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Funding for community transportation

Looking for funding for a community transportation service or coordination effort? Check out these federal, state, foundation, and other funding opportunities.

Table of Contents

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 jennifer.n.henning@dot.state.ma.us.

  • 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.

State funding

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) funding

Name Description Timeline Example
Community Transit Grant Program
  • Massachusetts distributes federal and state funds for community transportation to expand services for older adults and people with disabilities through MassDOT’s Community Transit Grant Program.
  • This includes the federal 5310 program and the state Mobility Assistance Program (MAP).
  • Transit authorities, state agencies, municipalities, non-profits, and for-profits can apply annually to MassDOT for capital or operating assistance.

Annual competitive application process usually opens in May with proposals due in June

Most recent awards

Past years' awards

Helping Hand Mini-Grants
  • Small grants of up to $1000 to support transit services in rural and small urban areas
  • Offered through MArtap

Annual competitive process usually opens in the spring

Sign up for the MArtap newsletter to receive notification

  • Equipment such as laptops, printers, or scanners
  • Safe steps to help older adults access a vehicle
  • Marketing supplies
Complete Streets
  • Technical assistance and funding to support implementation on Complete Streets for all travelers
  • Available to municipalities
Program due dates
  • Improved crosswalk near Natick Senior Center
  • Improved sidewalk near Leominster Senior Center
Workforce Transportation Program
  • New funding stream available to support employment transportation
Applications were due October 2019. Grants were announced February 2020

Grants announced February 2020

 

Other state funding

Name Description Timeline Example

Taxi/Livery Partnership Grant Program

  • Statewide grant program providing funding to contract with taxicab, livery, or hackney businesses for transportation and delivery needs for the Commonwealth’s vulnerable populations and others
  • Run by MassDevelopment and MAPC 
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
  • Municipalities receive annual funding based on the number of TNC rides originating there
Distributed annually to municipalities Senior transportation services, shuttles, and more
Efficiency and Regionalization Grant Program
  • Funding for efforts to regionalize services
  • Affiliated with the Community Compact, which offers technical assistance to cities and towns that pledge to implement best practices such as transportation, age-friendly policies, and other topics

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
  • Department of Public Health funds to improve population health outcomes through innovative and sustainable approaches that bring together a variety of people and partners
  • Recognizes transportation as a social determinant of health that affects community health and healthy aging
The inaugural round of applications opened in fall 2019, and grants were announced in fall 2020
  • Transportation to healthy food and fitness for low-income seniors
  • Age-friendly walkability in a rural region
  • All grantees
Community Connections
  • Boston Region MPO funding for first- and last-mile solutions, community transportation, and other small, nontraditional transportation projects such as updating transit technology and improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • The 97 cities and towns that are part of the Boston MPO are eligible, as well as Regional Transit Authorities within the region
New program launching fall 2020 New funding stream as of 2020
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • Municipalities can apply for public social services funding to offer free or reduced-fare rides to low-income individuals
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 
COMMBUYS
  • State contract opportunities
   

 

Federal funding

 

Additional Resources

Private funding

Massachusetts foundations and initiatives

Regional foundations and initiatives

National foundations and initiatives

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

 

Additional Resources

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:

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

Grantwriting tips

    Data sources

    These data sources may be helpful as you craft the case for why your project will effectively meet an important need:

    National resources

    Funding, financing, and fares - information and links from the National Center for Mobility Management

    Contact

    Online

    Email MassMobility hstmobility@state.ma.us
    Visit our website MassMobility 
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