USDA Seeks Applications to Expand Economic Development in Rural Communities

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date
May 27, 2015

USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for grants to support rural community economic development.

Approximately $4 million will be made available under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program. Eligible applicants include public, private, and non-profit intermediaries, and federally recognized tribes.

“This funding from USDA will ensure that technical and financial assistance is available for those who wish to improve the quality of life in rural communities,” Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah said. “Very often, great visions for better rural communities exist, but the next steps toward positive change are unclear. These grants will help rural communities build a path to community economic development so rural America can share in the nation’s economic recovery."

RCDI grants can be used to provide training or technical assistance. Training may focus on homeownership education, minority business entrepreneurship, strategic community planning, or accessing alternative funding sources. Intermediary organizations must provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. Grants range from $50,000 to $250,000.

USDA has invested more than $33 million through the RCDI program since 2009. In 2014, the Minnesota Housing Partnership was selected to receive a $130,000 grant to provide technical assistance and training for the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation – a non-profit organization of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in Minnesota. Funding will go towards the development of sustainable affordable housing and community and economic development programs on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.

“It is absolutely crucial that we continue to support housing, community facilities, and community economic development in rural communities to ensure sustainability well into the future,” USDA Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Colleen Landkamer said. “This program aids that effort by supporting partnerships with economic development organizations that can assist with creating more job opportunities for rural residents through technical assistance, training and financial support.”

For information on how to apply contact your local Rural Development Area Office or see Page 27887 of the 5/15 Federal Register. Applications must be submitted by August 13, 2015.