XCell creates access to grant funding with The Opportunity Project
The White House has selected Felix Gilbert of digital services firm XCell to help get part of the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package into the hands of underserved communities.
Gilbert’s company, XCell, is one of the five teams working with the White House as part of the 2022 “Opportunity Project,” an initiative that began in 2016 to use federal and local data to tackle issues of inequality.
As part of the project, Felix Gilbert and his team at XCell are making it easier for under-resourced communities to apply for and win grants. XCell is trying to connect small municipalities to the skilled labor necessary to fill out the paperwork for a grant. Although there are plenty of places to search for government funding, few of them help understaffed grant seekers get connected to contractors who can complete the important work, such as getting cost estimates or construction timelines necessary to win a grant.
Gilbert and the other teams that are part of the volunteer-based White House project are also looking at creating products to track federal money to make sure states distribute it to smaller municipalities. XCell is focused on Aurora, Colorado as well as Native American tribes in New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The three-person digital design company was founded in 2004 and moved to Baltimore in 2011 to work with Zion Church. The company has worked with a variety of clients ranging from the U.S. Navy, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare, and a variety of nonprofits.
Felix Gilbert said he has been speaking directly to people to help understand their needs. Though the White House often finds it easy to give money to larger cities such as Baltimore, Gilbert said it can often be difficult to fund projects in small cities.