2/1 UPDATE: Lots of grant opportunities are open

News and new grant 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:

NEWS:   Updates on two grant training programs, plus an op-ed about our success and a $7 million investment announced in December.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:  There are more than two dozen funding opportunities – from ways to fund older volunteers and summer lunches for students to broadband and other grants.

LEARNING:   Take a look at several helpful webinars or other tools that might be helpful.

RESOURCES:  This section provides links to studies and stories that you may find helpful.


Participants in SouthCarolina Alliance's December grant-writing workshop.

Participants in SouthCarolina Alliance’s December grant-writing workshop.

Seventeen graduate from intensive grant training programSeventeen Promise Zone representatives recently completed an intensive, four-day Grant Writing Certification Program offered by SouthernCarolina Alliance to give them better tools to seek grants and take advantage of opportunities offered by the Promise Zone designation.

Center to offer more one-day grant-writing workshopsOn Friday, the Center for a Better South will offer its first one-day grant-writing workshop in Allendale, which will be followed March 4 with a similar class in Walterboro.  While both classes are full – and with long waiting lists – the Center is making plans to offer additional classes in April.  More to come.

Op-ed:  Promise Zone keeps pushing for regional progress:  “There’s a palpable sense of energy flowing through the six counties of the southern tip of South Carolina in the federally-designated Promise Zone, which is now a year and a half old.  Walk along a downtown street or drive past expanding businesses and you get a tingling that things are happening.  Two years ago, the SouthernCarolina Alliance, lead partner of the Promise Zone, was about the only regional organization that worked to pull people together to develop projects to benefit the area.  Fortunately, the organization had the foresight in 2014 to try to win the Promise Zone designation as a way to bolster inter-agency collaboration and get local, state and federal organizations in silos to come out into the open and work better together. …”

Hampton shipper to invest $7 million in YemasseeR+L Carriers, a global logistics and shipping company, is expanding its current footprint in Hampton County, according to SouthernCarolina Alliance, lead organization for the SC. Promise Zone. To accommodate its continued growth, the company will be investing $7 million in the project, which will create 25 new jobs. and allow the company to build a new distribution terminal in Yemassee.


CNCS:  Funding is available to support older volunteers available in some Promise Zone counties

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at the Corporation for National And Community Service offer grants of a minimum of $75,000 to support volunteers 55 years and older in activities that serve community needs in multiple areas:  disaster; education; economic opportunity; environment; healthy futures;  and veterans and military families.

Promise Zone counties eligible to apply include Allendale, Bamberg, Hampton and Jasper counties.

  • Notice of Intent to Apply Deadline:Applicants are strongly encouraged to send a Notice of Intent to Apply by Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The Notice of Intent to Apply should be completed via Survey Monkey.
  • Application Deadline: Applications are due Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:00PM Eastern Time. Successful applicants will be notified by July 2017.

Education, USDAHelp provide summer meals for students.

The S.C. Department of Education’s Office of Health and Nutrition is offering an excellent opportunity for local government agencies, school districts, faith-based and private nonprofit organizations to provide summer meals to children by becoming a sponsor or a summer meal site for our Summer Meals Program.

USDA:  Strategic Economic and Community Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is excited to share a new Rural Development funding opportunity entitled Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD), which prioritizes projects that support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional plans under the Community Facilities ProgramWater 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 program’s annual appropriations can be set aside and made available to eligible SECD applicants. 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. 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

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

  • Application Deadline:Feb 6, 2017 

USDA:  Community Connect Broadband Grant Program

USDA Rural Utilities Service offers grants for communities without broadband service to provide residential service and connect facilities, such as police and fire stations, healthcare, libraries, and schools. Priority will be given to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services.

  • Application Deadline:Mar 13, 2017

USDA:  Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program

This program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

  • Application Deadline:Mar 31, 2017

HRSA:   Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program

The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth  supports the establishment and development of Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) which provide technical assistance to healthcare organizations, healthcare networks, and healthcare providers in the implementation of telehealth programs to serve rural and medically underserved areas and populations.

  • Application Deadline:Mar 16, 2017

COMMERCE:   FY2017 Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grant Opportunity

The FY2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs funding announcement was recently released. EDA provides strategic investments on a competitive merit basis to support economic development, foster job creation, and attract private investment in economically distressed areas of the United States. Under this federal funding announcement, EDA solicits applications from applicants in order to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and EAA programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities.

USDA:   Household Water Well System Grants

Provides grants to nonprofit organization to create lending programs for homeowners to borrow funds for the construction or repair of household water wells.

  • Application Deadline:Feb 6, 2017

USDA:    $27 Million in Grants Available to Support the Local Food Sector

USDA’s Agricultural Marking Service (AMS) has announced the request for applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, which includes Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grants, and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).  These programs and other resources across USDA are helping to revitalize rural America by supporting local and regional food stakeholders.

  • The grant applications for FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP must be submitted electronically throughgrants.gov/  by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, March 27, 2017.

ENERGY:   Solar in Your Community

DOE has launched its Solar in Your Community Challenge to support innovative and replicable community-based initiatives that bring solar power to low-income and underserved communities. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are eligible to participate in the Challenge, which aims to engage and support a wide variety of teams developing innovative and scalable business and financial models that can unlock the low- and moderate-income solar market. Teams will compete for $5 million in resources, including seed funding and technical assistance grants, and a $500,000 grand prize. Each team is expected to consist of a wide variety of stakeholders, including solar companies and entrepreneurs in partnership with key local stakeholders (e.g., utilities, banks, non-profit organizations, municipalities, and community leaders).

  • Deadline:3/17/2017.

NEA:  Art Works

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is offering grants through Art Works 1 for FY 2018. An organization may submit only one application through one of the following two FY 2018 categories: Art Works 1 or Challenge America. An organization may submit one additional application under the FY 2018 Art Works category for a Creativity Connects project.

  • Deadlines: Art Works 1;2/16/2017; Challenge America; 4/13/2017. Click hereto review application guidelines for an Art Works 1 grant. Click here for guidelines on Challenge America grants.


The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) has opened the fiscal year 2017 application period for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.

  • Deadlines:qualified Issuer Applications must be submitted through AMIS by 3/3/2017; Guarantee Applications must be submitted through AMIS by 3/17/2017. Application materials are available on the CDFI Fund’s website here.


Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C Capacity Development Grants

Health Resources and Services Administration  provides funding to assist eligible entities to strengthen their organizational infrastructure and to increase their capacity to develop, enhance, or expand access to high quality HIV primary health care services for low-income, uninsured, underinsured and people in underserved or rural communities.

  • Application Deadline:Feb 28, 2017

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Change Leadership Programs

Four change leadership programs, designed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to extend the influence and impact of leaders working to build a Culture of Health. Helps develop and support leaders who are from or working with communities with limited resources and opportunities.

  • Application Deadline:Feb 15, 2017

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

Bureau of Health Workforce   offers loan repayment assistance to registered nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, and nursing school faculty who agree to work in underserved areas.

  • Application Deadline:Feb 23, 2017

Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Assistance Program

Office on Violence Against Women  offers funding for collaborative projects designed to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities.

  • Application Deadline:Feb 23, 2017

USDA:  Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) (new)

This program provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDO’s) to provide microloans, training, and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and micro entrepreneurs.

  • 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).

USDA:  FSA Microloans 

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.

  • Funding: Maximum of $50,000.
  • Deadline: Ongoing

USDA:   Economic Impact Initiative Grants

Funding is available to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural communities that have extreme unemployment and severe economic depression.

  • Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Bush Foundation Accepting Applications for Community Innovation Grant Program

  • Grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded in support of inclusive, collaborative projects that use community assets to address a community need or opportunity….

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.


How to write grant proposals

On this page, we offer webinars and other information that can help you learn how to write winning grant proposals and improve your proposals.  If you have similar resources to share with others in the Promise Zone, send links by email.

Coursera launches MOOCs for governments, nonprofits targeting workforce-development

Online-education provider Coursera has announced a new program that allows governments and nonprofits focused on workforce development to curate massive open online course (MOOCs) that align with labor market needs, and then make these courses instantly available to their constituents. Initial partners of Coursera for Governments & Nonprofits include the United States and six other nations:  Egypt, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Singapore.

HUD Launches New Community Investment Tool

HUD has launched the Community Assessment Reporting Tool (CART), which is an online tool that generates a snapshot of HUD’s investments at the community level. The tool provides an interactive mapping interface that allows users to explore HUD investments within their community and see property- and grant-level detail at a variety of geographies.

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Webinars

AMS will host a webinar for potential FMPP and LFPP grant applicants on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and a teleconference for potential FSMIP grant applicants on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  For more information about FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP, visit:www.ams.usda.gov/AMSgrants.

The website also contains a link to a grants decision tree, “What AMS Grant is Right for ME?” to help applicants determine which AMS grant fits their project best. AMS will also host a webinar to introduce potential applicants to Grants.gov on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  Applicants are urged to start the Grants.gov registration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the deadline and encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of the posted due date.


U.S. Department of Education Family and School Partnership

The U.S. Department of Education’s Place Based Initiative Pilot Team, Office of Innovation and Improvement( OII)  and Performance Partnership Pilot Team, Office Career Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) are excited to share a recently released resource titled Family and School Partnershipthat is focused on building and improving these valuable relationships.  Educators are increasingly aware that schools alone cannot raise student achievement and research has demonstrated that family involvement is one of the strongest predictors of school success. Many schools and districts are pursuing strategies to deepen their relationships with families and communities to improve student outcomes. Simply put, students are more successful in school and life when their families are engaged in their education. This document highlights the importance of family engagement and family-school partnerships.   It provides schools and their partners with a jumping off point with an overview of key research, best practices, and funding sources, as well as profiles of how two communities are working to improve family engagement.  These efforts incorporate a variety of strategies for schools to employ to welcome and work with families, and for educators and families to use to collaborate effectively. The document also identifies resources to inform and support local action on building effective family-school partnerships.

Regions win through comprehensive workforce development strategy

With job growth for middle-skill level jobs slowing, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Austin-based nonprofit Center for Public Policy Priorities studied the nation’s best practices and surveyed regional workforce boards in Texas to determine how communities there are addressing the challenge. Their findings are detailed in the report, Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas, released last month. For a region to succeed in their workforce development efforts, the study states three tasks must be accomplished: identify growth through an industry cluster analysis, convene a sector partnership, and create and strengthen career pathways.

Rural counties’ economies depend on different industries

Local economies and employment levels are more sensitive to economic trends that have a pronounced effect on their leading industries. For example, trends in agricultural prices have a disproportionate impact in farming-dependent counties, which accounted for nearly 20 percent of all rural counties and 6 percent of the rural population in 2015. The boom in U.S. oil and natural gas production increased employment in many mining-dependent rural counties; more recently, lower oil and gas prices have led to reduced oil exploration and economic activity in these counties. Meanwhile, the decline in manufacturing employment has particularly affected manufacturing-dependent counties, which accounted for about 18 percent of rural counties and 23 percent of the rural population.

Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age

A new resource guide for communities on high-speed internet access and digital inclusion has been released by the National Resource Network (NRN), which provides technical assistance as part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative. NRN partner organization ICMA and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) led a group of six U.S. cities (Chattanooga, Tennessee; Gonzales, California; Greensboro, North Carolina; New Orleans, Louisiana; Springfield, Missouri; and Youngstown, Ohio) in a first-of-its-kind partnership to develop the resource guide, Access and Inclusion in the Digital AgeAccess and Inclusion in the Digital Age is designed to support U.S. communities of all sizes and geographies in advancing their goals for high-speed Internet access and digital inclusion. Representatives of the six cities communicated regularly about the broadband Internet access and digital literacy initiatives underway in their communities, highlighting major obstacles encountered and key lessons learned. By sharing information on programs, practices, challenges, and opportunities from their own communities, these six cities were


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(c) 2017, S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone.  All rights reserved.

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