Grant Spotlight: USDA Economic Impact Initiative Grants

      Comments Off on Grant Spotlight: USDA Economic Impact Initiative Grants
Share This Article

Occasionally on Rural Resurrection, we spotlight a few grants that are available to rural communities throughout the Midwest. Usually, we are talking about a specific project and mention how a grant has helped that project become a reality. But sometimes the grants themselves need attention.

USDA Rural DevelopmentThe first spotlight will be on a grant offered by USDA Rural Development. USDA-RD was actually my first foray into helping rural communities. During my college years I was able to undertake a few different jobs during my summers that helped shape my future. USDA-RD was one of those. That’s when I learned of the wide array of grant and loan programs available through USDA Rural Development.

One of those funding programs is the Economic Impact Initiative Grants. This program provides funds to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural communities. Public entities, non-profits, and federally-recognized tribes are all eligible applicants to this program.

Grant funds can be used to construct, enlarge or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and public service. What’s better is that the grant funds can also be combined with other funding programs, including USDA-RD’s Community Facilities loans.

What Qualifies as Essential Community Facilities?

So what are essential community facilities? Here’s a listing from the grant’s webpage:

  • Health Care: hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities
  • Public Facilities: city/town/village halls, courthouses, airport hangers, street improvements
  • Community Support Services: child care centers, community centers, fairgrounds, transitional housing
  • Public Safety: fire halls, police stations, prisons, jails, police vehicles, fire trucks, public works vehicles, and equipment
  • Educational: museums, libraries, private schools
  • Utility:  telemedicine, distance learning
  • Local Food Systems: community gardens, food pantries, community kitchens, food banks, food hubs, greenhouses, kitchen appliances
  • For a complete list, see Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 3570.7

Examples of Projects

A few examples of the grant awards under this program includes:

  • Munising Memorial Hospital – Received $63,000 in Economic Impact Initiative Grant funding to purchase a mobile x-ray room. The mobile x-ray room will be used to benefit more than 9,600 residents in and around Munising, Michigan.
  • City of Bayard, Nebraska – Received $17,700 for purchase of extraction equipment for the local fire department.
  • Creative Adventure Lab – Received $66,500 to purchase equipment for the Monticello Creative Adventure Lab for build-out activities to provide educational programs to kids and families and to help improve economic development efforts by supporting entrepreneurs and existing business growth in Jones County, Iowa.

Get Started Now

First, check out USDA’s page on the Economic Impact Initiative Grants program. As with any grant program, there are a number of requirements your project must meet and a number of different aspects about the program your community should know about before considering applying for funding.

Then reach out to your local USDA Rural Development office to talk about your potential project. Local USDA-RD representatives are the best resources to find your way through the funding process through USDA. If you don’t know where your local office is located, check out the State Offices page on their website. From there you can drill down to your state office’s page and find the local office for your community from there.

Grants featured in Grant Spotlight posts are also on the Rural Resurrection Tool Kit page. For more grant opportunities, check out the Tool Kit page.