Community Action Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Program

The Community Action Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Program is a funding program to develop equity-based partnerships and provide resources and support in the Bay Area, especially with and for the underserved and Equity Priority Communities.

Zander Design

The CARE Program is a source of funding to support programs that advance equity. The fund will award $21 million in state and federal funds starting in fiscal year 2023-2024.

The funding will target community-based transportation projects that have been identified as high-priority by local communities. CARE will also support technical assistance for community-based organizations and local governments.

MTC is investing in expanded mobility access and opportunity throughout the Bay Area. There is a focus on neighborhoods that are underserved or overburdened, or are part of a designated Equity Priority Community.

The CARE Program builds on the work done in the Lifeline Transportation Program. CARE expands MTC’s equity investment approach, and prioritizes the needs identified by individual communities in their Community-Based Transportation Plans (CBTPs) and Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan.

In summer 2023, a Call for Interest process was initiated to help shape the CARE program and to understand project needs for technical assistance and capacity building.  This process informed the development of the program’s Funding Guidelines approved November 2023 in MTC Resolution 4604. The guidelines describe funding available, as well as  the rules under federally funded OBAG eligible areas and state-funded REAP eligible areas. 

The next step is  to launch the Call for Projects for the three technical assistance and/or capacity building grant categories under the CARE Program.

Additional Details

Three Grant Categories

Applicants are encouraged to apply to one or more of the following categories:

  • Category 1: Project Development Technical Assistance for Community Based Transportation Plan or Coordinated Plan projects
  • Category 2: Participatory Budgeting Process and Project Implementation for High Priority Neighborhood-level projects
  • Category 3: Community Power-Building and Engagement

Process & Deadlines

For Categories 1 and 2: These are delayed, pending resolution of California state budget uncertainties for Regional Early Action  Planning (REAP) 2.0 grants  funds. The launch of the Call for Projects is anticipated once REAP 2.0 status is determined later this year. Completed applications will only be accepted during the upcoming time period (to be announced). 

This new Category 3: Community Power-Building and Engagement program is advancing, using $1.5 million in local funds, and the remaining $2 million (pending REAP grant status). This program will undergo a different process, starting with a “call for interest/application process” for community-based organizations to co-design this initiative. A 12-member Community Advisory Working Group will be involved with shaping the Cycle 1 (2023-24 through 2025-26) priorities. The call for interest and details for the Community Advisory Working Group are anticipated to be released mid-April 2024, with a deadline for expressing interest by mid-May.

Eligible Recipients & Subrecipients

MTC will be seeking applications from eligible Project Sponsors in the Bay Area:

  • For REAP 2: Cities, counties, public transit agencies, county transportation agencies, Tribal entities, community-based organizations, public housing authorities, academic institutions, school districts and special districts. See additional information from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
  • For OBAG: Cities, counties, public transit agencies, federally recognized Tribal governments and county transportation agencies. Non-profit organizations are only eligible for OBAG funds if they partner with an eligible OBAG recipient.

CARE Timeline

Activity Anticipated Date

Cycle 1 Call for Projects for: 

  • Category 1: Project Development Technical Assistance for CBTP/CP projects
  • Category 2: Participatory Budgeting Process and Project Implementation
Fall 2024 (pending REAP grant status)
Application deadline for Category 1 and Category 2 for project sponsors to submit eligible project(s) to MTC. No completed applications will be accepted before the deadline. Pending REAP grant status
Application released for 12-member Community Advisory Working Group to co-design Category 3: Community Power-Building and Engagement  Mid-April 2024
Deadline to submit application for Community Advisory Working Group Mid-May 2024
Information sessions: Category 3: Power-Building and Engagement Summer 2024
Application released for Call for Projects for Category 3 projects Summer 2024
Deadline to submit application for Category 3 eligible projects Late Summer 2024
Commission approval of Category 3 projects Early Fall 2024
Project sponsors awarded funds Fall 2024
“Nothing About Us Without Us”

Across the nation’s transportation sector, movements have been and are taking place to advance equity, strengthen community engagement and standardize inclusive processes. These efforts are in response to growing public demand for transparency, accountability and more collaboration directly with communities.

“Participatory grantmaking” invites community-based organizations and other “on the ground” stakeholders to help prioritize where funds should be spent, to help determine the priorities for transportation and mobility within local communities. These stakeholders help set priorities, develop strategies and are directly involved in how funding decisions are made. The approach shifts power in grantmaking decisions to the people most affected by the issues.

MTC’s participatory grantmaking considers the following core elements in its practice:

  • It is values-based;
  • Involves community in the grantmaking process;
  • Application and reporting processes are simple and relatively flexible and transparent; and
  • Builds and strengthens larger equity efforts.
Community Advisory Working Group

The Community Advisory Working Group (CAWG) will be responsible for providing input and feedback to inform Power-building and Engagement (Pb&E) components of the CARE Program, including:  

  • Process for outreach, applications and Pb&E focus areas.
  • Questions and/or prompts included in the call for applications for Pb&E.  
  • Criteria and scoring rubric for Pb&E.
  • Capacity and technical assistance needs to foster partnerships across sectors and community engagement in transportation and well-being initiatives.
  • Framework for evaluating and learning from the initial round of Pb&E.

MTC will facilitate meetings and gather input from the CAWG. MTC will make final decisions on program design and implementation.  

The first meeting of the Community Advisory Working Group will be held on May 1, 2024.

2023 Past Informational Meeting from Call for Interest Process

MTC hosted two one-hour online informational meetings about the interest and shaping of the CARE Program on July 12 and July 19, 2023. (The content of both meetings was the same.)