Critical federal funds are coming to local communities through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

ARPA allocated $65 billion in direct relief allocated to all 19,000 cities, towns and villages. This comes in addition to offering cities billions of dollars in federal grants for local housing, health care, technology modernization, education, workforce, transportation and economic development needs. Even more funding is coming to communities through IIJA to support decades-long delayed infrastructure needs. These funds will be essential to help strengthen communities that faced heavy economic losses during the pandemic.

Applying for these competitive grants can be complex and challenging, particularly for small and medium-sized municipalities. To address these challenges, NLC launched a free grant navigation program to assist local government staff with collecting the necessary data and applying for federal grants.

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NLC’s Federal Grant Navigation Program will assist your city’s staff through four key steps needed to successfully secure federal grant funding:

  1. Conduct a Data-Driven Needs Assessment
    Using digital tools developed by NLC, the program will help your city measure which areas have the greatest needs, including nutrition, housing, and employment assistance.
  2. Match your Community’s Needs with Funding Streams
    The program will help your city identify which federal grants can best address the needs of your community, using the Social Progress Index framework focused on addressing basic human needs, foundations of community wellbeing, as well as economic opportunity and mobility.
  3. Apply for Federal Grants
    The program will pair your city with a local grant navigator highly experienced in municipal government to assist you with completing competitive grant applications to access federal funds.
  4. Collect the Necessary Information for Treasury Department Reporting
    Your local navigator will ensure you are collecting and keeping the relevant data needed to fulfill the Treasury Department’s reporting requirements once grant funding is awarded.

NLC’s Federal Grant Navigation program is free of charge, and your city will incur no costs for participating.

By participating in the program, your city will receive specialized, one-on-one assistance, in addition to contributing to a robust nationwide collection of data that will help inform policymakers on how to maximize the impact of federal dollars. In the long term, the data you help us collect will help us ensure that federal grant dollars for local governments are used in a fiscally responsible manner and provide the greatest value for residents going forward.

Additionally, your city will be organized into a cohort with other municipalities based on size, needs, and funding streams. The program will facilitate meetings with members of your cohort to share resources, strategies, and tactics for successfully securing federal grant awards. Cohort members also have access to a private communications platform to share additional information and resources.

Who Is Eligible?

Currently, the NLC Federal Grant Navigation Program is conducting a pilot with cities that meet the following criteria:

  • Cities that are in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri  and Wisconsin
  • Municipalities with populations near and above 6,000 residents

The program is open to both NLC members and non-members.

How Can I Sign Up?

To begin your participation in NLC’s Grant Navigation Program, please complete this form.

Federal Grant Navigation Program

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NLC is a strategic partner for local leaders and municipal staff, serving as a resource and advocate for communities large and small. Click the button to learn how NLC can help deliver for your city.