Washington -, Jun 12, 2014 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 48 community-based organizations in 26 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for grants to promote economic growth, support rural business development and create jobs. Four of the projects announced today are located in Iowa.
“These grants will bring increased economic opportunities to rural residents and communities by strengthening the capacity of regional organizations to help small and emerging businesses,” Vilsack said. “They also will help organizations experienced in economic development create more job opportunities for rural residents across the country.”
USDA is making the investments 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.
Projects receiving funding in Iowa include:
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque – Dubuque, Iowa
• $152,492 grant to help create more involvement in philanthropy and build community endowments
Iowa Rural Water Association – Newton, Iowa
• $152,492 grant to help rural communities identify planning for community wastewater and water services
Iowa League of Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Inc. – Oakland, Iowa
• $152,492 grant to provide technical assistance and training on art, history and culture to six economic development organizations
East Central Intergovernmental Association– Dubuque, Iowa
• $150,000 grant to help establish a training program for 27 eastern Iowa governments that covers such areas as project fundraising, grant writing, policy writing, and web design
Recipients are required to obtain matching funds, which increase the value of the grants. USDA does not provide the grants directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, the Agency awards the money to public or non-profit intermediaries. Much of the RCDI funding is regional in nature and underscores USDA’s support of locally-based development strategies.
Under today’s announcement, USDA is providing $6.7 million to strengthen local and regional economic development enterprises. Funding for recipients announced today is contingent upon the grantee meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
The Rural Community Development Initiative program has a proven history of bringing economic benefits to rural communities. In 2012, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) used a $200,000 RCDI grant to provide funds to IEDA to help more than 50 non-profit recipients develop marketing and branding strategies for community assets. Local groups learned how to collect and review demographic data, and to identify business retention, expansion and recruitment strategies. This process, dubbed “Re-Energizing Main Street’s Economic Performance,” helped implement a revitalization and growth plan for downtown businesses.
Contact USDA Rural Development
For more information about USDA Rural Development please call (515) 284-4663 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, aided 2,600 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
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.
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