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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Rural Community Development Initiative

Deadline: June 25, 2018

The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program makes grants to intermediary organizations that will provide financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development that will support the community. The RCDI structure requires the intermediary (grantee) to provide a program of financial and technical assistance to recipients, which could include one or more of the following: a private, nonprofit community-based housing and development organization, a low-income rural community, or a federally recognized tribe. The recipients will, in turn, provide programs to their communities (beneficiaries).

Fund uses must be consistent with the RCDI purpose. A nonexclusive list of eligible grant uses includes the following:

  • Provide technical assistance to develop recipients’ capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development (e.g., the intermediary hires a staff person to provide technical assistance to the recipient or the recipient hires a staff person, under the supervision of the intermediary, to carry out the technical assistance provided by the intermediary)
  • Develop the capacity of recipients to conduct community development programs (e.g., homeownership education or training for business entrepreneurs)
  • Develop the capacity of recipients to conduct development initiatives (e.g., programs that support micro-enterprise and sustainable development)
  • Develop the capacity of recipients to increase their leveraging ability and access to alternative funding sources by providing training and staffing
  • Develop the capacity of recipients to provide the technical assistance component for essential community facilities projects
  • Assist recipients in completing pre-development requirements for housing, community facilities, or community and economic development projects by providing resources for professional services (e.g., architectural, engineering, or legal)
  • Improve recipient’s organizational capacity by providing training and resource material on developing strategic plans, board operations, management, financial systems, and information technology
  • Purchase of computers, software, and printers, limited to $10,000 per award, at the recipient level when directly related to the technical assistance program being undertaken by the intermediary
  • Provide funds to recipients for training-related travel costs and training expenses related to RCDI

Amount: Grants range from $50,000-$250,000. Matching funds are required in the amount equal to the grant. Matching funds are cash or confirmed funding commitments that must be at least equal to the grant amount and committed for a period of not less than the grant performance period. Other Federal funds may be used as matching funds if authorized by statute and the purpose of the funds is an eligible RCDI purpose. RCDI funds will be disbursed on an advance or reimbursement basis. Grant funds must be utilized within three years from date of the award.

Eligibility:

(a) Qualified private organizations, nonprofit organizations (including faith-based and community organizations and philanthropic foundations), in accordance with 7 CFR part 16 (https://www.federalregister.gov/select-citation/2018/04/26/7-CFR-16), and public (including tribal) intermediary organizations are eligible applicants.

(b) The recipient must be a nonprofit community-based housing and development organization, low-income rural community, or federally recognized tribe based on the RCDI definitions of these groups.

(c) Private nonprofit, faith, or community-based organizations must provide a certificate of incorporation and good standing from the Secretary of the state of incorporation, or other similar and valid documentation of current nonprofit status. Low-income rural community recipients are required to give evidence that the entity is a public body and census data verifying that the median household income of the community where the office receiving the financial and technical assistance is located is at, or below, 80 percent of the state or national median household income, whichever is higher. Federally recognized tribes need to give the page listing their name from the current Federal Register list of tribal entities recognized and eligible for funding services.

(d) Any corporation (1) that has been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the past 24 months or (2) that has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability; is not eligible for financial assistance provided with full-year appropriated funds for Fiscal Year 2018, unless a federal agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and has made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the government.

Other program requirements:

(a) The recipient and beneficiary, but not the intermediary, must be located in an eligible rural area. The physical location of the recipient’s office that will be receiving the financial and technical assistance must be in an eligible rural area. If the recipient is a low-income community, the median household income of the area where the office is located must be at or below 80 percent of the State or national median household income, whichever is higher. The applicable Rural Development State Office can assist in determining the eligibility of an area.

A listing of Rural Development State Office contacts can be found at the following link: https://www.rd.usda.gov/​files/​CF_​State_​Office_​Contacts.pdf.

(b) RCDI grantees that have an outstanding grant over 3 years old will not be eligible to apply for this round of funding. Grant and matching funds must be utilized in a timely manner to ensure that the goals and objectives of the program are met.

(c) Individuals cannot be recipients.

(d) The intermediary must provide a program of financial and technical assistance to the recipient.

(e) The intermediary organization must have been legally organized for a minimum of 3 years and have at least 3 years prior experience working with private nonprofit community-based housing and development organizations, low-income rural communities, or tribal organizations in the areas of housing, community facilities, or community and economic development.

(f) Proposals must be structured to utilize the grant funds within 3 years from the date of the award.

(g) Each applicant, whether singularly or jointly, may only submit one application for RCDI funds. This restriction does not preclude the applicant from providing matching funds for other applications.

(h) Recipients can benefit from more than one RCDI application; however, after grant selections are made, the recipient can only benefit from multiple RCDI grants if the type of financial and technical assistance the recipient will receive is not duplicative. The services described in multiple RCDI grant applications must have separate and identifiable accounts for compliance purposes.

(i) The intermediary and the recipient cannot be the same entity. The recipient can be a related entity to the intermediary, if it meets the definition of a recipient, provided the relationship does not create a Conflict of Interest that cannot be resolved to Rural Development’s satisfaction.

(j) If the recipient is a low-income rural community, identify the unit of government to which the financial and technical assistance will be provided (e.g., town council or village board). The financial and technical assistance must be provided to the organized unit of government representing that community, not the community at large.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=304285

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