hit by foreclosures and delinquencies to purchase, renovate, or redevelop homes and stabilize neighborhoods.

Contact information to determine deadlines are on each grant’s website listing.

We want to help you in your pursuit of grants. See a complete list of all of our services and determine how best we can help you meet your goals.

Photo Credit: Moving Mountains Trust

Topics: community development, community development grant, economic development, grant announcement, bus facilities grants, municipal grant, municipality grant, bus grants