Grassroots organizing, and the broader work of local coalitions can make the difference when communities seek to protect and expand public transportation service. APTA provides grants to help the fight for public transportation.


Any local public transportation coalition is eligible, provided it has the support of the local APTA member(s) and makes a pledge to become a member in good standing of the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) before receiving a grant. Membership in NAPTA is free. For this grant program, a coalition is defined as a collection of groups and/or individuals joined together for the common purpose of promoting transit. An APTA public transit system member may apply for the funds on behalf of a coalition or a coalition may apply directly for the funds. Grant applications will be solicited until August 21, 2020.

Important Dates

Deadlines and grant requirement dates are as follows:

  • Application Deadline: Friday, August 21, 2020.
  • Award Announcement: Friday, September 25, 2020.
  • Interim Report Due: Friday, January 15, 2021.
  • Funds Fully Spent, Final Report and Invoices Due: Friday, June 18, 2021.

Grant Funding Amounts

Grant amounts awarded to coalitions generally range from $5,000 to $10,000. However, projects with a focused advocacy component may be considered for additional funding. Matching funds are not currently required as a condition of grant approval.

Priority Considerations

  • Prioritizing quick, innovative interventions to improve ridership, such as building political support for transit priority projects (e.g., quick-build, dedicated bus lanes and signal prioritization).
  • Incorporating outreach to and organizing voters of color, particularly by communities of color.
  • Promoting efforts to activate college students as transit advocates.
  • Assisting communities targeted by anti-transit critics and front groups.
  • Assisting communities with strong support from Members of Congress of the Congressional District or State, or communities with a Partisan Voting Index of five or less.

Portions of Application

  • Viability of campaign team and plan—team competency, plan mechanisms and path to victory
    • What phase in the process are you (i.e., research, exploratory, or execution)?
    • What is your fundraising plan?
    • If you receive a grant, what would be the primary objective for use of these funds?
  • Please submit a letter of support from a local APTA member (e.g., public transit agency, city department of transportation, or metropolitan planning organization)
  • Campaign methods that will be deployed, such as:
    • community organizers
    • phone banking
    • digital
    • mail advertising
    • polling
    • seed money for fundraising
  • Sound, clear metrics to assess project efficacy

Program Evaluation

Grantees will be required to submit measurable outputs (e.g., number of touches such as phone calls, doors knocked, literature dropped) as part of interim and final reporting, showing methods and outcomes in a PowerPoint format. Grantees will be expected to participate in periodic NAPTA virtual meetings to share progress of project with APTA. APTA funds are meant to be complementary not primary, unless used as seed money for a larger effort to raise funds.

Full Suite of Services Available

APTA has additional services that winning applicants may access, including support from the APTA Center for Transportation Excellence—which can provide talking points, campaign assistance, messaging guidance, and campaign infrastructure counsel.

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