4/14 UPDATE: Two dozen funding opportunities, more

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 new scholarship opportunity from the Alger program, plus a tax incentive bill by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., that would benefit Promise Zones

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: Learn about the USDA’s major new Strategic Economic and Community Development program and how it can help your community.  This section includes information on a dozen more new federal and nonprofit funding opportunities.

OTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:  Read how your community can get a team of young people from Americorps to volunteer to strengthen your community.  This section includes 10 other funding opportunities related to food, nutrition, water, community economic development and more.

COMING EVENTS:  Learn how to register for an April 28 workshop in Charleston that provides information about the New Markets Tax Credit and how South Carolinians can access those funds.  Seven other events include webinars and calls on various topics:  brownfields, local food financing, food systems, the Affordable Care Act, community development and crowdfunding.

RESOURCES If you were not able to attend a federal broadband workshop on March 23 in Barnwell, you can download PowerPoint presentations through a link in this section.  Also available is information on a food promotion program, community development and infrastructure, vacant land reuse, brownfields and more.



Scholarship opportunity from Alger program

The Horatio Alger National Career & Technical Scholarship Program is awarding over 500 scholarships of up to $2,500 each to individuals pursuing a career or technical certificate or degree.  Requirements:

  • Completed high school or plan to complete high school by spring 2016 with plans to enroll at a community college for the first time by fall 2016
  • Exhibit a strong commitment to pursue and complete a career or technical program at an accredited, non-profit community college in the U.S.
  • Demonstrate critical financial need (must be eligible to receive the Federal Pell grant as determined by completion of the FAFSA)
  • Demonstrate perseverance in overcoming adversity
  • Involved in community service activities
  • Be a U.S. citizen who is younger than 30 years old
  • APPLY online by June 1, 2016

Wilson cosponsors bill to spur job creation, investment in Promise Zone

 U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., is a chief co-sponsor of legislation that will create new tax credits to give incentives to businesses to hire residents of federally-designated Promise Zones like the one that is in part of his congressional district.  Click here to read more.

Grant applications due April 15 to Lowcountry Ministries Fund

The non-profit Palmetto Project is asking for community organizations serving Allendale, Hampton, Colleton, Jasper, and rural parts of lower Charleston and Beaufort counties to apply for grants from its $1.5 million Lowcountry Ministries Fund.   The Promise Zone includes Allendale, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.  More.

Allendale to host April 15 Lowcountry food initiative meeting

If you know children who are hungry in the summer and who don’t eat quality meals after they leave school or if you are passionate about feeding local, South Carolina food to Lowcountry children, you should consider joining local, state and federal partners at an April 15 meeting in Allendale.  More.


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: Value Added Producer Grant Funds Available

The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Grants are awarded through a national competition.

USDA: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Process and Technology Improvement Grants

Deadline: Applications are due April 18, 2016.

The purpose of this grant competition is to support efforts by State agencies and their community-based and faith-based partners to develop and implement: Simple SNAP application and eligibility determination systems; or Measures to improve access to SNAP benefits by eligible applicants. This RFA seeks diverse proposals that would make the entire process easier and more efficient for applicants and participants. Grant proposals should focus on improving the quality and efficiency of operations and processes within the SNAP office. Specifically, FNS is interested in initiatives that use new technologies or examine office processes in order to improve application processing timeliness for initial applications or re-certifications.

USDA: Farmers Market Promotion Program

Deadline: Applications are due on May 12, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), AMS, requests applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to competitively award grants to eligible applicants for projects that establish, expand, and promote direct producer-to-consumer marketing. Approximately $13 million is available to fund applications under this solicitation. The minimum FY 2016 FMPP award per grant is $50,000 and the maximum is $500,000. An applicant is limited to one FMPP award in a funding year. FMPP funding will be available for use beginning September 30, 2016. Matching funds are not required.

USDA:  Local Food Promotion Program

Deadline: Applications are due on May 12, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), requests applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) to competitively award grants to eligible applicants to plan or implement projects that assist in the development, improvement, and/or expansion of intermediary local and regional food business supply chain activities (e.g. activities that do not involve direct producer‐to‐consumer sales). Approximately $13 million is available to fund applications under this solicitation. LFPP planning grant award levels range from $25,000 to $100,000. LFPP implementation grant award levels range from $100,000 to $500,000. An applicant is limited to one LFPP award in a funding year.

MULTIPLAN:  Rural Health Outreach Grant Program

Funding to help rural hospitals develop creative community outreach programs that encourage new services or reach new populations.  Application Deadline: Apr 22, 2016

BUREAU OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE:  Dental Faculty Development and Loan Repayment Program

Provides funding to plan, develop, and operate a dental faculty loan repayment program for faculty engaged in primary care dentistry, including general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, public health dentistry, and dental hygiene.  Application Deadline: May 31, 2016

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: May 31, 2016

FUEL UP TO PLAY 60:  Equipment grants

Fuel Up to Play 60  Offers funding to schools for the purchase of equipment that will enhance the long term implementation of a lunch or breakfast program.  Application Deadline: Jun 30, 2016

AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION:  Semi-Annual Grant Program: Access to Care

Awards funding to projects that improve access to oral healthcare. Examples include screening programs, treatment programs, and dental clinics within a community healthcare facility.  Application Deadline: Jul 29, 2016

AHRQ:  Small Research Grant Program (R03)

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality  supports different types of health services research projects, including pilot and feasibility studies; secondary analysis of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; development of research methodology; and development of new research technology. Rural and frontier areas are considered a priority population.  Application Deadline: Jul 16, 2018

USDA:  Summer Food Service Program

Funding to provide free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need during the summer months.  Applications accepted on an ongoing basis


AMERICORPS:  Proposals accepted for projects for volunteers for your community

Deadline for a Project Concept Form:  April 25, 2016

What could a team of highly motivated and energized volunteers accomplish for my community and organization in 4-8 weeks?    AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a team-based volunteer service program for young people ages 18–24. The mission of AmeriCorps NCCC is to strengthen communities through the volunteer service of our teams. Our NCCC teams complete service projects to address community needs in collaboration with diverse partners across our 11-state Southern Region. Community partners include non-profits (both faith based and secular), local municipalities, state and federal agencies, national and state parks, Indian Tribes and schools. To learn more, visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-nccc

  • Click here to learn more about the 2016 Request for Proposals (RFP)  process that contains more information about the program and how your organization could host a team to address needs in your community.
  • If your organization or an organization you know is interested in hosting an NCCC team to address needs in your community during Round 1 (August 16th to October 14th), please submit the Project Concept Form (also attached to this email) by April 25, 2016. You can apply for as little as a few weeks, or for as long as 8 weeks. For more information or to submit a concept form, please contact Rachel Turner at RTurner@cns.gov or 601-630-4069.

HHS:   Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects

Deadline: April 27, 2016

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS) will award up to $9.5 million in Community Economic Development (CED) discretionary grant funds to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts. OCS seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for low-income families, and create sustained employment opportunities in low-income communities. To do this, the CED-HFFI program will provide technical and financial assistance for healthy food ventures designed to: (1) improve access to, and purchase and consumption of healthy, affordable foods; and (2) address the economic needs of individuals and families with low-income through the creation of employment and business opportunities in low-income communities.

View the CED- HFFI Funding Opportunity Announcement  |  More information is available on the HHS website.

HHS:  Community Economic Development Projects

Deadline: April 27, 2016

Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Community and Economic Development (CED) program, administered by the Office of Community Services (OCS) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), will provide up to $17.7 million in grants ($800,000 maximum per project) to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of individuals and families with low-income through the creation of employment and business opportunities.  For more information, please refer to pages 51 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

View the CED Funding Opportunity Announcement.  |  More information is available on the HHS website.

TRANSPORTATION:  TIGER Discretionary Grants
Deadline:  April 29, 2016

Awards grants for transportation projects that better connect communities to centers of employment, education, and services and that hold promise to stimulate long-term job growth, especially in economically distressed areas. Applications may include linkages between transportation improvements, including walking and bike trails, and overall community wellness, health, and livability.

USDA:  Household Water Well System Grants
Deadline:  May 9, 2016

Provides funds to create lending programs for homeowners to borrow funds for the construction or repair of household water wells.  Sponsored by the USDA Rural Utilities Service

USDA:  Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
Deadline:  May 12, 2016

Offers grants to projects that assist in the development, improvement, and expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community‐supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer‐to‐consumer market opportunities.  Sponsor:  USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

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.

RWJ Foundation:  What’s Working to Help Kids Across America Eat Healthy?

Deadline:  Aug.  3, 2016

RWJF announces $2.6 million in funding to support the Healthy Eating Research program which is one of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national programs that builds evidence to guide their work in addressing obesity among children. Highlights how research in this area helps address challenges to securing nutritional and healthy foods for children within rural, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander populations.

Home Depot:  Community Impact Facility Grants

Deadline: Dec. 31, 2016.

Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans.

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


APRIL 28:  New Markets Tax Credit workshop to be held in Charleston

Greenville New Markets Opportunity (GNMO) II and its partners are hosting a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) workshop in Charleston on April 28.    In addition to information about the basics of NMTC financing, and how to access those funds in South Carolina, we are going to discuss the pros and cons of closing a transaction from both the bank lending partner and the borrower perspectives.  The format will be small group and conversational, with a particular focus on the recently closed Limehouse Produce transaction in North Charleston.

  • Click here to see the invitation. To register, contact molly@smoakpr.com or by hitting the Register Today button on the invitation, which will take you to Eventbrite.

EPA:  Reaching your Redevelopment Goals with Brownfields Revolving Loan Funds

When: April 21, 2016 |  2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern

EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants enable states, local governments, quasi-governmental entities, and federally recognized tribes to make low to no interest loans or subgrants to carryout cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Through best practices and case studies, this free webinar will examine the RLF structure that has been shown to bring brownfield sites back into productive use. Join CDFA, EPA, and experienced brownfield communities on Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 2:00 – 3:30pm Eastern as we discuss the key features of a successful Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund and the commonalities and challenges associated with implementing this underutilized financing resource. Learn how even the most challenged or understaffed communities can implement RLF loans and sub-grants.

USDA:  Peer -to-peer conference call on local food financing

2 p.m., April 28, 2016

The Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) invites you to take part in our next Peer-to-Peer conference call.  Scheduled for April 28, 2016, this call will offer participants the opportunity to learn about available activities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency (USDA-RD).

Topics to be discussed:  Funding opportunities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development; Public and Private sources of funding to carry out projects; and Best practices and lessons-learned.

How to join the call:    You must RSVP by email to rhed@hud.gov no later than April 26, 2016.  Include your name and organization.  Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on April 27, 2016. The 60 minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session.  Questions:  Phone:  1-877-787-2526

USDA:  Webinar:  How to evaluate economic benefits of local food systems

3 p.m., April 28, 2016

Local and regional food systems are helping revitalize rural and urban communities across the country.  The authors of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture guide to evaluate the economic impacts of investing in farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), food hubs, and other local food systems will discuss the toolkit during a free webinar on Thursday, April 28, 2016, at 3 p.m. E.T.

The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices, developed by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in cooperation with Colorado State University (CSU), uses real-world projects, experiences, and applied research to help community leaders, planners, economic development specialists, public agencies, and private businesses or foundations evaluate the economic benefits of local and regional food systems.

Audience:  Community leaders, planners, economic development specialists, public agencies, and private businesses or foundations

What:   Free webinar on how to use The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices

When:   3 p.m. E.T., Thursday, April 28, 2016

Speakers:   Debra Tropp, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service; Alfonso Morales, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Becca Jablonski, Colorado State University; Dave Swenson, Iowa State University; Dawn Thilmany, Colorado State University

SBA:  Webinars | Affordable Care Act 101

April 28:  Register now 

The U.S. Small Business Administration  and Small Business Majority will host free Affordable Care Act 101 webinars so small business owners can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and how they can enroll in health insurance marketplaces. The webinars begin at 2pm ET.

USDA:  Webinars for Local Food Systems Grant Applicants, $26 Million Now Available in Grant Funding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is making over $26 million in grant funding available to strengthen local and regional food systems through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and hosting a series of webinars to help farmers markets, producers groups, and other potential applicants with the grant process. Administered by AMS, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program provides a combined total of over $26 million in competitive grants, divided equally between the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).  FMPP grants support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism.  LFPP funding supports projects that develop, improve, and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally- or regionally-produced food products.

CDFI Fund Releases Final Webinar Schedule for Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas Training

The final five webinars for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund)’s Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas training series have been scheduled. The series, part of the CDFI Fund’s Capacity Building Initiative, provides specialized training and technical assistance to certified and emerging CDFIs to extend their reach into certain underserved communities in the United States that currently lack a CDFI presence.

The free webinars, provided by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and its partners, are intended to maximize Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) participation in this important training. The Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas webinars are free and open to the general public, but advanced registration is required to access the live presentations. Registration may be completed up until the start time listed for each individual session.

Fundraising on the Move: Crowdfunding for Walkable Communities Webinar

This webinar will help you learn more about how crowdfunding can be both an effective fundraising and community-engagement tool for walkable community advocates. The webinar will include real-life case studies of successfully-funded walking advocacy projects, crowdfunding myth busting, and best practices for campaign planning, donor prospecting, social media use, and more. You’ll leave with the information you need to decide if, when, and how crowdfunding can best support your goals, and to plan an effective campaign. Material covered is pertinent to volunteers and informal community groups, as well as nonprofits. No prior fundraising experience required.



PowerPoint presentations available from  March 23 broadband workshop in Barnwell

If you were not able to attend a federal broadband workshop on March 23 in Barnwell, you can download PowerPoint presentations from the day-long event by clicking here.

USDA: Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Overview

  • Click this link to find a PowerPoint presentation from an April 6 webinar that focused on local food promotion.

CDFI Fund Resource Bank

The CDFI Fund has added an Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas Virtual Resource Bank to its website. The new Resource Bank supplements the training and webinar series with reference materials for CDFIs, community development practitioners, and the general public. The Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas Resource Bank includes the series’ training materials, additional publications, and tools. The topics covered are relevant for CDFI banks, credit unions, loan funds, and venture capital funds seeking to expand their coverage. Past webinars will also be archived and added to the Resource Bank.  View the Resource Bank here.

  • To learn more about Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas series and the other training series available under the Capacity Building Initiative, please visit www.cdfifund.gov/cbi.

CDFA and USDA Launch Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit

The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are excited to announce the release of the Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit (CFIT), a guide which was developed in collaboration over the past year. The CFIT contains best practices for planning, designing, developing and financing rural community facilities that can be used by nonprofits and public entities. In order to further analyze the Toolkit, CDFA, in partnership with the USDA, is offering a complimentary education webinar to examine how conventional bank loans, bond financing, or state and federal grant and lending programs can be applied broadly across organizations regardless of project type or finance resources.

Making Sure Your Community Benefits from Vacant Land Reuse Strategies

Groundwork USA explores the best practices for implementing adaptive and inclusive processes to achieve more equitable re-development of vacant, underutilized, and sometimes even contaminated properties.

Time to Think Differently About Brownfields

All of the changes in manufacturing require that American regions change the traditional economic development approach to site development in some significant ways, according to economic developer Mark Barbash.

New Markets, New Opportunities: Strengthening Local Food Systems and Organic Agriculture

USDA’s Office of Communications releases new “USDA Results” page for the month of April focusing on Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food and organic agriculture. This page characterizes the great work USDA has done to support and invest in local and regional food systems across the country since 2009.


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