Childhood obesity is one of the most serious threats to the health of our nation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), through its commitment to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, has provided national leadership in efforts to achieve a healthy weight for all of our nation’s children, especially in lower-income communities and communities of color. This landmark work continues today as part of its vision to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer and healthier lives, now and for generations to come.
Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity is an RWJF national program. The program supports research on environmental and policy strategies with strong potential to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity, especially among groups at highest risk for obesity: Black, Latino, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander children, and children who live in lower-income communities. Findings are expected to advance RWJF’s efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic and help all children achieve a healthy weight.
This call for proposals (CFP) focuses on childhood obesity prevention efforts in two settings:
Healthy Food Retail
Early Care and Education
Approximately $425,000 will be awarded under this CFP. Awards up to 12 months and up to $75,000 each will be funded through this special solicitation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for projects that require between $25,000 and $75,000 to complete. Approximately two-thirds of the funds available will be allocated to studies focused on healthy food retail and one-third will be allocated to studies focused on early care and education.
December 3, 2014
RWJF online system for concept papers will be available to applicants.
January 7, 2015 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of concept papers.
January 21, 2015
Applicants will be contacted by email and informed as to whether or not they are invited to submit a full proposal. Invited full proposals must be submitted via the RWJF online system.*
March 4, 2015 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of invited full proposals.
Late April 2015
Notification of finalists.
Eligibility and Selection Criteria
Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations.
Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.
The focus of this program is the United States; studies in other countries will be considered only to the extent that they may directly inform U.S. policy.
The City of Fremont (City) is announcing a Notice of Funding Availability
(NOFA) for the creation of affordable rental housing in Fremont.
Approximately $8.0 million in funding is available to support predevelopment, acquisition and construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing. The funding is intended to fill the financing gap between a project’s total development cost and other available financing sources.
The funding available through this NOFA is for capital costs only; no financing is available to fund operating subsidies or supportive services. It should be noted that if additional housing funds become available to the City during the NOFA evaluation process, the amount awarded through this NOFA may also increase.
Qualified affordable housing developers that can meet the NOFA requirements
and demonstrate their ability to finance, design, build/rehabilitate and manage affordable housing are encouraged to submit proposals. All proposals must be received by February 13, 2015. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Funding will be awarded by the City on a competitive basis to the project or projects that provide the best opportunity to address the City’s affordable housing needs.
The City reserves the right to request that Applicants submit additional information as may be requested by staff to clarify submitted information. Also, the City reserves the right to reject any and all proposals for any reason, and at its sole discretion.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin setting aside and allocating funds to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund pursuant to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). HERA authorized FHFA to temporarily suspend these allocations, and FHFA informed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of a temporary suspension on November 13, 2008. In letters sent today (links below), FHFA notified Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of the agency’s decision to reverse the temporary suspension.
Separately, FHFA sent to the Federal Register an Interim Final Rule to address the statutory requirement that the allocations may not result in transferring their expense to originators or other Enterprise counterparties. The Interim Final rule is effective upon publication and has a 30-day comment period.
AUSTIN, TX - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced funding available to help local communities across the country to redevelop severely distressed public and HUD-assisted housing and transform surrounding neighborhoods. This funding would increase if there is an FY2015 appropriation from Congress.
Part of the Obama Administration's effort to build Ladders of Opportunity to the middle class, HUD is offering grants of up to $30 million through its Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Program to support locally driven solutions for transforming neighborhoods struggling to address poor quality housing, inadequate schools, poor health, high crime, and lack of capital.
Speaking at the annual convention of the National League of Cities (NLC) in Austin, Texas, Castro said the grants will help create jobs, increase economic activity, improve affordable housing, reduce violence and expand educational opportunities. Grantees and their partners use the funds as a catalyst - stimulating approximately $7.50 in public and private investment for every $1 in the Choice Neighborhoods funding.
"These Choice Neighborhood grants will empower local communities to leverage public and private investment and achieve greater collective impact," Castro said. "We look forward to working with community leaders to breathe new life into struggling neighborhoods-and to transform them into places where residents can flourish and dreams can thrive."
Choice Neighborhoods is HUD's signature place-based initiative and its vision builds on the work that has been done by the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, an interagency partnership between HUD, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Treasury, since 2009. Through a variety of interventions, the Ladders of Opportunity plan will help community partners rebuild neighborhoods, expand early learning opportunities, create pathways to jobs, and strengthen families. Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:
- Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
- People: Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families.
- Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families' choices about their community.
HUD's commitment to teamwork means local residents and leaders are leading the way in revitalizing their communities. To accomplish these core goals, communities must have in place a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or Transformation Plan. This Transformation Plan is the guiding document for the revitalization of the public and/or assisted housing units, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and positive outcomes for families.
Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants are available for public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofit organizations, tribal entities, and for profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity to extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond public and/or assisted housing. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multifamily housing and investing and leveraging investments in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.
Today, Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grantees can be found in cities such as Boston, Columbus, and San Antonio. In Boston, a local community economic development corporation successfully converted a vacant, blighted 36,000 square-foot factory into a food production hub that is expected to bring 50 businesses and 150 jobs to the local neighborhood in its first five years of operation. In Columbus, the City, Housing Authority, and The Ohio State University are now implementing a community driven Transformation Plan with the support of Choice Neighborhoods funds in over $180 million in public and private sources. Finally, cities like San Antonio have leveraged Choice Neighborhoods efforts with federal funding to improve schools and public safety - an effort that has led to a Promise Zones designation.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that USDA is investing $29 million to provide affordable housing for farm laborers and their families.
"Housing is often the first step on the road to more economic prosperity for farmworker families," Vilsack said. "These loans and grants will significantly improve the lives of farmworkers, who are vital to America's agriculture sector. This program is one of many tools that USDA has to strengthen the rural economy, which will help bring a brighter future for children from farmworker families."
USDA is providing assistance through the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant program. Financing is available to qualified organizations to develop housing for domestic farm laborers. USDA also provides rental assistance to help very-low-income families afford the monthly rent.
Through today's announcement, USDA is awarding $20.7 million in loans and $8.3 million in grants for 10 projects in six states. When completed, the properties will provide 320 farmworker families with new homes. Rental assistance will be offered for 315 of the new housing units.
"I have witnessed firsthand the way these loans and grants help farmworkers and their communities," said Tony Hernandez, Administrator of USDA's Rural Housing Service, which runs the Farm Labor Housing program. Earlier this month, Hernandez toured the Sugarloaf Apartments farm labor housing complex in Hendersonville, N.C. Since the complex opened in 1995, it is usually fully occupied. Sugarloaf has two day care facilities onsite, one of which is year-round, making it a convenient place for residents to work and raise their families.
Below is a complete list of loan and grant recipients announced today. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their agreements.
- Coachella Valley Villa Hermosa Phase II – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to add 68 units to the complex.
- Peoples Self Help – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to develop 33 units.
- 9355 Avenida Maria – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to develop 60 units.
- 1006 Golden Valley – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to develop 41 units.
- San Luis Valley – $1.5 million loan and $1.5 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 30 units.
- Straton Area Foundation – $750,000 loan and $1.6 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 12 units.
- Homestead Housing Authority – $2 million loan and $1 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 20 units.
- BDT Housing – $1.5 million loan and $1.1 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 20 units.
- Farmworker Housing Development Corporation – $1 million loan and $2 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 20 units.
- Grant County Housing Authority – $2 million loan and $1 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 16 units.
USDA Rural Development provided a $3.3 million low-interest Farm Labor Housing loan to build Villa Hermosa – apartment-style housing for migrant workers in Indio, Calif. Construction began in 2012. The complex is adjacent to the Fred Young Labor Camp, which began in the late 1930s as one-room, dirt-floor wooden shacks. It was converted in the 1960s to small, cinder-block apartments without heat or air conditioning.
The $3 million loan USDA announced today will finance a second phase of construction at Villa Hermosa. It will finance 68 more apartments for the remaining occupants at the nearby Fred Young facility. Phase Two will have spacious units with heat and air conditioning, private patios, washer/dryers, dishwashers, a community center, a garden, playgrounds and a computer lab. For some residents, this will be their first home with carpets.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Program reached a lending record in 2014, as announced today by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. By the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30), SBA had approved 52,044 7(a) loans for $19.19 billion, an increase of 12 percent in number loans and 7.4 percent in dollar amount over fiscal year 2013.
The 7(a) program is designed to provide small businesses with the most comprehensive type of financial assistance to cover the vast majority of business expenses, such as short and long-term working capital, exports, and refinancing existing debt under certain conditions.
“As our economy continues to grow and recover, small businesses are the essential fuel to that continued growth,” said Contreras-Sweet. “Thanks to the hard work and outreach by our lending partners, SBA staff, and our resource partners, as well as the small business owners themselves, we have been able to put more capital into the hands of our nation’s entrepreneurs. We know that America’s small businesses pack the biggest punch, creating two out of every three net new private sector jobs in the U.S. These small businesses are the cornerstone of our communities, so their success and expansion is vital to the nation’s economic growth.”
SBA had been authorized $17.5 billion in the FY 2014 lending program. It became clear that lending would exceed that amount; therefore the agency secured an increase for the 7(a) program in the Continuing Resolution that was approved in mid-September.
Other SBA loans that did well in fiscal 2014 were those $150,000 and under. Spurred by the fee relief implemented at the beginning of the fiscal year (fees were set to zero), these loans saw an increase of 23 percent in number of loans (30,675) and 29 percent in approved dollars ($1.86 billion) over fiscal year 2013 (24,923 and $1.44 billion respectively).
Fee relief was also instrumental in helping veteran small business owners through the Veteran Advantage initiative (zero fees on loans $150,000 to $350,000 to veterans.) Fee relief for veterans began January 1, 2014, and by the end of the fiscal year amounted to $610,000. Fee relief for both loans $150,000 and under, and for Veterans Advantage, was extended through fiscal year 2015.
Small businesses reflect the dynamic demographics of the United States. In FY 2014, the number of SBA loans to African Americans grew by roughly 36 percent over the previous year. For Hispanics and women, there was an increase of 14 percent for each group.
In our efforts to reach out and help small businesses across the nation, lenders play an important role as partners, as it is through them that SBA financial assistance is channeled and managed. In FY 2014, SBA added 308 new lenders that, collectively, made 684 loans for nearly $317 million.
As exports continue to play a pivotal role in strengthening the nation’s economy, SBA loans to exporters grew by 3.7 percent in number of loans and 12 percent in dollar amount over last year.
One of the ways in which SBA helps small businesses is through providing essential bid and performance bonds to small contractors, which allows these small businesses to be more competitive when bidding on contracts, be they with the government or the private sector. In fiscal year 2014, SBA Office of Surety Bond Program saw an increase of four percent in total contract value, from $6.168 billion in FY 2013 to $6.413 billion in FY 2014. Total bond contract amount also grew from $1.262 billion in FY 2013 to $1.358 in FY 2014, an increase of eight percent.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today its support for entrepreneurial ecosystem development in eight communities through “ScaleUp America.” This new initiative is designed to provide the necessary support to help companies scale up and grow, while strengthening and enhancing local entrepreneurial ecosystems around the specific needs of growth-oriented entrepreneurs and firms resulting in their ability to produce measurable economic impact and job growth in local communities.
“Today the SBA is announcing funding support for eight communities that will help scalable small firms grow and create jobs,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Ninety-two percent of new jobs come from the expansion of existing businesses. We are bringing our successful entrepreneurship education programs to underserved communities, bridging the gaps for those in greatest need across the country. This intensive SBA support will create jobs and support a diverse cross-section of communities across our great nation.”
The eight ScaleUp awardees were selected from more than 60 applicants to participate in the inaugural group of communities represent a wide range of diverse geographic areas and organizations. From urban to rural, the applicants focused on filling the gap in services for growth-oriented small businesses with average annual revenue of $150,000 to $500,000.
SBA’s funding will be provided to each ScaleUp community’s organizing entity to strengthen opportunities for small businesses within the community. The funds will be used to deliver a proven entrepreneurship education curriculum for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and small businesses; provide on-going one-on-one support, mentoring and technical assistance; assistance and connections to growth capital; and opportunities to build and strengthen connections and networks in their community.
The ScaleUp America communities include:
StartUp Tucson, Community of focus: Tucson, Ariz.
StartUp Tucson, a nonprofit organization, has developed entrepreneurship ecosystem through an IDEA to IMPACT strategy – a strategy that received recognition by Entrepreneur Magazine. And now, with the assistance of SBA, StartUp Tucson and several key partners will provide assistance to four cohorts of growth-oriented companies that have developed market traction, but face challenges that are distinct from the entrepreneurs at the startup-stage.
University of North Florida, Community of focus: Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Fla.
The five-county region of Jacksonville MSA has been nationally recognized as a small business climate conducive to start-ups and second-stage companies, yet recently has experienced a loss in establishment, sales and job growth for the self-employed and Stage 1 companies. ScaleUp North Florida will specifically seek to assist these companies through an entrepreneurship education curriculum tailored for this community, management assistance and support based on an in-depth assessment of each business’ needs, access to capital for identified graduates and opportunities to build and strengthen networks.
University of Missouri - Kansas City, Community of focus: Kansas City
Two cohorts of small businesses participating in the ScaleUp Kansas City, led by University of Missouri – Kansas City’s Innovation Center, will commence their program with the FastTrac® Listening to Your BusinessTM and FastTrac® Growth Venture™ entrepreneurship curriculum. Supplementing the curriculum, businesses will develop their growth plans through one-on-one consulting and training, experienced business mentors, workshops on energy and environmental assistance, government contracting and international trade, and will all complete a financial assessment in order to discover ways of funding their particular growth strategies.
Women’s Business Development Center, Community of focus: Aurora, Ill.
Through the ScaleUp Aurora program, the national Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), headquartered in Chicago, Ill., will fill a gap in Aurora as the city lacks an economic development center focused on accelerating the growth of small businesses and providing access to capital. The program will use the Plan for Profit 12-week program followed with individual counseling, mentors, networking events, connection to resources – both connections and streams of capital.
Your Management Team, Inc., Community of focus: Central Ohio
Your Management Team, Inc. will fill the gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Central Ohio by targeting established small but growing main street businesses. Each business participating in the program will develop a strategic plan shaped by their experiences in the program completing the Kauffman Foundation’sGrowthVenture™, leadership and management workshops, marketing and sales workshops and quarterly financial reviews by certified public accountants.
Supply Chain Visions LLC, Community of focus: Roanoke, Va.
With nearly 3000 growth-oriented small businesses with annual revenues in the $150,000 to $500,000 range, Roanoke, Va. will be an ideal community for the inaugural class of ScaleUp America. Supply Chain Visions LLC will provide the training curriculum of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership/Workshop in Business Opportunity’s (WIBO) sixteen module, intensive program, a peer-to-peer learning, workshops focused on access to capital, and business networking needed to further develop a cohesive business to business environment, particularly for underserved populations.
Supply Chain Visions LLC, Community of focus: Greater Portland, Maine
Members in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Portland, Maine articulate a strong community and assistance for the start-up community, but identify gaps in the support network for later stage, growth-oriented companies. Supply Chain Visions LLC and their committee of the University of
Southern Maine, Gorham Savings Bank, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG), The Regional Chamber of Commerce and SBA resources partners will help fill those gaps with their ScaleUp program.
Advantage West Economic Development Group, Community of focus: Western North Carolina
ScaleUp Western North Carolina will provide intensive business scale up assistance and leadership development to two cohorts of Western North Carolina small businesses with strong potential for growth and job creation each year. The program, led by the Advantage West Economic Development Group, will also fulfill gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem identified in their regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) plans, and will extend a proven training curriculum to rural, underserved and underrepresented small business communities. In addition to offering a robust program to the small businesses, Advantage West will improve the ecosystem by hosting a series of regional outreach meetings to engage community partners from across the 23-county Western North Carolina region.
PIKEVILLE, KY.– USDA Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O'Brien today announced the selection of 85 utilities and development organizations for loans and grants to support rural business activities that will boost economic growth in rural communities.
"These USDA investments capitalize rural small businesses, which allows the owners to expand operations, enter into new markets and increase hiring," O'Brien said. "The investments we are announcing today include financing to development organizations for microlending to very small rural businesses. Funds are also being provided to utilities to pass on to local businesses for development projects. These innovative programs increase economic opportunities in rural areas – a top priority of Secretary Vilsack and President Obama."
O'Brien announced the rural business investments while in Kentucky with Governor Steve Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers, and the executive board of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) to discuss investment opportunities in eastern Kentucky, including Promise Zones and regional SOAR initiatives.
Funds are being provided through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG) and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Under the REDLG program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which then, in turn, relend the funds to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The program funds business start-up or expansion, business incubators, education and training facilities and equipment, community development assistance, health care and other projects that support rural jobs.
Under RMAP, USDA provides loans to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) that, in turn, make microloans for business start-up or development to eligible microentrepreneurs defined as very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Grants are available for MDOs to provide technical assistance and training, particularly in rural areas experiencing persistent poverty or significant outmigration. USDA does not directly provide funds to the ultimate recipients.
The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and recently reauthorized through the 2014 Farm Bill.
The Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation is receiving a $500,000 RMAP loan to capitalize a revolving loan fund to provide microloans to very small businesses in 19 counties designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission as distressed communities. The Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation is the lead organization carrying out the state's Promise Zone initiative. Its Promise Zone work was made possible through the financial support from USDA.
MEDI, Inc., is receiving a $400,000 RMAP loan and $100,000 RMAP grant to serve as a microlender and technical assistance provider for very small rural businesses throughout Kentucky.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, Rural Development has invested more than $4.4 billion in Kentucky. The agency is targeting assistance to persistent poverty areas in Appalachian Kentucky through the USDA StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, and will continue its work with Governor Beshear and his staff, the Kentucky Congressional Delegation, other federal agencies, SOAR officials and community leaders throughout the region to benefit rural communities in the impacted areas.
At the national level, the USDA investments are meeting a wide variety of business and manufacturing needs across rural America. For example, in South Carolina, the Santee Electric Cooperative is receiving a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan to support the local "Help My House program," which makes energy efficiency improvements in the rural areas of Williamsburg, Georgetown, Clarendon and Florence Counties. The Nodak Electric Cooperative in North Dakota is receiving a $775,000 Rural Economic Development loan to help S&S Grain, Inc. purchase and renovate a building in Walhalla, N.D., for grain drying, handling and storage.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program directly supports the Obama Administration'sInvesting in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative to boost the manufacturing sector and create well-paying manufacturing jobs, using economic development resources available through existing Federal programs.
Through today's announcement, USDA is providing over $59 million in loans and grants to 85 organizations in 31 states, including the District of Columbia, to strengthen rural businesses and promote economic development. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their loan or grant agreements.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.
The Shubert Foundation in New York is dedicated to sustaining and advancing live performing arts in the United States, with a particular emphasis on theater and a secondary focus on dance. The foundation awards unrestricted grants for general operating support rather than for specific project funding.
Grants are awarded exclusively to U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.
While the foundation does not make grants to individuals, nonprofit professional resident theater companies are the primary recipients of Schubert Foundation funding emphasizing producing, rather than presenting, organizations.
Some funding is provided for dance companies and arts-related nonprofit organizations that help support the development of theater and dance, and to graduate drama departments at private universities.
Grants will be made only to organizations that have an established artistic and administrative track record as well as a pattern of fiscal responsibility.
The foundation does not provide funds for project support, audience development, direct subsidies of reduced-price admissions, media (film, TV, and radio), renovation projects, or capital or endowment campaigns. No grants are made to conduit organizations (agencies that disburse funds to individuals or other organizations). Applicants may not request a specific grant amount; if the foundation decides to fund an organization, it will also determine the amount of the grant. The foundation has two grant application timetables. Applications for the dance, arts related, and education categories must be submitted by October 15, 2014. Theater applications must be submitted by December 1, 2014.
For More Information: The Shubert Foundation
BURLINGTON, VT – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that USDA is investing in rural businesses and development organizations to spur economic growth in rural areas and in Tribal communities.
"These investments are part of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to help rural and Tribal communities that have the greatest need for assistance," Harden said. "USDA is targeting capital and technical assistance to small businesses and development organizations to help stimulate more business activity in areas that are struggling economically. This will help revitalize these small, remote rural communities and create much-needed jobs for local residents."
Harden announced details of the investments following a tour of Intervale Community Farm in Burlington, Vt. Intervale Community Farm is a 135-acre farm incubator on Burlington's Intervale. The Intervale Community Farm contributes 60 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs to the Burlington economy and is part of the Intervale Food Hub, a thriving local food aggregator and distributor contributing to Burlington's regional economy. Local food hubs provide organizations, businesses and institutions orders for local food products that are sourced from a variety of local farms.
The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. Rural Business Enterprise Grants help small and emerging rural businesses. Rural Business Opportunity Grants promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs.
The grants are being awarded in areas designated as Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) zones. REAP zones are areas that are considered economically distressed due to factors such as poverty, geographic isolation, declining populations or economic upheaval (such as the closing of a major job provider). The 2014 Farm Bill extends all current REAP zones through 2018.
Grants are also being targeted, predominantly through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant program, to Federally recognized Native American Tribes.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $6 million in REAP zones through the RBEG program. These grants have supported businesses and community projects across the country, creating or retaining 2,200 jobs (nearly 1,000 created and 1,200 retained). Since 2009, the agency has also invested $7.8 million in RBOG assistance for REAP zones and Native American Tribes. These Rural Business Opportunity Grants have helped approximately 400 businesses, and have created or retained about 2,100 jobs.
Harden emphasized that the USDA funding includes more than $2.2 million for organizations in Vermont, New York and North Dakota. Nine organizations in Vermont are receiving RBEG and RBOG grants totaling nearly $1.2 million. They will use the money to develop businesses, help revitalize a downtown district, and create jobs across the state. Seven organizations in North Dakota are receiving more than $566,000 in RBEG and RBOG grants to provide technical assistance to rural businesses and explore ways to increase commerce in Tribal areas. In New York, two organizations are receiving more than $445,000 to support rural businesses and determine the feasibility of establishing an open-access fiber optic network.
Through today's announcement, USDA is providing nearly $3 million in grants to 28 organizations in 12 states to strengthen rural business and promote economic development. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The legislation builds on historic economic gains in rural America during the past five years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since its enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.