U.S. Conference of Mayors: Grant Application Bootcamp
Submitting competitive applications for federal infrastructure money can be challenging for small and mid-sized cities, towns, and villages. To assist these often-underserved communities, the National League of Cities and the Local Infrastructure Hub offer the following five bootcamps for local governments with 150,000 or fewer residents.
- Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program: The Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program helps to reconnect neighborhoods divided by infrastructure. Cities, towns, and villages can use funds to address local infrastructure projects such as removing, replacing, or retrofitting highways and freeways. This grant program supports equitable transportation planning and will allow residents to become more active in the infrastructure projects that negatively impact them and their surrounding environment.
- Broadband Opportunities: This bootcamp introduces cities to the entire ecosystem of federal broadband opportunities, as well as ways cities can engage with the private sector and serve as promoters of household programs. Cities will learn about broadband in their community, identify future opportunities, and do a deep dive into available federal programs, particularly the new Broadband Equity, Access, & Development Program (BEAD), which helps fund opportunities for communities looking to expand high-speed internet access through broadband planning, deployment, mapping, equity, and adoption projects and activities.
- The Combined Railroad Crossing Elimination Program & CRISI: This program provides funding for highway-rail or pathway-rail grade crossing improvement projects, promoting safety and mobility for people and goods. Communities can use grant funding for track relocation; to improve or install protective devices, signals, or signs; to improve safety; and to conduct environmental audits of eligible projects.
- The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: This fund provides cities, towns, and villages with opportunities to address urgent water challenges facing local communities. More specifically, the fund offers a variety of financial assistance through loans, purchase of debt or refinance, guarantees, insurance, investments, and additional subsidization. Through these grants, local governments can improve their drinking water and wastewater systems.
- The Bridge Investment Program: The Bridge Investment Program works alongside all levels of government to meet community infrastructure needs with a focus on reducing the number of existing bridges in poor condition or in fair condition as risk. This funding marks an unprecedented focus on bridge infrastructure, which is vital for connecting residents and local communities.
Amount: Not a monetary award. Support is provided to cities and towns to develop competitive federal grant applications. Participants will have access to best-in-class subject-matter experts, office hours, individualized coaching sessions, and peer-to-peer leaning to engage with experts and other applicants going through the same program. They will also receive access to a library of templates, example submissions, and other resources. Bootcamps will last 3-4 months with active participation required each month.
Eligibility: Cities/local governments with 150,000 or fewer residents. Participating cities will be asked to identify a small team to engage in the bootcamp. A typical team will include:
* Mayor: Participates in selective modules to set goals, review the overall impact of draft grant applications, and implement long term capacity building measures. Time commitment: approximately 3 hours.
* Grant Lead: Participates in all modules and is the primary point of contact for the city’s team. Time commitment: approximately 2.5 to 10 hours per month.
* Community Engagement Lead: Participates in selective modules to help design community engagement strategies. Time commitment: approximately 4 to 10 hours.
* Finance Lead: Participates in budget and capital stacks modules. Time commitment: approximately 2 to 6 hours.
While the team configuration outlined above is representative of the typical team, the roles may be different (ex. a relevant expert such as the head of the public works department may be included). In some cities, a single person may also occupy multiple roles.
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