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JDA discusses grant opportunities

By Staff | Feb 21, 2020

“Grants, Grants, Grants” read the heading on Executive Director Liz Heisey’s monthly report for the Rugby Job Development Authority’s regular meeting held Feb. 5 at the JDA office.

“There are multiple grants open,” Heisey told the JDA board as she presented her report. “I’ve been flooding everybody’s email with all the grant opportunities available. It’s pretty exciting.”

Describing the grant requirements and specifications, Heisey said, “Most do require matching funds. With some, you’re allowed to substitute in-kind donations – volunteer hours or even donations of land or property. There are a lot of opportunities in that area. Some are only available to non-profits or government entities or only available in certain zones or rural areas. The availability is based on population or location in partnership zones designated by the USDA.”

Heisey presented information on grants from Gov. Doug Burgum’s Main Street Initiative. Grants in the initiative include the Main Street Partners in Planning Grant and Community Vibrancy Grant.

Other grant opportunities include the Garrison Diversion Recreation Grant, which serves North Dakota communities outside of Garrison.

“There’s the AARP Community Challenge Grant which is very similar to the Community Vibrancy grant and you can use those in conjunction with each other. That one’s for events, and that one’s really good,” Heisey noted.

“There’s the North Dakota Council on the Arts Grant and the Otto Bremer Grant, which has good opportunities there. There are a whole bunch of them out there and they’re all open right now.”

Board member Jodi Schaan asked about a “tourism grant” which expired in January.

Heisey told her that the city of Towner had received the grant.

“We had the same opportunity to get that grant, and actually we got a matching grant before for the Lyric for the front of the building and marquee,” Heisey noted.

Heisey described the Main Street Initiative Partners in Planning grant, which could provide funds for city comprehensive planning. Heisey said a maximum award of $30,000 was available through the grant.

“It would have to have a 20 percent match, which is up to $6,000 (from each city receiving the money),” Heisey said.

The board voted unanimously to apply for the Partners in Planning grant.

The board also voted to apply for a USDA Rural Business Development grant. The grant would be used to purchase software and equipment to simulate industrial painting to train workers at Rugby Manufacturing and other businesses. The JDA would own the equipment and lease it to users.

“They can’t find painters, so if they trained the painters in house, that would help them and also help their workers who wanted to move up. That gives them the opportunity, too,” Heisey said.

Board member Rob St. Michel suggested contacting high school vocational tech teachers to see if they would be interested in using the equipment.

The grant would fund the equipment 100 percent, according to information Heisey presented.

Board members discussed spreading the word about other grants, some of which have deadlines in the spring. The board named nonprofits such as Village Arts, Inc. and the Rugby Lions Club as possible candidates for some of the funds.

Schaan suggested posting available grants with summaries of their purposes and information on qualifying on JDA website.

Heisey said information about grant opportunities is also available at the JDA office by calling 776-7655 or emailing RugbyJDA@gondtc.com .

Heisey also reminded the board to spread the word on the 2020 United States Census, which will require participation from Pierce County residents.

“‘The census matters to our community, so spread the word,” Heisey said.

Quoting from a federal census publication, Heisey read, “Answers are confidential. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential.”

“In fact, every employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life,” she added.

“Think of why your answers matter,” Heisey added. “Census results affect planning and infrastructure and construction of new Section 8 housing, community development, school lunches, rural water, waste disposal systems, support for local firefighters, programs to support rural areas, to restore wildlife, child abuse prevention, preparing for wildfires, providing housing assistance for older adults, special education grants as well as Head Start.”

“I wish you could drill into people’s heads how important this census thing is because of the fact of how much it affects the government funding we get,” said board member Terry Hoffert.

In other business, Heisey requested that she work from a remote location via computer from out of state for three periods of up to 10 days during the next three months for personal reasons.

Heisey said during this time, the office would be staffed only part time by office assistant Maddie Koenig. She would, however, set up equipment to forward all calls to her and be available through applications such as Face Time to communicate with clients.

“We should do it for a month and talk about it again, and see how it’s working for us and see how it’s working for you,” St. Michel suggested.

The board voted to try the arrangement.

The board also approved minutes from January’s regular meeting and January budget and financial reports.

The board will hold its next regular meeting Wednesday, March 11, at noon in the JDA office.

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