NEA Our Town Program, Deadline Jan. 13


Through Our Town, subject to the availability of funding, the National Endowment for the Arts will provide a limited number of grants, ranging from $25,000 to $200,000, for creative placemaking projects that contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to:

  •     Improve their quality of life.
  •     Encourage greater creative activity.
  •     Foster stronger community identity and a sense of place.
  •     Revitalize economic development.


A key to the success of creative placemaking is involving the arts in partnership with committed governmental and private sector leadership. All Our Town applications must reflect a partnership that will provide leadership for the project. These partnerships must involve two primary partners: a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, as defined by these guidelines. One of the two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. The highest ranking official of the local government is required to submit a formal endorsement letter designating the project as the only one being submitted for the local government. Additional partners are encouraged and may include an appropriate variety of entities such as state level government agencies, foundations, arts organizations and artists, nonprofit organizations, design professionals and design centers, educational institutions, real estate developers, business leaders, and community organizations, as well as public and governmental entities.

Our Town projects should represent the distinct character and quality of their communities and must reflect the following principles:

  •     A systemic approach to civic development and a persuasive vision for enhanced community livability.
  •     Clearly defined civic development goals and objectives that recognize and enhance the role that the arts and design play at the center of community life.
  •     An action plan aligned with the project vision and civic development goals.
  •     A funding plan that is appropriate, feasible, indicates strong and wide community support, and includes a well-conceived strategy for maintaining the work of the project.
  •     Artistic excellence of the design and/or arts organizations, designers, or artists involved with the project.

Projects may include arts engagement, cultural planning, and design activities such as:

  • Arts Engagement
  • Arts engagement projects support artistically excellent artistic production or practice as the focus of creative placemaking work.
  • Innovative programming that fosters interaction among community members, arts organizations, and artists, or activates existing cultural and community assets.
  • Festivals and performances in spaces not normally used for such purposes.
  • Public art that improves public spaces and strategically reflects or shapes the physical and social character of a community.

Cultural Planning

Cultural planning projects support the development of artistically excellent local support systems necessary for creative placemaking to succeed.

  •     Creative asset mapping.
  •     Cultural district planning.
  •     The development of master plans or community-wide strategies for public art.
  •     Support for creative entrepreneurship.
  •     Creative industry cluster/hub development.


Design projects that demonstrate artistic excellence while supporting the development of environments where creative placemaking takes place, or where the identity of place is created or reinforced.

  •     Design of rehearsal, studio, or live/work spaces for artists.
  •     Design of cultural spaces – new or adaptive reuse.
  •     Design of public spaces, e.g., parks, plazas, landscapes, neighborhoods, districts, infrastructure, bridges, and artist-produced elements of streetscapes. Community engagement activities including design charrettes, design competitions, and community design workshops.

When eligible, previous Our Town grantees and their communities may apply to Our Town for a distinctly different project, or a distinctly different phase of the project, from that which was funded.

We understand that creative placemaking projects are often multi-year, large-scale initiatives. Please specify in your application which phase or phases of your project are included in your request for NEA funding. All phases of a project — except for those for facilities noted below — are eligible for support. The NEA reserves the right to limit its support of a project to a particular phase(s) or cost(s). All costs included in your Project Budget must be expended during your period of support.

If relevant to your project, you will be required to provide information in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and/or the National Historic Preservation Act.

Contact us for more information!

NEA Our Town Program, Deadline Jan. 13

Solid Waste Program Grants, Deadline Jan. 31

The Solid Waste Management (SWM) Grant Program has been established to assist communities through free technical assistance and/or training provided by the grant recipients. Qualified organizations will receive SWM grant funds to reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources in rural areas, and improve planning and management of solid waste sites in rural areas.

Funds may be used to: Evaluate current landfill conditions to determine threats to water resources in rural areas; provide technical assistance and/or training to enhance operator skills in the maintenance and operation of active landfills in rural areas; provide technical assistance and/or training to help associations reduce the solid waste stream; and provide technical assistance and/or training for operators of landfills in rural areas which are closed or will be closed in the near future with the development/implementation of closure plans, future land use plans, safety and maintenance planning, and closure scheduling within permit requirements.

The application period has been extended to January 31, 2014 for FY14 only. Any applications received after October 1, 2013 will be accepted. The purpose of the modification is to give SWM applicants additional time to compensate for the federal government shutdown.

Budget: $3.4M; Expected number of awards: 30

An organization is eligible to receive a SWM grant if it: a. Is a private, non-profit organization that has tax-exempt status from the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS); b. Is a Public body; c. Is a federally acknowledged or State-recognized Native American tribe or group; d. Is an Academic institution; e. Is legally established and located within one of the following: � a state within the United States � the District of Columbia � the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico � a United States territory f. Has the legal capacity and authority to carry out the grant purpose; g. Has a proven record of successfully providing technical assistance and/or training to rural areas; h. Has capitalization acceptable to the Agency, and is composed of at least 51 percent of the outstanding interest or membership being citizens of the United States or individuals who reside in the United States after being legally admitted for permanent residence; i. Has no delinquent debt to the Federal Government or no outstanding judgments to repay a Federal debt; j. Demonstrates that it possesses the financial, technical, and managerial capability to comply with Federal and State laws and requirements. k. Contracts with a nonaffiliated organization for not more than 49 percent of the grant to provide the proposed assistance.

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Solid Waste Program Grants, Deadline Jan. 31

Tree Grants, Deadline Dec. 16

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the DTE Energy Foundation (DTE) today announced applications are available for the 2014 DTE Tree Planting grant program. This program is funded by the DTE Energy Foundation and administered by the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) program.

“Trees are a valuable part of a community’s infrastructure, appeal and personality. They also add a lot to our quality of life and the local and global environment,” said Kevin Sayers, DNR UCF program coordinator. “These grants will allow communities to plant trees and share with residents important messages about proper tree planting technique and avoiding utility conflicts.”

Eligible applicants include local units of government, nonprofit organizations, tribes and schools, which:

Eligible tree-planting projects must occur on public lands such as parks, street rights of way, arboretum areas and school grounds.

A total of $60,000 is available in matching grants of up to $3,000, each to be awarded on a competitive basis. All grants require a 1-to-1 match, which can be made up of cash contributions or in-kind services, but may not include federal funds.

Grant applications must be received by Dec. 16, 2013.

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Tree Grants, Deadline Dec. 16

Value Added Ag Grants, Deadline Jan. 10, 2014

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced a competitive grant program aimed at helping promote and enhance Michigan’s $91.4 billion food and agriculture industry.   The Value Added/Regional Food Systems Grant Program will accept proposals until 3 p.m. EST on January 10, 2014 and will award a total of $875,000 in grants.

MDARD will accept proposals intended to establish, retain, expand, attract and/or develop value added agricultural processing and/or develop regional food systems by enhancing or facilitating aggregation and distribution of Michigan grown agricultural products.

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Value Added Ag Grants, Deadline Jan. 10, 2014

County Fair Grants, Deadline Nov. 15

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced a competitive grant opportunity for Michigan’s county fairs to make building and other capital improvements to their fairground facilities.  Grant proposals must be received by MDARD no later than Friday, November 15, 2013.

The grants will range from $1,000 to $20,000 and will require a dollar-for-dollar cash match from the county fair.  This grant program provides additional access to funds for county fair officials to help make needed improvements to their fairground facilities; including but not limited to structural improvements or other renovations to buildings.

The submitted grants will go through a competitive grant process and be reviewed by an evaluation committee.

Eligible applicants include fairs that are incorporated under Act 80 of 1855 or county owned and operated fairs operating under Act 11 of 1929 and county fairs that have submitted all required year-end reports for the prior two years.

County Fair Grants, Deadline Nov. 15