WSU Extension Receives Grant to Fight Rural Poverty

SPOKANE, Wash. — As many as 25 small rural communities in Washington state may get help in reducing poverty, thanks to a grant to the Washington State University Extension Center to Bridge the Digital Divide. The Northwest Area Foundation in St. Paul, Minn. has awarded up to $1.7 million to CBDD to bring its Horizons program to small rural communities that have poverty rates of at least 10 percent.

Last year, the CBDD and Okanogan County Extension conducted a pilot Horizons project in three Okanogan area communities under a “phase one” NWAF grant. The Horizons program focuses on providing leadership training and practical strategies and tools to community members to enable them to encourage civic engagement, economic development and reduce poverty within their community.

This new “phase two” grant expands the partnership between WSU Extension and the Northwest Area Foundation, according to WSU Horizons project director Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom.

“We’re already in the process of identifying communities throughout the state that qualify under the terms of the grant, and we’d like to hear from communities that are interested in participating,” she said.

The Horizons program targets its resources to help rural communities with fewer than 5,000 residents that have experienced a decline in population, income and resources.

Under the two-year grant, the CBDD will engage Washington communities in locally delivered training, skill building and coaching through leadership training, study circles, community-based action planning and mobilization for poverty reduction.

The grant will provide for staffing to coordinate the community-based projects and deliver educational programs. As community members mobilize their efforts, the Horizons program will tailor its programming to the community’s specific needs.

For more information about how your community can get involved contact Hauser-Lindstrom at 509-358-7686 or by e-mail at The Northwest Area Foundation is an eight state granting organization based in St. Paul, Minn. with the mission of reducing poverty in rural communities.

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