The Hometown Strong Rural Grants Program was established with one goal: to help bring federal funding to rural communities in North Carolina. 

The Hometown Strong Rural Grants team focuses on getting federal dollars into rural communities and providing the capacity, training, and finance planning support these communities need in order to be successful in federal funding. We provide direct, free-of-charge grantwriting support to rural towns, counties, and regions to increase federal funding for projects within North Carolina, offering a comprehensive approach to long-term financial planning through grant strategies that leverage federal, state, and private funds.

Here’s how we work:

Hometown Strong has hired grants staff to work directly with town, county, or council of government staff on grant applications, offering customized support to each agency. 

If you already have a grant application selected or underway, we can immediately provide support with either technical assistance (drafting portions of a grant applications, reviewing and making recommendations, etc.) or full grant writing support. 

If you don't yet know which opportunity is right for you, then our support begins by learning more about your project and compiling a full funding brief on both immediate grant opportunities as well as long-term funding strategies. Then, we work with a designated member of your staff to develop a compelling grant narrative and source all the information that is required for each federal grant opportunity. 

Even if you decide not to pursue federal funding, working with our team will allow you to pull together a funding plan that ensures your project can be funded in future cycles. We can also support you with letters of support from state agencies and leadership and provide grant writing and grant administration training. 

If you're interested in partnering with us on a grant proposal, please fill out the short form below, and our team will be in touch to schedule an initial call. Funding research reports take between 4-6 weeks from the initial call.

FAQ About Eligibility

While we do our best to support everyone we can, there are some guidelines for who we work with: 

  • We focus primarily on local governments in rural communities across North Carolina. If you are a nonprofit in an active partnership with a local government, we can also support you with funding research and grant support. 
  • If you are a very small nonprofit, our services are probably not a good fit for you. Federal (and state) grants are difficult and complex, and most small nonprofits don't pursue this funding due to a lack of capacity for writing and administering these grants. We encourage you to explore other nonprofit support and capacity building programs, which will likely be more useful to your fundraising goals. 
  • If you do not have a 501c3 or government legal status, we cannot support you with grant research unless you have an active fiscal sponsor that you have worked with for at least two years. 
  • If your government is under active LGC management, you will be ineligible for most federally funded programs until the active period of management has ended. 
  • If you are seeking construction funding and don't yet have site control or ownership, it is unlikely that you are eligible for any federal or state construction or infrastructure funding.

If you have questions about whether your agency or project is a good fit for our work, please reach out to Matt Schuneman, our project manager and grant analyst, at matthew.schuneman@hts.nc.gov with your questions. 

Not ready to bring a project in yet? Sign up for our newsletter here to stay up to date on training opportunities, grant deadlines, and more. 

Share your project with our team today!

Other ways we can support your work

We provide referrals, agency letters of support, and constructive feedback on proposals.
  • Referrals to relevant state funding opportunities 

  • Coordination of letters of support from state agencies and the Governor’s office when feasible, and

  • Constructive feedback on proposals already drafted. 

We provide training for grant writing and grant administration.

Hometown Strong’s Rural Grants Program will provide grant writing and administration training opportunities beginning in Spring 2024. Lack of knowledge and capacity to administer federal grants is one of the biggest challenges rural governments face. These resources will support long-term capacity building in rural communities for future projects.  

We provide long-term resources to help rural governments to secure and administer grant funding.  

The HTS Rural Grants Program is currently developing a comprehensive grant training curriculum that can be used by agency and university partners. If you're an agency partner who'd like to collaborate on grant training and resources, please reach out to our director, Emily Adair

To learn more about the work of the HTS Rural Grants Program, you can sign up for our newsletter here