Application Process for EPA’s Community Change Grants Track II

EPA’s Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants are place-based investments focused on community-driven initiatives to be responsive to community and stakeholder input. They are designed to deliver on the potential of the Inflation Reduction Act for communities most adversely and disproportionately impacted by climate change, legacy pollution, and historical disinvestments.

Below are the suggested steps you should follow to apply for Track II. Although EPA’s deadline for submission is November 21, 2024, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so EPA encourages applicants to apply as early as possible. In addition, if you apply early, there may be time to resubmit an updated application, after a debriefing with EPA, if not initially selected.

Steps to apply

To track these 6 suggested steps, you can use this Track II Community Change Grants Checklist with links to a Project Narrative template, Mandatory Documents, and additional resources. Using the Track II Community Change Grants Checklist can help you divvy up sections among partners, track your work, and mark sections as complete. All of the sections on this checklist need to be included in your final application.

Step One If You Are Not Already, Register for SAM.gov and Grants.gov – Three Months Before Submission

You must be registered with SAM.gov (and have your Unique Entity Identification (UEID)) and Grants.gov. Registering can take weeks (if not months).

To register on SAM.gov,* go hereFor help, access the registration checklist and EPN’s SAM.gov registration webinar. In addition, EPN holds SAM.gov registration office hours every two weeks on Wednesdays from 2-3 p.m. ET. We’ll help you begin, continue, or finish up your registration process. To sign up and get the Zoom link, go to tinyurl.com/EPNSAM. 

To register at Grants.gov,* go here. For help, use the registration checklist and watch this Youtube video. Also, please review the Intro to Grants.gov Understanding User Roles and Learning Workspace – User Roles and Workspace Actions to assist with application submission.

If you need additional help, send us an email.

*To check your registration status, go here for SAM.gov, and here for Grants.gov.

Step Two Review EPA Resources – Two Months Before Submission

A: Use the Track II Community Change Grants Checklist to track your application progress.

B: Carefully read the Community Change Grants Summary and the entire Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to ensure that your project is a good fit. You can also access an overview of the Community Change Grants (CCG) here provided by the University of Minnesota-led Region 5 Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center.

C: Double check the Community Change Grants Eligibility. In addition, the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) in partnership with GrantScribes created Federal Grant Readiness Checklist: EPA CCG. This assessment will help organizations determine their eligibility, readiness, and capacity to apply for this funding opportunity. 

D: Read about the Community Change Grants New Features (page 7 in the NOFO).

E: Watch a recording of the December 7, 2023, webinar, and sign up for upcoming webinars here.

F: Read the Community Change Grants FAQs.

G: Learn more about EPA’s two pro bono technical assistance programs:
– Community Change Technical Assistance (CCTA), which includes application support, project planning and development, outreach and engagement, and general capacity building
Community Change Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance (CCER TA), which provides free design and project development assistance, community engagement, and partnership development workshops that support climate resilience and environmental justice activities for up to 50 projects in disaster-prone areas. 

H. Watch the following webinars: December 7th Informational Webinar and Indirect Costs Limitation Webinar (Passode: 91869331), and view the Informational Webinar Slides and the Indirect Costs Limitation Slides.

Solidify Partners & Envision – One to Two Months Before Submission

A: Fill out the Community Change Grants Program Partner and Assistance Survey.

B: Reach out to these potential partners and/or others.

C: Solidify your partners and schedule a time to collectively envision and brainstorm about your proposal.

D: Read through the Community Change Grants Track II Project Narrative Template. Create a copy of the Track II Template, in Google Docs, that all partners can access. You can also utilize SEAP and GrantScribes’ Decision Tree: EPA CCG. This assessment will help organizations determine if their project meets the criteria for funding and serves as a funding notice blueprint.   

E: Divvy up sections of the project using the Track II Project Narrative Template (see instructions below, Step 4) and Mandatory Documents (see instructions below, Step 5) among partners and complete Steps 4 and 5.

Step Four Read, Write, and Review the Project Narrative – Three Weeks Before Submission

A. Complete the Track II Executive Summary.

B: Write the full Project Narrative using the Track II Project Narrative Template and referring to the Track II Sample Project Narrative as needed.

C: Review your Project Narrative using the Track II Evaluation Criteria to ensure that all requirements have been met in each section and that all possible points should be awarded.

Step Five Complete Mandatory Documents – Two Weeks Before Submission

A: Create the following Mandatory Documents, all of which should be completed directly in Grants.gov:

Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A)
EPA Key Contacts Form 5700-54
EPA Form 4700-4 Preaward Compliance Review Report
Program Narrative: Use the “Project Narrative Attachment Form” to submit the file. This is a PDF of your Project Narrative document (20 page max).

B: Use the “Other Attachments Form” in Grants.gov for the following additional documents.

– Attachment A: Program Budget Template
– Attachment B: Partnership Agreement
– Attachment C: Any other documents or information not listed above, such as an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement.

C: Review your application using the Track II Evaluation Criteria to again ensure that all requirements have been met in each section and that all possible points should be awarded.

Step 6 Illustration Review and Submit – As Soon as You Are Ready!

EPA will be granting these funds on a rolling basis. Although the final deadline is listed as Thursday, November 21, 2024, we recommend that you plan to submit to Grants.gov ASAP. This may give you the opportunity to resubmit, after a debriefing with the agency, if your initial application is unsuccessful. These step-by-step instructions and video can help. Please plan to set aside at least three hours to submit your application to Grants.gov.

A: To begin the submission process, go to Grants.gov and click the red “Apply” button at the top of the “view grant opportunity” page associated with this opportunity.

B: Upload your application, including:

C: Submit and confirm that all verifications & confirmations from Grants.gov are received & saved.

D: Take …a nap!