FY23 APPLICATION DUE DATE: November 22, 2022
Your application(s) MUST be successfully received by Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
PLEASE BE AWARE: grants.gov has scheduled server maintenance from November 19 - 21, 2022 and will be offline starting at 12:01am EDT on November 19 until 6:00am EDT on November 21. Therefore, EPA strongly encourages submitting your application BEFORE November 19, 2022.
The TAB EZ grant writing software tool is currently being updated to reflect the new proposal guidelines. When updates are complete, an email will be sent to TAB EZ users. Users currently writing in TAB EZ should export their drafts to a MSWord file as soon as possible, using the button at bottom of the proposal outline screen. Once updates are complete, users should enter (or copy/paste) content into a new TAB EZ template created for the FY23 competition. Be sure to check your content against the new FY23 grant application instructions.
*You will need a KSU TAB account to use TAB EZ. New users who have not previously set up an account can do so by clicking the "Get a free account" link in the upper righthand side of the www.ksutab.org webpage. (If you have questions, please contact Sheree Walsh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 785-200-7005.) Once you have an account, navigate to TAB EZ under “Online Tools” dropdown at top-of-page menu bar ( https://ksutab.org/tabez).
Free review! TAB can provide a free review of your draft EPA Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) proposals for those applying in EPA Regions 5, 6, 7 & 8. Please give us a one-week heads-up that you will be sending a draft to review. It generally takes us a few days to get the proposals back to you. Contact Maggie Belanger (email@example.com, 785-532-0782) to reserve your spot!
For other regions' TAB providers, contact:
EPA Region 1:The University of Connecticut
EPA Region 2: New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
EPA Region 3: The West Virginia University Research Corporation
EPA Region 4: The International City/County Management Association
EPA Regions 9 and 10: Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR)
- Read the entire Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Guidelines; keep these guidelines and the EPA Brownfields Guidelines FAQs next to you while writing the proposal. There are changes for FY23 RLF grant guidelines from FY21 and these can be found in the FY23 Summary of Changes to ARC Guidelines.
- What to include in your proposal: Refer to section IV.C Content and Form of Proposal Submission of the RLF Grant Guidelines for detailed instructions on what to include and the proper order.
- Do not leave anything blank – address all criteria. If a criteria does not apply, state that and explain why. Use the proposal checklist for RLF grants in Section IV.C. to ensure all that is requested is included in your proposal package.
- Keep in mind that the reviewer knows nothing about your area/community so write as such. Do not use technical/organizational lingo or acronyms.
- ALL PROPOSALS MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA GRANTS.GOV. For help with grants.gov, please go to:
- Grants.gov Application Submission Instructions
- EPA Tips for Submitting Brownfields Grant Competition Proposals Through Grants.gov
- FY23 RLF Grant Proposal Guidelines
- FY23 RLF Grant Proposal Checklist
- FY23 EPA Brownfields Guidelines FAQs
- FY23 Summary of Changes EPA Guidelines
- EPA Regional Brownfields Contacts
- EPA Brownfields Grants, CERCLA Liability, and All Appropriate Inquiries
- EPA Brownfields Programmatic Requirements
- EPA’s Policy for Competition of Assistance Agreements
EPA webpage links:
- EPA Brownfields
- EPA FY23 grant competition guidelines and resources to assist in developing your proposal
- Brownfields Program Policy Changes
EPA Brownfields & KSU TAB National Training Webinars:
EPA will host two Grant Guideline Outreach Webinars. These will have different content, so please check both to see which best fits your type of application. The recordings, a pdf copy of the presentation, and the Q&A transcript will be posted when available on OBLR's MARC Grant Application Resources webpage.
Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 2 PM ET. This webinar focused on the FY 2023 guidelines for entities applying for Multipurpose, Community-wide Assessment, Assessment Coalition, and Community-wide Assessment Grants for States and Tribes funding.
Presentation: 2023 Grant Guideline Outreach Webinar - Assessment & Multipurpose (pdf) (4.36 MB)
Recording: The webinar recording will be made available in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 2 PM ET. This webinar will focus on the FY 2023 guidelines for entities applying for RLF Grant funding. Click to join; registration is not required. https://usepa.zoomgov.com/j/1607942977
Or by telephone (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 or +1 669 216 1590 or +1 551 285 1373 or 833 568 8864 (Toll Free) or 833 435 1820 (Toll Free); Webinar ID: 160 794 2977
- Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 2 PM ET. This webinar focused on the FY 2023 guidelines for entities applying for Multipurpose, Community-wide Assessment, Assessment Coalition, and Community-wide Assessment Grants for States and Tribes funding.
National TAB Providers will host:
"2022 Enhance Your Chance: What You Need to Know to be Competitive in the FY23 EPA MARC Grant Competition."
Thursday, October 20, 2022 11:00 am PDT | 12:00 pm MDT | 1:00 pm CDT | 2:00 pm EDT, Duration: 90 minutes
Register at: https://www.ksutab.org/events/webinars/details?id=550.
NOTE: These Helpful Hints are under revision.
The following Helpful Hints are to assist applicants in applying for
FY23 EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants
Should any information provided here differ from the cleanup grant guidelines, the guidelines prevail.
Your responses to items in the threshold eligibility criteria are required and must be included as an attachment to the Narrative.
Remember: Failing Threshold means your application will NOT go to Ranking. Therefore, if you have a question about whether you meet one of the threshold criteria or not, please ask. EPA staff can respond to questions regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the application, and requests for clarification about this announcement.
(From RLF Grant Application Guidelines III.B.1 Applicant Eligibility):
The following information indicates which entities are eligible to apply for an RLF Grant.
You can also check with your EPA Regional Brownfield Contact listed in Section VII in the EPA assessment grant guidelines to discuss eligibility questions. The Regional Brownfield Contact is there to help you.
Please note entities with open RLF grants are not eligible to apply for a FY23 RLF grant.
General Purpose Unit of Local Government. (For purposes of the EPA Brownfields Grant Program, a “local government” is defined as stated under 2 CFR § 200.1. : Local government means a county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority (including any public and Indian housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937), school district, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under state law), any other regional or interstate government entity, or any agency or instrumentality of a local government.)
- Land Clearance Authority or other quasi-governmental entity that operates under the supervision and control of, or as an agent of, a General Purpose Unit of Local Government.
- Government Entity Created by State Legislature.
- Regional Council established under Federal, state or local law (e.g., councils of governments) to function as a single legal entity with authority to enter into binding agreements with the Federal Government.
- Redevelopment Agency that is chartered or otherwise sanctioned by a state.
- Indian Tribe other than in Alaska. (The exclusion of tribes from Alaska, with the exception of the Metlakatla Indian Community as noted below, from Brownfields grant eligibility is statutory at CERCLA §104(k)(1). Intertribal Consortia, comprised of eligible Indian Tribes, are eligible for funding in accordance with EPA’s policy for funding intertribal consortia published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2002 at 67 Fed. Req. 67181. This policy also may be obtained from your Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII of the RLF grant guidelines.
- Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Corporation, and Metlakatla Indian Community. (Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Alaska Native Village Corporations are defined in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U. S. C. 1601 and following. For more information, please refer to the FY23 FAQs).
- Nonprofit organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Limited liability corporation in which all managing members are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or limited liability corporations whose sole members are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
- Limited partnership in which all general partners are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or limited corporations whose sole members are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
- Qualified community development entity as defined in section 45D(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Note, individual entities, for-profit organizations, and nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to receive Brownfields Grants.
Remember: Eligible entities can apply for RLF funds to make loans to clean up public or privately owned properties of eligible borrowers BUT private property owners cannot apply directly for RLF grant funds.
- Applicants must provide a description of the boundaries of their RLF operation (e.g., the city limits of The City of ABC).
- RLF loans are not for everyone. In order to have a sufficient pool of likely loan borrowers it is recommended that you make your RLF boundaries as large as legally allowable. Even if you plan to target loans in one specific area, defining your boundaries as broadly as possible gives you more flexibility in operating your RLF program should circumstances change.
Applications are due no later than 11:59 pm ET on November 22, 2022.
Register in www.grants.gov and and make sure you have done everything needed, i.e., your organization has an active System for Award (SAM) account, www.sam.gov to submit an application at least a month before the applications are due to be submitted to EPA. The information in grants.gov and sam.gov must match exactly and be current.
Make sure you know who your organization’s Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) is, they have access to www.grants.gov, and their information is current. Plan to have your application package to the AOR with enough time to successfully submit the application package.
See the RLF Application Submission Checklist to make sure you have all required documentation/attachments to your application.
Do not attach extraneous materials, including photos, graphics and other attachments not listed as they will not be considered.
- You have 3 pages for your Narrative Information Sheet which should only contain the information listed in Section IV.D of the RLF Grant Guidelines. Do not summarize your program here or address any of the ranking criteria here as it will not be considered..
- The text entered into TAB EZ will appear when you export the Word document. Make sure this information includes a header and/or footer with your organization’s official letterhead.
- Be sure to answer each of the questions listed in Section IV,D.
- EPA may consider the 'Other Factors” when making final funding selection decisions (e. g. as a tie breaker for similarly ranked applicants). Therefore, its’ important to identify ALL the other factors that apply to your application.
- Include the Other Factors table in the body of the Narrative Information Sheet.
- Don’t forget to include the page number in your narrative that summarizes or demonstrates how this factor applies to your project.
- Please note: additional points are not awarded for meeting one or more of the other factors.
- If none of the other factors area applicable, include a statement that none apply..
- Attach a current letter from the State or Tribal environmental authority acknowledging that you plan to conduct RLF activities and plan to apply for FY23 federal grant funds.
- Do not submit a letter from previous years, even if your project goals did not change.
- Contact your State or Tribal environmental authority early – do not wait until the last minute to get this letter! *If applying for multiple types of grants, you need to obtain only one letter acknowledging the relevant grant activities. However, this letter MUST be attached to every single grant application.
- Write a statement that the letter is attached.
Note that applications submitted under this solicitation may be made public for a period of time after selected applications are announced. Do not include trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is confidential or privileged, or sensitive information. If applicable, clearly state which part of your application contains confidential, privileged or sensitive information.
Your responses to the ranking criteria are limited to 12 single-spaced pages. Any information provided beyond the 12 pages will not be considered. Use your space wisely. Spend some time thinking about the story you want to tell ensuring you respond to all of the ranking criteria. Be succinct, but make sure you include enough detail that the reviewer has a good understanding of your program and that you fully meet the criteria being evaluated.
- Select at least one target area. Although you can select as many target areas as you want, more than three areas is difficult to describe with enough detail required to be successful within the page limits.
- Clearly describe your target area(s). These areas can be described using census tract numbers, neighborhood or corridor name; however, to make sure that the reviewers have a clear idea where your target area is located, also provide a description based on physical surroundings. Examples include proximity to a known body of water, interstate(s), direction from downtown, or major industry (like a port).
- Describe the brownfields in the target area. Include all possible brownfields in this description, including properties like vacant lots, blighted or aging buildings, historic dry cleaners, historic gas stations, etc. Search your State or Tribal environmental databases for evidence of known releases or use PEER.
- Describe the relationship between the target area(s) and the health and well-being of people in the target area(s). Demonstrate the cumulative impact of brownfields on the surrounding community and how residents are overburdened when compared to the rest of the city/town, region, or larger geographic area. You really want to show that there are brownfield sites and they are significantly impacting your community or target area and the specific types of challenges/impacts they are causing to the community.
- Focus on the brownfields challenges for the impacted community (blighted properties, higher crime rate, job loss, etc.) and how this grant will help alleviate and address those challenges.
- This section serves as a foundation for additional information for Section IV.E.2 Community Need and Community Engagement where you can elaborate on claims made in this section. In this overview section, present key statistics (population loss over time, poverty, unemployment, job loss, environmental justice issues) that you can expand upon in the IV.E.2 Community Need subsections. See Statistics and Census Information and the weblinks found on pages 21-24 of the FY23 FAQs.
Describe the location of your brownfields within the target areas, i.e., are they in the center of town, outskirts, close to or in neighborhoods/schools, in a historic section, along a reinvestment corridor, or near other sensitive populations? Be sure your discussion includes the extent you plan to address these sites with the funding requested, i.e., will the funding be enough for one or more sites in the targeted areas Remember: Your grant will be reviewed by people not familiar with your area and the reviewer will not be familiar with your city or situation. A person from a different EPA region will review your application so as to prevent bias. This means someone from California could review a grant from Nebraska. *Do not assume the reviewer will know that shops, factories, etc. in your community closed and you lost sources of employment and your tax base. Discuss relevant facts but tell your story to help the reviewer understand why you really need this grant to make things better for the impacted community.
- Clearly identify priority sites (at least one or more), why they are a priority, what the current conditions and environmental issues are, past and current land uses, whether there any existing structures, any potentially related environmental issuesor other challenges.
- For example, is the site a priority because it represents a significant health hazard, the site has good redevelopment potential, or addresses some other community concern or reuse vision.
- How well you describe your sites, the number and extent of the problem, how clear it is why you have prioritized the sites or area you have, and whether it has existing structures can all help your application.
- Include mention if any priority sites are adjacent or near a body of water or federally designated floodplain, impacted by mine-scared lands or a recently closed/is closing coal-fired power plant and be sure to document in the Other Factors table (Section IV.D.7).
- Make sure you clearly describe the reuse strategy for the site or target area(s).
- If possible, try to give the reviewer a strong sense that reuse/redevelopment is likely to happen after the cleanup is completed.
- As you describe the project, make sure you indicate how the reuse strategy/plan aligns with the target area’s local government’s land use and revitalization plans.
- Describe how your reuse strategy meshes with your comprehensive or master plans. Mention the year those plans were established.
- Describe how the community has been involved with comprehensive or master plans, reuse strategy, vision, or other decision making efforts.
- The proposed cleanup and reuse of the site should align with challenges presented in Section IV.E.1.a.i Overview of Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Area.
- If possible, discuss how the reuse strategies align with environmental justice, climate action, and community resilience.
- This section should align with satisfying the need described in earlier sections.
- Describe how the reuse of the site/target area will stimulate economic development.
- As much as you are able, provide specific anticipated outcomes and economic improvements, such as X% increase in tax base, number of jobs this project may create, etc. If you cannot be specific, provide a realistic estimate based on reliable resources.
- Describe how your reuse strategy will benefit disadvantaged populations and the community at large (for example: provide affordable housing, access to food, health care, etc.) especially if it’s an area where brownfields have impacted the community.
- If your project could lead to any sustainable reuse of buildings or structures, mention this even if it is not the focus of the project.
- If your focus is on economic redevelopment, are you also helping to preserve greenfields? If so, mention it.
- If applicable, explain how the proposed project(s) will create/preserve or add to a park, greenway, undeveloped property, recreational property or other property used for non-profit purposes.
- As much as you can, provide specific anticipated greenspace generation, such as X acres of greenspace will be created in a low-income neighborhood, X number of pocket parks will be created in developed areas.
- If you create or preserve greenspace, identify specific regulations, programs or policies that will provide long-term management and preservation of greenspace. This may include land use restrictions, zoning, and maintenance. If you don’t have any regulations, programs or policies yet, discuss any efforts or plans to develop these.
- Can any of your effort be tied to anti-sprawl concepts? If so, describe/mention it here.
- Will the project provide space for not-for-profit, governmental or charitable organizations? If so, describe the amount and type of space provided.
- Include information about how redevelopment will facilitate renewable energy or energy efficiency improvement projects. For example, will renewable energy be used as part of the site reuse, will building codes require certain energy efficiency measures or standards, etc. in any new development.
- If your proposed project may potentially cause the displacement of residents and/or businesses, describe any strategies to minimize these effects, such as plans to develop affordable housing or additional commercial leasing close to or in the Target Area(s)
- Focus on funding resources that can be used to support the completion of assessment, remediation, and/or reuse at the priority sites.
- Discuss eligibility and plans for leveraging funds from other sources in order to show commitment to reuse the property once cleanup is accomplished.
- Indicate any monetary funding you have already leveraged from other sources which will assist with the cleanup and redevelopment/reuse.
- Information on non-monetary leveraging in the form of in-kind support will be reported under section IV.E.3.b Description of Tasks and Activities rather than in this section.
- If you haven’t already leveraged funding, demonstrate that you have the ability to leverage funds. If applicable, describe funds you already have committed as well as those you are pursuing. Describe possible local, state, federal or regional resources. The more variety, the better. Local commitments are especially important. Think about what your partners, if you have any, can contribute and discuss it here.
- Use positive and active verbs, such as “we are working on…”, “we will commit…”, “we have applied for…”
- All leveraged funding should be easily identifiable including the source of the funding, activity being funded, and amount. It is important to note leveraging resources that have been secured and those that are pending or being sought (e. g., applied for a grant.) Applications which demonstrate secured funding may be viewed more favorably.
- Make it clear how the leveraged funding/resources you have identified are relevant or link to this project. In other words, don’t just list random funding received/sought, but make sure the reviewer can clearly see how it links to the RLF grant.
- Examples of funding resources include other federal funding (e.g. HUD, EDA, USDA, etc.), State program (e.g. State Tax Credits), local funds (tax increment financing zones), philanthropic foundations, and traditional private financing.
- Don’t duplicate leveraged funds that are listed in IV. E. 3. b Description of Tasks and Activities.
- Include information about the reuse of existing infrastructure at the priority site(s) or target area(s). If the infrastructure in place can handle large capacity industrial or commercial facilities’ water, sewer, electricity, etc. needs state that so the reviewer knows the existing infrastructure can handle many development options.
- Infrastructure can mean more than just roads and utilities (sewer, water, electricity, broadband, etc.). It can also include other transportation (bus, train or air transportation), other energy and telecommunications and even housing and business services needed to support redevelopment. Be as inclusive as possible. Specifically list each utility.
- Describe the benefit of using existing infrastructure. Are there money and energy savings? Will the use of existing infrastructure avoid construction noise, dust and traffic issues that are common when building new infrastructure? If reusing existing infrastructure reduces the potential construction-related impact on adjacent residential areas, explain this benefit.
- If additional infrastructure is needed discuss what is needed and how funding for it will be sought or provided. Basically, you need to explain how it will be covered and why it won’t hinder site reuse efforts.
- Again, if your project can/will lead to any sustainable reuse of buildings or structures, mention this even if it is not the focus of the project.
- If applicable, describe the environmental benefits of infrastructure upgrades, like replacement of lead pipes or updated septic or sewer systems.
- This section should fit together with the descriptions you wrote in Section IV.E.1.a.i Overview of the Brownfield Challenges and Description of Target Area.
- In order to receive maximum points, the community(ies) should either have a small population and/or are low-income.
- For smaller communities use any and all available information to provide a picture of the impact brownfields have on your community and why you do not have the resources to address these sites affecting your community, especially sensitive populations. Note that the information you provide needs to tie back to the information you provided in the description of your target area. It may even be the basis for how you prioritized your site(s) or determined your target area.
- Describe how economic conditions limit funding available for addressing cleanup and subsequent redevelopment of your target area brownfields sites. Include the targeted community as well as the community as a whole to describe the economic impacts of your brownfields. Include why your community has the inability to draw on other resources because it either has a small population or low income. Use statistics to support your statements about small population, low income or other relevant demographics that show need. (Note: if the inability to draw on initial courses of funding is not due to the small population and/or low income of the community then your response may only earn up to two points.
- Consider reviewing sales tax data or assessed valuations of property to identify downward trends that demonstrate that brownfields have been a partial cause of financial impact to the target area and made other funding from taxes unavailable.
- If applying for an RLF coalition grant, make sure it is clear how the RLF funding will help coalition members that would not otherwise have access to these funding resources.
- Include demographic statistics (percentage of women of child-bearing age, seniors, children, low income population, infant disease/mortality rates) here to support your statements about how the grant will reduce threats to sensitive populations in the target area.
- Include data from EPA's EJSCREEN Tool or other EJ-focused tools, including the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), on sensitive populations and environmental justice.
- See Statistics, Demographic and Census Data Information and the weblinks found on pages 21-24 of the FY23 FAQs for helpful weblinks that provide statistics, demographics and Census information to help you.
- Contact your State environmental agency and your local health department to see if they have any statistics available that might help you.
- Include health effects in the community that are possibly caused by contaminants present at the brownfield sites in the target area. The more you can make a direct linkage to the brownfield sites present, the better. For example, are the brownfield sites near neighborhoods with sensitive populations where exposure to contamination can potentially occur.
- Describe the threats to the health and welfare of sensitive populations.Discuss the proximity of residential areas, hospitals, schools, daycare facilities or elder care and assisted living facilities to brownfield sites or potential sources of contamination.
- Include the targeted community as well as the community as a whole to describe the impacts of your brownfields.
- Make sure you include information about how cleaning up and reusing these sites will reduce the threats to these sensitive populations.
- RLF Coalition applicants: make sure it is clear how the RLF will help coalition members that would not otherwise have access to these resources, and thereby, reduce the threats to their sensitive populations as well.
- For smaller communities use any and all available information to provide a picture of the health impact brownfields have on your community and the sensitive populations within the community.
- Consider climate vulnerability as a threat to sensitive populations with tools like: Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) or Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).
- Describe how you have and/or will prioritize RLF cleanups of brownfields that contribute to impacts on residents who are already experiencing cumulative public health threats or where there is greater than normal incidence of disease or adverse health conditions. For example, if a community is potentially impacted by proximity to a power plant or heavily used highway, as well as proximity to brownfields, explain this situation and the urgency for alleviating impacts from the brownfield(s) sites. Make sure you indicate that this grant will allow you to cleanup and address those issues for those residents impacted.
- Work with the local or state health department to gather data on incidence of disease and adverse health conditions for your target area(s). Use numbers or percentages to demonstrate negative health impacts in your target area(s) in order to make your case.
- To the degree you can, make a clear connection or linkage with those experiencing greater than normal health impact such as cancer, asthma or birth defects with the brownfield sites in your target area(s).
- Note: projects that address greater-than-normal incidence of cancer, asthma, or birth defects will be evaluated more favorably. If the populations in the target area(s) do not suffer from a greater-than-normal incidence of diseases or conditions (including cancer, asthma, or birth defects) then the response may only earn up to two points. If the populations in the target area(s) do not suffer from a greater-than-normal incidence of diseases or conditions (including cancer, asthma, or birth defects) then the response may only earn up to two points.
- Describe how the project and reuse strategy may help improve health of the target population.
- Explain how the grant funding will address environmental justice issues in your target area(s). Will your reuse strategy address high unemployment, low median incomes, affordable housing needs, etc. in your target area(s) where the community experiences a disproportional share of negative environmental consequences from brownfields or other causes, such as hazardous waste site, landfills, illegal dumping, etc.?
- Indicate how the grant funding will help by removing a source of pollution and blight from further impacting this population while adding jobs and contributing toward economic growth while reducing health threats. Make sure the outcomes and benefits stated here are consistent with those identified in Section 1.b.ii (Outcomes and Benefits of Reuse Strategy).
- See Section I.E. of the RLF grant guidelines for more information on supporting environmental Justice and equitable development approaches.
- Letters of Commitment from your partners are no longer required.
- Listed partners should be local organizations, groups or entities that are relevant and have a key interest, commitment and role in the proposed RLF project. For example, if your projected reuse is on housing then you should have a partner with relevant expertise in housing.
- Include a diverse list of partners covering multiple aspects of your project. For example, there may be state organizations, governmental departments, health departments, local organizations and businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups, etc.
- Use the sample format provided in the guidelines. This clearly and concisely provides the information requested by EPA and will facilitate those reviewing your application.
- Make sure your partners had a chance to review and provide input on your application! EPA may sporadically check up on listed partners to make sure they are fully aware and knowledgeable of their role in the project.
- Make sure each partners’ role in the program is clear.
- For RLF coalitions, make sure you include each coalition member and their communities and how they will be involved in the RLF.
- Include diverse partners that can provide different expertise or assistance to your program, e.g. do not just name all developer organizations or economic development organizations.
- Plan to have a clear, complete and robust community engagement program. This is an important aspect of your application as community involvement represents a core value for EPA.
- Some examples of involving the affected/target community include holding public meetings where the progress/result of the RLF project is explained, engage the community up front in site selection/prioritization and with re-use planning for the sites and target area(s).
- Public meetings, web sites, social media, newspaper and newsletters are mechanisms you can use to provide updates to the community and ask for feedback/comments.
- Be sure to mention if you already have a process in place which you have successfully used in your community and plan to continue using it. Briefly explain why this process works for your community i. e. , most of your community members work during the day so you schedule your meeting in the evening when more are available to attend, you offer childcare to encourage parents to attend, etc.
- Be sure to indicate what alternative methods of getting community input you plan to employ given the event of social distancing or other restrictions as a result of COVID-19. Possibly offering more online or electronic mechanisms for meetings and feedback.
- Address any language barriers that may exist within your targeted community, i. e. provide translation services (meeting invitations, meetings, documents) as needed. If all of your community speaks English, then be sure to mention this, so the reviewer doesn’t think you have missed this aspect.
- Address the needs of sensitive populations – for example, provide ADA accessible meeting space if your targeted community consists of a high percentage of seniors.
- It is important here to discuss how you will seek comments from the community, how they will be considered/evaluated and how those comments will be addressed and responded to in a meaningful way, so the community knows what happened regarding their comments.
- For more information on community involvement activities see the Community Engagement Outline from the 2021 Brownfield Redevelopment Process Interactive Webinar Series: Module 5 Community Involvement and Brownfields.
- Discuss how your RLF program will operate. Be sure to include basic information such as who will fill major roles (RLF Manager, Qualified Environmental Professional, etc.) and what contingencies you have in place should one of your key players leave.
- What are your initial plans for loan/subgrants such as interest rates, loan terms and other financial underwriting conditions? While you’ll want to remain flexible, you’ll want the reviewer to get a sense for how the RLF will likely operate.
- What criteria will you use to select borrowers/grantees? For coalition RLFs: how will coalition partners be involved in the selection process?
- Discuss your lending practices (i.e., loan processing, documentation and approval, servicing, administrative procedures, and collection and recovery actions) and underwriting principles (i.e., establishing interest rates, repayment terms, fee structures, and collateral requirements) and how you will ensure and obtain proof of adequate financial security from borrowers.
- Remember that RLF loans are typically made to borrowers at sites where traditional loans are not available, so the RLF loans should be structured with flexible loan terms which are more likely to meet the needs of the typical brownfield borrower. Whenever possible, consider including an RLF loan or subgrants within a redevelopment financing package.
- As site cleanup financing is often a challenge, structuring a brownfields cleanup RLF loan within part of a larger financing package can make the deal more attractive.
- Discuss the prudent lending practices you intend to incorporate into your RLF to ensure it revolves. For example, discuss your plan for loans vs. subgrants, repayment terms, and other strategies to ensure the fund remains whole and available to make future loans.
- Discuss your RLF Program in the long term and how you plan to make sure it continues to revolve using program income well after the cooperative agreement has been closed out.
- Discuss how you will identify potential borrowers and subgrantees. For marketing purposes, it is important to understand which entities will be most interested in receiving an RLF loan or subgrants and/or will be the best candidates for the RLF program. Potential borrowers include expanding businesses, local developers, national developers, nonprofit organizations, and public and quasi-public entities. Potential subgrantees can be nonprofit organizations; Indian tribes, or eligible government entities.
- Discuss how you plan to market the program. Marketing outreach can include print-based promotion—such as brochures, newsletters, advertisements and web pages—or people-based approaches—such as public meetings and invited stakeholder seminars, conferences, and direct telephone calls. Once interest is generated, one-on-one meetings allow potential borrowers and subgrantees to ask questions specific to their projects.
The following helpful hints apply to subsections b.i., b.ii., b.iii and b.iv.
- Provide a detailed list of each task/activity required to implement your project. Utilize clear and precise task descriptions. Explain what personnel will be doing and who will be filling each role including who will be leading/overseeing each activity and who will be performing the task (i.e., applicant, qualified environmental professional, other). Make sure these entities are appropriate for the roles they will be performing.
- Make sure the applicant is directing grant activities and that the local health agency is involved in health monitoring activities (if applicable).
- Your task/activities should represent a sound and efficient plan for performing the overall project.
- If you anticipate hiring a contractor, explain what project activities the contractor will perform. Keep in mind that applicants will need to comply with procurement procedures in 2 CFR §200.318 for any contractors hired to support the grant.
- Don’t use acronyms like "ESA" or other acronyms specific to your organization, spell them out.
- Make sure each of the activities listed are necessary, relevant and appropriate for completing the project in the 5-year period of the grant.
- Make sure you explain any activities that will occur beyond the priority sites or outside your target area, the timing for these, and why they need to occur in order to have a successful project.
- If a key activity associated with your project is not going to be included in your budget, explain why. For example, if another part of your organization or project partners will be taking care of community involvement activities as an in-kind contribution and is not charging this to the grant, note that. Otherwise, reviewers may wonder how key activities will get accomplished and think you have failed to include key information.
- Along these lines, make sure you discuss the extent that other resources such as in-kind assistance will bridge the gap between the EPA grant funds and the funds necessary to bring the project to successful completion.
- While you should be thorough in describing necessary tasks/activities and in-kind services, do not duplicate sources listed in the Leveraging section of the application. Make sure the information is included once in the appropriate section.
- Include a timeline/schedule of milestones demonstrating how you will complete the proposed activities within 5 years. Make sure the milestones are aggressive, but at the same time achievable. Be mindful of any terms and conditions that may be applicable upon grant award (e.g. a certain percentage of grant funding that will need to be drawn down, key activities conducted, etc. within so many months of grant award) and make sure your schedule takes sufficient progress into consideration).
- Make sure to include all key activities in your schedule such as procuring a Fund Manager and Qualified Environmental Professional, marketing the RLF, community engagement, managing the RLF and loan servicing, etc.
- List and briefly describe outputs. Outputs are work products that are measurable and will be done on a set schedule or by a set date. For example, an output could be “issue 3 loans” or “award 2 subgrants.”
- Make sure outputs correlate with the proposed project and are likely to be achieved in the 5-year grant period.
- Research the Brownfields Program to identify the deliverables that will be required. Examples of deliverables could include:
- Generic and site-specific quality assurance plans, as required by the EPA Region
- Quarterly progress reports
- Loan/subgrant documents (at least initially)
- Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCAs)
- Administrative Records
- Use the sample table in the guidelines to present your budget. It will clearly and concisely present your budget in a way that will facilitate review by the EPA reviewer.
- Do not change the Budget Categories down the left-hand side of the table. These are the standard federal grant budget categories. If a budget category is not relevant, then leave it blank, but do not delete.
- Feel free to add additional tasks in the budget table if more than 4 tasks are needed. Typical task categories may include Program/Project Management; Marketing the RLF; Loan Servicing; Cleanup Oversight; and Community Engagement, etc.
- Link the budget amounts to specific tasks/activities that you described in Section IV.E.3.b. If you said you were going to procure a contractor to serve as the QEP, then make sure the budget table includes those costs.
- Include the basis for each of your estimated costs. Make sure your basis for each cost is straightforward and easy to follow.
- Explain and justify any equipment and/or supply budget items.
- Capital equipment over $5,000 is considered “equipment” and will require working with your EPA Project Officer for approval. It is highly unlikely that you would need to purchase equipment for an RLF grant. Equipment less than $5,000 is categorized as “supplies.”
- DO NOT include leveraged funding in the budget table.
- Check your MATH! Your budget better add up correctly otherwise it will reflect poorly on your application and your ability to get the project done.
- Double check that your proposed budget only includes eligible costs.
- DO not request more than 5% of the budget in Administrative Costs.
- FY23 FAQs include examples of eligible and ineligible uses of funds. For questions not covered by the FY23 FAQs, contact your Regional Brownfields Contact listed in Section VII.
- Be realistic! Do not request unrealistic amounts of money for a task. The reviewer wants to see that you plan to use the funding prudently and efficiently. At the same time, include what you actually think it will cost based on past RLF work in your area. For example, if you live in an area where costs generally run high, explain this and the reason why in your basis of cost statement.
- Note: Travel to the EPA National Brownfields Conference, regional brownfields conferences and other related educational meetings/conferences are legitimate budget items under "Travel". Grantees are expected to attend the National Brownfields Conference.
- Clearly outline how you plan to track, measure and evaluate your progress in achieving project outputs, results and outcomes in a timely and efficient manner.
- Tracking progress may include quarterly reports to EPA, project meetings, entries into ACRES, etc. You may use the KSU TAB Brownfields Inventory Tool (BIT) (see also BIT Instructions and Helpful Hints) to track your brownfields projects and report to ACRES. Note: You must be logged into your free ksutab.org account to access BiT or TAB EZ.
- Clearly show how you are doing the work and accomplishing things in a timely and efficient manner.
- Outcomes are not outputs. Outcomes include the number of jobs created and funding leveraged through the economic reuse of sites; the number of acres made ready for reuse; acres of greenspace created for communities; and the minimized exposure to hazardous substances and petroleum contamination.
- Describe stability of the organization, city/town, or department. Give the reviewer confidence that the organization or coalition can manage this grant by describing other federally funded programs, experience with similar programs, number of employees, etc.
- Detail your organization's structure and capability to manage this grant by highlighting your organizational structure for managing key areas (technical, administrative and financial) and past grants/projects your organization has successfully completed.
- Make sure you communicate how the level of expertise/qualifications/experience of your key staff will result in timely and successful expenditure of funds as you complete all technical, administrative and financial requirements of the grant.
- For RLF Coalition grants, make sure you also include information on the governance/decision-making structure of coalition partners to document meaningful involvement of all in determining how grant funds will benefit each member’s community.
- Include information highlighting staff availability, roles, expertise, qualifications and experience. Include who is going to be assigned to which key roles and the specific expertise /qualifications/experience of the staff assigned. Include their education, years of experience, or other similar projects they have worked on and managed. Make sure to indicate how this level of expertise/qualification/experience will lead to efficient and successful administration of the grant.
- Discuss contingency plans in case key staff quits or gets sick. Do you have an immediate replacement? If so, who?
- If possible, present personnel with specific skills relevant to managing an RLF, including technical oversight, grant administration/reporting, and finance.
- Include information about your organizations’ experience or systems in putting in place subrecipient agreements and/or contracts that you may need to implement the grant.
- Present a plan for acquiring any additional resources (subrecipients and contractors) that you know you will need for successful completion of the proposed project.
- If contractors are needed, state that you will follow required competitive Procurement Standards in 2 CFR 200.317-326 when hiring contractors.
Respond to the subsection that applies to your organization.
- State clearly that you did receive in the past or currently have an EPA brownfields grant. State the grant type, year received, amount, etc.
Describe progress toward achieving the expected outputs and outcomes. Make sure these accomplishments are reflected in ACRES. EPA is likely to check.
. Update ACRES early in the grant writing process!
- Clearly indicate your compliance with the workplan, schedule and terms and conditions of those grants.
- Indicate your history of timely reporting both in ACRES and submitting quarterly reports.
- If you have remaining funds on any of these grants, then explain why and how those funds are either already committed to ongoing eligible activities or will be expended by the end of the grant. If the grant is closed and there were remaining funds, then provide a reasonable explanation for why that happened.
- Make sure you explain any anomalies related to past/current brownfield grants.
IV.E.4.b.ii Has Not Received an EPA Brownfields Grant but has Received Other Federal or Non-Federal Assistance Agreements (15 points)
- Identify other federal or non-federal assistance agreements (not contracts) you received which are similar in scope and relevance. Do not include federal or non-federal assistance agreements where you were a subawardee or partner. You must have been the recipient of the assistance agreement.
- Describe your history of managing federal and/or non-federal funds and accomplishments of those grants.
- Think creatively. EPA wants to have confidence your organization knows how to manage grant dollars and meet project outcomes. Try avoid falling into IV.E.4.b.iii. which results in a neutral score.
- Include compliance with the workplan, schedule, terms and conditions, submitting progress reports and progress in meeting the expected results in a timely manner.
- If you have not had an EPA, other federal or non-federal assistance agreement then you’ll need to select this option. Do not leave this section blank or you likely receive zero points for this criterion!