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Avenue NYC Grant Program

Grants to New York City Nonprofits for Commercial
Revitalization in Low and Moderate Income Areas

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

03/11/18 11:59 PM


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Grants to New York City nonprofit community-based organizations for the revitalization of commercial districts serving low and moderate-income communities. Applicants must complete an expression of interest prior to applying. Applicants will hire a program manager and enact a long-term commercial revitalization initiative.


The New York City Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) Avenue NYC program is a competitive grant program that funds and builds the capacity of community-based organizations across the five boroughs to execute commercial revitalization initiatives. Avenue NYC is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, which targets investments in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

In City Fiscal Year 2019 (CFY19), Avenue NYC will shift its focus from project-based awards to multi-year commitments aimed at building the capacity of partner organizations to better understand neighborhood needs, develop impactful programs, and sustain their work in the community for at least three years.

During the three-year grant term, grantees will be supported in hiring a dedicated, full-time Avenue NYC Program Manager, who will participate in a cohort-based learning and training program, conduct an in-depth district assessment, and execute commercial revitalization programming and services. The district assessment findings will inform the programming activities that the organization will implement during the remainder of the grant term. The goal of the new framework is to support partners’ capacity to develop more strategic, sustainable, needs-based programming and data-driven results for their commercial districts.

Income Eligibility Criteria:

Avenue NYC programming and services must demonstrate an Area Benefit to low- and moderate-income persons in accordance with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) national objectives. Avenue NYC grantees must target commercial districts serving residential areas designated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Designation prescribes that at least 51% of the residents in the census tracts surrounding the targeted commercial district (also known as the service area) must be low- and moderate-income persons living in households with incomes below 80% of the median household income ($63,350 for a 4-person household in 2010).

To determine eligibility, SBS, in collaboration with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), establishes neighborhood service areas using Federal census tract information and the trade areas of neighborhood retail businesses served by grantee organizations. Census information is used to determine the total number of residents who reside within a census tract and their incomes. Through New York City eligibility and to view the city’s CDBG-eligible census tracts, please visit the Department of City Planning (DCP).

Program Elements:

Program Manager Hiring and Employment:


The funding of a full-time, dedicated Avenue NYC Program Manager for the three years of the contract term is a central component of Avenue NYC’s development of sustainable programmatic capacity in partner organizations.

Grantees will receive resources and guidance throughout the hiring process. While grantee organizations will be responsible for the hiring of a full-time, salaried employee to fill the Avenue NYC Program Manager role, SBS will maintain an active oversight role, including but not limited to:
-Review of Program Manager job description and candidate qualifications
-Assistance in recruitment and referrals
-Guidance through the interviewing process

The Avenue NYC Program Manager is expected to begin work at the grantee organization by July 1st, 2018. Upon notification of award in Spring 2018, SBS will provide guidance and recruitment assistance to help grantees identify and screen potential candidates in advance of contract commencement. Timely hiring by the grantee is essential so that the Program Manager is on board in advance of the required cohort-based training (details below).

Employment Costs:

Grantees will be required to dedicate approximately $60,000 to $70,000 of their annual award towards personnel costs, including salary and fringe benefits for the Avenue NYC Program Manager, and necessary managerial supervision. The Avenue NYC Program Manager’s salary will be determined by the grantee organization in consultation with SBS during the hiring process and grant contracting.

The suggested gross personnel cost above is based on a SBS survey of competitive program manager salaries in the fields of economic development, urban planning, marketing, and community organizing.


Grantee organizations are expected to make every effort to retain the Avenue NYC Program Manager in employment throughout the three-year contract term, and will be required to fill the position in a timely manner and pursuant to SBS guidance in the event of the Program Manager’s resignation or early termination. Failure by the organization to fill the Program Manager position, causing interruption to planned programming, may result in early termination of grant funding.

In the event of internal candidates being considered for the Avenue NYC Program Manager role, employees of the grantee organization applying for the position must resign fully from their existing roles and responsibilities in order to accept the Avenue NYC Program Manager position.

Training and Cohort-Based Learning:

Orientation Training:

Near the beginning of the grant term, Avenue NYC Program Managers will participate in a mandatory one- to two-week training to learn essential information to begin performing community engagement and commercial revitalization services within their organizations. Program Managers will be introduced to fellow Avenue NYC Program Managers from the different organizations that make up the CFY19 Avenue NYC cohort.

Cohort-Based Learning:

Throughout the three-year term, the Avenue NYC Program Managers will convene regularly for cohort-based learning such as trainings, activities, workshops, and district tours. Avenue NYC Program Managers will cover subjects such as navigating government and city services, community engagement, data analysis, and advanced commercial revitalization strategies, while sharing their individual challenges, successes, and best practices with the cohort.

Participation in orientation training and cohort-based learning activities will be mandatory. In addition to the one- to two-week training, grantee organizations should prepare for Program Managers to be away from their districts 1-2 times per month. Furthermore, organization leaders and/or supervisors will be required to attend occasional trainings and/or events.

Comprehensive District Assessment:

In the first two quarters of the grant term, Avenue NYC Program Managers will be guided through a methodical and structured process of gathering and evaluating information to diagnose the economic health of their organization’s commercial district. The assessment is intended to help the grantee organization identify appropriate strategic programming and services that can improve the conditions of their commercial districts and ensure they effectively meet the needs of low- and moderate-income residents and businesses.

The assessment will be comprised of three parts: Partnerships, Corridor, and People. These parts correspond to the three lenses the assessment applies to uncover information about a commercial district: the stakeholders and institutions that make up the district’s organizational ecosystem; the physical contents of its corridors; and the people that rely on its services and contribute to its vitality. As a result, each part will involve a distinct data collection methodology.

Grantees will receive guidance and technical assistance from SBS throughout the assessment process, and will use their findings to inform their commercial revitalization project plans for the remainder of the three-year term.

Commercial Revitalization Programming and Services:

After completion of the comprehensive district assessment, grantee organizations will develop a project plan for executing commercial revitalization programming and services during the remainder of the grant term. Project plans will be strategic and demonstrate progression toward district goals over the three years. Deliverables will be realistic, well-planned, measureable, and directly informed by the needs identified in the district assessment findings.

Commercial revitalization programming and services may include:
-Merchant organizing and engagement
-Business support and retention
-Commercial vacancy reduction and retail mix enhancement
-Public space activation and management
-Storefront improvement program development
-Commercial district marketing and promotion
-Neighborhood beautification program development
-Business improvement district feasibility analysis
-Other CDBG-eligible services


Avenue NYC funding can be used to cover the following program expense categories, as approved by SBS prior to contract registration:
-Personnel Services (PS) – The salary, fringe expense and benefits associated with the full-time Avenue NYC Program Manager.
-Other Than Personnel Services (OTPS) – Indirect costs or ‘overhead’ associated with the Avenue NYC program. The proportion of these expenses charged to the program will be determined by a cost-allocation framework; examples include rental of office space, utilities, phone/internet, etc.
-Operating Expenses (OE) – Direct expenses associated with Avenue NYC programming and services. These can be charged in full to the program; examples include production of program marketing and communication/advertising expenses, program event expenses, program-specific space or equipment rental, and outside professional services (subcontractors).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 167488

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grantees will be awarded up to $100,000 per year over three years for a maximum possible award of $300,000.

Term of Contract:

The contract term will begin on July 1, 2018 (CFY19) and extend three years, ending on June 30, 2021. The terms of the agreement will be reevaluated at the conclusion of each fiscal year before being approved for the following year. The second and third years of funding (CFY20, CFY21) are contingent on grantee performance, an assessment of the grantee’s progress towards multi-year goals for the organization and district, and the ongoing availability of Avenue NYC funding.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:


Applicants must be:
-Nonprofit community-based organizations (BIDs, local development corporations, merchants associations, and other organizations) operating in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods within the five boroughs of New York City;
-Nonprofit organizations incorporated in New York State;
-Registered in the System for Award Management (SAM
-Compliant with annual State and Federal filing requirements, including New York State Charities Bureau filings.

Ineligible Activities:

All activities must be CDBG-eligible and are subject to approval by SBS. Direct expenses, including but not limited to, the following activities are not eligible:
-Installation of banners and/or holiday lights
-Graffiti removal
-Job training or workforce development initiatives
-Promotional activities designed to attract non-residents to district
-Fundraising events and/or sponsorship solicitation
-Lobbying activities
-Legal/Incorporation Fees

Pre-proposal Conference:

Organizations interested in applying are strongly encouraged to attend an information session:

-In-Person Info Session: Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at 9:00 AM
-Webinar Info Session: Thursday, March 1, 2018, at 10:00 AM

Pre-Application Information:

How to Apply:
Complete an expression of interest form to access the program application and instructions on how to apply.

Application documents are due by 11:59 PM, March 11, 2018.

Contact Information:

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

RSVP to the In-Person Info Session:

RSVP to the March 1 Webinar Info Session:

Complete an Expression of Interest Form here:

To learn more about federal CDBG If you have questions about your target area’s CDBG eligibility please email:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York