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2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program

Opportunity for USA Local Agencies to Participate
in an Environmental Sustainability Program

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:



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Opportunity for USA local agencies to participate in an environmental sustainability program. In-kind support includes training and technical assistance to impact climate change and to promote urban sustainability. Through the program, local agencies will receive guidance, training, and mentorship with the goal of receiving certification under the LEED for Cities and Communities rating system. Successful applicants will participate as a cohort, collaborating and exchanging ideas with peers as they get organized, set goals, collect data, and apply for certification. Applications will be evaluated on demonstrated need, leadership support, commitment to data-driven decision-making, staff capacity, and coordination with other local initiatives.

In March 2020, the program will kick off with a two-day, in-person orientation for two representatives from each community. USGBC staff will walk the new communities through the rating system and evaluation measures, and lead them through a number of hands-on exercises to calculate scores and develop an action plan for the year. 

After the training, communities will start to align their existing programs, policies, and plans with the rating system using project management tools and resources provided by USGBC. Then they will gather data on the evaluation measures of their choice from the rating system and enter data into reporting tools. The cohort of local governments will meet regularly throughout the year via phone calls and web conferencing to report progress and share best practices. Each community will receive a dedicated USGBC coordinator who will check-in regularly and help to resolve issues and provide feedback and support. 

It is anticipated that communities will apply for certification within the first six months of the program year. Each community will be responsible for gathering the data necessary for certification. When the community has completed the application to their specification, they will submit for review. USGBC/GBCI will provide a robust, third-party review including a performance score and certification results. USGBC will provide marketing support and resources to help announce and celebrate the community‚Äôs certification. 

Communities that certify in advance of Greenbuild will have the opportunity for recognition at the annual reception. Conference sessions and workshops may also feature projects from the cohort. Toward the end of 2020 and beyond the grant program year, staff will support communities as their focus shifts to evaluating results, prioritizing investments and next steps, and communicating impact. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187740

Number of Grants:

Up to 20 U.S. local governments will be selected to participate

Estimated Size of Grant:

Each local government selected will receive an award package including:
- One, annual USGBC Silver membership;
- Registration in LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities;
- Certification review fees, LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities;
- Access to the Arc reporting platform to encourage continuous improvement and benchmarking;
- A two-day, in-person orientation workshop with other selected communities for two local government officials/staff; and
- Access to online education resources, project management tools and monthly conference calls; and
- A dedicated USGBC staff liaison with ongoing programmatic and technical support.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The following requirements must be met and demonstrated in the application form:
- Applicant is a United States based local government (e.g. city, town, county).
- If accepted, applicant commits to register their community by March 1, 2020.
- Applicant has leadership support to actively participate.
- Applicant commits to send 1 local government official (preferably elected/appointed) and 1 staff member to the in-person orientation workshop.

USGBC reserves the right to select communities for the program based on these additional criteria:
- Diverse representation including factors such as geography, economic conditions, land area and population size;
- Demonstrated need for technical support to achieve LEED for Cities & Communities certification and implement its principles;
- Willingness to be open, transparent, data-driven and address sustainability challenges head-on;
- Sufficient staff resources to complete the data collection necessary for certification;
- Commitment to diversity, inclusion and social equity;
- A vision for using certification results to advance solutions and prioritize investments in community-wide sustainability; and/or
- Location in an area represented by Bank of America.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar will be held with two cities that participated in the 2019 grant program. Chris Castro, of City of Orlando, and Oliver Kroner, of City of Cincinnati, will discuss their experiences in the program. USGBC staff will be on hand to answer your questions about the program and application.

Getting Started with LEED for Cities and Communities
- Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 - 2 p.m. EST

To register:

Pre-Application Information:

Applications for the 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program must be received by January 31, 2020, 5:00 PM. Decisions will be made by February 7.

- Dec. 20, 2019: Application call opens
- Jan. 10, 2020 at 2 p.m. EST: Webcast for interested applicants
- Jan. 31, 2020 at 5 p.m. EST: Deadline to apply
- Feb. 7, 2020: Grant recipients notified
- Feb. 21, 2020: Public announcement of communities
- Mid-March 2020: Orientation program in Washington, D.C.
- Dec. 31, 2020: End of the formal program year

Please submit the application package in electronic format ONLY.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Application packages should be emailed to: (with the subject: Community Name - Application 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program)

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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