A recent $3.1 million grant from the TLL Temple Foundation helped increase the need for civic infrastructure in the Deep East region of Texas.
The grant supports a new initiative called ConnectRURAL, an acronym for part of the Regions Underserved Resources Available Lineup, launched by Communities Unlimited (CU) and the Temple Foundation.
According to Ben Smith, ConnectRURAL’s goal with this initiative is to empower rural communities to plan, secure and manage transformative federal and state funding opportunities.
“Communities strained on civic infrastructure have been held back in addressing long-standing challenges. We will help unaffiliated communities access federal program funds,” Smith said in a news release.
CU Community Sustainability Director Martha Claire Bren called the project a potential “regional game changer” and praised the Temple Foundation for its commitment.
“From community members to local government leaders, there’s dollars that aren’t reaching their intended destination, and our goal is to make that connection,” Ballen said.
According to a news release, the initiative will establish a special pooled funding mechanism for rural communities to access cost shares and matching funds to secure federal grants.
A team of Community Resource Managers acts as a local intermediary in a network of direct technical assistance, and targeted funding works to enhance community development across the region.
According to the news release, community resource managers will work with community leaders to identify local needs and develop action plans. According to Smith, “Through this collaboration, communities in East Texas will be able to address their local priorities with local water systems, broadband, entrepreneurship, small business financing, and CU’s technical assistance on community sustainability.” We combine it with a multi-state network of expertise.”
Wynn Rosser, president and CEO of the TLL Temple Foundation, said the initiative is designed to overcome certain barriers that communities face in accessing resources.
“[T]”His partnership with ConnectRURAL and Communities Unlimited is an opportunity to do rural development differently in East Texas,” said Rosser.