Apply today! Upcoming deadlines
MassDOT's Community Transit Grant Program - funding for vehicles, operating expenses, or mobility management projects to enhance mobility for older adults and people with disabilities. New applicants must attend a training. Trainings are scheduled in different locations around the state between May 13 and May 24. The grant application will open May 28 and close at 5pm on June 25.
Federal Transit Administration
- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is the primary source of federal funding for public transit and community transportation programs
- The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is the current federal legislation that guides FTA funding.
- Note: Some funding streams that were available under previous legislation are no longer available. Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) funding was previously available for employment transportation for welfare recipients and low-income people, and New Freedom funding was available for transportation for people with disabilities. Under the FAST Act, these projects no longer have their own dedicated funding streams
- MassDOT's Rail and Transit Division administers many federal FTA programs at the state level, including through the Community Transit Grant Program
- National initiatives that address community transportation sometimes offer opportunities to apply for funding
- FTA sometimes offers special funding opportunities, such as Rides to Wellness or Mobility on Demand
Other Federal Agencies
- Besides FTA, other federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (including the Administration on Aging), Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Labor also provide some funding for transportation
- The Older Americans Act is an example
- This GAO report identifies 80 federal funding sources and reviews federal and state efforts to coordinate these funding streams
- www.grants.gov is the official government site for information on federal grants and funding
Community Transit Grant Program
Massachusetts distributes federal and state funds for community transportation through MassDOT’s Community Transit Grant Program. This includes the Mobility Assistance Program, a state funding source for improved transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities. Transit authorities, state agencies, municipalities, non-profits, and for-profits can apply to MassDOT for capital or operating assistance.
The Baker-Polito administration's Community Compact initiative provides technical assistance - and sometimes funding - to cities and towns that pledge to implement best practices, which may include transportation, age-friendly policies, and other topics.
State Contract Opportunities
Some state contracts for community-based services include some funding for transportation. To check for upcoming procurements, visit COMMBUYS, the Commonwealth's electronic procurement system, which provides free, around-the-clock access to all bid documents valued over $50,000 issued by Massachusetts executive departments.
Build a relationship with foundations in your area to see if your programs could be eligible for funding now or in the future.
Find a Foundation
- Grantsmanship Center's list of Massachusetts-based foundations
- Associated Grant Makers – regional association of grant makers that offer grants in Massachusetts and New Hampshire
- Foundation Center – information on private philanthropy in the United States
- Barr Foundation supports transportation projects as part of its climate change focus area.
- 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, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Collaborative transportation projects are eligible.
- United Way local affiliates are involved in community transportation in some regions
Other funding sources
- 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
- Crowdfunding sites provide a platform to raise funds from individual donors in support of a defined project
Applying for grants
Grant writing tips
- Tips on writing grants from the National Center on Mobility Management (Sections 1 & 2)
- Grant Writing Made Easy – guide from National Rural Transit Assistance Program
Data sources for background information
- 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