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R5DC Receives Rural Community Development Initiative Grant

STAPLES, MN – Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) recently received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Grant Program in the amount of $160,000. This grant, coupled with funding from Morgan Family Foundation and Sourcewell, allows R5DC to work with eight communities to develop energy and environment plans and project implementation. The communities selected are from throughout Crow Wing, Cass, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

In 2020, R5DC began energy and environment planning and implementation with two communities: Staples and Hackensack. Those plans are now approved by the cities, with each city awarded $10,000 to start implementing their action steps. Because of the success of the pilot year program, R5DC applied for the funding from Morgan Family Foundation, USDA and Sourcewell to work with eight more communities on Energy and Environment Plans and projects.

“We appreciate that a trio of USDA, the Morgan Family Foundation and Sourcewell all value a process of local community-designed strategies, implemented in ways that honor local environmental stewardship goals,” said R5DC Executive Director Cheryal Hills. “We are excited to be part of this important work and shall report how communities choose to deploy these investments,”

The energy & environment planning process prioritizes projects that complement and support a city's comprehensive plans and county's hazard mitigation plans. Through community meetings and surveys, projects are prioritized into a five-year action plan that includes investments and timelines and identifies additional resources for further implementation. Once the community-driven blueprint is in place, an investment of at least $10,000.00 will be awarded for project implementation.

To learn more, visit:

The Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) is a high-performing, regionally focused partner committed to enhancing the vitality and quality of life in Region 5 through resilient, collaborative, and inclusive approaches to regional community development, economic development, and transportation initiatives. R5DC is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Visit to learn more.

About USDA RCDI Grant Program

RCDI grants are awarded to help non-profit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes support housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Learn more at:


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