Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Two Ways To Stretch Your Construction Funds

Posted by Carol Timms on Thu, Oct 4, 2018 @ 15:10 PM

ConstructionConstruction and renovation projects often result in unexpected expenses. When those projects involve energy improvements, schools, local governments and non-profits can employ a variety of funding sources to stretch project budgets. In addition to grants, it is useful to include utility incentives and performance contracting. 


Utility Incentives

Utilities often offer a variety of incentives for the installation of energy efficient equipment and lighting.  These incentives often apply to renovation and new construction projects. Contact your local utility to determine what incentives are available. 

Performance Contracting

Performance contracting is considered a budget neutral solution. Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) first conduct energy audits to determine projected energy and maintenance savings resulting from the elements of the project. They then offer a guaranteed projection of savings. Project costs are not paid up front but, rather, are treated as installment contracts or leases. The client pays in installments using energy and maintenance savings. If the guaranteed savings are not achieved in any given period, the client doesn’t pay for that period. 

In addition to the benefits of paying with savings, performance contracting also offers the following benefits:

  • Single Contract – Accredited ESCOs manage the construction process
  • Fixed Price – The contracts specifically state there will be no change orders
  • Guarantees – If energy savings aren’t as predicted, the client doesn’t pay for that time period
  • Energy Savings Continue After Contract Ends
  • Clients Benefit From a Relationship With a Trusted Energy Advisor 

Some ESCOs also provide customer service after the sale including grant writing services.


When planning a construction project, contact The Grant Helpers to assist you in developing your funding portfolio.  Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.

Topics: grant budget, grant strategies, grant funding, finance grants, resources, budget, areas of funding, energy funding, non-profit, find matching funds, find matching funds for grants, municipal development funds, city development funds, nonprofit, finding funding, funding sources, nonprofit funding, municipality funding, grants for energy reduction, grant sources, grants for green projects, green grants, municipal grant, educational grants, educational funding, more grant dollars

Grants for Playgrounds

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

10213718205_f18ee5a30d_q.jpgThe numbers are shocking. Over 10 million children are totally inactive and 33 million are not active to healthy standards. A former general surgeon stated that this could be the first generation of kids that will be less healthy and have a lower life expectancy than their parents. One important step to get kids playing is creating access to safe and fun playgrounds. However, money to pay for them does not always come easy. The grants below can help.


Each year Playworld sponsors the Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes, a grant program that provides schools or military communities with the funds or equipment to improve playgrounds and boost wellness programs for more active children. Administrators, parents, teachers, and community members can enter their facilities for a chance to win the grand prize: a $30,000 grant for wellness and a new playground. Three grand prizes will be awarded. One grand prize drawing will be from all eligible entries. The second will be from all eligible entries whose schools qualify for the Title I Schoolwide Program. The third will be awarded exclusively to eligible entries submitted on behalf of a military base or installation. Three runners-up will also be chosen to win $5,000 in prizes for their school’s wellness program. Deadline for this application is March 24.

Go! Grants

The Go! Grants program aims to increase physical activity programs in elementary schools throughout the country. Thus far over 270 schools and 100,000 kids have been impacted by these grants. Public and charter K-6 schools are eligible to apply. Schools must be enrolled or willing to enroll in Let’s Move! Active Schools. The money can be used for before, during, or after-school programs. The grant can also be used for equipment, which means playground equipment is eligible. Grants range from $1,000-$5,000. An elementary school in New York used the grant money last year to help fund its Recess Every Day program. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.


KaBOOM! is one of the biggest playground grant funders. This organization has several grant programs so look at them closely to see which one suits your needs best.

  • Build it with KaBOOM! – This category provides the facilitation and support of an experienced project manager as community members embark on a 5–12 week planning process. After selection, all partners will join together for a community design day, inviting play experts, like children, to design their dream play space. This will result in a six-hour community day, where the community space will be transformed to include a permanent play structure. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and are accepted from municipalities across the country. However, there are priority cities that KaBOOM! is focused on. That said, if your city isn’t on the list you can still apply
  • Build it Yourself – These are $15,000 grants toward the purchase of playground equipment. Grantees also have the support of a KaBOOM! grants manager and an onsite certified playground installer. Municipalities, schools, and child-serving non-profit organizations without a playground or with existing equipment that is unsafe for children are eligible for this opportunity. Applicants must spend $24,000-$40,000 on playground equipment. Grants are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Let’s Play Imagination Playground Grant – Imagination Playground is a specialized play structure created by KaBOOM! With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination Playground™ provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with deadlines at the end of each month. Municipalities and child-serving non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. is a full-service grant company with a team of experts ready to assist you in all of your grant needs. See a full list of our services, and then try us out with a free phone consultation with an expert in your field. Contact us today!


Photo Credit: SmartSign

Topics: playground grants, grants for playgrounds, parks and recreation, parks and recreation grants, youth grants, healthy youth, grants for youth, youth recreation grants, grants for youth recreation, municipality, municipal grant, municipal grants, muncipality, municipality grants, municipal funding, municipality grant, school grant, school playground grant, grants for a school playground

Three Ways to Justify Grants for Bike Lanes

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 14:01 PM

A municipality wants to add bike lanes to several stretches of local bikeroadways. Local funding is limited so the decision makers want to explore possible grant opportunities. Finding grants that specifically fund bike lanes is the obvious place to start. However, there are several different ways to validate the need for bike lanes.

Think of all the different benefits that might result from the bike lanes.  Each one of them can turn into a potential funding avenue.  The bike path might help all citizens be healthier.  It might do good things for the environment. It might further the cause of bicycling in general.  By way of example, below are funding sources for each of these approaches.


Possible funding theme: Health and Wellness

Even a relaxing bike ride at 10 mph will burn 281 calories, according to NutriStrategy. Thus, adding bike lanes to a community will provide a safe way for people to get exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Applications to health and wellness agencies could include statements from local health and wellness experts about the chance to increase exercise opportunities with the addition of bike lanes. One available grant for this funding theme is from Aetna. This grant program supports projects that identify causes of obesity and potential best practices for addressing obesity, specifically the impact of our neighborhoods and on the “built environment” for promoting population health and weight loss. Grants that serve under-served, low-income, and minority communities will receive special consideration. Specific dates for the 2015 grant cycle have not been released yet though it is expected applications will be accepted beginning in April. Awarded grants will total either $25,000 or $50,000.

Possible funding theme: The Environment

With dedicated bike lanes, community members may be more likely to ride their bike to work or to run errands. That would mean more cars are left parked in the garage, thus reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. Grants that support environmental projects or aim to reduce pollution would be another great theme for the construction of bike lanes. The Energy Foundation would be a great resource for this subject. The Climate Program, The Public Engagement Program, and the Transportation Program, all through this foundation, would be possible avenues for funding. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.

Possible funding theme: Bike Lanes

Never overlook the obvious. Bike lanes can be funded by grantors looking to increase bike traffic and bike projects. The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program would be a great place to start. This grant program provides funding for projects that encourage bicycling in communities across the country, specifically bicycle infrastructure. Non-profit organizations, city and county governments, or state and federal agencies working locally are eligible to apply. PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, and equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. The maximum grant award is $10,000. The spring grant cycle ends soon, on Jan. 30. Don’t fret. The next grant cycle begins June 15.


Photo Credit: Till Krech

Topics: muncipality, grant notification, grant opportunity, municipal grant, bike grants, bike lanes, grants for health and wellness, environmental grants, bicycle granths, municipal grants, municipal funding, muncipal improvement funds, health and wellness grants, grants for envirvonmental projects

Grants for Housing Needs

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 @ 14:10 PM

Having a roof over your head is a basic human need. Unfortunately, there are over 600,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. Furthermore, many people live in substandard housing, and there is a lack of affordable hhomeousing across the country. Individuals, municipalities, and non-profit organizations have many opportunities for home construction grants and grants for other housing issues. Both federal and state governments as well as private foundations offer funding to help with a wide array of needs. 

Habitat for Humanity

College campus chapters of Habitat for Humanity can apply for grants from Habitat for Humanity and State Farm to help with home building projects. There will be 16 matching grants available for the 2014-15 year: four $10,000 matching grants, six $5,000 grants, and six $2,000 grants. These grants aim to help the chapters increase their capacity to build houses for needy families. In addition to the matching grants described above, eligible groups may also apply for a Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative bonus grant of $1,000 each, which will be awarded based on the project described. Groups must first apply for, and receive, a matching grant to be eligible for a bonus. The deadline for applications is Oct. 1, meaning you likely need to look ahead to next year for this program.

Continuum of Care (CoC) Program

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this program’s goal is to end homelessness. Grants from this program can fund new construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or leasing of buildings to provide transitional or permanent housing, rental assistance, payment of operating costs, supportive services, re-housing services, payment of administrative costs, and grants for technical assistance. HUD homes grants are available to non-profit organizations and state and local governments. Hurry, the deadline is Oct. 30 for FY 2014. Don’t fret; we do rush jobs.

Wells Fargo Homeownership Grant Program

Non-profit home organizations can apply for grants from this banking company. The goal is to help provide sustainable homeownership opportunities for low to moderate income people. Grants can be used for construction or rehab of owner-occupied homes, buyer education and counseling, foreclosure counseling and prevention, down payment and closing cost subsidies, interstate rate buy downs, and home repairs. Applications are due between January 2-31 and July 1-31 every year. The average grant amount over the past three years was $7,500.

USDA Rural Development Self-Help Technical Assistance Grants

These grants provide financial assistance to non-profit organizations and governments to aid low-income individuals and their families to build homes in rural areas by the self-help method. Grants can be used to pay salaries, rent, and office expenses of the nonprofit organization. Pre-development grants up to $10,000 are available. Applications are accepted year round and can be turned into your local rural development office.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Communities hardest hit by foreclosures and home delinquencies can apply for grant money from this HUD-funded program. These grants are used to purchase, rehabilitate, or redevelop homes. Funds must be used to benefit low- and moderate-income persons whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the area median income. The average grant amount in 2014 was over $12 million.  

Additional information

Many grant programs that fund housing needs also offer low-interest loans. For example, the USDA Rural Development offers loans to low-income households to purchase homes in rural areas. Check out their other loans here. If your grant proposal is unsuccessful, or even if it is funded, look into these loans to complement the grants.

Additionally, HUD also has some other programs like Section 203(k) insurance, which enables homebuyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase (or refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage, or to finance the rehabilitation of their existing homes.


Photo Credit: Koshy Koshy

Topics: municipality grants, homelessness grants, grant notification, municipality funding, HUD homes, homelessness, home construction grants, grants for housing, HUD grants, grant opportunity, municipal grant, municipality grant, municipality, municipal grants, municipal funding, housing assistance

Grants for Municipalities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

There is hardly an initiative from any city, large or small, where the acityvailability of grant funding isn't a factor.  No matter the area—transportation, safe schools, energy, the environment, economic development, parks and recreation, culture and quality of life, and many more—being able to obtain grant support can determine whether or not a project happens.  

Two of our Grant Helpers, Rebecca Motley and Roland Garton, will discuss ways that cities can obtain more grant funds over time at the annual meeting of the Illinois Municipal League, September 19, 2014, at the Chicago Hilton. (The location itself, facing Grant Park and Lake Michigan, is a quite a sight.)  

The main points of the session are not restricted to municipalities.  Most apply to all organizations.  So here are some key take-aways from the presentation.  

  • Grant funding is available.  The federal government provides billions of dollars annually for a wide variety of projects.

  • Work with larger organizations.  In the case of municipalities, federal dollars typically flow through the state, so working with relevant state departments is critical.  Also, work with regional collaborations and initiatives to broaden your impact.

  • Align for fundability.  You can be more fundable if you shift priorities and structure projects to line up with the priorities of funding agencies.  Example: one city got funds for a bike path by switching the planned route to accommodate school children on bikes.

  • Plan on multiple applications over time.  Your first proposal is less likely to be successful than your 20th. So plan on writing a series of proposals over time, building your library of support materials and approaches.

  • Numbers rule.  You must provide measurable data to quantify the need for your project and the impact your project will have.

  • Review proposals carefully.  Allow ample in the development process to check for obvious errors, and to make sure the proposal responds to the main interests of the funding agency.  Be willing to re-write sections, even if you considered them complete, if they don’t directly address the main goals and interests of the funder.

If you’re interested in more details, you can download the slides and handouts from the presentation.

You may also benefit from our Grant Readiness Checklist.  We can help your organization structure for successful grant funding over time.  From high-level advice and guidance to detailed issues regarding grant strategy and applications, we can help however best fits your organization.


Photo Credit: Freedom II Andres

Topics: municipality grants, muncipality, municipality funding, municipal services, municipal grant, municipality grant, municipality, municipal grants

Upcoming Municipal Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 @ 15:08 PM

In helping municipalities set priorities among the constant barrage of requests from the community--infrastructure, better roads, water systems,safey, recreation and leisurem and many communitymore--it can help to know what kinds of funding are available. Toward that end, check out the grants below, some with September deadlines, as well as some information about an ongoing grant program that may be helpful for future planning.

We make you aware of new grant opportunities in a variety of ways, including Twitter and Facebook. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@TheGrantHelpers) to make sure you get updates.

FY 2015 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (BF AWP) Grant

The Environmental Protection Agency is already announcing funding for the next fiscal year’s brownfield grant program. The deadline to apply is Sept. 22, 2014. This funding is available to municipalities and non-profit organizations to conduct research, technical assistance, and/or training activities that will enable the entity to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. BF AWP-funded activities must be directed to one or more brownfield site(s) located in a specific area. The maximum amount of grant funding that applicants may apply for under each proposal is $200,000. EPA anticipates selecting approximately 20 projects through this program.

State of Illinois Small Equipment Grant Program

Fire departments, fire protection districts, or township fire departments located in Illinois can now apply for funding from this grant program. Applications are due Sept. 30, 2014. These grants can be used to purchase small equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus, and other tools for firefighters. The grants may not exceed $26,000. In order for a fire department, fire protection district, or township fire department to be eligible for any grant or revolving loan offered through the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM), the department must be in compliance with the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of 24 months prior to the open application period.

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) Program

It’s never too early to start grant planning. The National Endowment for the Humanities has already announced funding for its Fiscal Year 2016 HCRR grant program. Applications will be due July 21, 2015. Libraries, museums, and historical organizations are eligible to apply. Funding from this program aims to preserve the collections of these entities. Awards are also made to create various reference resources, as well as make these collections more widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.

Small Grants Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers the Small Grants Program to assist with public-private partnerships that create projects for long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. The deadline for this program is November 7, 2014. Grant requests may not exceed $75,000, and priority is given to applicants that have not received this grant before. From the inception of the program in 1996 through March 2014, 665 projects have been funded with more than $37.2 in grant money.

Informational Grant Tidbit

Need a transportation grant? Start planning now for a successful grant application for next year’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. Why so early? The demand is so high. Applications for the program this year totaled $9.5 billion, 15 times the $600 million set aside for the program. The Department received 797 eligible applications this year, compared to 585 in 2013.


Photo credit: the_tahoe_guy

Topics: municipality grants, first responder grants, humanities, firefighter safety, firefighter grant, municipality funding, brownfields, brownfield clean up, municipal grant, municipality grant, municipality, fire department grant, fire safety grant, firefighter safety grant, municipal grants, municipal funding, transportation, wetlands, TIGER program

Water and Wastewater Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 @ 08:08 AM

A centurwatery ago, the average American used only about 10 gallons of water a day to drink, cook, clean, and bathe. Today, Americans use 100 gallons a day per person on average, causing stresses on our sources of drinking water. Along with that stress on the drinking water comes a burden on the wastewater systems. It’s not surprising that we often get requests from municipalities for help finding water and wastewater grants. Below is a list of hand-picked grants.

USDA Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loans and Grants

Towns with a population under 10,000 qualify for this grant program that assists in the development of water and waste disposal systems. To qualify, applicants must be unable to obtain the financing from other sources at rates and terms they can afford, and/or from their own resources. Projects must be primarily for the benefit of rural users. Applications are accepted at any time through the Rural Development State and Area Offices. To locate an office near you go to

USDA Solid Waste Management Grants

This is a unique grant program from the United States Department of Agriculture. Instead of funds to improve infrastructure, this grant program provides communities with technical assistance and training to reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources and to improve planning and management of solid waste sites. Grants may be used to enhance operator skills in operations and maintenance, to identify threats to water resources, and to reduce the solid waste stream. Eligible municipalities must have a population of 10,000 or less. Applications are accepted between October 1 and December 31 each fiscal year. The City of Dickinson, North Dakota received a $20,600 grant to develop and implement a public training campaign to ensure proper use and acceptance for the program. USDA will also extend technical assistance to 23 area communities whose municipal solid waste is disposed in the Dickinson landfill.

Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) offers this grant program to assist municipalities with water and wastewater projects. The EDA accepts applications quarterly with October 17, 2014 being the deadline for funding cycle one of FY 2015. Applicants may submit applications at any time during the quarter, and EDA representatives will give formal feedback on any application submitted before the deadline. Decisions on funding will be made by the last business day of the month following the applicable funding cycle deadline.

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

This foundation opens its grant program to any Illinois publicly owned and operated wastewater facility. The goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption among facilities that treat wastewater by providing incentives for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy systems. Applications were due in January and July for the FY 2014 funding cycle. It is expected that applications will be due at the same time for FY 2015, meaning now is the perfect time to begin the application process for the first 2015 cycle. Funding is available up to $500,000 (with a minimum award of $50,000).

Other resources

If you are looking for additional resources to help with your municipal water and wastewater projects, take a look at these sites:

Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN)

This network provides environmental management, planning, funding, and regulatory information for local government elected and appointed officials, managers, and staff. Besides the website, LGEAN also operates a toll free telephone service (877-865-4326).

Water Environment Foundation

This non-profit organization, with a motto of the “water quality people,” is a technical and educational organization representing water quality professionals. This organization provides water quality professionals around the world with the latest in water quality education, training, and business opportunities.

Photo Credit: Donald Lee Pardue

Topics: muncipality, grant notification, water grants, wastewater grants, grants for water, grants for wastewater, grant opportunity, municipal grant, municipality grant

COPS Grant Programs Announced

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

SRO COPS SchoolsThe United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office has announced that it is accepting applications for three of its COPS programs. These programs might be of great interest to municipalities and the schools that serve them. The COPS Office still does not appear poised to reinstate the previous, well-known Secure Our Schools (SOS) program, but these three programs support some of the same areas, especially by providing grant funds for school resource officers (SROs).

The deadline for all three is only a month away. We can help you meet tight deadlines with additional, knowledgeable grant experts. Information for these three programs follows. If you are interested in learning more about these, or if you need help applying for one of these programs, please do not hesitate to contact us

COPS Hiring Program (CHP)

Through this program, the COPS office supports the hiring and rehiring of police officers to focus on certain community policing issues. Additional consideration will be given to the following policing problem areas: homeland security, homicide/gun violence, school-based policing through school resource officers, and trust problems. Additional consideration may also be given for communities that have undergone a catastrophic event, have been designated as a Promise Zone, or who are committed to hiring at least one military veteran with CHP funding.

FUNDING SPECIFICS: CHP will provide up to 75% of entry-level salary and fringe benefits for each newly-hired officer over the 3-year grant period. There is a minimum 25% local cash match requirement and a maximum federal share of $125,000 per officer. Agencies with service populations of one million or more citizens may apply for up to 25 officer positions. Agencies with less than one million may apply for up to 15 officer positions. Award ceiling is $3,125,000.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies with primary law enforcement authority. For a full statement of eligibility, visit the CHP website.

DEADLINE: June 23, 2014 by 7:59 PM, EDT


Community Policing Development (CPD) Program

This COPS program provides funding to “advance the practice of community policing in law enforcement agencies” through a variety of grant programs (see funding specifics below). The overall program is designed to address critical topics in law enforcement while building on the concept of community policing, which comprises three key components: partnerships (between law enforcement agencies and the individuals they serve), organizational transformation (to support proactive problem solving), and problem solving (the process of engaging in effective response practices).

FUNDING SPECIFICS: Microgrant Initiative for Law Enforcement provides up to 10 awards, up to $100,000 each. Microgrant Promising Practices Coordinator provides one award, up to $100,000. Critical Response Technical Assistance Program provides one or more awards, up to $1,000,000 total. COPS Community Policing Emerging Issues Forums provides multiple awards, up to $500,000 each. Using Community Policing to Combat Violent Extremism provides one or more awards, up to $500,000 total. Minority Youth Violence Prevention Site Coordinator and Evaluators provides one award, up to $500,000. COPS Office Community Policing Development Continuation Funding provides one or more award, up to $150,000 each. Tribal Training and Technical Assistance provides three awards, up to $300,000 each. COPS Office Catalyst Awards are closed under FY14. There is no cost sharing or matching requirement for these awards.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all public governmental agencies, profit and nonprofit institutions, universities, community groups, and faith-based organizations. For a full statement of eligibility, visit the CPD website.

DEADLINE: June 23, 2014 by 7:59 PM, EDT


COPS Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA)

This initiative supports “technical assistance providers to work with law enforcement agencies to assess issues that affect police and community relationships.” The program’s concentration is on the importance of the relationship between law enforcement and the individuals they serve. This program focuses on the same three key components of community policing as the CPD program: partnerships, organizational transformation, and problem solving. The CRI-TA program focuses on two specific topics, including Assessment and Technical Assistance to Law Enforcement or Program Evaluation of the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance. It focuses on a “comprehensive approach that can enhance the relationship between law enforcement and the citizens they serve.” The CPD program has a wider range of topics and focus areas, but ultimately wants to “address critical topics in the law enforcement field by building on the principles of community policing.”

FUNDING SPECIFICS: The topic of Assessment and Technical Assistance to Law Enforcement will award multiple awards of up to $1,250,000 each. A total of $500,000 (one award) will be distributed for Program Evaluation of the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance. There is no cost sharing or matching requirement.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all profit and nonprofit institutions, universities, and colleges. For a full statement of eligibility, visit the CRI-TA website.

DEADLINE: June 23, 2014 by 7:59 PM, EDT


In addition to these three grants, the COPS Office website also includes a variety of resources for those interested in policing topics. These resources include a Resource Center, Supporting Safe Schools, Community Policing Dispatch, The Beat, and Vets to Cops. These resources might be useful to you in planning your programs or making a case for funding of your program.

Again, if you have any questions about these or any other grant programs you are interested in, please contact us. Our experts offer free consultations.


Image credit: Nicole Mays

Topics: municipality grants, education, education resources, muncipality, educational funding, education grants, education funding, educational grants, municipality funding, education grant, municipal grant, municipality grant, municipality, municipal grants, COPS, municipality revenues, municipal funding, school grant, COPS grant

Municipal Grants: Ways to Attract More Funding

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 @ 15:04 PM

Parks and Recreation GrantsThe situation is a common one: A parks and recreation division wants additional funds for a swimming pool, and it is having trouble finding grants with enough funding to complete the projects. Another city wants to find grants for walking trails but can only find a few, many of which they are not eligible for.

We frequently help people who contact us with these types of situations or other funding challenges.  Our most common solution to these funding problems is to think outside the box. Ask: what else could happen as a result of building a swimming pool, improved concession areas, ball diamonds, or whatever the case may be? The answers can open up additional funding avenues.

Sample Scenario:

A small community wants to improve worn out, decades-old facilities to give its community a more pleasing place to play, grow, and enjoy.

As it stands, this description would lend itself to a limited number of grants for athletics or grants for parks and recreation, especially because in a small community, the number of people the improvements would serve is limited.

Sample Solution:

Let’s think beyond the basic concept of the concession stand and ball diamonds and consider how those improvements might lend themselves to other funding areas for municipalities. Again, ask yourself what could result from building concession areas and improved ball diamonds. Could you host large tournaments for area teams, or maybe even teams from other states? Could you host performances of some sort, like Shakespeare in the Park, when games are not being played? Could the schools or other groups within the community use these spaces when they are available?

Assuming you could do some of these things, your simple concession stand and ball diamond improvements suddenly become a means of economic development for your community. Now, your project has become attractive for more grant dollars, including funding for economic development, funding for tourism, funding to reduce obesity, and even funding for the arts! Ahhh… the possibilities!

Sample Grants: Consider how these grants might work together.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants to help communities that have been hit hard by foreclosures and abandonment. Grantees of this program can develop their own funding priorities as long as 25 percent of the funds are appropriated for the purchase and redevelopment of abandoned or foreclosed homes. These homes must be used to house individuals or families whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the area median income. Use the website to find your local HUD representative for more information on applying for this program. Perhaps a town would use this grant to purchase properties in a devastated area of town that is near a parks and recreation space or near a space where parks and recreation wants to build a sports complex. This grant could be used to make a neighborhood more attractive to a sports complex and be a part of the greater project.

USDA Community Facility Grants  The United States Department of Agriculture awards Community Facility Grants to help develop essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. These grants can be used to fund energy projects, including the construction of buildings or the purchase of equipment required for a facility’s operation. The amount of grant assistance for project costs depends upon the median household income and the population in the community where the project is located and the availability of grant funds. Grant assistance may be available for up to 75% of project costs. This grant could be used to build or update existing facilities.

Gannett Foundation  The Gannett Foundation awards grants to organizations in communities served by Gannett Co., Inc. For a list of states/locations, click here. Grants can be used for cultural enrichment programs in communities, including parades and festivals. Grants average between $1,000-$5,000. Perhaps this grant could be used to bring festivals to the community or to match funds for constructing a space to be used during performances and festivals.


There are many more options for grant funding for parks and recreation, as well as other municipal areas. Do not forget to consider how your park can be an economic engine for your community or how construction of trails can be used to turn your community into a tourist hub.

If you like how we think, please contact us. We would be happy to offer you a free consultation and brainstorm with you about how your municipality can attract more municipal grants from a variety of sources.


Image credit: Micah Sittig

Topics: municipality grants, parks and recreation grants, parks and recreation, funding strategy, municipal grant, municipality grant, grant tips, grant hints, municipality revenues, municipal funding

A Buffet of Upcoming Municipal Grant Opportunities

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 @ 08:03 AM

There are a lot of appetizing grants available for municipalities this fiscal year. We have prepared for you a hand-selected buffet of grants in a wide variety of subject areas, all with upcoming deadlines. can help facilitate rush jobs if your favorite grant seen below has a deadline only months, or weeks, away. So pull up a chair, pick your favorite “dish,” and let us help you fund your projects.

FY14 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for its Fiscal Year 2014 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant Program. A brownfield is land previously used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.This year’s program is focusing on four areas:

  • technical assistance to environmental workforce development and job training grantees

  • technical assistance on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development for brownfields-impacted communities

  • research on the benefits of brownfields redevelopment

  • technical assistance on brownfields financing and economic development strategies to brownfields-impacted communities.

One grant will be made in each subject area, with grants totaling between $500,000-$1 million. Eligible costs include: costs for personnel, technical experts, materials, supplies, room rentals, travel, and transportation expenses. Proposals are due April 18.  

Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance Program

Applications are accepted on a continual basis for the Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance Program through the Department of Commerce. Grants can be up to $100,000, and there is a cost matching requirement. State and local governments can apply for these grants which aim to create regional economic development plans designed to stimulate and guide the economic development efforts of a community or region. Specifically, grants should be used to develop, implement, revise, or replace Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, which are documents that express a region’s economic goals. 

Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program

Units of local governments that wish to implement or enhance an adult drug court are eligible for this grant program from the Department of Justice. This program funds drug courts that effectively integrate evidenced-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a judicially supervised court setting with jurisdiction over substance-abusing offenders. These courts have been shown to reduce crime and substance abuse among high-risk, high-need offenders. Municipalities hoping to create a new drug court are eligible for a $350,000 grant, while cities wishing to enhance their already-established court are entitled to a $200,000 grant. Governments must provide a 25% non-federal portion of the total project cost. Applications are due March 18.    

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

The National Endowment for the Humanities is accepting applications for its Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions Program. The aim of this program is to assist small to mid-sized institutions like libraries, museums, or historical societies preserve and care for humanities collections. Applications from institutions that have never received a NEH grant previously are strongly encouraged. In the last five competitions the Preservation Assistance Grants program received an average of 313 applications per year. The program made an average of 106 awards per year, for a funding ratio of 34 percent. The application deadline is May 1.

FY 2014 Economic Development Assistance Program

Municipalities hoping to better their economic development strategies should apply for this grant program through the Economic Development Administration. Grants support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, and encourage economic development. Specifically, the EDA hopes to foster job creation and spur private investment by providing these grants. There is a matching requirement for this program. The next deadline is June 13 for the last funding cycle of FY2014. The deadline for the first funding cycle of FY15 is October 17.  


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Photo credit: Jorge Gobbi

Topics: economic development, humanities, grant notification, grant announcement, brownfields, drug court, grant opportunity, municipal grant