$300 million for strategic community economic growth in rural regions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is excited to share a new Rural Development funding opportunity authorized by Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill called Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD). SECD supports rural communities engaged in regional planning efforts. Many federal agencies have regional planning programs and SECD can provide funds for implementation.

SECD prioritizes projects that support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional plans by setting aside up to 10 percent of annual appropriations for these purposes under the Community Facilities Program, Water and Waste Disposal Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, and Rural Business Development Grant Program. In FY 2016, SECD set-asides total over $300 million. SECD set-asides must be obligated by June 30th of each fiscal year.

Many communities are already working together to develop multi-jurisdictional plans with the help of strategic partners including non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, university extensions, regional authorities, coalitions of counties/towns and federal special initiative coalitions such as: Stronger Economies Together, Promise Zones, Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnerships, Sustainable Communities, and Local Food, Local Places. We encourage these groups and others to apply for SECD and spread the word on this exciting new opportunity!

The goal of SECD is to support communities who are working across jurisdictions to align resources, develop long-term community and economic growth strategies and engage federal, state and local partners. By promoting this regional focus, USDA resources across Rural Development agencies and programs can be more effectively utilized and have a larger impact on rural capacity building and wealth creation.

To be eligible for SECD, a project must:

  • Be eligible for the underlying program
  • Be carried out solely in a rural area
  • Support a multi-jurisdictional strategic economic community development plan.

Applicants to any of several existing Rural Development programs whose projects support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional strategic economic and community development plans may apply for priority consideration through SECD. Consideration will be based on:

  1. How well the project supports a multijurisdictional plan and
  2. How well the plan addresses collaboration, regionalism, and investments from other federal and philanthropic agencies. Interested participants are encouraged to have their plans reviewed by their State’s staff early in the process for feedback and possible modification prior to submitting with the formal application.

Application deadline: June 30, 2016

See full info on grant opportunity.

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