Funding Opportunities

  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently opened applications for its Rural Cooperative Development Grant. USDA opportunities such as this can often be incredibly impactful – if not transformative – for rural communities. Let’s take a closer look at the details for this program by answering some key questions. What is the Rural Cooperative Development Grant? The Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) is intended to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Cooperatives are essential to the U.S. economy and are particularly critical to the health of rural communities. Cooperatives not only help farmers and ranchers market their products, but they can also supply rural residents with important services such as electricity, telecommunications, financial services, housing, food, and building materials.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently opened applications for its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce).  As with many federal grant opportunities, there are a lot of “so” questions which need to be answered. So, what is the Noyce Scholarship Program? The National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science (including engineering and computer science) teachers. The program invites creative and innovative proposals that address the critical need for recruiting and preparing highly effective elementary and secondary science and mathematics teachers in high-need local educational agencies. The program offers four tracks: Track 1: The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships and Stipends Track, Track 2: The NSF Teaching Fellowships Track, Track 3: The NSF Master Teaching Fellowships Track, and Track 4: Noyce Research Track. In addition, Capacity Building proposals are accepted from proposers intending to develop a future Track 1, 2, or 3 proposal.

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) recently opened applications for its Basic Center Program (BCP). As with many federal grant opportunities, there are a lot of “so” questions that come to my mind. So, what is the BCP? Funded under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act passed in 1974, BCP works to establish or strengthen community-based programs that meet the immediate needs of youth and families of youth, who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness. The purpose of the BCP is to provide emergency shelter and counseling services to youth under the age of 18 who meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • have left home without permission of their parents or guardians;
  • have been forced to leave their home;
  • cannot live safely with a parent, legal guardian, or relative;
  • have no other safe alternative living arrangement; or
  • are experiencing homelessness and might otherwise end up in contact with law enforcement or in the child welfare, mental health, or juvenile justice systems.

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) recently opened applications for its Street Outreach Program (SOP). As with many federal grant opportunities, there are a lot of “so” questions that come to my mind. So, what is the SOP? To prevent sexual abuse and exploitation of young people who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness and help them leave the streets, Congress established the Education and Prevention Services to Reduce Sexual Abuse of Runaway, Homeless, and Street Youth Program. It was established through the Violence Against Women Act of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The legislation funds street-based outreach and education for youth who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness. FYSB has funded the SOP since 1996. The purpose of the SOP is to provide street-based services to youth 21 years of age and younger who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness and have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution, sexual exploitation, and severe forms of trafficking. This includes building relationships between this target population and street outreach workers to move youth into stable housing and prepare them for independence.

The USDA’s Community Food Projects grant has been around since the 1990s and is renewed as part of the Farm Bill every five years. The purpose of the grant is to increase the food security of low-income communities which unfortunately continues to be a salient need across the country. Food is one of our basic needs. Many organizations work hard to feed the growing number of people who struggle to put food on the table every day. Whether in a rural or urban landscape, people often must make choices between paying rent or medical bills and buying food. Children are disproportionately affected by hunger, and the COVID-19 crisis has not only caused loss of income for many families. With school closures, kids can no longer count on free or reduced lunches every day.

COVID-19 has forced many schools, hospitals, and agencies to launch emergency operations that they did not previously offer or to expand upon services that were quickly found to be insufficient. Many limped into virtual operations without adequate technology infrastructure, software platforms, or sufficient bandwidth (both internet signal and staff capacity). The USDA Rural Utilities Services Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant is not new, but it has certainly launched itself into celebrity status. This three-year grant provides eligible applicants the funding to purchase telecommunications equipment, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to be used by students, medical professionals, and rural residents for the purpose of expanding telemedicine and distance learning to rural communities.

FindingYourBestMatch.com Determining if a funder is right for your program If you happen to be in the dating “scene” in this highly digital age, it can be hard to determine from just an online profile whether you and a potential mate are going to be compatible. Or perhaps a friend or acquaintance has someone they want you to meet and claims they’d be perfect for you. As a grant writer, you might find yourself in a similar situation when you’ve found a funder online who seems to be a perfect match for the services at your nonprofit organization.