Grants & Funding

Every penny counts when townships are working to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their residents. That's why grant and other funding opportunities are so important for local governments.

See below for current opportunities. Items are organized by application deadline, with the soonest appearing first.

Funding: USDA Community Connect Grants

Deadline: March 13, 2017

Description: This program helps fund broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not yet economically feasible for private-sector providers to deliver service. Eligible rural areas are those that lack existing broadband speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

Funds may be used for:

• the construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land, or buildings used to provide broadband service  for a) all residential and business customers located in the proposed funded service area and b) all participaing critical community facilities, such as public schools, fire stations, and public libraries and/or

• the cost of providing broadband service free of charge to the critical community facilities for two years.

Less than 10 percent of the grant amount, or up to $150,000, may be used for the improvement, expansion, construction, or acquisition of a community center that provides online access to the public.

Grants require matching funds of at least 15 percent from non-federal sources, which may be used for operating costs.

Click here for more information and resources.


Funding: American Water Environmental Grants

Deadline: Applications must be postmarked by March 27, 2017

Description: Townships in American Water's service areas may apply for funding under the company's 2017 Environmental Grant Program. The program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental partnership projects that improve, restore, or protect watersheds, surface water, or groundwater supplies.

To qualify, projects must:

• address a source water or watershed protection need in the community;

• be completed between May 1, 2017, and November 30, 2017;

• be a new or innovative program or a significant expansion to an existing program in the community;

• be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations; and

• be sustainable.

For more info: Click here for more information and application requirements.


Funding: DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2) Grants

Deadline: Application period closes April 12, 2017

Description: These grants, which fund recreation and conservation projects, are funded through a variety of sources, including the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program, and Land and Water Conservation Fund.

These grants are awarded to such projects as the rehabilitation and development of parks and recreation facilities; land acquisition for parks and conservation; and technical assistance for feasibility and trail studies and site development planning.

Successful applicants must adhere to DCNR’s guiding action plan and three basic tenets:

• promoting statewide conservation;

• building and maintaining sustainable communities; and

• creating outdoor connections for citizens and visitors.

For more info: To apply online, go to For more information, call grants customer service toll-free at (800) 326-7734. 


Funding: Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program

Deadline: Applications accepted March 7 through May 19, 2017

Description: Rural or volunteer fire departments that serve communities with fewer than 10,000 people are eligible for funding from the U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. Departments in townships with more than 10,000 people may apply as long as the department covers a rural area or community with a maximum population of 10,000.

The grants, administered by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, help rural fire departments organize, train, and equip firefighters to prevent and suppress fires that threaten human life, livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands, farmsteads, or other improvements in rural areas. The key objectives of this program are to save lives and protect property in rural areas.

This is a cost-share program. Financial assistance on any project during any fiscal year may not exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures, including those of local, public and private nonprofit organizations participating in the agreement. The maximum grant award is $7,500.

Grants may be used to purchase wildfire suppression equipment, protective gear, mobile or portable radios; install dry hydrants; prevent and mitigate wildfires; or attend wildfire training. Funds may also be used to convert and maintain federal excess vehicles received from the Bureau of Forestry and used for fire suppression.

Priority will be given to projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective gear. Grants may not be used for structural fire equipment or protective gear, supply hose larger than 2½ inches in diameter, structures, routine maintenance of vehicles not received from the Bureau of Forestry, medical services, ambulance services, fire police equipment and gear, or search and rescue equipment and gear.

Applications must be submitted online. For updated grant program deadlines and to apply, click here.


Funding: Sustainable Energy Fund Program

Deadlines: Vary

Description: Local governments are eligible to apply for loans for energy efficiency or renewable energy projects through the Sustainable Energy Fund Program.

Four funds were created as a result of the restructuring plans of five electric companies in Pennsylvania. To be eligible, projects must reduce energy consumption of nonsustainable resources or generate energy from sustainable resources.

Eligible projects include such improvements as solar photovoltaic and wind energy systems, lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, and building envelope enhancements.

The four funds and their deadlines and contact information are:

• PECO — www/; toll-free hotline (888) 5-PECO-SAVE (573-2672), Deadline is May 31, 2017.

• PPL Electric Utilities —; Christopher Rooney or Scott DeStefon, (610) 264-4440, No deadline available.

• Metropolitan Edison Company/Pennsylvania Electric Company —; Western Pa. (Penelec), Angie Berzonski, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, (814) 536-7741, ext. 117,; Eastern Pa. (Met Ed), Heidi Williamson, Berks County Community Foundation, (610) 685-2223, Deadline is May 1, 2017.

• West Penn Power —; Joel Morrison, (814) 441-1100, Deadline is February, 2017.


Funding: USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants

Deadline: Rolling Deadline

Description: These grants are meant to assist rural communities that have experienced a significant decline in quantity or quality of drinking water due to an emergency, or in which such decline is considered imminent, to obtain or maintain adequate quantities of water that meets the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Examples of emergencies include drought, earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, disease outbreak, chemical spill, leakage, or seepage. There is a funding limit of $150,000 or $500,000 per request.

For more info: Click here or call (717) 237-2299. Potential applicants may also learn more at the USDA Rural Development Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants website


Funding: USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan Program

Deadline: Rolling Deadline

Description: USDA Rural Development invites municipalities to apply for funding under its Community Facilities Direct Loan program. This program provides below-market loans to assist rural areas in the development of essential community facilities. The loans feature:

  • low interest rates;
  • long terms (40 years on buildings, 10 to 20 years on vehicles); and
  • no loan fees.

Eligible borrowers: Those eligible to apply include local governments for municipalities with a population under 20,000 and nonprofit organizations that are headquartered in a municipality with a population under 20,000.

Eligible uses: Loan funds may be used for capital projects to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and public services. This can include costs to acquire land needed for a facility, pay necessary professional fees, and purchase equipment required for its operation. Borrowers have used loan funds to:

  • purchase vehicles (police, fire, ambulance, road maintenance, etc.);
  • purchase, renovate, or construct a new facility (headquarters, hospitals, community centers, libraries, municipal buildings, public roads and bridges, etc.); and
  • purchase equipment (medical, communications, computer, library books, buses, etc.).

Small grants may also be available for eligible projects.

For more info: Contact Alex Kauffman, Community Programs Specialist, USDA Rural Development, at (717) 237-2272 or click here for the USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan web page.


Funding: USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants 

Deadline: Rolling Deadline

Description: Townships may apply for these USDA grants to develop water and waste disposal systems in rural areas and towns with a population of up to 10,000. Applicants must be able unable to obtain financing from other sources at rates and terms they can afford and/or from their own resources. Projects may include construction, land acquisition, legal or engineering fees, capitalized interest, equipment, initial operations, and maintenance costs. Applicants must provide at least 25 percent of the total project costs and will provide the first funding spent in any project.

For more info: Click here.