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Rural Wealth Creation: Supporting Regional Economies During and After a Pandemic


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On May 4, 2020, the WealthWorks rural wealth creation practitioner network held a peer learning webinar on supporting local economies. During the event, Christine Sorensen (U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development), Doug Lynott (U.S. Economic Development Administration), and Carrie Kissel (National Association of Development Organizations) shared slides about resources available to communities and regions to support their economies. Additional information was shared by presenters who joined by video without slides, including Christian Vasquez-Rivera (Rural Development Initiatives), Brian Carver (Bear River Association of Governments), and Jay Trusty (Southwest Regional Development Commission).

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Rural Wealth Creation: Supporting Regional Economies During and After a Pandemic

  1. 1. RURALWEALTHCREATION WealthWorks Network Quarterly Peer Learning Call May 4, 2020
  2. 2. RURALWEALTHCREATION Call Agenda • Intro & common language: Carrie Kissel • Federal info & resources for communities, regions, and businesses: – Christine Sorensen, USDA RD – Doug Lynott, EDA • Perspectives from practitioners: – Christian Vasquez-Rivera, Rural Development Initiatives – Jay Trusty, Southwest Regional Development Commission – Brian Carver, Bear River Association of Governments • General peer exchange: everyone!
  3. 3. RURALWEALTHCREATION COVID-19: Major Uncertainty We don’t know: • Timeline • Extent of health impacts • Extent of economic impacts • Impacts on human behavior and culture change 3
  4. 4. RURALWEALTHCREATION COVID-19: New Opportunities? We do know: • Inequality along race and income/occupation lines is clear – viral exposure, health outcomes, household economic success • Some investments of time/resources are likely to be good bets to improve resilience regardless of what happens • It may be a good time to test new ideas 4
  5. 5. RURALWEALTHCREATION COVID-19: Scenario Planning Concepts Exploratory scenario planning: Forces of change, plausible future states • Robust responses: Actions that work under virtually any set of circumstances • Contingent responses: Actions that are put into place only under certain conditions 5 Scenario planning definitions: Janae Futrell, How to Design Your Scenario Planning Process, APA PAS Memo July/Aug 2019
  6. 6. RURALWEALTHCREATION Multiple Forms of Wealth Improved Livelihoods for Everyone Local Ownership WealthWorks: Doing Economic Development Differently Demand-driven community and economic development
  7. 7. RURALWEALTHCREATION Slide credit: Rural Wealth: Eight Capital Stocks/illustration by B. Newman in “A wealth creation approach to economic development” M. Rahe, Rural Connections, Vol 10 Issue 2, 2016 Eight Forms of Community Capital
  8. 8. RURALWEALTHCREATION Sample Value Chain Roles 8 Slide credit: Appalachian Center for Economic Networks
  9. 9. RURAL DEVELOPMENT COVID-19 Measures for Rural Communities
  10. 10. • New COVID-19 Website • Daily updates with stakeholder announcements and resources for rural lenders • FAQs for borrowers • Links to USDA COVID-19 website Online COVID-19 Resources
  11. 11. Online COVID-19 Resources (cont.) • Developed Federal Rural Resource Guide to serve as a one-stop shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. • Find this and other information at
  12. 12. RD Programs: COVID-19 Immediate Actions Rural Housing Service Single-Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed Programs • Issued 60 day moratorium on foreclosure and evictions • Payment Moratoriums and Assistance • Modified appraisal reporting, repair inspections, and employment verification Multi-Family Housing Programs • Eviction and penalty protection due to non-payment of rent • Forbearance extension for property owner borrowers Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan Program • Direct loans may receive up to one year of payment deferrals • Guaranteed Lenders may offer 180-day loan payment deferrals
  13. 13. Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program • Lenders may offer 180-day loan payment deferrals without prior RD consent Telecom • Extended deadline for borrower audit submissions for 60 days Electric • Extended deadline for borrower audit submissions for 60 days; historically due April 30th Other Actions • RUS Administrator to consider requests to waive certain site inspection requirements during COVID-19 emergency to prevent project delays. • Allowing applicant to utilize alternative methods to notify the public such videoconferences, teleconferences, and public notices on websites. RD Programs: COVID-19 Immediate Actions Rural Utilities Service
  14. 14. RD Programs: COVID-19 Immediate Actions Rural Business Cooperative Service • Lenders may offer 180-day loan payment deferrals on Business and Industry Loan Guarantees and Rural Energy for America Program Loan Guarantees without prior consent from RD. • Intermediary borrowers participating in the following programs may approve loan payment deferrals for their borrowers without RD approval. • Intermediary Relending Program • Rural Business Development Grant • Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant • Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
  15. 15. CARES Act Implementation Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program • Appropriated $20.5M in program level; supporting up to $1B in lending authority • Program would provide: • Increased maximum allowable repayment terms to 10 years. Loan repayment may be deferred on principal or principal and interest payments for a period up to 12 months from the loan closing and may extend for a period up to 3 years. • Eligible loan purposes include payroll costs, healthcare benefits, salaries, principal and interest payments, rent/leases, utilities, inventory and supplies. • Notice of Funding Availability at OMB clearance, target release as soon as possible.
  16. 16. CARES Act Implementation (cont.) ReConnect • Appropriated a $100M set-aside for grants; priority for grant applicants unfunded in Round 1. • Funding set-aside gives priority to applications that were unsuccessful in Round 1 due to the 100% unserved requirement but meet Round 2’s 90% unserved requirement. • Implemented via Federal Register Notice. ReConnect Round 2 application window is now closed. Distance Learning and Telemedicine • Appropriated $25M to support DLT grants • Implemented via Federal Register Notice; application window opens April 14th and closes July 13th
  17. 17. @usdaRD
  18. 18. Christine Sorensen USDA Rural Development Innovation Center 202-568-9832
  19. 19. WealthWorks Peer Learning Economic Development Integration
  20. 20. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INTEGRATION Coordinated Investments Support Resilient Regional Economies Increase Access & Capacity Align Resources Streamline Requirements Optimize Investments
  22. 22. Referrals and TA FIRE, Disaster Recovery Workshop REDS 22 CONTINUUM OF INTEGRATION ASSISTANCE Established Capacities Emerging Capacities Low Capacity Capacity Building Continuum: Strategic Planning, Cross-Sector Collaboration, Project Design and Implementation
  24. 24. FIRE PROCESS CENTRAL OBJECTIVES CONVENE… DISCUSS… ESTABLISH… Public  Federal Government  State and Local Government  Tribal Entities  Higher Education Private  Business Owners  Banks  Investors Nonprofit / Philanthropic  Foundations  Human Service Providers Available Resources  Program Grants and Loans  Technical Assistance  Catalytic Capital  Best Practices Current Initiatives  Existing Partnerships  Local Programs and/or Projects Potential Opportunities  Preliminary Strategic Planning  Asset and/or Cluster Mapping  Opportunity Zones Relationships  Inter-Governmental  Cross-Sector Points of Contact  Name  Title  Affiliation  Telephone  Email  Organizational Resources A Basis for Trust and Cooperation The Foundation for Ongoing Collaboration 24
  26. 26. WHOSE SUMMIT IS THIS, ANYWAY? Question: Is a REDS Summit a federal government event? Answer: NO! Local and Regional Strategic Priorities = Local and Regional Event and Process Potential REDS Hosts and Sponsors Can Include:  Economic Development Districts  University Centers  Units of State and Local Government  Native American Tribal Governments and Entities  Local and Regional Economic Development and Planning Organizations 26
  27. 27. CRITICAL KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL REDS PROCESS Setting Expectations – Process Participants and Stakeholders I. REDS is a PROCESS, Not a Single, One-Shot Event II. Summit Participation III. Project Implementation Action Team Membership 27
  28. 28. 28 PORT TOWNSEND WA REDS: Moving Plans Forward • Economic Development Access – Attendees recommended that the City develop 7th Street to support a robust employment district and planned Makers & Artisan District. • Funding Sources – The group recommended that the City explore all the funding sources identified in Table 5-3.2 – Funding Options and partner with the associated agencies. Source: City of Port Townsend REDS Meeting Summary, August 28, 2018 REDS – CROSS AGENCY SUPPORT FOR IMPLEMENTATION Port Townsend REDS tackles infrastructure strategy for Economic Development WEIRTON WV REDS: Making Funding Connections “Weirton City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo said there were multiple potential projects in the city as a result of discussion during the REDS, held Oct. 29-30.” Source: The Intelligencer: Wheeling News-Register, Nov 15, 2018 “EDA, and the REDS, put a face and a name on the federal government… USEDA showed the residents of Weirton that government is truly working for us.” Source: Weirton Daily Times, November 16, 2018 Government and Business Officials Gather for REDS in Weirton WV
  29. 29. THANK YOU! QUESTIONS? EDI Central Mailbox: EDI Regional Contacts: EDI Home Page: REDS Home Page: REDS Media Coverage: EDA & Opportunity Zones: 29
  30. 30. RURALWEALTHCREATION Peer learning segment: Share your ideas • Questions? Comments? Ideas? Recent successes? • How are you/your partners: – Building multiple forms of community capital/assets? – Supporting local ownership/control of businesses, institutions, and productive assets? – Being intentionally inclusive in your outreach regarding COVID-19 response and recovery? • What are the “robust responses” (from scenario planning) that are good bets for your region under any future scenario? 30
  31. 31. RURALWEALTHCREATION More Information • Visit for: – Case studies – Videos – Resources, guides, and how-tos • • strategies-group/rural-covid-19-resources • Framework-for-Rural-Economic-and-Community- Development/Ratner/p/book/9780367257422 31