Federal Resources for Rural America

Events | Federal Resources | News and Analysis

The passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides new and expanded opportunities for rural America, and more federal legislation is forthcoming. On this webpage, Aspen CSG is collecting links and resources explaining federal opportunities for rural people and places. We are trying to be as rural-specific as possible with these resources, but some collect rural information alongside urban and suburban-relevant information. The understanding of how this bill will affect rural America is evolving, so check back regularly for more information.

If you have a rural-specific ARP-related resource or website to add to this webpage, please share it with us via this form.

If you have a question about ARP and rural, please send us that question here. We will do our best to provide or develop an answer via an FAQ.

Timely Events and Notices

August 2-5: Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) and National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) conference: Cooperating to Enhance Native American Food Economies. Register here.

August 5: EDA’s ARP Coal Communities Commitment Webinar. Register here.

August 6: EDA’s ARP Research and Networks Webinar. Register here.

August 9: EDA’s ARP Economic Adjustment Assistance Webinar. Register here.

August 10: EDA’s ARP Indigenous Communities Webinar. Register here.

August 12: EDA’s ARP Good Jobs Challenge Webinar. Register here.

August 12: EPA’s Webinar on the Children’s Healthy Learning Environments in Low-Income and/or Minority Communities RFA. Register here.

Back to top

New federal agencies resources

NEW: EPA is providing funding for organizations to support schools and childcare centers in capacity building projects that reduce environmental health risks to children. Deadline: September 10, 2021. Apply here.

NEW: Department of Commerce’s Good Jobs Challenge is making funding available for projects that will strengthen regional workforce training systems to help workers find quality jobs. Deadline: January 26, 2022. Apply here.

NEW: EDA’s ARP Indigenous Communities grant seeks to support indigenous communities in their economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. Deadline: September 30, 2022. Apply here.

NEW: EDA’s ARP Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grant will fund infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects to help local tourism industries recover from the pandemic. Deadline: January 31, 2022. Apply here.

NEW: Department of Commerce’s ARP Statewide Planning, Research, and Networks grant aims to coordinate and evaluate statewide economic development efforts. Deadline: October 31, 2021. Apply here.

NEW: EDA has made a Coal Communities Commitment to allocate $100 million in Build Back Better Regional Challenge grants (Deadline: October 19, 2021) and $200 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants (Deadline: March 31, 2022) to coal communities. Learn more here.

NEW: Bureau of Indian Affairs is soliciting proposals for their Tribal Tourism Grant Program. It will fund projects that support Tribal tourism by conducting feasibility studies or tourism business plan development. Deadline: August 13, 2021. Apply here.

NEW: HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program can support experienced legal service providers in providing free legal assistance to low-income tenants who are at risk of eviction. View here.

NEW: Federal Transit Administration is providing $16.3 million in competitive grants to improve transit services or facilities in areas of persistent poverty. Deadline: August 30, 2021. View here.

NEW: EPA has made grant funds available to help communities manage food waste by expanding their anaerobic digestion capacity and infrastructure. Deadline: October 7, 2021. View here.

NEW: USDA RD is providing grant funding for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems. Deadline: November 1, 2021 or March 31, 2022. View here.

NEW: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can help renters and landlords pay rent, cover utilities, and make up for a loss in rental income. Find your local program and housing assistance here.

NEW: USDA RD created a guide on how rural communities can leverage USDA resources to build a stronger workforce. View here.

NEW: HUD has prepared a guide on CDBG-CV Rural Coronavirus Response. It describes and provides examples of how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funds can be used for eligible activities to support issues facing rural areas. View here.

NEW: Federal Transit Administration is offering $10 million in grant funding for supporting tribal public transit services in rural areas. Deadline: August 25, 2021. Learn more here.

NEW: Department of Commerce has opened grants for its Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Deadline: September 1, 2021. Apply here.

NEW: FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides discounts for broadband service and specific technology purchases for eligible households. Apply here.

NEW: USDA is providing grant funding to support the establishment and operation of Agricultural Innovation Centers. These centers could provide financial advisory services for agricultural producers and assist with product development, outreach, legal services, and more. Deadline: September 27, 2021. Read the announcement here.

Rural Assembly has put together a collection of COVID-19 vaccine resources for rural communities. Find the resources here.

USDA is inviting applications for the Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program. Deadline: August 9, 2021. Read the announcement here.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is offering relief funds to arts and culture organizations (Deadline: August 12, 2021). Learn more and apply here.

USDA RD developed a resource guide for rural communities to develop their recreation economy. View the guide here.

USDA RD Innovation Center Newsletter aggregates a host of useful information, funding opportunities, webinars, and resources. See the latest newsletter here (6/22/21)

USDA ERS recently updated their research on rural poverty and well-being. View the research here.

USDA RD released a new resource guide to help rural community leaders start and expand employment opportunities and access resources to train, recruit and create a sustainable rural workforce. View and download the guide here.

USDA Announces Additional Aid for the Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. Read the announcement here.

USDA is making $5.8 million in grants available under the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program to help improve economic conditions in rural areas. Nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for grants to provide technical and cooperative development assistance. Deadline: August 10, 2021.

HHS Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), launched the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

US Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Keeping Families in Their Homes

Official White House website explanation of the American Rescue Plan. Case studies to see how the plan might affect you directly. White House’s “American Rescue Plan”

Official USDA website explaining ARP and funding that USDA will implement.  Breaks it into four large sections: nutrition assistance, supporting farmers and strengthening food supply, ensuring equity for farmers of color, and strengthening infrastructure, housing and health care in rural America. American Rescue Plan

US Senate has released a title by title summary of ARP spending, based on the Act passed by the Senate on March 3. Title by Title Summary.

USDA Fact sheet on ARP. FACT SHEET: United States Department of Agriculture Provisions in H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan

US Treasury Breakdown of ARP Assistance to Families FACT SHEET: The American Rescue Plan Will Deliver Immediate Economic Relief to Families | US Department of the Treasury

US Department of Indian Affairs website has limited links for what ARP means for Indian Country and Tribal Communities. The American Rescue Plan Act

US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs summarizes the $31.2B heading to Indian Country and Native Nations. SENATE PASSES LARGEST INVESTMENT IN NATIVE PROGRAMS IN HISTORY, MORE THAN $31 BILLION HEADING TO NATIVE COMMUNITIES | The United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Federal Transit Administration on ARP American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 | FTA

Back to top

News and Analysis on Federal Policy

For each resource, if there is rural-specific information, we note it in red.


NEW: AGree’s Climate, Food, and Ag Dialogue (CFAD) has released policy recommendations through which the USDA can encourage adoption of agricultural conservation practices and promote resiliency. CFAD’s Policy Recommendations

Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) provides an analysis of ARP looking specifically at Food Systems. Food Assistance in American Rescue Plan Act Will Reduce Hardship, Provide Economic Stimulus

AG Web Editorial: Agricultural and Rural Provisions of the American Rescue Plan of 2021


American Library Association brief on broadband opportunities within the ARP. Includes rural specific information. Broadband Funding Opportunities in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Robert Bocher


Daily Yonder analysis of Biden’s budget proposal for rural and its relation to previous legislation (ARP). Biden’s First Budget Proposal Recognizes Some Rural Needs


NEW: LISC Federal Policy + Community Development: Experts Look at Ways to Fuel a Transformative Recovery

NEW: Fact-sheet on using ARP dollars for child care centers. How States Can Improve Child Care Facilities & Physical Spaces Using Federal Relief Dollars

National Community Action Partnership: A fact-sheet produced by NCAP on benefits from ARP. New American Rescue Plan Benefits for Families

Daily Yonder What the American Rescue Plan Means for Child Poverty in Rural America


Inside Higher Education: Editorial on funding for colleges as part of the American Rescue plan.

The Education Trust provides analysis of ARP’s impact on education issues specifically looking at issues of equity. Not rural specific in program analysis. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What’s in It for Equity

Brookings report on ARP specifically looking at education. No specific rural breakout. Building back better: The promise of the American Rescue Plan for education


NEW: PolicyLink 10 Priorities for Advancing Racial Equity Through the American Rescue Plan: A Guide for City and County Policymakers

Brookings report focusing on issues of structural racism and how the ARP may address them.  Connects to rural areas by funding program analysis. Will the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan address structural inequality?

Civil Eats Editorial Op-ed: $4 Billion in Debt Relief Is a Start, but the Fight is Not Over for Black Farmers


NEW: California Coalition for Rural Housing has put together a Practitioner’s Guidebook on Affordable Housing and Natural Disasters.

NEW: National Community Action Partnership breakdown of new ARP benefits for families. New American Rescue Plan Benefits for Families.

NEW: National League of Cities has published great resources explaining the key details of the ARP. About ARPA. |  Top FAQs regarding ARPA. | Local allocations by Metro City.

NEW: US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs testimony by Lisa Mensah on how CDFIs can collaborate with the federal government to fund public infrastructure and rural and tribal housing. Testimony of Lisa Mensah

Brookings report discusses the importance of creating a national rural strategy and intentionally designing federal legislative actions to meet the unique needs of rural communities. Will Biden deliver for rural America? The promise of the American Rescue Plan

National Council of Nonprofits analysis of ARP and its impact on nonprofit organizations and they people nonprofits serve. More of a General Resource. The American Rescue Plan Act | National Council of Nonprofits

KTTC Secretary of Agriculture breaks down the American Rescue Plan for rural communities

Vermont Biz: Matt Dunne: What does the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 mean for rural America?

Daily Yonder Editorial Commentary: Biden’s American Rescue Plan Keeps Promise to Rural America


National League of Cities has created an extensive, searchable summary of provisions relevant to municipalities and local leaders in this historic legislation. American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Summary of Provisions. They have also created a searchable list of estimated appropriations by municipality. Estimated Local Allocations.

National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) breakdown of ARP funding for state and local governments.  Breaks out funding by issue area but not by rural separately. American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ncsl.org)

Brookings report focusing on how local leaders should use their ARP funding utilizing the goals of stability, immediate impact, inclusivity, future prosperity, how ARP can complement efforts already underway and how to organize through Regional Recovery Councils. How should local leaders use their American Rescue Plan funding?

Center for American Progress provides summaries of ARP and specific state breakdowns for: New Hampshire, Nevada, Maine, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Also provides analysis around issue areas and for state and local governments. American Rescue Plan

NACO American Rescue Plan Helps America’s Rural Counties


American Hospital Association (AHA) analysis of the ARP. Includes specific information on rural hospitals and health care related to COVID pandemic. Summary of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and Provisions Affecting Hospitals and Health Systems | AHA

National Law Review provides analysis on healthcare provisions in ARP, including for rural America. Healthcare Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021


Indian Country Today breakdown of the different funding streams that Indian Country could access through the ARP. Tribal leaders, experts talk American Rescue Plan’s impact

Indian Country Today website has a breakdown of ARP programs for Tribal and Native Nations perspectives. Chair Grijalva hails passage of American Recovery Plan


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) analysis of EITC and Child Tax Credit for rural America. Rescue Plan’s Expansions of Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit Will Benefit Rural Residents.

Back to top