2007 Rural Alabama Initiative Grants

Grant Priorities

To solicit the ideas of Alabama’s rural leaders, ECDI sponsored a statewide forum on rural development on June 16, 2006 at Auburn University. The Alabama Rural Roundtable brought together 55 key state decision-makers and community leaders from throughout Alabama to identify priorities and strategies for promoting prosperity in rural Alabama.

Roundtable participants ranked the following as the top priorities for Alabama’s rural prosperity:

  • Leadership and Citizen Participation: Roundtable participants complained of inadequate preparation of new leaders, limited opportunities for citizen engagement, strong resistance to change, a lack of diversity among leaders, and few crossroads where community leaders could talk, decide and work together to address local issues.
  • Infrastructure and Communications Technology: In the “knowledge economy,” communications technology has become a core infrastructure; yet, many rural areas remain unconnected. Likewise, many rural areas lack the transportation, water, sewer and healthcare infrastructure needed to support economic development.
  • Education and Workforce Development: Rural workers lack many of the skills needed for today’s economy. Roundtable participants noted that this problem was related to an inadequate level of communication between the education and business communities.

For 2007, ECDI set its Rural Alabama Initiative grant priorities in accordance with these recommendations from the 2006 Alabama Rural Roundtable. Specifically, ECDI gave priority to educational projects that addressed the following issues:

  • Leadership Development
  • Citizen Engagement
  • Stakeholder Networking and Connections
  • Workforce Preparation and Development
  • Communications Technology

In addition, ECDI favored projects featuring collaborations among organizations and jurisdictions in rural Alabama.

Projects Funded
  • Statewide Economic and Community Development
  • Leadership
    • Bibb County Citizen Leadership and Engagement Program
      (Bibb County Chamber and Bibb County Extension)
    • Black Belt Mayors Leadership Initiative
    • Chambers County Leadership Development
      (Chambers County Extension)
    • Educating the Leaders of the Town of Magnolia Springs
      (Town of Magnolia Springs)
    • Gulf Coast LEADERS Program
      (Extension, Mobile and Baldwin Counties)
    • Leadership Greene
    • Leaders for Pike Road (Town of Pike Road)
    • Leadership Development and Coalition Building for Rural Communities Training Project (Alabama Associationn of Community Development Corporations)
    • Leadership Pickens
    • Leadership Selma-Dallas County
    • Leadership Talladega (Talladega County Extension)
    • Leadership Winston County (Haleyville Area Chamber of Commerce)
    • Monroe County Youth Leadership Program
      (Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce)
    • Perry/Wilcox Youth Leadership Initiative
      (Extension, Perry and Wilcox Counties)
    • Pine City Ambassadors: Jackson’s Junior Leadership Program
      (Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce)
    • Vision 13: Regional Leadership Skills Training for Cherokee, Cleburne, Clay, Randolph, Chambers, and Lee Counties
      (East Alabama RPDC)
    • Youth Leadership Bullock County (Bullock County Extension)
    • Youth Leadership Elmore County (Elmore County Extension)
    • Youth Leadership for the Camden Community Youth Development Center (Camden Community Youth Development Center)
    • Youth Leadership Lawrence County
      (Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce)
    • Youth Leadership Lowndes County
      (Lowndes County Partnership for Children)
    • Youth Leadership Shelby County (Leadership Shelby County)
    • Youth Leadership Shoals (Shoals Area Chamber of Commerce)
  • Workforce Development
    • Alabama BEST: Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology
      (AU College of Engineering and College of Sciences and Math)
    • Blount Co. Rural Development Project (Blount County Extension)
    • Butler Workforce Preparation and Development Program
      (Greenville-Butler County Boys and Girls Club)
    • Work Readiness Skills Throughout Chambers County
      (Chambers County Career Technical Center)
    • Computer Literacy Lab for Rural Adults (Coosa County Extension)
    • Enhancement of Computer Usage of Rural Residents of Escambia County (Escambia County Extension)
    • Henry County Workforce and Leadership Academy
      (Renaissance Headland)
    • Prattville-Autauga County Character Coalition
    • Presenting a Specialty Food Product at a Regional Market Learning through Workshops and Practical Experience (Enterprise Coffee Geneva Economic Development Corporation)
    • Realize Your Potential: Lauderdale and Marion Counties
      (Lauderdale County Extension)
    • Renovate, Innovate, Explore (REI) Youth Leadership Program
      (Shorter Community Action Program and Town of Shorter)
    • Retention of the 18-25 Year Old Workforce of the City of Fort Payne
      (Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce)
    • Students Exploring the Workforce: Hale County
      (Hale County Schools)
    • Technology Camp for High School Counselors
      (Southern Union State Community College)
  • Tourism and Retiree Attraction
  • Other Community and Economic Development Projects
    • ArtAware: Using Art-Based Learning to Help Youth and Adults Reach their Potential (Covenant Community Church - Elba)
    • Implementation of a Marengo County Economic Development Authority (Marengo County Extension)
    • Economic Development for Limited Resource Farmers in Rural West Alabama (Alabama Rural Heritage Foundation Center)
    • Providing Follow-up Counseling and Assessment for Tree Amigos 4-H Youth (Calhoun County Extension)
    • Shelby County Small City I.D.
      (South Shelby Chamber of Commerce)

Last Updated: May 20, 2014