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Community Connect Grant Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies, and
Tribes to Expand Internet Services in Rural Areas

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Rural Development - Rural Utilities Service (RUS)

Conf. Date:

10/20/20

Deadline Date:

12/23/20 11:59 PM EST

Description:

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Grants to USA nonprofit and for-profit organizations, government agencies, and tribal entities to increase the availability of internet services in rural communities throughout the country. Applicants are advised that required registrations must be completed prior to applying. The purpose of this program is to promote the expansion of broadband service in regions where it is not yet economically viable for private sector providers to deliver service.

The Community Connect program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for people and businesses. The projects funded by these grants help rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet for jobs, education, healthcare, public safety, and community development.

Funding may be used as follows: 

  • The construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land or buildings used to deploy broadband service for: 
    • All residential and business customers located within the Proposed Funded Service Area
    • All participating essential community facilities (such as public schools, fire stations, public libraries, and public safety stations)
  • The cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the essential community facilities for 2 years
  • Up to 10 percent of the grant may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public

Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

  • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
  • Developing the Rural Economy
  • Harnessing Technological Innovation
  • Supporting a Rural Workforce
  • Improving Quality of Life

Eligible expenses can be found at https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CCFOAFY21.pdf#page=6.

For project requirements, see https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CCFOAFY21.pdf#page=7.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179033

Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 20

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Award Ceiling: $3,000,000
- Award Floor: $100,000

Eligibility:

  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Independent school districts
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Only entities legally organized as one of the following are eligible for Community Connect Grant Program financial assistance:
1. Incorporated organization.
2. Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b.
3. State government
4. Local unit of government.
5. Any other legal entity, including a cooperative, private corporation, or limited liability company organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.

Corporations that have been convicted of a Federal felony within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any corporation that has been assessed to have any unpaid federal tax liability, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed and is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible for financial assistance.

Grant funds may not be used to finance:
i. The duplication of lines, facilities, or systems providing Broadband Service.
ii. Operating expenses not specifically permitted in 7 CFR 1739.12.

Criteria for eligible areas can be found at https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CCFOAFY21.pdf#page=7.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Community Connect Webinars
- Tuesday, October 20, 2020
- 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Register:
https://globalmeetwebinar.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1381975&tp_key=e389c7f7bd

Pre-Application Information:

Electronic applications must be submitted no later than December 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET, to be eligible for funding under this grant opportunity. Incomplete applications are not eligible for funding under this grant opportunity. Applications will not be accepted via mail, fax, or electronic mail.

Applicants must have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and an active registration, with current information, in the System for Award Management (SAM) at https://www.sam.gov.

The Community Connect Portal requires all users to obtain Level II eAuthentication accounts and for applicant users to submit an Authorized Representative Request (ARR) and a resolution in order to access the portal to submit an application. These procedures may take several business days to complete; therefore, the applicant should complete the registration, credentialing, and authorization procedures before submitting an application.

For FY 2021, one proposal per applicant is eligible for approval.

Grant applicants must demonstrate matching contributions in cash of at least 15 percent of the requested grant amount. Matching contributions must be used solely for the project and must not include any financial assistance from federal sources unless there is a federal statutory exception specifically authorizing the federal financial assistance to be considered as such.

Prior to official submission of applications, applicants may request technical assistance or other application guidance from the Agency, as long as such requests are made prior to the closing of the application window.

View this opportunity on Grants.gov: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=329191
For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the Grants.gov page above.

Contact Information:

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

Apply online: https://rus-apply.rd.usda.gov/

For more information about the grant program, contact:

Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant Administrator
(202) 720-0800
community.connect@wdc.usda.gov

CFDA Number:

10.863

Funding or Pin Number:

RDRUS-CC-2021

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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