Two upcoming opportunities are available for rural development:

USDA Seeks Applications to Spur Economic Development in Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to support economic development in rural communities. The grants are being made available through USDA’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Program in order to strengthen the rural economy. The grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, 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 facility, or economic development projects. USDA also encourages applications that will support efforts to combat substance use disorders – including opioid misuse – in high-risk rural communities by strengthening their capacity to address prevention, treatment, and/or recovery needs.

Grant amounts will range from $50,000 to $250,000. Nonprofits, low-income rural communities, and federally-recognized tribes are eligible to apply. Applicants must have capacity-building experience for these types of projects, and they must provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. Grants are awarded through a competitive process. Electronic applications must be submitted to by June 5, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. PST.

Funding Available through the Department of Agriculture Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program) for Rural Broadband

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program). Application deadlines will extend through May 31, 2019 (deadline for grants) and through July 12, 2019 (deadline for low-interest loans).

$600 million is available in total. Of this, $200 million is available in grants, $200 million is available in loan and grant combinations, and $200 million is available for low-interest loans. This funding will be available nationwide to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas that currently lack sufficient internet access.

Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers, and municipalities are all eligible to apply. Funds will be awarded to projects that have financially sustainable business models and that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches, and community facilities. Projects funded through this initiative must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people that have no broadband service, or where existing service is slow. Further details are available here.