Maximize Your Impact

This page lists current opportunities for resources, funding, and technical assistance to help cities go deeper with GreenStep Cities’ best practices. This page will be updated as new offerings become available.                            

Clean Energy Communities Small Grant

The Minnesota Department of Commerce grant program is intended to encourage increased participation in educational initiatives that promote the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, address climate issues, and that empower, inspire, and motivate a new generation of energy leaders, of all ages and backgrounds, in communities around Minnesota. The grant will help plan and implement energy education initiatives to be showcased within the Energy Exhibit in the Eco Experience at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. Grant awards are designed to be used for expenses to plan, develop, and create Clean Energy Community educational messages, displays, and materials (in coordination with Commerce) and to provide one day of staffing at exhibit during the State Fair. The grants are available to qualified applicants who are representatives of a Minnesota community. For the purposes of this grant, a Community can consist of any group formed to implement clean energy goals. Units of government (city, county, tribal nation, school district, military unit, or other jurisdiction) must be the primary applicant and fiscal agent, but coalitions that include nonprofits, service organizations, and businesses will strengthen the application.

Funding: 12 grants up to $2,500 each
Timeline: Due April 1


Resilient Communities Project - University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is now accepting applications from cities, counties, tribal governments, special districts, and regional government agencies or collaboratives in Minnesota for Small-Scale RCP Partnerships for the 2019–2020 academic year. Our new Small-Scale RCP Partnership opportunity is intended for communities seeking to collaborate with RCP on one to ten (1–10) projects. Successful applicants will benefit from research and technical assistance on locally identified projects that advance community resiliency, provided by students and faculty at the University of Minnesota from a variety of departments and disciplines.

Timeline: Priority Deadline for Applications: April 15; Final Deadline for Applications: May 1


Sustainable City Award Nominations

The League of Minnesota Cities is accepting nominations for an award that recognizes sustainability efforts of cities participating in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. The "Sustainable City Award" will be presented yearly to a single city at the LMC Annual Conference.

Timing: Nominations due May 6


LEED for Cities & Communities Grant

To realize a sustainable future for all, the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart cities and resilient communities. To further that goal, USGBC and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation have created the LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program to provide support to a cohort of local governments pursuing certification under the LEED for Cities and Communities rating system.

Funding: At least 14 communities will be selected to recieve award packages valued at approximately $25,000 each.
Timeline: Apply by March 22


GreenCorps Host Site Applications now Available

The MPCA plans to place up to 42 full-time members with host sites throughout Minnesota. Members serve approximately 40 hours a week for 11 months, September 2019 through August 2020. Minnesota GreenCorps is an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the MPCA, which places AmeriCorps members with organizations throughout Minnesota to spend a year of service addressing critical environmental issues, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. Eligible organizations include public entities (local, regional, state, tribal), school districts, not for profit institutions of higher education, and 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Organizations may apply for Minnesota GreenCorps members who will serve on projects in one of the following four focus areas:

  • Air pollutant reduction
  • Community readiness and outreach
  • Green infrastructure improvements
  • Waste reduction, recycling, and organics management

Timeline: Applicaitons are due by March 22 (member applications coming out soon)


Project Green Fleet Grant

The Project Green Fleet Act is accepting applications for cities to upgrade heavy duty diesel equipment with newer, cleaner, and more efficient machines. The program is offered through the EPA and would provide grants of 25-40 percent of the cost to replace diesel equipment. Engines must be 1996 or newer, operate at least 500 hours per year, and the old engine must be destroyed to be eligible. The grant currently applies to machines operating in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Olmsted counties.

Funding:  Project Green Fleet will work with your community to determine which vehicles are eligible. There are no costs to participate in the program!
Timeline: Apply by March 6

Water Infrastructure Improvement Project Funding

State agencies are now accepting submissions to place public wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water infrastructure improvement projects on the 2020 Project Priority Lists (PPL) and Intended Use Plans (IUP) for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Projects must be listed on the appropriate PPL as the first step to be eligible for funds. System owners must request that their projects be placed on the appropriate 2020 IUP if they expect to be ready for construction and are seeking revolving funds for fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020). The two state revolving fund programs are administered by the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA), with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The PFA provides low-interest loans or grants to local governments for eligible projects based on priorities determined by the MPCA (for wastewater and stormwater projects) and MDH (for drinking water projects).

Project Priority List – Clean Water Revolving Fund

  • Wastewater and stormwater projects
  • Deadline: March 1 to MPCA
  • PPL application and scoring worksheet (including supporting documentation, as required)
  • Wastewater facilities plans
  • Stormwater project plans
  • Contact: Bill Dunn, MPCA, at 651-757-2324 or
  • More information:

Project Priority List – Drinking Water Revolving Fund

Intended Use Plans – both programs


LCCMR accepting proposals for $53 million grant round

The Legislative- Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) is accepting funding proposals through April 15 for projects that protect, conserve, preserve, and enhance Minnesota’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. The commission reviews applications and makes funding recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, derived from lottery proceeds and investment income.

Funding: There is no minimum or maximum request amount. $53 million is expected for projects beginning on July 1, 2010.
Timeline: Applicants are encouraged to submit draft proposals by March 15 to receive staff feedback. Final proposals must be submitted online at by April 15.


Clean Water Partnership Loans

The Clean Water Partnership (CWP) program offers zero-interest loans to local units of government for implementing nonpoint-source best management practices and other activities that target the restoration and protection of a water resource such as a lake, stream, or groundwater aquifer.

Eligible projects include:

  • Urban green infrastructure such as rain water reuse, green roofs, porous pavement, or any stormwater best management practice (BMP)
  • Buffers: purchase of native seeds and vegetation
  • Septic system upgrades and replacements
  • Technical assistance, outreach, and education
  • Equipment such as conservation tillage equipment
  • Any nonpoint source BMP
  • Feedlot upgrades and replacement  

Funding: Up to $2 million, 0% interest
Timing: Accepted on a rolling basis


2018/19 GreenStep Workshops

New workshops are planned for GreenStep and other MN communities, to be held at the League of Minnesota Cities office in St. Paul and live webcast. Topics are being finalized and will be posted on the GreenStep web page soon. Anyone is welcome to attend!

  • April 3 – The Smart City: Energy & Dollars Saved by Smart Data Use
  • May 1 - Deep Energy Efficiency: Red Wing City & School Acccomplishments

Link: (See past workshops archived at


Menu of Climate Adaptation Strategies

Resource: The menu includes many "no regrets" strategies that can improve daily quality of life for the community, while helping reduce risk for those groups most vulnerable to climate impacts – the very old or very young, people with health issues, disabilities, economic vulnerability, outdoor occupations, exposure to environmental pollution, or cultural/language barriers, people of color.


Contact for more information: Laura Millberg, MPCA


Resources from EPA Office of Sustainable Communities

Local Foods, Local Places helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and revitalize downtowns through the development of local food systems. To date, nearly 80 communities have benefited from assistance.

Healthy Places for Healthy People helps community leaders and health care partners focus on health as an economic driver and catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization. Healthcare partners include community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities. To date, 10 communities have benefited from assistance. The Healthy Places for Healthy People web page has short videos on our work in Corbin, KY, and Williamson, WV. Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit: Based on the best practices and lessons learned from Local Foods, Local Places workshops, EPA developed the Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit to help communities interested in using local foods to support downtown and neighborhood revitalization. The toolkit provides step-by-step instructions for planning and hosting a community workshop and includes case studies and templates communities can adapt to their needs. Harlan, Kentucky, participated in the Local Foods, Local Places technical assistance program in 2017; listen to this podcast to hear how Harlan is working to grow the local food economy and revitalize downtown.

Smart Growth Fixes for Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Changing Land Use and Building Codes and Policies to Prepare for Climate Change is a guide that describes specific changes communities could make to their land use and building policies to prepare for climate change while gaining other environmental, economic, health, and social benefits in the short and long terms.

Framework for Creating a Smart Growth Economic Development Strategy: A Tool for Small Cities and Towns is a step-by-step guide to building a place-based economic development strategy, intended for small and mid-sized cities, particularly those that have limited population growth, areas of disinvestment, and/or a struggling economy.


Warm Mix Asphalt – Technical Assistance

Technical Assistance: The US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 out of Chicago, is seeking to work with local governments, private companies and other organizations that contract asphalt paving to reduce emissions from asphalt production through the use of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA). WMA is an alternative to traditional Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA) with equivalent performance at mixing temperatures 50-100 degrees F lower. WMA uses the same production equipment as HMA, but achieves lower temperatures through the addition of chemical or organic additives or water. WMA works as a compaction tool for contractors seeking to achieve contract densities faster and more easily. Adoption of WMA technology can reduce energy use by 20-30% along with odors and air emissions like “blue smoke” that are harmful to workers and neighbors, especially children and other vulnerable populations.

A regional U.S. EPA engineer, Dawid Kierys, is offering to provide technical assistance on using/contracting for warm mix asphalt and in writing contract language to specify WMA for your road projects.

Interested? If you are interested in learning more, please contact Dawid Kierys at 312.353.7446 or


Brownfields + Health Planning Tool

Resource: Revitalizing brownfield sites offers an opportunity for communities to spur economic growth, resolve neighborhood blight, increase community connectivity, restore ecological balance and promote public health. The benefits are tremendous, but often the task of transforming these sites into productive community assets can present challenges, including the complicated process of identifying and prioritizing the redevelopment strategies that will best meet the long-term needs of the environment and community. Minnesota Brownfields and the Minnesota Department of Health have developed a Brownfield and Health Indicator Tool to help community planners, landscape architects, developers and community leaders overcome this challenge.

The Brownfield and Health Indicator Tool incorporates a series of indicators that address community health factors and aims to streamline project decision-making process by providing a framework for stakeholders to identify and prioritize re-development goals. Designed as a self-guided tool by those who influence and work on brownfield projects, the Brownfield Health Indicator Tool’s framework supports existing project decision-making processes. To access the Brownfield Health Indicator Tool, visit Brownfield Health Indicator Tool or Brownfields and Public Health. To learn more about the tool’s launch and current pilot project by the City of Duluth, click here.

Contact: Natalie Brown, Program Manager at Minnesota Brownfields


Citizens Utility Board Presentation by Request

Opportunity: CUB of Minnesota Outreach Director Carmen Carruthers is scheduling presentations and utility bill clinics for this spring and summer. Our staff can help attendees understand their utility bills, highlight ways to reduce energy costs, explain options to get renewable power, and make people aware of programs and rebates for which they might be eligible. Presentations can be customized to the local utilities and the specific interests of each group.

Timing: Ongoing

Contact: Find out more, and contact Carmen if you’re interested in requesting a speaker: 612-568-5706 or


Current Grant Opportunities - League of Minnesota Cities Database

See current grant opportunities as part of the LMC Resource Library -