I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start as we move deeper into the month of June. I am pleased to write with a few important updates regarding grant programs. First, we are moving closer to a possible Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant application round.
Second, this week, Governor Wolf announced a new grant program to be funded through CARES Act dollars allocated to the State of Pennsylvania, so I wanted to be sure you had this information.
I am also pleased to include a few reminders on upcoming federal grant deadlines, as there are many on the horizon!
Last, this past week I was feeling a bit blue, as many are, and was encouraged by a friend to get back to some community service, so I wanted to share with all of you the story of the Children’s Aid Home in Somerset, which serves children from across Pennsylvania. The COVID-19 scenario left many of these children unable to have live visitation with siblings or educators, and the need there is great. I hope you will consider learning more about the amazing work they do!
As always, call us with questions, 814-701-2787 (our office manager, Sarah Russell, will be happy to assist you).

1. Status of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP)

This week both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate approved SB 905, the capital budget itemization bill. It is now off to the Governor’s desk for a signature. When this occurs, it is likely that the program will open for new applications. As you may know, to apply for a RACP grant, we must identify a suitable capital budget authorization for your project. Once the authorization bill is signed by the Governor, the “Itemized Projects Eligible for Funding (Excel)” will be updated on this website.
As always, we will keep you posted on the official date for applications to be submitted, however, as ask that you remember the following: a.) It is expected that the application fee will again be $500 b.) Eligible projects include construction, and land acquisition (but land acquisition projects MUST have some construction component c.) We have a very long list of pending RACP applications and ask that you contact us now in the event you would like a consultation on your project. You may also email, Ms. Catherine Quinn, MS, our Director of Grant Management, who can provide an abridged educational document on the program requirements.

2. This week Governor Wolf allocated $225 million to new grant programs, specifically designed to help small business struggling to survive through COVID-19.

You can read the full announcement here.
The announcement describes three program areas, including: a.) $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the Governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19; b.) $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations; c) $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.
Application guidelines are not yet available but will be published in the coming weeks. Applications must be filed through a “CFDI,” therefore we are recommending two of those certified agencies:


3. Upcoming Federal Deadlines – Economic Development Programs


U.S. Department of the Treasury, Community Development Financial Institutions is making funds available to help certified CDFIs and nonprofits develop, rehabilitate or purchase affordable housing and economic development activities. Application Deadline: June 26, 2020 via Grants.gov
The Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services is making grants available for Community Development Corporations to support projects that will enhance job creation and business development for low-income individuals. Application Deadline: July 03, 2020
The Health Resources and Services Administration is making funds available to help rural communities enhance their capacity to address substance use disorder though planning activities, multi-sector consortiums and participate in the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning learning collaborative. Application Deadline: July 13, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor is financing projects to help rural communities align workforce development efforts with economic development plans. This program serves the Appalachian region and the Lower Mississippi Delta region. Application Deadline: July 29, 2020
The National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program supports projects that integrate arts, culture and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical and/or social outcomes. Application Deadline: August 6, 2020
The Economic Development Administration provides economically distressed communities and regions with comprehensive and flexible resources to address a wide variety of economic needs, including construction, non-construction, planning, technical assistance and revolving loan fund projects. Application Deadline: Ongoing
Consider a Gift to Help Kids
Looking for a way to give back post COVID-19?
Perhaps consider making a supply or monetary donation to the Children’s Aid Home Programs, an agency which serves youth from many counties across the State of Pennsylvania, with foster home placement, adoption, partial hospitalization, alternative education and residential care at the beautiful facility location in Somerset. The agency has a deep history of care and compassion, which dates to 1889, and we are happy to share it with you. My children’s paternal great grandfather was on the orphan train and came to live at the Children’s Aid Home in the early 20th Century.
In the fall of 1888, a family from Somerset traveled to England. While visiting they heard about a private group of English citizens caring for the poor children living on the streets. The group called themselves the Children’s Aid Society of London. Upon the family’s return, a group of ladies met and discovered that there were children suffering in Somerset County and being placed in the County Poor House. Tiny babies and small children were being raised with adults with physical and mental difficulties. These valiant ladies investigated this Society idea and learned that some Eastern Counties in Pennsylvania had formed their own Children’s Aid Society’s in the early 1880’s so they visited and wrote to York, Franklin and Philadelphia Counties.
On May 1, 1889 in the Park Hotel, Somerset Pennsylvania the Children’s Aid Society of Somerset County was formed. The objectives of the Society (in 1889) was “to assist the children of the poor and unfortunate, find them comfortable homes to save children from the taint of the County Poor House stigma and to see that the crippled and diseased children are removed to institutions where they will receive proper professional attention.” The agency has various COVID-19 related needs, to support behavioral health and education of the children they are honored to serve. Give online.
Oh, and one more thing, I want to commend our Brooke Sheeler, on her service as the President of Laurel Arts, a nonprofit arts organization in Western Pennsylvania. Community service is very important to all of us at Aspire, and Brooke continues to support Laurel Arts through what has been a very difficult time, resulting in the closure of the facility for a long period of time due to COVID-19. That is Brooke below, with her full Board of Directors.
Learn more about Laurel Arts on Facebook.