Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
Grants to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia nonprofits, IHEs, government agencies, tribes, and development districts to strengthen communities across the Appalachian region. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant program officers prior to applying. This program supports workforce and economic revitalization projects in eligible communities.
The POWER Initiative is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production.
POWER supports efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re- employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries, and attracting new sources of investment.
This RFP is organized to provide a general overview of the POWER Initiative, as well as the specific requirements needed to complete a POWER FY18 grant application.
POWER Initiative Overview:
ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965 through the Appalachian Regional Development Act 40 U.S.C. § 14101-14704 (ARDA), ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is also provided through multi- county local development districts.
POWER is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production and the coal economy.2 POWER supports efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries, and attracting new sources of investment.
In order for coal-impacted communities to diversify their local and regional economies successfully, POWER prioritizes targeting federal resources to projects and activities that:
-Will produce multiple economic development outcomes, such as promoting regional economic growth and diversification, new job creation, and re- employment opportunities for displaced coal-economy workers;
-Are specifically identified under state, local and/or regional economic development plans; and
-Have been collaboratively designed by diverse state, local and regional stakeholders.
POWER seeks to align and leverage complementary federal, state and other economic development resources, targeting assistance through competitively awarded grants to partnerships anchored in coal-impacted communities. By aligning and leveraging multiple resources (federal, state, local, non-profit and private sector), POWER solicits and prioritizes the selection of projects that integrate multiple economic development systems and resources in support of implementing existing economic development strategic plans.
In addition to the requirements described in this RFP and online, all applications must also meet the general requirements for ARC funding and be consistent with ARC’s strategic plan, Investing in Appalachia's Future: ARC's Five-Year Strategic Plan for Capitalizing on Appalachia's Opportunities 2016-2020.
Background on ARC’s Strategic Investment Goals:
As described in ARC’s strategic plan, Investing in Appalachia's Future, the Commission has identified five investment goals to advance its vision and mission and to guide its work over the next five years. These goals reflect consensus among local, state, and federal partners on the most critical investment opportunities in Appalachia. While the investment goals are distinct, they are also interdependent, with progress on one goal often requiring investment in another. All applications must address one or more of these goals:
-Goal 1, Economic Opportunities: Invest in entrepreneurial and business development strategies that strengthen Appalachia’s economy.
-Goal 2, Ready Workforce: Improve the education, knowledge, skills, and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia.
-Goal 3, Critical Infrastructure: Invest in critical infrastructure—especially broadband; transportation, including the Appalachian Development Highway System; and water/wastewater systems.
-Goal 4, Natural and Cultural Assets: Strengthen Appalachia’s community and economic development potential by leveraging the Region’s natural and cultural heritage assets.
-Goal 5, Leadership and Community Capacity: Build the capacity and skills of current and next‐generation leaders and organizations to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development.
POWER Investment Priorities:
The POWER Investment Priorities build upon the ARC’s Strategic Investment Goals and are summarized and described in ARC Resolution 764. As adopted by ARC and its state partners, ARC Resolution 764 requires that the focus of ARC’s POWER Initiative for FY18 will remain on investments that are regional, strategic, and transformational and that maximize the economic revitalization of coal-impacted communities and regions. Investments shall continue to be focused, in general, on four areas:
-Building a Competitive Workforce
-Enhancing Access To and Use of Broadband Services
-Fostering Entrepreneurial Activities
-Developing Industry Clusters in Communities
Project ideas that do not fit the above list of POWER investment priorities will be considered for funding, but all applications will be scored on their ability to address one of these priority areas.
Below are some examples of project activities that target a POWER investment priority. Applications that address these activities should consider the following guidance:
Building a Competitive Workforce:
-Strengthening the healthcare sector, and working to improve health conditions that affect economic vitality. Projects should be designed to respond to recent data on regional health and economic conditions, by encouraging community collaboration, mobilizing investment targeted to healthcare enterprises, and supporting initiatives that address health in a community development context.
-Strategies to increase the number of adults with at least a high school diploma or equivalent. While ARC has made a substantial investment in workforce-development training programs, low educational attainment is still a barrier to those programs for working-age adults and the lack of a high school credential continues to be a barrier to participation in workforce development training. Proposed projects addressing GED attainment and other strategies that lead to the awarding of recognized high school equivalency credentials may be considered for POWER funding.
Enhancing Access to and use of Broadband Services:
-Broadband is a critical infrastructure component needed by all segments of the community: for business development, for educational purposes, for health care services and to help rural areas compete with more densely populated areas.
Fostering Entrepreneurial Activities:
-Impact investment funds. Impact investments are made with the intent of generating a measurable social or environmental return as well as a financial return. Proposed POWER projects that leverage private impact investment fund support are encouraged to apply for POWER funding.
Developing Industry Clusters in Communities:
-Supporting small manufacturing companies for product and market diversification and expansion. Project activities in this area should be designed to help communities cultivate an environment where new and existing manufacturers create well-paying jobs through increased private investment and acceleration of the resurgence of manufacturing. Examples include but are not limited to supply chain improvements, bringing connectivity and interoperability to the factory floor, export assistance, energy efficiency improvements, and improved access to capital for the Region’s small and mid-sized manufacturers.
POWER FY18 funding will continue to target coal-impacted communities. Proposed projects should demonstrate direct or indirect coal-impacts as a threshold criteria for POWER funding consideration. In addition, communities that can demonstrate that they did not receive POWER funds in FY16 and FY17 in proportion to the community’s coal-impacts as demonstrated in the data will be given a priority for funding.
Please note that current POWER grantees are eligible to apply for FY18 POWER funds. Applications should include an expansion of geography or increased scope of work with an existing concept or a proposal with a new concept. ARC POWER technical assistance grant recipients from FY16 and FY17 that have developed an implementation project may apply for FY18 POWER implementation funding.
POWER Technical Assistance Grants:
In addition to POWER implementation grants, funds are available in FY18 for technical assistance projects to assist communities and regions in developing plans and strategies for transforming their economic structures:
-Technical Assistance to Develop New Projects. FY18 POWER technical assistance grants are available to assist communities and regions in developing plans and strategies for transforming their local economies. Technical assistance grant applicants should not assume that FY18 POWER funding will be available for implementation of the plans and strategies developed through FY18 technical assistance grants. POWER technical assistance applicants should identify other potential sources of federal, state, local or private sector funding if a full FY18 POWER implementation grant application cannot be submitted on or before July 27, 2018.
-Technical Assistance Support for Current POWER Projects. FY18 technical assistance grants will be available to help currently funded POWER Projects develop strategies to assure success and sustainability beyond the current term of the ARC POWER grant.
Regional and Multi-State Focus on Jobs and Businesses:
Applications for POWER Initiative funding are strongly encouraged to have a regional and/or multistate focus supported by state and local planning, be large in scale and be targeted to economic restructuring. The applications should show evidence of collaboration and leverage. Proposed POWER Initiative projects should also be out-come driven and should contribute to the creation of jobs and businesses and should include one or more of the following as their primary outcomes:
-Jobs created: New, high-quality jobs that did not exist in the locale prior to the activity.
-Jobs obtained: Workers are assisted in securing employment in existing high- quality jobs; may involve training and other services.
-Businesses created: Any new business started in the locale, both those started by local entrepreneurs and start-ups and new facilities located in the community by existing businesses.
The primary objective of POWER FY18 grants is be to invest in economic and workforce development projects and activities that will produce one, or any combination, of the following outcomes:
-Economic Diversification – Diversify the commercial and industrial bases of local and regional economies;
-Job Creation – Create jobs in new and/or existing industries;
-Capital Investment – Attract new sources of job-creating investment (both public and private); and
-Workforce Development and Reemployment Opportunities – Provide a range of workforce services and skills training, including paid work-based learning opportunities, resulting in industry-recognized credentials for high-quality, in-demand jobs.
Applicants are encouraged to leverage a variety of program resources from multiple sources, both public and private, in order to enhance the ability of coal-impacted communities and regions to successfully address these POWER objectives.
POWER Funding Principles:
In order to maximize the impact of ARC investments on the economic transition in coal-impacted communities, ARC will give preference to proposals under this RFP that successfully address the following factors:
-Large-Scale Projects – To maximize impact and minimize administration costs, projects should be large in scope with budgets that, in many cases, are expected to range from $400,000 to $1.5 million. Applications for smaller or larger dollar requests will also be considered.
-Include Assessment and Planning – Communities receiving money for activities should have a well-articulated analysis of why and how the local and regional economy has been negatively impacted by the downturn in the coal industry and demonstrate how the proposed effort adds value to a larger, more long-term vision and action plan being implemented in the Region. The project idea should build upon existing regional priorities such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS).
-Targeted to Economic Restructuring – Applicants must have assessed their assets and opportunities and have formulated a plan that focuses on restructuring the economy (e.g. sector strategies, entrepreneurial development) and identifies both short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (3 years and beyond) anticipated outcomes.
-Collaborative – POWER 2018 funds are intended to help leverage program funds from multiple sources (both public and private). Project proposals should have multiple stakeholders engaged in project implementation from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, and from multiple disciplines; there should be evidence of strong input and engagement of the broader community in planning and project design.
-Evidence of Leverage – Investments should demonstrate community and regional commitment to the proposed project by combining ARC resources with other public, private, and philanthropic resources.
-Outcome-driven – Applicants should define specific output and outcome measures, demonstrate how the project is designed to achieve those outcomes, and commit to capturing and sharing those measures over the life of the investment. Given the urgency in addressing needs in coal-impacted communities and regions, anticipated outcomes for both the short- and long- term should be clearly articulated.
-Regional Focus – Targeted areas should be regional, defined minimally as multi-county, with potential investment amounts scaled upward as the size and complexity of the region increases to include multi-state areas.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply the POWER FY18 Priorities, Objectives and Funding Principles creatively and vigorously to their proposed projects.
GrantWatch ID#: 183102
On average, ARC expects to make individual grant awards ranging between $400,000 to $1.5 Million for each project.
Applications for smaller or larger dollar requests will be considered.
Applicants can determine the required time period necessary to meet the objectives of their projects. The period of performance for awards under POWER 2018 may be up to three years (36 months) if warranted by the size and scope of the project.
Eligible ARC applicants are:
-Local Development Districts;
-Indian Tribes or a consortium of Indian Tribes;
-States, counties, cities, or other political subdivision of a state, including a special purpose unit of a state or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions;
-Institutions of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education;
-Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations.
2018 Regional Workshops:
Join the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) at a free workshop to learn about available funding to help Appalachia's coal-impacted communities diversify and strengthen their local economies through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. Workshop attendees will learn about the objectives of the 2018 POWER Initiative, which organizations are eligible for funding, and how to develop a competitive funding proposal. The workshops will also provide information on the latest research about coal-impacted communities, case studies about successful POWER investments, and networking time for participants.
Workshops are open to community leaders, industry representatives, and economic development officials, as well as representatives of nonprofits, educational institutions, local governments, and other interested organizations. The workshops are free; registration is required. The workshop program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Upcoming workshops are scheduled as follows:
Greenville, South Carolina: Tuesday, February 20
The Westin Poinsett Greenville
Daniels, West Virginia: Wednesday, February 28
The Resort at Glade Springs
Hazard, Kentucky: Thursday, March 8
Hazard Community and Technical College
Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Wednesday, March 14
Bryant Conference Center—University of Alabama
More information about regional workshops may be found here:
2018 Webinar Series:
ARC is hosting free educational webinars in February and March 2018 in support of the 2018 POWER Initiative request for proposals. Please join a webinar to learn more about POWER.
Webinar dates and topics are below. All webinars will be recorded and made available for viewing online.
The webinars will be held on the Skype for Business platform. Participants can join in through Skype for Business to see and hear the webinars, or they can simply use the call-in option provided below to listen to the webinars. If your computer does not currently have Skype for Business, you will be prompted to download and install the free Skype Meetings web app when you click on the "Join the webinar" links below.
Upcoming webinars are scheduled as follows:
Thursday, February 22, 11:00 AM ET - Understanding Appalachia's Coal Industry Ecosystem
ARC recently published a new research series examining how Appalachia's coal industry ecosystem is being impacted by change in the coal industry. This webinar will cover key findings from the research and discuss how this new analysis may be helpful in understanding the economic landscape in Appalachia's coal-impacted communities. Featured speakers: Kostas Skordas, ARC Director of Planning and Research; and Dr. Julie Marshall, ARC Senior Economist
Thursday, March 1, 11:00 AM ET - Finding the Right Match to Meet the 2018 POWER RFP Match Requirements
Every funding proposal submitted to ARC, including those made through the POWER Initiative, requires a financial match. This webinar will discuss ARC's match requisites and how to meet them. Featured speakers: Molly Theobald, Director, ARC Division of Community Investment; and Nancy Eyl, ARC Assistant General Counsel
More information about webinars, including recordings of previous webinars, may be found here:
Under POWER 2018, applicants for an ARC grant must demonstrate a matching share from non-ARC sources that is identified and forthcoming to the project. Matching sources may be non-federal, other federal, or a combination of sources. The maximum share of ARC assistance is determined by the ARC classification of the county or counties served by the proposed activity. Applicants may request up to 80 percent of the total project cost when the county served by a project has been designated as economically “distressed” according to ARC’s FY18 classification.
The POWER FY18 grant competition will be structured in two cycles:
-Cycle 1 deadline: May 1, 2018
-Cycle 2 deadline: August 29, 2018
Up to 70% of available POWER FY18 funds will be awarded in Cycle 1. The remaining POWER FY18 funds will be awarded in Cycle 2.
Applications received in Cycle 1 will be reviewed and scored. Top-scoring projects will be selected for funding. Applications not selected for funding in Cycle 1 will be returned to the applicant, and can be revised and resubmitted for consideration in Cycle 2.
All applications submitted for Cycle 2 will be reviewed and scored, including new applications and any resubmitted applications from Cycle 1. Top-scoring projects will be selected for funding.
As total available POWER funding for FY18 is limited, interested applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a project proposal by the earlier deadline.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their state ARC program managers (https://www.arc.gov/about/StateProgramManagers.asp), their Local Development District (https://www.arc.gov/about/LocalDevelopmentDistricts.asp) and ARC program specialists for additional information about the POWER FY18 application submission requirements as well as for assistance in completing the applications.
Prior to submission of the application, applicants should contact the state alternate(s) of the state in which the project’s activities and impacts are located. A complete list may be viewed here:
The electronic POWER 2018 application will be available on March 1, 2018.
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Register for a Regional Workshop:
For questions about workshops, email:
To attend the February 22 webinar:
-Call-in number: +1-206-800-4962
-Conference ID 42723500
-Web Link: https://meet.lync.com/arc001/wwasserman/E6YZLXE8
To attend the March 1 webinar:
-Call-in number: +1-206-800-4962
-Conference ID 47631742
-Web Link: https://meet.lync.com/arc001/wwasserman/2GDI0PCY
Email ARC Program Specialists at:
To be eligible for ARC funding, applicants must propose to serve and benefit a portion of the Appalachian Region as defined by the ARDA of 1965, as amended.
A map and a description of the ARC Region can be found online at:
USA: Alabama; Georgia; Kentucky; Maryland; Mississippi; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Tennessee; Virginia; West Virginia