Federal Stimulus Act–Newsletter8

Stimulus and Nonprofits, Vol. 8 – MNN’s ARRA Newsletter – August 6, 2009

Dear Nonprofit Leader,

I hope that you made good use of MNN’s  ARRA Newsletter, Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Today we present Volume 8 of our research on the opportunities for nonprofits to participate in the economic recovery of our country. Again, please let us know if it is useful and how it can be made more so and please share it.

NOTE: If, now or in the future, you have been or expect to be successful in accessing any funds from the stimulus package, and this newsletter was helpful in that process, please let us know the purpose and amount so we can let our funding source know. We will only share it without identifying information. This will help with our request to keep the newsletter going. THANKS!!!

Again, a big thank you to The Boston Foundation for generously providing financial support for this needed project.
Sincerely,

Dave Magnani,
Executive Director, 617-330-1188

To view Stimulus and Nonprofits, Volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 or 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.

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Where we are right now

Since our most recent newsletter, there have been only small changes in the reported obligations and outlays of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). From Massachusetts’s estimated $8.7 billion in total funding, $5.6 billion has been allotted. In recent weeks the Patrick Administration, along with state and municipal legislators, have taken a number of steps, including passing legislation, to position the state and ensure that projects conform to federal guidelines allowing the Commonwealth to maximize its stimulus funding.

Although some might claim that ARRA has run its course and that it has provided its last new opportunities, in fact there is still a steady flow of new grant opportunities and application deadlines for funding, many of which are focused on funding projects in future fiscal years.

One such example, announced on July 24th by President Barack Obama along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is the Race to the Top Fund. This program will distribute $4.35 billion to States that according to the federal government “take necessary steps to improve education by doing such things as recruiting qualified teachers and compensating them in an innovative merit based manner, building effective data systems to track student’s achievements, and generally revitalizing low performing schools and preparing students for the modern job market.” While a portion of these funds will be allocated in 2009, the majority of these funds won’t be dispersed until the end of 2010.

It remains important for organizations to be alert for subsequent funding and grant announcements. Many of these are still occurring each week, and as has been the trend they are mostly structured as competitive grants which require adherence to strict application guidelines.

Newsletter Volume 8 includes newly released information on deadlines and specific requirements of many of the federal grant opportunities previously referenced in past newsletters. However, because we seek to provide new and relevant information, categories without new announcements or information have not been included. We suggest that you refer back to previous newsletters in order to have a comprehensive understanding of all the funding available in your category of interest.

If there is information that is not contained in this or previous newsletters which you would like us to know and/or to transmit to others, please email us at info@massnonprofitnet.org.

Funds Allocated to Date

Agency Announced



$ (Thousand)

Made Available
Paid Out
Department of Health and Human Services $1,650,904 $1,686,701 $906,606
Department of Education $1,649,338 $1,094,676 $432,661
Department of Housing and Urban Development $344,958 $206,408 $51,037
Department of Agriculture $15,089 $59,503 $50,975
Department of Justice $40,482 $40,848 $12,803
Department of Labor $78,335 $64,927 $6,031
Department of Transportation $757,534 $359,785 $2,747
National Science Foundation $0 $68,143 $1,593
Corporation for National and Community Service $696 $5,702 $508
Environmental Protection Agency $194,276 $198,567 $1
Railroad Retirement Board $938 $0 $0
US Army Corps of Engineers $9,055 $0 $0
National Endowment for the Arts $0 $1,736 $0
Department of Veterans Affairs $7,014 $0 $0
Department of Energy $245,319 $93,327 $0
Social Security Administration $288,230 $0 $0
General Services Administration $169,319 $0 $0
Department of Treasury $50,814 $54,614 $0
Department of the Interior $18,808 $0 $0
Department of Commerce $0 $1,363 $0
Department of Defense $62,080 $0 $0
Total $5,583,186 $3,936,299 $1,464,962

Reminder of Upcoming ARRA Deadlines

Please find below the upcoming deadlines for funding opportunities:

  • August 6th, 2009 – Deadline for Facilities Improvement Program
  • August 6th, 2009 – Deadline for Smart Grid Investment Grant Program
  • August 10th, 2009 – Full proposals due for NIST Research Construction Grants
  • August 14th, 2009 – Applications due for State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants
  • August 14th, 2009 – Deadline extended for Green Communities Planning Assistance
  • August 18th, 2009 – Deadline for receipt of application for Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant
  • August 18th, 2009 – Deadline for Advanced Energy Efficient Building Technologies applications
  • Sept. 1st, 2009 – Applications due for round 2 of the Federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).
  • Sept. 1st, 2009 – Deadline for competitive grant applications to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed properties and other projects to stabilize neighborhoods and create affordable housing
  • Sept. 1st, 2009 – Deadline for Early Career Research Program
  • Sept. 3rd, 2009 – Community Renewable Energy Deployment Deadline
  • Sept. 4th, 2009 – Deadline for Energy Training Partnerships Grants
  • Sept. 17th, 2009 – Deadline for Core Facility Renovation, Repair and Improvements Grants
  • Sept. 24th, 2009 – Deadline for Academic Research Enhancement Awards
  • Sept. 29th, 2009 – Applications due for Pathways out of Poverty Grants
  • Sept. 30th, 2009 – Deadline for Habitat Restoration in Coastal Areas Competitive Grant
  • Sept. 30th, 2009 – Applications due for Fish Passage Grants
  • Oct. 15th, 2009 – Applications due for Protection of Human Health by Immunology and Vaccines Limited Competition Grants
  • Oct. 20th, 2009 – Deadline for State Energy Sector Partnerships and Training Grants
  • June 30th, 2010 – Deadline for EDA Economic Recovery Program applications
  • June 31st, 2010 – Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis up until this date for Boston’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds Deadline for Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for Community Health Centers
  • February 16, 2011 – Assisted Housing Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit Deadline

Notices and Suggestions

Changes in Obama Adminstration Lobbying Restrictions
The much publicized restrictions the Obama Administration placed on lobbying, with regard to stimulus spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), have been revised. According to a July 24th memorandum by Peter Orzag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget the restrictions will now be expanded to apply to all individuals, and not just federally registered lobbyists. The period in which the restrictions are to be imposed, however, has been reduced to time between the submission of competitive grant applications and when funds are awarded. There are no restrictions on logistical questions such as how to apply for funding, which agencies to contact, what are the deadlines, or similar information. These changes will allow registered lobbyists to communicate with government officials prior to application deadlines, but will require a form to be completed and posted on the associated agency’s website. The July 24 memo addresses frequently asked questions regarding the restrictions, and includes a sample of the aforementioned lobbyist contact form. Click here to view the July 24th memo.

Nonprofits and Stimulus Jobs
As competing opinions as to the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act emerge, nonprofits can serve a crucial role in demonstrating the success of the stimulus. It is suggested that nonprofits document their progress, successes, and difficulties. By having nonprofits take steps to record information, such as job creation numbers it will serve to highlight the contributions of nonprofits to statewide and national recovery. As a result, nonprofits will generate positive attention that could likely lead the sector receiving more funds, more quickly, which they have been poised and eager to invest. Additionally, by recording obstacles that have arisen, including unclear opportunities and access points, systematic flaws inhibiting nonprofit participation can be addressed. Nonprofits have clearly been creating jobs throughout the state, and it is important for their stories to be head in order for the sector’s contributions to appreciated.

Health and Human Services

Expanded Health Professions Training
On July 28th, Secretary Sebelius announced that $200 million will be made available by the Department of Health and Human Services in support of grants, loans, loan repayment, and scholarships to expand the training of health care professionals. This funding is part of a package of $500 million in the HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), formed to address workforce shortages under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Using a competitive process to award the funding, the following programs will be financed with this $200 million:

  • $80.2 million for scholarships, loans, and loan repayment awards to students, health professionals, and faculty.  Of those funds, $39 million will be targeted to nurses and nurse faculty, $40 million to disadvantaged students in a wide range of health professions, and $1.2 million to health professions faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • $50 million in grants to health professions training programs.  Funds will be used to purchase equipment needed to expand programs and improve the quality of training.
  • $47.6 million to support primary care training programs. These funds will support the training of residents, medical students, physician assistants, dentists and individuals, many of whom will practice in underserved areas.
  • $10.5 million to strengthen the public health workforce.  Funds will support public health traineeships and increase the number of individuals trained through preventive medicine and dental public health residencies.
  • $10.2 million to increase the diversity of the health professions workforce.
  • And $1.5 million to support the efforts of state professional licensing boards in reducing barrier to telemedicine.

Some funding will be awarded over the next couple months, while the funding opportunities for some of the programs will only be announced during the same period so individual applicants will have time to prepare their materials. Please click here to see the full announcement.

Energy and Environment

State Funding

Federal Funds for Renewable Power and Energy Efficiency Projects
As of July 21st, Over $22 million has been awarded to Massachusetts under the Recovery Act for renewable power and energy efficiency projects at state-owned buildings and facilities. This funding, along with the $5.5 million previously awarded for administrative costs, represents about half of the $54.9 million the Commonwealth is expected to receive for the DOE’s State Energy Program (SEP). This funding will be invested in Massachusetts’s green economy, specifically in support of solar energy and energy efficiency programs. Among the plans is one to implement comprehensive energy management systems into state owned facilities to reduce energy costs and increase efficiency in the Commonwealth. This SEP is also expected to amass private funding as well as State and Federal funding. Resources will be awarded on a competitive basis as the state expects to fund proposals for energy efficiency and create green collar jobs. As more details please click here.

Deadline extended for green communities planning assistance
While Massachusetts’s Green Communities Act, which was passed in July 2008, is not specifically part of Recovery funding for renewable and green energy, it is often being directed through this program. Because of the influx of funding, the state has extended its deadline for Massachusetts communities to request state assistance in planning their own path to being designated a “Green Community” by the state. The grant program funds energy efficiency and renewable energy activities. Those communities that meet the following five criteria will be eligible for funding. The five criteria that the community must meet include that they:

  1. Provide for the as-of-right siting of renewable or alternative energy generating facilities, renewable or alternative energy research and development (R&D) facilities, or renewable or alternative energy manufacturing facilities in designated locations.
  2. Adopt an expedited application and permitting process under which these energy facilities may be sited within the municipality and which shall not exceed 1 year from the date of initial application to the date of final approval.
  3. Establish an energy use baseline inventory for municipal buildings, vehicles, street and traffic lighting, and put in place a comprehensive program designed to reduce this baseline by 20 percent within 5 years of initial participation in the program.
  4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable.
  5. Require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to minimize, to the extent feasible, the life-cycle cost of the facility by utilizing energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies.

Because the state realizes that most communities may need assistance in meeting these five criteria, the Green Communities Planning Assistance program was devised to fill this need. Despite the fact that the local government must apply for this program, there are many opportunities for local nonprofits in the energy sector to gain from any funding the community might obtain once they are deemed ‘green’ by the state. Therefore, local nonprofits have an opportunity and are encouraged to make sure their community meets this “green eligibility.” The deadline for planning assistance has been extended to August 14, 2009. For more information, click here.

Federal Funding

Community Renewable Energy Deployment
U.S. Department of Energy will be awarding up to $22 million to up to four communities nationwide. The funding will be put towards the implementation and planning of utility-scale community renewable energy projects. Communities will be provided funding and technical assistance in determining concepts, best practices, planning and financial approaches and policy guidance via the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). While community and state governments must apply for these grants, there is ample room for nonprofits to form partnerships with local agencies. Funds will be invested in both the public and private sector; it is also expected that funds will be matched by public and private entities. The DOE is pursuing the goal of implementing utility-scale renewable energy systems that provide clean, reliable and affordable energy supplies for their communities. Technologies expected to be included in such plans include solar, wind, biomass and geothermal systems in integrated renewable energy deployment systems. Completed applications are due by September 3, 2009. Please visit this site for more details.

Assisted Housing Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit
This funding is open to owners of properties receiving project-based assistance pursuant to section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 17012), section 811 of the Cranston- Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 8013, or Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 as amended (42 U.S.C. 1437f). Those managers or owners of such low-income housing will be able to apply for grants and loans to make energy efficient and green retrofits to their properties. Any funding received must be spent within two years and must agree to continued affordability for renters. Applications are due by February 16, 2011. See here for more details.

Education

Education Funding Update: Early Release

Title I, IDEA, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
On April 1, 2009 the Department awarded 50 percent of each state’s Title I ARRA funds, 50 percent of each state’s IDEA ARRA funds, and 50 percent of each state’s Vocational Rehabilitation ARRA funds. Instead of releasing the second half of the funding by September 30th, as previously announced by the Department of Education, the $11.37 billion in funds will now be released on or around September 1st. This expedited funding represents the department’s desire to keep stimulus money flowing into districts rather than encouraging the discontinuation of important programs. Title I funding will be going to local educational agencies (LEAs) where there are high concentrations of students from families who live in poverty. IDEA funds will be invested with LEAs and early intervention service providers to implement new and/or innovative strategies for infants, toddlers, children and youths with disabilities. The VR resources should be used by LEAs to improve employment opportunities for those living with disabilities. For further details, please visit this link.

Labor and Workforce Development

State Funding

Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund
U.S. Department of Agriculture, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be awarding the Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund (WMEF) $75,000. The community based small business loan fund will use this investment to help small businesses in the Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and parts of Worcester counties. The WMEF focuses on providing financing for microenterprises and small businesses in the area. Please click here for more information.

Housing and Community Development

Local Funding

Massachusetts Communities Count Initiative
As part of Massachusetts’s recovery plan, more than $12.3 million in state and federal funds will be devoted to Worcester as they join a new partnership with local communities and the state to revitalize areas of the city that have been hit hardest by the economic downturn. Funding will be leveraged for such programs as:

  • Acquiring, rehabilitating or demolishing foreclosed properties
  • Weatherizing homes for low-and moderate-income homeowners
  • Offering job training for at risk youths
  • Supporting small businesses
  • Consumer affair assistance
  • Efforts to end homelessness in the city

The Communities Count Initiative, originally launched in Springfield last month, will be duplicated across the Commonwealth as a more comprehensive approach to the current economic climate. Specifically the Main South/Piedmont/Chandler neighborhoods will be targeted in Worcester as those with the most need for these funds. Within the $12.3 million, $4.73 million will be invested in weatherization and heating system upgrades and $2.39 million will be targeted to revitalize foreclosed properties in the city’s hard hit Main South/Piedmont/Chandler neighborhoods. The Worcester Community Action Council will be a key player in this attempt to control the fallout from the job losses and foreclosures that have hit this area so completely in this partnership that will combine state and local agencies. For further details, please click here.

Federal Funding

Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) for Affordable Housing Construction
On July 28th U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that HUD is approving the final round of plans submitted by state housing finance agencies to jumpstart affordable housing programs. Massachusetts is set to receive $59,605,630 from HUD’s new Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) that allows state housing finance agencies to resume funding of affordable rental housing projects while stimulating job creation in the hard-hit construction industry.

These new funds provide an opportunity for nonprofits address affordable housing projects that have been stalled because of the recession. Massachusetts received its TCAP awards through formula grants to state housing credit agencies with the intention of completing the construction of qualified housing projects that will ultimately provide affordable housing. Since a major purpose of this program is job creation, the Recovery Act establishes ambitious deadlines to spend the grant funds and requires state housing credit agencies to give priority to projects that can begin immediately and be completed by February 16, 2012. Click here for the full press release.

Useful Information for Current and Prospective ARRA Grantees

Grant Writing Training
HUD is offering a free, two day grant writing workshop in Stamford, CT. This workshop will cover the basics of grant writing techniques as well as tips on how to access government and other types of funding sources for nonprofits. The workshop is being offered on August 20-21st, 2009. The training will cover a variety of topics and will be run by trained HUD staff. For more information on this event, please go to this site.

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:

Register Now:

  • November 13 – MNN / Associated Grant Makers Annual Conference – “Grantmakers and Grantees for the Common Good” | Sheraton Framingham

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