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USDA opens funding call to help disadvantaged groups strengthen capacity

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is seeking applications for grants under the Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant program, which seeks to provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas.

Eligible applicants include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives and cooperative development centers with most of its board of directors or governing board comprised of individuals who are members of socially disadvantaged groups, said Luis R. García, acting state director for the agency’s Puerto Rico office.

A socially disadvantaged group is one whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group and without regard to their individual qualities.

“This program supports Rural Development’s mission to improve the quality of life for rural Americans and commitment to direct agency resources to those who most need them. Grant funds may use only for the benefit of socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas,” the agency said.

For FY 2021, USDA plans to award up to $3 million in grants. The maximum grant award is $175,000. Grants may be used to develop and operate a rural cooperative development center that could provide the following technical assistance and other services to rural socially disadvantaged groups and businesses:

  • Conducting feasibility studies;
  • Developing business plans; and,
  • Providing leadership and operational improvement training.

Completed applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2021.

Questions about the application process may be directed to the Rural Development State Office where the applicant is located. For a list of offices, visit the RD state office website

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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