We want to ensure you have two big upcoming funding opportunities from the Strategic Growth Council on your radar: 1) Regional Climate Collaboratives (RCC) (collecting comments on draft guidelines by March 10, 2022) and 2) Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Round 4 (final guidelines released, NOFA expected March 8, 2022). Both can help you advance your local climate action goals, while also addressing the needs of your disadvantaged communities. And we can help you understand how to comment, apply, and make the most of these opportunities.
1. Regional Climate Collaboratives (RCC) – Submit Comment
The Regional Climate Collaborative (RCC) is a new State program designed to assist under-resourced communities in accessing State funding for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency projects. In December 2021, SGC concluded a series of listening sessions to help inform the RCC program guidelines development. On February 8, 2022, SGC released its Regional Climate Collaboratives Draft Guidelines and requested public comment by March 10, 2022. This is a critical window of time for local governments and their partners to recommend guideline revisions that can make the RCC program more workable and beneficial for your community before the funding solicitation is released this spring.
You can submit written comments directly to TA@sgc.ca.gov. Alternatively, because we know it can be difficult for some organizations to submit formal comments, CCEC aims to help compile and synthesize comments from local energy and climate practitioners within this live Google Doc. If you prefer to send your comments to CCEC directly, please make a copy of the Google Doc and send your comments to email@example.com with the subject line “RCC Comments.”
2. Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Round 4 – Start Prepping!
With a recent State budget infusion of $420M, the TCC Program is preparing to continue empowering the communities most impacted by pollution to choose their own goals, strategies and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution. The notice of funding availability (NOFA) for TCC Round 4 is anticipated to be released on March 8, 2022, less than one month away! But you don’t have to wait until then to get started.
Given the complexity of the TCC guidelines, we anticipate this application to be quite an undertaking. However, this grant is a unique opportunity to access significant funding to plan or implement emission reduction projects benefiting disadvantaged and priority populations. Plus, TCC will offer technical assistance for grant applicants (requests due March 25). To help you decide whether this is an opportunity worth pursuing, below is a sampling of key grant guideline information (full guidelines can be found here). We recommend you pay particular attention to Project Area Eligibility to see if your jurisdiction has qualifying census tracts.
Local governments, councils of governments, and joint powers authorities are among those eligible to be a lead applicant or co-applicant. If you intend to be a lead applicant, you’ll need to have passed a formal resolution authorizing your public agency to apply for and accept the grant. A diverse range of community, business and local government stakeholders must form a Collaborative Stakeholder Structure to develop a shared vision of transformation for their community.
TCC will award two types of grants:
- Implementation Grants fund neighborhood-level proposals that include multiple, coordinated projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve other community benefits.
- Grant terms are six (6) years: a five (5) year Project Completion Period, followed by a one (1) year Performance Period, during which project outcomes will be monitored.
- $105M is available for three grant awards of $35M each
- Applicants must select at least 3 Strategies from this list:
- Equitable Housing and Neighborhood Development
- Land Acquisition for Affordable Housing
- Transit Access and Mobility
- Solar Installation, Energy Efficiency, and Appliance Electrification
- Water Efficiency
- Recycling and Waste Management
- Urban Greening and Green Infrastructure
- Health and Well-Being
- Indoor Air Quality
- Community Microgrids
- Brownfield Redevelopment
- Applicants must provide evidence of the Lead Entity having successfully implemented a similar project in scope and size in California within the last 10 years
- Organizations that were awarded an TCC Implementation Grant in previous funding rounds are not eligible to re-apply as the Lead Applicant in Round 4
- Collaborative Stakeholder Structure: A diverse range of community, business and local government stakeholders must form a Collaborative Stakeholder Structure to develop a shared vision of transformation for their community. Applicants must develop a Partnership Agreement that is signed by the Lead Applicant and all Co-Applicants that describes the governance, organization, and financial relationships of the Collaborative Stakeholder Structure.
- Planning Grants fund planning activities to prepare disadvantaged communities for future funding opportunities in programs that align with the TCC Program’s objectives.
- Grant terms are two (2) years, with the option to extend on a case-by-case basis
- $1.2M is available for four (4) awards of $300,000 each.
- Applicant are to demonstrate readiness and capacity to implement the proposed work on time and within budget
- Applicants are to propose strong and diverse partnerships for implementing planned activities
Project Area Eligibility
A tutorial video is available to guide future applicants through the updated Disadvantaged Communities Mapping Tool for TCC, and corresponding story map, for the identification of potential project areas. “Applicants can use this tool to develop an eligible Project Area. At least 51% of the contiguous Project Area must fall within areas designated as a disadvantaged by one of three methods: located within census tracts designated as the top 25% of disadvantaged communities per CalEnviroScreen, located within federally recognized tribal boundaries, or meeting TCC eligibility criteria for Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities. The remaining 49% or less of the Project Area must overlap either with either a disadvantaged community or a low-income community as defined by AB 1550. A Project Area may contain any combination of incorporated areas, unincorporated areas, and federally recognized tribal territories if all criteria are met. Project Areas proposed in Round 4 may not overlap with Project Areas from previous TCC Implementation Grant awards. All program requirements can be found in the TCC guidelines.
*CCEC contacted the Strategic Growth Council for further clarification to help local governments assess whether they could qualify for this round of TCC. SGC confirmed that project eligibility works differently for incorporated areas and unincorporated areas. They have provided CCEC the following tools and lists of jurisdictions, with the caveat that these datasets are incomplete and the adopted guidelines will be the authority on which jurisdictions and project areas are eligible. For further clarification or to confirm whether your potential Project Area is eligible, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cities: For incorporated areas, a city has a chance at having an eligible project if they have at least one census tract in the 25th percentile in CalEnviroScreen 3.0 or 4.0. A list of cities that have at least one eligible census tract can be found here.
- Counties: Eligible Disadvantaged Unincorporated (DUC) Areas can be established through one of four methods. One method is to identify unincorporated “clusters” in each county that meet CalEnviroScreen and Hard-to-Count Index requirements on the mapping tool. An incomplete list of “clusters” tabulated by County can be found here, however SGC notes that this list undercounts the true number of eligible communities. Please remember, there are three other methods of establishing project area eligibility such as submitting neighborhood-level data demonstrating they meet the priority population requirements or being designated as disadvantaged by their LAFCo. In other words, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see communities in your County on the list or mapping tool. If you’re confused, we recommend getting help by contacting email@example.com and/or viewing the tutorial video (starting at 7:15) and story map for a detailed explanation of DUC eligibility criteria.
Other Key Guidelines
Leverage Funding: Grantee must leverage additional funding sources that equate to least 50% of the total grant award.
Prevailing Wage Requirements: TCC-funded projects may be subject to State Prevailing Requirements, pursuant to Section 1700 of the California Labor Code.
Join CCEC for our March 8th LERN meeting, where representatives of the TCC program will share more information on the guidelines and solicitation.
Written by Angie Hacker, Best Practices Coordinator for the California Climate and Energy Collaborative (CCEC)