Collaborating for Climate Action funding opportunity

Information
Image with text: PCEF Climate Investment Plan. Cutting emissions, increasing shared prosperity.
This funding opportunity includes over $150 million through the next five years for projects that reduce or sequester carbon emissions, create meaningful economic opportunities, and enhance Portland’s resilience to climate change.
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We have a new funding opportunity available! 

Collaborating for Climate Action was approved by the PCEF Committee in March 2024 to fund high-impact, multi-stakeholder projects that create equitable climate action solutions over the next five years. Over $150 million will be made available through Collaborating for Climate Action for projects that will be wrapping up by 2029. Applicants may request funding ranging from $20 million to $100 million.

While the funding opportunity was designed in response to unexpected additional revenues, it builds on recommendations made by the PCEF Committee in February 2024 and strategically complements the recently adopted Climate Investment Plan.

Information sessions

We hosted two identical, freeInformation Sessions to provide an overview of the Collaborating for Climate Action funding opportunity, clarify eligible expenses, and answer questions from prospective applicants. The sessions were recorded and can be viewed on YouTube.

Application period

The application period will be open April 4 - May 17, 2024. Please read the following information prior to applying.

Application process

The application process involves two steps:

  1. Submit a letter of interest by May 17, 2024.
  2. Following review of letters of interest, a select number of applicants will be invited to submit full detailed proposals in early June with an anticipated due date of mid-July 2024.

The PCEF Committee will recommend funding allocations to City Council by early September 2024.

Letters of interest will be evaluated on:

  • Viability of proposal.
  • Projected greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions or sequestration.
  • Projected benefits, co-benefits, and beneficiaries, with a focus on benefits to PCEF priority populations.
  • Diversity of coalition and/or strength of public-private collaboration. Proposals demonstrating significant engagement with at least one public partner will be given preference.
  • Community engagement.

Get started on your letter of interest.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to this funding opportunity:

  1. Project must result in meaningful reduction or sequestration of GHGs, except in cases involving the development of a workforce or contractor pool focused on climate action.
  2. Primary applicant must:
    1. Be a nonprofit organization or government entity, and
    2. Have co-applicants or demonstrate support from a community coalition.
  3. An organization or subdivision of a government entity may apply only once as the primary applicant on a proposal but may be a partner in other applications.
  4. Public or government entities include local governments, public school districts, transit agencies, redevelopment agencies, Federally recognized Tribes, and/or port authorities.
  5. At least one nonprofit community-based organization with a minimum of eight years’ experience in conducting community engagement in Portland focused on PCEF priority populations must be a member of the coalition.
  6. Prior to the disbursement of any allocated funds, project must have an executed community benefits plan, community benefits agreement, and/or community workforce agreement with input from co-applicants or community coalition partners. For background on community benefits plans, community benefits agreements, and/or community workforce agreements, please see the following US Department of Energy guide page.
  7. Project proposals (programmatic or physical improvements) must fall within one of the funding categories below and complement the priorities identified in the City’s Climate Emergency Workplan and PCEF Climate Investment Plan. (An application could include multiple funding categories, with an emphasis of demonstrating synergy in benefits and impact):
    1. Energy Efficiency
    2. Renewable Energy
    3. Green Infrastructure
    4. Regenerative Agriculture
    5. Transportation Decarbonization
    6. Workforce and Contractor Development
  8. Projects with physical improvements must be located within the City of Portland.

Uses of funds

Below is guidance for eligible uses of PCEF funds.

Funding can be used for:

  • Materials, supplies, and equipment purchases. Purchases must be in service of implementing an eligible PCEF project. PCEF does not require lowest cost budgeting; applicants should consider the social, economic, and environmental impacts of purchasing choices.
  • Expenses associated with maintaining an investment over its lifetime. Examples may include prepayment of a service warranty, HVAC maintenance contract, or five years of tree establishment care.
  • Project reporting. Reports, plans, and other material developed using grant funds are an allowable expense and considered public information.
  • Personnel expense. Time for direct staff to implement the project.

Allowable expenses, with specific limits and/or restrictions:

  • Indirect costs. Also sometimes called overhead costs, refer to general costs of operations such as rent, utilities, administrative staff, insurance, legal, website, and telecommunications that cannot be identified or tracked to a single activity, project, job, or contract. Indirect costs up to 15% will be allowed, unless the primary applicant has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement with a federal agency.
  • Building improvements. Improvements that are not directly related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, or green infrastructure measures but address life, health, safety, accessibility, or seismic issues are an allowable project expense as follows:
    • All projects may use up to 30% of the total construction budget on each site to address life, health, safety, accessibility, or seismic issues.
    • For sites that are used to provide shelter or community resilience functions during extreme climate events, projects may use up to 40% of the total construction budget on each site to address life, health, safety, accessibility, or seismic issues.
  • Net Zero and high-performance building projects. Applicants can request PCEF funding for constructing new or renovating existing buildings to achieve high-performance standards. For projects aimed at meeting "Net-Zero Energy" standards, up to 25% of the total project costs can be covered, including land acquisition and design, if relevant. Projects that fulfill the USGBC Living Green Buildings Challenge or equivalent criteria are eligible for funding up to 50% of total project costs.

Rules to know:

  • Wage requirements. All workers paid using PCEF funds must be paid at least 180% of area minimum wage. This wage is updated every year on July 1. For the time period July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025, the minimum wage a worker can be paid using PCEF funds is $28.71 per hour. Read about our wage requirements.
  • Rent stability. PCEF-funded improvements cannot be used as a basis for rent increases.