A new $50 million program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for nonprofit capacity building should be ready for preliminary review soon, and for applications a short while later, according to an official with the U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
Curtis L. Coy, acting deputy assistant secretary at ACF, speaking during a webcast about the law, revealed only broad outlines of the new Strengthening Communities Fund created by the Recovery Act. Coy indicated that program eligibility rules will be similar to the Compassion Capital Fund (CCF), but the Recovery Act calls for funding to be provided to another initiative.
Efforts to implement the stimulus funding have been somewhat slowed at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of which ACF is a part, because the agency has few political appointees who have been confirmed since President Barack Obama was inaugurated, a spokesman said.
The Strengthening Communities Fund, Coy said, will be split between two programs: a $34 million pot for grants to experienced nonprofits that help new organizations better deliver social services to individuals and communities affected by the downturn; and $12 million to states and localities to create their own Strengthening Communities offices.
Other ACF Funds
Over the next few weeks ACF will announce details for other stimulus funding streams, including:
• $5 billion in funding under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), in addition to the roughly $16 billion provided annually for low-income family assistance.
• About $1 billion for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), to be spent over two years. One percent is set aside for benefit-coordination activities, with the remainder awarded to local eligible CSBG organizations for services and activities addressing employment, education, financial skills, housing, nutrition, emergency services and/or health.
• Roughly $2 billion in child care funds over two years, which is intended to serve 300,000 more children of low-income parents. The federal government reserves $255 million for child care quality improvement, with nearly $94 million targeted to improve infant and toddler care. The bulk of the money is provided through the Child Care Development Block Grant, but the recovery dollars are considered “discretionary” and do not require a state match or maintenance of effort.
• According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, which tracks federal children and family services programs, the Recovery Act includes $1 billion to suspend for two years a federal law that, in effect, reduced federal child care support funding by 20 percent. By restoring federal matching funds for child support enforcement incentive payments, Coy said, the Recovery Act will free about $500 million in state funding per year over the next two years, which states can reinvest in child support enforcement.