Federal agencies making $3 billion available for multiple projects

April 29, 2024

A notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) is an announcement that allows eligible entities to know when there is an opening to submit funding applications. A NOFO not only announces the availability but also provides timelines and guidance for making funding requests. Federal programs are often designed to pass funds through state-level agencies, but not always. Local officials and private firms may apply for funding directly in some programs.

Because it is not always easy to follow NOFO alerts, this column provides information about funding opportunities that are currently available. These active funding opportunities offer a total of more than $3 billion.

A NOFO is currently open for the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, which the Department of Commerce oversees. This program has $1.44 billion to allocate between now and 2026. The current NOFO is for the first round of funding, totaling $840 million.

This program was created to expand access for disadvantaged populations to digital and broadband services and technologies. The funds are for projects specifically designed for low-income households, aging populations, incarcerated people, veterans, rural inhabitants and other citizens with specific needs. There is no cost share or matching requirement for the funding. Applications from states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico are due on May 28, but other territories will have until July 31 to submit applications. Native entities will have a Feb. 7, 2025, deadline. Awards on a rolling basis will start no later than Aug. 28, 2024.

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has an open funding opportunity to support large-scale water-reuse projects in the western states. This year’s initial investment of $180 million is the first installment of the WaterSMART program, which is designed to provide financial and technical assistance to local water agencies for the planning, design and construction of water reclamation and reuse projects.

The objective incentivizes water agencies to plan large-scale drought-resistant water projects and develop or expand limited urban irrigation water supplies. Eligible entities include state, regional, and local agencies and utility authorities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The timeline to request funding ends Nov. 26, 2024. An earlier submittal period closed in March of this year, and those funding awards are being delivered currently.

Another funding program, the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, is administered by the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. It provides funding assistance to public and private entities to build out biofuel infrastructure. Eligible entities include higher education institutions, nonprofits, private businesses, independent school districts, state and local governments and special government districts. Agencies responsible for transportation fueling facilities and fuel distribution systems are also encouraged to apply. Funding applications will be received until Sept. 30, 2024.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has $300 million in funding available to support flood mitigation projects for properties that qualify for repetitive or significant disaster damage as determined by the National Flood Insurance Program. The funding will be distributed to states until it is all allocated. As of late last year, 326 properties had received funding for projects in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Funding requests are being accepted for disasters declared before May 31, 2024.

The National Park Service has $450 million to acquire land or develop outdoor recreation projects at the state, local, or tribal levels. This program has supported projects that include granting the Colorado Department of Natural Resources $1.2 million to develop a park in Silverthorne with accessible restrooms, picnic tables, and recreational amenities such as a basketball court. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department also received $1.1 million for Douglas County to rehabilitate camping grounds. The National Park Service will accept funding applications until July 12, 2024.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that it will award $225 million to preserve and revitalize manufactured housing projects. As the first of its kind, the funding aims to support and develop the manufactured housing industry and stabilize communities that rely on manufactured housing for increased affordability. At least $200 million will be awarded to counties, municipalities, states and other governmental entities, all eligible to receive up to $75 million. An additional $25 million is available to pilot programs that replace existing housing with manufactured homes. HUD will accept funding applications for PRICE grants through June 5, 2024.

These examples represent only several current NOFOs that serve as funding alerts. Public officials seeking funding for projects and initiatives that meet the criteria should move as quickly as possible to prepare applications and gather support for the financing.

Photo courtesy of the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association.

Mary Scott Nabers

Mary is President/CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a business development/public affairs firm that specializes in procurement consulting, market research, government affairs, knowledge transfer and public-private partnerships (P3s). Mary is also co-founder of the Gemini Global Group (G3), a firm that works with national and international clients on business development, P3s, and other types of government objectives.

A recognized expert regarding P3s, Mary is the author of Collaboration Nation – How Public-Private Ventures Are Revolutionizing the Business of Government and Inside the Infrastructure Revolution – A Roadmap for Rebuilding America.

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