Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque Awarded $48,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (CFGD) received a one-year, $48,037 Rural Business Development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As announced by USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah in Story City on August 16, this is one of eight grants totaling $300,000 awarded to projects in rural Iowa.
“We are proud to serve the needs of rural people and places to ensure that rural America continues to thrive and to drive the economy,” Mensah said. “We are very happy to be a partner with all the communities we serve as they work hard to make investments that will impact many future generations.”
Rural Business Development grants provide targeted technical assistance, training and other activities to assist with the development or expansion of small and emerging businesses in rural America.
CFGD will focus these grant dollars on community development in Bellevue, Iowa, to grow vitality, economic opportunity, strategic planning and investment in the community’s future. Using the Community Heart & Soul process developed by the Orton Family Foundation, CFGD staff will partner with community leaders to discover what matters most to rural residents, to involve more residents in decision-making about the future of their community, and to help build a future-focused culture around residents’ deeply held beliefs.
“USDA funding provides the opportunity for a community-based planning process. A plan is a critical element in beginning to look at a community’s future. The Jackson County Economic Alliance is very excited to partner with the Community Foundation and the citizens of the Bellevue area on this initiative,” stated David Heiar, Jackson County Economic Alliance (JCEA) director.
Tom Meyer, Bellevue Community School District superintendent, will be helping to organize youth involvement in the Community Heart & Soul process. Meyer said, "Bellevue is an amazing and progressive community, and is always searching for ways to make more opportunities available for our community members and youth. Bellevue is a great place, with great things to offer."
CFGD has already implemented the Heart & Soul approach in Monticello, Iowa, with support from the Rural Community Development Initiative program, a two-year USDA grant awarded to the Foundation in 2014.
“We look forward to partnering with community leaders in Bellevue to encourage job creation and retention, rural philanthropy, youth engagement and a culture of entrepreneurship,” said Nancy Van Milligen, CFGD president/CEO. “The USDA has been a strong ally in this work and we are grateful for its continued support.”
USDA Rural Development’s funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $4 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Iowa families.
This past year USDA Rural Development’s assistance in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
The full USDA news release can be viewed here.
Since 2009, USDA’s Rural Development agency has invested $11 billion across the country to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; financed 185,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.