2018 Community Assistance


Twice a year we offer a limited number of community assistance opportunities for communities located within Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico and Colorado. Through community assistance, we provide local leaders the tools and information to build prosperous, livable communities. 

We are now accepting applications for community assistance projects. Applicants are encouraged to contact Jillian Sutherland (970.928.3411 or jillian@communitybuilders.org) before submitting their application.


Applications are due Friday, February 23, 2018.  


Apply for Community Assistance

About Community Assistance

The work of community building can be challenging. Resources are scarce, priorities compete and implementation can be difficult. Nevertheless, communities are increasingly working to become desirable, prosperous places to live… and they’re finding creative ways to do it.

Assistance projects provide communities with the tools and resources to spark meaningful on-the-ground progress, while building local capacity and creating success stories that inspire and inform other places.

We provide a range of services, including planning and design assistance, economic and market analysis, and community engagement. Each assistance project is taken on in close partnership with the selected community and tailored to meet specific local needs.

We use a competitive process to identify projects with a high likelihood of success and impact. Projects should address a compelling need or opportunity, have clear and realistic goals, demonstrate buy-in and support of key partners and leadership, and offer a strong prospect of implementation.


Community Builders Assistance Focuses on Four Key Issues:


With market demand shifting towards a desire for walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, a growing number of communities are looking inward to revitalize downtowns and under utilized sites within existing neighborhoods. Local leaders have a unique opportunity to shift the focus of community growth towards infill and redevelopment, but this approach can be difficult. Community Builders’ assistance offers a variety of tools that enable communities to achieve strategic infill and redevelopment projects.

Example activities:

  • Develop district, corridor or neighborhood plans
  • Create block or site specific plans or design concepts
  • Redevelop brownfields sites and seek funding assistance


A range of demographic, lifestyle and economic trends are affecting local housing markets. These trends are being driven, in part, by emerging millennial and baby boomer preferences. Community Builders’ assistance helps
communities understand and evaluate these trends, as well as develop strategies that respond to them.

Example activities:

  • Analyze market and economic feasibility
  • Identify opportunity sites
  • Analyze policies and codes
  • Develop affordable housing strategies


Communities are striving to become more competitive and strengthen their economies through local job growth and retention, as well as diversification of local industries. Our “Place Value” study revealed a new paradigm for economic development, one that centers around creating quality, authentic places that attract people, in addition to growing good jobs locally. Community Builders’ assistance helps communities better understand this fresh approach to economic development and develop strategies that respond to it.

Example activities:

  • Understand economic drivers and opportunities
  • Diagnose barriers to job / business growth and retention
  • Create strategic action plans
  • Analyze community assets
  • Develop placemaking strategies


Great transportation systems create great communities. We work to build functional transportation systems that connect and create places through our New Mobility West initiative. Community Builders’ assistance can tackle a variety of issues related to transportation and community development.

Example activities:

  • Help communities and DOTs create win-win solutions for state highways
  • Integrate bicycle and pedestrian facilities into Capital Improvement Plans
  • Explore options for revitalizing auto-oriented commercial corridors
  • Crafting or implementing a Complete Streets program

Committed to Successful Outcomes

We are committed to successful outcomes and believe community leadership and ownership are key ingredients for project implementation. Communities selected for assistance become our partner and we provide the tools necessary to carry implementation forward after the assistance project is complete. We view a successful project as one that results in either tangible policy changes, funds committed for implementation, or physical on-the-ground change. As a result, communities selected for assistance should expect to maintain dialogue with Community Builders even after implementation.


Applications can be submitted by municipal, county or tribal governments, community and economic development organizations, well-established non-profit organizations, or a consortium of these entities. Strong partnerships are essential for moving a project forward. This is why in addition to a project narrative, it is required that applicants submit letters of support from project partners and key stakeholders. Our assistance program is open to communities in the Rocky Mountain Region of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Idaho, and Montana with populations of up to 150,000. We concentrate on assisting communities that lack the resources and capacity to take on projects on their own.


Selected applicants work with the Community Builders team to create a scope that meets the community’s specific needs and fits within the timeframe and budgetary constraints of the assistance program. Total project time, including planning/scoping, execution and wrap-up, should not exceed eight months. Assistance projects may be a component of a larger community planning effort that does not fit within a eight month timeframe. If this is the case, applicants are asked to provide an explanation for how the assistance fits into the larger effort, as well as a description of the project’s goals. Typically, projects will include a multi-day site visit and workshop. At the
conclusion of each project, a short, visually compelling report with clear recommendations and action steps is provided to the community.


Assistance projects can utilize a variety of tools from the Community Builders’ toolkit that include:

  • Planning / design charrettes
  • Focus groups
  • Community visioning workshops
  • Strategic planning sessions
  • Market / economic feasibility analyses
  • Community surveys
  • Policy / code review and recommendations
  • Helping stakeholders address contentious issues

How To Apply

To apply, submit one application per community. Applications must be emailed to jillian@communitybuilders.org in PDF format, no later than close of business on Friday, February 23, 2018.

It is recommended, though not required, that applicants contact Jillian Sutherland (970.928.3411 or jillian@communitybuilders.org) before submitting their application to discuss the proposed project and application process.

Download the Application

Join Our Mailing List

Learn about upcoming opportunities for training, technical assistance, webinars, research and more.