USDA Awards Grant in Oregon and 16 Other States, District of Columbia to Help Rural Communities Create Jobs and Strengthen Economic Development Capacity

Erin McDuff
Release Date
Apr 16, 2015

Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah has announced the selection of 31 community-based organizations in 17 states and the District of Columbia to receive grants to help small rural communities create jobs and boost economic development, including a $60,000 grant to the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District in Oregon. The grants are being made available through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program.
“These grants bring increased economic opportunities to rural residents and communities by strengthening the capacity of the regional organizations that serve them,” Mensah said. “They help organizations that are experienced in economic development create more job opportunities for rural residents. RCDI grants are an important part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to address rural poverty. They help boost growth in our most economically vulnerable rural communities.”

In Oregon, USDA is awarding a $60,000 grant to the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District in The Dalles to enable them to provide training, resources, and tools to five recipients in Oregon and Washington State to build their capacity in order to implement the Agora Investment Platform. Agora is a web-based application that enables community leaders and capital providers to effectively source and communicate community-prioritized economic development investment opportunities.

“With RCDI support, the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District will help rural Oregon and Washington stakeholders work more effectively in rural, low-income areas,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. “Through the Agora Platform, projects and priorities will reach a broader range of public, private, and philanthropic capital providers. This in turn will help communities achieve their strategic goals and expand opportunities for their residents.”

Rural Community Development Initiative grants support rural housing, community facilities, and economic development projects. Funds may be used to develop child care facilities; provide education, technical assistance, and training; conduct strategic planning; and implement other projects that help local communities develop their capacity. Eligible grant recipients are nonprofit housing and community development organizations.
USDA is awarding $6.3 million in grants for 31 projects nationwide under this announcement. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreements. View the complete list of recipients here.
President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses, and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.