Funding Opportunities

Federal prize competitions are a means for federal agencies to crowdsource ideas and engage public innovators to develop innovative ideas and solutions to societal problems (referred to as competitions, prize competitions, challenge, or competition). According to Challenge.gov, the primary platform for managing competitions, “Longitude and ship navigation, Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, even initial designs for the U.S. Capitol and White House—all resulted from open prize competitions. Even those self-driving vehicles got their start in federal prize competitions too!” Other notable concepts derived from challenges include the “lunar loo” (space toilet), digital wallet interface, protections for fish from water infrastructure, opioid detection in the mail, and “getting out the count” for the most recent census. These competitions, organized by Federal agencies, encourage participation from individuals, businesses, and organizations, driving them to create groundbreaking solutions to complex problems. This blog post delves into the world of federal competitions, exploring their significance, impact, and considerations for interested organizations.

In grant seeking, fundraising professionals sometimes refer to low-hanging fruit as the donors who give year after year with little effort, synonymous with “easy money.” While the term is often tossed around, it can be frustrating to funders and grant professionals. Funders may have fewer requirements to increase accessibility to nonprofits or value the longevity of relationships. The funder is still striving to make an impact in the community. Grant professionals understand the nuances of grant seeking and can see the industry landscape increase in competitiveness as more organizations apply for funding and foundations give conservatively in response to volatile markets. Fundraising strategies that rely on these dollars without stewardship may find themselves in the midst of a drought.

United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Rural Utilities Services Attention organizations and communities interested in providing distance learning or telemedicine services to rural areas! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, Rural Utilities Services’ Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program is accepting applications for equipment, software, and other technological needs to provide education and medical services to remote areas with populations of 20,000 and under. Awards range from $50,000 to $1million and there is a three-year period of performance beginning the date the funds are released. A minimum 15% match is required and cannot be from another federal source. This program was created to assist rural communities in acquiring distance learning and telemedical technologies so local teachers and medical services providers who serve rural residents can link to other teachers, medical professionals, and experts located at distances too far to access otherwise.

Diversifying a portfolio of funding opportunities can be more than seeking foundation and federal grants. In the current funding landscape, organizations have the capacity to add legislative affairs to their ongoing activities in the pursuit of additional funds to achieve their mission. Did you know that nonprofits are eligible to pursue Congressional Directed Spending and/or Community Project Funding?

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Attention nonprofit organizations and government entities addressing homelessness! The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is now accepting proposals for its Youth and Homelessness Systems Improvement (YHSI) Grant. The goal of the YHSI Grant Program is “to increase state and local capacity to better serve youth and create projects that are responsive to the needs of youth at-risk of or experiencing homelessness in the community.” Applications for this program are due February 15, 2024.

Funding Alert! Opportunities for STEM Education The Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program is one of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) cornerstones when it comes to producing research and resources for improving undergraduate education. This core program has been around for quite some time and it is open to application from all institutions of higher education, including 4-year institutions and 2-year community colleges. This is the kind of program where innovative teaching approaches will be quite appealing, as the program has been around for a long time.

Attention librarians, school districts, institutions of higher education, government officials, and archivists! The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) – is releasing opportunities to address the critical needs of libraries and archives and support the advancement of professional practices. IMLS’s mission is to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Through multiple opportunities to support the unique needs of libraries and archives, IMLS works towards its strategic goals of championing lifelong learning, strengthening community engagement, advancing collection stewardship and access, and demonstrating excellence in public service. The National Leadership Grants for Libraries program is designed to influence practice across disciplines, support current strategic priorities within its field, use collaboration to demonstrate field-wide buy-in and input, and generate new models, tools, research findings, services, practices, or alliances that can be adapted and scaled.

Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) Attention local governments and economic development-focused organizations! The Department of Commerce (DOC) – Economic Development Administration (EDA) – is releasing a brand-new program to create renewed economic opportunity in communities that have for too long been forgotten....

Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) Attention local governments and economic development-focused organizations! The Department of Commerce (DOC) – Economic Development Administration (EDA) – is releasing a brand-new program to create renewed economic opportunity in communities that have for too long been forgotten. The EDA’s mission is to ensure that all communities have a path to economic prosperity. The Recompete Pilot Program will invest in distressed communities to create and connect workers to good jobs in places that need them most. The program specifically targets distressed communities to spur a new chapter of opportunity in those areas. This includes areas where prominent industries have declined or disappeared, were physically separated by highway construction, or endured decades of disinvestment. These may be urban, suburban, or rural areas that have low labor force participation rates that are holding back prosperity. This post provides an overview of the opportunity, focusing on the Strategy Development Grant track. The Recompete Plan track will be highlighted next week.

Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Attention institutions of higher education, professional training programs, and hospitals! The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) – Bureau of Healthcare Workforce (BHW) is releasing brand new funding opportunities. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight the eligibility, purpose, and activities, as well as helpful tips and resources if you are considering applying. HRSA programs provide equitable health care to people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable. This includes programs that deliver health services to people with HIV, pregnant people, mothers and their families, those with low incomes, residents of rural areas, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and those otherwise unable to access high-quality health care. HRSA programs also support health infrastructure, including training health professionals and distributing them to areas where they are needed most, providing financial support to healthcare providers, and advancing telehealth.