Transportation Justice Requests for Proposals

2020 Transportation Justice/Transportation and Climate Initiative Funding Opportunity

Thank you to all applicants in the second round of our Transportation Justice/Transportation and Climate subgrants. Applications are now closed; this page is maintained for reference.

Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) is seeking proposals to advance work at the intersection of transportation and social justice. T4MA strongly encourages applications from activists and organizations led by and/or in support of people of color and under-represented, under-resourced communities. T4MA awarded a set of twelve grants in February 2019. 

Applications may include organizational capacity-building for transportation-focused initiatives, advocacy, community engagement, programming, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, and/or other activities. T4MA expects to award between 5 to 10 grants, of $7,500 to $10,000 each, in Summer 2020. Awards must be expended by July 1, 2021, and a summary report is due by August 2, 2021. This funding opportunity is for a one-time grant only; additional, future funding under this program is not guaranteed.

To see a summary of projects funded in 2019, please see Appendix B

COVID-19 UPDATE: In these uncertain times, T4MA understands that many activists and organizations are helmed by leaders who are taking care of their housebound family members. We are committed to be as flexible as possible with our RFP deadline and ask that you reach out to Angela Johnson-Rodriguez at [email protected] if you are in need of an extension. 

Grant Applications Period:

  • Monday, March 30th 9:00 am EST - Friday, May 15th 5:00 pm EST. Please note the extended deadline to May 15th.

Who should apply:

  • T4MA welcomes applications from community-based organizations with 501(c)3 status, organizations with fiscal sponsors, or individual and community-based grassroots activists. 

Who is Transportation for Massachusetts?

  • T4MA is a diverse coalition of more than 90 member and partner organizations with a stake in improving transportation across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our coalition advocates at the state, federal, and local levels for transportation policies that are innovative, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. We want a transportation system that strengthens our economy and our communities, while also being safer, healthier, more affordable and reliable.
  • We are committed to transportation justice. We recognize that historic underinvestment in low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color has led to negative impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods. Even well-intended transportation policy can reinforce transportation injustice and lead to displacement. Transportation policy harms communities if it is not grounded in the community’s needs, aspirations, and civic fabric. We commit to advancing transportation options such as walking, cycling, and public transportation, to help reverse racial and economic inequities in Massachusetts.

Who should submit proposals?

  • This RFP is open to community-based organizations and individual activists working at the intersection of transportation access and social justice for and/or with under-represented and under-resourced communities. Underrepresented and under-resourced communities include, but are not limited to: 
    • Communities of color (Black, Asian, Arab, Latino/a/x, Native American)
    • Low to moderate income
    • Older adults 
    • People with disabilities
    • Communities that lack access to grocery stories, public transportation, and/or affordable housing
    • Environmental justice communities, such as those disproportionately impacted by nearby power plants, oil refineries, factories, sewage plants, large scale bus depots, airports, etc.
  • Priority will be given to applicants based in Massachusetts that are not presently T4MA members or partners. T4MA sees this grant process as an opportunity to fund applicants who can help build impactful relationships with grassroots organizations and community activists across Massachusetts and other states participating in the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Applicants outside of Massachusetts are limited to submitting proposals under the Transportation and Climate Initiative category that are transportation justice focused. 
  • Non-profit organizations with a 501(c)3 designation, or with a Fiscal Sponsor, or individual activists may apply.

What programs are eligible to receive funding?

  • Proposals should demonstrate how the grant recipient will advance work at the intersection of transportation and justice. This work could include organizational capacity-building for projects, advocacy, transportation-justice focused programming, informing the Transportation and Climate Initiative, and/or other activities. T4MA encourages proposals that work to advance multiple goals at one time.
  • Proposals may support work that is already in progress. Applicants do not need to present new projects to apply for this grant. If applying for a project already in progress, be sure to include the current status and activities of that work. Funds awarded must be expended by July 1, 2021.

Applicants may apply for grants under the following categories:

  • Capacity-building: Organizations and activists looking to add capacity to present and future projects at the intersection of transportation access and social justice. 
    • Examples: Salary and stipends for short-term projects, such as providing internships, volunteer recruitment & training, grant writing, and/or board/staff training. 
  • Community Engagement and Advocacy: Organizations and activists looking to identify policy initiatives and/or plan a campaign in 2020-2021 relating to transportation justice, or advance their overall mission, may apply through this category. Organizations and activists also seeking to build relationships with their target audiences for potential collaboration may apply under this category. 
    • Examples: Creating opportunities for community engagement and input on transportation issues through avenues such as a town hall on regional bus service. Proposals under this category may also be used to jumpstart new campaigns or fund existing ones. Travel funds within Massachusetts may be considered under this option.  
  • Projects and Programming: Organizations and activists delving into transportation justice-related projects and programming may apply for funding. 
    • Examples: Research that advances a broader understanding of transportation justice or the hiring of a short-term consultant to draft the viability of projects that could enhance access in targeted communities. 
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI): Organizations and activists interested in researching solutions to mitigate and combat rising emissions and air pollution from the transportation sector in the following states: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. Please note, applicants not located in Massachusetts are only eligible for funding under this category. To read more about TCI, please see Appendix A
    • Examples: Respondents may propose to participate in ongoing regional conversations about how TCI can be designed in equitable ways that benefit under-represented and under-resourced communities. Applicants interested in TCI could use funding for travel grants to advocacy meetings and for relationship-building in Massachusetts and/or across the TCI states for TCI work, or host regional forums to discuss how revenue from TCI could impact environmental justice communities. 

To see a summary of projects funded in 2019, please see Appendix B. 

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria. Please note that the grant submission form is limited; the funder is seeking brevity

  • Description of a community-level issue or concern that the grant proposes to address.
  • Demonstration of organizational need for capacity to achieve specific objectives
  • Demonstrated leadership from community residents most impacted by transportation injustice or commitment to incorporate community participation from such residents
  • Description of a project that will advance specific values.
  • Demonstrated promise or record of success in the area of focus. 

What is the timeline for awarding funding? (Please see COVID-19 update below)


Time Period

Grant Application Period Opens       

March 30, 2020

Q&A Period for Clarification of RFP

March 30 - April 20, 2020

Grant Application Period Closes (New Deadline)

May 15, 2020

Submission Evaluation Period by T4MA

May 18 - 28, 2020

Expected Grant Notification Period

June 1 - 5, 2020

Grant Activities Period

July 1, 2020 - July 2, 2021

Grant Reports Due

August 2, 2021

How should proposals be submitted?

All applicants must complete and submit a Funding Application. 

The Funding Application consists of a set of questions, limited by word counts. T4MA’s intent is to moderate the time burden for organizations engaged in community-based work.

Funding Applications may be submitted in one of three ways: 

  1. Proposals may be submitted through an online form.
  2. The application may be filled out in Word format following this link and emailed to Angela Johnson-Rodriguez.
  3. While options (1) or (2) are preferred, applicants who wish to mail in their proposal may send it to: Angela Johnson-Rodriguez, T4MA, 50 Milk Street, 16th Fl, Boston, MA 02109. Please email Angela Johnson-Rodriguez if you plan to mail your proposal.

Letters of Support (optional)

Up to three short letters of support may be provided, but are not mandatory. These may be sent separately from the online application, or included with the mailed application. The deadline is the same as for the application.

Proposals should be submitted through the online form, sent electronically, or postmarked by May 15, 2020. Note that this is an extended deadline.

Contact Information for Questions

For questions or concerns connected to this RFP, please refer to this FAQ or contact:

Angela Johnson-Rodriguez, Statewide Organizing Director
[email protected]

This funding is made possible through a grant from the Barr Foundation to support efforts to promote transportation justice and climate resiliency.



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