EDA Partners with Milken Institute and Rural Community Assistance Partnership to Aid Underserved Communities in Accessing Predevelopment Services
Predevelopment capacity is an essential catalyst to economic and regional recovery. This capacity is often lacking, in small, rural, and distressed communities where a shortage of human or financial capital can limit the ability to undertake high-value projects.
This month, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Research and National Technical Assistance program awarded a $500,000 grant to the Milken Institute and sub awardee, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to launch a predevelopment training and project accelerator for small, rural, and underserved communities. This initiative will create a predevelopment technical assistance workshop series highlighting the basics of pre-development and specialized project development activities. The grant will also allow the Milken Institute to expand the National Predevelopment Caucus, a series of monthly, national convenings that currently engages more than 200 community stakeholders, investors, NGOs, governments, policy experts, and project developers.
“The first priority of EDA is to seek out and make investments that directly benefit underserved populations,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “We’re excited to engage the Milken Institute and RCAP on this forward-looking initiative to build more equitable outcomes in the economic development space.”
The Milken Institute’s Excellence and Equity in Public Finance Program advances best practices for funding and financing the deployment of community-scale infrastructure and economic development project partnerships.
“Access to predevelopment capacity and project expertise is often the missing piece for successfully advancing projects from conception to realization,” said Dan Carol, Director in the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets, who leads the Public Finance Program. “We look forward to teaming with the EDA and the Rural Assistance Community Partnership to close this critical capacity gap.”
The Rural Assistance Community Partnership is a national network of non-profit organizations that works with rural communities to elevate rural voices and build local capacity to improve quality of life, starting at the source. RCAP provides technical assistance, training, and capacity and fund development support in communities across the United States, tribal lands, and U.S. territories.
“Many small and rural communities have limited capacity and resources, which make accessing needed state and federal funds a challenge,” said Nathan Ohle, RCAP’s CEO. “This pre-development support will help increase that capacity and give communities the tools to plan for and implement economic development opportunities.”
Work on the initiative will begin immediately with EDA grant funding to support an initial, 18-month period of performance. Key learnings from this initiative will be synthesized in a final report and dynamic project acceleration blueprint for future use.