Resources

Resource Index

 

COVID-19 INFORMATION FROM PA STATE AGENCIES AND PA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Click the links for information on COVID-19 from these Pennsylvania state agencies, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General: Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services,  Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

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USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT LAUNCHES COVID-19 RESOURCE WEBPAGE
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has launched a COVID-19 resource page to keep customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated on actions taken by the USDA Rural Development to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here for information on loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions, and more.

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PA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO OPERATE DISASTER HOUSEHOLD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has received federal approval to operate a Disaster Household Distribution program, through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), to provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected as a result of statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. On March 28, the department received approval to use U.S. Department of Agriculture foods as part of a Disaster Household Distribution program being operated through the state’s network of food banks, food pantries, and pop-up distribution sites. The approval allows the department and its partners to more efficiently distribute a variety of foods – including meats, vegetables, fruit, canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, eggs, and more – to those most affected by the closure of non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania. Click here for more information.

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AARP COMMUNITY CHALLENGE PROGRAM DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 15
The AARP Community Challenge program deadline has been extended to May 15. The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund "quick-action" projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are being accepted for projects to improve housing, transportation, public space, technology ("smart cities"), civic engagement and more. Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations, and government entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Click here for more information.

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RECONNECT PILOT PROGRAM GRANT DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 31
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has extended the deadline (PDF, 245 KB) for ReConnect Pilot Program applications to March 31. These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload. To learn more about eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

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ORDER YOUR CENSUS 2020 OUTREACH MATERIALS HERE
Looking for printed outreach materials to encourage participation in Census 2020? Click here to go to the online order form for outreach materials, including postcards, posters, and flyers. Every Pennsylvanian can help spread the word about the importance of participating in Census 2020. It is especially important for getting the word out to our neighbors living in our traditionally hard-to-count communities. Some Pennsylvanians who are most likely to be missed in our census count include children, immigrants, and people of color. Rural households and residents experiencing economic hardship or homelessness are also likely to be missed. Our population count determines the federal support Pennsylvanians receive for the next 10 years for education, healthcare, housing, food security, roads, and more. Your voice matters in shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Click here for more information.

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FOOD SAFETY OUTREACH COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting application for the Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program, which provides funding for food safety training and education for small and mid-sized producers and processors affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The application deadline is April 7. Awards range from $80,000 to $550,000. Click here for more information. 

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CHALLENGE AMERICA GRANTS EXTEND REACH OF THE ARTS TO UNDERSERVED AREAS
The National Endowment for the Artsis offering grants through the “Challenge America” program. These grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. The Challenge America category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Cost share/matching grants are for $10,000. The application deadline is April 9. Click here for more information.   

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COMMUNITY FACILITIES TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING GRANTS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is offering grants to intermediary organizations to provide technical assistance and training for rural organizations and agencies to identify and plan for community facility needs that exist in their area, and once those needs have been identified, locating public and private resources to finance those identified needs. Priority for Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grants will be given to applications that address USDA's goal to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with Substance Use Disorder (including opioid misuse) in high-risk rural communities. The application deadline is April 30. Click here for more information.  

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GRANTS TO SUPPORT OPIOID ABUSE RESPONSE EFFORTS
The U.S. Department of Justice is offering grants through the FY 2020 Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-Based Program to develop, implement, and/or expand comprehensive programs in response to illicit opioids, stimulants, or other substances of abuse. The program provides resources to support state, local, Tribal, and territorial efforts to reduce violent crime and drug abuse and enhance public safety while supporting victims. The application deadline is May 21. Click here for more information.

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FUEL UP TO PLAY 60 FUNDS AVAILABLE TO K-12 SCHOOLS
Fuel Up to Play 60, a health and wellness program sponsored by the National Football League (NFL), National Dairy Council (NDC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is offering funding to qualified K-12 schools to improve healthy changes at school. The program offers up to $4,000 per year to enrolled Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) schools. To qualify for funding, schools must enroll in FUTP 60, have a registered FUTP 60 “Program Advisor,” and participate in the National School Lunch Program. The application opens February 26 and closes April 8. Click here for more information.

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2020 GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP AND PICK UP PENNSYLVANIA BEGINS MARCH 1
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has announced that registration is open for the 2020 Pick Up Pennsylvania, an initiative supporting the Great American Cleanup. This annual event begins on March 1 and ends on May 31. During this period, registered events can get free trash bags, gloves, and safety vests donated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and Keep America Beautiful, as supplies last. Events can include litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, community greening and beautification, special collections, and education events. Events must be registered at gacofpa.org to receive free cleanup supplies. Click here for more information.

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NEW 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.  

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HEMP PROGRAM 2020 PERMIT APPLICATION NOW OPEN
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s 2020 Hemp Program is now accepting applications from both commercial growers and processors. The 2020 application period is open now through April 1. This year, hemp growers and processors are required to apply. The permitting of processors is new for the 2020 program. Each individual property will require its own permit and application. A permit costs $150. For more information, click here.

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JOBS AVAILABLE WITH 2020 CENSUS
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count. A variety of temporary jobs, including census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff, are available. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number, and be a U.S. citizen. Candidates must complete an online job application, which includes assessment questions about your education, work, and other experience. For more information or to apply, click here.

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SMALL GRANTS AVAILABLE FROM CLIF BAR FAMILY FOUNDATION
The Clif Bar Family Foundation is offering grants through the Small Grants Program to nonprofit grassroots organizations that have the ability to engage local groups, positively impact their communities, and focus most of their resources on useful and positive actions. Through the Small Grants Program, the foundation supports innovative small and mid-sized groups working to protect the Earth’s beauty and bounty, create a healthy food system, increase opportunities for outdoor activity, reduce environmental health hazards, and build stronger communities. The application deadlines are February 1, June 1 and October 1. Click here for more information.

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2019-2020 PENNSYLVANIA GRANT AND RESOURCE DIRECTORY AVAILABLE
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Democratic Caucus has released the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Grant and Resource Directory. The directory includes a general overview of state government programs, including grants and resources, along with contact information. The directory also includes a list of online grant writing guides and a list of Pennsylvania Community Foundations. Click here for a copy of the directory.

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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 www.pafarmlink.org 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 farmland@pafarmlink.org.

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ANGEL FLIGHT’S FREE, NON-EMERGENCY AIR TRAVEL FOR RUAL 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.

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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.

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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.

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DOWNLOAD TESTIT, THE RURAL BROADBAND MAPPING APP
To continue gathering data about broadband availability and speed, the National Association of Counties (NACo), Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC), Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), and National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) have created a mobile app that allows individual users to accurately identify areas with low or no broadband connectivity. The data from the app are aggregated to identify gaps in broadband coverage, help guide advocacy for adequate funding, and inform decision-making at federal, state, and local levels. To date, the mobile app has been downloaded 4,500 times and 190,000 tests have been run. To download the app, click here. Click here for the link to a one page description of the app. Click here to see the state data collected so far.

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ARTISTS LEAD GRANTS FOR CREATIVE PLACE-BASED PROJECTS
The National Crowdfunding Platform IOBY (In Our Backyards") and ArtPlace America are offering “Artists Lead,” a new funding opportunity for artists with a creative idea for a place-based project that strengthens their community. Selected artists will receive up to $15,000 in matching funds, plus one-on-one fundraising support, when they crowdfund with IOBY. For more information on IOBY and Artists Lead, click here

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PA FARM LINK RESOURCES FOR FARMERS, VETERANS
PA Farm Link, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to “creating farming opportunities for the next generation,” has an extensive library of resources available online for farmers and veterans. Resource Central has information on transition planning, farm business planning, preserved farm resources, farm transition checklists and more. Click here for Resource Central. Veterans Resource Central has information on a variety of farmer-veteran programs and outreach sources. Click here for Veterans Resource Central.

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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 www.dhs.pa.gov.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVANTAGE GRANTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, FARMERS
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the availability of $1 million in grant funding to Pennsylvania small businesses and farmers for energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and natural resource protection projects through the Small Business Advantage grant program. New to the program this year is the opportunity for small business owners to install solar hot water systems for their business operations. Eligible projects include adopting or acquiring equipment or processes that reduce energy use or pollution. Examples of eligible projects are HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency LED lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks. Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption, or pollution-related expenses. Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $7,000 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, are eligible. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2019-20 funds are exhausted or April 12, 2020, whichever occurs first. All applications must be submitted through the commonwealth’s Single Application for Assistance website. Printed, faxed, and mailed applications are not accepted. The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions and instructional videos for completing the online application, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website.

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USDA TOOLKIT TO SUPPORT DEPLOYMENT OF HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new toolkit to help support the deployment of high-speed broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities. The e-Connectivity Toolkit features 27 USDA programs that support broadband deployment. The easy-to-use resource is a simple guide that allows customers to identify their type of e-Connectivity project and locate resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction, research and other e-Connectivity projects. Resources such as grants, loans and technical assistance are available from multiple Mission Areas at USDA, including Rural Development, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, National Resources Conservation Service, and Forest Service. The toolkit also highlights examples of how e-Connectivity resources are being used to increase access to broadband services in rural communities. Click here for the toolkit.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.business.pa.gov. 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 www.business.pa.gov or call (833) 722-6778.

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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 info@ruralhealthinfo.org.

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