The passage of federal legislation — such as the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and Inflation Reduction Act — provides new and expanded opportunities for rural America. Below you’ll find resources explaining federal opportunities for rural people and places. The understanding of how these bills are affecting rural America is evolving, so check back regularly for more information.
Important resources: The Rural Partners Network (RPN) and the Rural Playbook from the White House and USDA will improve access to funding and are critical steps to increasing capacity for rural communities.
- The billions of dollars in local funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are great in theory but less helpful to rural communities that typically struggle to apply for and manage federal assistance. That’s where the White House’s new Rural Playbook comes in. The aim is to equip state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments with information on the “what, when, where, and how to apply” for infrastructure funds. Most importantly, it includes a cost-share section that helps applicants find resources, reduce match requirements, and other important tools to reduce the cost of accessing federal funding.
Timely events & notices
Upcoming deadlines for grant applications, funding proposals, webinars, information sessions, and more. All event times are listed in Eastern Time (ET).
Dec 2 deadline: Applications are open for the Aspen Institute’s Food & Society’s Food Leaders Fellowship unites the country’s most promising early-stage food system leaders to ignite personal transformation, cross-sector collaboration, and scalable change.
Dec 2 deadline: If you’re an organization or local government in a rural area with a population under 50,000, apply for Welcoming America’s Rural Welcoming Initiative, which provides membership, coaching and technical assistance, and peer learning opportunities.
Dec webinar series: The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Indian Economic Development (OIED) announced a two-part webinar series on the Fundamentals of Grant Writing: Keys to Funding Success.
- Thurs., Dec. 8 @ 2PM EST: Planning & Mechanics (Part 1)
- Thurs., Dec. 15 @ 2PM EST: How to Read a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) & Request for Proposals (RFP) (Part 2)
Dec 15 webinar: USDA invites tribal leaders and their proxies to give input on new funding authorities under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that will help advance clean energy for people living in Tribal communities.
Dec 31 deadline: Water and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grants — USDA Rural Development provides funds for organizations that assist communities with water and/or wastewater operations through technical assistance and training.
Jan 9, 2023 deadline: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Development Grant Program — National Park Service funding to provide scholarly study or to establish programs in Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native art and culture.
Jan 27, 2023 deadline: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grants — Federal Emergency Management Agency grants support pre-disaster mitigation activities to build capacity to help identify mitigation actions and implement projects that reduce risks posed by natural hazards.
Feb 28, 2023 deadline: USDA is making this funding available under the Rural Business Development Grant program to support business opportunities or business enterprise projects in rural communities.
FEderal agency resources
Administration for children & families (ACF)
- LIHEAP and ERA Winter Month Energy Assistance Resources: DHS Memorandum & the LIHEAP clearinghouse webpage.
- ACF and USDA joint resource guide to strengthen and expand child care facilities in rural communities.
Bureau of Indian AFfairs (BIA)
- BIA website on what the American Rescue Plan means for Indian Country and Tribal Communities.
department of commerce (DOC)
- National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) program expands middle mile broadband infrastructure and reduce the cost of connecting unserved and underserved areas. Deadline: September 30, 2022.
- Digital Equity Act programs that promote digital inclusion and advance equity for all to ensure all communities have affordable access and can use the internet to improve their lives.
Department of energy (DOE)
- Weatherization Assistance Program reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety.
- Technical assistance for advancing Tribal energy projects to federally-recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal entities.
Department of health & Human Services (DHHS)
- Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP): Funds to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills.
Department of housing & urban development (HUD)
- HUD released a $365 million package of resources to address unsheltered homelessness and homeless encampments, including funds set aside specifically to address homelessness in rural communities.
- Waivers and flexibilities from the requirements for Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG), and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) grantees located in areas that are covered by Presidentially Declared Disasters (PDDs).
- Guide on CDBG-CV Rural Coronavirus Response: Examples of how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funds can be used for eligible activities to support issues facing rural areas.
- Eviction Protection Grant Program: Support for experienced legal service providers in providing free legal assistance to low-income tenants who are at risk of eviction.
Economic development administration (EDA)
- EDA and USDA’s joint resource guide to help community organizations access USDA and EDA resources to build strategies to boost economic development in rural America. It covers Planning and Technical Assistance, Infrastructure and Broadband Expansion, Entrepreneurship and Business Assistance, and Workforce Development and Livability.
- Indigenous Communities Program: Apply for funding to help Indigenous communities recover economically from the pandemic. Deadline: September 30, 2022.
environmental protection agency (EPA)
- The EPA released an initial list of programs covered under the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities.
- Equity Action Plan assesses whether underserved communities and their members face systemic barriers in accessing benefits and opportunities through the federal government.
- EPA will be providing $50 million in ARP funding available to improve ambient air quality monitoring for communities across the United States.
- National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meetings: Get up-to-date information about upcoming meetings, events, and other environmental justice topics and activities.
federal communications commission (FCC)
- Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides discounts for broadband service and specific technology purchases for eligible households.
federal transit administration (FTA)
- FTA on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
internal revenue service (IRS)
- Notice 2022-05.: The IRS is providing new and extended relief on various low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) requirements.
National institutes of health (NIH)
- NIH has released multiple funding opportunities supporting research that aims to improve Native American health, including research focused on health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and treatment services. September 2023 deadline: Apply for a research grant. Apply for an intervention research grant.
national park service (NPS)
- NPS Tribal Heritage grants are providing funding to assist Indian Tribes, Alaskan Native Villages/Corporations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations in protecting and promoting their unique cultural heritage and traditions.
US department of agriculture rural development (usda)
USDA RD’s full list of grant and loan programs
- USDA is seeking applications for funding available under the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) initiative to support projects that will help rural people and economies prepare for the future.
- Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program: $401 million in financing for the construction, maintenance, improvement and expansion of telephone service, and broadband in rural areas.
- ReConnect Program: Apply starting September 6 for expanded access to high-speed internet for millions of people in rural America.
- Multifamily Housing Loan Guarantees works with qualified private-sector lenders to provide financing to qualified borrowers to increase the supply of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in eligible rural areas and towns.
- Housing Preservation Grant program: Apply for grants to help owners of rental housing repair and rehabilitate their units.
- OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative: Allows communities to submit one application to gain access to four key programs.
- Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program: Support for microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) with training, technical assistance, loans, and grants.
- Rural Energy for America Program: Apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing. Deadline: October 31, 2022.
- Rural Energy Savings Program: Apply for loans to implement durable cost-effective energy efficiency measures.
- Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) initiative: Funding for community facilities, water, and wastewater disposal.
- Electric Infrastructure Loan Program: Loans for the construction of electric distribution facilities.
- Water & Waste Disposal Grants: Program helps reduce health risks caused by a lack of access to clean, affordable water and waste disposal on Tribes.
- Rural Utilities Service: Access to affordable and reliable telecommunications series through its various programs.
- Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program: Affordable funding to develop essential community facilities (hospitals, courthouses, child care centers, museums, food pantries, etc.) in rural areas.
- Emergency Rural Health Care Grants: Up to $500 million in grant funding to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities.
USDA RD Tools & Resource Guides
- ReConnect Program Network and Financial Model Workbook to assist interested applicants as they prepare for the upcoming ReConnect Round 4 application window.
- Digital Placemaking Toolkit: A resource to identify placemaking project that align with your community capacity.
- Public Filing Tool for the Reconnect Program.
- Interactive map with browse option for programs and services in each state.
- Walk-through example explaining what USDA looks for when reviewing the lenders annual income calculation.
- USDA Announces Appointments to Equity Commission Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development
- Rural Partners Network: Alliance of federal agencies and civic partners working to expand rural prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development, and community improvement.
- Bulletin on Conversions of Businesses into Cooperatives.
- Resource guide on how rural communities can leverage USDA resources to build a stronger workforce.
- Guide in both English and Spanish as part of National Preparedness Month to help rural communities seeking disaster resiliency and recovery assistance.
- Resource guide for rural communities to develop their recreation economy.
- Resource guide to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources to train, recruit and create a sustainable rural workforce. View and download the guide here.
Find past workshop recordings on the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel.
US department of agriculture
- Community Wildfire Defense Grants are intended to help at-risk local communities and Tribes plan and reduce the risk against wildfire.
- Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program offers guaranteed loans for qualified lenders to finance food systems projects.
- Biofuel Producer Program contains $800 million to support biofuel producers and infrastructure.
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) program provides USDA Foods to income-eligible households living on Indian reservations, and to American Indian households residing in approved areas near reservations or in Oklahoma.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) grant awards to 29 states and territories in FY2022.
- ACF and USDA joint resource guide to strengthen and expand child care facilities in rural communities.
- Report: Impact of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Rural and Urban Economies in the Aftermath of the Great Recession.
- Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience outlines USDA’s plans to mitigate climate change and reduce climate impacts.
- Website explaining ARP and funding that USDA will implement for nutrition assistance, supporting farmers and strengthening food supply, ensuring equity for farmers of color, and strengthening infrastructure, housing and healthcare in rural America.
- Fact sheet: Provisions in H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan
- USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) updated their research on rural poverty and well-being.
- USDA ERS state fact sheets and county-level data sets were recently updated with the decennial census population data for 2020.
us senate committee on indian affairs
- US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs summarizes the $31.2 billion investment heading to Indian Country and Native Nations.
- Capital Projects Fund offers payments to eligible governments to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency.
- State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Program: $350 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments as part of the ARP.
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Funding available to assist households that are unable to pay rent or utilities.
- Report shows the US childcare system overburdens families, causing shortages due to inadequate supply.
- Fact sheet: Breakdown of ARP assistance to families.
- Fact Sheet: How the Inflation Reduction Act Helps Rural Communities.
- Updated fact sheets highlighting how the Bipartisan Infrastructure is delivering results for all 50 states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Tribal communities.
- Tribal Playbook that outlines the what, when, where, and how to apply for part of the $13 billion the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law set aside specifically for tribes.
- Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health: Submit your ideas and experiences to help inform a national strategy that will be announced at the conference in September 2022.
- Housing Supply Action Plan to close the housing gap in 5 years, starting with the creation and preservation of hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in the next three years.
- Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible households $30 per month off their internet bills. Eligible families who pair their ACP benefit with one of these plans can receive high-speed internet at no cost.
- American Rescue Plan official White House explanation.
- Fact Sheet: How the Build Back Better framework helps rural communities.
- Fact Sheet: Historic investments to create opportunity and build wealth in rural America.
- Fact Sheet: Steps the ARP takes to improve the health of rural communities.