8/31 UPDATE: New grant opportunities and more

New funding opportunities and resources for the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone


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

RECENT NEWS:   Learn about the millions of dollars pumped into the Promise Zone by USDA since 2015, a new training grant to help people in the zone and what is being done by the Education Workgroup.

COMING EVENT:  The S.C. Association of Community Economic Development has its annual conference in September.  It might provide you with the kind of information you need to apply for grants and more.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:  Learn about several community economic development and capacity-building grant opportunities that Promise Zone communities can take advantage of.

RESOURCES:  This section provides links to studies and stories on rural health, food hubs and more.


USDA invests $113.1 million since 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program has invested $113,116,539 in counties of the South Carolina Promise Zone since 2015, according to agency records.  Investments included grants and loans to programs that had applied for funding through and outside of the Promise Zone initiative, as well as agricultural and housing grants awarded in other initiatives.

Better South gets $50,000 training grant

A $50,000 grant for technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the Center for a Better South to develop and implement a new entrepreneurial training program in the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone.  Between now and the end of the year, the Center will hold about a dozen meetings in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties to identify and assess needs.  Starting in January, it expects to offer free training opportunities to help communities build economic capacity.

30 attend Education Workgroup meeting in July

A report from Education Workgroup coordinator Nikki Williams:

EdVenture convened the S.C. Promise Zone Education workgroup on July 13. The meeting served as an opportunity to meet new, key partners of the education workgroup — including the Institute for Child Success and Molina Healthcare — and to review upcoming grants, specifically the Promise Neighborhood grant from the federal Department of Education. The 30 attendees represented an array of education, healthcare and workforce development organizations, with nearly all county First Steps directors and all school districts represented. During the meeting, attendees collaborated on two documents:

1) An Educational Pipeline brainstorm — What are the most significant developmental and academic milestones needed to be reached from cradle to career? What are barriers to our children’s success in reaching those milestones?

2) County resource/asset mapping — Who are the partners (individuals and organizations) who are doing effective work in the PZ with regard to children, families and education?

The documents will serve as a way to identify areas of potential hardship along the continuum of a child’s development and success that could be addressed through the support and work of a community partner.

Finally, the group discussed the desire to organize county-specific education meetings as an ideal opportunity for one county-focused community players to join our efforts. We are still seeking someone interested in leading the Allendale and Bamberg meetings. We hope the whole Promise Zone community will take interest in joining our county meetings and subsequent group meeting. 


SCACED’s annual Community Economic Development Conference

  • When: 14-16, 2016, Greenville, S.C.
  • Overview: This year’s conference for the S.C. Association of Community Economic Development, a Promise Zone partner, will focus on “Connecting Communities, Creating Opportunities.” It will connect communities with one another and to valuable resources by providing a series of forums, networking events, seminars and training sessions.
  • What to expect: You will join a diverse group of public, nonprofit and private sector leaders who are working collaboratively to build wealth and create opportunity for all South Carolinians. “Opportunity SC” connects communities with one another and to valuable resources by providing a series of forums, networking events, seminars and training sessions. Visit org for details and discounted rates.

FCC:   Mapping Broadband Health in America 

The Federal Communications Commission offers a mapping tool and tutorial for visualizing broadband access, demographics, and health data at the national, state, and county levels. Includes a rural filter based on the percent of the population that is rural.


HUD:  Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants

HUD is making $5,000,000 available through this NOFA for Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants. The Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants Program funds national organizations with expertise in rural housing and community development to strengthen the capacity of rural housing development organizations, CDCs, CHDOs, local governments, and Indian Tribes to carry out community development and affordable housing activities that benefit low- and moderate-income families and persons in rural areas. Award Ceiling: $2,500,000 ; Award Floor: $500,000.

  • Full details at this link.
  • Applications due September 13, 2016.

USDA: Community Facility Grant and Loan Program

  • Purpose:Provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities, including local food system facilities, in rural areas with populations under 20,000.
  • Funding:
  • Eligibility: Public bodies, community-based nonprofits, federally-recognized Tribes. Priority is given to small communities (populations of 5,500 or less) and low-income communities.
  • Deadline:

EDA:  Economic Development Assistance Programs

  • Purpose: Provides financial assistance to projects that support: development and job creation in economically distressed areas.
  • Eligibility: Tribal, state, local governments, educational institutions, non-profits with and without 501(c)(3) status.
  • Funding: $100K to $3 million.
  • Deadline: Rolling.

EDA:  Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance Program

  • Purpose: Provides financial and technical assistance to plan and implement EDA projects.
  • Eligibility: Tribal, state, local governments, educational institutions, non-profits with and without 501(c)(3) status.
  • Funding:up to $300,000.
  • Deadline: Rolling.

USDA:  National School Lunch After School Snack Program 

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service offers funding for schools and residential child care institutions to provide after school snacks to low-income children who participate in the National School Lunch program.

  • Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

NACO:     Rural Impact County Challenge: A National Effort to Combat Rural Child Poverty 

The National Association of Counties’ Rural Impact County Challenge will recognize and support counties making strides in reducing child poverty in rural communities. The challenge will provide educational opportunities, networking forums, and resources to develop and implement evidenced-based approaches to reduce the number of children and families living in poverty in rural areas.

  • Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)

  • Purpose:Provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDO’s) to provide microloans, training, and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and micro entrepreneurs.
  • Eligibility:See website.
  • Funding:Up to $205,000 annually (with 15% matching); loans up to $50,000-$500,000 for MDOs; loans up to $50,000 to ultimate recipients.
  • Deadline:Rolling (applications will be considered for next Federal fiscal quarter).

Laura Jane Musser Fund: Rural Initiative Program

  • Purpose:Funds projects in rural communities for economic development, business preservation, arts/humanities, public space improvements, and education.
  • Eligibility: Government or nonprofit entities in communities with fewer than 10,000 people.Funding: Planning
  • Deadline:November 2, 2016.

Developing Healthy Places

  • Purpose:Kresge Foundation seeks to fund nonprofit or government initiatives that build healthier and more equitable food systems, transportation infrastructure, and land use.
  • Eligibility:Nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, government entities.
  • Funding:
  • Deadline:

Jewel-Osco Community Grants

  • Purpose:Fund organizations promoting nutrition education, healthy eating, and local/sustainable conscientiousness.
  • Eligibility:501(c)(3) organizations.
  • Deadline:

Surdna Foundation/Sustainable Environment Grants

  • Purpose:Fund projects that develop regional food infrastructure, reduce barriers to access, strategize infrastructure construction.
  • Eligibility:Non-profit organizations.
  • Funding: Need-based.
  • Deadline:Rolling.

USDA Microloans (FSA)

  • Purpose:USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides financial assistance for small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm ownership or operations. Non-traditional farm operations can include truck farms, farms, direct marketing farmers, Community Supported Agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponic, organic, and/or vertical growing methods.
  • Eligibility:Please see website. 
  • Funding:Maximum of $50,000.
  • Deadline:


Using Data for Social Good

We are entering a new era of information openness and transparency.  Open data has the potential to spur economic innovation and social transformation.   Focusing just on economic impacts, in 2013, for example, the consulting firm McKinsey estimated the possible global value of open data to be over $3 trillion per year…

Changing rural demographics contributed to rising child poverty

Using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and a modified official poverty measure, ERS researchers found that rural child poverty rose from 18.7 percent in 2003 to 22.1 percent in 2014. The bulk of this 3.4-percentage point increase—3.2 percentage points—was due to rising income inequality, and not a decline in average incomes. A portion of this increase in inequality, in turn, was driven by changing rural demographics. An increase in the number of children in the average rural family raised poverty by 0.6 percentage points, while declines in the number of adults of prime working age and in the share of household heads that were married raised rural child poverty by 0.9 and 0.7 points, respectively. A slight increase in the average age of the household head helped reduce rural child poverty by 0.5 percentage points. The most beneficial demographic change was a rise in the share of rural household heads with a college degree, which rose from 15.8 to 19.5 percent, helping to reduce child poverty by 0.9 percentage points. The net impact of all these demographic changes was to contribute 0.9 percentage points towards the increase in rural child poverty.

Report Calls for ‘Big Bet’ on Reducing Unintended Pregnancies

A philanthropic investment of $1 billion in efforts to prevent unintended pregnancies could generate an economic return of between $3.2 billion and $6.4 billion for American children and families, a report from the Group finds. The report, Billion Dollar Bets: Reducing Unintended Pregnancies (21 pages, PDF), examines how philanthropy could support a nationwide effort to improve women’s access to the most effective contraceptive methods and drastically lower the number of unintended pregnancies — one of the “billion dollar bets” identified in an earlier Bridgespan report, “Billion Dollar Bets” to Create Economic Opportunity for Every American (33 pages, PDF). According to the report, nearly 38 percent of children born in the United States each year are unplanned, and rates of unintended pregnancies and births are higher among unmarried, African-American, less educated, and/or low-income women. The report also found that women who have unplanned or unintended pregnancies are more likely to lack access to information about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Previous research has shown that unplanned children are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of high school, and/or become teen parents themselves….


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