Community Services Block Grant Discretionary Awards


To support program activities to alleviate the causes of poverty in distressed communities which: (1) assist businesses in creating jobs for low-income individuals, i.e., develop employment and business development opportunities for low-income individuals; (2) create a better standard of living for rural low-income individuals in terms of water and waste water treatment. Currently, the Office of Community Services is funding the Community Economic Development Program (CED) (including a program with emphasis on Social Enterprises) and the Rural Community Development Program for Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems (RCD). The CED program provides grants to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of individuals and families with low income through the creation of employment and business opportunities. The CED program seeks to fund projects that address the personal and community barriers that must be overcome to help individuals with low incomes become self-sufficient. The RCD program provides grants to multi-state, regional, private, and non-profit organizations for projects designed to provide training and technical assistance to low-income rural communities in developing and managing affordable, safe water and wastewater treatment facilities.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Administration For Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; M - Training
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 It is anticipated that 39 grants will be awarded for CED and 8 grant award for RCD programs 39 discretionary grants awarded for CED and 8 discretionary grants awarded for RCD.
Fiscal Year 2017 22 discretionary grants awarded for CED and 8 discretionary grants awarded for RCD programs in FY 2017.
Fiscal Year 2018 25 grants were awarded for CED and 8 grants were award for RCD programs.
Fiscal Year 2019 It is anticipated that 22 grants will be awarded for CED and 8 grants award for RCD program.
Fiscal Year 2020 To be determined for CED and anticipated 8 grants awarded for RCD program.
Section 680(a) of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Act of 1981, as amended by the Community Opportunities, Accountability and Training & Education Services Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-285) 42 USC 9921
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
For Community Economic Development, eligibility is restricted to private, locally initiated, nonprofit community development corporations governed by a board consisting of residents of the community and business and civic leaders. This includes faith based community development corporations. For Rural Community Development Activity projects, eligibility is restricted to multi-state, regional private, non-profit organizations that can provide training and technical assistance to small, rural communities interested in safe water and waste water treatment needs. For both programs: Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards.
Beneficiary Eligibility
A project must be targeted to address the needs of a specific segment of low-income individuals or families. The official poverty line established by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, published annually by the Department of Health and Human Services is used as a criterion of eligibility in the Community Economic Development Discretionary Grant program.
Costs will be determined in accordance with the provisions of Title 45 CFR 75 Subpart E.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Awards are granted on a competitive basis. Announcements concerning the availability of funds, requests for applications, along with application form and assurance documents, are on website. Applications to the Office of Community Services for grants under the announcement should be submitted through the website. Applicants are urged to inform and coordinate application submissions with State and local governments where such information and coordination is appropriate or necessary for the success of the program. This program is subject to the provisions of Title 45 CFR Part 75. Applications must be submitted in accordance with the requirements and format detailed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
Award Procedure
Each application will be screened to determine whether it meets any of the disqualifying factors: missing the application deadline, required electronic submission or waiver requested and approved, or exceeding the Award Ceiling. Disqualified applications are considered to be "non-responsive" and are excluded from the competitive review process. Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using only the criteria described in FOA. Each panel is composed of experts with knowledge and experience in the area under review. Generally, review panels include three reviewers and one chairperson. Results of the competitive objective review are taken into consideration by ACF in the selection of projects for funding; however, objective review scores and rankings are not binding. Scores and rankings are only one element used in the award decision-making process. ACF may elect not to fund applicants with management or financial problems that would indicate an inability to successfully complete the proposed project. ACF reserves the right to consider preferences to fund organizations serving emerging, unserved, or under-served populations, including those populations located in pockets of poverty. ACF will also consider the geographic distribution of federal funds in its award decisions. ACF will complete a review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR 75.205. The Director, Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), will make the final decision on all grant awards.
Deadlines for Community Economic Development awards are posted annually in the Funding Opportunity Announcement, found on
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Generally, solicited grants will be acted upon within 60 to 120 days.
Not applicable.
For RCD projects, non-competing continuations will be issued based on availability of funds, satisfactory progress, compliance with grant terms and conditions and a determination that continuation funding is in the best interest of the federal government. CED projects do not have non-competing continuations.
How are proposals selected?
Specific criteria for selecting proposals for funding are stated in each FOA.
How may assistance be used?
Federal funds awarded under the Secretary's Discretionary Authority may be used for activities that: create jobs,improve the quality of the economic and social environment of low-income residents by providing resources to eligible applicants, by arresting tendencies toward dependency, chronic unemployment and community deterioration in urban and rural areas; and by addressing needs of safe water and wastewater treatment in rural communities. CED grants are awarded to cover project costs for (1) startup or expansion of business, physical improvements, or commercial activities. (2) capital expenditures such as the purchase of equipment or real property; (3) allowable operating expenses; and (4) loans or equity investments. Expenditures must result in the creation of employment or business opportunities for low-income individuals. Generally, the project must be completed within 36 months for non-construction projects and 60 months for construction projects. Projects must document public/private partnership mobilizing cash and/or in-kind contributions; and be located in areas characterized by poverty and other indicators of socioeconomic distress, such as high levels of unemployment. Grant funds may cover project costs for business start-up or expansion and the development of new products and services. RCD, also referred as Rural Community Facilities (RCF) grants, are awarded to provide training and technical assistance to small, rural communities concerning their water and waste water treatment needs. RCD grants focus on the development and upgrading of safe water and wastewater systems in low-income rural areas. Types of services provided included training of persons responsible for community water and wastewater facilities; assisting communities with problem-solving and planning for facilities; producing and disseminating publications, newsletters, videos, and training manuals about rural safe water and wastewater systems; and assisting rural communities in leveraging Federal, State, local, and private sector financing for facilities.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
45 CFR Part 75 Subpart F applies to this program.
Grant recipients are required to keep all financial, business and program reports necessary for program review and audit to ensure that funds have been expended in accordance with the regulations, grant terms and conditions of this program. Audits and supporting records must be kept on file in accordance with 75.361-365.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Generally, Community Economic Development financial assistance awards are made available for periods of 36 to 60 months; Rural Community Development financial assistance awards are awarded for 12-month budget periods with a five year project period. Post award, our Division of Payment Management will establish an account from which a grantee may draw down award funds. Grantees drawdown their approved awards according to their approved budget plans.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Gerald Shanklin
OCS Grants Operation Center
1401 Mercantile Lane, Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774 US
Phone: 855-792-6551
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Training) FY 18$111,540.00; FY 19 est $123,000.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$101,650.00; FY 16$35,000.00; - This funding is for the RCD program.(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 18$17,336,127.00; FY 19 est $16,951,966.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$17,358,014.00; FY 16$27,410,948.00; - This funding is for the CED program.(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 18$7,753,041.00; FY 19 est $8,470,780.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$7,236,906.00; FY 16$6,391,349.00; - This funding is for the RCD program.(Training) FY 18$198,883.00; FY 19 est $196,841.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$262,981.00; FY 16$298,830.00; - This funding is for the CED program.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Up to $800,000 for Community Economic Development and up to $1,195,729 for Rural Community Development Activities.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Program announcements are posted at, and
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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