News Release
Release No.STELPRD4015244
ContactJames Pendleton(406) 585-2587
Financial Coaching Programs to be Available in Fifteen MT Towns; Market Training for Montana Artists
Washinton, D.C., Jun 30, 2011 --

@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 44 community-based organizations to receive funding to promote economic growth. The organizations will receive more than $9.5 million in loans and grants to support rural business development, create jobs and strengthen local communities.

"These funds support USDA's partnership with rural America to bring increased economic opportunity to rural citizens and communities," Vilsack said. "They will serve as investments that will help organizations build the capacity and expertise of local businesses, business owners and nonprofit groups."

The funding announced today is being provided through the Rural Community Development Initiative Program (RCDI). RCDI helps community-based development organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic growth in low-income, rural communities. Recipients are required to obtain matching funds, which increase the value of the grants. The grants are awarded to public or nonprofit intermediary organizations. The funds are then provided to recipients, which must be located in eligible rural areas.

Two Montana organizations will receive funding through the RCDI program in this selection:

Montana Credit Unions for Community Development will receive $76,623 to provide training for financial coaching programs in fifteen rural Montana communities through their member Credit Unions. The communities include Dillon, Lewistown, Red Lodge, Culbertson, Havre, Whitehall, Glendive, Polson, Libby, Sheridan, Hamilton, Columbus, Circle, Troy, and Wolf Point.

Ravalli County Economic Development Authority will receive $175,105 to support the Montana Arts Council’s development of a three-year job skills program. The program will provide market-readiness training and market opportunities for Montana artists who wish to increase their income through the sale of their artwork.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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. To better coordinate Federal programs and maximize the impact of Federal investment, President Obama signed an Executive Order on June 9, 2011 creating the White House Rural Council that will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack serves as chair of the Council.

Visit for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.