USDA Supporting Local Economies During and After Pandemic Response


After the webinar, Christine Sorensen shared several links to USDA Rural Development programs:

  • USDA Launches COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF) The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide will help our rural leaders, whether they be in local government, education, health care, faith leadership, or any other capacity, understand what federal assistance is available to them during this unprecedented time.
  • Direct link to the Fact Sheets highlighting the USDA RD response:
  • USDA Seeks Applications to Increase Rural Access to Education, Training and Health Care

Rural Development is making $71.7 million in grants available under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program. This program helps rural communities use telecommunications-based audio and video equipment to connect teachers, students, medical providers and rural residents with each other and the world. Applicants who provide educational or health care services to rural communities through telecommunications facilities are eligible to apply. Applications will be scored, reviewed and selected on a competitive basis.  Topics covered will include: Program compliance & documents ~ Application Requirements ~ Program Resources ~ Application Process Examples ~ Guidance toward submitting a complete application.  Eligible Applicants Include: Most State and Local Governmental Entities ~ Federally Recognized Tribes ~ Non-Profits ~ For-profit businesses ~ Consortia of eligible entities  Registration links:

Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. CT

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. CT

USDA Rural Development Innovation Center Email: | Webpage: |  | Newsletter SUBSCRIBE


From EDA:

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s newsletter Innovate@EDA is available here, including links to recent issues and how to subscribe:

EDA’s Economic Development Integration work:


Practitioner Panel

More information on the work of our practitioner panel members is available at each of their organizations’ websites: Rural Development Initiatives Pasos al Éxito program (OR and neighboring states), Southwest Regional Development Commission (MN), Bear River Association of Governments (UT).



I mentioned reaching out to transit agencies that receive Federal Transit Administration funds to ask whether they gather data on residents in your region who are Limited English Proficient that they might share with you, since they may have done that demographic research already to comply with Title VI requirements.  If you don’t know whether there is public transit in your area, try contacting your state department of transportation’s transit office (potential state agency contact names here), since the state generally regrants FTA funds to rural transportation operators.  FTA’s Civil Rights circular on Limited English Proficiency is online here, in case it’s helpful to see that.


Many organizations have created COVID-19 resource pages, including NADO (here) and the Aspen Institute (here).


One of yesterday’s webinar attendees and a rural wealth creation author, Shanna Ratner, shared an article she’s just posted to LinkedIn: Learning Our Lessons: Three Practical Structures for Rebuilding a More Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Economy.


Many, many thanks to all of you who participated by the chat box, too!  Our next quarterly peer learning webinar will occur in early August—I’ll send a save the date and more information about content as we get a little closer.


Thank you again,

Carrie Kissel

Associate Director