Arlington Offers New Funding Opportunities for Equity Based Grants

Published on October 10, 2023

Arlington County, in collaboration with United Way of the National Capital Area, launched a new equity-based funding program, "RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community," to support local organizations’ efforts to address community needs.

About the Race to Rebuilding Trust & Community Program

The County Board, in their FY 2024 budget guidance, identified the transition to a racial equity-based Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for awarding human and community service grants as a strategic priority. The Rebuilding Trust & Community NOFA is an effort to move to a community needs model that can better support historically marginalized communities, ensuring equitable access to resources, transparency and accountability.

"This new funding opportunity represents Arlington’s firm commitment to inclusive decision-making," County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. "It is our hope that by systematically including a broader range of community members with relevant lived experiences and subject matter expertise into this funding process, we can deliver a more equitable and effective distribution of public dollars for all Arlingtonians."

This program is a result of meetings with community leaders and the County’s Realizing Arlington’s Commitment to Equity (RACE) team. Both the County and community leaders were focused on developing programs that serve – and are driven by – the needs of the citizens we serve instead of longstanding institutional relationships. One of the outcomes of these discussions is a new process for equitable funding processes for community and human services programs that historically have been awarded by the County Board with discretionary funds. In 2023, the County Board adopted a resolution to support a transition to a competitive process for Board-awarded funding using a racial equity lens.

"This new grant funding opportunity reflects Arlington County’s commitment to implement equitable practices in policy, process, and decision-making," said Chief Race and Equity Officer Samia Byrd. "Working with Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community leaders who recommended an approach to apply a racial equity lens to funding, we developed a program to ensure not only transparency and accountability in funding, but most importantly the value of the community and nonprofits defining needs, centering people who are most impacted, and focusing on equitable outcomes."

Eligibility and Review Process

All nonprofits that are an IRS designated 501(c)(3) organization or a faith-based organization can apply for funding under this notice of funding availability. Applications may be submitted in writing and/or in audio format now through Dec. 21, 2023. Award recommendations will be made to the County Board for approval at the County Board meeting in April 2024.

Arlington County and the United Way will host four informational sessions from October through December to provide technical assistance to organizations interested and planning to apply for funding. Materials from each session will be made available online.

A foundational component of this funding opportunity is the transparency of the review process. The panel of reviewers will include both residents from the community and County staff with relevant and related experience. Community members interested in being considered for the review panel can submit their interest form here. Once selected, reviewers will receive training in racial equity and application scoring.

Visit the RACE to Rebuilding Trust and Community project page to view the full NOFA, application instructions, the evaluation rubric, sample templates, and dates for informational sessions. 

Questions about the NOFA and application process should be directed to EquityNOFA@arlingtonva.us.

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