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Friday Funding with a Highlight on the Department of Agriculture

Funding Digest April 21, 2023

The weather is heating up in DC, and it feels like summer! Cherry Blossoms have come and gone, and new opportunities are available for organizations willing to help the Biden-Harris administration deliver.

Not only must organizations be willing, but they must also be capable.

Not only must they be capable, but they must also be able to express in written form in detail what SMART goals the organization will pursue, the timeline of actions with roles and responsible parties in relation to the project goals and the NOFO, and break down the cost of doing so in high definition.

This is a spotlight on USDA, as many of the opportunities below come from Agriculture.

These opportunities look great, but remember that what you propose will be the guideline that a contract monitor will expect you to follow. So only pursue those opportunities that align with what you seek to do as an organization.

  • If you are unsure who your partners are in a federal initiative, pause and rethink.

  • If you are putting together a last-minute budget and searching for the costs of items and services, pause, and then maybe stop and reconsider.

In hot pursuit of funding, remember your mission is not to obtain funding. What you do and how you seek to do it should be clear before any grant writer starts writing.

Imagine if IBM let its communications team take on the roles of executive management, operations, marketing, sales, and finance - the comms team steered the whole ship because comms was the division most able to communicate to the audience. Sounds wacky? I agree.

In case you are not convinced, look at the USDA undisbursed balances in the screenshot below from the 2022 Agency Financial Report.

Have your programs and costs straight, and then use writers to deliver the message.

That being said, if any of the opportunities below are in your lane, and you can benefit those you serve and help the Administration and its agencies carry out theirs, go for it! USDA’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan infographic is below, along with the undisbursed funds data.

Keep on doing good!


Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants: USDA Rural Development program provides funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. More flexible Inflation Reduction Act Changes. Contact your State Energy Coordinator. Application Deadline: 6 quarterly Cycles

Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development offers funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. Application Deadline: Ongoing

Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development grants for eligible communities to prepare for or recover from an emergency that threatens the availability of safe, reliable drinking water. Application Deadline: Ongoing

U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development grants to very-low and low-income homeowners to repair homes damaged in a Calendar Year 2022 Presidentially Declared Disaster Area. To determine your eligibility, review the list of Presidentially Declared Disasters by State and County. How do I get started? Contact a USDA home loan specialist in your area. Application Deadline: Open

Housing Preservation Grant Program U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development provides funding to sponsoring organizations for the repair or rehabilitation of applicable housing. *New* Funding may also be available to help repair homes damaged during a calendar year 2022 Presidentially declared disaster area. Federal Register. Application Deadline: 6/5/2023

Community Connect Grant Program U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development provides funding to construct broadband networks in rural areas that do not currently have broadband service. Application Deadline: 6/20/2023

SEARCH - Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development funding for financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects. Application Deadline: Open

Water and Waste Disposal Pre-development Planning Grants U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development offers grants to help low-income, rural communities with the initial planning and development of applications for their Water and Waste Disposal loan/grant and loan guarantee programs. Application Deadline: Ongoing

Rural Energy Savings Program U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development provides loans to entities that agree to make affordable loans to help consumers implement cost-effective, energy efficiency measures to lower energy bills for rural families and businesses and reduce barriers to investment in energy efficiency projects or activities. Application Deadline: Open

Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development provides technical assistance for the development of cooperatives or the formation of new cooperatives including leadership training, the development of feasibility studies, business plans and/or strategic plans. Application Deadline: 5/16/2023

Energizing Rural Communities Prize U.S. Department of Energy DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations offers funding for entrepreneurs, university faculty, student groups, community organizations, tribal and local governments, financial institutions, industry professionals, and others with ideas to help organize or finance a clean energy demonstration project in a rural or remote area. Application Deadline: 5/24/2023

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) DOL Employment and Training Administration and Women’s Bureau grant program supports community-based organizations in their efforts to recruit, train, and retain more women in Registered Apprenticeship Programs and industries where they are underrepresented such as construction, manufacturing, and cybersecurity. Application Deadline: 5/29/2023

Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA program supporting the design of a new pass-through program to provide grant funds via subawards to community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible subrecipient groups representing underserved and disadvantaged communities. Application Deadline: 5/31/2023

Broadband Technical Assistance Program The U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Rural Development offers this program to support technical assistance projects such as conducting feasibility studies, completing network designs and developing broadband financial assistance applications. Funding is also available to help organizations access federal resources, and to conduct data collection and reporting. Read the full news release. Application Deadline: 6/20/2023

USDA Rural Development helps agricultural producers enter value-added activities to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income planning and working capital grants.

VAPG planning grants can only be used to pay a qualified consultant to conduct and develop a feasibility study, business plan, and/or marketing plan directly related to the processing and/or marketing of a value-added agricultural product. VAPG working capital grants can only be used to pay operational costs directly related to the processing and/or marketing of a value-added agricultural product. VAPG working capital grants cannot be used to purchase, lease purchase, or install fixed equipment, including processing equipment.

Grants are awarded through a national competition. The maximum grant amount for Planning Grants is $75,000, and Working Capital Grants is $250,000. There is a cost share match requirement of 100 percent of the grant amount required for all applications.

The VAPG application period is currently open with a deadline of 11:59P on May 11, 2023 to submit an electronic application through or 4:30P on May 16, 2023 to submit paper or emailed application.

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