What is an RCDG?
The goal of the RCDG program is help establish and operate centers for cooperative development that have the primary purpose of improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives. The grant is intended to help centers provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. Applications are only accepted during specific times of the year when the program status is open.

How much funding has been available?

The amount of funding made available through the RCDG changes every year. Each year, Congress allocates a specific amount of funding for this grant, and in addition to these mandatory furnding levels, there may also be discretionary funding issued each year. The application requires that 25% (5% for 1994 Institutions) of the project funds must be non-federal funds. Matching funds can be provided by either the applicant or a third party in the form of cash or an in-kind contribution.

2016

The USDA has announced approximately $5.8 million in available funding for FY 2016. To view a full list of awardees, visit here.

2015

In 2015, the program funded 30 projects for a total award of $5.8 million available. A full list of awardees can be found here.

2014

For FY 2014, the USDA awarded $5.8 million in RCDG awards to 32 recipients. Click here for a list of those funded for 2014.

2013

In 2013, about $6.5 million were available to the RCDG program. For this fiscal year, about 33 centers were awarded an RCDG. For a list of 2013 funded projects, click here.

How can the funds be used?
Grant funds may be used to pay up to 75% (95% if the grantee is a 1994 Institution) of the cost of establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development, including:

  • Applied research
  • Feasibility studies
  • Environmental studies
  • Collection, interpretation, and dissemination of principles, facts, technical knowledge, or other information
  • Providing loans and grants
  • Providing technical assistance, research services, and advisory services

Who can apply?
RCDGs are only available to non-profit corporations or higher education institutions. Public bodies and individuals cannot apply for this program.

How are RCDG Applications Scored?
Eligible and complete applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Administrative capabilities in support of Center activities, including the demonstration of a proven track record in carrying out activities in support of development assistance to cooperatively and mutually owned businesses.
  • Technical assistance and other services, including the applicant’s demonstrated expertise in providing technical assistance and accomplishing effective outcomes in rural areas to promote and assist the development of cooperatively and mutually-owned businesses.
  • Economic development, including the applicant’s demonstrated ability to facilitate, among other things, the establishment of cooperatives or mutually owned businesses; new cooperative approaches; retention of businesses.
  • Networking, including demonstrated commitment to networking with other cooperative development centers; developing multi-organization and multi-state
    approaches to addressing economic development and cooperative needs of rural areas.
  • Commitment, including demonstrating the applicant’s commitment to providing technical assistance and other services to under-served and economically distressed areas in rural areas of the US.
  • Work Plan/Budget.
  • Qualifications of those Performing the Tasks.

For more information, visit the USDA’s website.