Federal Stimulus Act–Newsletter2

Stimulus and Nonprofits , Vol. 2 – MNN’s  ARRA Newsletter – April 20, 2009

Dear Nonprofit Leader,

I hope that you made good use of MNN’s (introductory) ARRA Newsletter, Volume 1, that went out two weeks ago. It has important background and introductory data that you may want to reference on a regular basis
(www.massnonprofitnet.org). Each volume will include links to previous volumes for your reference. Today we present Volume 2 of our research on the opportunities fcor nonprofits to participate in the economic recovery of our county. Please let us know if is useful and how it can be made more so and please share it.

Thank you to The Boston Foundation for generously providing the financial support needed for this project.

Sincerely,

Dave Magnani,
Executive Director
617-330-1188

To view Stimulus and Nonprofits, Volume 1 and for more information on the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, please visit our website.

If this edition has been forwarded to you and you would like to receive future volumes please email us your name and organization.

This is the second in a series of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) updates by the Mass. Nonprofit Network. Our goal is to continue to provide you with the most current information available on information about ARRA funding available to Massachusetts nonprofits as well as tools and tips for accessing those funds. As time goes by many of the specifics regarding funding levels and possible relevance to the nonprofit sector continue to become clearer.

As we described in our first newsletter, the bulk of the ARRA funding is being distributed by relevant federal agencies, primarily through existing programs/mechanisms. The amounts of funding depend on various funding distribution methods, including formula-based allocations, direct contracts and competitive grant processes. The recipients of the funds include the Commonwealth, municipalities, and private entities, depending on the program. For a general overview of ARRA and its impact on Massachusetts and the nonprofit sector please see our April 6th newsletter at our website.

Where we are right now.

Of the $787 billion that will be spent through ARRA over the next two years, $370 billion will be distributed through formula and block grants to the states. An additional $85 billion will be distributed through competitive grants (where the federal government issues a grant to an organization to perform certain functions) and another $65 billion will be distributed through direct contracts (where the federal government hires a particular entity to do something). To date, the government has obligated (distributed) $40 billion, which means that there is still an additional $480 billion that has not yet been distributed.

Because ARRA imposes specific deadlines on different federal agencies to get funding for particular programs out by certain times, the timelines for applying for and getting funds depend on the agency making the allocation and the programs being funded. While at this point it is fairly clear what formula and block grant funding Massachusetts agencies and municipalities will be receiving, many state and local agencies are still in the process of mapping out the specifics of the allocation process. Moreover, while some federal competitive grants (available to state, municipal and private entities) have already been announced, many others are being designed and it is expected that there will be a large number that will be announced soon, most likely in the months of July and August. It is also expected that many of these grants will have relatively short turnaround times from notice to when the application is due (in some cases as little as two weeks).

Continued Guidance for Accessing Funding

  • Continue to read over information on grants- with an eye towards how you might fill the core function (a list of important websites is attached). Nonprofits should spend time reviewing the principal federal website for ARRA here as well as the Massachusetts ARRA website here. The federal Grants Management System website is extremely useful for finding federal grant information. Specifically, here you can search for grants that have been funded by ARRA. The website provides deadlines and eligibility, as well as detailed descriptions of the programs. For direct contracts or federal business opportunities nonprofits should search here.
  • If you are fairly certain that you will be applying for a federal grant, it is highly recommended that you complete as much of the pre-application work as soon as possible. The steps in this process normally – without the increased demand caused by ARRA – can take up to a couple of weeks each.  For example, applicants will require a Data Universal Number (DUNS number). Most large organizations, independent libraries, colleges and research universities already have DUNS numbers. Once a DUNS number is obtained, organizations need to use that number to register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) as well as set up an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR), a process designed to safeguard your organization from individuals who may attempt to submit grant application packages without permission. The following link can walk you through the entire pre-application process here.
  • Small and midsized nonprofits should consider ways to collaborate with each other and use their local connections and creativity to take advantage of mission-related opportunities. Nonprofits in Massachusetts may wish to consider ways in which they might be able to apply a particular expertise or skill to a region of the state without similar resources. For example, nonprofits that provide job training services should consider areas of the state that have experienced unprecedented unemployment and corresponding demand for job training services and where existing providers are at capacity or do not have breath of services needed. 
  • Nonprofits should continue to reach out to local officials. As was outlined in our previous newsletter, a sizable portion of ARRA funding will be administered directly by municipal leaders. Because some of the federal funds flowing to states and local governments formally will require receiving governments to have community partners, it is wise to make sure that these officials understand ways in which you can help them to deliver critical services.

Health and Human Services

Competitive Grants
There are many National Institute of Health Grants which have been made available by ARRA, including:

  • NIH Challenge Grants (deadline April 27, 2009) – As part of the Recovery Act, the NIH invites, through this limited competition, NIH Challenge Grant (RC1) applications from domestic (United States) institutions/organizations proposing novel research in areas that address specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. This program is designed to support resear.ch in scientific areas identified by the Institutes and Centers. Non profits are eligible to apply.

NIH Grant Opportunity (GO) grants (Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): April 27, 2009) (deadline: May 27th)  – This new program will support projects that address large, specific biomedical and biobehavioral research endeavors that will benefit from significant 2-year funds without the expectation of continued NIH funding beyond two years. The research supported by the “GO” grants program should have high short-term impact, and a high likelihood of enabling growth and investment in biomedical research and development, public health, and health care delivery. Non profits are eligible to apply.

Please visit here and use the search term ‘non-profit’ to view the full list of grants, some 0f which are available to nonprofits.

State Agencies
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced April 9th that $1.9 million will be coming to Massachusetts for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program through a FEMA grant. The funds will provide nonprofit and faith-based organizations at the local level to supplement their programs for emergency food and shelter and provide for the immediate needs of the homeless.

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program uses measures of unemployment and poverty to allocate the funds it receives from FEMA to city and county jurisdictions throughout the country. To serve areas in need that do not qualify based on this formula, a State Set-Aside Program exists to award additional funds to each state based on extenuating circumstances, including recent spikes in unemployment and pockets of homelessness or poverty. In addition to the State Set-Aside Committee, the following counties in MA are set to receive funding: Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Middlesex, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. For a listing of counties in MA receiving funding and funding amounts, visit here.

Locally, the program is a model of public-private cooperation. Each civil jurisdiction (a county or city) funded by the program must constitute a Local Board. The board must be comprised of representatives of the American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; United Jewish Communities; The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.; The Salvation Army; and United Way of America, with a local government official serving as chair of the board. Various Local Boards may also have additional members. Local Boards decide which agencies are to receive funds, and then those agencies are paid directly by the National Board. We recommend that those interested in this funding contact one of their local organizations sitting on the local boards. For more information on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, visit here.

Children and Families

Competitive Grants
Recovery Act Local Youth Mentoring Initiative, administered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), one of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), will award money to support local organizations that develop, implement, or expand local mentoring programs leading to measurable, positive outcomes for at-risk youth.

OJJDP invites applications from new or existing mentoring programs with proven track records that aim to implement activities in accordance with the goals and objectives outlined in this solicitation. Applicants should also present evidence-based programs or incorporate best practices based on research and consider a variety of mentoring approaches. Special consideration will be given to mentoring programs that include education, job readiness, employment skill development, and training in and exposure to entrepreneurial activities.

Applications must be submitted through OJP’s online Grants Management System (GMS). To access the system and apply go to the website: link. However you must register and apply by 8:00pm Monday April 20th. Instructions of how to register can be found here.

Elder Services

Direct Federal Funding

According to the Administration on Aging within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Massachusetts is receiving $2.1 million in nutrition stimulus fundsto be primarily used for providing congregate and home delivered meals to seniors and to create or retain jobs associated with the provision of meals.The funding will flow to the AAA (federally designated Area Agencies on Aging) as required of all Title III funding. For a listing on funding distribution for nutrition services to states, visit here.

Competitive Grants

Community Service Employment of Older Americans – $120 million formula grant available through June 30, 2010. The Senior Service Employment Program is acommunity service and work-based training program for older workers.Program participants are placed in a wide variety of community service positions at non-profit and public facilities, including daycare centers, senior centers, governmental agencies, schools, hospitals, libraries and landscaping centers. 78% of this grant award money is going to 18 national nonprofit organizations (including: AARP Foundation, Asociacion Nacional pro Persons Mayores, Easter Seals, Experience Works, Goodwill Industries International, Institute for Indian Development, Mature Services, National Able Network, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, National Urban League, Quality Career Services, Senior Service America, SER-Jobs for Progress National, Vermont Associates for Training and Development, and The Workplace).

The other 22% of the money will be going to 56 state and territorial governments. In most states, the governor has selected the State Office on Aging to administer the program. For contact information go here.

Labor and Workforce Development

Governor Patrick recently announced plans to combine $6.67 million from the state’s YouthWorks summer jobs program with $3.1 million in public safety funds and $21.1 million in youth workforce development funds provided through ARRA. The administration hopes to maximize state and federal resources in an effort to increase the number of jobs for eligible young people between the ages of 14-24 to an estimated 11,000 in 60 communities across the state. This funding comes with strict standards on how it can be spent and on whom it can be spent. Income guidelines narrow the field of potential candidates to those who come from extremely poor families.

Summer jobs for youth across the state are managed by Massachusetts’ sixteen local workforce investment boards (LWIBs). Annual program funds under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) support summer jobs as well as other youth services, which are made available through a network of contracted vendors. Background information on WIA is available here. A listing of LWIBs and their vendors is available at here.

YouthWorks (YW) program grants represent funds appropriated in the state budget. These are available to youth in 25 targeted cities. However, ARRA Recovery Act resources were also awarded to the local Workforce Investment Boards by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). These funds are available to youth who reside in 35 cities that are not covered by YouthWorks (for a list of eligible cities, see EOPSS and YW List of Cities).

Massachusetts will also be receiving $21 million as a supplement to WIA funds awarded to Local Workforce Investment Boards on a formula basis for adult dislocated workers and another $10 million for job training and employment services for low income adults. The funds for employment and training have a short window for use. Regional workforce systems will need to develop initiatives that can be implemented very quickly. The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) has indicated that adult basic education services (including ESOL) are a priority for the state and that partnering with providers is critical.

Massachusetts will also be receiving $ 8 million for the Commonwealth Corporation that will be earmarked for the state’s Workforce Competitive Trust Fund. WCTF is a three-year initiative focused on several critical industry sectors. It is designed to enable a broad range of residents-including older workers, low-wage workers, low-income individuals, disabled citizens, vulnerable youth, incumbent workers and the unemployed-to gain access to employment, education and the skills necessary to move forward along a career path leading to economic self-sufficiency.

Massachusetts will use $8 million of the state share of Wagner-Peyser Act funding for reemployment services (RES) to connect unemployment insurance claimants to employment and training opportunities designed to facilitate their reentry to employment.

Clean Energy and Environment

Competitive Grants
National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program is a competitive grant program and funding from it must be used to achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution produced and diesel emissions exposure (particularly from fleets operating in areas designated by the Administrator as poor air quality areas), and the project must demonstrate the ability to maximize job preservation and creation. The awards for this program will go directly from the EPA Regional office to the recipient. Must apply by April 27, 2009. To apply, the nonprofit organization or institution must represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets; or have, as its principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality. Although this is a National competition, applicants must submit applications to the EPA Region in which the project will take place. Assistance agreements funded under this announcement will be evaluated and awarded by each of EPA’s ten Regional Offices link.

  • The clean diesel funding is divided into 4 different programs: diesel funding assistance, emerging diesel technology, SmartWay Clean Diesel finance, and State based clean diesel grants.

Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Program is a competitive grant with $100 million to be used for clean up, revitalization, and sustainable reuse of contaminated properties. The funds will be awarded to eligible entities through job training, assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants. For more information, visit here.

Additional $5 million in Job Training Grants RFA from eligible governmental entities and nonprofit organizations to provide environmental job training projects that will facilitate job creation in the assessment, remediation, or preparation of brownfields sites for sustainable reuse. While the closing date for receipt of applications was April 20, 2009, for more information about Brownfields Job Training Grants, visit: here.

Education

State Agencies

As discussed in our last newsletter, MA will receive about $181 million as a “flexible block grant” to be spent to avert budget cuts in education or in other basic state services, such as public safety and law enforcement, services for the elderly and people with disabilities, or child care. These funds can also be used for school modernization, renovation, or repair. The funding is available to states immediately.

The Governor’s office received the state’s application for this grant on April 1st and has asked his Secretariats to submit proposals on how to spend it.  The Secretariats are currently working on those.  If your organization does work in any of the above listed areas, then you should contact the Secretary of the relevant agency and request that they include funding for your program as part of what they submit to the Governor.  It is most likely that programs that have received funding in the past will receive the funding. Therefore, if you have received funding via an earmark, line-item, or a specific grant administered by an agency, then you should propose to be funded (and work with other organizations that received funding as part of the same mechanism).

Competitive Grants
Head Start and Early Head Start grant applications are going to become available within the coming weeks. Head Start Expansion will get $199,612,157 and Early Head Start Expansion will get $1,156,612,157.

Head Start (HHS-2009-ACF-OHS-SH-0089): Eligible applicants are limited to current Federally-funded Head Start agencies. They plan on giving out roughly 200 awards of funding up 1.02 billion in funding. There is no posted close date for the grant yet, and the full announcement and application was not available.

Early Head Start (HHS-2009-ACF-OHS-SA-0087): Many entities are eligible for funding including, nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, for profit organizations, and small businesses. They plan on giving out 600 awards totally 619 million dollars. There is no link available for the full announcement and there is not current close date.

For both of these grants, the site said that the full announcement and application would be available in the coming weeks.

Municipalities/Localities
The Governor also announced that of the $813M stabilization funding the state is receiving for education, $168M is being spent to bring all MA schools up to foundation level spending, $280M is being spent for special education funding, and $162M for is being spent for higher education to allow UMass to roll back fee increases for students.

The $163 million in additional federal education Title I funds from ARRA will go to many high-poverty school districts in Massachusetts. Title I funds are targeted to help the districts and schools in the Commonwealth that serve the highest concentration of low-income students. The funds will help districts retain specialist teachers that help struggling readers, purchase books, technology, and other instructional materials that help students who are behind their peers receive the support and instruction they need. Additionally, the funds will be used to help teachers obtain training to better educate English Language Learners, and others with special learning needs.

Funds will go directly to Local Education Agency’s (LEAs) based on a federal formula. The first half of Title I funds will be distributed in July and the remaining funds will be allocated in the fall. The state has no say in how the LEAs spend the money; however, the LEAs will be responsible for adhering to the regulations set out in this federal program. School districts do have the responsibility to obligate at least 85% of the total FY2009 Title I, Party A funds (including ARRA funds) by September 30, 2010, and all remaining funds must be obligated by September 30, 2011. Districts receiving some of the largest payouts with the first half of funding include Boston (approx. $21 million); Springfield (approx. $8.7 million); Worcester (approx. $4 million); Lawrence (approx. $3.2 million); Holyoke (approx. $3.1 million); and Lynn (approx. $2.7 million). For a complete list of school districts and the money they are set to receive with the first half of funds, visit: here.

Higher Education

State Agencies
The Governor has announced $162M for higher education, which allows UMass to roll back fee increases for students.

Direct Funding to Individuals
The “Hope Credit” provides a tax subsidy for college tuition costs. Its goal, in part, is to enable students who could not otherwise afford to attend college to do so. The economic recovery package addresses this issue by providing funding for the program. It contains a measure to enlarge the “Hope Credit” for students from middle-income families and to partially extend this tax credit for the first time to students from lower-income families. Previously, the credit was “non-refundable,” meaning that it could only be used to offset a family’s federal income tax liability. Families whose incomes were too low to owe federal income tax could not benefit from the credit at all. The new credit is “refundable,” meaning that lower-income households that have limited or no federal income tax liability to offset can now receive a partial credit in the form of a tax “refund” (grant) of up to 40 percent of qualifying expenses. The recovery package increases the maximum “Hope Credit” from $1,800 to $2,500, and allows it to be claimed for a maximum of four years of qualifying education instead of the previous limit of two years. It is estimated that 3.8 million low-income students will benefit from this tax credit. It is further estimated that roughly 71,000 Massachusetts students will benefit as well.

Housing and Community Development

Municipalities/Localities
On April 3rd, the Governor announced $108M in funding from several state and federal affordable housing programs and tax credits to help support 39 affordable rental housing projects, yielding more than 2,000 affordable housing units across Massachusetts, while helping to create thousands of jobs. To view the Governor’s press release, visit here. To see the award list, visit here.

Of the 39 organizations that received funding on April 2nd from the Governor, 12 of them were members of the Mass. Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC). A number of the projects not given to an MACDC member were given to a few large development firms such as Winn Development, Trinity Investment, and Bank of America CDC.

In the city of Boston, funds are currently available from the following sources for Rental and Cooperative Housing Production: HOME Investment Partnership Program, Community Development Block Grant and City of Boston Leading the Way for the development of affordable housing. The Department of Neighborhood Development will make available $4,000,000 for Rental and Cooperative Housing through these programs. Both for-profit and non-profit developers are eligible to apply for funding. The RFP package is available at the DND, and the proposals are due by 4pm on May 1, 2009 at 26 Court Street, 10th Floor, in Boston link

The City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development recently allocated $4,000,000 for its Neighborhood Stabilization Program for the acquisition and rehabilitation of foreclosed and abandoned properties in order to create new homeownership and affordable rental housing. This funding is designed to ensure that those vulnerable, high-risk neighborhoods where foreclosures are prevalent receive help from the City and its partners to renew and reoccupy properties. An applicant packet is available at the DND, Bid Counter, 26 Court Street, 10th Floor, Boston, MA 02108 or online at www.dnd.gov. This is a rolling application program that closes June 17, 2010, or until funds are expended link.

Competitive Grants
Round 2 of the Federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) applications are due September 1, 2009. Competitive grants awarded for activities eligible under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-289, NSP round 1), to address home foreclosure and abandonment and for the provision of capacity building and support for NSP grantees. Rating factors will include grantee capacity to execute projects, leveraging potential, and concentration of investment to achieve neighborhood stabilization. Grantees must expend at least 50 percent of each grant within 2 years and 100 percent within 3 years of grant award. HUD may run two competitions – one addressing the provision of technical assistance (not to exceed $50 million) and one to provide programmatic funding for grantees (remainder of funding). Eligible applicants are states, units of general local government, nonprofit entities, and consortia of nonprofit entities, which may submit proposals in partnership with for profit entities. To apply go here.

Deadline for Public Housing Capital Fund (allocation of funds for grants, including those that leverage private funding or finance energy conservation renovations or retrofits) is September 30th.

Helpful websites:

Full list of federal grants available through the Recovery Act

Medicaid and Healthcare

Nutrition

Housing, Infrastructure, Economic Development

Unemployment Services:

Environment and Energy:

Save the dates:

  • May 29 – Nonprofit Congress-Boston area meeting
  • June 8 – Nonprofit Awareness Day and Nonprofit Excellence Awards Ceremony
  • November 13 – MNN / Associated Grant Makers Annual Conference – “Grantmakers and Grantees for the Common Good” | Sheraton Framingham

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