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Smart Growth Grants

Smart Growth Grant Program Guidance

NAR's Smart Growth Action Grants support a wide range of land-use and transportation-related activities. The activities must support REALTOR® engagement in land-use and/or transportation-related community issues with the primary goal of affecting public policies that support development that meets one or more of the 10 Smart Growth Principles (see below). The project should also raise the profile of REALTORS® as community leaders and enhance REALTOR® relationships with local elected officials. 

Funding Levels

Level One

  • Purpose: to host NAR's "Smart Growth for the 21st Century" course or other educational activity such as a speaker who can address specific growth issues impacting your community.
  • Maximum grant: $1,500, maximum of two Level-1 grant per year per association.
  • Application due date: accepted on a rolling basis, January through October 15th, decision announced approximately one week later.
  • Application form: Click here for Level-1 application
  • Expected financial participation by applicant: as needed to meet all additional costs, either by admission fee or association contribution.
  • Program prerequisites: none

Level Two 

  • Purpose: To provide seed funding to enable a state or local association to make the initial efforts to engage local land use/transportation policy issues with other stakeholders and elected officials. No donations to other organizations unless Realtors® are substantially engaged in activity. Level 2 is appropriate for sponsoring events.
  • Maximum grant: $5,000, maximum of two Level-2 grant per year per association.
  • Application due date: the 15th of each month, January through October; decisions announced approximately one month later.
  • Application form: Click here for Level-2 application
  • Expected financial participation by applicant: Minimum 10% of requested grant amount.
  • Program prerequisites: none.

Level Three

  • Purpose: To support in-depth projects with multiple funding sources, such as a Charrette, Complete Streets Policy, or Master Plan, and must involve multiple partners at least some of which are contributing financially to the effort.
  • Maximum grant: $15,000, maximum of one Level-3 grant per year per association.
  • Application due date: the 15th of each month, January through October; decisions announced approximately one month later.
  • Application form: Click here for Level-3 application
  • Expected financial participation by applicant: Minimum 10% of requested grant amount.
  • Program prerequisites: Previous use of a Level Two grant or a history of smart growth activity and meaningful partnerships to advance land use/transportation policy which may build on work already done.

The following grant guidance apply to all grant levels.

Grant Payment to Selected Applicants:

  • All grant awards are paid on a reimbursement basis.
  • Funds are distributed when NAR receives:
    • Proof of expenditure in the form of receipts, signed contracts, or invoices.
    • Proof of expenditure coversheet itemizing submission documents, click here to download.
    • Self-evaluation form, click here to download.
    • One or two items resulting from the effort such as photos, or a plan, a study, etc.

The Grant Program requires that:

  • The funds be used within one year of the award or returned to NAR.
  • You complete an evaluation form(s) after your activity is complete. Unless this evaluation form is returned your association will not be eligible to receive another grant.
  • Applications should be submitted by email by the association AE or with the AE copied.

The Grant Program allows that:

  • If your association has previously been awarded a grant you may apply again to support a new activity or further development of an existing activity.
  • Funding requests related to green building and energy efficiency be used to advance public policies that support development of green residential and commercial buildings.
  • Proposals that address housing issues must do so from the point of view of land use public policy issues (zoning codes, community planning, development issues, etc.) and cannot be used to fund efforts such as housing programs or housing construction.
  • Funding of websites is only permissible if the website is integral to the execution of a land-use policy initiative.

Grants cannot fund:

  • NAR-sponsored courses, except Level-1 grants for NAR’s Smart Growth Course.
  • Activities that will have occurred prior to six weeks after the application deadline.
  • Funds cannot be used to purchase capital items (tools, park benches, etc).
  • The funds cannot be used as donations to other organizations unless there is significant REALTOR® activity associated with the collaborative effort.

10 Smart Growth Principles

Based on the experience of communities around the nation that have used smart growth approaches to create and maintain great neighborhoods, the Smart Growth Network developed a set of ten basic principles:

  1. Mix land uses
  2. Take advantage of compact building design
  3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
  4. Create walkable neighborhoods
  5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
  6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
  7. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
  8. Provide a variety of transportation choices
  9. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
  10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions

Send your questions and completed applications to (e-mail preferred):
Hugh Morris
National Association of REALTORS®
500 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202/383-1278
E-mail: hmorris@realtors.org