Apply today! Upcoming deadlines
Community Transit Grant Program - Councils on Aging, non-profits, transit authorities, municipalities, and some taxis can apply to this annual MassDOT funding stream for funding for vehicles, mobility management projects, or operating expenses to expand mobility for older adults and people with disabilities. Applications are due June 25. New applicants and anyone with questions should contact Jenna Henning at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Mobility Design Challenge 2021 - nonprofits and government agencies can apply to the National Center for Mobility Management to improve transportation for community members who lack access to equitable transportation because of income status, minority status, location, a pre-existing condition, or other reason. Learn more on a May 27 webinar. Applications are due July 12.
Policy & Advocacy grants from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. Proposals should impact healthy aging, include older adults, increase equity, and be collaborative in nature. Letters of Intent due July 23. Learn more at a June 15 webinar.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) funding
|Community Transit Grant Program||
Annual competitive application process usually opens in May with proposals due in June
|Helping Hand Mini-Grants||
Annual competitive process usually opens in the spring
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||Program due dates||
|Workforce Transportation Program||
||Applications were due October 2019. Grants were announced February 2020|
Other state funding
||There were two rounds in 2020 (spring and late fall). Future schedule TBD||Meal delivery, workforce transportation, homeless transportation, and more in the first round of grantees|
|Transportation Network Company (TNC) disbursements||
||Distributed annually to municipalities||Senior transportation services, shuttles, and more|
|Efficiency and Regionalization Grant Program||
Opens in mid-January with grants due in mid-February
No funding was available in FY20
|Piloting a first mile/last mile service in Beverly|
|Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds||
||The inaugural round of applications opened in fall 2019, and grants were announced in fall 2020||
||New program launching fall 2020||New funding stream as of 2020|
|Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)||
||Opens in December, due in March||Wareham uses CDBG funds to offer discounted dial-a-ride fares, bus passes, and out-of-town medical transportation to low-income seniors|
- Federal Transit Authority (FTA) 5310 funds are disbursed through MassDOT’s Community Transit Grant Program
- Besides FTA, other federal agencies also provide some funding for transportation. Visit www.grants.gov for information on federal grants and competitive funding opportunities
- Rural transportation improvements are an eligible expense under USDA's annual Rural Business Development Grant
- The Corporation for National and Community Service funds initiatives that leverage senior volunteers through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
- Special federal funding opportunities sometimes become available. Recent examples include:
Massachusetts foundations and initiatives
- Arc Tank - annual opportunity for initiatives disrupting disability services in order to improve lives of people with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or autism. Past winners include a transportation initiative.
- Barr Foundation - supports transportation projects as part of its climate change focus area.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation - grants funding community organizations to expand healthcare access and affordability among low-income populations in Massachusetts
- Fallon Health - grants supporting senior health initiatives, including transportation to medical appointments
- Smith Family Foundation’s small capital grants initiative funds one-time capital expenses for nonprofits, including purchase of vehicles.
- Tufts Health Plan Foundation supports healthy aging in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Collaborative transportation projects are eligible.
- United Way local affiliates are involved in community transportation in some regions
- Funding related to COVID-19 compiled by Philanthropy Massachusetts
Regional foundations and initiatives
- The Boston Foundation - focus areas include the social determinants of health and transit-oriented development; they also accept community-based proposals that do not fit into established focus areas. Their catchment area includes 80 cities and towns in Greater Boston.
- Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts - grants supporting the health of people who live or work in Central Mass; recent grants include a planning grant supporting rural transportation as a social determinant of health
National foundations and initiatives
- AARP Community Challenge - small grants for quick-action projects promoting livable, age-friendly communities including transportation projects
- AmericaWalks Community Change grants supporting walkable communities
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - grants supporting health equity, including built environment and social determinants of health
Fundraising from local businesses
- Local banks have sponsored vehicles and transportation services in some regions of Massachusetts
- Many restaurants are willing to partner with nonprofits to host fundraisers where some of the profits from a meal go to your organization
- Corporate giving programs based in Massachusetts may be a source of funds or volunteers - example from Lowell
Other fundraising strategies
- Fundraising events can be targeted to transportation or mobility efforts
- Individuals can leave money in their wills to support local transportation services
- For example, the Belchertown Council on Aging (COA) received funds from the estate of a senior who had been a regular customer of the COA van
- The Town of Acton implemented a meals tax to increase local funding available to support transportation
- Crowdfunding sites provide a platform to raise funds from individual donors in support of a defined project
Funding for individuals
Individuals looking for help funding their own transportation expenses can look to the following sources for help:
- Social Security Work Incentives
- If you are currently receiving services from a state agency, ask your case manager if you may be eligible for any transportation benefits. For example:
- DTA offers a transportation benefit to eligible TAFDC participants
- Some Career Centers have funding available through the federal WIOA program to assist eligible jobseekers with transportation expenses
- Transportation is a service available to consumers enrolled in DDS waiver programs
- Some MRC programs can help pay for vehicle modifications for eligible consumers
- Attainable Savings Plan - individuals with disabilities may be eligible for an Attainable Savings Plan. Money saved in this account can be used towards transportation expenses. Learn more or enroll.
- Families who incur transportation expenses due to a child's medical condition may be eligible for reimbursement through the state's Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund (CICRF)
- Loans for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and other assistive technology from Easterseals Massachusetts
- Contact your transit authority to find out if they are auctioning off any retired vehicles
- Some individuals use crowdfunding sites to gather donations from friends, family, and the general public
Create an organization whose mission is to fundraise for transportation
- Tasks for Transit is a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds from individuals and corporations, using those funds to buy Worcester Regional Transit Authority bus passes, and distributing the bus passes to partner charities to give to their consumers.
- A grassroots initiative chose accessible transportation as the beneficiary of a fundraising initiative they took on
These data sources may be helpful as you craft the case for why your project will effectively meet an important need:
- Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plans - regional analyses of transportation resources and unmet needs for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals
- Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report - find data on your city or town - updated in 2018
- A Scan of Transportation Options Available for Older People in Massachusetts, UMass Boston Gerontology Institute, 2018
- Travel Patterns of American Adults with Disabilities, US DOT, 2018
- Transportation Needs Assessment: Survey of Older Adults, People with Disabilities, and Caregivers. National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, 2018
- Massachusetts Travel Survey, 2010-2011 - statewide information on how residents take trips
Funding, financing, and fares - information and links from the National Center for Mobility Management