Small Grants FAQ

1.   What are the regional rural development centers?

The regional rural development centers are fund as part of a USDA line item. There are four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC): Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development NERCRD, Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD), and the Western Rural Development Center (WRDC). The RRDCs are a trusted source of economic and community development data, decision tools, education, and guidance for our nation's rural communities. Collectively, the Centers form a one-stop-shop connection to the nationwide network of Land-Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension Service. Each Center serves a U.S. region and taps its Land-Grant University network to form innovative research and Extension partnerships in the area of rural development. Together, the RRDCs help rural communities make science-based decisions about their community and economic development investments.

2.   What is the mission of the NCRCRD?

The mission of the NCRCRD is to strengthen the ability of the Land-Grant system to execute its rural development mission. Among four Centers, NCRCRD alone regularly offers small grants to help achieve this mission.

3.   What the major themes of the NCRCRD?

The major themes of the center are:

  • Building a 21st Century Economy
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Leadership Development & Civic Engagement
  • Community Health & Wellness

A more detail description of each theme area is available at

4.   What are the main requirements of the small grant program?

  • More than one NC state is REQUIRED on a grant proposal. At least one partner from another NC state is required. Partners from non-NC states are ok, but not required.
  • Multi-disciplinary/integrated proposals are preferred.
  • All proposals are reviewed by reviewers in single-blind process. Based on these reviews, all final funding decisions and budget recommendations are made by the NCRCRD Board of Directors.
    Expected start date mid-fall.
  • What are some examples of deliverables?
    • Subsequent grant proposal—highest priority
    • Conference/workshop
    • Curriculum
    • Training
    • Publishable manuscript

5.   What are some lessons learned from prior years that may be helpful in grant proposal preparation?

  • Use NCRCRD seed funds to get organized to write a more substantial grant.
  • Draft narrative due with progress report.
  • Multi-state yes, but the whole region is not necessary.
  • Avoid including long lists of people who “might” be interested.
  • Present true partnerships. One-sided or last-minute partnerships do not review as well.
  • Document how your NCRCRD small grant will seed future activities, especially if the proposed final outputs do not include a major grant proposal.
  • Explain how the activity will benefit other land grants in the region.
  • Engage other 1862 Land Grants, but also consider 18901994 Land Grants.
  • Hispanic-serving institutions are also eligible.

6.   What are the approaches for disbursement of funds?

In the past, we suggested one invoice when the project is completed. Now, PI’s institution can issue up to three invoices throughout the project; the first two are to be submitted with a progress report. The last invoice (third invoice) is the Final Invoice, which must be submitted with a Final Report. Invoices will not be processed without the progress report or final report.

7.   What types of fiduciary arrangements are possible?

If you plan on hiring or paying staff, you will need to go through all the approvals, and if your grant is funded, we will send funds to your institution (Subcontract), use Fiduciary Arrangement 1. If you do not need to hire staff and are seeking travel, conference, meeting rooms, etc., you can skip some of the approvals and request reimbursement from us. (Fiduciary Arrangement 2)

8.   What can you expect in terms of a timeline from proposal submission to completion of your grant project?

  • Ideas or questions may be sent to the Director at any time before the submission due date; they will be reviewed in the order they were received.
  • Proposals due 5 p.m. ET, Feb 10, 2020. Late proposals will be rejected without review. Proposals that do not follow formatting guidelines will be rejected without review.
  • Preliminary decisions at April board meeting subject to final USDA approval and congressional funding. We will try to start projects on October 1st, 2020. We have limited control over the actual start date due to vagaries of Federal and University approvals.
  • All funded projects will have 12 months from their start date., which includes 60 days to submit a final report. Typically dates are 10/1/- to 8/31/- with additional 60 days for submission of the final invoice/final report.

9.   How can I obtain copies of past proposals that were successful?

  • You may ask a PI for a copy of their proposal. A list of past successful proposals can be found under the Grant Archives section on the website.
  • All funded proposals are to present a webinar on their funded project. This should be scheduled at the end of the project end date. To see past webinars go to the Archived Webinars
  • Please contact Mark Skidmore if you should have any questions (