Ensuring federal funding for economic development reaches communities that need it most

Hundreds of billions of federal dollars are now available to invest in coal community economic transition and scale up local solutions. But communities face significant barriers to accessing this funding. Through our Federal Access Center, we’re helping to overcome these barriers and drive public investment to the most coal-impacted places.

The Opportunity

From research and experience, we know that the most effective strategies for building equitable, local wealth are creating an export economy (providing goods, knowledge, or an experience) or encouraging people to spend more money locally.

The most sustainable economic development projects build from the assets of a place and are created by local leaders. We are working to drive federal investment into essential local initiatives focused on key sectors that connect rural areas with larger markets and that stimulate local entrepreneurship.

Types of Support

We currently offer two types of support based on your project stage:

Application Ready

Do you already have an economic development project developed and are ready to apply for federal funding?

Application-Ready applicants should have already developed a concept for the project for which they seek federal funding and plan to submit a federal proposal in the near term. Grant applicants should have already identified the federal opportunity they seek to apply for, but technical assistance applicants can receive guidance on available opportunities.

Early Stage

Are you still working to define and develop an economic development project and need more support before you’re ready to apply for federal funding?

Early Stage applicants do not need to have a concept for the project for which they will seek federal funding. But they should have a plan for developing a project (including a timeline) and intend to pursue federal funds upon the project’s completion. Activities may include supporting community-driven, inclusive planning processes and consultation to assess readiness to apply for federal funds.

Available Support

Through grants and technical assistance offered on a rolling basis, we can help communities identify, prepare, and apply for federal funding.


We provide direct grants to support a range of costs associated with developing applications, including:

  • Engaging experts for research, analysis, and/or grant writing
  • Organizing or deepening inclusive community partnerships
  • Conducting stakeholder engagement and support community planning
  • Qualifying as private matching funds

Technical Assistance

We offer individualized technical assistance, provided by our team of experts to help organizations:

  • Identify funding programs your project is eligible for
  • Understand the program’s application process and requirements
  • Identify and build relationships with federal program contacts
  • Review the grant proposal before submission

We also have experts available to help communities launch community-driven planning processes to identify fundable projects.


  • 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and local governments serving coal communities are eligible to apply for grants and technical assistance.
  • We welcome proposals from coal-impacted communities across the nation.
  • We prioritize proposals from those communities that have been economically hardest hit by the decline of the coal industry and that have the highest concentration of marginalized populations.

Contact Natalie Roper at [email protected] if you aren’t sure whether you qualify for assistance.

Take the First Step

Let us know about your community and economic development project with our interest form, and we’ll reach out directly to learn more.