July 25 Deadline for Community Investment Fund Applications
Eligible municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and community development corporations face a July 25 deadline to apply for funding through the state’s Community Investment Fund.
Administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development, the five-year, $875 million program is designed to foster economic development in underserved communities across the state.
CIF director Matt Pugliese laid out three categories of eligible applicants during a June 16 webinar:
- Municipalities designated as alliance districts and/or public investment communities
- Community development corporations which operate within those municipalities
- Non-profits which operate within those municipalities
Joint applications are allowed, Pugliese said, but all applicants must be eligible.
Pugliese also said if a non-profit or community development corporation serves multiple communities, the CIF funding must serve the designated municipalities.
Pugliese then described what makes a project eligible for the $250,000 minimum in funding.
First, a project must promote economic or community development in the municipality.
Second, it must “further the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved and marginalized communities.”
Once those criteria are met, there are two main buckets of projects likely to be approved: capital improvements—which include brownfield remediation, affordable housing, and infrastructure improvements—and small business support programs, such as a revolving loan program or start-up funding to establish a small business.
Pugliese noted that though funds may be provided to establish a small business, small businesses themselves cannot be a direct applicant to the CIF.
“If you’re a small business in an eligible municipality, this is an opportunity to have conversations with non-profits or municipalities themselves about your ideas,” Pugliese said.
In order to have a project prioritized, Pugliese detailed four factors the CIF board will review:
- A project labor agreement or other employment proposal to employ ex-offenders or individuals with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities
- If the municipality has implemented local hiring preferences
- If the applicant has, or will, leverage municipal, private, philanthropic, or federal funds for the project
- If the proposal includes a letter of support from one or more members of the General Assembly in the district the project will be located
While not all of these factors must be met, Pugliese strongly recommends at least one be met.
The deadline to submit an application for this round of funding is July 25 at 11:59 pm.
By September 27, the CIF board will meet to review and recommend applications, at which point Gov. Ned Lamont will review and issue final recommendations for approved projects in early October.
The final step is for the State Bond Commission to issue final approvals to approved applicants within two months of the board and governor approving projects.
DECD deputy commissioner Alexandra Daum emphasized that although the first deadline is fast approaching, this is a multi-year program that will present more opportunities in the future.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” she said.
Before applying, Pugliese suggests potential applicants view the policy and guidelines document as well as the notice of funding availability.
The next step is to download the application preview to begin answering the questions before the portal opens for submission.
While there are no character or word limits, Pugliese warned against submitting too much or unnecessary information.
Pugliese closed by reiterating how important the projects can be to the community they serve.
“You want to go to the questions that are talking about the need in the community, the target population that is going to be served,” he said.
“We’re looking for big, transformational opportunities that have a big impact.
“Think bigger than just the new roof. What are the other things that need to happen under that roof that are going to change that community?”
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