The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation provides matching funds to help secure REDI grants for collaborative community efforts that build entrepreneurial ecosystems.

July 15, 2019

In June, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a release announcing the rewards of Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) technical grants to 47 rural communities. The Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO) is one of the recipients and, through its partnership, will be working for the benefit of those in Graham and Greenlee counties.

“It is exclusively a planning grant, and the grant funding is paying for the services of the planning consultant, McClure Engineering,” SEAGO’s Economic Development Planner Larry Catten told the Copper Era. “We are currently working with the consultants on a scope of work and expected outcomes that will add value to the target industry study and strategic plan nearing completion in Graham and Greenlee counties, and the housing study nearing completion in Greenlee County.”

Southwestern Arizona is joined by Gila County, southwest New Mexico and Summit County, Colo., in receiving REDI funds. The competitive grants were won in part thanks to matching funds provided by the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation.

“Through Rural Rise, a grass-roots network of individuals and organizations passionate about strengthening rural communities, we learned about this opportunity and were so excited about the innovative approach McClure and CO-STARTERS was proposing,” said Angie Harmon, regional manager for community development (North America) for Freeport.

“We’ve seen growing interest in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in many of the locations where Freeport-McMoRan works, and their expertise will help build upon capacity, development investments and activities already under-way in these communities to further move plans to action.”

The work will address issues in local communities from business development to housing challenges. In particular, Freeport noted that McClure and Tennessee-based CO-STARTERS consulting firm will “help the four rural regions become better equipped to create actionable economic development plans that include: evidence-based assessments, quantifiable goals, plans to improve the local and regional economy, and metrics to track implementation and progress.”

Zachary Mannheimer, principal community placemaker for McClure, said, “We are excited to begin working in our four regions with our partner, CO-STARTERS. The generous investment from Freeport-McMoRan Foundation helped make all this possible. Their commitment to supporting their local communities was evident in their eagerness to support this initiative and their ongoing engagement with our team and their local partners.”

REDI grants are a result of an interagency task force established in 2017 to identify policy changes that could result in prosperity and promote agriculture in rural communities.

“USDA and its partners are bringing local leaders and economic development experts together to create opportunity in some of the nation’s most economically challenged rural communities,” said Joel Baxley, acting assistant to the secretary for Rural Development. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to building prosperity in America’s rural cities and towns.”

<- Go Back