5/9 UPDATE: New grant opportunities, webinars, more

An update of new funding opportunities and resources for the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone


logo_updateIn this update, you will find new information and recent news on a variety of topics, including:

RECENT NEWS:   A wire decking and shelving company is investing $2.5 million in a Walterboro facility that will create 50 jobs; and an Allendale County health care organization has won a $325,000 health infrastructure grant from the federal government.

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: Learn about a grant program that funds outcome-focused education strategies and a host of other education-related grant opportunities.  Additionally, there’s information on the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Challenge; Treasury’s Low-income taxpayer clinic grant program;  a new funding program for health centers; and a USDA effort to fund rural broadband.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES:  There are several other funding opportunities with coming deadlines  — from water and wastewater grants and an HUD jobs program to other programs to grow rural businesses and help with specialty crop development.

COMING EVENTS:  Check out information on a June Peer Learning Exchange program in Mississippi for Promise Zone partners to learn about what other communities are doing to make improvements.  Also available:  webinars on summer meal programs, , affordable housing, Community Connect grants and more.

RESOURCES:  Read recent articles and studies that support Promise Zone activities.


Company to invest $2.5 million, create 50 jobs in Walterboro

J&L Wire, a Minnesota-based wire decking and shelving company, will invest $2.5 million to open a 31,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Walterboro.  The project is expected to create 50 new jobs, officials said.  More.

Fairfax hospital gets $325,000 health infrastructure grant

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $325,000 to Lowcountry Health Care System, Inc., in Fairfax as part of $260 million awarded in health infrastructure grants nationwide.  The program allows health centers to increase their patient capacity and to provide additional comprehensive primary and preventive health services to medically underserved populations.  More info.


EDUCATION:  Performance Partnership Pilot Program

Deadline for Notice of Intent to apply:  May 26, 2016; Application deadline:  June 27, 2016

The Department of Education is seeking applications for the Performance Partnership Pilot program.  The program enables pilot sites to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieve significant improvements in educational, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth using new flexibility to blend existing Federal funds and to seek waivers of associated program requirements.  View the P3 Funding Announcement.

EDUCATION:  Several other grant competitions that are open

  • The Investing in Innovation fund provides competitive grants to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates. Notice of intent to apply is due May 10, 2016 and the pre-application is due May 25, 2016.
  • The Magnet Schools Assistance Program provides grants to eligible local educational agencies for establishing and operating magnet schools under court-ordered or federally approved voluntary desegregation plans. Notice of intent to apply is due May 9, 2016 and the pre-application is due June 1, 2016.
  • The Charter Schools Program for State Education Agencies grant competition is open to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to run state-level charter school programs, award subgrants for the planning, design, and initial implementation of new charter schools, and share information about successful charter school practices. Applications are due June 1, 2016.
  • The Advanced Placement Test Fee program awards grants to eligible State educational agencies (SEAs) to enable them to pay all or a portion of advanced placement test fees on behalf of eligible low-income students who (1) are enrolled in an advanced placement course and (2) plan to take an advanced placement test. Applications are due May 12, 2016.
  • The Hispanic Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and Articulation grant competition seeks to: (1) increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; and (2) to develop model transfer and articulation agreements between two-year and four-year institutions in such fields. Applications are due May 31, 2016.
  • The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including before school, after school, and summer programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Applications are due May 20, 2016.

SBA:  Third Annual Growth Accelerator Challenge has up to $3.95 million available

Applications due June 3, 2016

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the 2016 Growth Accelerator Fund competition. In its third year, the SBA will commit up to $3.95 million for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each. This year, the SBA will partner with several other federal agencies – NIH, NSF, Department of Education, and USDA – to provide additional prizes to accelerators that assist entrepreneurs with submitting proposals for the Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Applications must be submitted by June 3. Read More…

TREASURY:  Low-income Taxpayer Clinic Grant program

Deadline:  June 20, 2016

The Department of Treasury is seeking applications for the 2017 Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) grant program.  The LITC program provides matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to represent low income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS and to educate persons who speak English as a second language (ESL) about their rights and responsibilities as U.S. taxpayers. LITC services must be provided free or for a nominal fee.

HHS:  Health Center Program New Access Point

Two-tier application process with phase 1 deadline set for June 17, 2016

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to improve the health of the Nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations by increasing access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services.  NAP funding provides operational support for new primary health care service delivery sites (i.e., new access points). A new access point is a new service delivery site for the provision of comprehensive health care services. Applicants must propose at least one full-time, permanent new access point site that has primary medical care as its main purpose.

Subject to the availability of appropriated funds, HRSA anticipates awarding approximately $50 million to support an estimated 75 New Access Point awards in Fiscal Year 2017. The maximum annual funding that can be requested in a NAP application is $650,000.

Eligible Applicants:  Organizations eligible to compete for NAP funds include public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based, and community-based organizations. Applications may be submitted from new organizations or from existing award recipients to expand their network of service delivery sites to serve new underserved populations. See Section III in the NAP funding opportunity announcement for the full list of eligibility criteria.

USDA:  Applications sought to Fund Rural Broadband

Deadline:  July 7, 2016

USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator Brandon McBride today announced that the Department is accepting applications for loans to bring broadband to underserved rural areas. The funding is from the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. The minimum loan amount is $100,000. The maximum is $10 million. The deadline to apply is July 7, 2016. For additional information, see Page 20614 of the April 8 Federal Register. In addition to the availability of funding, McBride also announced that USDA is implementing several improvements to the Broadband program. One of these improvements is faster Internet speeds. Loan applicants must design broadband systems with speeds of 10 megabits downstream and 1 megabit upstream. For additional details, see Page 45397 of the July 30, 2015 Federal Register.

NADO Innovation Awards Program

Each year, NADO recognizes member organizations that demonstrate innovative approaches to regional economic and community development through our Innovation Awards program.  Over 1,500 NADO member projects have been recognized since 1986 for their creative efforts in advancing regional economic development and improved quality of life.  The breadth and scope of the winning projects is impressive and far-reaching and illustrates the important role NADO members have in supporting regional development.  Previous award-winning projects have showcased innovative efforts in a variety of program areas including business and economic development, community health initiatives, emergency planning, brownfields, sustainability, technology, transportation, workforce development, and many others. Innovation winners have successfully leveraged their awards to bring additional resources to their regions and have also used the awards to better explain to their various audiences the important work they do.  NADO staff uses the award-winning projects to share your collective work on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies, as well as to provide peer-to-peer training and information sharing among the membership. This year’s application window will run from May 2 to July 1. Click here to learn more and apply!


USDA:  Strategic Economic and Community Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is excited to share a new Rural Development funding opportunity authorized by Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This new authority entitled Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) prioritizes projects that support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional plans under the Community Facilities Program, Water and Waste Disposal Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, and Rural Business Development Grant Program. Under this provision, up to 10 percent of each programs annual appropriations can be set aside and made available to eligible SECD applicants—in FY 2016, SECD has set aside over $300 million.  Many communities 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. The goal of SECD is to promote collaboration in rural communities and across Rural Development agencies and programs. Communities are incentivized 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 can be more effectively utilized and have a larger impact on rural capacity building and wealth creation.

USDA: Water and Waste Revolving Loan Fund Grants

Application Deadline: May 31, 2016 

Grant funds to establish a lending program that will finance water or wastewater systems for rural communities.

HHS:  Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma Program

Deadline:  June 7, 2016

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma. The purpose of this program is to assist high-risk youth and families and promote resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest through implementation of evidence-based, violence prevention, and community youth engagement programs, as well as linkages to trauma-informed behavioral health services. The goal of the ReCAST Program is for local community entities to work together in ways that lead to improved behavioral health, empowered community residents, and reductions in trauma and sustained community change.

HUD:  FY 2016 Jobs Plus Initiative Grant Program

Application Deadline: June 13, 2016.

The purpose of the Jobs Plus program is to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing. The place-based Jobs Plus program addresses poverty among public housing residents by incentivizing and enabling employment through earned income disregards for working families and a set of services designed to support work including employer linkages, job placement and counseling, educational advancement, and financial counseling. Ideally, these incentives will saturate the target developments, building a culture of work and making working families the norm. HUD is making available approximately $15,000,000 through this NOFA for Jobs Plus Initiative. HUD encourages activities in communities with Preferred Sustainability Status (PSS) and/or Promise Zones (PZ). HUD will award two (2) points for qualified activities within a designated zone or area and supporting either or both initiative(s). In no case will HUD award more than two bonus points for these activities. Please refer to pages 28-29 of the application for more information. Read the NOFA.

USDA:  Applications sought for loans, grants to help grow rural businesses; spur economic development

Deadline:  June 30, 2016

Rural Business Cooperative-Service Administrator Sam Rikkers announces USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help support the start-up or expansion of rural businesses.  The funding is being provided through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Under this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to local utilities, which use the funding to create revolving funds for projects that will create or retain jobs in rural areas. USDA is making $37 million in loans and $11 million in grants available. A recipient may receive a loan of up to $1 million, or a grant of up to $300,000.

USDA:  Stakeholder Announcement $62 Million in Grant Funding Available to Assist the Specialty Crop Industry

Deadline: July 6, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is making more than $62 million in grant funding available to support specialty crop producers through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP).  SCBGP grants are allocated to U.S. states and territories for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research and other programs to increase demand. Those interested in applying should do so directly through their state departments of agriculture, which administer a competitive grant process.  A listing of the SCBGP’s state contacts, and how to apply with state application due dates, can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp.  State departments of agriculture must submit their applications to AMS by July 6, 2016.

MORE GRANTS:  Click here to find recently-announced grant openings


EDUCATION: Peer Learning Exchange in June open to Promise Zone partners

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and our partners at Jobs for the Future invite you to attend a special peer learning exchange for leaders in rural and tribal communities, especially Promise Zones (PZ), June 13th – 14th, 2016. This meeting will occur in Indianola, Mississippi, one of ED’s Place-Based Initiatives Pilot priority communities, courtesy of Dr. Karen Matthews, President/CEO, Josh Davis, VP of External Affairs, and the Delta Health Alliance.

We recognize that rural communities have distinct strengths and challenges from their urban counterparts, and this convening will provide an opportunity for leaders, like yourself, who are driving change locally to exchange promising practices and lessons learned with leaders from other communities. In addition, this convening will offer an opportunity to connect with peers and kick-off a peer learning and practice community to deepen your work and impact. In fact, this convening will also spread your impact. We would like to capture the promising practices and lessons that are shared at this convening and share them with other communities.

Confirm Your Participation by Tuesday, May 17A limited number of scholarships are available to cover travel, lodging and per diem costs; although funding is limited, you are encouraged to bring additional people, if interested and feasible. We are asking that you complete a very short survey to confirm your attendance. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PLExchangeSurvey

The survey also includes some topics, that we have learned from your PZ liaisons, may be areas of interest for you to share and learn more about. There is also a space for you to share additional areas of interest. Many thanks in advance for giving 2-3 minutes to complete this short survey. Again, please return your responses by Tuesday, May 17

Once you confirm your interest/participation, Dr. Lucretia Murphy will follow-up with you directly to discuss your areas of interest and expertise and provide information logistics and scholarship availability. We will also send a draft agenda for you to review. In addition, we’ll keep your Promise Zone Community Liaisons in the loop for additional support as needed.

Contact for Questions:  If you have questions regarding the convening, please contact Dr. Lucretia Murphy at lmurphy@jff.org.

USDA, ED:  iForum: Power Up with Summer Meals in Schools

May 11, 2016, 1 p.m. EDT

This online webinar will discuss proven strategies for community stakeholders to develop and expand USDA Summer Meals Programs in partnership with local schools.  Please sign up HERE, and forward the invitation to peers who might benefit from this information.

USDA Summer Meals Programs help close the nutrition gap children face over the summer months—a time when children no longer receive school meals they relied on throughout the school year. USDA reports that 22 million children and teens receive free and reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program, yet only about 1 in 5 of those (around 3.8 million) participate in summer meal programs.

Participants of this iForum will gain clarity about how USDA Summer Meals Programs operate, and learn from school districts that have overcome obstacles to administer the programs effectively. We will be joined by the Port Huron Area School District in Michigan, and Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, who will share their inspiring success stories.

During this exciting session, we will introduce USDA Summer Meals Programs and provide an overview on how the program operates; hear how the school districts have overcome challenges in their journey to operating successful summer meals programs; and answer your questions.

Again, please RSVP HERE, and forward the invitation to others who might benefit from this information. We will send an iForum log-in and call-in number prior to Wednesday, May 11.

HUD:  Requirements for Committing HOME Funds Webinar –

May 10, 2016, 2 p.m.

HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) is pleased to announce a webinar on the HOME requirements contained in Notice CPD-15-09 Requirements for Committing HOME Funds on May 10, 2016, from 2:00 PM EDT until 4:00 PM EDT. This webinar will describe what Participating Jurisdictions must do in order to meet the HOME requirements for committing funds to specific local projects and to programs undertaken by State recipients and subrecipients. It will explain the requirements contained in the definition of “commitment” (at 24 CFR 92.2) and the underwriting, subsidy layering, and project assessment requirements (at 24 CFR 92.250(b)), all of which must be met prior to the commitment of HOME funds.

USDA:  Community Connect Grant Program webinar

May 17, 2016, 2 p.m.

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host a two-hour webinar  at 2 p.m. May 17 focused on the Community Connect Grant Program. NOTE:  This grant program awards priority points to Promise Zone applicants.

These webinars will inform participants about the major eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program and will provide detailed guidance on how to submit a successful grant application.  There will also be time for participants to ask the speakers specific questions about putting together an application.

Due to the limited amount of room available for each session, you must register with the RUS Loan Origination and Approval Division. Please register by visiting https://livemeeting.com/register and selecting the session you wish to attend. Register soon to ensure your spot in the session you want to attend.  More information about the Community Connect Grant Program is available on our website at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-connect-grants.

USDA: RD Apply Webinar

May 18, 2016, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT

The USDA Telecommunications Program will host a webinar focused on our new application intake system, RD Apply. This new system allows interested parties to apply electronically for loans and grants administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Apply with ease for the latest RUS Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program and Infrastructure Program loans through RD Apply. Eventually, more programs will be added into the system, allowing a wider range of customers to submit applications electronically. Due to the limited amount of room available, you must register with the RUS Policy & Outreach Division to attend. Please pre-register at https://www.livemeeting.com/register. Register soon to ensure your spot in the session.


New Market Tax Credits Infographic

Dan McRae’s infographic sorts out allocation, credits, sheltered income and unsheltered income, and trace the actual funding from New Market Tax Credits.

Startup Seeks to Open up Public Finance to Small Investors

In 2012, two entrepreneurs came up with a novel way to open up public finance to small investors: create an online marketplace allowing people to invest smaller-than-usual amounts of money in municipal bonds backing specific civic projects.

Number of farms with direct-to-consumer sales increases, sales plateau

Data on direct-to-consumer (DTC) food sales were first collected in the 1978 Census of Agriculture, and DTC sales data have been collected in every agricultural census thereafter (except in 1987). In 1992, the number of DTC farms fell to the lowest level since information collection on DTC farms began; since that time, the number has slowly and steadily increased, peaking in 2012. The constant-dollar value of DTC sales increased as well, before declining slightly in 2012. Two factors may have contributed to the lack of growth in DTC sales over 2007-12. First, consumer demand for local food purchased through DTC outlets may have plateaued. Second, where local food systems have been thriving, farmers may have been able to direct more of their sales to “intermediated” outlets, such as local restaurants and retailers, institutions, and local aggregators. ERS research finds that the number of farms marketing through intermediated channels increased by 34 percent from 36,000 in 2008 to 48,300 in 2012


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