When you talk, VLCT listens.
Consistently, respondents to our annual Member Survey have cited funding, access to grants, research and writing, as top areas for needing help. It was the #1 service need for 67.7% of respondents in 2022! We understand that capacity is a major concern for towns of all sizes. Lack of paid staff and often only a small group of elected officials to shoulder all the work are challenging. Developing smart, sustainable projects – big or small – takes time, planning, resources, sustained commitment, and expertise. It starts with prioritizing local needs, assessing the funding landscape, and creating an implementation plan. In this watershed moment of federal funding opportunities, now is the time to turn your ideas into actions, but you need help. Whether for taking the very first step or removing a stumbling block along the way, VLCT can provide added capacity that allows your important projects to access additional funds and successfully complete.
VLCT has created the Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFA) with this at the forefront of our minds. Modeled after our highly successful ARPA Assistance and Coordination Program, FFA takes our work with ARPA under its wing and expands it to include the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL, aka Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). and other new and existing state and federal grant programs. We do the work of sifting through the tsunami of information and working with our broad network of state, federal, statewide, and national partners to be your voice in their processes and to curate only programs and resources for which you are eligible and that are applicable to our Vermont scale. We know that no two projects are the same, but most have a lot in common. Creating consistency and support systems gives us bandwidth to work with you on drilling down to your unique challenges.
Sometimes a simple, small piece of information can make all the difference in saving valuable time, frustration, and even money. One tip, trick or piece of advice can result in a more competitive grant application, a more successful compliance audit, a project budget staying on track or on budget, etc. Information is power. Knowing the rules and how to play the game is critical to success in the arena of public funding. Our Tips of the Week are designed to help you have an advantage. Click HERE to find a list of VLCT's previous Tips of the Week.
FEBRUARY 3, 2023 - Grant Writing: Thinking about applying for a grant for your municipality? Then make sure you discuss it with the legislative body first. Ask to be added to an upcoming meeting agenda and get their support on the record. Although grant applications are often completed by others – like members of a planning or conservation commission, or even a member of the community - the legislative body needs to be aware of and authorize all grant applications that are submitted, especially since most require a match of the town’s funds. To ensure the legislative body is officially on board, some grants require a signed resolution as an attachment of the application. If your application is successful and results in an award, then you will need the legislative body (the Chair or Vice Chair) to sign the grant agreement since it is a legal and binding document, and they have the authority to bind the town. There are times when the legislative body may decide to designate someone to sign the agreement on their behalf. If this happens, be sure this decision is made in the realm of a warned meeting and captured in the meeting minutes.
Feeling overwhelmed by all the grant opportunities?
Then consider booking an appointment with us to talk about your ideas and projects! Scroll down (beyond the FAQs) and click on the "Book an Appointment" button below.
Which new federal grants opportunities are right for Vermont's municipalities?
Find out in VLCT's Vermont Federal Funding Guidebook:
Right here - VLCT's Vermont Federal Funding Guidebook!
We have culled the hundreds of new federal funding programs, eliminating those that are inappropriate for or not applicable to Vermont’s municipalities. Those that remain, we have combined into a single document. For each one, we have reviewed the program details, read the NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity) and pulled out the most salient details about the funding source we know at this moment. If you get stuck or feel overwhelmed, don't get discouraged - we can help! You can book an appointment to self-schedule a video conference with us or send us an email: FFA@vlct.org.
USER TIP: To search the Guidebook for your topic of interest, you can use the “shortcut keys” on your computer. Open the document, hit the “Control” and “F” keys simultaneously and then type the keyword you want to search into the dialogue box that opens in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. If you type “water” it will show you every time “water” is used in the document.
Yes! Since ARPA is federal funding, it is now nested under the Federal Funding Assistance Program. The ARPA@vlct.org email box is still active and you can send your inquiries related to ARPA to it.
The "Where's the Money?" slide deck can be found HERE.
"Where's the Money?" was a panel discussion session in the Infrastructure track at VLCT's 2022 Town Fair. The panelists each had slides they presented. Their slides are chock full of information from the State agencies about their funding opportunities. The session description is here:
Towns, cities, and villages have received over $200 million in local ARPA awards, and much of it remains unspent – in part because VLCT encouraged you to wait, be patient, be strategic, and leverage your funds when you do use them. The Final Rule added significant flexibility to how ARPA funds can be spent: Most municipalities could use their entire ARPA award as a grant match, even for other federal programs. The remaining State ARPA funds were allocated in the last legislative session. Billions of dollars of infrastructure money are headed to Vermont, and other existing federal programs are swelling with additional funding. In this session you will learn where the money is and how it will be available for municipalities.
What is "pass-through funding" and what does it mean when the State of Vermont is a "prime recipient"?
Pass-Through Funding are funds issued by a federal agency to a state agency or institution that are then transferred to other state agencies, units of local government, or other eligible groups per the award eligibility terms. The state agency (State of Vermont) or institution is referred to as the "prime recipient" of the pass-through funds. The secondary recipients (ex. local government) are referred to as "subrecipients." The prime recipient issues the subawards as competitive or noncompetitive as dictated by the prime award terms and authorizing legislation.
A Pass-Through Entity means a non-Federal entity (the State of Vermont) that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a Federal program.
Example: The State of Vermont (SOV) receives an annual allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The State then assigns the responsibility for administering and deploying this funding to the Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD); CDBG funds flow through the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP). This allocation comes from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- CDBG is "pass-through funding"
- SOV is the "prime recipient"
- DHCD is the "primary pass-through entity"
- A municipality that receives a CDBG award is the "subrecipient"
Grants.gov has a Grant Terminology page HERE.
The Agency of Administration's Bulletin 5 (found HERE) promulgates the policies and procedures governing the issuance and monitoring of grant awards issued by the State of Vermont. A list of terms and definitions is contained on pages 5-7. These terms may vary slightly from the federal grant terminology.
A Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is a unique number assigned to all entities (public and private companies, individuals, institutions, or organizations) who register to do business with the federal government. (U.S. General Services Administration). UEI numbers are obtained from www.sam.gov.
The transition from UEI (DUNS) to UEI (SAM) is a federal, government-wide initiative. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed federal agencies/systems to complete their transition to the UEI (SAM) no later than April 4, 2022.
Passed in August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), invests in climate and clean energy actions and job creation, extends the Affordable Care Act, and implements prescription drug reform. The Inflation Reduction Act is a 10-year plan. It includes grant investments and tax incentives that Vermont municipalities can use to further their clean energy and climate mitigation and resilience goals.
 Public Law 117-369 (136 Stat. 1818)
Need one-on-one help?
Grab 15 minutes with us for a "Consults on Call"* appointment! Whether your project is just in the idea phase, has started to gain momentum, has stalled completely or you just need help prioritizing projects before you get started, let us help you.
Our "Consults on Call" hours are Wednesdays, 1:00-2:00 pm and 7:00-8:00 pm. Simply click the blue "Book An Appointment" button, select the date and time that works best for you and complete the details. If you think you need more than 15 minutes, please email FFA@vlct.org to schedule a longer time slot.
*"Consults on Call" services are only available to VLCT's members and associate members. If you do not have an official role with a VLCT member organization (selectboard, city council, trustee, Town Manager or Administrator, town clerk, treasurer, planning commissioner, etc.) we will not be able to work with you - not because we don't want to but we have a small team and simply need to put our members first!