News Release
Release No.STELPRD4007905
ContactDawn Knepp717-237-2286
Harrisburg, PA, Dec 13, 2010 --


Press Release


Contact Dawn Knepp (717) 237-2286


Rural Development State Director Thomas Williams Announces Microloan Funding to Boost Business Lending, Job Creation and Provide Off-Farm Income Opportunities in Rural Areas


HARRISBURG, PA – Dec. 16, 2010 – USDA Rural Development’s Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program (RMAP), authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill), has provided funding to six Pennsylvania-based organizations. According to Thomas Williams, Pennsylvania State Director, “These organizations help to spur growth in rural Pennsylvania. By funding them, we create a domino effect for job growth in our local economies.”

Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD Corp.) received a $300,000 loan through RMAP. ABCD Corp. is a private, non-profit development corporation working as a catalyst for business expansion in Blair County and through regional partnerships along the I-99 Innovation Corridor. They work with companies to coordinate the strategic alliances necessary for a smooth start-up; provide full administrative support; and secure space in a class-one facility. Contact ABCD Corp. at (814) 944-6113 or

Community First Fund, a Lancaster-based organization, received a $400,000 loan and a $100,000 grant through RMAP. Community First Fund is a premier economic development organization with 17 years of experience in providing loans, business training, and one-on-one counseling to entrepreneurs of all sizes, community groups, affordable housing and commercial real estate developers in under-served communities in central Pennsylvania. The local organizations will use the funding to make loans to boost small business development, create jobs, and strengthen rural communities. For more information, contact Community First Fund at (717) 393-2351 or

Fay-Penn Economic Development Council received a $500,000 loan and $105,000 grant. Fay-Penn was incorporated in 1991 to assist in the economic revitalization efforts of Fayette County. With a comprehensive strategy of specific economic development objectives and by providing superior services to clients, the organization primarily focuses on the manufacturing sector in addition to a concentration on tourism and infrastructure development. Contact Fay-Penn at (724) 437-7913 or

Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation (LCEDC) received a $100,000 loan and $25,000 grant. The LCEDC works with existing Lawrence County businesses to help them identify and attract new strategic partners to the county. Contact LCEDC at (724) 658-1488 or

MetroAction, Inc. received a $300,000 loan and a $75,000 grant. MetroAction, Inc. is a non-profit community development organization dedicated to providing small business loans and business development assistance throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. MetroAction’s lending, training and recognition programs help small businesses throughout nine counties in northeastern Pennsylvania build the strength and independence needed for success. Contact MetroAction at (570) 341-0270 or visit

St. Francis University received an $85,000 grant for its Renewable Energy Center. The funding, combined with funding from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, will provide free wind resource reports for Pennsylvania landowners. Farmers and rural small businesses have faced rapid increases in electricity costs, but wind turbines in areas with good resources will help to reduce that cost, increase revenue streams, and lower overhead. Identification of a site’s wind resource is critical in determining feasibility of a potential wind project. The grant is making this service free to landowners throughout Pennsylvania. More information is available at http:// www. francis. edu/ communitywind home. htm or by email at

In many cases, an entrepreneur needs only a small amount of money, a microloan, to get started. This program creates opportunities for small businesses to prosper by giving them access to capital, and it also helps to create new off-farm income opportunities that help to support owners of small and mid-sized farm operations. Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees. For more information visit