States implement assistance programs to apply for federal grants

June 19, 2024

Trillions of dollars in federal funding — considered a once-in-a-generation amount — are currently available through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and CHIPS Act. However, it can be difficult for smaller and rural communities to compete for these opportunities.

Several state and local governments have launched technical-assistance programs to identify and apply for federal grants to support infrastructure and community projects. This commonly includes competitive agreements between private companies and public agencies to increase a state’s likelihood of receiving funds.

In Hawaii, Gov. Josh Green recently announced a partnership with the Ulupono Initiative to enhance the state’s ability to secure federal funding through the Investing in Hawaii’s Future initiative. The program, founded in 2009, focuses on sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life in Hawaii.

The Ulupono Initiative, a for-profit investment firm, will offer pro bono technical assistance for one year to help state departments and agencies apply for and obtain federal funds for renewable energy, local food production, clean transportation and freshwater projects.

“I commend the outstanding work of our dedicated state personnel who pursue federal fund opportunities,” Green said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of available federal funds, we need to increase our capacity as a state to secure these resources.”

The Local Infrastructure Hub is a national organization established by Bloomberg Philanthropies that also offers pro bono services, including technical and grant writing assistance. It partnered with the National League of Cities in 2022 to launch bootcamps for cities to register for federal grant programs.    

More common are partnerships such as the Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) Technical Assistance Program, in which the state contracts a firm to aid cities and counties at no cost. Through the Texas BDO program, eligible communities can apply for technical assistance to identify broadband development opportunities.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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