Funding Alert! Nursing Workforce Diversity Program Grants

Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services Administration

Does your organization provide educational programs for individuals pursuing nursing degrees? The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently opened a funding opportunity through its Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) program. NWD provides funding to assist students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds as they progress through the educational pipeline – from enrollment to graduation – toward becoming practicing registered nurses. NWD programs accomplish this through the implementation of evidence-based strategies that are proven to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds (including ethnic and racial minorities) in completing their degree programs.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants include accredited schools of nursing, nursing centers, academic health centers, state or local governments, and other private or public nonprofit entities as determined appropriate. Domestic faith-based and community-based organizations, tribes, and tribal organizations can also apply, if otherwise eligible.

What is the program goal?

The overall goals of the NWD program are to expand and support an inclusive nursing workforce that can provide quality, culturally aligned care to rural and underserved communities in need. The objective is to decrease health disparities and increase health equity by improving nursing workforce diversity, with a specific focus on registered nurses from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Applicants will propose and implement a comprehensive systems approach to addressing the barriers that disadvantaged students face in completing their degree programs. Proposed programs must address the implementation of or enhancements to each of the following evidence-based components:

  1. Student support services (academic, peer, and social) to improve student resiliency;
  2. Faculty recruitment and retention, with a focus on diverse backgrounds that are reflective of the target student population;
  3. Mentoring (professional, academic, or peer);
  4. Student financial support, such as scholarships and stipends to reduce barriers to entry and retention for students from disadvantaged backgrounds;
  5. Holistic review (processes, practices, and implementation) that is mission-driven, evidence-based, and promotes diversity; and
  6. Collaborative partnerships (academic, practice, and community) to address the social determinants that create barriers to academic success for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) found here includes further explanation of these strategies.

The funder expects to award 29 grants of up to $555,000 per year. This program involves a four-year period of performance. There is no cost sharing or match required for this program.

What makes a project a good fit?

HRSA offers a funding preference for proposals that substantially benefit one of the following:

  1. Rural population (confirm eligibility here) OR
  2. Underserved population (Medically Underserved Area or Medically Underserved Population; confirm eligibility here) OR
  3. Public health nursing needs in state or local health departments.

In addition, applicants must develop and maintain a flexible, training-focused emergency preparedness plan, in order to ensure continuity of programmatic activities in the event of a public health emergency.

What if I am ready to apply? The deadline is coming up quickly! Proposals are due January 19, 2021. To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Review the full NOFO, found on the NWD program page under the “Apply” heading.
  • Determine whether your proposal meets any of the funding preference qualifications.
  • Register for the technical assistance webinar on Friday, December 18 to learn about frequently asked questions and other information (link on the program page).
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active, and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! HRSA also has a variety of other programs and funding opportunities available that might be a good fit. The office’s website has ample resources, webinars, and descriptions of other available or upcoming opportunities.

How do I learn more about federal grant opportunities?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series coming in 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit professionals before and during their first federal grant. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

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Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs