Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
Native Brief: MIAMI, OKLAHOMA - Lisa McComb, executive director of the Northern Shores Loan Fund, Inc., based in Harbor Springs, Michigan was ecstatic about the news she received. Her organization will receive $99,000 in grant funds from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Northern Shores Loan Fund, Inc Directors
The Northern Shores Loan Funds announcement was part of a larger pot distributed by the USDA to expand rural jobs, business growth and improve transportation in Indian Country.
Northern Shores Loan Funds was developed under the umbrella of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. It was formed in 2008.
Part of McComb's excitement was because the USDA funds were awarded to her organization's first grant submittal.
"It's actually going to increase the levels we can lend individually to a client," McComb told Native News Network on Thursday afternoon.
“Now we will be able to double the amount of money we have given out from $15,000 to $30,000.”
Janie Hipp Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack, Secretary of the USDA, while attending an award ceremony with Tribal leaders in Miami, Oklahoma.
"USDA is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life," Vilsack said in a prepared statement. "These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes and support sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs."
The announcement was made as part of the Obama Administration's week-long focus on the rural economy and the White House Rural Council, which is addressing key areas of need in rural America including helping rural small businesses access capital, expanding rural job search and training services, and increasing rural access to health care workers and technology.
For example, the Montana Indian Business Alliance in Great Falls, Mont., was selected to receive a grant to provide businesses training technical assistance to members of Indian Tribes of Montana. The funding will create an estimated 14 jobs. In Ukiah, Calif., Resource for Native Development was selected to receive a technical assistance grant to provide Tribal members with business and entrepreneurial training - including training that focuses on developing biomass-centered businesses and local food hubs. This project is expected to create 30 jobs.
The more than $3 million in grants announced today is administered through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programs.
USDA has a long, positive record of supporting projects in Indian Country. One recent successful undertaking involved providing a grant to the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc. for its Awaken the Spirit III project. The goal of the project is to provide job skills, financial literacy and business training to tribal members. The Tribal Council is a coalition of 12 Indian tribes in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. It used the grant to provide business assistance to the Native community. In 2010, the organization assisted 33 Tribal members and helped create 22 jobs.
Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. The following is a complete list of organizations that have been selected to receive Rural Business Enterprise Grants.
To improve transportation service in rural Native American communities, the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) was selected to receive $748,767 in grants to provide technical assistance to help organizations enhance passenger transportation service. The grants will help rural communities in five states.
posted August 19, 2011 6:30 am edt
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