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MDARD’s Office of Rural Development Launches Competitive Rural Readiness Grant Program

Funding aimed to help communities bring readiness for investment in rural Michigan

LANSING, Mich. –  Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring announced a new competitive grant program through its Office of Rural Development (ORD). ORD is offering a Rural Readiness Grant program to help empower community-specific solutions that build capacity and readiness in Michigan’s rural areas.

“These Rural Readiness Grants build upon Governor Whitmer’s ongoing commitment to invest and help create good-paying jobs in Michigan’s rural communities,” said Boring. “The Office of Rural Development grants are focused on helping our rural communities plan and prepare for state or federal dollars as they work to invest in their hometowns. These grants will result in more ‘shovel-ready projects’ that build prosperity and opportunity for rural Michigan residents.”

The Rural Readiness Grant Program (RRGP) will provide up to $50,000 to support collaborative planning and capacity initiatives in rural communities. Grants will support and invest in underserved areas and populations by providing reimbursement grant funding for planning, capacity building activities, development readiness initiatives, and building collaboration and partnerships across communities and sectors. For a complete list of eligible counties, visit

“The communities successfully addressing challenges like housing, high-speed internet connectivity, childcare, and infrastructure are those which already did the preparation and planning, often in collaboration with a variety of partners,” said Sarah Lucas, ORD Director. “That critical prep work lays the foundation necessary to compete for funding and attract investment. These grants will allow communities to invest in the planning and preparation needed for long-term successful, comprehensive solutions and resources in their hometowns.” 

Interested communities and organizations must submit a Letter of Intent using the form provided at outlining a summary of the proposed project, how it meets the parameters of the Rural Readiness Grant Program goals and include the total estimated project cost via email no later than 3 p.m. on May 25. ORD will review the submissions, select the top applicants and then those top candidates will be asked to submit a full grant application which is due on August 3.

Those interested in the grant program can visit ORD’s website at for the program guidelines, Letter of Intent form, and application. The Office of Rural Development will host an informational webinar on the Rural Readiness Grant program on April 21. More information about the webinar can be found on the website