FEDERAL GRANTS: The check is….?

- If you hear about a city or town qualifying for a large federal grant, celebration and skepticism are probably wise in equal doses.  Many times, what a city has qualified for are so-called “preference points” that gives the city an advantage in pre-qualifying for a federal grant.  Also, rather than direct aid, many times what’s provided is research assistance or participation in a federal study.  

Below are four major federal grants the City of Minneapolis recently qualified for.  Mayor Betsy Hodges told the FOX 9 Investigators her travels and meetings with decision makers helped secure these grants:

Promise Zone 

A 255-square-block area of North Minneapolis was one of eight urban areas declared a federal Promise Zone in April 2015.  This designation from U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) is not direct federal aid, but gives the City of Minneapolis “preference points” for grant opportunities within the Promise Zone area for education, housing, and job training.  

So far, North Minneapolis has received a $12,000 grant for the Northside Funders Group. 

Other Promise Zones selected in 2015 are in St. Louis; 

Indianapolis; Camden N.J.; Hartford, Conn.; Sacramento, Calif.; Barnwell S.C.; and Porcupine, S.D.

Climate Action Champs

The City of Minneapolis is one of 16 communities designated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as Climate Action Champs.  

Another designation from the White House which does not come with specific federal aid, but is an offer of technical assistance from Washington.  It is an attempt to identify and recognize climate leaders in local government and provide federal support to help cities “raise their ambitions.”  

The City of Minneapolis partnered with Xcel Energy and Center Point Energy to develop a the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan, which proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emission 15% by 2015, 30% by 2025, and 80% by 2050.

TechHire Initiative

In March 2015, the White House declared the City of Minneapolis one of 20 TechHire regions in the nation that are pre-qualified for $100 million in grants through the U.S. Department of Labor.    It is an effort to close the workforce skills gap for high tech jobs by providing a path for diverse workers to get training, support, and employment.  

A year after the designation, the City of Minneapolis is currently finalizing a grant request for $4 million.  The city is working closely with three education programs:  PRIME Digital Academy, IT Futures Foundation – IT Ready, and Concordia University.

The National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice

A $4.75 million initiative through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that seeks to assess police-community relationship in six pilot cities, including Minneapolis.  

The program attempts to use data from surveys of police officers and community members to determine perceptions and best practices that can repair and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement.  The project will also match the perceptions against performance data from police stops, arrests, and use of force.

So far, the City of Minneapolis has received $120,000 for training.  The five other pilot sites are Birmingham, Alabama; Ft. Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California.

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