Technical Assistance

Intro Federal Finance WebCourse
Daily: 12:00-5:00 PM Eastern


The Intro Federal Finance WebCourse provides an overview of the federal funding sources available to help advance economic development efforts and strategies for navigating and securing these resources. This course explains how federal support tools can work in coordination with other development finance tools for programs and projects on the local level.

Attendees will hear from and have the opportunity to engage with representatives from across federal agencies, including the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Transportation, Energy, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development.

This course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Join us online, and start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

Course Objectives

  • Understand how federal financing fits into economic development and the development finance toolbox
  • Learn about the types of funding resources available through a variety of federal agencies’ programs
  • Identify ways to evaluate funding opportunities and plan ahead for future funding
  • Discuss strategies for applying to receive federal funds
  • Explore best practices when engaging with federal agency staff and building community partnerships
  • Recognize the long-term organizational considerations for managing federal funds
  • Learn how federal funding can be layered with other financing tools to advance economic development

Topics Covered

  • Overview of federal agencies and the funding programs they offer
  • Different types of support tools available as federal funding (i.e. grants, loan funds, etc.)
  • Strategies for evaluating and planning for federal funding opportunities
  • Best practices for applying to receive federal funds
  • Sources of information needed to learn about current funding opportunities
  • Long-term management considerations for federal funding
  • Case studies for various funding programs and combining federal dollars with other sources of capital

Who Should Attend?

  • Economic development professionals
  • Community development professionals
  • State and local government employees
  • Nonprofit finance officers
  • Elected officials
  • Small business owners/entrepreneurs

Course Advisor

Mitchell Smith Mitchell Smith
Sunnova Energy Corporation
Government Affairs Program Manager
Mitchell Smith is the Senior Director of Government and External Affairs at the Council of Development Finance Agencies. In this role, he manages CDFA’s federal legislative advocacy efforts and facilitates education on federal finance opportunities,... (More)


Day 1

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM
Welcome & Overview
Welcome to the course! This session will introduce CDFA, explain how to use the online software, and provide a brief overview of the two-day Intro Federal Finance Course.
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
Basics of Federal Support Tools
Federal financing programs - or federal support tools - are a part of the Development Finance Toolbox that includes bonds, tax increment finance, access to capital tools, tax credits, and more. This session will introduce the toolbox and discuss the various forms of funding available from federal support tools. Speakers will also talk about the basic structures for how federal funding is allocated to the state and local levels for programs and projects.
1:15 PM - 1:45 PM
Landscape of Federal Agency Funding Programs
More than a dozen agencies at the federal level offer funding programs for economic and community development, and navigating this landscape of resources can be challenging. This session will provide a snapshot of each agency and its funding programs, noting which programs tend to be available on an ongoing basis and which are short-term programs.
1:45 PM - 2:30 PM
Understanding NOFOs
Developing a system for monitoring and reviewing federal Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) is essential for a strong federal funding strategy. Speakers will talk about where to find NOFOs, how to stay up to date with opportunities, and how to review NOFOs in an efficient manner for eligibility, goodness of fit, and timeline.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Best Practices for Assembling Your Team & Applying for Funding
A significant amount of work is needed to apply for most forms of federal funding. This session will discuss best practices for building the grant writing team, collecting data, and engaging the community - plus key strategies for crafting the application itself. This includes recommendations for developing a work plan, how to approach key sections of the narrative, selecting demonstrable outcomes, and identifying data sources that will support the full proposal.
3:30 PM - 3:45 PM
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Federal Funding from DOE & EPA
Agency representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) will join the course to share their key sources of funding, discuss new programs their agencies offer, and present a handful of case studies demonstrating how their federal support tools can help local economic development.

Day 2

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM
Revisiting Day 1
The first day of the Intro Federal Finance Course focused on understanding, identifying, and navigating the vast array of federal support tools. During Day 2, we will continue with more representatives from federal agencies and wrap up with a conversation about how to get started on your own strategy.
12:15 PM - 2:00 PM
Federal Funding from EDA, SBA & CDFI Fund
Agency representatives will join the course from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). These presenters will share their major funding programs, discuss new opportunities, and present case studies showing their federal support tools in action.
2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
2:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Federal Funding from USDA, HUD & DOT
Agency representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will join the course to share their key sources of funding, discuss new programs their agencies offer, and present a handful of case studies demonstrating how their federal support tools can help local economic development.
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Management & Reporting Requirements
The work has only just begun once you receive federal funding. In addition to executing your proposal, it is important to keep in mind the grant management and reporting requirements that will accompany funding. This discussion will cover staff capacity, accounting measures, reporting systems, and other operational considerations that go into managing federal funds.
4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
How to Get Started
The course will conclude with a brief presentation on how to get started engaging federal support tools in your community. This will include determining strategic priorities for funding, systems to put in place for monitoring NOFOs and attending relevant informational webinars, and getting set up in grants.gov with your organization’s key information.


The Intro Federal Finance WebCourse will take place on Zoom. The course will meet each day from 12:00-5:00 PM Eastern. Attendees must have access to a computer and the internet to attend the course.


This training course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

Scholarships are available to attend this event. Learn more about the CDFA Scholarship Program, and submit your application today.

CDFA permits only one person to log in and participate in the course. If multiple people are accessing the course without paying to attend, we will terminate the connection and access. CDFA offers group discounts for organizations that wish to register multiple people.

Register by ____ for Early Bird Rates.
Early Bird Rates
(Ends December 1)
CDFA Member: $550
Non-Member: $825
Standard Rates
(After December 1)
CDFA Member: $600
Non-Member: $875