BRATTLEBORO >> The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation received a $230,000 grant to bolster economic development in 11 Windham and Bennington communities.
BDCC will provide technical assistance to local non-profits and long term strategic economic development planning for the region with the funding.
"The Southern Vermont Economy Project seeks to engage the relationships built during the post Irene recovery and enhance the capacity of these on-the-ground organizations to deliver economic development services to areas in need," said USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director Ted Brady. "BDCC recognizes that communities are stronger together than apart and will use this project to rebuild southern Vermont's economic foundation."
BDCC's Executive Director Adam Grinold said that the Southern Vermont Economy Project will focus its efforts on community economic development over the course of two years.
"We look forward to working closely with the many organizations across southern Vermont, helping align their efforts where appropriate, aiming to reduce redundancies and improve efficiency across the region," said Grinold. "The BDCC looks forward to working with our colleagues across the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone to identify areas for integration, collaboration and partnership."
The BDCC Rural Development funds will be used to develop regional capacity to support economic development across Windham and Bennington counties, building on a successful collaboration formed as the region struggled to recover from the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. In 2015 The Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone, which was established by an act of the Vermont legislature highlighting the need for regional cooperation. This effort will be by and between public and private sector partners concerning economic development initiatives such as workforce training, retention, recruitment, and sustainable business investment.
With the grant, the nonprofit will hire an economic development professional to provide technical support in Rupert, Peru, Searsburg, Readsboro, Bennington, Rockingham, Bellows Falls, Wardsboro, Marlboro, Halifax and Brattleboro.
In 2015 the Vermont Legislature created the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone. The BDCC will invest these funds to help build a framework for regional cooperation by and between public sector and private sector partners within the zone concerning economic development initiatives; workforce training, retention, and recruitment; and sustainable business investment. Grinold further explains, "We look forward to working closely with the many organizations across southern Vermont, helping align their efforts where appropriate, aiming to reduce redundancies and improve efficiency across the region"
The grant was part of more than $4 million in grants to 23 organizations to support rural economic development projects. The awards and the request for applications are being provided through the Rural Community Development Initiative program. RCDI helps community-based development organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic development in low-income, rural communities
RCDI grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, awards are provided to public or non-profit intermediaries that are locally-based and skilled in business development and job creation. Recipients must obtain matching funds, which doubles the impact of the grants.
USDA Rural Development funded BDCC's project through the Rural Community Development Initiative grant program that supports non-profit organizations in improving housing, community facilities, and community and economic development in rural areas. BDCC was one of 23 organizations nationwide to receive part of more than $4 million in funding announced Friday. The USDA is currently accepting applications for the RCDI program. For the 2016 grant application and more information on the RCDI program visit www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-community-development-initiative-grants.
USDA, through its rural development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of $214 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit www.rd.usda.gov/nh or www.rd.usda.gov/vt ) or call 802-828-6000.