FAQs regarding TRRC funding processes

The following FAQs provide an overview of TRRC grant and loan processes. For further description, please see the Commission’s Strategic Plan and our document Funding Policies for Grant Awards: Information for Applicants and Grantees, and contact Commission Grants Staff:

Who can apply for TRRC funds?  Per the Virginia Constitution, the Commission’s public funds may only be granted or loaned to governmental entities (e.g. political subdivisions) or IRS-designated non-profits. Funds will not be awarded directly to for-profit or unincorporated entities.

Can funds be requested that will benefit a for-profit?  Requests that will ultimately benefit a for-profit entity must be submitted by an eligible applicant, and must commit to achieving measurable public benefits such as new job creation and taxable private capital investment.

How do I get started?  Prospective applicants should review the Commission’s Strategic Plan to see what types of projects and investments align with TRRC objectives and outcome metrics. The Commission has an optional pre-application that can then be submitted by a prospective applicant to TRRC staff. Written feedback is provided on what program may be a good fit for the project, as well as funding availability, timelines and requirements for applying.

How do I learn more about specific grant or loan programs?  See our Grant Programs section for information on each specific funding program. The pages describe the respective program objectives and outcome metrics, along with information on funding availability and timelines for applying.

How do I apply for grant or loan funds?  The Commission now accepts all funding requests using an online application portal that is linked to our website. Due dates for specific programs are announced on our website, and only those requests received by the due date will be considered by the Commission.

Who should I contact if I’m having issues with the application portal?  You can contact Suzette Patterson in the TRRC Richmond office at 804-225-3572 or SPatterson@revitalizeva.org.

What makes for a strong funding request?  Generally, requests that present a strong case for funding will be those that closely align with program objectives, have a clearly-stated need or market opportunity, have a focused plan for addressing the need or opportunity, have qualified project leaders and partners, have committed matching funds, measurably impact a significant number of tobacco region residents and localities, and will be sustainable beyond the period of Commission funding.

Are there projects and costs the Commission will NOT fund?  The Commission uses “economic base theory” to target investments to projects that will grow the economic base of a community and region by exporting goods and services, and thereby importing income to the region. The Strategic Plan and Funding Policies documents list several project types and expenses that do not directly accomplish expansion of the regional economic base, or are prohibited by policy or law.

Are matching funds required?  Yes, the Code of Virginia now requires that all Commission projects include at least dollar-for-dollar matching funds from non-Commission sources.

Do TRRC funds have to be used in the tobacco region?  Generally, yes. TRRC funds should be used in the 34 counties and six cities that comprise the tobacco region. Only in exceptional cases – such as acquiring equipment or services that cannot be procured within the tobacco region – will funds be approved for use outside the region.

What is the process once we apply for funds?  Commission staff typically takes six-to-eight weeks to review funding requests, then notifies applicants of a public meeting of the Program Committee (a subset of Commissioners) that is charged with recommending projects to the full Commission at one of the three annual meetings. Final funding decisions are made only by the full Commission at one of its meetings.

How often are funds awarded?  The Commission meets three times annually (January, May and September).  Grant/loan awards are usually approved for two-to-four specific programs at each meeting.

Are Committee and Commission meetings open to the public?  Absolutely.  Applicants and members of the general public are encouraged to attend any meetings, but particularly those where your project is to be discussed. Presentations are not expected of applicants, but Commissioners may have questions for project leaders. Meeting schedules and minutes of previous meetings are posted on our website.

What projects are eligible for grants versus loans?  Generally, projects that have an identifiable and recurring revenue stream – such as utilities infrastructure – will be recommended for credit analysis that may lead to the offer of a loan.

What is the process once funds are approved?  For all grants, the grantee first must sign grant agreement documents, prior to the release of funds. The Commission manages grants on a reimbursement basis, wherein the grantee must provide documentation of eligible project costs that have been expended, upon which reimbursement will then be provided. In extenuating circumstances – such as property and large equipment purchases – funds may be provided in advance for a documented purpose. If a loan is recommended, the project will be sent to our loan fund partners at Virginia Resources Authority for credit analysis and a potential loan offer.

How long do I have to complete my project?  Commission funds are typically granted for a period of up to three years, and loans for periods up to twenty years. Extensions beyond three years are possible for grants that have faced unforeseen delays but demonstrate substantial progress.

May we apply for phased funding?  In many cases the Commission has provided support for separate phases of a single project, such as engineering versus construction phases, although future funding is not guaranteed. Multiple requests for a single phase such as construction are discouraged.

May we re-apply if our initial request is unsuccessful?  Yes, and in this case it is usually helpful to confer with TRRC Grants Staff – prior to resubmitting a request – to discuss strategic fit, requested uses of funds, anticipated outcomes, areas of improvement, etc..

May we re-apply for a previously-funded project, or for new projects? Applications for a second phase or continuation of previously-funded projects will be reviewed for substantial achievement of previously-funded deliverables, and net new benefits from additional funding. Continuation funding for operational costs will generally not be a funding priority.