WASHINGTON (WTEN) — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the FY 2021 appropriations package includes $5 million in funding for the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program. The program was authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill in a provision based off of Gillibrand’s Rural Jobs and Investment Act of 2018.
Earlier this year, Gillibrand led Senate colleagues in a letter to appropriators calling for robust funding for the program in order to address the challenges faced by rural communities and help them rebuild a thriving economy.
“Rural communities often operate on very thin margins and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these already vast economic challenges,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The RISE grant program will provide essential federal dollars to help rebuild diminished rural economies with a local, hands-on approach that will create new job opportunities and spur economic development. I’m proud to deliver these long term investments for New York’s rural communities in the recently passed bipartisan spending package.”
The COVID pandemic and economic crisis have caused struggling rural communities to lose valuable resources as local revenues are slashed, tourism slows, and main-street businesses close. The RISE program will provide “transformative, long term investments” to accelerate job growth in rural, low-income areas and will help entrepreneurs, local leaders, investment organizations, and training providers position their regions to be competitive and rebuild a strong local economy.
The $5 million in grant funding will meet multiple needs of rural communities, including developing innovation centers to serve as space for mixed-use housing, business development, and training. The funding will also help redevelop community downtowns with investments in infrastructure upgrades required to support new business growth and the deployment of high-speed broadband service.
Gillibrand says America’s rural communities make significant contributions to the nation’s economic strength as a main source of food, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries.