Potential Partners and Funding



Click below to download PDFs of available funding sources for local governments, nonprofits, organizations, businesses, higher education facilities, and individuals for project related to sustainability and resiliency.
Funding for Community Resilience (PDF)
Water Infrastructure Funding Opportunities in TN (PDF)

For additional grant and funding opportunities, please see:

  • TDH’s Built Environment Funding Opportunities
  • TDOT's Program Development and Administration webpage 
  • TDOT's Public Transportation Grant Administration webpage
  • TDEC's grant homepage for all grants offered from the agency
  • Federal Funding for Utilities in Natural Disasters (Fed FUNDS) provides funding for water and wastewater utilities for pre- and post-disaster funding. Take their short quiz to identify which funding sources your water and wastewater utilities may be eligible for: https://www.epa.gov/fedfunds.
  • USDA Rural Development's list for all funding programs offered
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Assistance and Outreach (18 West TN counties are within the Memphis District (links are to Nashville District))
    • Planning Assistance to States - Every year, each state, tribal nation, local government, or other non-federal entity can provide the Corps of Engineers its request for studies under the program, and the Corps of Engineers then accommodates as many studies as possible within the funding allotment. Studies are conducted at no cost to the requesting entity and are only planning level of detail; they do not include detailed design for project construction. Types of studies conducted in recent years under the program include the following:
      • Water Supply and Demand Studies
      • Water Quality Studies
      • Environmental Conservation Studies
      • Environmental Restoration Studies
      • Wetland Evaluation Studies
      • Dam Safety/Failure Studies
      • Flood Risk Management Studies
      • Floodplain Management Studies
      • Land Use Studies
      • Master Planning
      • Brownfields Environmental Assessments
      • GIS Development
  • Continuing Authorities Program - The Corps of Engineers has authority to plan, design, and construct small projects for flood risk management, emergency streambank and shoreline protection, ecosystem restoration, and navigation improvements without specific Congressional authorization. Portions of cost-share needed vary depending on the program.  



Strong partnerships are essential for communities to generate synergy around community goals and achieve those goals efficiently and effectively. Together, partners can maximize resources, identify creative solutions, and develop and implement best practices. Every community has a unique set of potential partnerships, but generally, a community can achieve the most synergy by starting with internal local government partnerships. Then the local government can work with community members and local partners to identify and accomplish local sustainable resilience goals. At the same time, regional partners can provide peer-to-peer mentoring and support for regional plans and goals. State and federal partners can assist with potential funding opportunities and technical expertise.

Partners in Community Government
Start with partners in your local government: community leadership, solid waste management, building maintenance, local utilities, local emergency management agencies, schools, colleges, chamber of commerce, public works, and local power companies, etc. to identify internal partners interested in pursuing sustainability and resilience and opportunities for cost-savings. Some localities have utilized cost-savings from sustainability and resilience measures to fund ongoing positions for sustainability offices. See below for a few Tennessee community examples.

Memphis - Shelby County Office of Sustainability is the regional advocate and resource on topics such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling, sustainable economic development, food systems, and green building practices.  As the “green” liaisons for both city and county mayors, the office coordinates various regional initiatives related to sustainability. Find our more HERE.

Since 2007, the City of Knoxville’s Energy & Sustainability Initiative has helped make Knoxville a greener, more sustainable city – one where the economy, environment, and community can thrive today and in the future. Find out more HERE

Chattanooga Office of Sustainability is committed to the advancement of sustainable projects and solutions through local and national initiatives which conserve resources, protect the environment, advance sustainability and support current and future residents of the City of Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee. Find out more HERE.

City of Franklin Department of Planning and Sustainability is committed to improving the Franklin built environment, while promoting the conservation of both the environment and historic resources through effective and efficient use of plans and regulations.  This includes maintaining far-sighted policies and goals through planning documents, such as the Sustainable Community Action Plan and Envision Franklin. Find out more HERE.

Town of Farragut Office of Sustainability supports Farragut in becoming a more sustainable community by balancing environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social responsibility.  Find out more HERE.

Nashville Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Sustainability assists Mayor Briley with developing and maintaining the infrastructure that is foundational to economic development while addressing externalities from rapid growth, preserving our natural resources, and improving residents’ quality of life. This office provides leadership, accountability, and stakeholder engagement around Nashville’s push to create a modern, equitable transportation network, as well as efforts to incorporate sustainability throughout Metro Government operations and the city at-large. Find our more HERE.

Partners for Community Government
While internal partners are important for local government, there are a number of state-wide and regional organizations that are committed to partnering with and supporting local government. See below for examples of who can provide assistance to local governments.

TDEC- Division of Solid Waste Management’s Recovered Materials section oversees the recycling, waste reduction and solid waste planning activities within the State of Tennessee.  Technical Assistance on waste reduction and recycling is provided by aiding the development and evaluation of Regional Solid Waste Plans, identifying equipment needs, providing solid waste and recycling infrastructure design, and referring issues to technical assistance providers (i.e. Development Districts, Southeast Recycling Development Council). Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) provides technical, legal, and operational support to assist utility districts in delivering safe and efficient services in the public interest. TAUD provides on-site technical assistance for water and wastewater operations and is available to assist and provide technical expertise related to water, wastewater, and cross connection. Find out more HERE.

TVA Valley Sustainable Communities Program was initiated in 2013 by TVA Economic Development as part of its community preparedness to assist communities in evaluating existing sustainable programs, cataloging their sustainable assets, and increasing future commitments to sustainability. The goal of the program is to document a community’s assets and increase the likelihood that they will be viewed as progressive and competitive by companies looking to invest in new or expanded locations. Find out more HERE.

US Green Building Council Tennessee Chapter is a non-profit organization with a mission to transform buildings and places to create healthy, prosperous, and sustainable communities through Education, Advocacy, and Action across the state. The USGBC Memphis Branch hosts a Green Apple Day of Service event called Paper Power with the Memphis Public Library, educational programs for the design community, community outreach, and social and networking events. Find out more HERE.

Healthier Tennessee is a movement of people from all walks of life across the state banding together to improve their health. The Foundation’s Healthier Tennessee initiative strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco. Find out more HERE. Find the community map of those participating across the state HERE.

The Master Gardener program mission is to improve the lives of Tennesseans through horticulture education delivered by a dedicated and skilled volunteer network. Through recruitment, training and utilization of local volunteers, the program is increasing the availability of horticultural information across the state and improving Tennesseans’ quality of life. These volunteers, known as Certified Tennessee Extension Master Gardeners, aid Tennessee Extension by running plant clinics, teaching workshops, giving presentations on horticultural topics, answering phone and email requests for horticultural information, establishing and maintaining demonstration gardens, working with youth and those with special needs, designing and implementing community involvement projects, and supporting local UT Extension offices. The volunteers are required to meet a designated number of volunteers annually and could help with community projects. Find our more HERE - including a portal to find your county program HERE.

Community Partners to Support Local Initiatives
Some cities have existing local or regional partners that support sustainability and resilience initiatives. These initiatives can range from community beautification and cleanup projects to regional public health programs. Please see below for examples.

Tennessee Watershed Organizations Statewide – Watershed organizations have an array of community activities from cleanups to community events which are optimal partnership opportunities. The statewide organizations can be found in this List.

Keep America Beautiful/Keep Tennessee Beautiful - Keep America Beautiful envisions a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live. Affiliates consist of a board to support their priorities in addition to offering a variety of partnership opportunities for support across TN and the nation. (Locate an affiliate near you)

Agricenter International is a non-profit organization facilitating agricultural research, educational outreach, land conservation, and outdoor recreation.  With 1,000 acres of land in the heart of Shelby County, they work toward educating children about healthier foods, creating economic biofuels, and studying natural fibers. Agricenter also runs a one megawatt solar farm that produces 1.6 gigawatt-hours of energy annually. Find out more HERE.

Clean Memphis is a non-profit, grassroots organization founded by a group of concerned citizens who believe a cleaner city will help to reduce crime, promote a sense of pride in community, and cultivate economic prosperity. Find out more HERE. Clean Memphis also runs Project Green Fork, a program dedicated to reducing waste by partnering with local restaurants. To date, the program has recycled approximately 1.1 million gallons of plastic, glass, and aluminum; 500 tons of paper and corrugated fiberboard (cardboard); and composted 150,000 gallons of food waste. Find out more HERE.

The Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) serves thirteen counties in middle Tennessee, including Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Williams, and Wilson counties, as well as the municipalities and metropolitan governments located therein. GNRC offers a host of community planning resources, including aging and disability services, small business assistance, economic development planning and support, community and regional planning, and tourism.  For example, GNRC’s economic development group provides grant writing and administration assistance for water and sewer systems, industrial development infrastructure, planning for adverse economic impacts, and transportation enhancements.  Find out more HERE.

Healthy Kingsport is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a community that actively embraces healthy living by promoting wellness, enhancing infrastructure, and influencing policy. Specifically, Healthy Kingsport and its many, diverse sponsors and partners are working to promote better nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco cessation in our community. Today, in Sullivan County, 72.9% of adults are overweight or obese, our community is below average when it comes to physical activity, and 26% of adults use tobacco. These percentages reflect cultural norms that are higher than the national average and are a cause of great concern for our families, friends, and neighbors. Find out more HERE.

Regional Partners and Organizations
Regional partners and organizations may provide a regional perspective and regional services or support. Please see below for a few examples.

AARP’s Livable Communities campaign provides resources and assistance to make communities more livable across transportation, housing, neighborhood, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. Find out more HERE and check out the Tool Kit with a variety of resources from fact sheets to posters to a roadmap to livability. Contact AARP Tennessee 866-295-7274, tnaarp@aarp.org.

Tennessee Development District Association includes a statewide system of nine regional planning and economic development organizations to promote intergovernmental cooperation on growth and development issues, including regional and statewide concerns. The organizations also promote more effective utilization of available resources in dealing with these needs. Locate your regional office.

Tennessee Chapter of American Planning Association (APA) supports residents and elected officials to guide the layout of an entire community or region. Planners can be key project partners as they are instrumental in community strategies to increase resiliency and sustainability. Find out more HERE.- APA’s Planning Home is an initiative to reshape the way planning is used to address America's housing affordability crisis. It challenges planners, developers, policy makers, and advocates to think bigger — to change state laws, improve local practices, convene to address pressing problems, and reimagine ways to engage with communities and reach solutions together. Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Clean Fuels (East and Middle/West Coalitions) promotes cleaner alternative fuels and vehicles to improve air quality and health, curb dependence on petroleum, and support Tennessee’s economy. Activities include providing consultation services, fleet support, and up-to-date industry information. Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Stormwater Association’s (TNSA) goal is to protect and improve the quality of the waters of Tennessee through the exchange of information and knowledge regarding design, construction, maintenance, administration and operation of stormwater facilities. Find out more HERE. The TN Stormwater Association also has city-specific permit and education/outreach opportunities. Find local opportunities HERE.

Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association (TRPA) is a non-profit professional society of approximately 800 individual and agency members (professionals and citizens) organized in 1952 to support professionals to achieve healthy, livable communities.  TRPA exists to strengthen and unite those committed to the benefits of parks and recreation. Find out more HERE.

Local and Regional Health Departments offer a variety of services primarily from health educators located in the regional offices. They have increased interest in the built environment, air quality, water quality, and other factors which have an impact on the health of Tennesseans. (health educators located in most regional offices

TN Association of Conservation Districts was formed to conserve and enhance the natural resources of Tennessee through education, leadership, and advocacy.  They have a number of awards and scholarships, such as: Farmer of the Year for accomplishments in soil erosion reduction, improvement of water quality and control of sediment or other pollutants. Find out more HERE. To find a contact for your county, view the MAP.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Partners - Many business and industry are looking for partnership opportunities to engage in the community for environmental and social stewardship. Many of these partners are engaged in on-going community events and sponsorships – often they are easily accessible to learn about new ideas and projects. Please Urban Green Lab's Sustainability Roundtable website as an example.

Colleges and Universities can be an important portal or resource for community project support and collaboration for success. Find the statewide list HERE.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Partnership Opportunities
TDEC offers a wide variety of partnership opportunities, ranging from grant funding, recognition programs, technical assistance, experimental learning, etc. Please see below for examples. 

Go to the Office of Policy and Sustainable Practice's main page.

Tennessee Green Star Partnership consists of Tennessee manufacturers that are committed to sustainability and that exhibit continuous improvement throughout their entire operation. See partners map HERE.

Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards (GESA) are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievements by individuals, businesses, organizations, local government, educational institutions, and agencies for successful environmental projects and conservation measures. Find out more HERE.

Get Food Smart TN promotes partnerships to address food recovery in TN by promoting using food wisely and enhancing the sustainability of Tennessee’s food resources. Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Radon Program promotes testing for radon in homes and buildings through the State Indoor Radon Grant. Partnership opportunities include health fairs, home shows, employee safety events, presentations, and more. Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Materials Marketplace (TMM) is an online interactive platform providing a marketplace for the trading, donation, and/or sale of discarded materials by one entity to another. Find out more HERE.

The Tennessee Brownfields Redevelopment Program works with the public to assist in the re-use and revitalization of brownfields in Tennessee.  Many properties in Tennessee previously used as gas stations, drycleaners, factories, or other potentially contaminated properties that may have contamination from unknown sources qualify as brownfields. Find out more HERE.

In addition, the Division or Remediation provides a Tennessee Brownfields Redevelopment Toolbox.

The 56 State parks in Tennessee offer a number of partnership opportunities and have recognition opportunities for their community support through the Parks Go Green initiative.

Find out more HERE.

Most state parks also have Friends Groups to support the park and community activities as well. Find a group near you HERE.

Tennessee Division of Natural Areas is dedicated to the protection and proper management of native plants, animals, and natural communities across Tennessee. Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Scenic Rivers List - Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Natural Areas List - Find out more HERE.

Other State of Tennessee  Partnership Opportunities
For a full listing of Tennessee state agencies, go here.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation offers a variety of partnership opportunities including the ones below. The convenient navigation bar offers an index of services to easily find services as well. Find out more HERE.

TDOT offers a variety of grants from transportation and bridges to air quality and litter. Find out more HERE.                

Walking and bicycling provide an opportunity for communities to achieve larger goals such as attracting new businesses, increasing neighborhood safety, reducing traffic congestion, and improving air quality. Moreover, there is growing interest in the role walking and bicycling play in public health. Improving walking and bicycling conditions helps everyone lead safe, active, and healthier lives. Find out more HERE.

The Adopt-A-Highway and Scenic Highways programs advocate environmental stewardship through partnerships and networking with community groups, individuals, civic groups, non-profits, government agencies, and businesses. These programs feature opportunities for citizens to participate in the preservation of scenic vistas, building and maintaining of new landscapes, and roadside litter pickup activities. Find out more HERE.

  • Adopt-A-Highway Program - TDOT Adopt-A-Highway groups have helped to keep Tennessee beautiful! Since the program's inception in 1989, volunteers have collected more than 12 million pounds of litter from Tennessee's roadsides. These valuable contributions are helping produce cleaner roadsides, reduce maintenance costs, and boost litter prevention awareness in the Volunteer State. Find out more HERE.
  • Scenic Roadways - A scenic byway is a roadway with a story to tell. Scenic byway status is a means for communities to connect with visitors and showcase what it is that makes their area so special. Scenic byway status can also conserve and enhance assets, attract tourism and provide an organized management approach to the multiple jurisdictions that makeup a byway corridor. Find out more HERE.

Tennessee Economic Development Council provides support for small businesses, counties, and rural areas, including grants and technical assistance. 

Tennessee Department of Agriculture provides extensive resources supporting local agriculture, Tennessee products, and promotion and protection of green spaces.

Energy Efficient Schools Initiative supports Tennessee schools in pursuing energy efficiency, including providing resources, financial incentives, and loans.

Tennessee Housing Development Agency provides a number of programs, grants, special financing, and services to support communities and promote home ownership.

Tennessee Department of Human Services provides services, grants, and food programs to support communities.

Labor and Workforce Development provides job postings and economic data, such as commute patterns, demographics, statistics, and performance metrics that support Tennessee communities in evaluating and improving their local economy.

Rural Task Force provides annual reports, grants and resources, best practices, and success stories to support rural community success and prosperity.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency provides training and grants to support emergency preparedness throughout Tennessee.

Tourist Development provides an annual report on the value of tourism throughout Tennessee communities. The agency also provides grants and support in marketing local tourism, here.



Jennifer Tribble