Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
    Promise Zone Coordinator Provides Update on Rural Partners Network

    The Promise Zone Coordinator, Sandi Curd, recently addressed the Harlan County Chamber of Commerce to provide an update on the Rural Partners Network. The Rural Partners Network is a designation aimed at assisting nonprofit organizations and local governments with the federal government grant process.

    Curd began by highlighting the recent progress of the Promise Zone designation. Since 2014, $1.3 billion has been announced to be invested in the eight counties within the Promise Zone, which include Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Perry, and Whitley counties. However, Curd acknowledged that the impact of this investment has not been as significant as hoped, due to the loss of coal mining jobs in the region.

    Although the Promise Zone designation is set to end in January 2024, Curd explained a new opportunity that arose last year called the Rural Partner Network. Kentucky Highlands, in collaboration with the same footprint and partners of the Promise Zone, applied and was awarded the Rural Partner Community Network designation. While it did not come with a direct allocation of funds, the designation allows Kentucky USDA Rural Development to hire two full-time community liaisons to assist with navigating the federal government.

    Curd emphasized that the Rural Partners Network provides easier access to grants and resources for rural communities, specifically distressed cities, counties, and communities. She encouraged local governments and nonprofit organizations to reach out to Rural Development to inquire about the program and make use of the community liaisons.

    To learn more about the Rural Partners Network, interested parties can visit the Rural Development website or contact Kentucky Highlands directly.

    – Harlan Enterprise. ‘Promise Zone coordinator addresses Harlan County Chamber of Commerce’. Published on September 19, 2023.