The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency representing a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Their efforts support 26 million people across 206,000 square miles in 13 Appalachian states.
The ARC is one of Eastern Kentucky’s greatest allies. They prioritize long-term, sustainable economic development solutions for our region by providing grant funding to local organizations and conducting important research.
When ARC makes investments, they focus on Appalachian entrepreneurs, workforce development, infrastructure, local leaders and community organizations, and regional tourism.
Two programs, ARC INSPIRE and ARC POWER, have already made a major impact in Eastern Kentucky. Today, we’re here to discuss a new grant program: ARC ARISE. Let’s explore how this initiative aims to strengthen our regional economy, workforce, and communities.
About ARC ARISE
ARC received a significant funding commitment from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021. With this money, they’re undertaking a new approach to economic development projects in Appalachia.
ARC ARISE is positioned to help Appalachian communities strengthen regional economies, develop their workforce, and invest in community development. For this particular grant, they want to see multistate partners cooperating to develop and implement solutions.
What are the requirements for ARC ARISE?
There are 5 key requirements for ARC ARISE applicants.
- Take a multistate approach: Each project must have partners from at least 2 ARC states. This can include “geography-based” partnerships, where adjacent states work together, or “program-based” partnerships, where various states work together to implement similar programs.
- Advance your economies: The goal of each project or program must be to create well-paying jobs with the option to unionize. It should aim to grow self-sustaining local economic opportunities over the long term.
- Conduct thorough assessment and planning: The ARC will be looking for well-thought-through project concepts. They’re encouraging applicants to consider an ARISE planning grant to perform studies and prepare adequately before submitting for an implementation grant.
- Establish collaborative, equitable partnerships: Since the ARC is asking for multistate cooperation, there is an expectation that all parties will put in the work, share accountability, and mutually benefit from the outcomes. Each partner must sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to qualify for an ARC ARISE grant.
- Secure funds matching: A funding match will be required. Cash or in-kind investments from other partners, such as the Rural Partners Network led by the USDA, are acceptable.
Grants available through ARC ARISE
The ARC ARISE program is making both planning and implementation grants available. Partnering states must work together to submit one application.
The ARC will make at least $10 million available for ARISE planning grants in 2022. The maximum award amount is $500,000 per applicant.
When building your grant plan, include time to contact the ARC state manager to review your planning proposal. This step will help you gain valuable feedback before submitting. Make sure you do this sooner than later so there’s time to make changes to your concept paper.
The ARC will make at least $63.5 million available for ARISE implementation grants in 2022. The maximum award amount is $10 million per applicant. Larger amounts will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Who’s eligible to apply for an ARC ARISE grant?
Applicant partners must be located in at least 2 ARC states. The types of groups, agencies, and organizations eligible to apply include:
- Local development districts
- Tribes or a consortium of Tribes
- State or local governments
- Higher education institutions and consortiums
- Nonprofit organizations and associations
How to approach multistate collaboration
Working with out-of-state partners may be new to some organizations and local government leaders in Eastern Kentucky. Much of the time, we may feel as though we compete with one another — especially when it comes to grants.
But in the face of this hesitancy, ARC recognizes significant opportunities. They believe collaborating across state lines has the potential to increase the impacts of economic, workforce, and community development work.
To take on the challenges of forming multistate partnerships, ARC produced a Regional Multistate Collaboration Toolkit. Read through it to gain key insights from organizations that have gone through similar experiences and rigors.
How to apply
Applicants must first draft and submit a concept paper. Your concept paper must indicate whether you are pursuing a planning or implementation grant, a project summary, the partners involved, the geographic scope, and a funding request amount.
Need help with writing a concept paper? Check out resources from SOAR in the next section.
Next, the ARC state managers associated with the project locations will review your concept paper. If they approve your concept, they’ll send you an application invitation. You will not receive grant funding until — if and when — the ARC approves your application.
ARC ARISE is currently operating on a rolling deadline. Since this grant is open to all 13 states in their jurisdiction, you shouldn’t wait too long to apply. Get started today to be the first in line for this funding opportunity.
Get application support from SOAR
Need help drafting a concept paper? You’re not alone. Grant writing is a complex endeavor. Many organizations simply don’t have the staffing or resources to dedicate to it.
We’re here to help you expand your team’s capabilities free of charge. SOAR offers a grant writing program in partnership with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI). Together, we provide hands-on support to help increase your chances of winning funding from grant programs, including ARC ARISE.
Our teams have extensive experience with ARC grants, so take advantage of this opportunity to level up your effort. To submit a concept paper for review, or schedule time with the team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form. Someone from SOAR will get in touch with you.
In the meantime, take a look at other helpful resources available to Eastern Kentucky organizations pursuing funding.
Download the Grants 101 Playbook for Eastern Kentucky, a free eBook that will help you understand what to expect when applying for funding. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to submit a winning grant application, breaking down each key component into easy-to-follow steps. You can also use this playbook to prepare for the rigors of grant administration.
Contact the team to learn more about ARC grants, find out who your ARC state managers are, and connect with potential project partners.