Community Project Funding (CPF) is a special kind of discretionary congressionally directed spending. Before 2021, CPF was simply known as “earmarks.” After a decade hiatus, earmarks were restored as CPF with additional accountability, disclosure, and transparency requirements. Your city may already have an annual process for fielding CPF submissions for your members of Congress. To date, each representative may make up to 10-15 requests (varies by year) per fiscal year while each senator may make unlimited requests. Total CPF funding may not exceed 1% of total discretionary spending. For context, this amounted to roughly $15 billion in FY2021, the year CPF debuted.
While not explicitly oriented toward clean energy and climate action, CPF is a general source of funding that may be used to advance such projects. Accordingly, you have ample leeway to use CPF to meet your city’s needs. Here are suggestions when planning for a CPF request:
- Use CPF to launch projects that are (1) innovative and ambitious, (2) not easily funded by other programs, and/or (3) otherwise ready to go but for near-term budget gaps.
- Engage community-based organizations and other key stakeholders to align requests with their existing plans and priorities.
- Consider the political landscape when timing requests and selecting congressional sponsors.
- Review the Pitch Deck for Local Governments to prepare the best strategy to get buy-in from city leadership, community partners, and elected officials.
- Meet with members of Congress to discuss potential requests as early as possible.
Here are some early examples that highlight a wide array of equitable decarbonization-related projects funded, in part, with CPF dollars: