The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), a program of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, helps rural communities access the funding they need for community and business development.
REDI provides grant writing assistance to rural communities and working lands businesses interested in applying for federal funds and other funding sources when applicable.
Funds can be used to hire a grant writer, complete a necessary step to make a grant application more competitive (such as a business plan or engineering), and in some cases to help make a fundraising plan for a project.
Albany General Store, Albany VT. REDI supported the Albany Community Trust with securing a USDA Rural Development grant as part of its fundraising to develop and renovate the Albany General Store, which opened in June 2021.
REDI Focus Areas:
- Working lands projects (such as dairy processing, value-added food enterprises, and forest products sector)
- Outdoor recreation projects (trails, connectivity to downtown/village center)
- Community-based economic development (such as historic preservation, community infrastructure, and downtown revitalization)
- Projects focused on implementation/ seeking federal grants
- Eligible clients include: municipalities, non-profits, community organizations and working lands businesses that are based in communities of 5,000 people or less
- Eligible projects:
- Must advance one of REDI's core focus areas: community-based economic development, outdoor recreation, and working lands sector development. Housing projects are not currently a focus area for REDI, though please reach out to VHCB's Housing Program and your local Homeownership Center to discuss housing projects.
- Projects must demonstrate readiness, community buy-in, and projects should leverage applicable resources. REDI is a fit for projects that have a leadership team and are prepared to seek and manage significant funding sources (~$50k-$1M)
- REDI is intended to complement and support the assistance provided by Vermont's Regional Development Corporations and Regional Planning Commissions
- Fundraising mapping/ funding identification
- Grant writing consulting (review, editing, drafting, etc.)
- Technical assistance critical to federal grant application (ex: feasibility study, architectural renderings, archeological assessment, mapping, business plan, etc.)
- Grant award management/reporting (short-term)
- REDI staff can identify a consultant for a client from a network of qualified professionals or accept referrals
- Cost Share: May be appropriate for a client to contribute to the cost of services based on project, impact, client location, scale of business, or other factors.
If you are interested in discussing REDI funding for your project, please complete the REDI Inquiry Form by clicking the button below.
A program summary presentation is available by clicking the yellow button below.
Community Center in Bridgewater: The Bridgewater Area Community Foundation received REDI support that led to two successful grant awards from ACCD’s Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP): A $30,000 Planning Grant in 2019 and a $400,000 Implementation Grant in 2020 to redevelop a retired school building into a community center with childcare and space for local businesses.
Farm and artisanal meat processing in Panton: With assistance through REDI, Agricola Meats was awarded s $204,098 USDA Value Added Producer Grant to support a marketing campaign to grow from producing 70 pounds of salami per month to 1,400 pounds, which will significantly increase local sourcing of meat for the cured product
General store in East Calais: When Calais Store on Route 14 in East Calais was shuttered, a local nonprofit quickly formed to save this local economic hub. The East Calais Community Trust accessed $105,000 in Northern Border Regional Commission funds, as well as $75,000 in ACCD tax credit funding, enabling the Trust to renovate and reopen the store.
High-speed internet in the NEK: The NEK Community Broadband Communications Union District formed in 2020 to address the critical need to bring affordable, high-speed internet options to the Northeast Kingdom. Two successful grant applications will kick this project off: $60,000 from the Vermont Dept. of Public Service Broadband Innovation Grant for a feasibility study and business plan, and a $60,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant for network layout design.
Community library in Brandon: The Town of Brandon secured a $30,000 VCDP planning grant to develop a design for the revitalization of a historic building housing its public library. The renewed library will be fully accessible, provide critical technology, and offer a welcoming space for community activities.
Agri-Cultural center in Charlotte: Clemmons Family Farm is one of 0.4% of farms in the United States that are African-American owned, and is a site along Vermont’s African-American Heritage Trail. The farm hosts an arts and cultural center showcasing Black artists. Clemmons Family Farm is developing new agricultural and culinary heritage programming, and was awarded a $5,000 Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Grant to build additional farm infrastructure. REDI also assisted the farm in accessing a highly competitive ArtPlace America grant in 2017.
Recovery center and community space in Johnson: REDI supported Jenna’s Promise, a community nonprofit, with an application to the VCDP. Jenna’s Promise received $300,000 to transform an abandoned building in Johnson into a Recovery Residence as well as a café and roastery to employ those overcoming opioid addiction.
Dairy and creamery in Glover: Sweet Rowen Farmstead is a dairy and creamery in the Northeast Kingdom run by Paul Lisai, a farmer with a focus on water quality and grass-based agriculture. Sweet Rowen secured a $114,043 USDA Value Added Producer Grant to invest in its bottled milk, cheese, and yogurt lines and access new markets in Vermont as well as Massachusetts and New York metro areas.
REDI Consultant Request for Qualifications:
Interested in providing services to support community-based economic development projects in Vermont? Complete our rolling Request for Qualifications at: https://vhcb.org/viability/RFQ