Helping minority nonprofits improve local economies
Community Development Corporations
The Community Economic Development Grants Program, one of the Rural Center’s longest-running programs, provides financial assistance to minority community development corporations to help them improve the economic well-being and quality of life in their communities.
Frequently asked questions
What is a CDC?
What do your grants cover?
Is my CDC eligible?
How much money could we receive?
We want to expand our programming. Can you help?
How do we apply?
Can you help us start a CDC in our community?
CDCs are nonprofit, community-based organizations that act as a catalyst for the revitalization of their community and local economy. In many cases, these organizations succeed where both government and the private sector have failed, by creating neighborhood partnerships to address community needs and by undertaking projects that create opportunities for home ownership, small business development, youth and workforce development, and self-reliance. Although these organizations are locally based and controlled, they are a part of a national network that includes an estimated 3,000 organizations nationwide. In North Carolina, CDCs have grown from around a dozen in 1988 to as many as 80 across the state today.
Our grants help CDCs cover basic operating costs and staff support. The organizations in turn provide business loans, revitalize commercial districts, build housing for low- to moderate-income families, operate child-care programs, provide literacy training, engage in long-term community planning or take on other activities tailored for local needs. To accomplish these tasks, the CDCs raise additional money from other state and national sources.
To be eligible, your CDC must be incorporated under N.C. General Statute 55A and must have received its federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. It also must provide evidence of organizational activity.
In addition, the Rural Center program targets specific categories of CDCs. "New and emerging" CDCs are in the earliest stages of development. Most have yet to receive substantial outside investments or to take on major projects. Grants to these organizations help them develop the capacity to carry out their missions. "Previously funded" CDCs have received grants from our program in the past and have a clearly documented record of performance. Funding in this category supports ongoing operations and specific projects.
The N.C. General Assembly has funded the CDC program since 1988. Funding level varies, however, and the amount we can award in grants is contingent on the appropriation we receive, the number of organizations requesting grants and each organization's ability to manage its operations. In recent years, the maximum grant available has been approximately $30,000 for newer CDCs and $65,000 for those with more organizational capacity.
We provide technical assistance to CDCs that receive our grants. This assistance is tailored to the needs of each organization. We find that the need for technical assistance increases as the CDCs mature and take on larger-scale projects. We also work with the organizations to identify and obtain financing for specific programs. To help us determine the appropriate assistance, we require each grantee to provide a work plan outlining activities to be accomplished during the upcoming 12 months, financial reports and accounting policies.
Grants under this program are awarded once a year, with applications generally due in October. Watch this space for further details on the next application period.
The Rural Center can provide limited technical assistance to help you with board training and securing federal nonprofit status. For more on building an effective CDC, please see our Hot Topics.
Helen McInnis, Director, Community Economic Development Grants Program
Rural Economic Development Center
4021 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610