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Article - Northern Border Regional Commission Announces 2020 Regional Forest Economy Partnership Grant Round

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2020
Contact: Andrea Smith
asmith@nbrc.gov
(603) 369-3001


Northern Border Regional Commission Announces 2020 Regional Forest Economy Partnership Grant Round

The Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) is pleased to announce the 2020 Regional Forest Economy Partnership (RFEP) grant application opportunity. Eligible organizations, which include nonprofit and governmental entities (state, local & Indian tribes), will be able to access grant application details (available via NBRC’s website, nbrc.gov) beginning July 10th. Total funding available for the program is $4 Million, with a maximum award of $1 Million. 

Potential applicants are able to express interest through Letters of Interest, which must be submitted by August 28th at 5PM. Letters of Interest will be evaluated by a 9 member Advisory Board, consisting of representatives from each of the four NBRC states. The Advisory Board will determine which applicants will be invited to submit a full application, which will be due October 30th, with anticipation of awards in December. 

The driving force behind the program is regional cooperation among NBRC states. As such, multi-state applications will be prioritized in the scoring process. The purpose of the program is to assist rural communities in transitioning from a historic dependence on the forest-based economy to new opportunities for economic diversity and innovation. These opportunities tend to cluster around three strategies, which may or may not be considered mutually exclusive for purposes of a proposal:

1.    New technology and innovations that seek to find new uses for forest products, and evolve traditional forest economy business models into those that can create sustainable future commercial markets & opportunities. 
2.    Workforce re-training and development for the purpose of building the skills needed for forest products businesses. 
3.    New industries, or the expansion of current industries (e.g., outdoor recreation), that can provide employment and economic growth opportunities in formerly forest industry-dependent communities. 

COVID-19 Impacts
The RFEP opportunity in 2020 also focuses on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (and resulting economic uncertainty) on communities in the NBRC region. As such, a fourth strategy considered in 2020 seeks proposals focused on collaborative, multi-state projects designed to address innovative solutions to structural weaknesses highlighted by the pandemic, and community efforts to recover economically.

“Regional collaboration is critical to ongoing economic development across the NBRC region,” said NBRC Federal Co-Chairman Harold B. Parker. He added, “We look forward to building on the success of last year’s Regional Forest Economy Partnership awards, and to investing in early and innovative economic recovery efforts addressing the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic.”

For those considering applications in 2020, please contact NBRC staff, and the NBRC Program Managers in the States where the proposed project will take place. Both will be happy to assist you as you develop your projects and applications:

Maine:                                                                        New Hampshire: 
Charlotte Mace                                                           Mollie Kaylor
207.624.7448                                                             603.271.6305
charlotte.mace@maine.gov                                        mollie.kaylor@livefree.nh.gov 

New York:                                                                 Vermont: 
Kyle Wilber                                                                Kristie Farnham
518.473.3694                                                             802.398.5268
kyle.wilber@dos.ny.gov                                             kristie.farnham@vermont.gov 

 

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Created in the 2008 Farm Bill, NBRC is a federal-state partnership with a mission to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private-sector job creation in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York. Since its inception, the Commission has awarded more than $55 million in grants, which has leveraged more than $142 million to support 248 grants across the four states.