REGION – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to support economic development in rural communities.

USDA is making grants available under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program to strengthen the rural economy.

Qualified intermediary organizations receiving RCDI grants will provide technical assistance and training to help nonprofit organizations and communities develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities or economic development projects.

Applicants must have capacity-building experience for these types of projects and must provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant.

Eligible recipients are nonprofit organizations, low-income rural communities or federally recognized tribes. RCDI grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals.

Examples of eligible projects include homeownership education, minority business entrepreneurship, strategic community planning or assistance to access alternative funding sources.

Applications are due June 25, 2018. For more information, see page 18264 of the April 26 Federal Register.

USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the report to the President from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to help improve life in rural America.

Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

• Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America

• Developing the Rural Economy

• Harnessing Technological Innovation

• Supporting a Rural Workforce

• Improving Quality of Life