Thriving Communities Network (TCN)
The Thriving Communities Network (TCN), co-chaired by the EPA and the Department of Transportation, is a federal interagency effort to coordinate place-based technical assistance (TA) and capacity-building resources for urban, rural, and Tribal communities experiencing a history of economic distress and systemic disinvestment.
On this page:
- Thriving Community Principles
- EPA’s EJ Thriving Communities Grants and Technical Assistance
- Thriving Communities Network Federal Partners
For decades, communities have requested resources and tools to successfully compete for federal funding. Through TCN, federal partners at the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Administration and General Services Administration commit to coordinating and collaborating across a set of TA programs and engaging their regional and field staff who often serve as key points of contact for communities.
The TCN is deploying four key strategies to support and connect communities:
- Technical Assistance that builds communities’ capacity to develop fundable projects that address community priorities, navigate federal programs, and apply for and deploy federal resources.
- Federal Interagency Coordination that supports and builds federal staff capacity to align public resources with community priorities.
- Data and Tools that support improved federal coordination and alignment of activities and resources for communities; and that facilitate community capacity-building and navigation of resources.
- Partnerships and Outreach that engages external stakeholders in amplifying and building on the Thriving Communities Network approach to community-centered capacity building.
The federal resources coordinated through TCN include grant and financial management support, pre-development assistance, community engagement, planning, and project delivery support. TCN is working to facilitate strategic coordination, collaboration, and targeted deployment of federal place-based technical assistance and capacity-building resources to the communities that need it most across the United States.
EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights has developed its grants and technical assistance programs around the following Thriving Communities principles.
- Scale for Impact – Proactively identify and collaboratively support transformative projects that demonstrate the potential for equitable, inclusive community and economic development in underserved communities.
- Build Community Wealth – Build long-term community capacity to successfully compete for, leverage, and manage the investment of Federal funds in strategic projects and activities that build lasting community wealth.
- Center the Power of Community – Provide technical assistance that values, leverages, and grows the local expertise existing within communities regarding their needs with inclusive and culturally competent public engagement processes.
- Meet Areas of Greatest Need – Prioritize support to rural, urban, suburban, and Tribal communities that have the greatest resource and capacity needs.
- Expand Access and Participation – Intentionally remove barriers and create access to economic, health care, education, energy, housing, and environmental opportunities in every part of the country.
- Diversify Knowledge – Diversify the pool of capacity-building providers to include a greater number of disadvantaged and small businesses, entrepreneurs, and those with community-based expertise.
In response to the input received from communities, EPA’s new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights has expanded its technical assistance and project grants for communities, and has launched a set of Thriving Communities programs intended to make these resources available to the communities that have faced the biggest barriers to accessing federal funds. These programs are designed to benefit and strengthen the capacity of the most underserved and historically marginalized rural, tribal, and urban places. This is part of EPA’s strategic goal to advance environmental justice and civil rights within its own programs, and at federal, tribal, state, and local levels.
These programs include:
Making Federal EJ Commitments Work Through Coordination of Place-based Capacity Building
Network Structure and Participating Programs. The TCN deploys technical assistance resources in part by leveraging a place-based network of local, regional, state, and Tribal organizations from the public, non-profit, and private sectors. TCN coordinates the delivery of capacity building technical assistance to prospective and current Federal program grantees directly through Federal staff and/or third-party providers on a range of activities such as:
- Meaningful public involvement, community engagement and collaboration
- Project visioning, scoping and planning
- Identifying and preparing to respond to Federal grant opportunities
- Identifying and blending Federal, state, local, Tribal and private financing
- Effectively managing Federal grants and procurements
- Data research and analysis methods and tools
- Designing and deploying workforce development and labor provisions
TCN participating agencies commit to make the following technical assistance programs available for purposes of supporting the priorities and objectives of the TCN:
- Department of Transportation (DOT) Thriving Communities Program, Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program, Regional Infrastructure Accelerators Program
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Thriving Communities Technical Assistance and Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice Thriving Community Technical Assistance Centers
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Partners Network
- Department of Commerce (DOC) Economic Development Administration (EDA) Economic Recovery Corps and Building Resilience Economies for Coal Communities Action Challenge
- Department of Energy (DOE)- Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization Rapid Response Teams, and Communities Local Energy Action Program
- General Services Administration (GSA) Center for Urban Development
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Direct Technical Assistance (BRIC DTA) and Capability- and Capacity-Building Activities (BRIC C&CB)