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 Draft Guidelines. The Draft Guidelines describe funding available, as well as  the rules under federally funded OBAG eligible areas and state-funded REAP eligible areas. Draft Guidelines are now available for review.  Comments on the Draft Guidelines may be submitted to jsantos@bayareametro.gov

The next step is to finalize the guidelines and launch the Call for Projects process, anticipated in mid-November 2023. Applications will be due February 15, 2024.

Additional Details

Three Grant Categories

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

  • Community Based Transportation Plan or MTC Coordinated Plan Project Development
  • High-Priority Neighborhood Project Implementation (Participatory Budgeting)
  • Community Power-Building and Engagement

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 Status
Call for Interest and Project Ideas: Survey Announcement Release June 23, 2023 Complete
Informational Meetings July 12 and July 19, 2023 Complete
Interest/Project Idea Survey Deadline July 26, 2023 Complete
MTC Review of Submitted Ideas July and Ongoing Ongoing
MTC Commission Action on Cycle 1 Program Guidelines November 15, 2023 Upcoming
Call for Projects Application Release (In Coordination with County Transportation Agencies) November 16, 2023 Upcoming
Application Deadline for Project Sponsors to Submit an Eligible project(s) to MTC February 15, 2024 Upcoming
MTC Commission Approval of Program of Projects April 24, 2024 Upcoming
“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.
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. (The content of both meetings was the same.)