Connecticut on Wednesday launched a nonprofit grant program that will use a state bond pool to support nonprofit community-based organizations that provide health and human services through contracts or agreements with state agencies.

Under legislation passed earlier this year, the State Bond Commission may issue up to $20 million in bonds to support eligible projects, which the Office of Policy and Management must approve.

"Partnering with our nonprofit organizations is a smart fiscal investment to ensure that these agencies can continue to provide services while doing so in an efficient, cost-effective way," said Gov. Dannel Malloy, who proposed such a program when he introduced the budget in January, to help these agencies ensure that funding assists those most in need.

The deadline for applications for the first round of funding is Oct. 4. The OPM and the Department of Administrative Services will publish guidelines and application instructions on their websites.

Grant awards will generally not exceed $1 million for any project or nonprofit provider per year, and typically should not exceed 25% of the annual amount of state and state-administered federal funding received through health and human services agreements.

Examples of eligible projects include facility renovations; health, safety and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; energy conservation; information technology projects; technology that promotes client independence; vehicle purchases; and upgrades to electronic medical records.

Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings and Kroll Bond Rating Agency rate Connecticut's general obligation bonds AA, while Moody's Investors Service assigns an Aa3 rating.

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