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Conference Call Replay
A recording of the conference call held on Nov. 27, 2017 about the Urban Agenda Grant Program is now available. You can listen by calling 712-432-3448 and using Conference Code 675768.
(Please note that the line will sound silent during the first few minutes. Call starts at about the 3-minute mark.)
Urban Agenda Grants will be awarded to eligible communities on a competitive basis. The Baker-Polito Administration recognizes that urban centers face unique economic and quality-of-life challenges, and that the path to success lies in tapping into the unique local assets they already possess. The program offers flexible funding for initiatives that entail community-driven responses to community-defined economic opportunities, and that build leadership, collaboration, and capacity at the local level.
Request for Proposals and Guidelines
The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to announce the availability of funds for a 2018 round of the Urban Agenda Grant Program. The program is seeking proposals from eligible communities for initiatives that entail community-driven responses to community-defined economic opportunities, and that build leadership, collaboration, and capacity at the local level.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Commonwealth’s Urban Agenda is focused on promoting economic vitality and cultivating safer, stronger urban neighborhoods across Massachusetts. The Baker-Polito Administration recognizes that urban centers face unique economic and quality-of-life challenges, and that the path to success lies in tapping into the unique local assets that they already possess, rather than in one-size-fits-all directives from government.
The grant is intended to help urban communities as they unlock economic opportunities through collective impact and shared accountability. Specifically, it will support projects that are based on collaborative work models to achieve economic progress, which are particularly promising according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank Boston and the Working Cities Challenge:
“Small cities in Massachusetts and across New England possess unique assets and face a unique set of challenges. …Notwithstanding these challenges, research on small cities conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has found that eight cities out of a peer group of 26 nationwide have been able to either maintain or recover much of their economic stability, as measured by income, reduced poverty rates, population, and economic vitality. Several factors drove the rebound of these “resurgent” cities: collaborative leadership, the role of anchor institutions, investment in infrastructure, and extension of benefits to the community as a whole. Of these, collaborative leadership – the ability to work together across sectors over a sustained period with a comprehensive vision – was most crucial. The findings are strikingly similar to those of the Living Cities Integration Initiative, deployed in five larger cities with substantial inner-city populations. Both sets of findings elevate the importance of collaborative leadership in creating systems-level changes that will enable small cities to reach their full potential as places to live, work, and raise a family.” (From Working Cities Challenge website: https://www.bostonfed.org/workingcities/about/research.htm)
Urban Agenda is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), and offers flexible grant funding to support creative local partnerships. The program is for neighborhoods across Massachusetts that have developed partnerships that leverage existing economic assets, target specific workforce populations, define their economic development and quality of life goals, and deliver on those goals.Program Information
Maximum award - $100,000
Total grant funds available - $500,000
Grant use - General operating support for innovative and collaborative community economic development project
Project duration - Six to 12 months, starting January 2018. Timeline should be at least 6 months (January to June 2018), but no more than 12 months (January to December 2018).
Project focus examples - Targeted workforce development, innovative vocational education activities, Main Street and small business supports, Mentorship for adult and/or youth entrepreneurs, development and training support for women-, veteran-, and/or minority-owned businesses
Eligible communities - Gateway cities, urban centers, and MAPC-defined inner core cities with median household incomes below 90 percent of the state average income (53 communities have been determined as eligible. See list below.)
Eligible lead applicant - Municipality or a community-based organization
Eligible project partners - Municipality, community-based organizations, schools, local businesses, chambers of commerce, private sector partners, neighborhood associations, etc.
Review criteria - Clarity of vision and alignment with community goals, strength of community partnerships, defined target population and economic need, demonstrated significance of economic opportunity, proven track record, capacity to execute and succeed
Application opens - Nov. 20, 2017
Bidder’s conference call - Nov. 27, 2017
Application deadline - Dec. 22, 2017
Awards announced/contracts - Mid-January 2018
Anticipated contract start - January 2018 – Exact timeline and funding schedule to be negotiated during contracting phase.Applicant Eligibilty
The purpose of this program is to support community economic development that is grounded in collaboration and local leadership development. Priority will be given to communities that have proven track records in economic, housing, and/or workforce development.
For purposes of the application, either a municipality or a community-based organization may be the lead applicant. However, the participation and support of the other is required in either case. Application must include a letter of support from the CEO of both the host municipality and its main community organization partner.
Urban communities that meet certain household income benchmarks (median household income less than 90 percent of the state’s average income) are eligible to apply. EOHED has designed the grant program to serve both Gateway and non-Gateway cities, of varying sizes.
WorcesterApplication Requirements and Review Criteria
The program will consider applications from communities that have established coalitions and/or collaborations that have a track record of working together on addressing community challenges. A community may only submit one application to the program. However, in cities with populations exceeding 150,000, applications will be accepted from clearly defined geographical neighborhoods, enabling more than one application from those cities.
Examples of projects that might receive highly favorable reviews include: a community commercial kitchen training at-risk residents for culinary careers in a region with a growing hospitality sector; business training and entrepreneurial supports for women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses in response to new local business opportunities; a maker space that engages youth in mechanical processes in response to the community’s desire to activate underutilized spaces; projects that respond to families seeking financial literacy and asset-building support; and housing pre-development activities that engage neighbors in helping to address the reuse of a blighted property. These are only illustrative examples.
Applicants must base their proposals on locally significant economic opportunities. The key is that the project be in direct response to an identified need in the community.
Specifically, grant applications will be reviewed and scored on a 100-point scale based on the following criteria:
Vision and Goals (10 points)
Community Collaboration and Partnerships (20 points)
Target Population (10 points)
Economic Opportunity – Project Plan (40 points)
Track Record (10 points)
Capacity to Succeed (10 points)
Application Process, Forms, and Guidance
The following pages comprise the application forms required for this grant program. A complete proposal packet includes the following components:
All sections must be completed per the instructions. Completed packet must be submitted as one document (MSWord or PDF) and filename should include City/Town name.
Other attachments may be submitted to support the application. These must be in a separate document (as one PDF). Additional attachments could include support letters from community partners that will be actively involved in the project, such as agencies, businesses, and/or elected officials. In all cases, the letters should reference the role that the writer will be playing in the project.