HILO, HI, Oct 08, 2010 -- State Director, Chris J. Kanazawa, for USDA Rural Development Hawaii State Office, announced the selection the Kohala Center Inc., to receive a $222,555 grant. The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program.
"Through this Rural Cooperative Grant, USDA Rural Development is enabling the Kohala Center to expand its capacity to support rural cooperatives that help expand businesses, retain or create new jobs and to increase economic growth in the communities throughout our Hawaiian islands," Kanazawa announced.
The Kohala Center is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based center for research, conservation and education. With this grant funding, the Kohala Center intends to establish Laulima: The Hawaii Rural Cooperative Development Center to stimulate rural economic development through cooperative business strategies. The proposed Laulima Center has set a first year goal of serving prospective or fledgling cooperative ventures from the major Hawaiian Islands of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu.
"In response to the interest of island residents and leaders, the Kohala Center has been working at the intersection of food, energy, and ecosystem health for many years. And business development in our rural areas operates at the very intersection. The work is exciting and full of potential for building a healthy economy, society, and environment for Hawaii, as a model for the world. We are honored to be allowed to be part of that work," says Matt Hamabata, Executive Director of the Kohala Center Inc.
National Cooperative Month is observed every October to highlight the role cooperatives play in the economy and in people's daily lives. According to the National Cooperative Business Association, the nation's 30,000 cooperatives account for more than $650 billion in revenue and more than 2 million jobs.
Kanazawa stated "this grant to Kohala Center is a part of USDA's latest award announcement of $8.3 million in Rural Cooperative Development Grants to assist with improving economic conditions in rural areas across the nation by developing new cooperatives and improving the operations of existing cooperatives."
Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 60 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).