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Funding Opportunity: Employment Training for Ex-Offenders

The US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has two grant opportunities for non-profits that serve ex-offenders re-entering the community.

The Strategies Targeting Characteristics Common to Female Ex-Offenders grant expects to award about 8 grants totaling $12 million to non-profits that help adult or youth ex-offenders either pre- or post-release with job skills training. Programs must target one or more characteristics common to female ex-offenders, including “sexual or physical abuse, family turmoil, early puberty, learning disabilities and school failure, and mental health and substance abuse issues.” The grant announcement states, “Services to be funded will be targeted to female ex-offenders, but must also be open to eligible male ex-offenders.” The application deadline is April 17, 2013.

The Training to Work - Adult Reentry grant program will award approximately 15 grants totaling $20 million to non-profits that serve participants in high-crime, high-poverty areas that experience high rates of criminal recidivism. Grant-funded projects must help ex-offenders enrolled in state or local work-release programs acquire credentials to increase employability. The purpose of the grant is to, “help participants attain industry-recognized credentials for jobs in demand industries in their area prior to release or within 90 days after release from a state or local work release program.” The application deadline is May 2, 2013.

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Funding Opportunity: Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grants

The US Department of Education has requested $150 million for its FY2013 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program. The grant application is open to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or non-profit organizations in partnership with one or more LEAs or a consortium of schools. The purpose of i3 is to identify and promote innovative educational programs that “are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.” As such, eligible applicants must be able to demonstrate significant improvements in student achievement.

There are three types of grants: Investing in Innovation Development, Validation, and Scale-up. The i3 Development application notice is expected to come out March 27, 2013, and the Validation and Scale-up application notices are expected to come out April 29, 2013. For more information on application notices and due dates, please consult the Department of Education’s Forecast of Funding Opportunities for FY2013. ED anticipates being able to make 18-35 i3 grants averaging between $3 million and $25 million each.

FY2012 i3 grants were used for a variety of projects from promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, to increasing parent and family engagement. Additional information on successful 2012 i3 grantees as well as webinars and other archived information on the 2012 i3 grant application process are available online. You can also email i3@ed.gov for more information.

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Potential Funding Opportunity: Healthy Food Access Initiative

A new resource – the Healthy Food Access Portal– is useful for organizations looking to work on access to healthy food for their communities.  PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund have joined forces with numerous other partners and stakeholders from around the country to “create a comprehensive federal response to address the limited and inequitable access to healthy foods in low-income communities in both rural and urban America.” Their campaign recently launched the Healthy Food Access Portal to provide comprehensive resources to communities and organizations interested in pursuing projects to provide healthy food to lower-income and underserved populations.

This website provides resources, news, events, information on state and local food policy efforts, and examples of successful healthy food access programs nationwide, including such innovative strategies as mobile markets, food hubs, and co-ops. It is a great resource for communities interested in developing their own healthy food access initiatives.

The Healthy Food Access Portal also directs users to potential funding sources, including grants, loans, public-private partnerships, and the federal inter-agency Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). If your organization is interested in helping to increase healthy food choices for underserved communities, visit the Get Started page for more information and further resources.

New Funding Opportunity: AmeriCorps School Turnaround program

On Tuesday, February 26, the Corporation for National and Community Service, in conjunction with the US Department of Education, announced a new AmeriCorps program entitled the School Turnaround initiative. The program will place AmeriCorps volunteers in “persistently underachieving schools across the country.” According to CNCS, the AmeriCorps School Turnaround initiative will help fund and staff projects intended to “increase educational achievement, high school graduation rates, and college readiness for students in our nation’s lowest-performing elementary, middle, and high schools.”

The competitive grant program will award $15 million over three years to place nearly 2,000 AmeriCorps members at dozens of failing schools in cities and small towns. The presence of the AmeriCorps members in schools will help provide opportunities for academic enrichment, extended learning time, and individual supports for students. The program’s goals include increased academic achievement, improved high school graduation rates, and increased college readiness among some of the most disadvantaged students in America.

Public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and other community groups; schools or districts; institutions of higher education; cities and counties; Indian Tribes; and labor organizations are eligible to apply to the School Turnaround AmeriCorps initiative, along with partnerships and consortia of these entities. A notice of intent to apply must be submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service by April 2, 2013 via e-mail at: americorpsgrants@cns.gov. Applications are due on April 23, 2013. Grants will be awarded by mid-July. More information on the funding opportunity, as well as application information, is available on CNCS’s website.

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by Dr. Radut