Funding Opportunities

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Funding Opportunities

Rural Infrastructure

Solid Waste Management Grants
USDA Rural Development program helps to reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources by funding organizations to provide technical assistance or training to improve the management of solid waste sites. Application Deadline: Dec. 31, 2020

Water and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grant Program
USDA Rural Development program is making grants available to provide technical assistance and/or training to help recipients support rural water or wastewater systems. Application Deadline: Dec. 31, 2020

Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Program
USDA Forest Service requests proposals for projects to install a thermally-led community wood energy system or to build an innovative wood product facility. This program is intended to support forest health and stimulate local economies by expanding renewable wood energy use and innovative wood products manufacturing capacity. Application Deadline: Feb. 3, 2021

NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program
The National Park Service is accepting applications for technical assistance to design trails and parks, conserve and improve access to rivers, protect special places, and create recreation opportunities. Application Deadline: March 1, 2021

Quick Links to COVID-19 Resources Related to Rural Infrastructure:


Economic Development

Farm to School Program
USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems offers grants to assist eligible entities implement farm-to-school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. Application Deadline: Jan. 8, 2021

HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’ Health Resources and Services Administration offers funding to increase the supply of behavioral health professionals while also improving distribution of a quality behavioral health workforce and thereby increasing access to behavioral health services. Application Deadline: Jan. 21, 2021

Forest Service Cross-Boundary Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Request for Applications 2021
This request for applications will support projects for cross‐boundary wildfire hazard mitigation on non-federal lands; wildfire risk reduction, and wildfire response. Application Deadline: Jan. 15, 2021

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grants and Guaranteed Loans
USDA Rural Development offers grants and loan/grant opportunities for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase, install and construct renewable energy systems or complete energy efficiency improvements. Loan guarantees may be used to purchase new energy efficiency equipment. As of Oct. 1, 2020, loan guarantees for this program are now streamlined under the OneRD Guarantee Loan InitiativeApplication Deadline: Grants – Feb. 1, 2021 | Loan & Grant Combinations – March 31, 2021 | Loan Guarantees – Ongoing

Administration for Community Living Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living offers funding for research and/or development to help individuals with disabilities to perform activities inclusive of health and employment related with a program emphasis on socially/economically disadvantaged individuals and applicants from underrepresented or rural areas. Applications Due: Feb. 2, 2021

Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP)
USDA is making grants available to from utilities to help rural families and small businesses make cost-saving energy efficiency improvements. A letter of intent is required. Application Deadline: Open until funds are expended or until further notice.

Quick Links to COVID-19 Resources to Support Rural Economic Development:


Tribal-Specific

Project TRANSAM
This Civilian-Military Cooperative Action Program between the Indian Health Service and the Department of Defense distributes medical equipment and supplies obtained from closure of military bases and the GSA Excess program and other sources to qualified Tribes and Alaska Natives. Application Deadline: Ongoing and as supplies are available.

GATHER Food Sovereignty Grant
First Nations offers grants in support of work that contributes to a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced and supported by community policies and systems. Application Deadline: Jan. 14, 2021

Fiscal Year 2021 Tribal Wetland Program Development Grants
Environmental Protection Agency is making funding available to assist state, tribal, local government agencies and interstate/intertribal entities in developing or refining state/tribal/local programs to protect, manage and restore wetlands. Application Deadline: Jan. 15, 2021

USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program
USDA’s 1994 Tribal Scholars Program combines classroom study with paid work experience that may lead to employment at USDA. This program strives to boost the number of students studying and graduating in food, agriculture, natural resources and other related fields of study, and help build the pipeline of future agricultural scientists and professionals. Application Deadline: Jan. 31, 2021

Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands
U.S. Department of Energy is providing this program to support technology on tribal lands. View the webinar and presentation slidesApplication Deadline (Extended): Feb. 11, 2021

Quick Links to COVID-19 Resources to Support Tribal Entities:


Publications and Resources

AskUSDA Contact Center
USDA launched the AskUSDA Contact Center to transform how the public interacts with USDA to provide a streamlined approach to improve customer service. Contact AskUSDA by phone at (833) ONE-USDA. Representatives are available 9:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. EST on weekdays. The website is available 24/7 and includes live chat agents available 10:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. EST on weekdays. Inquiries may also be sent to askusda@usda.gov.

Job Quality Tools Library
The Aspen Institute, with support from Prudential Foundation, developed a library of online tools to support leaders working in a variety of fields related to economic opportunity to engage in practical action to improve jobs offering tools, resources, and guidance to help leaders strengthen job quality across labor markets.

Using Data Systems To Improve Workforce Development Outcomes in A Changing Landscape
U.S. Department of Labor’s WorkforceGPS program features three new publications in support of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act with information on data integration and continuous program outcome improvement: A Changing Workforce Development LandscapeRegistered Apprenticeship Program RAP; and Putting Data to Work.

Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Applicant Toolkit
U.S. Department of Transportation offers a new resource to support the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success initiative. This toolkit helps support communities to better identify and navigate agency grant funding opportunities.

A Research Strategy for Enhancing Sustainable Recreation and Tourism on Public Lands
USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with the Igniting the Science of Outdoor Recreation Working Group, developed a research-based strategy for outdoor recreation and tourism on public lands.


Event Opportunities

Supporting Solar
Dec. 17 | Webinar
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office hosts a stakeholder webinar to give an overview of work supporting solar entrepreneurs and commercialization pathways of new solar technologies, with special guests from the American-Made Solar Prize, the Small Business Innovation Research program, and a competitive funding program.

Tourism Discussions: A Lesson in Flexibility
Dec. 17 | Webinar
This webinar is part of the National Extension Tourism (NET) webinar series and features real-time tourism and community development tips on flexibility and re-planning coming straight from the leadership of the 2020 Coastal Georgia Tourism Conference. It will feature online facilitated discussions around development with outdoor recreation, local grown food/drink, and heritage and culture.

USDA ERS Rural America at a Glance, 2020 Edition
Dec. 18 | Webinar

USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) will present findings from their 2020 publication which summarizes population trends, employment, poverty, income in rural areas and recent demographic and economic conditions in rural areas resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum
Feb. 18-19 | Free Virtual Conference
The 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum theme is “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience”. This is the largest annual meeting and premiere event, independent of commercial interests, organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports well-functioning open markets and will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers and breakout sessions.

2021 Cultural Wealth Conference: “The Role of the Arts and Cultural Capital in Rural Innovation and Entrepreneurship”
Feb. 23 – 25 | Virtual Conference
The Rural Policy Research Institute, with the support of USDA, is hosting this conference on the important role that arts and cultural capital play in rural innovation, community well-being, and rural community sustainability, while also exploring the role of arts and culture in rural communities through both qualitative and quantitative studies.

How Community Development Organizations Change When They Embrace Arts and Culture
Recorded Webinar
PolicyLink developed a series of webinars to support ArtPlace America’s Community Development Investments initiative to share experiences and lessons for community development corporations, nonprofit housing developers, health services providers, park associations and economic development agencies.


To access programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, download the COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide.

Visit www.coronavirus.gov for the latest news from the CDC on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for the latest news from Rural Development on how we are helping our partners, customers, and stakeholders impacted by COVID-19.


Newsletters, websites and emails from which we gather this information include:

  • USDA Rural Development’s full Catalog of Programs
  • Grants.gov
  • The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • The Aspen Institute
  • e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
  • Pew Research Center
  • Philanthropy News Digest 
  • Rural LISC e-newsletter
  • National Association of Development Organizations
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