REI Oklahoma’s Recipient of Community Help Awards Increase

The non-profit economic development firm, Rural Economic Institute, is one of 35 groups in 25 states to receive an award from USDA Rural Development under the Rural Community Development Initiative.
REI is the only Oklahoma organization listed among the recipients. The five non-profit recipients are in eligible rural, low-income areas in the Oklahoma counties of Jackson, Haskell, Cherokee, Pontotoc and Woods.
USDA Rural Development announced a total of $6.3 million in training and technical assistance grants through RCDI was awarded to eligible intermediaries across the nation.
REI’s award will launch a training program to five rural non-profits to help them develop and increase their capacity to implement new projects in their communities related to housing, community facilities and economic development.
“USDA and REI are long-standing partners in economic development so we are very pleased that this Oklahoma organization was granted an award among so many others across the nation,” said Brent Kisling, state director, USDA Rural Development. “The value of such partnerships is that they are a big part of the solution to helping rural communities build their capacity to implement sound economic development projects.”
Training and educational sessions will include the Rural Community Facilities Program and Business and Industry Program of USDA Rural Development. Also included in the sessions are small business incubators, global trade opportunities for businesses, tax credit programs, employer-assisted housing program and energy renewal and efficiency training.
“Our rural communities face challenges and difficult choices and there’s a great need for new economic engines,” Tom Seth Smith, REI president and chief executive. “Many times their decisions must be based on human, physical and financial resources available to the community which aren’t always conducive to effective economic development. The recent award to help them build their capacity will bring needed change.”
REI has more than 25 years of experience in business and community development.

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