Hello from the Bell Tower Team! Happy Back to School! This month, you can find opportunities for transportation, coastal resiliency, hazard mitigation, local law enforcement agencies, as well as an exciting opportunity to attract tourists to the wonderful Miami-Dade County. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your project ideas. Click the “Schedule a call” button to reach us.

Soft Body Armor 
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Due Date: First-come, first-served basis until funds are expended
Match: N/A
Funding: TBD

Pursuant to Florida Statute 790.065, funding is available to purchase soft body armor for law enforcement officers. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to local law enforcement agencies within fiscally-constrained counties, as defined in s. 216.67(1), Florida Statutes.
Applications will only be accepted via the funding request form found on the funding page. 

Drone Replacement Program
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Due Date: First-come, first-served basis until funds are expended
Match: N/A
Funding: TBD

During the 2023 Legislative Session, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement appropriated approximately $25 million in nonrecurring funds to implement the Drone Replacement Grant Program. Funds under this program will be awarded to reimburse Florida law enforcement agencies who relinquish noncompliant drones to FDLE that will be provided to the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida (USF). The Center for Cybersecurity will be analyzing if the drones present any cybersecurity concerns.
Available funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are expended. Reimbursement amounts for the relinquished drone(s) will be based on the initial purchase price and the total number of flight hours as attested by the Chief Official of the law enforcement agency. Funds received under this program must be used for the acquisition of new, compliant drones for the participating law enforcement agencies.

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program
Department of Transportation
Due Date: September 28, 2023
Match: Up to 50%
Funding: $3,353,000,000

This opportunity combines two separate programs, the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Program and the Neighborhood, Access, and Equity (NAE) Program, known jointly as the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program. The purposes of the RCN Program are 1) to advance community-centered transportation connection projects, with a priority for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, that improve access to daily needs such as jobs, education, food, healthcare, nature, and recreation, and foster equitable development and restoration, and 2) to provide technical assistance to further these goals.
The RCP Program provides technical assistance and grant funding for planning and capital construction to address infrastructure barriers, restore community connectivity, and improve people’s lives.

The NAE Program provides technical assistance and grant funding to improve walkability, safety, and affordable transportation access through context-sensitive strategies for improving community connectivity; mitigating or remediating negative impacts on the human or natural environment; and assisting economically disadvantaged or underserved communities with planning and capacity building activities.
The RCN Program provides funding for three different types of grants:

  1. Community Planning;
  2. Capital Construction;
  3. Regional Partnership Challenge Grants.

Coastal Program
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Due Date: September 30, 2023
Match: N/A
Funding: Up to $200,000 per applicant

The Coastal Program takes an adaptive approach to designing and implementing coastal habitat protection and restoration strategies that anticipate and ameliorate the impacts of climate change and other environmental stressors. Coastal Program habitat improvement projects strive to increase coastal resiliency by improving the ability of coastal ecosystems to adapt to environmental changes and supporting natural and nature-based infrastructure projects to protect and enhance coastal habitats.

Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Due Date: October 10, 2023
Match: Up to 20%
Funding: $13,400,000

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of $13.4M to support comprehensive-specific planning associated with new fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects. The Pilot Program for TOD Planning provides funding to communities to integrate land use and transportation planning in new fixed guideway and core capacity transit project corridors.

As required by statute, any comprehensive or site-specific planning funded through the pilot program must examine ways to improve economic development and ridership potential, foster multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access through pedestrian and bicycle traffic, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and enable mixed-use development near transit stations. The statute also requires that the planning work be associated with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit project as defined in federal transit statute (49 USC 5309(a).
Up to 80% federal share is available while those who focus on addressing affordable housing in their projects can receive up to 100%.

Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Stage 1 Grants Program
Department of Transportation
Due Date: October 10, 2023
Match: N/A
Funding: Up to $50,000,000

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the SMART discretionary grant program to provide grants to eligible public sector agencies to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart community technologies and systems in order to improve transportation efficiency and safety. The program funds projects focused on using technology interventions to solve real-world challenges and build data and technology capacity and expertise in the public sector.

Eligible projects include:

  • Coordinated automation
  • Connected vehicles
  • Sensors
  • Systems integration
  • Delivery/logistics
  • Innovative aviation
  • Smart grid
  • Smart technology traffic signals

The SMART Grants program is divided into two stages: 1) Planning and Prototyping Grants; 2) Implementation Grants. This funding opportunity is for Stage 1 Grants only.

Tourist Development Council (TDC) Grants Program 
Miami-Dade County
Due Date: October 16, 2023
Match: 50%
Funding: Up to $35,000

The Tourist Development Council (TDC) Grants Program provides funding to organizations/events that promote Miami-Dade County as a tourist destination by sponsoring tourist-oriented sports events, cultural and special events (visual and performing arts, including theater, concerts, recitals, opera, dance, art exhibitions, and festivals) and television origination projects. The TDC prioritizes grant requests that serve as major tourism generators in the fourth quarter of the year (July-September).

Please note: The TDC does not provide funding for national or international conventions, trade shows and tourism industry exhibitions, seminars, and conferences.
Please also note: All first-time applicants are required to attend a pre-submission workshop, which will take place on September 14th. Click here to register.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program-Hurricane Nicole
Federal Emergency Management (FEMA)
Due Date: October 20, 2023
Match: 25%
Funding: Up to $75,984 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (Division) is pleased to announce the availability of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HGMP) funds as a result of the recent Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Nicole (FEMA 4680-DR-FL). HMGP is authorized by Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act. This funding helps communities implement measures to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects. The Division encourages all potential applicants to submit applications for projects that address eligible mitigation activities. The amount of HMGP funding available to the state is based on the total federal disaster assistance for the Presidential Disaster Declaration.
Eligible activities include:

  • Acquisition or relocation of hazard-prone structures;
  • Retrofitting of existing buildings or facilities that will result from increased protection from hazards;
  • Elevation of flood-prone structures;
  • Infrastructure protection measures;
  • Stormwater management improvements;
  • Minor structure flood control;
  • Flood diversion and storage;
  • Aquifier storage and recovery;
  • Floodplain and stream restoration;
  • Residential and community safe room construction; and/or
  • Generators for a critical facility, provided they are cost-effective, contribute to a long-term solution to the problem that they are intended to address, and meet other project eligibility criteria as required by 44 CFR Statute 206.434(c).

An eligible project must conform to the Florida State Hazard Mitigation Plan and the respective community’s Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS); conform to the funding priorities for the disaster, as established in the appropriate LMS; demonstrate cost-effectiveness; be technically feasible; benefit the designated disaster area; conform to all applicable environmental laws and regulations, as well as Executive Orders; solve a problem independently or constitute a functional part of a solution; benefit a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); and meet all applicable State and local codes and standards.

Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Due Date: November 17, 2023
Match: N/A
Funding: $1,000,000 to $25,000,000

This funding opportunity seeks transformational habitat restoration projects that restore marine, estuarine, coastal, or Great Lakes ecosystems, using approaches that enhance community and ecosystem resilience to climate hazards. Funding will prioritize habitat restoration actions that: demonstrate significant impacts; rebuild productive and sustainable fisheries; contribute to the recovery and conservation impacts of threatened and endangered species; promote climate-resilient ecosystems, especially in tribal, indigenous, and/or underserved communities; and improve economic vitality, including local employment.
Applicants should address the following program priorities: 1) sustaining productive fisheries and strengthening ecosystem resilience; 2) enhancing community resilience and providing other co-benefits; 3) fostering regionally important habitat restoration; and 4) providing benefits to tribal, indigenous, and/or underserved communities, including through partnerships. Applicants should refer to watershed plans, resiliency plans, or other fishery-related strategic planning, conservation, or management documents to support proposed work.


On the horizon…

Florida Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
Due Date: To be released Fall 2023
Match: 1:1
Funding: TBD

As part of the U.S. Forest Service of Urban and Community Forestry, funds will be made available to organizations to develop or enhance their urban and community forestry programs.
The 2023 Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program will be available in the upcoming months. When the application period opens, specific dates will be announced on the FDACS website.

Founded in 2009, BellTower Consulting Group has assisted nonprofit organizations and municipalities in securing grant funding for youth programs, social services, infrastructure, parks and recreation, arts programming and much more.


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