Each year, the EPA provides grants to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, or pollutants. Funding amounts vary by type of grant:
- Cleanup Grants: up to $200,000 per proposal requiring a 20 percent cost share. New this year, multiple sites can be included in a single proposal. Each applicant may submit up to three cleanup proposals.
- Community Wide Assessment Grants: up to $300,000 for a combined Hazardous Substance and Petroleum grant, with no more than $200,000 in either category
- Site Specific Assessment Grants: May apply for a waiver of up to $350,000 per site; only one proposal may be submitted per applicant
- Assessment Coalition Grants: up to $600,000
- Revolving Loan Fund Grants: up to $1,000,000 requiring a 20 percent cost share
These grants are competitive. Only about one-third of applications are ultimately successful. Your first steps should be:
- Pass resolutions
- Register with grants.gov
- Do community outreach
- Contact supporters for commitment letters
Here are some tips for a successful grant application:
- Set your project apart. Remember that the reviewers won’t be familiar with your community, and that they will be reviewing many applications.
- Context. Talk about how the project will result in development that will meet a need in the community that has been identified in planning documents, and what other sources of funding will be brought to complete the project.
- Tell a Consistent Story. Ensure that the community problems you identify are addressed by the tasks you lay out in the budget, and are captured in the benefits section at the end.
- Build a realistic and detailed budget. The budget allows you to demonstrate that you have a cogent and organized project that makes sense. Specify which monies will be allocated to each task and provide a detailed cost breakdown per task. Tie the costs to the project’s goals, and ensure that the costs are consistent with the project’s narrative.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. While assessments and cleanups are what the grant money directly funds, the ultimate goal is a redeveloped site that brings value to the community. Make sure you are describing a tangible projected redevelopment that fills a need in the neighborhood, and use this projected development as the basis for your benefit estimates.
BRS, Inc. has an 84% award rate for EPA Brownfields Grant applications submitted; securing over $30 million in funding for our clients. Should you be interested in having BRS, Inc. assist you with preparing your grant proposals, please feel free to contact us.