Project Summary/Abstracts Guidelines

Read this document from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which provides tips for writing project summaries/abstracts and two sample abstracts. The text states, "the narrative must not exceed one-page, single-spaced, and should briefly describe: 1. the needs that will be addressed, 2. the proposed services, and 3. the client population group(s) to be served".

Project Summary/Abstract Tool

All Community Economic Development (CED) and Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI) grant applicants must include a project summary/abstract that provides an overview of the proposed project as part of the grant application. The Funding Opportunity Announcement defines a project summary/abstract as a concise summary of the applicant's project description. The project summary/abstract should briefly describe the needs that will be addressed, the proposed services, and the client population group(s) to be served. It should not refer to other parts of the application.

While applicants may structure their project summaries/abstracts in a variety of ways, the tips for project summaries/abstracts and sample project summaries/abstracts provided in this tool outline the required components for this portion of the application and provide guidance for writing a successful project summary/abstract.

Please note this tool is designed to aid you in preparing and submitting your application, but does not replace or take the place of the information and requirements presented in this year's Funding Opportunity Announcement. This year's Funding Opportunity Announcement should be reviewed closely and all required information should be provided in your application.


Tips for Project Summaries/Abstracts

Required components. Applicants can write project summaries/abstracts in a variety of ways, but the narrative must not exceed one-page, single-spaced, and should briefly describe: (1) the needs that will be addressed, (2) the proposed services, and (3) the client population group(s) to be served.

Applicants must also include the following items at the top of the abstract:

  • Project Title
  • Applicant Name
  • Address
  • Contact Phone Numbers (Voice, Fax)
  • Email Address
  • Web Site Address, if applicable

Provide demographic information of target population. Applicants should provide a brief summary of the target population with whom they will be working in the project summary/abstract. The project summary/abstract should also include detailed demographic information such as poverty, literacy, and unemployment rates to give reviewers a better sense of the community.

Explain how project will overcome one or more community barriers. The project summary/abstract should explain how the applicant's project will work to overcome one or more current community barriers. For example, if the abstract states that the target area has a high unemployment rate, it should also describe how the proposed project will create employment opportunities.

Demonstrate feasibility of project. The applicant should demonstrate that it can feasibly implement the scope of work described in the project abstract using the funds requested along with leveraged funds as appropriate. The abstract, however, should not include a detailed financial analysis of the project. This more detailed description should be included in the financial viability narrative.

State if project is eligible for bonus points. The CED and JOLI Funding Opportunity Announcements list multiple types of projects that are eligible for bonus points. The project abstract should clearly indicate if the proposed project is eligible for these bonus points. Please refer to the CED and JOLI Funding Opportunity Announcements for a list of projects eligible for bonus points under these two programs.


Sample Project Summaries/Abstracts

Two sample project summaries/abstracts are provided in this tool. The project summaries/abstracts, though structured differently, incorporate all of the required components as well as other key elements that make for a strong project summary/abstract. Please note all information provided in these sample project summaries/abstracts is fictional and is not connected to any particular individual or organization.


Sample CED Project Summary/Abstract 1: Economic Community Development Council 1

The Springfield Transportation Empowerment Project
Economic Community Development Council
1000 Vineyard Rd.
Springfield, NH 12345
Phone: (555) 555-9999, Fax: (555) 555-9991

The Economic Community Development Council (ECDC) is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to create longterm social and economic change for low-income residents of the Springfield community. ECDC has operated for over 25 years in the Springfield area and has launched several community economic development ventures using nonprofit, private, and governmental funding sources.

For many years, Springfield has been one of the statistically poorest communities in the United States. According to the most recent U.S. Census estimates, 23% of Springfield residents live below the Federal poverty level, the unemployment rate is 19%, and 42% of adults do not have a high school diploma.

Though Springfield has experienced significant population growth over the past decade, the city lacks the commercial infrastructure and skilled workforce to expand existing businesses or support new enterprise. Most individuals are only able to obtain unskilled labor positions that lack a living wage or long-term stability.

ECDC is requesting $900,000 from OCS's CED grant to implement the Springfield Transportation Empowerment Project. This project will take place solely in New Hampshire, where there is not currently a CED or JOLI project.

This initiative will create 75 new full-time positions ($12,000 per job). These jobs will be created by ECDC Truck Driving Authority (TDA), a workforce subdivision of ECDC. TDA will create 65 new jobs, 45 will be full-time truck driver positions and 20 will be administrative and support positions.

Additionally, ECDC will provide specialized training and technical assistance and loan dollars to existing Springfield trucking businesses to increase capacity and create an additional ten jobs. Of these 75 new jobs, at least 65 will go to TANF participants.

In addition to job creation, ECDC will use OCS funding to develop an educational revolving loan fund to offer program participants CDL truck driving training courses. ECDC's partner, Strongforth CDL Training School, will run these courses.

The purpose of the educational training will not only be to create more high-paying wage positions, but also give participants the capabilities to qualify for long-term skilled positions within Springfield's emerging transportation industry.

The $900,000 request will cover all project start-up expenses, subsidize the trucking business's operations for the first five years, and develop a revolving educational loan fund. Beyond OCS funding, ECDC will leverage $200,000 from community investments.

By the conclusion of the grant period, the business will be self-sustainable. ECDC will also use existing funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, the Springfield Department of Development, and the Jefferson County Economic Development and Planning Department to supplement the activities and increase the impact of the project.

1 Please note all information provided here is fictional and is not connected to any particular individual or organization. 


Sample JOLI Project Summary/Abstract 2: Urban Innovation Strategies2 

Project Title: MicroAdvantage
Applicant: ABCD Urban Innovations Strategies
Contact: Roberto Alvarez, Executive Director
13 Middlefield Road
La Quinita, TX 12345
Phone: (724) 555-5555, Fax: (724) 555-5555

ABCD Urban Innovation Strategies is an economic development nonprofit that serves some of La Quinta's poorest neighborhoods. Our mission is to strengthen disadvantaged neighborhoods by improving commercial vitality, expanding micro-enterprises, and creating jobs. During the past 20 years, Urban Innovation Strategies has aided over 4,000 small business owners and acquired $20 million in financing. These efforts have helped to create 500 jobs for La Quinta's citizens.

La Quinta is a distressed city where 35% of residents live below the poverty level and 15% are unemployed. Thirty percent of La Quinita's population is Latino with 20 percent stating that they do not feel comfortable speaking English in a professional environment.

ABCD Urban Innovation Strategies is requesting $350,000 from OCS's JOLI grant to develop MicroAdvantage, a training and technical assistance program for La Quinita's low-income entrepreneurs. The program will run from November 2010–October 2013.

MicroAdvantage is designed to help clients overcome obstacles to creating sustainable small businesses as well as ensure their long-term economic success. The program will recruit 60 TANF participants to participate in 9-week small business training program.

The program will be comprised of 65 hours of classroom training that will include business plan writing, basic financial management, and tutorials for integrating technology into a small business. All instructors will be volunteers from a variety of fields including accounting, finance, marketing, and legal. Volunteer mentors will also help program graduates start their own businesses. JOLI funding will also be used to provide direct financing to these micro-enterprises as well as follow up technical assistance, as necessary, for two additional years.

We estimate that after our training program 50 participants will launch micro-enterprises which will create 15 additional jobs. At least 60% of these jobs will have some type of career advancement opportunity. The cost/job ratio will be $5384 ($350,000/65).

By assisting low-income residents of La Quinita to develop micro-businesses, Urban Innovation Strategies provides a unique form of economic as well as community development in a city that ranks as one of the most depressed in the area.

Beyond benefitting program enrollees, MicroAdvantage will help the larger La Quinita community. Entrepreneurship helps foster a community sprit that enables residents of distressed communities to share the benefits of commercial revitalization. By helping to increase the wealth of La Quinita, MicroAdvantage will also indirectly help create organizations that provide child care, food assistance, and other social services.

The staff working for this project is Roberto Alvarez, executive director, and Janet Smith, program assistant.

2 Please note all information provided here is fictional and is not connected to any particular individual or organization.


Source: Administration for Children and Families,
Public Domain Mark This work is in the Public Domain.

Last modified: Monday, October 12, 2020, 3:10 PM