Are You Eligible for Community Project Funding/Earmarks?
By Hilary Fulp, Senior Consultant
At the most basic level, Community Project Funding is an opportunity for House members to fund special projects for state and local grantees and some nonprofits in their congressional districts. In the Senate, earmarks are known as Congressionally Directed Spending.
New House leadership significantly reduced the amount of funds allocated to earmarks – previously it was up to 1.0% of discretionary spending. It is now no more than 0.5%.
The House also made other changes to the process that impact how projects are funded. They include new requirements for representatives, such as requiring that the member(s) provide an explanation as to why this earmark is a good use of taxpayer dollars and cite a section of the U.S. Code that supports the project.
Requests are also no longer eligible through the Financial Services and General Government; Labor, Health and Human Services and Education; and Department of Defense appropriations bills. These changes will most significantly impact health facilities, museums and schools and universities. Here is the full list of eligible accounts and requirements.
In particular, memorials, museums and commemoratives are no longer eligible for Community Project Funding. To mitigate this new limitation, museums and other impacted entities should consider asking their representative to request higher program funding levels for competitive grants to which they are eligible.
Whether or not you have previously benefited from Community Project Funding, there are steps you could take to check your eligibility and build relationships with your representatives to request special project funding for your organization.
- Subcommittee deadlines vary for each bill, but they fall between March 24 and March 31. Individual member office deadlines for submissions will likely be sooner and vary. Reach out now for your representative to submit a request on your behalf.
- Below are some suggested items to have prepared to help your representative. Full guidance can be found here.
- I am requesting funding for ____________[project] in fiscal year 2024.
- Specify location of the nonprofit/project that will receive funding.
- The funding would be used for ___________________. The project is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because ____________________.
- The project has a federal nexus because the funding provided is for purposes authorized by __________________ [insert U.S. Code or Public Law citation suggested in subcommittee guidance].
- Incorporate this funding stream into your overall fundraising strategy. Consider opportunities to engage political leaders in your mission and keep them abreast of your work, your vision and your success.
- For more information on the intersection of fundraising and policy, watch this brief interview Let’s Talk Fundraising, where our Executive Vice President Victoria Dietz chats with Sandra Swirski, founder and CEO of Integer Policy.
This cursory overview is for your general information. It is not intended to be prescriptive or your sole source of information on this topic. Furthermore, policies and laws are constantly evolving and differ between states and cities.
If you have specific questions regarding this topic, we recommend you pursue specifics through appropriatians.house.gov site or seek advice from your legal counsel or other trusted sources.