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Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, and Agencies
to Strengthen Low-Income Rural Communities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Rural Utilities Service

Deadline Date:

03/22/21 - Midnight EST for electronic applications; 03/29/21 - 4:00 PM for paper applications.


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, for-profits, and government agencies to strengthen low-income rural communities by providing guidance and training to eligible recipients. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Funding may be requested for projects to improve community facilities and housing, as well as economic and community development projects.

These grants will be made to qualified intermediary organizations that will provide financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development that will support the community.

Congress first authorized the RCDI in 1999 (Pub. L. 106–78, which was amended most recently by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Pub. L. 116–6) to develop the capacity and ability of private, nonprofit community-based housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities, and federally recognized Native American Tribes to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in rural areas. Strengthening the recipient’s capacity in these areas will benefit the communities they serve. The RCDI structure requires the intermediary (grantee) to provide a program of financial and technical assistance to recipients. The recipients will, in turn, provide programs to their communities (beneficiaries).

The intermediary must provide a program of financial and technical assistance to one or more of the following: A private, nonprofit community-based housing and development organization, a low-income rural community or a federally recognized tribe.

Eligible Grant Purposes

Fund uses must be consistent with the RCDI purpose. A non-exclusive list of eligible grant uses includes the following:

(a) Provide technical assistance to develop recipients’ capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development, e.g., the intermediary hires a staff person to provide technical assistance to the recipient or the recipient hires a staff person, under the supervision of the intermediary, to carry out the technical assistance provided by the intermediary.

(b) Develop the capacity of recipients to conduct community development programs, e.g., homeownership education or training for business entrepreneurs.

(c) Develop the capacity of recipients to conduct development initiatives, e.g., programs that support micro-enterprise and sustainable development.

(d) Develop the capacity of recipients to increase their leveraging ability and access to alternative funding sources by providing training and staffing.

(e) Develop the capacity of recipients to provide the technical assistance component for essential community facilities projects.

(f) Assist recipients in completing pre-development requirements for housing, community facilities, or community and economic development projects by providing resources for professional services, e.g., architectural, engineering, or legal.

(g) Improve recipient’s organizational capacity by providing training and resource material on developing strategic plans, board operations, management, financial systems, and information technology.

(h) Purchase of computers, software, and printers, limited to $10,000 per award, at the recipient level when directly related to the technical assistance program being undertaken by the intermediary.

(i) Provide funds to recipients for training-related travel costs and training expenses related to RCDI.

For examples of eligible purposes under the RCDI program see the Federal Register:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174357

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 30

Estimated Size of Grant:

Award Floor: $50,000
Award Ceiling: $250,000

Term of Contract:

Grant funds must be utilized within 3 years from date of the award.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Independent school districts
  • Indian housing authorities
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Public housing authorities
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Who may apply for this program:
-Public bodies
-Nonprofit organizations
-Qualified Private (for-profit) Organizations

The recipient and beneficiary, but not the intermediary, must be located in an eligible rural area. The physical location of the recipient’s office that will be receiving the financial and technical assistance must be in an eligible rural area. If the recipient is a low-income community, the median household income of the area where the office is located must be at or below 80 percent of the State or national median household income, whichever is higher. The applicable Rural Development State Office can assist in determining the eligibility of an area.

Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements by the application deadline. Applications which fail to meet any of these requirements by the application deadline will be deemed ineligible and will not be evaluated further, and will not receive a Federal award.

Eligible Applicants:
(a) Qualified private organizations, nonprofit organizations (including faith-based and community organizations and philanthropic foundations), in accordance with 7 CFR part 16, and public (including tribal) intermediary organizations are eligible applicants.

(b) The recipient must be a nonprofit community-based housing and development organization, low-income rural community, or federally recognized tribe based on the RCDI definitions of these groups.

(c) Private nonprofit, faith or community-based organizations must provide a certificate of incorporation and good standing from the Secretary of the State of incorporation, or other similar and valid documentation of current nonprofit status. For low-income rural community recipients, the Agency requires evidence that the entity is a public body and census data verifying that the median household income of the community where the office receiving the financial and technical assistance is located is at, or below, 80 percent of the State or national median household income, whichever is higher. For federally recognized tribes, the Agency needs the page listing their name from the current Federal Register list of tribal entities recognized and eligible for funding services.

(d) Any corporation that (1) has been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the past 24 months or (2) has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability; is not eligible for financial assistance provided with full-year appropriated funds for Fiscal Year 2020, unless a Federal agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and has made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government.

The following is a list of ineligible grant uses:
(a) Pass-through grants, and any funds provided to the recipient in a lump sum that are not reimbursements.
(b) Funding a revolving loan fund (RLF).
(c) Construction (in any form).
(d) Salaries for positions involved in construction, renovations, rehabilitation, and any oversight of these types of activities.
(e) Intermediary preparation of strategic plans for recipients.
(f) Funding prostitution, gambling, or any illegal activities.
(g) Grants to individuals.
(h) Funding a grant where there may be a conflict of interest, or an appearance of a conflict of interest, involving any action by the Agency.
(i) Paying obligations incurred before the beginning date without prior Agency approval or after the ending date of the grant agreement.
(j) Purchasing real estate.
(k) Improvement or renovation of the grantee’s or recipient’s office space or for the repair or maintenance of privately owned vehicles.
(l) Any purpose prohibited in 2 CFR part 200 or 400.
(m) Using funds for recipient’s general operating costs.
(n) Using grant or matching funds for Individual Development Accounts.
(o) Purchasing vehicles.

Pre-Application Information:

Completed applications must be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines:
The Agency must receive a paper application by 4:00 p.m. local time, March 29, 2021. Electronic applications must be submitted via by Midnight Eastern time on March 22, 2021.

Applicants intending to mail applications must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time.

Matching funds are cash or confirmed funding commitments that must be at least equal to the grant amount and
committed for a period of not less than the grant performance period. These funds can only be used for eligible RCDI
activities and must be used to support the overall purpose of the RCDI program. In-kind contributions such as salaries,
donated time and effort, real and nonexpendable personal property and goods and services cannot be used as matching funds.

An applicant, unless excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(b), (c), or (d), is required to:
(a) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application;
(b) Provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and
(c) Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency.

View this opportunity on

For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For more information about this program, or to file an application, contact your local Rural Development State Office RCDI Contact.

Shirley Stevenson, Community Programs Specialist

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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