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Community Economic Development (CED) Projects

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Economic Development
Benefitting Low-Income Communities

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Administration for Children and Families (ACF) - Office of Community Services (OCS)

Deadline Date:

06/15/18 4:30 PM ET Hard Copy Receipt; or 11:59 PM ET Electronic Receipt


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit community development corporations for economic development projects that will benefit low-income families and individuals. Applicants are advised to verify or create the required registrations well in advance of the deadline date. Projects will promote the creation of employment and business opportunities.

The CED program seeks to fund projects that address the personal and community barriers that must be overcome to help individuals with low incomes become self-sufficient. Funds can be used for costs associated with participating business start-up or expansion activities, as consistent with the cost principles found at 45 CFR Part 75, Subpart E, provided that the expenditures result in the creation of positions that can be filled with individuals with low incomes.

This is a standing announcement. It will be effective until canceled or changed by the Director of OCS.

Statutory Authority:

Section 680(a)(2) of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Act of 1981, as amended by the Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-285), authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants on a competitive basis to private, nonprofit organizations that are community development corporations to provide technical and financial assistance for economic development activities designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families by creating employment and business development opportunities.

Program Description:

The CED program provides funding for projects aimed at business development opportunities and creating employment for individuals with low incomes located in geographic areas with a demonstrated need for the proposed project. To accomplish this, the program requires that all businesses and positions created support a service area with unemployment and poverty rates that are at or above the state or national levels. The CED program also seeks to fund projects that address the personal and community barriers that must be overcome to help individuals with low incomes become self-sufficient.

Program Goals:

The CED program is built on the premise that nonprofit CDCs know their communities and are poised to efficiently and effectively create new community economic development projects in their communities. The objective of the program is to support businesses that develop new products, services, and commercial activities that result in new positions for individuals with low incomes. These positions should:

-Be ready to implement at the time of award;
-Lead to increased self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income;
-Create businesses and jobs in low-income communities that improve the livelihood of not only those who obtain those jobs but the community itself; and
-Attract additional public and private funds to increase investment and quality of life in low-income communities.

Program Elements:

CED-funded projects can be non-construction or construction projects that are ready to be implemented at the time of the grant award and completed during the assigned project period. The grant period for non-construction projects is 3 years; the grant period for construction projects is 5 years. It is expected that all projects are completed and CED funds expended within the 3 or 5 year grant period, whichever is applicable, and changes in direction in the final year of a project are discouraged.

The CED program permits facility construction as needed to support participating business creation, expansion, and/or job creation. However, it is important to note that short-term construction jobs associated with preparing for participating business startup or expansion are not counted when determining the number of jobs created under the CED program as they are designed to be temporary.

Successful business plans for CED projects must include a realistic project plan with the following key elements:

1. A timeline that clearly demonstrates that the proposed project will be completed and all CED funding expended within the proposed grant period;

2. A plan demonstrating that CED funds will be managed consistent with applicable federal regulations including 45 CFR parts 75.302, 75.318, and 75.322, whereas recipients must have control over and accountability for all funds, property, and other assets;

3. A proposal demonstrating how recipients will use the property for the originally-authorized purpose, and will not encumber the property without approval of the HHS awarding agency.

Financial documents must show that all necessary financing is in place and not contingent upon other financing sources, and that signed agreements are in place with the first identified borrower or investment and other project partner(s).

Additionally, CED projects are expected to demonstrate that the project budget includes all CED and non-CED funds needed to implement the project and result in the successful creation of jobs as outlined in the proposed application. When non-CED financing is required to fully implement the project, evidence must be provided that all capital requirements have been met through financing, cash resources, or in-kind contributions. Additionally, program income, as defined in the Definition of Terms in this section, may be used to demonstrate the long-term sustainability of the project.

However, since CED projects should be ready for implementation at the time of the award, future program income cannot be used to meet the non-CED funding needs for project implementation.

Applicants must agree to create at least a minimum number of jobs based on the following formula: [Total Amount of Federal CED Funds Awarded] divided by [$25,000 for construction projects or $20,000 for non-construction projects] = [Minimum Number of Jobs to be Created].

For example, if a grantee is awarded $800,000 in federal CED funds, it must use that money to conduct activities that will create at least 40 jobs ($800,000 ÷ $20,000 = 40). If the grantee is using a strategy that involves construction, the project must create at least 32 jobs ($800,000 ÷ $25,000 = 32). For a table with examples of the minimum number of jobs based on specific award amounts, see Appendix A: Sample Chart of Jobs Created at the end of this announcement. Note: An applicant's score will not increase by proposing jobs above the required minimum.

While the focus of the program is on the creation of jobs for individuals with low incomes as defined by the poverty guidelines published annually by HHS, ACF does not expect that 100 percent of the created jobs will necessarily be filled by individuals with low incomes. Often when a business is created or expanded, there is a need to hire high-level managers or other content experts with unique skills and/or experiences that may be more difficult to identify and recruit. For this reason, ACF only requires that a minimum of 75 percent of the newly created jobs be filled by individuals with low incomes. ACF also expects that these jobs will support individuals with low incomes in achieving self-sufficiency, through wages, benefits, and opportunities for career growth.

Eligible Activities:

CED funds may be used for the start-up or expansion activities of participating businesses, as consistent with the cost principles, as implemented in 45 CFR Part 75, Subpart E, provided that the expenditures result in the creation of positions that can be filled with individuals with low incomes. This includes start-up capital for operating expenses, such as salaries, facilities, and equipment that will be replaced by projected earnings.

Many projects use grant funds to provide loans to identified, viable participating businesses, and/or as an equity or stock investment. Regarding the equity/stock investment, grantees can convey grant funds to third parties to help finance participating businesses creating jobs for eligible program participants. In exchange for a percentage ownership (via stock purchase or equity) specified in a third-party agreement (contract), a participating business receives cash needed to buy, start, or expand a business, provided they agree to specified CED program terms and conditions, including reporting jobs and other benefits to grantees. If there is no third-party business and the grantee is the sole owner of the business creating jobs, funds are typically conveyed to the grantee’s for-profit subsidiary via a loan or purchase of 100 percent of the stock in the participating business. Grant funds can be used to support one or multiple project strategies. However, evidence that identifies the necessity is required for each strategy used. A summary of each of these strategies is provided in the Definition of Terms later on in this section.

Incubator development is allowable as long as the applicant demonstrates the incubator will support participating businesses that demonstrate the financial capacity to expand to create agreed upon jobs for individuals with low incomes within the proposed geographic location. For more information on an incubator, see the Definition of Terms found later in this section.

For FY 2018, Congress has directed ACF to prioritize applications from rural areas with high rates of poverty, unemployment, and substance abuse. Priority will be provided in the form of bonus points.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 151409

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 22

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Award Ceiling: $800,000 Per Project Period
-Award Floor: $100,000 Per Project Period
-Average Projected Award Amount: $781,818 Per Project Period

Term of Contract:

The anticipated project start date is September 29, 2018.

CED-funded projects can be non-construction or construction projects. Non-construction projects will have one 36-month project and budget period. Projects that involve construction will have one 60-month project and budget period.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the CED program, an applicant must meet three conditions:

1. Applicant must be a private, nonprofit CDC with 501(c)(3);

2. Applicant must have articles of incorporation or bylaws demonstrating that the CDC has as a principal purpose the planning, developing, or managing of low-income housing or community economic development activities; and

3. The Board of Directors must have representation from each of the following: community residents, business leaders, and civic leaders.

Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

CED grant funds may not be used for:
-Projects that include the reimbursement of pre-award costs.
-Projects that provide subawards/pass-throughs.
-Projects that use funding to capitalize loan loss reserve funds.
-Projects that use funding to provide loan(s) that have balloon payments that will be paid after the end of the project period.
-Projects that create or expand microenterprise business training and technical assistance centers.
-Projects that focus primarily on job training, job placement, and technical assistance. Limited job training and job placement activities can be supported in the context of modest training that may be provided specifically for the new positions created. For example, funds can be used to train a cashier for a specific position that has been created, but cannot be used to operate a general job training and placement program.
-Projects that do not create new jobs that did not exist prior to the proposed CED project.

Pre-Application Information:

All applicants must have a DUNS Number and an active registration with the System for Award Management. Obtaining a DUNS Number may take 1 to 2 days. All applicants are required to maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete. If a grant is awarded, registration at SAM must be active throughout the life of the award.

Plan ahead. Allow at least 10 business days after you submit your registration for it to become active in SAM and at least an additional 24 hours before that registration information is available in other government systems, i.e.

The deadline for electronic application submission is 11:59 PM ET on June 15, 2018. Electronic applications submitted to after 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, as indicated by a dated and time-stamped email from, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

The deadline for receipt of paper applications is 4:30 PM ET on June 15, 2018. Paper applications received after 4:30 PM ET on the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. Paper applications received from applicants that have not received approval of an exemption from required electronic submission will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Due Date for Applications:
-For FY 2018: 06/15/2018
-For FY 2019: 04/26/2019

For FY 2019, the FOA will be open for application submission at least 60 days prior to the listed due date.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Program Office Contact:

Gerald Shanklin
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
OCS Grants Operations Center
1401 Mercantile Lane, Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774
Phone: 855.792.6551

Office of Grants Management Contact:

Bridget Shea Westfall
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Grants Management
OCS Grants Operations Center
1401 Mercantile Lane, Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774
Phone: 855.792.6551

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