February 2024 Resources
Each month LOR sends a curated list of funding opportunities and other resources relevant for small rural communities in the Mountain West. To receive a link to our monthly resources guide, drop us a line to email@example.com.
The Snapdragon Book Foundation provides funding to improve school libraries with grants up to $10,000 to public, private, and experimental schools. Grants may be used for the following: to purchase books that will be used by school-aged children through classroom or central libraries; to cover process or catalog fees from book vendors for the books ordered in conjunction with a Snapdragon project; to purchase reference materials for use by students, and magazine or newspaper subscriptions.
Deadline: Feb. 11
The Teiger Foundation provides funding up to $150,000 in support of contemporary visual arts projects. This includes group exhibitions, single-artist surveys, participatory and community-engaged art projects, digital exhibitions, live and virtual performance in the context of the visual arts, and other projects. Grant categories include grants of up to $150,000 for single projects led by curators at organizations of all sizes; grants of up to $150,000 for three years of programming at organizations with annual budgets less than $3.5 million, including independent art spaces, contemporary art centers, nonprofit art institutions, galleries, and small contemporary art museums; grants of up to $75,000 for hosting exhibitions that originated elsewhere; and grants of up to $50,000 for curatorial research and development in the earliest stages of a project. 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to apply.
Deadline: Feb. 14
The National Science Foundation’s Computer Science for All program aims to increase access to computer science and computational thinking education in preK-12 schools by providing grants up to $750,000 per year. Funding provides institutes of higher education, schools, and other research institutions with resources to help high school teachers with the preparation, professional development, and ongoing support they need to teach rigorous computer science courses; provide pre-K-8 teachers with the instructional materials and preparation they need to integrate computer science and computation thinking into their teaching; and provide schools and districts with the resources.
Deadline: Feb. 14
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation offers funding up to $10,000 for Adult and Family Literacy grants and up to $3,000 for Summer Reading grants to nonprofits, schools, and libraries in communities with Dollar General stores. Programs eligible for funding include initiatives that help adults achieve their GEDs or high school equivalency, promote English language acquisition, support whole family literacy, or expand access to summer reading programs for children who struggle with literacy.
Deadline: Feb. 15
The Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSmart: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants program funds projects up to $5 million in the western United States that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase renewable energy production, and contribute to sustainability. States, tribes, irrigation districts, or water districts with water or power delivery authority, or nonprofit conservation organizations working with a local government may submit projects.
Deadline: Feb. 22
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Legal Services for Homeless Veterans and Veterans At-Risk for Homelessness program offers funding to support criminal defense, family law, income support, housing, and health care legal support to help veterans at risk of homelessness. Grants up to $300,000 will be awarded to public or nonprofit private entities with the capacity to effectively administer the grant and provide qualifying legal services to veterans experiencing or at risk for homelessness.
Deadline: Feb. 23
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Acres for America program is providing up to $3.7 million for land conservation projects to protect habitats for fish, wildlife, and plants through voluntary land acquisition and conservation easements. Program priorities include conserving critical habitats for birds, fish, plants, and wildlife; connecting existing protected lands to unify wild places and protect critical migration routes; providing access for people to enjoy the outdoors; and ensuring the future of local economies that depend on forestry, ranching, wildlife, and recreation. Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, tribal governments and organizations, and educational institutions.
Deadline: Feb. 29
The U.S. Forest Service and AmeriCorps will engage young adults this summer in wildland fire prevention, reforestation, and other natural and cultural resource management projects via a program called Forest Corps. Members will receive a compensation package equivalent to $15 an hour, including lodging, transportation, clothing, a living allowance, health benefit, and more. Interested individuals ages 18 to 26 may apply.
Deadlines: Team Leader, Feb. 29; Team Member, Mar. 31
March (and Beyond) Deadlines
The Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant Program provides $3,000 grants for edible gardens at K-12 schools in the U.S. and Canada. These grants are awarded to schools as well as nonprofit organizations that serve children in the K-12 age range. Programs must support at least 10 children and be growing edible foods.
Deadline: Mar. 1
The National Environmental Education Foundation’s Veterans and Nature Grant Program will award grants up to $10,000 to increase the engagement of veterans in accessing nature and outdoor activities at U.S. Forest Service sites and other public lands. Support will be provided to 501(c)(3) nonprofits that have a partnership with a public lands entity for projects including outdoor activities (e.g., hiking, biking, picnicking), wellness activities, educational components (e.g., community science, environmental service projects), adaptive programming, conservation efforts, and volunteer opportunities.
Deadline: Mar. 1
The Blooming Prairie Foundation promotes innovative ideas, practices, and procedures in the area of organic foods development, research, and education. Support is provided to nonprofit organizations in the United States conducting any of the following activities: development, research, and educational efforts in the organic industry and the cooperative community; the development of organic and natural products or services; and cooperative development in the natural products or organic industry.
Deadline: Mar. 1
The CTIA Wireless Foundation’s Catalyst Competition will provide up to six awardees with unrestricted grants up to $100,000 for their innovative social impact projects that use wireless technology to address pressing community challenges. The program supports nonprofit and for-profit emerging changemakers and social impact projects that will benefit greatly from infusions of capital in their early stages of development. This year, more than $200,000 will go to emerging social entrepreneurs developing mobile-first solutions to enhance our lives and address challenges in American communities. Previously funded projects include a platform for addressing teen mental health, a VR tour program for terminally ill veterans unable to visit memorials in their honor, and a program to stop digital hate by prompting teens to rethink their posts.
Deadline: Mar. 5
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program promotes secondary and postsecondary education in the food and agriculture sciences. The goal of the program is to help ensure the existence of a workforce that’s qualified to serve the food and agriculture sciences system and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the food and agriculture sciences. Schools, community and junior colleges, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations can apply for $50,000 to $150,000 for programming to support food and agriculture sciences career pathways.
Deadline: Mar. 8
The American Association of Retired Persons is offering three kinds of Community Challenge Grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Flagship Grants ranging from $500 to $50,000 (with an average of $11,000) will support the creation of vibrant public places, transportation, housing, inclusion, resilience, civic engagement, and financial health programming. Capacity-building Microgrants of $2,500 will support walkability or community garden projects. Demonstration Grants of $30,000 to $50,000 can be used for transportation systems improvements and $10,000 to $15,000 can be used to research and implement accessible dwelling unit policies. Eligible entities include nonprofits, governments, and certain fiscally sponsored organizations.
Deadline: Mar. 16
The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports training and professional development for library professionals and recruitment and retention of the next generation of library professionals. State or local governments, libraries, elementary or secondary schools, and colleges can apply for a total of $8 million in funding (awards range from $50,000 to $1 million) to implement programming to support library professionals.
Deadline: Mar. 20
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering $10.4 million in grants for up to 52 organizations (with a maximum award of $200,000) to recruit and train EMS personnel in rural areas with a particular focus on addressing substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring disorders (COD) substance use and mental disorders. Eligible applicants are rural emergency medical service agencies operated by a local or tribal government (fire-based and nonfire based) and rural nonprofit emergency medical service agencies. Recipients will be expected to train EMS personnel on SUD and COD, trauma-informed, recovery-based care for people with such disorders in emergency situations and, as appropriate, to maintain licenses and certifications relevant to serve in an EMS agency.
Deadline: Mar. 20
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding (up to $1 million) to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.
Deadline: Mar. 31
The Western Governors’ Foundation’s 2024 Celebrate the West regional art competition challenges high school students to create original works inspired by their state and makes monetary awards up to $1,500 for winning submissions Students are encouraged to think about what the West means to them, what it means to call the West home, what they learned about its complex past, and what they imagine its future may look like.
Deadline: Apr. 1
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for community-driven programs that will help create high-wage jobs and new businesses in underserved rural communities via the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) program. This initiative encourages regional, innovation-driven approaches to economic development by funding job accelerator partnerships in low-income and underserved rural communities. For fiscal year 2024, the program is making approximately $2 million available to partnerships of local governments, investors, industry, institutions of higher education, and other public and private entities in rural areas. The funding may be used to support innovation centers and job accelerator programs that improve the ability of distressed rural communities to create high-wage jobs, form new businesses, and identify and maximize local assets.
Deadline: Apr. 1
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for grants to help agricultural producers maximize the value of their products and venture into new and better markets under the Value-Added Producer Grants program. The grants help farmers and ranchers generate new products, create marketing opportunities, and increase their incomes through value-added activities. Eligible applicants include independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. USDA may award up to $75,000 for planning activities or up to $250,000 for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Planning activities may include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans. Working capital expenses may include costs associated with processing, marketing, advertising, inventory, and salaries.
Deadline: Apr. 11
The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation seeks to increase participation in and expand access to youth baseball and softball by providing grants up to $5,000. Funding can support capital projects, including field lighting, renovations, and construction; baseball and softball programs, including players’ and infrastructure equipment, uniforms, training of coaches, umpire fees, player registration fees, facility rental fees, and field maintenance; education initiatives, including programs, exhibits, and other learning opportunities.
Believe in Reading provides grants up to $10,000 to nonprofit organizations that teach, improve, or encourage reading by people of all ages. Grants can focus on adult literacy, English as a second language, Braille-related projects, or targeted programs for populations or geographies underserved by literacy programs. 501c3 nonprofits, public libraries, or other educational institutions are eligible to apply.
Colorado The Local Match Grant Program (LOMA) is available to local governments to support a nonfederal match requirement when applying directly to the federal government for an Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) program. The program was seeded with $10 million in state funding and encourages cities and counties, especially those in rural areas to take advantage and apply. The application portal is still open and will remain until all funds have been committed.
Colorado Capital grants are available to Colorado nonprofits from the Gates Family Foundation. The grants are open to 501(c)3s that provide services benefiting the state of Colorado and its citizens and have commitments for roughly 30 percent of the funds needed to complete the project already in place. Among the priorities for decision-making: projects that address root problems with substantive solutions; projects with strong evidence of support from the community and the organization’s board; projects in rural communities; projects in K-12 public education, natural resources, and community development; and projects that incorporate green building and sustainable development practices.
Deadline: Mar. 15
Colorado The Innovate Onwards Fund provides flexible working capital up to $500,000 to existing and new businesses across rural Colorado to build back our rural economies. The Innovate Onwards Fund is supported by ZOMA Foundation and the CLIMBER Fund. The Innovate Onwards Fund is designed to support our rural businesses as they enter the recovery and rebuild stage of the pandemic. This funding allows small, rural businesses to respond to evolving needs.
Idaho The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is awarding a total of $5,000,000 in Resilient Food System Infrastructure grants. Grants will fund projects that enhance markets for producers and improve transportation of Idaho food products to local or regional markets. Agricultural producers, processors, nonprofit organizations, for-profit entities, local government entities, tribal governments and educational institutions are eligible to apply for funding.
Deadline: Mar. 15
Montana The Montana Healthcare Foundation offers Montana-based nonprofits and state, local, and tribal governments a chance to apply for funding to design and pilot innovative Montana-grown solutions to critical health challenges. Grants between $10,000 and $50,000 for one-year (12-month) projects and up to $100,000 for two-year (24-month) projects can address:
- Planning: For projects in the planning phase, the organization provides grants of up to $50,000 to support strategic, business, and sustainability planning.
- Implementation: For projects that already have strong business and sustainability plans, the organization provides up to $100,000 for implementation.
Deadline: Mar. 15
New Mexico Capital construction and equipment grants up to $2,000,000 are being provided by the Mabee Foundation. The Mabee Foundation provides support to nonprofit organizations in a handful of states, including New Mexico, for new construction, building renovation projects, and the purchase of major medical equipment. Generally, the foundation supports educational, social and humanitarian services, medical and health, and cultural and religious organizations or projects. The foundation will provide up to 20 percent of the total costs of a project, up to a maximum of $2 million. Forty percent of the total project cost must be raised from other public donors at the time an application is submitted, and the remaining funds required to finish the project must be raised within one year of the awarding of the grant.
Deadline: Mar. 1
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published four free guides for older homeowners making decisions about their homes: “Leaving Your Home to Children or Heirs,” “Making Housing Decisions after Losing a Spouse or Partner,” “Making Housing Decisions when your Health Changes,” and “Using Home Equity to Meet Financial Needs.”
The Center for Rural Health (CRH), housed within the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, recently updated its Communication Toolkit to help Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, public health departments, and other healthcare organizations in navigating the realm of communications. The toolkit has sections on communicating with a target audience, working with the media, and how to successfully use tools, such as social media and website analytics, to share information with the public. The toolkit is free and open to the public.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations has created a guide, “Federal Energy Funding for Rural and Remote Areas: A Guide for Communities” for people who live or work in rural and remote areas and who are looking to plan or build clean energy projects in their communities. The guide can help stakeholders find, get ready for, and apply to federal funding and programs for clean energy.
Shared kitchens are a business development strategy that communities have adopted to enable diverse local food businesses to produce, store, and sell their products. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service partnered with Colorado State University and the Food Corridor to create fact sheets and case studies about the food business owners operating out of shared kitchens and the role of shared kitchens across the country.
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s Rural Economic Development Toolkit is a comprehensive guide for communities looking to strengthen their economies through outdoor recreation. At a time when the outdoor recreation economy at large surpassed $1 trillion in economic impact, and communities around the country are using outdoor recreation infrastructure and access for economic diversification, this resource is well-suited to meet the unprecedented demand for support.
Colorado A new online tool helps Coloradans quickly determine which public benefits they might be eligible to receive. MyFriendBen, created by philanthropy nonprofit Gary Community Ventures, works to increase access to basic necessities such as food and heat.
New Mexico The Grant Plant has just released a New Mexico Priority Grants Program interactive and searchable website with funding opportunities for New Mexico nonprofits and local governments. The Priority Grant Programs guide contains a selection of funding opportunities determined to be useful and actionable for New Mexico private and public non-profit entities. The LOR Foundation supported the creation of this tool in collaboration with Albuquerque Community Foundation / New Mexico Community Trust, Anchorum Health Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, LOR Foundation, McCune Charitable Foundation, New Mexico Foundation, Santa Fe Community Foundation, Thornburg Foundation, United Way of North Central NM, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.