The legislative capital budget-writing committee has launched a formal application process for community and local groups seeking capital grants to be awarded this spring.
Last year, an influx of one-time funds allowed the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Capital Improvement Committee, often referred to as the Bond Bill Committee, to establish the Community Reinvestment Fund, a capital grant program with funds utilized for community redevelopment, revitalization and investment capital projects designed to improve the economic, culture, historical, and recreational health of Delaware communities.
Due to the late availability of those funds for fiscal 2022, money from the fund was spread evenly among all 62 legislators to allocate to groups and local governments in their respective districts. However, the Bond Bill Committee pledged to establish a transparent application process for this upcoming fiscal year.
That application process for Fiscal Year 2023 launched this week on the legislative website, with applications due by May 15.
“We heard the concerns loud and clear that we needed to be transparent and fair with soliciting and considering requests for these reinvestment funds, should they be available,” said Bond Bill Committee Chair Rep. Debra Heffernan. “By making the application process publicly available with clearly defined criteria, we are fulfilling our commitment and ensuring that interested groups have the same opportunity and access to any funds allocated.”
Under the criteria established, county and local governments, community-based nonprofit organizations, and private sector nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for funds. State agencies, school districts, charter schools, private schools, institutions of higher education, churches, fire companies, and for-profit organizations are not eligible for funds from the Community Reinvestment Fund.
Funds can only be used for capital projects and associated costs, such as pre-construction, land acquisition and building construction. Projects could include reconstruction or rehabilitation of a building, installing equipment, acquiring land, constructing sidewalks, and installing sewers or water mains.
“Our community of nonprofits are invaluable partners in the state’s continuous efforts to provide critical services to our fellow Delawareans,” said Sen. Nicole Poore, co-chair of the Bond Bill Committee. “Working in partnership with the state to reach some of our must vulnerable neighbors, these organizations provide a level of expertise and personal care that is unmatched. I am thrilled we are in a position to help them grow their capacity, upgrade their facilities and expand their reach through open and transparent investments in our communities.”
The Bond Bill Committee will select applicants for grant awards. Due to the budget process, the committee will not know how much – if any – funding will be available to allocate to the Community Reinvestment Fund until June. Accordingly, once an application is submitted, applicants will receive a notice confirming submission, and that “Grant awards are subject to the availability of funds and will not be published until July 2022.”