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Waterville Corridor Project

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston – Working Communities Challenge (WCC) Initiative

The Working Communities Challenge (WCC) advances local collaborative efforts that build strong, healthy economies and communities in Maine’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. Launched in 2020, the initiative supports local teams working together to improve economic outcomes for all people in Maine’s towns, cities, and rural communities. This unique three-year grant competition is supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the State of Maine, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers.

The city of Waterville submitted a letter of interest on December 1 to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and has since been formally invited to apply for a design grant application, which is due January 30, 2021. In conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s WCC, the initiative is a two-phase, 3.5-year grant opportunity to strengthen Maine’s rural towns, regions, and small cities.

Currently, the Waterville-based initiative is focusing on a project area along the Kennebec River encompassing the South End, Downtown, and the North End, and aims to capture recent growth and population trends to successfully transition our post-mill economy by focusing on collaborative housing initiatives, place-based economics, and driving connectivity between urban cores and residential neighborhoods.

Design Phase (April-September 2021)

A 6-month grant totaling $25,000 will be awarded to up to eight (8) cross-sector teams which represent towns, cities, and rural communities who are participating in the design phase. During this phase of the grant application, coaching and workshops will be provided to teams in order to strengthen and diversify teams to identify a “shared goal” of execution within their respective communities. By the end of the design phase, the selected teams will have familiarity with the initiative and be able to experiment with creating solutions for the issue they have chosen to focus on.

Implementation Phase (November 2021-November 2024)

The implementation phase is only eligible to teams that participated in the design phase of the grant application. Within the implementation phase, up to five teams will receive $375,000 over 3 years, as well as technical assistance, coaching, access to tactical grants and participation in the statewide learning community. The use of the grant funding is expected to go towards the existing work being performed in the community or towards the creation of new initiatives. The application for the grants will be released at the beginning of the design phase and will be due at the conclusion of the design phase.

Key Dates and Information
Design Phase Application Due: January 31, 2021 at 9pm
Grant Start and End Date: April 2021 through September 2021
Number and Size of Awards: Eight (8) Design Phase grants of $25,000 per award
Implementation Phase Application Due: September 2021
Grant Start Date: November 2021-2024

Duration: Three years
Number and Size of Awards: Five (5) Implementation grants of $375,000 per award

Design Phase Eligibility Criteria
  • • Articulation of a shared vision and goal in alignment with the Working Communities Challenge’s purpose and with the potential to change systems that leads to longer lasting outcomes for the community.
  • • Explicit focus on low-income residents inherent to the project, including the opportunity to change community conditions and systems for low-income residents. 
  • • Engagement of a strategically selected team, positioned to make change, including: leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors; leaders of community groups and groups that represent the collective voice of residents with low-income. 
  • • Strong desire and potential to affect concrete changes in policies, practices, resource flows, relationships, power dynamics, and mental models in the community or region to advance your goals.
  • • Identification of capacity to manage the grant award (responsible person/persons to manage the grant award and fiscal agent). 

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