Rural Alabama Initiative

Providing financial support for citizen groups across rural Alabama who are partnering with County Extension offices to make their communities better places to live and work.

There is no shortage of ideas about what we should be doing for rural communities. In fact, ECDI has found that leaders in every community already have good ideas for local projects. What these community leaders often lack are financial resources to support the strategies and projects they have identified.

Administered by ECDI, the Rural Alabama Initiative (RAI) was created to help citizens in small towns across Alabama bring their ideas to fruition. Through the RAI grant program, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System provides rural communities across Alabama with financial support to seed promising educational initiatives in support of economic and community development.

Each project funded through the Rural Alabama Initiative represents a partnership between an organization/s involved in community / economic development in rural Alabama and a local county Extension office. County Extension Coordinators across Alabama have played crucial roles in the success of these projects.

Since launching the Initiative in 2007, Extension has committed $1.3 million to fund 148 economic and community development projects across Alabama, supporting communities in a range of areas, including leadership, workforce development, entrepreneurship, tourism, the arts, planning and design, youth programming, technology, and small farming. Each of these projects has been awarded between $1,000 and $25,000.

Through the RAI grant program, ECDI has observed positive and significant changes in communities throughout rural Alabama. Citizens have come together with a dream that their community could be a better place to live and a more prosperous economy in which to work. With a small amount of money, a big idea and realistic plan, and a great deal of collaborative work, these small groups of citizens are making a huge impact in communities across Alabama.

Please click on the links below to learn more about how local citizens are making a difference in their communities through the Rural Alabama Initiative.

2007 Grant Recipients / 2008 Grant Recipients / 2009 Grant Recipients / 2010 Grant Recipients / 2011 Grant Recipients / 2012 Grant Recipients / 2013 Grant Recipients

Questions? Please contact Mike Easterwood:

Last Updated: May 20, 2014