Temple, Texas, 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.
“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. 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.
“USDA Rural Development’s mission is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. “This funding provides the necessary tools to rural community leaders to enable them to revitalize their downtown areas and expand employment opportunities.”
In Texas, the Houston-Galveston Area Council has been selected to receive a RCDI grant to train officials representing rural, low-income communities on how to revitalize their downtowns and extend support to businesses interested in expanding or relocating. Participants would take part in several group sessions over a six month period, as well as receive one-on-one technical assistance.
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.
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.