SGC Catalyst Model Addressing Barriers to Access: Remove Barriers that Limit Access to Funding

To maximize access to a funding agency’s program, it is essential that beyond investing in technical assistance and capacity-building support, agencies look internally to identify and remove persistent barriers that may disincentivize communities and organizations from pursuing and implementing funding. While rigorous processes are often important in ensuring that funding goes to projects of the highest need, it is also essential to simplify those processes to ensure that complexity is not inadvertently advantaging certain communities over others. To identify these barriers, funding agencies must engage with applicants and partners to gain perspective.


  • Increased access to funding programs
  • Reduced cost intensiveness involved in applying to and implementing funding
  • More equitable distribution of funding to higher and lower-capacity entities
  • Simpler, more navigable funding programs

How to Do This

Address unintended barriers to funding and explore potential solutions:

  • Provide technical and other support to applicants. Reconsider so-called “black-out periods” and provide sufficient time for under-resourced communities to develop applications.
  • Address payment structures that may dissuade communities from applying. Identify ways to speed-up reimbursement timelines or offer advance payment to grantees and contractors, where authorized, in incremental amounts, or for work that has been approved by the grantee but not actually paid.

    “Advance Payment

    • SGC may provide advanced payments to reduce barriers and ensure RCC activities are initiated in a timely manner. Advance payments can be up to 25 percent of the total grant award, which can be provided in one payment or spread across a series of smaller installments and is to be determined in the Grant Agreement. All Collaboratives will be required to prioritize Partners that experience low cash flow to receive advances.
    • To receive advance payment, the Grantee must do the following:
      • At the time of the grant agreement:
      • Demonstrate good standing with the IRS
      • Provide the Collaborative’s work plan
      • Provide a spending plan for each Partner receiving advance payment
      • Sign an agreement that they will:
      • Revert all unused moneys to the state if they are not liquidated within the timeline specified in the grant agreement or in the case of non-compliance/misuse of funds
      • Communicate and document changes to the spending plan
    • Before payment
      • Complete an advance payment request form that includes the itemized budget for the period of the grant the costs will cover
      • Provide a spending timeline, including anticipated spend down over a set period of time
    • After prior advance pay is expended, the Grantee will provide a progress report that includes:
      • A high-level summary of work completed
      • Itemized Receipts
      • Invoice for grant activities that were not covered by the advance payment (if applicable)
      • Their next advance payment request form (if applicable).”
    • SOURCE: Regional Climate Collaborative Guidelines (p. 21)

    • Increase program accessibility to California Native American tribes:
      • Consider engaging in early, often, and meaningful government-to-government consultations during the development of grant programs
      • Increase time periods to reflect an understanding of the unique way tribal governments address internal decision-making
      • Provide funding set-asides
      • Encourage non-tribal applicants to partner with tribes through scoring criteria or grant program requirements
      • Increase language access across programs by identifying what documents must be translated, when, and in what languages.