Who is eligible to apply for Smart Growth grants?

Applications can only be submitted by a state or local REALTOR® association.

What are the maximum funding amounts?

There are three grant levels.  Requests may be made up to the  maximum amount. Amount approved depends on whether all of the grant criteria was met.

  • Level 1 – $3,000 maximum.
  • Level 2 – $7,500 maximum
  • Level 3 – $15,000 maximum

How many Smart Growth grants can my association receive in a calendar year?

An association can receive one grant in each level per year.

What types of initiatives can the Level 1 Fund?

The grant can support hosting an education, such as NAR’s Planning and Zoning Class, a guest speaker to address a specific growth and land use issue or stakeholder meeting.

What types of initiatives can the Level 2 Fund?

The grant can support community planning and visioning, charrettes, Main Street® Downtown Assessments, studies,  assessments, Better Block , Walkability Workshops and Audits, comprehensive plan and zoning analysis and ordinance drafting and policy forums to engage and advance local land-use, growth and transportation policy issues with other stakeholders and elected officials.

What types of initiatives can the Level 3 Fund?

The grant supports various community initiatives such as planning, charrettes, assessments, workshop and policy forum series, and growth polling aimed at advancing local land-use, growth, and transportation policies. To qualify, initiatives must be comprehensive, positively impact the broader community, involve REALTOR members, multiple public and private stakeholders, and present a plan to utilize outcomes for advocacy efforts.

The following are eligible uses of grant funds:

  • Instructor or consultant fees
  • Venue rental
  • Refreshments
  • Creation of marketing and event/education related materials

Is my association required to make a financial contribution toward our activity in order to qualify for a grant?

As part of NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now, the 10% financial contribution requirement is waived from January 3rd to December 31st, 2023.

The following are not eligible uses of grant funds:

  • REALTOR® association staff time/hours including contract staff
  • General operating expenses for the REALTOR® association or partner organization
  • Purchase of capital equipment such as cameras, speakers, lights, mics, computers, printers. Rentals are permitted.
  • Donations to an organization or person including down payment or closing cost assistance
  • Landscaping materials, home furnishings, or similar items
  • Materials for construction/rehab of a property or purchase of land
  • Sponsorship without significant member and leadership engagement
  • Registration fees and travel related expenses for REALTORS® attending events
  • Fundraising contributions or money to hold a fundraiser
  • Cash prizes or purchase of gifts and prizes
  • In-house association classroom rental fee
  • Activities that benefit a single/select group of property owner(s)
  • Subscription fees for videoconferencing services or other software licenses
  • Initiatives that have already taken place or completed prior to application submission

How far in advance should I submit a grant application?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis between January 2nd and October 15 or until commitment level reaches capacity, and should be submitted at least 30 days before the date of the activity. Approval notifications are forwarded up to two weeks from submittal.

Can we apply for a grant outside of our territorial jurisdiction?

NAR adopted a policy that state and local REALTOR® Associations may only use advocacy resources provided by the REALTOR® Party for advocacy activity within their territorial jurisdiction as defined by NAR unless use outside the association’s territorial jurisdiction is permitted by a written agreement among or policy applicable to all affected local and state association(s) regarding such use of advocacy resources, or the association in whose jurisdiction such advocacy will occur or NAR approves. The policy allows for an association to request REALTOR® Party funds for use outside of its territorial jurisdiction, and if the association in whose jurisdiction such activity will take place objects, the funds may be provided subject to review and approval by the appropriate NAR committee(s) overseeing REALTOR® Party activities. For more info see Territorial Jurisdiction Policy.

We are partnering with another REALTOR® association for an activity. Can we both apply for a grant?

Up to four associations can apply for funding for the same activity. However, association cannot submit for the same eligible expense. In addition, please note NAR’s Territorial Jurisdiction Policy.

What criteria are used to evaluate grant applications?

Alignment with Smart Growth Grant Program Goal

Does the proposed activity advance programs, policies and initiatives aligned with  one or more of the 10 Smart Growth Principles?

Articulation of Issue

Does the applicant thoroughly explain the Smart Growth issue that needs to be addressed?

Quality of the proposed activity

Is the proposed activity of high-quality with a clear purpose, well-defined action items, and measurable goals?

Level of commitment

Does the proposed activity involve a significant level of commitment in terms of member involvement and staff time?

Strength of partnerships

Does the proposed activity create or expand strategic partnerships between REALTORS® and other key community partners (requirement for Levels 2 and 3 only)?

Is my association required to make a financial contribution toward our activity in order to qualify for a grant?

As part of NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now, the 10% financial contribution requirement is waived for any association that requests reimbursement between January 2nd, 2024 through December 31, 2024.

If my association is approved for a grant, when will we receive the funding?

Funds are disbursed through a reimbursement process. The association must submit required documentation (outlined below) one time and complete an online evaluation about the grant activity. Please note that if revenue (such as ticket sales) exceeds the cost of the initiative then no grant funds are paid.

Funding Process Details

Applications approved between January 2nd – October 15th, 2024, must file for reimbursement by December 13th, 2024.

Submit online evaluation form describing initiative impact. Upload pics, videos and press.

Submit reimbursement form, W9, proof of payment (receipts/cancelled checks) one time within 90 days of initiative completion to receive reimbursement. 10% Financial Commitment Requirement Waived under Right Tools, Right Now.

Note: Reimbursements will cover net expenses, not initiatives with net revenue. The reimbursement form submission requires total revenue and expenses, with reimbursements up to the grant award.

Can I change the scope of initiative after the application is approved?

Grant awards are made based on the initiative scope on the application. Reimbursements will not be issued for initiatives that were not approved. If your initiative scope has changed, please notify SmartGrowthGrants@nar.realtor that you are withdrawing the approved grant and submit a new grant application by October 15th if commitment level has not reached capacity.

Questions? Email SmartGrowthGrants@nar.realtor , Hugh Morris, hmorris@nar.realtor 202/383-1278.