News Release
Release No.STELPRD4017877
ContactOffice of Communications202-720-4623
Washington, DC, Aug 15, 2012 --

@@ The Heartland Center for Leadership Development was among the 41 community-based organizations have been selected for funding to create jobs and support rural business development, announced by USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

“USDA has a strong partnership with rural citizens and communities to bring increased economic opportunity,” Vilsack said. “These grants are investments that will help organizations build the capacity and expertise of local businesses, which in turn will spur economic activity and strengthen rural economies.“

For example, in Lancaster County Nebraska, the Heartland Center for Leadership Development is receiving a $170,170 grant to help build community and economic capacity by developing leadership, entrepreneurship, youth engagement and building philanthropy in three regional clusters that cover 15 low-income rural communities in Oregon, Idaho and California.

The Heartland Center has been engaged in this work in Nebraska, through Hometown Competitiveness (HTC) for more than 10 years, beginning in Valley County and Ord, Nebraska. The Center has been engaged in community leadership and development work for 25 years.

The funding announced today is being provided through the Rural Community Development Initiative Program (RCDI). It 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.

Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. For a complete list of projects, click here.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s 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. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.   


USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 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.