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USDA Issuing Debt Relief Payments to Farmers of Color
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would begin issuing debt relief payments to farmers who are Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Indigenous, or Pacific Islander starting in June. The relief payments were authorized by the $1.9 trillion federal pandemic relief package, the American Rescue Plan. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will pay up to 120 percent of outstanding FSA loan balances as of January 1, 2021. If you are a farmer of color, contact your local FSA office for more information. For more information about American Rescue Plan Debt Payments, visit the FSA website.  

Pasa Sustainable Agriculture COVID Relief for Farmers of Color
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture is accepting applications for COVID Relief for Farmers of Color. The relief fund provides one-time payments of $500 to farmers of color (including those who work on farms and commercial fishing operations) who are living in the Northeastern U.S. and have been impacted by the pandemic. These payments may be used for any household or personal expense. Applications are being accepted until June 26. Visit Pasa’s website for more information and the application.

USDA Launches Build Back Better Initiative
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains through the Build Back Better initiative. The new effort will strengthen the food system, create new market opportunities, tackle the climate crisis, help communities that have been left behind, and support good-paying jobs throughout the supply chain. Funding announcements under the Build Back Better initiative will include a mix of grants, loans, and innovative financing mechanisms. For more information about the Build Back Better Initiative, visit USDA’s website.  

Grants to Improve Sustainable Ag and Local Food Systems
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is now accepting preproposals for three grant programs: Research and Education, Professional Development and Research for Novel Approaches. The grant programs are aimed at improving sustainable agriculture and local food systems throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Preproposals, which capture preliminary project concepts, are required for each grant program and are due online by 5 p.m. on August 3. Applicants selected to submit full proposals will be contacted in mid-August with full proposals due on October 26. For more information, visit SARE’s website.

Grant Opportunity for New, Beginning Small Farmers
AgChoice Farm Credit, a member-owned cooperative that supports rural communities and agriculture with loans and financial services in 52 Pennsylvania counties, has launched a new grant opportunity for young, beginning, and small farmers. Ten $10,000 grants will be offered to farmers within AgChoice’s territory. Eligible applicants are startup farmers in the AgChoice territory whose operations started within the past 2 years or who plan to start one in the next 2 years. The applications deadline is August 31. Award winners must complete a grant acceptance agreement upon receiving funds. Winners do not need to be AgChoice customers. Visit the AgChoice website for more information.  

Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) Grants are Now Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the availability of $92.2 million in competitive grant funding under the 2018 Farm Bill’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). The LAMP grants are funded through the Farmers Market program as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. These grants support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products as follows: $76.9 million for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), with an application deadline of June 21; and $15.3 million for the Regional Food System Partnership Program (RFSP), with an application deadline of July 6. FMLFPP supports the development and expansion of direct-to-consumer markets and indirect producer-to-consumer marketing through intermediaries. The RFSP program supports partnerships in the planning and development of local and regional food systems. Funding is provided for coordination efforts, such as priority setting, connecting partners to resources and services, and measuring progress towards common goals. Eligible entities are organizations across local and regional food sectors. For more information, visit the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and the Regional Food System Partnership Program websites.

Apply Now for Farm Vitality Planning Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program, which is part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill Program. The grant program will help to fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. Funding will also support the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania's farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production, and building a team of financial and technical expertise as a resource for Pennsylvania's farmers. This reimbursement grant offers a maximum grant amount is $7,500 and is limited to 75 percent of project costs. Grant applications will be accepted until funding is exhausted. Click here for more information.

Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit Now Available
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has developed the Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit to help businesses understand the threats of the Spotted Lanternfly, and to help slow its spread in the commonwealth. As Spotted Lanternfly season approaches, it is critical that Pennsylvania businesses know their responsibilities when it comes to the quarantine and permitting. Visit the Department of Agriculture's website at this link for more information.

New USDA Initiative Offers Pandemic Assistance for Producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is establishing new programs and efforts to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. The new initiative, USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers, will reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion toward the new programs. USDA will also develop rules for new programs that will put a greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers, timber harvesters, as well as provide support for the food supply chain and producers of renewable fuel, among others. Existing programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will fall within the new initiative and, where statutory authority allows, will be refined to better address the needs of producers. Click here for more information.

USDA Launches AgLab for Students, Educators
AgLab, a new science-education website operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service is now available to student and educators. AgLab’s goal is to help  educate students about the critical intersect of science and agriculture in their daily lives, such as wrinkle-free cotton, edible coatings that keep apple slices from turning brown, a low-glycemic sweetener, DEET insecticide, and a bounty of new varieties of fruits and vegetables. Geared toward K-12 students with an interest in food and science, AgLab offers a variety of content to promote a greater understanding of how agricultural research is helping meet the food, fiber, feed and fuel needs of a growing world population while also safeguarding our environment and natural resources.

Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program Guidelines
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has program guidelines available on the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program. The income tax credit provides an incentive to lease or sell land, buildings, and/or equipment to beginning farmers. The program allows for a one-time tax credit for property sold to a beginning farmer or a multi-year credit for property leased. The tax credit could be used to aid in family transitions, such as sales from a parent to a child, or to help an unrelated beginning farmer. Beginning farmers who participate in the program must be certified by DCED by demonstrating that they have the experience or skills needed to work in agriculture, have not received income from farming for more than 10 years, and plan to farm in Pennsylvania. Property owners can claim a credit equal to 5 percent of the sale price or fair market value (whichever is lower) of an asset sold to a beginning farmer, up to a maximum of $32,000. For rental agreements, the credit is equal to 10 percent of gross rental income for the first, second, and third years of the rental agreement, a maximum of $7,000/year. Click here for more information.

New Report Details Pa Efforts to Combat Chronic Wasting Disease
Pennsylvania has released the report, Combating Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania, which details the coordinated efforts of state and federal agencies and Pennsylvania research institutions to combat Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, a contagious, fatal disease that threatens deer. The report outlines the status of the disease in Pennsylvania, as well as the work in progress to offer testing and other services to hunters, help deer farmers maintain their livelihoods, and diminish disease spread and environmental impact. Click here to download the report.

Pa Preferred Homegrown By Heros Program Open To Farmers Who Are Military Veterans
Homegrown by Heroes is a program for PA Preferred® members who are veterans. The program allows farmers who are military veterans to add the Homegrown by Heroes logo to their products so that consumers can easily identify it and support veteran-owned businesses. A program of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Homegrown by Heroes was founded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in January 2013. To become a certified Homegrown By Heroes member, first become a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (membership is free). If you are not yet a member or for more information, visit the Farmer Veteran Coalition website. After your membership has been approved by FVC, you’ll need to become a certified Homegrown By Heroes member. More details can be found on the Farmer Veteran Coalition's Homegrown by Heroes page. Finally, apply to the PA Preferred program (membership is free). Once these requirements have been met, complete the PA Preferred Homegrown by Heroes Application (PDF).

Farmlink Resources Focus On Healthy Farms, Healthy Minds
Pennsylvania Farmlink has posted some new resources for farmers called, Healthy Farms, Healthy Minds. The brochure and video encourage farmers to pay attention to and care for their mental health, just as they would pay attention to the health and vibrancy of their farms. Click here for the video and brochure.

PA Farm Link Database Helps Keep Pa Land In Agriculture
Agriculture is one of Pennsylvania's top industries and it’s important to keep land in agriculture production and help the next generation keep it alive and thriving, Pennsylvania Farm Link offers an online database of farming opportunities for the next generation. There is a one-time fee of $100 to list on the database. Farmer information is kept completely confidential until famers decide they are ready to meet the interested farmer or landowner. Visit the PA Farm Link website at and click on either the "Find A Farm" or "Find A Farmer" tab to see what is currently available. For more information call (717) 705-2121 or email



Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan Guarantee Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for loans and loan guarantees to build or update broadband and telephone infrastructure in rural areas where financing can be used for the construction, improvement, or expansion of telecommunications infrastructure serving rural areas with a population of 5,000 or fewer. The application period is ongoing. Visit USDA Rural Development for more information.

Economic Development Grants for Broadband Infrastructure, Adoption, Skills Training
The Economic Development Administration (EDA will administer $1.5 billion for economic development assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, to provide a wide-range of financial assistance to communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. EDA is accepting applications from applicants in rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and EAA programs, including planning, broadband infrastructure, broadband adoption, digital skills training, and smart cities. Eligible applicants are libraries, higher education institutions, state and local governments, tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities. EDA provides strategic investments on a competitive-merit-basis to support economic development, foster job creation, and attract private investment in economically distressed areas. For more information, click here or contact the Philadelphia Regional Office at (215) 597-4603.

Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program
The Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives offers funding and resource announcements through its Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) administers several programs for which broadband deployment may be an eligible use. Click on the name of the following programs to learn about eligibility requirements and program guidelines. Business in Our Sites Grants/Loans; Fay-Penn Program; Keystone Communities Program; Local Share Account (LSA) – Fayette County; Local Share Account (LSA) – Luzerne County; Local Share Account (LSA) – Monroe County; Local Share Account (LSA) – Montgomery County; Local Share Account (LSA) – Washington County; Pennsylvania First Program (PA First); Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) Tax Exempt Bond Program; Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) Taxable Bond Program; Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).  For information about how to apply for DCED programs, click here. Assistance with broadband deployment in connection with transportation projects may also be available from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank, a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

FCC Launches Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms. The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. A household is eligible if one member of the household: Qualifies for the Lifeline program; Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year; Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers' existing low-income or COVID-19 program. The program has been authorized by the FCC, but the start date has not yet been established. The FCC is working to make the benefit available as quickly as possible. Please continue to check the program webpage for updates.


Community and Economic Development

USDA Launches New Grant Program to Help Expand Regional Economies, Create High-Wage Jobs in Distressed Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service has announced a new grant program to help rural communities create good-paying jobs and support new business opportunities in high-growth fields. Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) is intended to help rural communities identify and maximize local assets and connect to networks and industry clusters within their region. The new grant encourages a regional, innovation-driven approach to economic development. RISE will provide grants of up to $2 million to consortiums of local governments, investors, industry, institutions of higher education, and other public and private entities in rural areas. The funds may be used to form job accelerator partnerships and create high-wage jobs, start or expand businesses, and support economic growth in the rural areas of their region. Funds may also be used to establish and operate innovation centers and partnerships, such as integrating rural businesses into new supply chains, providing workforce training and identifying community assets. To help ensure long-term and sustainable community and economic development, award recipients must support projects for at least 4 years. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development State Office ahead of the application deadline for more information about the program or the application process. Applications will be accepted electronically at and the deadline to submit is Aug. 2. Information about the application process is available in a notice in the Federal Register. For additional information about the program, see the final rule on page 31585 of the June 15 Federal Register.

Rural Cooperative Development Grants
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for grants to help start, expand, or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses in rural America. USDA is making $5.8 million in grants available under the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program to help improve economic conditions in rural areas through cooperative development. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for the available funds to provide technical and cooperative development assistance to individuals and rural businesses. For FY 2021, the maximum award is $200,000. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis through a national competition. Electronic applications must be submitted to by August 10. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development State Office well in advance of the application deadline to discuss their project and ask any questions about the RCDG program or the application process.

USDA Rural Workforce Resource Guide
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a resource guide (PDF, 2.5 MB) to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources to train, recruit and create a sustainable rural workforce. The resource guide outlines programs and services available at USDA and other federal agencies that support workforce development in rural communities. It helps community leaders and other local entities access resources more easily to create jobs, train talent, expand educational opportunities and provide technical assistance. A resource matrix organizes USDA funding opportunities by four key assistance types: workforce development planning; infrastructure and equipment financing; industry and employer engagement, entrepreneurship and local business development; and education, training and apprenticeship. The guide also features examples of how customers have used USDA programs to support each assistance type. It includes recommendations on how rural leaders can replicate this assistance in their communities. Additional resources to support rural workforce development are available at

Community Thrives Grant and Crowdfunding Opportunity
A Community Thrives, a grantmaking and crowdfunding campaign of USA Today Network with funding from the Gannett Foundation, invests in community-building initiatives across the country. The campaign is a way to share community improvement ideas on the national stage, gain support through donations and local connections, and receive a portion of an additional $2 million in grants to help projects succeed. During the campaign, nonprofit organizations have the chance to raise funds for their charities on their official A Community Thrives challenge page. At the end of the crowdfunding period, the Gannett Foundation will award grants ranging from $2,500 to $100,000 to selected organizations. Nonprofit organizations and municipal programs, such as libraries and schools, are encouraged to apply between June 1 and June 30.Visit A Community Thrives webpage for more information.

Grants to Create Employment and Business Opportunities
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities, including expansion or construction of clinics and health centers. Priority points will be given to projects that create jobs in rural communities and counties of persistent poverty. The application deadline is July 12. Visit the department’s website for more information.

Grants for Health Care, Housing, Hunger, Education
Big Lots Foundation is offering grants to programs that enrich the lives of families and children. Grants will be awarded to programs in the areas of health care, housing, hunger, and education, especially those serving women and children. The application deadline is July 1. Deadline:  7/1/2021. Visit the foundation’s website for more information.  

Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge Grants Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) grant. USDA is making up to $3 million in cooperative agreement grants available to eligible entities to help rural communities create plans to enhance capacity for broadband access; preserve cultural and historic structures; and support development in transportation, housing, and recreational spaces. The technical assistance will support the development of actionable plans based on convening partners and identifying community needs that enable rural areas to build back better and stronger. The technical assistance must provide support to rural communities for up to two years. Eligible entities are public or private groups, organizations or institutions that demonstrate experience in providing placemaking technical assistance and administering federal grants. USDA encourages applications that support communities designated as economically distressed and/or planning projects that enhance capacity for broadband infrastructure and deployment, including investments under the USDA ReConnect program. Electronic applications must be submitted via by July 26. For more information, contact: or visit page 28526 of the May 27 Federal Register. A virtual workshop to learn more about this program will be held on Thursday, June 24, at 2:30 p.m.

Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative Grants
The U.S. Department of Labor is accepting applications for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative for grants serving the Appalachian and Delta regions. The purpose of this program is to demonstrate the alignment of regionally driven, comprehensive approaches to addressing economic distress and the necessary workforce development activities to ensure dislocated and other workers in the regions can succeed in current and future job opportunities. The application deadline is July 21.

2021 Home Depot Community Impact Grants Available
The Home Depot Foundation is offering grants of up to $,5000 to nonprofit organizations and public agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve communities, with a focus on veterans and diverse, underserved communities. Grants are given in the form of gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, and services. The application deadline is December 31, 2021. Click here for more information.

USDA Accepting Applications for Grants to Support Rural Community Development Projects
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting grant applications to support economic development in rural communities through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Program. RCDI grants are awarded to help nonprofit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes support housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Click here for more information.

USDA Rural Development Funding To Establish Revolving Loan Programs For Rural Businesses
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is seeking applications for funding to establish revolving loan programs to support rural businesses and community development projects. Subject to the availability of funds, the loans will be established through USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program. Eligible recipients include nonprofits and cooperatives, federally-recognized tribes and public agencies. The revolving loan funds may be loaned to ultimate recipient borrowers to acquire, construct or enlarge a business; purchase or develop land; purchase equipment, machinery or supplies; or for start-up costs and working capital. Click here for more information.

Rural LISC Funding To Develop, Improve Community Facilities
Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) is accepting applications for the Community Facilities Fund, which provides capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC uses this fund to provide permanent and construction-to-permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. There is no application deadline. For more information, click here.

PA’S One-Stop Shop For Business Development
Looking for help to start your own business or expand your existing business? Visit Pennsylvania’s Business One-Stop Shop at The site provides information and resources for businesses both large and small, and serves as the first point of contact for Pennsylvania business development concerns. The shop’s team helps connect and guide businesses through all stages of development — from planning and startup to operating and expanding. Visit or call (833) 722-6778.



Rural Community Toolkit on Building Vaccine Confidence
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the Rural Community Toolkit to increase confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures in rural communities. The toolkit features tailored materials to help educate rural residents about the vaccines. This material is intended for all organizations that communicate directly with rural audiences. Access the user guide to learn how to use it in your community.

U.S. Treasury Fact Sheet on American Rescue Plan Act Funding
The U.S. Department of Treasury has a fact sheet available on the funding components of the American Rescue Plan Act. Click here for the fact sheet.

CDC Community-Based Toolkit on COVID-19 Vaccines and More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designed a toolkit to help community-based organizations educate communities about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of the vaccination, and address common questions and concerns. Click here for the toolkit. 

RHIHUB Rural Resources For Covid-19
Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) had developed an online guide to provide information about activities underway to address COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Federal and state agencies, along with national organizations, are sharing resources and guidelines to help all communities and healthcare facilities, including rural areas, respond to this issue. Visit for the latest information.

USDA Rural Development Assistance For Rural Residents, Businesses And Communities Affected By COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has taken several immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit USDA Rural Development’s webpage for more information on housing, business, and infrastructure grants, loans and assistance.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act Loans
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundationhas announced emergency loans through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which allocated $350 billion to help small businesses and nonprofits keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to eligible organizations.  Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. Click here for a guide, Questions & Answers to some frequently asked questions, and more information on this relief measure.

National Dislocated Worker Grant Funding
The U.S. Department of Labor is offering National Dislocated Worker Grant funding to address the emergency response to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Labor Employment Recovery Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) provide resources to states and other eligible applicants to respond to major economic dislocations, such as large, unexpected layoff events that cause significant job losses. Applications are accepted at any time, provided appropriated funding for the program is available. Click here for application guidelines.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program For Farmers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline due to COVID-19. Click here for more information. 

EDA Accepting Applications For $1.5 Billion To Respond To Covid-19 Pandemic
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance Program, which will provide $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus. The application deadline is ongoing. Click here for more information.


Domestic Violence Prevention

PCADV Releases New 5-Year Domestic Violence Prevention Plan
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), with the assistance of a diverse and interdisciplinary Statewide Leadership Team (SLT), has released its bold 5-year plan for preventing domestic violence in Pennsylvania. Rooted in a social justice approach, the plan looks at the prevalence of domestic violence by acknowledging and addressing oppressions that lead to inequities in access to power and resources across groups of people. Both the development of the SLT and the State Action Plan are made possible, and fully funded, by a 5-year DELTA Impact grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the PCADV in 2018. Visit PCADV’s website to view and download the 5-year plan.



Call for Workshop Proposals, Presentations for Multidisciplinary Conference on the Amish and Their Neighbors
The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College is accepting workshop proposals for a three-day conference, The Amish and Their Neighbors: A Multidisciplinary Conference, to be held June 2 - 4, 2022. The conference planners welcome proposals from local officials or county/state/federal agencies for 20-minute presentations or 45-minute workshops or seminars that offer case studies related to the conference theme and goals. Proposals for poster sessions are also welcome. Send a clear statement of topic, methods, and significance (350 words or fewer) and a one-page résumé of the presenter by e-mail to by November 1, 2021. Screening committee decisions will be made by December 15, 2021. The conference planners also welcome suggestions from prospective attendees of topics they would like to see included in the program, which may also be submitted to

FoodCorps Accepting Applications for 2021-2022 School Year
FoodCorps is now taking applications for the 2021-2022 school year. As a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member, you’ll spend a year teaching kids about healthy food. Whether you teach virtually or in person, you’ll earn a stipend, a year’s worth of training and professional development resources, and a network of passionate food educators. This is a great opportunity for folks who are committed to food justice, inspired by strong local communities, and creative in the face of a challenge - like serving during a pandemic. FoodCorps is accepting applications until all service member positions are filled, but early application is recommended. For more information, click here.


Health and Human Services

Rural Health Information Hub Online
If you’re looking for an online source for current and reliable resources and tools on rural health needs and the work being done to address them, check out the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub), formerly the Rural Assistance Center. RHIhub is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to be a national clearinghouse on rural health issues. RHIhub also provides free assistance customized to your needs. Call (800) 270-1898 or email

Angel Flight’s Free, Non-Emergency Air Travel For Rural Children And Adults
Angel Flight East (AFE), founded in Pennsylvania by Harry Morales, a general aviation pilot, is dedicated to rural health by facilitating free air transportation to children and adults in need of medical treatment far from home. AFE is based in Montgomery County, Pa., and serves the Northeast United States. While AFE flies patients from all over a 14-state territory, it has seen an even greater need for patients living in rural areas and those with rare medical conditions who often have to travel far distances for treatment. For more information, click here.


Historic Preservation

Certified Local Government Grants Available
The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has announced two new grant programs exclusively for Certified Local Governments in Pennsylvania. The Certified Local Government Program (CLG) is a partnership between municipal governments, SHPO, and the National Park Service (NPS) that promotes and supports effective historic preservation programs and policies in Pennsylvania municipalities. Designation is a mark of distinction that provides participating communities with credibility, as well as access to technical assistance and grant programs. The CLG Mini-Grant program provides grants up to $7,500 for planning, ordinances, surveys, studies, guidelines, and public education projects (basically anything that is not construction). These grants can be used for projects sponsored by the municipality, or that the municipality applies for on behalf of a partner organization in the community. Mini-grants are available on a rolling basis and are awarded first-come-first-served. Click here for the application. The CLG Scholarship program provides funding for individuals in CLG communities to participate in conferences, seminars, and online programs related to preservation issues, to host speakers and training programs, or to purchase educational materials or memberships in organizations that provide training programs and publications. Scholarships may be up to $2,000 for each individual attending an event or $5,000 per hosted training program. Larger awards will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Scholarships are available on a rolling basis and are awarded first-come-first-served. Click here for the application. Click here for more information about CLG.



Funding to End Youth Homelessness
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making $145 million in competitive funding available to build systems intended to end youth homelessness in local and rural communities through HUD's Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). The application deadline is July 27. Visit HUD’s website for more information.

2021 Emergency Solutions Grant to End Homelessness
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is accepting applications for 2021 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). DCED was awarded $5,772,551 in ESG funds for FY2021 through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). DCED will use the ESG funding to support applicants who will work to end homelessness quickly and efficiently as possible for all vulnerable populations. The application and guidelines are available for review at DCED’s website. Applicants should read the guidelines before starting an application. DCED intends to make grants of $25,000 or more for any single activity or combination of ESG activities, including: Emergency Shelter, Rapid Rehousing, Homelessness Prevention, Street Outreach, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and Administration. The application deadline is June 25.



USDA Housing Preservation Grants Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents. The grants are being provided through USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant program. Eligible applicants include local or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations. USDA does not provide funding directly to individual homeowners under this program. For additional eligibility information, see page 29555 of the June 2, 2021, Federal Register. Paper pre-applications are due by 5 p.m. on July 7 at the Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development state office. Electronic pre-applications are due by 5 p.m. July 19. For a list of offices, visit the state office website.

Flexible Loans from HAC
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC)has flexible loan capital available to support preservation of U.S. Department of Agriculture Section 515 properties, U.S. Housing and Urban Development-subsidized properties, and naturally occurring affordable housing in rural places. Eligible properties are existing affordable or mixed-income rental housing (with or without current income restrictions). Loans can be $50,000-$1.5 million, interest rates can be as low as 4.5%, and terms can be up to 180 months, with longer amortization periods based on project needs. Eligible borrowers include nonprofit organizations, for-profit developers, housing authorities, and tribal entities. For more information, see HAC’s website.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Open in PA
Effective March 18, Pennsylvanians can submit applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) online at Forty-seven counties have opted to collect applications from county residents through the COMPASS website provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS will route applications submitted through COMPASS directly to counties for processing. The online application is available in English and Spanish. Applicants can also download and print an application or obtain an application from their county ERAP office. Households may be eligible for up to 12 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and/or utility payments. The amount of a household’s monthly rent or utility bills does not preclude eligibility, but the amount of ERAP assistance provided to a household is determined by program administrators at the county level. Assistance can be provided to a tenant for future rental payments, and for unpaid rental or utility arrears that were accrued on or after March 13, 2020 on a residential rental property. Counties may choose to provide additional assistance to eligible households if funds remain available.

USDA Rural Development Housing Loans, Grants, Technical Assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has several loan and grant programs for homeowners, including the following: Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants (Section 504 Home Repair Program), which provide loans to very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes or provides grants to elderly very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards; Rural Home Loans Direct Program (Section 502 Direct Loan Program), which assists low- and very-low-income applicants with obtaining decent, safe, and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability; and Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grants, which provide grants to qualified organizations to help them carry out local self-help housing construction projects. More information on these and other USDA Rural Development services and programs is available at or by calling (717) 237-2273.

USDA Rural Development Seeks Nonprofit Assistance as Home Loan Application Packagers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is looking for nonprofits to assist as loan application packagers for its Section 502 Direct Loan Program. Loan application packagers provide an optional service to parties seeking a housing loan by helping to navigate the loan application process. A packager can help determine if the Section 502 Direct Loan Program is a good fit, and, if so, help to assemble a complete loan application package. Generally, a fee is charged for their service. Packagers do not work for or represent Rural Development. Rural Development supports partnerships with loan application packagers since they can provide outreach and be available in counties where there is not a local Rural Development office. For more information, click here.



High Energy Cost Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for grants to offset high energy costs in rural areas. USDA is making the funding available through the High Energy Cost Grant Program. This program helps state and local governments and nonprofit agencies acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Grants may also be used to install on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible projects must be in communities where the average residential home energy expenditure is at least 275 percent of the national average. USDA expects to award up to $10 million for Fiscal Year 2021. Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped or sent overnight no later than July 6, and electronic applications must be submitted to by July 6.

Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants
The National Endowment for the Humanities has funding available through Challenge Grants to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities by enabling infrastructure development and capacity building. The program funds two distinct types of projects: Capital Projects support the design, purchase, construction, or renovation of facilities that includes telecommunications, and energy management; and Digital Infrastructure projects support the maintenance, modernization, and sustainability of existing digital scholarly projects and platforms. The application deadlines are May 18 and September 28. Visit the National Endowment for the Humanities website for more information.

Rural Business Development Grant Program for Transportation Services and Facilities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for grants to improve rural transportation systems through its Rural Business Development Grant program. Eligible applicants are organizations seeking to provide rural communities with training and technical assistance to improve transportation services and facilities. USDA does not provide funding directly to individuals under this program. Applications will be scored, reviewed, and selected on a competitive basis. Applications must be submitted to the applicant’s nearest USDA office by June 30. Contact the Business and Cooperatives Program Director David Foster at (717) 237-2181 or with any questions about the program or application process.

USDA Rural Development Loans And Grants Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program and Loan Guarantees Program available. The Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program can provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. The Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees Program can help private lenders provide affordable financing to qualified borrowers to improve access to clean, reliable water and waste disposal systems for households and businesses in rural areas. To learn more about either of these programs, contact your local Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development office here.

America Walks Technical Assistance
America Walks is now offering more intensive, Technical Assistance (T.A.) solutions to government, non-profit, and business clients. With more than 20 years of experience in advocacy campaigns and policy development, America Walks' T.A. program is based on proven strategies for engaging community stakeholders, building local walking movements, and developing the political will that leads to positive change. Click here for more information.

Strengthening Rural America’s Rural Innovation Infrastructure
The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group has released a new report called "Strengthening Rural America's Rural Innovation Infrastructure." This report focuses on the role, and aggregates the wisdom, of a specific set of intermediaries, called Rural Development Hubs, that are “doing development differently” in rural America. The report focuses on these Hubs because they are main players in advancing an asset-based, wealth-building, approach to rural community and economic development across the country. For a copy of the report, click here.


Opioids/Substance Abuse Disorder

Grants to Address Opioid Crisis
The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) is a private, national, grantmaking foundation focused on addressing the opioid crisis. FORE has issued a Request for Proposals aimed at specific projects that bring an innovative approach to long-standing and complex issues related to stemming the tide of the nation's opioid crisis. This RFP will support projects that can explore and/or evaluate new "outside-the-box" ideas, bring together approaches from several diverse fields, and engage multi-disciplinary, cross-sector teams to solve some of the most intractable problems created by the crisis. The focus is on projects with innovative solutions in the following areas: Professional Education and Training, Timely and Actionable Data, and Supporting the Transition from Treatment to Recovery. Nonprofit organizations and universities, as well as state, local, and tribal government agencies, may apply for grants of up to $300,000 a year for up to two years. The deadline for concept notes is July 19. Visit FORE's website for more information.

PA DHS And Aging Announce Kinconnector Helpline
The Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services and Aging have announced a new KinConnector helpline for families in kinship care situations, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings raising children because of the opioid crisis. The KinConnector helpline connects families with available resources such as: health, financial, and legal services; training; parenting advice; locating physical or behavioral health services; school enrollment; support groups; and other services designed to help caregivers. Navigators will also be available to help families apply for federal, state, and local benefits. To reach KinConnector, call 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). Assistance is available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

Guidebook Assists Rural Leaders With Response To Crisis Of Addiction
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has released a new guidebook to assist rural community leaders in building an effective local response to the crisis of addiction. The Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger, Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities provides rural leaders with information they can put into immediate action to create change. It provides background information, recommended action steps, and promising practices to help manage the impact of substance use disorder on local communities and help persons with the disease of addiction. The topics are based on lessons learned from Department of Agriculture rural roundtable discussions held in over a dozen states, as well as the experiences of several rural stakeholder partners.  



Senior Food Box Program Helps Stretch Food Dollars
The Senior Food Box program is a monthly food package tailored for older adults, age 60 and above, that helps stretch food dollars and adds nutritious foods to promote good health. The program works to improve the health of low-income seniors by supplementing their diets with nutritious food. In Pennsylvania, eligible participants include low-income individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130 percent of the U.S. poverty level. The program is supported through USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program. USDA purchases the food and makes it available to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), which works with local nonprofit agencies to facilitate distribution of the monthly food boxes to eligible participants. To apply, applications should fill out the self-certification form and submit it to PDA at PDA will then route the application to the appropriate food bank providing service in the applicant's county of residence. Applicants can also call 800-468-2433 to be directed to the regional food bank distributing the Senior Food Box in their county of residence. More information is available at PDA’s website.

SNAP Benefits for Seniors
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People in eligible low-income households can obtain more nutritious diets with SNAP, which helps increase their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. Those who are eligible receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases. Studies show seniors enrolled in SNAP have better health and need less acute and long-term care. If everyone in the household is age 60 or older or has a disability, purchases and prepares food together, and does not receive any earnings from work, they can fill out a simple application. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ website for more information.



HUD Grants to Modify, Rehab Veteran Residences
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, announces $9.4 million in grant funding to modify or rehabilitate eligible veterans' primary residences. Eligible applicants for the Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program (VHRMP) are nonprofit organizations that provide nationwide or statewide programs that primarily serve veterans or low-income individuals. The application deadline is July 30. Visit HUD’s website for more information.

Grants to Support Veteran, Active Duty Service Members Treatment Programs
The Infinite Hero Foundation provides grants of up to $100,000 to nonprofit organizations offering innovative and effective programs or treatments to active duty service members, veterans, and/or military families for service-related mental and physical injuries. Grant requests must fall within one of the following categories: physical recovery; brain health, including TBI and PTS; suicide prevention; veteran leadership; or military families. Letters of interest must be submitted by July 1. Visit the foundation’s website for more information.

Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has announced $9.4 million in grant funding to modify or rehabilitate eligible veterans' primary residences. Eligible applicants for the Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program (VHRMP) are nonprofit organizations that provide nationwide or statewide programs that primarily serve veterans or low-income individuals. The application deadline is July 30. Visit HUD’s website for more information.

Veteran Housing Grant Program
The Home Depot Foundation’s Veteran Housing Grants Program awards funding to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico for the new construction or rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for veterans. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 are available for the physical construction or repair of housing for veterans (hard costs); the grant amount must comprise less than 50% of the total development cost of the project. Rural areas will be considered; however, high priority will be given to large metropolitan areas that have a dense veteran population. Nonprofit organizations that have been in existence at least 5 years and have a current operating budget of at least $300,000 are eligible to apply. Upcoming application deadlines are December 12, 2020, March 26, 2021 and July 9, 2021. Click here for more information.


Workforce Development

USDA Invites Partners to Join the Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) to create a forum for public and private partners to help increase access to workforce opportunities across rural America. This network represents governmental entities, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses that are actively working to improve workforce development in their local communities. The kick-off meeting for this effort has already taken place, but more meetings are planned. Click here to learn more and join the network.