Asset Enhancement Grants to assist distressed counties

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced today the availability of grants to assist in improving economic indicators in our distressed counties.

The Asset Enhancement Grants are available to communities that completed the Asset-Based Planning process that was conducted last fall. To participate in this program, counties must have been designated as distressed in FY2016 or FY2017 based on the economic indicators of poverty rate, per capita income and unemployment rate. These communities are in the bottom 10 percent of the counties in the nation.

TNECD worked with the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service to develop action-oriented, short-term goals based on assets in each county. The 23 participating counties are eligible for up to $50,000 or $100,000 for regional applications for projects that allow the community to meet at least one of their asset-based goals and have measurable outcomes and impact on key economic indicators. 

“These Asset Enhancement Grants will positively impact Tennessee’s distressed counties,” Boyd said. “We have been working with our most distressed communities to develop strategic plans based on their assets. We promised them that this would not be just another planning exercise but that we would provide technical assistance and funding to help them implement their plans. This is a flexible grant that will allow them to develop their assets in a way that works best for them and targets the key economic indicators of poverty, income and unemployment.” 

“Each of our communities have unique assets that can be leveraged to drive economic development,” TNECD Assistant Commissioner of Rural Development Amy New said. “We held listening sessions across the state in an effort to help these communities pinpoint assets and develop a plan around them. Since these counties are our most distressed, we knew additional resources were necessary to implement these plans.” 

The Asset Enhancement Grants are funded through the Rural Economic Opportunity Act that was passed by the State legislature in 2016 to improve the economic indicators in rural communities across Tennessee. This announcement of funds follows the Tourism Enhancement Grants that were awarded earlier this month. Announcements will follow this spring for Site Development Grants and Main Street Entrepreneur Grants.

The grant applications will be available on TNECD’s website starting February 15 and are due by March 31.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Tennessee is the only three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook:



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