Rep. Thompson holds briefing to share funding opportunities
Seeking and securing grant fundings can be a challenge, whether it’s for a nonprofit organization, government agency, municipality, church or small business.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson gathered officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) program, the USDA’s Rural Development Agency and the Small Business Administration’s Pittsburgh District Office to offer details about available federal funding.
“We live in a day of competitive grants,” Thompson said, during the briefing at the Ebensburg Municipal Building. “It’s a challenging terrain to navigate. And it’s important to not give up.”
Thompson said the three agencies present Tuesday “are powerful forces for us here in this congressional district.”
He also pointed out the importance of the 2020 U.S. Census to determining eligibility and support available for communities.
“You cannot make good decisions without good data,” Thompson said.
Neil Fowler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Center for Strategic Partnerships, also serves as the program manager for the state’s ARC program.
That program was formed in the 1960’s to create economic growth for 13 states impacted by the loss of coal mining jobs, Fowler said.
Millions of grants are available through ARC for projects related to health, education, infrastructure, feasibility studies, business assessments and more. Federal highway funds have also passed through ARC to cover the cost of access roads to hospitals, industrial parks, recreational areas and universities.
In addition, another ARC program created four years ago has dedicated $50 million for projects to assist communities directly impacted by a downturn in the coal industry.
“This region has been very successful in receiving those awards,” Fowler said. “This is really an important resource to try to tap into. We’re always open to entertaining applications.”
With broad criteria, Fowler said ARC programs can help coal supply companies or coal-fired power plants adjusting to changes in the coal industry.
“It’s still a very fragile region,” he said.
Thompson blamed a portion of the coal’s downfall on the government, but said there’s rising recognition of the innovation and technology developing within the industry.
“There’s some very exciting things happening with the coal industry,” he said.
Because of the capabilities developing with coal and carbon, Thompson announced his office is organizing a summit on the topic scheduled for Oct. 10 in St. Marys.