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Communities

Moving underserved communities forward

OPAL helps historically underserved communities lay a foundation for long-term revitalization through our Community Growth Accelerator (CGA), Property Development Assistance Program (PDAP), and Grant Writing Assistance program.

37

Communities Served

$16M+

Secured for CGA Real Estate Deals

$1.48M

In Grant Funding Secured

Community Growth Accelerator

We partner with community leaders through our Community Growth Accelerator (CGA) to identify creative ways to improve quality of place and local economic vitality. During CGA, we work with a local team to identify the project or initiative that can deliver the best results for the community based on the three metrics of speed to market, cost, and community impact. Then, we all work together to accelerate the execution process.

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Our focus is local and place-based, so each community’s results are unique to their needs and opportunities at the time of the engagement. CGA engagements have produced the following:

  • Grant funding for a LMI housing initiative
  • Design and capitalization of a local small business revolving loan fund
  • Pathway to revitalization of an anchor rural grocery store
  • Plan for redevelopment of historic downtown properties

For additional details, see our compilation of case studies around our CGA communities.

Thanks to a grant from the Economic Development Administration, OPAL is able to offer these services free of charge to any community in Alabama that is undergoing an economic recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a Main Street director, municipal leader, community or economic development professional interested in CGA, talk to Chris Frye or apply now.

Property Development Assistance Program (PDAP)

To ensure more great projects break ground, our Property Development Assistance Program (PDAP) helps property owners and emerging developers take a community-supported project through predevelopment to construction. PDAP often builds upon the work of a CGA team, which has developed a plan to activate a property to meet community needs and improve economic vitality.

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Our staff brings decades of experience developing and securing financing for commercial real estate projects across Alabama. During PDAP, we help individuals working in underserved markets navigate pre-development planning, budgeting, pro forma creation, and capital stacking. If you are a property owner, investor, or developer seeking predevelopment assistance, applications will reopen in 2024.

Grant Writing
Assistance

By connecting grassroots organizations and local municipalities to state, federal, and foundation grant funding, we can do more to improve quality of life in Alabama’s underserved places. Entities are not required to participate in CGA to access our Grant Writing Assistance (or PDAP); however, many have found that the organizational structure and focus of CGA creates a clearer grant proposal.

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We work on proposals to fund the following types of initiatives: 

  • New or improved affordable or workforce housing
  • Activation of public or community spaces and outdoor recreation
  • Support for small businesses – especially minority and/or women-owned enterprises
  • Preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and sites 
  • Food access for underserved communities
  • Community-based economic development 
  • Infrastructure grants, provided local capacity exists to execute community engagement, professional services, feasibility studies or cost-benefit analyses, and match funding

Proposals to fund unique programs outside of these areas may be considered. Grant writing fees are contracted on a per project basis. In specific instances, we can provide grant writing free of charge to community-based organizations that have designed an initiative through CGA, provided there is a compelling case for need.

If you have designed an initiative and identified a potential funding source, reach out to Keya Kraft.

Additional Community Services Through ALTogether

The same EDA grant that supports CGA, PDAP, Grant Writing and OCC also supports critical work performed by Main Street Alabama and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. See our ALtogether page for additional details.