[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 55 (Wednesday, March 21, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16519-16535]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6611]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Housing Service


Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the 
Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) for Fiscal Year 2011 and 
Fiscal Year 2012

AGENCY: Rural Housing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This Notice announces the availability of $8,611,000 of FYs 
2011 and 2012 funding of competitive grant funds for the RCDI program 
through the Rural Housing Service (RHS), an agency within the USDA 
Rural Development mission area (Agency). Appropriation Acts made 
available $4,990,000 in FY 2011 and $3,621,000 in FY 2012 for the RCDI 
program for a total of $8,611,000 for the two fiscal years.
    The RCDI grant program includes an initiative called the Rural Jobs 
and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. For FY 2011 and the FY 2012 RCDI 
funds will be divided between the traditional RCDI Program and the 
Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge as follows: $2,500,000 
of the FY 2011 funds and $1,811,000 of the FY 2012 funds will be 
available for the traditional RCDI program and $2,490,000 of the FY 
2011 funds and $1,810,000 of the FY 2012 will be reserved for awards 
through a Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement in partnership with 
the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) 
for the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. An application 
for ``Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge'' funds must be 
submitted to both USDA and EDA by an organization or a team of 
organizations that is individually or collectively eligible to receive 
funding from USDA and EDA. Additional information regarding the Rural 
Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge can be found in Part VI and 
Part VII of this NOFA. Requirements outlined in Parts II, III, VIII, 
IX, X, and XI of this NOFA apply to both the Traditional RCDI Program 
and the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.
    All applicants must provide matching funds in an amount at least 
equal to the Federal grant. These grants will be made to qualified 
intermediary organizations that will provide financial and technical 
assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to 
undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or 
community and economic development. This Notice lists the information 
needed to submit an application for these funds.

DATES: The deadline for receipt of an application--May 9, 2012. The 
application date is firm. The Agency will not consider any application 
received after the deadline. Applicants intending to mail applications 
must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the 
closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by the United States Postal 
Service or private mailer does not constitute delivery. Facsimile (FAX) 
and postage due applications will not be accepted.

ADDRESSES: Entities wishing to apply for assistance may download the 
application documents and requirements delineated in this Notice from 
the RCDI Web site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/rcdi/index.htm. 
Application information for electronic submissions may be found at 
http://www.grants.gov. Applicants may also request paper application 
packages from the Rural Development office in their state. A list of 
Rural Development offices is included in this Notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Rural Development office for the 
state the applicant is located in. A list of Rural Development State 
Office contacts is included in this Notice.

Programs Affected

    This program is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance under Number 10.446. This program is not subject to the 
provisions of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental 
consultation with State and local officials because it is not listed by 
the Secretary of Agriculture, pursuant to 7 CFR 3015.302, as a covered 
program.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The paperwork burden has been cleared by the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0575-0180.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This Notice has been reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1940, 
subpart G, ``Environmental Program.'' Rural Development has determined 
that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required because the 
issuance of regulations and instructions, as well as amendments to 
them, describing administrative and financial procedures for 
processing, approving and implementing the Agency's financial programs 
is categorically excluded in the Agency's NEPA regulation found at 7 
CFR 1940.310(e)(3) of Subpart G, Environmental Program. Thus, in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 
(42 U.S.C. 4321-4347), Rural Development has determined that this NOFA 
does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the 
quality of the human environment. Furthermore, individual awards under 
this NOFA are hereby classified as Categorical Exclusions according to 
1940.310(e), the award of financial assistance for planning purposes, 
management and feasibility studies, or environmental impact analysis, 
which do not require any additional documentation.

[[Page 16520]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Housing Service.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Community Development Initiative.
    Announcement Type: Initial Announcement.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.446.

Part I--Funding Opportunity Description

    Congress initially created the RCDI in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 to 
develop the capacity and ability of nonprofit organizations, low-income 
rural communities, or federally recognized tribes to undertake projects 
related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic 
development in rural areas.

Part II--Award Information

    Appropriation Acts have made available a total of $8,611,000 for 
RCDI for FYs 2011 and 2012. The FY 2011 and the FY 2012 appropriated 
RCDI funds will be divided between the traditional RCDI Program and the 
Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge as follows: $2,500,000 
of the FY 2011 funds and $1,811,000 of the FY 2012 funds will be 
available for the traditional RCDI program and $2,490,000 of the FY 
2011 funds and $1,810,000 of the FY 2012 will be reserved for awards 
through a Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement in partnership with 
the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for the 
Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The Rural Jobs 
Accelerator provides resources to support the development of clusters 
in approximately 20 regions, selected through a competitive inter-
agency grant process, and assist rural distressed communities 
accelerate job creation by: leveraging local assets, building stronger 
communities, and creating regional linkages. Opportunities for 
accelerated job creation in rural regions can be found in numerous 
high-potential industry clusters, including renewable energy, food 
production, rural tourism, natural resources, and advanced 
manufacturing.
    Qualified private, nonprofit and public (including tribal) 
intermediary organizations proposing to carry out financial and 
technical assistance programs will be eligible to receive the funding. 
The intermediary will be required to provide matching funds in an 
amount at least equal to the RCDI grant. The respective minimum and 
maximum grant amount per intermediary is $50,000 and $300,000. The 
intermediary must provide a program of financial and technical 
assistance to a private nonprofit, community-based housing and 
development organization, a low-income rural community or a federally 
recognized tribe.

Part III--Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    1. Qualified private, nonprofit, including faith-based and 
community organizations, in accordance with 7 CFR part 16, and public 
(including tribal) intermediary organizations. Definitions that 
describe eligible organizations and other key terms are listed below.
    2. RCDI grantees that have an outstanding grant over 3 years old, 
as of the application due date in this Notice, will not be eligible to 
apply for this round of funding. Grant and matching funds must be 
utilized in a timely manner to ensure that the goals and objectives of 
the program are met.

B. Program Definitions

    Agency--The Rural Housing Service (RHS) or its successor.
    Beneficiary--Entities or individuals that receive benefits from 
assistance provided by the recipient.
    Capacity--The ability of a recipient to implement housing, 
community facilities, or community and economic development projects.
    Federally recognized tribes--Tribal entities recognized and 
eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 
based on the current notice in the Federal Register published by the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribally Designated Housing Entities are 
eligible RCDI recipients.
    Financial assistance--Funds, not to exceed $10,000 per award, used 
by the intermediary to purchase supplies and equipment to build the 
recipient's capacity.
    Funds--The RCDI grant and matching money.
    Intermediary--A qualified private, nonprofit (including faith-based 
and community organizations), or public (including tribal) organization 
that provides financial and technical assistance to multiple 
recipients.
    Low-income rural community--An authority, district, economic 
development authority, regional council, or unit of government 
representing an incorporated city, town, village, county, township, 
parish, or borough whose median household income is at or below 80% of 
either the state or national Median Household Income as measured by the 
2000 Census.
    Recipient--The entity that receives the financial and technical 
assistance from the Intermediary. The recipient must be a private, non-
profit community-based housing and development organization, a low-
income rural community or a federally recognized Tribe.
    Regional collaboration--Multi-jurisdictional areas typically within 
a State, territory, or Federally designated Tribal land but which can 
cross State, territory, or Tribal boundaries. The Regional 
Collaboration approach is intended to combine the resources of the 
Agency with those of State and local governments, educational 
institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors to implement 
regional economic and community development strategies.
    Rural and rural area--Any area other than (i) a city or town that 
has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants; and (ii) the 
urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such city or town.
    Technical assistance--Skilled help in improving the recipient's 
abilities in the areas of housing, community facilities, or community 
and economic development.

C. Cost Sharing or Matching

    Matching funds--Cash or confirmed funding commitments. Matching 
funds must be at least equal to the grant amount and committed for a 
period of not less than the grant performance period. These funds can 
only be used for eligible RCDI activities. In-kind contributions such 
as salaries, donated time and effort, real and nonexpendable personal 
property and goods and services cannot be used as matching funds. Grant 
funds and matching funds must be used in equal proportions. This does 
not mean funds have to be used equally by line item. The request for 
advance or reimbursement and supporting documentation must show that 
RCDI fund usage does not exceed the cumulative amount of matching funds 
used. Grant funds will be disbursed pursuant to relevant provisions of 
7 CFR parts 3015, 3016, and 3019, as applicable. Verification of 
matching funds must be submitted with the application.
    The intermediary is responsible for demonstrating that matching 
funds are available, and committed for a period of not less than the 
grant performance period to the RCDI proposal. Matching funds may be 
provided by the intermediary or a third party. Other Federal funds may 
be used as matching funds if authorized by statute and the purpose of 
the funds is an eligible RCDI purpose. Matching funds must be used

[[Page 16521]]

to support the overall purpose of the RCDI program. RCDI funds will be 
disbursed on an advance or reimbursement basis. Matching funds cannot 
be expended prior to execution of the RCDI Grant Agreement. No 
reimbursement will be made for any funds expended prior to execution of 
the RCDI Grant Agreement unless the intermediary is a non-profit or 
educational entity and has requested and received written Agency 
approval of the costs prior to the actual expenditure. This exception 
is applicable for up to 90 days prior to grant closing and only applies 
to grantees that have received written approval but have not executed 
the RCDI Grant Agreement. The Agency cannot retroactively approve 
reimbursement for expenditures prior to execution of the RCDI Grant 
Agreement.

D. Other Program Requirements

    1. The recipient and beneficiary, but not the intermediary, must be 
located in an eligible rural area. The physical location of the 
recipient's office that will be receiving the financial and technical 
assistance must be in an eligible rural area. If the recipient is a 
low-income community, the median household income of the area where the 
office is located must be at or below 80 percent of the State or 
national median household income, whichever is higher. The applicable 
Rural Development State Office can assist in determining the 
eligibility of an area. A listing of Rural Development State Offices is 
included in this Notice. A map showing eligible rural areas can be 
found at the following link: http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=RBSmenu&NavKey=property@13.
    2. The recipients must be private nonprofit, including faith-based 
organizations, community-based housing and development organizations, 
low-income rural communities, or federally recognized tribes based on 
the RCDI definitions of these groups.
    3. Documentation must be submitted to verify recipient eligibility. 
Acceptable documentation varies depending on the type of recipient. 
Private nonprofit, faith or community-based organizations must provide 
a certificate of incorporation and good standing from the Secretary of 
the State of incorporation, or other similar and valid documentation of 
nonprofit status. For low-income rural community recipients, the Agency 
requires evidence that the entity is a public body and census data 
verifying that the median household income of the community where the 
office receiving the financial and technical assistance is located is 
at, or below, 80 percent of the State or national median household 
income, whichever is higher. For Federally recognized tribes, the 
Agency needs the page listing their name from the current Federal 
Register list of tribal entities recognized and eligible for funding 
services (see the definition of federally recognized tribes in this 
Notice for details on this list). If a tribe has been federally 
recognized since the last list of federally recognized tribes was 
published in the Federal Register, appropriate documentation from the 
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs must be submitted 
that legally verifies that recognition.
    4. Individuals cannot be recipients.
    5. The intermediary must provide matching funds at least equal to 
the amount of the grant. Verification of matching funds must be 
submitted with the application. Matching funds must be committed for a 
period equal to the grant performance period.
    6. The intermediary must provide a program of financial and 
technical assistance to the recipient.
    7. The intermediary organization must have been legally organized 
for a minimum of 3 years and have at least 3 years prior experience 
working with private nonprofit community-based housing and development 
organizations, low-income rural communities, or tribal organizations in 
the areas of housing, community facilities, or community and economic 
development.
    8. Proposals must be structured to utilize the grant funds within 3 
years from the date of the award.
    9. Each applicant, whether singularly or jointly, may submit one 
application for the traditional RCDI funds and one application for the 
Jobs Accelerator funds under this NOFA. This restriction does not 
preclude the applicant from providing matching funds for other 
applications.
    10. Recipients can benefit from more than one RCDI application; 
however, after grant selections are made, the recipient can only 
benefit from multiple RCDI grants if the type of financial and 
technical assistance the recipient will receive is not duplicative. 
Funding for services to the same recipients must have separate and 
identifiable accounts for compliance purposes.
    11. The intermediary and the recipient cannot be the same entity. 
The recipient can be a related entity to the intermediary, if it meets 
the definition of a recipient, provided the relationship does not 
create a conflict of interest that cannot be resolved to Rural 
Development's satisfaction.
    12. A nonprofit recipient must provide evidence that it is a valid 
nonprofit when the intermediary applies for the RCDI grant. 
Organizations with pending requests for nonprofit designations are not 
eligible.
    13. If the recipient is a low-income rural community, identify the 
unit of government to which the financial and technical assistance will 
be provided, e.g., town council or village board. The financial and 
technical assistance must be provided to the organized unit of 
government representing that community, not the community at large.
    14. If a grantee has an outstanding RCDI grant over 3 years old, as 
of the application due date in this Notice, it is not eligible to apply 
for this round of funding.
    15. The indirect cost category in the project budget should be used 
only when a grant applicant has a federally negotiated indirect cost 
rate. A copy of the current rate agreement must be provided with the 
application.
    16. Grant applicants must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data 
Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and register in the Central 
Contractor Registration (CCR) prior to submitting a pre-application 
pursuant to 2 CFR 25.200(b). In addition, an entity applicant must 
maintain registration in the CCR database at all times during which it 
has an active Federal award or an application or plan under 
construction by the Agency. Similarly, all recipients of Federal 
financial assistance are required to report information about first-
tier sub-awards and executive compensation in accordance to 2 CFR part 
170. So long as an entity applicant does not have an exception under 2 
CFR 170.110(b), the applicant must have the necessary processes and 
systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements should the 
applicant receive funding. See 2 CFR 170.200(b).
Eligible Fund Uses
    Fund uses must be consistent with the RCDI purpose. A nonexclusive 
list of eligible grant uses includes the following:
    1. Provide technical assistance to develop recipients' capacity and 
ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, 
or community and economic development, i.e., the intermediary hires a 
staff person to provide technical assistance to the recipient or the 
recipient hires a staff person, under the supervision of the 
intermediary, to carry out the technical assistance provided by the 
intermediary.
    2. Develop the capacity of recipients to conduct community 
development

[[Page 16522]]

programs, e.g., homeownership education or training for business 
entrepreneurs.
    3. Develop the capacity of recipients to conduct development 
initiatives, e.g., programs that support micro-enterprise and 
sustainable development.
    4. Develop the capacity of recipients to increase their leveraging 
ability and access to alternative funding sources by providing training 
and staffing.
    5. Develop the capacity of recipients to provide the technical 
assistance component for essential community facilities projects.
    6. Assist recipients in completing pre-development requirements for 
housing, community facilities, or community and economic development 
projects by providing resources for professional services, e.g., 
architectural, engineering, or legal.
    7. Improve recipient's organizational capacity by providing 
training and resource material on developing strategic plans, board 
operations, management, financial systems, and information technology.
    8. Purchase of computers, software, and printers, limited to 
$10,000 per award, at the recipient level when directly related to the 
technical assistance program being undertaken by the intermediary.
    9. Provide funds to recipients for training-related travel costs 
and training expenses related to RCDI.
Ineligible Fund Uses
    1. Pass-through grants, capacity grants, and any funds provided to 
the recipient in a lump sum that are not reimbursements.
    2. Funding a revolving loan fund (RLF).
    3. Construction (in any form).
    4. Salaries for positions involved in construction, renovations, 
rehabilitation, and any oversight of these types of activities.
    5. Intermediary preparation of strategic plans for recipients.
    6. Funding prostitution, gambling, or any illegal activities.
    7. Grants to individuals.
    8. Funding a grant where there may be a conflict of interest, or an 
appearance of a conflict of interest, involving any action by the 
Agency.
    9. Paying obligations incurred before the beginning date without 
prior Agency approval or after the ending date of the grant agreement.
    10. Purchasing real estate.
    11. Improvement or renovation of the grantee's, or recipient's 
office space or for the repair or maintenance of privately owned 
vehicles.
    12. Any other purpose prohibited in 7 CFR parts 3015, 3016, and 
3019, as applicable.
    13. Using funds for recipient's general operating costs.
    14. Using grant or matching funds for Individual Development 
Accounts.
    15. Purchasing vehicles.
Program Examples and Restrictions
    The purpose of this initiative is to develop or increase the 
recipient's capacity through a program of financial and technical 
assistance to perform in the areas of housing, community facilities, or 
community and economic development. Strengthening the recipient's 
capacity in these areas will benefit the communities they serve. The 
RCDI structure requires the intermediary (grantee) to provide a program 
of financial and technical assistance to recipients. The recipients 
will, in turn, provide programs to their communities (beneficiaries). 
The following are examples of eligible and ineligible purposes under 
the RCDI program. (These examples are illustrative and are not meant to 
limit the activities proposed in the application. Activities that meet 
the objectives of the RCDI program will be considered eligible.)
    1. The intermediary must work directly with the recipient, not the 
ultimate beneficiaries. As an example: The intermediary provides 
training to the recipient on how to conduct homeownership education 
classes. The recipient then provides ongoing homeownership education to 
the residents of the community--the ultimate beneficiaries. This 
``train the trainer'' concept fully meets the intent of this 
initiative. The intermediary is providing technical assistance that 
will build the recipient's capacity by enabling them to conduct 
homeownership education classes for the public. This is an eligible 
purpose. However, if the intermediary directly provided homeownership 
education classes to individuals in the recipient's service area, this 
would not be an eligible purpose because the recipient would be 
bypassed.
    2. If the intermediary is working with a low-income community as 
the recipient, the intermediary must provide the technical assistance 
to the entity that represents the low-income community and is 
identified in the application. Examples of entities representing a low-
income community are a village board or a town council. If the 
intermediary provides technical assistance to the Board of the low-
income community on how to establish a cooperative, this would be an 
eligible purpose. However, if the intermediary works directly with 
individuals from the community to establish the cooperative, this is 
not an eligible purpose. The recipient's capacity is built by learning 
skills that will enable them to support sustainable economic 
development in their communities on an ongoing basis.
    3. The intermediary may provide technical assistance to the 
recipient on how to create and operate a revolving loan fund. The 
intermediary may not monitor or operate the revolving loan fund. RCDI 
funds, including matching funds, cannot be used to fund revolving loan 
funds.
    4. The intermediary may work with recipients in building their 
capacity to provide planning and leadership development training. The 
recipients of this training would be expected to assume leadership 
roles in the development and execution of regional strategic plans. The 
intermediary would work with multiple recipients in helping communities 
recognize their connections to the greater regional and national 
economies.
    5. The intermediary could provide training and technical assistance 
to the recipients on developing emergency shelter and feeding, short-
term housing, search and rescue, and environmental accident, 
prevention, and cleanup program plans. For longer term disaster and 
economic crisis responses, the intermediary could work with the 
recipients to develop job placement and training programs, and develop 
coordinated transit systems for displaced workers.

Part IV--Application and Submission Information for the Traditional 
RCDI Program

A. Address To Request Application Package

    Entities wishing to apply for assistance may download the 
application documents and requirements delineated in this Notice from 
the RCDI Web site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/rcdi. Application 
information for electronic submissions may be found at http://www.grants.gov. Applicants may also request paper application packages 
from the Rural Development office in their state. A list of Rural 
Development State offices is included in this Notice.

B. Content and Form of Application Submission

    If the applicant is ineligible or the application is incomplete, 
the Agency will inform the applicant in writing of the decision, 
reasons therefore, and its

[[Page 16523]]

appeal rights and no further evaluation of the application will occur.
    A complete application for RCDI funds must include the following:
    1. A summary page, double-spaced between items, listing the 
following: (This information should not be presented in narrative 
form.)
    a. Applicant's name,
    b. Applicant's address,
    c. Applicant's telephone number,
    d. Name of applicant's contact person and telephone number,
    e. Applicant's fax number,
    f. County where applicant is located,
    g. Congressional district number where applicant is located,
    h. Amount of grant request, and
    i. Number of recipients
    2. A detailed Table of Contents containing page numbers for each 
component of the application.
    3. A project overview, no longer than five pages, including the 
following items, which will also be addressed separately and in detail 
under ``Building Capacity'' of the ``Evaluation Criteria.''
    a. The type of technical assistance to be provided to the 
recipients and how it will be implemented.
    b. How the capacity and ability of the recipients will be improved.
    c. The overall goals to be accomplished.
    d. The benchmarks to be used to measure the success of the program. 
Benchmarks should be specific and quantifiable.
    4. Organizational documents, such as a certificate of incorporation 
and a current good standing certification from the Secretary of State 
where the applicant is incorporated and other similar and valid 
documentation of non-profit status, from the intermediary that confirms 
it has been legally organized for a minimum of 3 years as the applicant 
entity.
    5. Verification of source and amount of matching funds, i.e., a 
copy of a bank statement if matching funds are in cash or a copy of the 
confirmed funding commitment from the funding source. The verification 
must show that matching funds are available for the duration of the 
grant performance period. The verification of matching funds must be 
submitted with the application or the application will be considered 
incomplete.
    The applicant will be contacted by the Agency prior to grant award 
to verify that the matching funds provided with the application 
continue to be available. The applicant will have 15 working days from 
the date contacted to submit verification that matching funds continue 
to be available. If the applicant is unable to provide the verification 
within that timeframe, the application will be considered ineligible. 
The applicant must maintain bank statements on file or other 
documentation for a period of at least three years after grant closing 
except that the records shall be retained beyond the three-year period 
if audit findings have not been resolved.
    6. The following information for each recipient:
    a. Recipient's entity name,
    b. Complete address (mailing and physical location, if different),
    c. County where located,
    d. Number of Congressional district where recipient is located,
    e. Contact person's name and telephone number, and
    f. Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement.'' If the Form RD 400-4 is 
not submitted for a recipient, the recipient will be considered 
ineligible. No information pertaining to that recipient will be 
included in the income or population scoring criteria and the requested 
funding may be adjusted due to the deletion of the recipient.
    7. Submit evidence that each recipient entity is eligible:
    a. Nonprofits--provide a current valid letter confirming non-profit 
status from the Secretary of the State of incorporation or the IRS, a 
current good standing certification from the Secretary of the State of 
incorporation, or other valid documentation of nonprofit status of each 
recipient.
    b. Low-income rural community--provide evidence the entity is a 
public body, and a copy of the 2000 census data to verify the 
population, and evidence that the median household income is at, or 
below, 80 percent of either the State or the national income. We will 
only accept data and printouts from http://www.census.gov. The specific 
instructions to retrieve data from this site are detailed under the 
``Evaluation Criteria'' for ``Population'' and ``Income.''
    c. Federally recognized tribes--provide the page listing their name 
from the Federal Register list of tribal entities published by the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs on October 1, 2010 (75 FR 60810) or a 
subsequent updated list or supplement in the Federal Register. If a 
tribe has been federally recognized since the last list of federally 
recognized tribes was published in the Federal Register, appropriate 
documentation from the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs must be submitted that legally verifies that recognition.
    8. Each of the ''Evaluation Criteria'' must be addressed 
specifically and individually by category. Present these criteria in 
narrative form. Documentation must be limited to three pages per 
criterion. The ``Population'' and ``Income'' criterions for recipient 
locations can be provided in the form of a list; however, the source of 
the data must be included on the page(s).
    9. A timeline identifying specific activities and proposed dates 
for completion.
    10. A detailed project budget that includes the RCDI grant amount 
and matching funds. This should be a line-item budget, by category. 
Categories such as salaries, administrative, other, and indirect costs 
that pertain to the proposed project must be clearly defined. 
Supporting documentation listing the components of these categories 
must be included. The budget should be dated: year 1, year 2, year 3, 
as applicable.
    11. Form SF-424, ``Application for Federal Assistance.'' (Do not 
complete Form SF-424A, ``Budget Information.'' A separate line-item 
budget should be presented as described in No. 10 of this section.)
    12. Form SF-424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs.''
    13. Form AD-1047, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, 
and Other Responsibility Matters--Primary Covered Transactions.''
    14. Form AD-1048, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, 
Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion--Lower Tier Covered 
Transactions.''
    15. Form AD-1049, ``Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace 
Requirements.''
    16. Certification of Non-Lobbying Activities.
    17. Standard Form LLL, ``Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,'' if 
applicable.
    18. Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement,'' for the applicant.
    19. Identify and report any association or relationship with Rural 
Development employees.
    20. For grants, the applicant's Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering Systems (DUNS) number and registration in the Central 
Contractor Registration (CCR) database in accordance with 2 CFR part 
25. As required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), all grant 
applications must provide a DUNS number when applying for Federal 
grants, on or after October 1, 2003. Organizations can receive a DUNS 
number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free number at 1-866-
705-5711 or via Internet at http:www.dnb.com/us/. Additional 
information concerning this requirement can be obtained on the 
Grants.gov Web Site at http://www.grants.gov. Similarly, applicants

[[Page 16524]]

may register for the CCR at https://uscontractingregistration.com or by 
calling 1-877-252-2700.
    The required forms and certifications can be downloaded from the 
RCDI Web site at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/rcdi.

C. Other Submission Information

    Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants, OMB No. 1894-
0010 Exp. 05/31/2012 (applies only to non-profit applicants only--
submission is optional).
    The original application package must be submitted to the Rural 
Development State Office where the applicant's headquarters is located. 
A listing of Rural Development State Offices is included in this 
Notice. Applications will not be accepted via FAX or electronic mail.
    Applicants may file an electronic application at http://www.grants.gov. Grants.gov contains full instructions on all required 
passwords, credentialing, and software. Follow the instructions at 
Grants.gov for registering and submitting an electronic application.
    If a system problem or technical difficulty occurs with an 
electronic application, please use the customer support resources 
available at the Grants.gov Web site.
    Technical difficulties submitting an application through Grants.gov 
will not be a reason to extend the application deadline. If an 
application is unable to be submitted through Grants.gov, a paper 
application must be received in the appropriate Rural Development State 
Office by the deadline noted previously.
    First time Grants.gov users should carefully read and follow the 
registration steps listed on the Web site. These steps need to be 
initiated early in the application process to avoid delays in 
submitting your application online.
    In order to register with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), 
your organization will need a DUNS number. Be sure to complete the 
Marketing Partner ID (MPID) and Electronic Business Primary Point of 
Contact fields during the CCR registration process. These are mandatory 
fields that are required when submitting grant applications through 
Grants.gov. Additional application instructions for submitting an 
electronic application can be found by selecting this funding 
opportunity on Grants.gov.
    The deadline for receipt of an application is May 9 by 4 p.m. local 
time. The application deadline date and time are firm and apply to 
submission of the original application to the Rural Development State 
Office where the applicant's headquarters is located. The Agency will 
not consider any application received after the deadline. A listing of 
Rural Development State Offices, their addresses, telephone numbers, 
and contact person is provided elsewhere in this Notice. Applicants 
intending to mail applications must allow sufficient time to permit 
delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by 
the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute 
delivery. Fax, electronic mail or postage due applications will not be 
accepted.

D. Funding Restrictions

    Meeting expenses. In accordance with 31 U.S.C. 1345, ``Expenses of 
Meetings,'' appropriations may not be used for travel, transportation, 
and subsistence expenses for a meeting. RCDI grant funds cannot be used 
for these meeting-related expenses. Matching funds may be used to pay 
for these expenses. RCDI funds may be used to pay for a speaker as part 
of a program, equipment to facilitate the program, and the actual room 
that will house the meeting. RCDI funds can be used for travel, 
transportation, or subsistence expenses for program-related training 
and technical assistance purposes. Any training not delineated in the 
application must be approved by the Agency to verify compliance with 31 
U.S.C. 1345. Travel and per diem expenses will be similar to those paid 
to Agency employees. Rates are based upon location. Rate information 
can be obtained from the applicable Rural Development State Office.
    Grantees and recipients will be restricted to traveling coach class 
on common carrier airlines. When lodging is not available at the 
government rate, grantees and recipients may exceed the Government rate 
for lodging by a maximum of 20 percent. Meals and incidental expenses 
will be reimbursed at the same rate used by Agency employees. Mileage 
and gas reimbursement will be the same rate used by Agency employees. 
This rate may be obtained from the applicable Rural Development State 
Office.

Part V--Application Review Information for the Traditional RCDI Program

A. Evaluation Criteria

    Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria and 
weights:
1. Building Capacity--Maximum 60 Points
    The applicant must demonstrate how they will improve the 
recipients' capacity, through a program of financial and technical 
assistance, as it relates to the RCDI purposes. Capacity-building 
financial and technical assistance should provide new functions to the 
recipients or expand existing functions that will enable the recipients 
to undertake projects in the areas of housing, community facilities, or 
community and economic development that will benefit the community. The 
program of financial and technical assistance provided, its delivery, 
and the measurability of the program's effectiveness will determine the 
merit of the application. All applications will be competitively ranked 
with the applications providing the most improvement in capacity 
development and measurable activities being ranked the highest. 
Capacity-building financial and technical assistance may include, but 
is not limited to: training to conduct community development programs, 
e.g., homeownership education, or the establishment of minority 
business entrepreneurs, cooperatives, or micro-enterprises; 
organizational development, e.g., assistance to develop or improve 
board operations, management, and financial systems; instruction on how 
to develop and implement a strategic plan; instruction on how to access 
alternative funding sources to increase leveraging opportunities; 
staffing, e.g., hiring a person at intermediary or recipient level to 
provide technical assistance to recipients.
    a. The narrative response must:
    i. Describe the nature of financial and technical assistance to be 
provided to the recipients and the activities that will be conducted to 
deliver the technical assistance;
    ii. Explain how financial and technical assistance will develop or 
increase the recipient's capacity. Indicate whether a new function is 
being developed or if existing functions are being expanded or 
performed more effectively;
    iii. Identify which RCDI purpose areas will be addressed with this 
assistance: housing, community facilities, or community and economic 
development; and
    iv. Describe how the results of the technical assistance will be 
measured. What benchmarks will be used to measure effectiveness? 
Benchmarks should be specific and quantifiable.

[[Page 16525]]

    b. The maximum 60 points for this criterion will be broken down as 
follows:
    i. Type of financial and technical assistance and implementation 
activities. 35 points.
    ii. An explanation of how financial and technical assistance will 
develop capacity. 10 points.
    iii. Identification of the RCDI purpose. 5 points.
    iv. Measurement of outcomes. 10 points.
2. Expertise--Maximum 30 Points
    The applicant must demonstrate that it has conducted programs of 
financial and technical assistance and achieved measurable results in 
the areas of housing, community facilities, or community and economic 
development in rural areas. Provide the name, contact information, and 
the type and amount of the financial and technical assistance the 
applicant organization has provided to the following for the last 3 
years:
    a. Nonprofit organizations in rural areas.
    b. Low-income communities in rural areas, (also include the type of 
entity, e.g., city government, town council, or village board).
    c. Federally recognized tribes or any other culturally diverse 
organizations.
3. Population--Maximum 30 Points
    Population is based on the average population from the 2000 census 
data for the communities in which the recipients are located. The 
physical address, not mailing address, for each recipient must be used 
for this criterion. Community is defined for scoring purposes as a 
city, town, village, county, parish, borough, or census-designated 
place where the recipient's office is physically located. The applicant 
must submit the census data from the following Web site in the form of 
a printout of the applicable ``Fact Sheet'' to verify the population 
figures used for each recipient. The data can be accessed on the 
Internet at http://www.census.gov; click on ``American FactFinder'' 
from the left menu; click on ``Fact Sheet'' from the left menu; at the 
right, fill in one or more fields and click ``Go''; the name and 
population data for each recipient location must be listed in this 
section. The average population of the recipient locations will be used 
and will be scored as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Scoring
                         Population                            (points)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
5,000 or less...............................................          30
5,001 to 10,000.............................................          20
10,001 to 20,000............................................          10
20,001 to 50,000............................................           5
------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Income--Maximum 30 Points
    The average of the median household income for the communities 
where the recipients are physically located will determine the points 
awarded. The physical address, not mailing address, for each recipient 
must be used for this criterion. Applicants may compare the average 
recipient median household income to the State median household income 
or the national median household income, whichever yields the most 
points. The national median household income to be used is $41,994. The 
applicant must submit the income data in the form of a printout of the 
applicable information from the following Web site to verify the income 
for each recipient. The data being used is from the 2000 census. The 
data can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.census.gov; click on 
``American FactFinder'' from the left menu; click on ``Fact Sheet'' 
from the left menu; at the right, fill in one or more fields and click 
``Go''; the name and income data for each recipient location must be 
listed in this section. Points will be awarded as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Scoring
               Average recipient median income                 (points)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Less than 60 percent of state or national median household            30
 income.....................................................
From 60 to 70 percent of state or national median household           20
 income.....................................................
Greater than 70 to 80 percent of state or national median             10
 household income...........................................
In excess of 80 percent of state or national median                    0
 household income...........................................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Soundness of Approach--Maximum 50 Points
    The applicant can receive up to 50 points for soundness of 
approach. The overall proposal will be considered under this criterion. 
Applicants must list the page numbers in the application that address 
these factors.
    The maximum 50 points for this criterion will be broken down as 
follows:
    a. The ability to provide the proposed financial and technical 
assistance based on prior accomplishments has been demonstrated. 10 
Points.
    b. The proposed financial and technical assistance program is 
clearly stated and the applicant has defined how this proposal will be 
implemented. The plan for implementation is viable. 10 Points.
    c. Cost effectiveness will be evaluated based on the budget in the 
application. The proposed grant amount and matching funds should be 
utilized to maximize capacity building at the recipient level. 15 
points.
    d. The proposal fits the objectives for which applications were 
invited. 15 points.
6. Technical Assistance for the Development of Renewable Energy Systems 
and Energy Efficiency Improvements--Maximum 20 Points
    The applicant must demonstrate how they will improve the 
recipients' capacity to carry out activities related to the development 
of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements for 
housing, community facilities, or community and economic development.
7. Regional Collaboration Applications--Maximum 20 Points
    The Agency encourages applications that promote substantive 
economic growth, including job creation, as well as specifically 
addressing the circumstances of those sectors within the region that 
have fewer prospects and the greatest need for improved economic 
opportunity.
    A Regional Collaboration project should implement goals, objectives 
or actions identified in a Regional Strategic Plan which addresses 
priorities specified at a regional scale. Applications should 
demonstrate:
    a. Clear leadership at the Intermediary level in organizing and 
coordinating a regional initiative;
    b. Evidence that the Recipient's region has a common economic basis 
that supports the likelihood of success in implementing its strategy;
    c. Evidence that technical assistance will be provided that will 
increase the Recipient's capacity to assess their circumstance, 
determine a long term sustainable vision for the region, and implement 
a comprehensive strategic plan, including identifying performance 
measures and establishing a system to collect the data to allow 
assessment of those performance measures.
8. Local Investment Points--Maximum 20 Points
    Intermediaries must be physically located in an eligible rural 
community and must include evidence of investment in the community. The 
intent is to ensure that RCDI funds are expended in the rural 
community.
9. State Director's Points Based on Project Merit--Maximum 20 Points
    This criterion does not have to be addressed by the applicant. Up 
to 20 points may be awarded by the Rural

[[Page 16526]]

Development State Director. Points may be awarded to more than one 
application per state or jurisdiction. The total points awarded under 
this criterion, to all applications, will not exceed 20. Assignment of 
points will include a written justification and be tied to and awarded 
based on how closely they align with the Rural Development State 
Office's strategic plan.
10. Proportional Distribution Points--20 Points
    This criterion does not have to be addressed by the applicant. 
After applications have been evaluated and awarded points under the 
first 9 criteria, the Agency may award 20 points per application to 
promote an even distribution of grant awards between the ranges of 
$50,000 to $300,000.

B. Review and Selection Process

    Rating and ranking. Applications will be rated and ranked on a 
national basis by a review panel based on the ``Evaluation Criteria'' 
contained in this Notice. If there is a tied score after the 
applications have been rated and ranked, the tie will be resolved by 
reviewing the scores for ``Building Capacity'' and the applicant with 
the highest score in that category will receive a higher ranking. If 
the scores for ``Building Capacity'' are the same, the scores will be 
compared for the next criterion, in sequential order, until one highest 
score can be determined.
    Initial screening. The Agency will screen each application to 
determine eligibility during the period immediately following the 
application deadline. Listed below are examples of reasons for 
rejection from previous funding rounds. The following reasons for 
rejection are not all inclusive; however, they represent the majority 
of the applications previously rejected.
    1. Recipients were not located in eligible rural areas based on the 
definition in this Notice.
    2. Applicants failed to provide evidence of recipient's status, 
i.e., documentation supporting nonprofit evidence of organization.
    3. Applicants failed to provide evidence of committed matching 
funds or matching funds were not committed for a period at least equal 
to the grant performance period.
    4. Application did not follow the RCDI structure with an 
intermediary and recipients.
    5. Recipients were not identified in the application.
    6. Intermediary did not provide evidence it had been incorporated 
for at least 3 years as the applicant entity.
    7. Applicants failed to address the ``Evaluation Criteria.''
    8. The purpose of the proposal did not qualify as an eligible RCDI 
purpose.
    9. Inappropriate use of funds (e.g., construction or renovations).
    10. The applicant proposed providing financial and technical 
assistance directly to individuals.
    11. The application package not received by closing date and time.

Part VI--Rural Jobs Accelerator and Innovation Challenge Application 
Process

    An application for ``Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator 
Challenge'' funds must be submitted to USDA and EDA by an organization 
or a team of organizations that is individually or collectively 
eligible to receive funding from USDA and EDA.

Required Application Forms and Content

    To be considered complete, an application package must consist of:
    (1) Required forms as discussed below;
    (2) Project Narrative; and
    (3) Addenda to the Project Narrative.
    Applications that do not contain all required forms listed below, 
or that fail to adhere to the instructions in this Notice, will be 
considered non-responsive and will not be considered for funding. 
Additional application materials not requested under this Notice will 
not be reviewed or evaluated.
    Applicants are advised to carefully read the instructions contained 
in this Notice and in all forms contained in the application package. 
It is the sole responsibility of each applicant to ensure that a 
complete application package is received.

Required Forms

    All applicants are required to submit the following forms at the 
time of application. The forms should be uploaded as separate portable 
document format (PDF) files. Forms are available in the application 
package at www.grants.gov or on the Rural Jobs Accelerator Web site 
under `application submission information'.
    Each USDA applicant must submit the following forms.

 Form SF-424--Application for Federal Assistance for the 
applicant
 Form SF-424A--Budget Information- Non-Construction Programs 
for the applicant
 Form SF-424B--Assurances--Non-Construction Programs for the 
applicant
 Form CD-511--Certification Regarding Lobbying for the USDA and 
EDA applicant
 Form RD-400-4--Assurance Agreement, for the applicant and each 
RCDI Recipient
 Form AD-1047--Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, 
and Other Responsibility Matters--Primary Covered Transactions
 Form AD-1048--Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, 
Ineligibility, and Voluntary Exclusion--Lower Tier Covered Transactions
 Form AD-1049--Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace 
Requirements
 Identity and report any association or relationship with Rural 
Development employees.
 Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants, OMB No. 
1894-0010 Exp. 05/13/2012 (applies only to non-profit applicants--
submission is optional)
 Form SF-LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, if applicable

Project Description

    The Project Description must demonstrate the applicant's capability 
to implement the proposed activities in accordance with the 
requirements of this NOFA. The Project Description must demonstrate how 
each scope of work (individually funded by each Funding Agency) is 
integrated into an overarching project.
    The full Project Description must include the following components:
    Executive Summary:
    Not to exceed two pages, the Executive Summary will serve as a 
summary of the proposed project and may be shared publicly in the form 
originally submitted; therefore, applicants should not include 
proprietary, confidential commercial/business, and personally 
identifiable information. The Executive Summary must include the 
following sections: (a) The project name; (b) the organizations 
composing the Applicant Team; (c) the identified region and cluster; 
(d) a summary of the integrated project and project objectives; (e) a 
brief description of the scopes of work to be funded by each funding 
source and the associated performance measures; and (f) a summary of 
how the capacity of the recipients will be improved and the regional 
strength will be increased.
    Project Narrative:
    The Project Narrative should be a detailed description of all 
activities that will be undertaken by all sources of funds requested 
under this solicitation. Within the Project Narrative, applicants

[[Page 16527]]

should address all the evaluation criteria, as outlined in section 
VI.A:
    1. Region and Cluster of Focus;
    2. Integrated Project Concept/Overview;
    3. Building Community and Regional Capacity (USDA scope of work);
    4. Developing Regional Links (EDA scope of work);
    5. ARC or DRA scope of work (only applicable to applicants seeking 
funding from ARC or DRA);
    6. Project Impact and Measurable Outcomes; and
    7. Soundness of Approach.
    The length of the Project Narrative is limited to 25 double-spaced, 
8.5 x 11 inch pages with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Applicants 
may include a map delineating the region at the end of the Project 
Narrative, which will not count towards the 25 page limit. Any Project 
Narrative text beyond the specified page limit will not be read. 
Applicants must number the pages of the Project Narrative, beginning 
with page number 1. The Project Narrative should be submitted as one 
PDF file, and only one Project Narrative should be submitted per 
application. Note: the page limit described in this section may be 
increased to 30 pages if the Applicant Team is also seeking funding 
from ARC or DRA.

Integrated Work Plan

    Applicants must input details of proposed activities under each 
scope of work from the Project Narrative, as well as expected/estimated 
impacts of the activities, into an Integrated Work Plan.

Budget Description

    A separate budget narrative must be created and submitted to 
support the scope of work for each Funding Agency, and each narrative 
must provide a description of costs associated with each line item on 
each Form SF-424A over the project period. Supporting documentation 
listing the components of these categories must be included. The budget 
should be dated: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, as applicable. The budget 
narrative should include a personnel plan listing all positions that 
will be charged to the Federal and non-Federal portion of the budget 
for each year of the applicable project period. The personnel plan must 
include the position titles, salaries, percentage of time dedicated to 
the project, and amount of salary charged to the project for each staff 
member assigned to the project. The sum of all salaries charged to the 
project must equal the amount on the ``Personnel'' budget line item on 
Form SF-424A. The personnel plan should provide a description of how 
the personnel will carry out the proposed plan, including the adequacy 
and previous performance of the proposed team to carry out project 
activities.

Addenda to the Project Description

    The applicant must also submit the following required addenda to 
the Project Description in PDF file.
    The required addenda to the Project Description are:
     Resumes of Key Personnel (by Funding Agency): Applicants 
must provide resumes for key personnel staff which generally should not 
exceed two pages in length (per resume). Applicants also should provide 
a 2 page summary description of all personnel (performing for the 
applicant) and contractors named in the application. Resumes should be 
uploaded as one PDF file.
     Verification of Matching Funds
    [cir] Verification of source and amount of matching funds: Each 
USDA applicant must provide verification of source and amount of 
matching funds, i.e., a copy of a bank statement if matching funds are 
in cash or a copy of the confirmed funding commitment from the funding 
source. The verification must show that matching funds are available 
for the duration of the grant performance period. The verification of 
matching funds must be submitted with the application or the 
application will be considered incomplete.
    Applicant Team Written Agreement: If the USDA Applicant is applying 
for funds under this Notice in partnership with and EDA applicant, the 
Applicant Team must provide a copy of the written agreement signed by 
each team member that reflects a binding commitment to undertake the 
proposed project, the respective scopes of work, and perform the roles 
and responsibilities identified in the Project Narrative. The Agreement 
must include the project title and list each applicant and the source 
of funds they are applying for.
     Facilities and Administrative or Indirect Cost Rate 
Agreement
    [cir] The indirect cost category in the project budget should be 
used only when a grant applicant has a federally negotiated indirect 
cost rate. A copy of the current rate agreement must be provided with 
the application.
     Non-profit organizations: Non-profit organizations 
applying for funding must submit the following, addition to all items 
listed above.
    [cir] Organization documents, such as a certificate of 
incorporation and a current good standing certification from the 
Secretary of State where the applicant is incorporated and other 
similar and valid documentation of non-profit status, from the 
intermediary that confirms it has been legally organized for a minimum 
of 3 years as the applicant entity.
     Recipient Information: Applicants must provide the 
following information for each recipient. Please combine into a single 
PDF file.
    1. A summary page, double-spaced between items, listing the 
following for each recipient (this information should not be presented 
in narrative form):
    a. Recipient's entity name;
    b. Complete address (mailing and physical location, if different);
    c. County where located;
    d. Number of Congressional district where recipient is located; and
    e. Contact person's name and telephone number.
    2. Submit evidence that each recipient entity is eligible:
    a. Nonprofits--provide a current valid letter confirming non-profit 
status from the Secretary of the State of incorporation or the IRS, a 
current good standing certification from the Secretary of the State of 
incorporation, or other valid documentation of nonprofit status of each 
recipient.
    b. Low-income rural community--provide evidence the entity is a 
public body, and a copy of the most recent available census data to 
verify the population, and evidence that the median household income is 
at, or below, 80 percent of the national median household income. We 
will only accept data and printouts from http://www.census.gov. The 
specific instructions to retrieve data from this site are detailed 
under the ``Evaluation Criteria'' for ``Population'' and ``Income.''
    c. Federally recognized tribes--provide the page listing their name 
from the Federal Register list of tribal entities published by the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs on October 1, 2010 (75 FR 60810) or a 
subsequent updated list or supplement in the Federal Register. If a 
tribe has been federally recognized since the last list of federally 
recognized tribes was published in the Federal Register, appropriate 
documentation from the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian 
Affairs must be submitted that legally verifies that recognition.

Part VII--Application Review Process for the Rural Jobs Accelerator 
Challenge

Evaluation Criteria

    Applications will be evaluated based on their ability to satisfy 
the following core evaluation criteria, with each criterion assigned 
the points indicated.

[[Page 16528]]

1. Region and Cluster of Focus (15 Points)
    The applicant must describe the region of focus (see page 4) for 
which the funding is requested, including the economics, clusters, and 
the networks and assets that contribute to the region's competitiveness 
and potential for growth.
    The narrative response must:
     Clearly describe the geographic region of the proposed 
project. Regions may be single or multi-jurisdictional areas. 
Applicants have the flexibility to define their region based on 
quantitative and qualitative information about where and how the 
cluster targeted for development operates.\1\ The region description 
should include the location of project recipients for the Building 
Community and Regional Capacity activity. Applicants should provide 
information about areas and/or sectors of economic distress.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Regions can be non-contiguous (e.g., cluster ``anchor'' in 
one region with networked assets such as research partnerships with 
federal labs or supply chain linkages in other regions).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Present a compelling description of the economics of the 
region and the specific cluster that will be targeted by the proposed 
project. This should demonstrate that the region possesses unique 
assets to support the cluster and has a competitive advantage in the 
identified industry and identify any specific economic needs and 
opportunities for growth. Applicants should include evidence of a 
concentration of firms in the identified industry sector, available 
industry-specific infrastructure that support the cluster, and clear 
leadership at the regional level in organizing and coordinating a 
region-wide initiative.
    [cir] Fully describe existing regional partnerships that directly 
engaged in supporting the targeted cluster, including a discussion of 
the extent of participation and effectiveness:
    [cir] Private sector leadership and significant participation in 
cluster activities;
    [cir] Any and all cluster intermediary organization, such as an 
economic development organization, workforce development board, 
business incubator or accelerator, chamber of commerce, or a 
university-based consortium;
    [cir] Universities, federally funded labs, or privately funded 
research and development centers;
    [cir] Federally funded program or center, such as a Manufacturing 
Extension Partnership Center (MEP), Small Business Development Center, 
and Preferred Sustainability Status holders within the Partnership for 
Sustainable Communities;
    [cir] Venture development organizations, venture capital firms, 
revolving loan funders, angel investment groups, community lenders, 
community development financial institutions, and other institutions 
focused on expanding access to capital;
    [cir] Local and municipal governments, workforce development 
entities, communities colleges, and community-based organizations; and
    [cir] Private foundations focused on economic or community 
development, science, business, and innovation.
2. Integrated Project Concept (10 Points)
    Applicants must provide an Integrated Project Concept, which is a 
narrative summary that describes the proposed project with a maximum of 
5 pages.
    The narrative response must:
    a. Present how the applicant intends to leverage and utilize 
multiple resources to meet project objectives, address identified needs 
and capitalize on opportunities;
    b. Clearly express how the proposed scopes of work will complement 
each other in accelerating competitiveness in rural regions;
    c. Describe how the project will promote substantive economic 
growth, including job creation.

    Note:  Applicants requesting ARC or DRA funds must also include 
or incorporate the proposed ARC or DRA scopes of work in their 
Integrated Project Concept.

3. Building Community and Regional Capacity (20 Points)
    The applicant must demonstrate how they will apply USDA funds to 
improve the recipients' capacity, through a program of financial and 
technical assistance, as it related to the RCDI purposes. Capacity-
building financial and technical assistance should provide new 
functions to the recipients or expand existing functions that will 
enable the recipients to undertake projects in the areas of housing, 
community facilities, or community and economic development that will 
benefit the community. The proposed program of financial and technical 
assistance provided, its delivery, and the measurability of its 
effectiveness will determine the merit of the application.
    Capacity-building financial and technical assistance may include: 
Training to conduct community development programs, e.g., the 
establishment of minority business entrepreneurs, cooperatives, or 
micro-enterprises; organizational development, e.g., assistance to 
develop or improve board operations, management, and financial systems; 
instruction on how to develop and implement a strategic plan; 
instruction on how to access alternative funding sources to increase 
leveraging opportunities; staffing, e.g., hiring a person at 
intermediary or recipient level to provide technical assistance to 
recipients.
    The narrative response must:
    a. Describe the nature of financial and technical assistance to be 
provided to the recipients and the activities that will be conducted to 
deliver the technical assistance;
    b. Explain how financial and technical assistance will develop or 
increase the recipient's capacity. Indicate whether a new function is 
being developed or if existing functions are being expanded or 
performed more effectively;
    c. Identify which RCDI purpose areas will be addressed with this 
assistance: Housing, community facilities, or community and economic 
development.
    d. Demonstrate that the applicant has conducted programs of 
financial and technical assistance and achieved measurable results in 
the areas of housing, community facilities, or community and economic 
development in rural areas. Provide the name, contact information, and 
the type and amount of the financial and technical assistance the 
applicant organization has provided to the following for the last 3 
years:
    [cir] Nonprofit organizations in the rural areas.
    [cir] Low-income communities in rural areas (also include the type 
of entity, e.g., city government, town council or village board).
    [cir] Federally recognized tribes or any other culturally diverse 
organizations.
4. Linking to Regional Clusters and Opportunities (20 Points)
    The applicant must demonstrate how they will utilize EDA funds to 
link rural communities to markets, networks, industry clusters, and 
other regional opportunities and assets to improve the rural regions' 
competitiveness, repatriate U.S. jobs, foster job creation, retain 
existing jobs, support innovation, and promote private investment in 
the regional economy.
    The narrative response must:
    a. Describe the proposed activity to be implemented by the 
applicant and how it will link rural regions to the identified clusters 
and opportunities;
    b. Explain how the proposed activity will address an identified 
need or opportunity to meet activity objectives,

[[Page 16529]]

including supporting innovation and job growth;
    c. Explain how the activity will implement goals, objectives or 
actions identified in a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy or 
Regional Strategic Plan which addresses priorities specified at a 
regional scale;
    d. Note the entity or entities that will oversee activity 
development and implementation and demonstrate that these entities have 
experience in the proposed activities and achieved measurable results 
in the areas of regional development and cluster development; and
    e. Demonstrate financial resources to ensure institutional capacity 
to support the projects in the long-term, without significant future 
Federal funding.
5. Project Impact and Measurable Outcomes (20 Points)
    Applications funded under this competitive solicitation are 
expected to identify clear goals and demonstrate potential for 
substantial benefits. While each funding source will identify 
performance metrics that applicants must track and report, applicants 
are encouraged to identify additional metrics that can be used to 
assess the impact of requested funding. Applicants must also describe 
mechanisms for tracking and reporting on these outcomes.
    Applicants are required to submit an Integrated Work Plan (IWP) as 
part of their submission package. The IWP is designed to document the 
key activities that will be supported by Funding Agency, the 
anticipated dates these activities will be completed, and the 
anticipated core impacts that each activity is expected to yield in the 
short-term (during the 3 year project period) and the long-term (within 
three years after project end date). The impacts set forth in the IWP 
should be forecasts based on each activity; grantees will be required 
to report on progress towards reaching these forecasts throughout the 
life of the project.
    Applicants should utilize the Excel-based IWP template available on 
the Rural Jobs Accelerator Web site, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RuralJobsAccelerator. Each measure should be broken down by funding 
source (i.e. EDA, USDA, ARC, and DRA), clearly linking proposed funding 
to specific outcomes. A copy of the IWP template is included as 
Attachment A to this FFO for reference (please note how activities, 
expected deadlines, and anticipated impacts are separately reported for 
each funding agency).
    All applicants are required to utilize and include the following 
measures in their IWP to report on anticipated project impacts:
     Jobs Created during the Project Period--Applicants should 
include an estimate of the number of jobs that will be created during 
the three year project period as a direct result of funding from one of 
the Funding Partners. Anticipated jobs created should be reported as 
full time equivalent (FTE) or equivalents which are annualized for the 
entire project period.
     Jobs Retained during the Project Period--Applicants should 
include an estimate of the number of jobs expected to be retained 
during the three year project period as a direct result of funding from 
each of the Funding Partners. Anticipated jobs retained should be 
reported as FTEs or equivalents which are annualized for the entire 
project period.
     Private Investment Leverage during the Project Period--
Applicants should include an estimate of the amount of private 
investment that will be leveraged during the three year project period 
as a direct result of funding from one of the Funding Partners.
     Businesses Assisted during the Project Period--Applicants 
should include an estimate of the number of businesses expected to be 
assisted during the three year project period as a direct result of 
funding from one of the Funding Partners.
     Engagement and Collaboration of Regional Organizations--
Applicants should include an estimate of the number and types of 
organizations within the region expected to be engaged in the project 
during the three year project period.
     Long-term Jobs Created--Applicants should include an 
estimate of the number of jobs expected to be created within three 
years after project is completed (within six years from project 
inception) that result from funding from one of the Funding Partners. 
Anticipated long-term jobs created should be reported as FTEs or 
equivalents which are annualized for the entire six year period since 
the original grant award.
     Long-term Jobs Retained--Applicants should include an 
estimate of the number of jobs expected to be retained within three 
years after project is completed (within six years from project 
inception) that result from funding from one of the Funding Partners. 
Anticipated long-term jobs retained should be reported as FTEs or 
equivalents which are annualized for the entire six year period since 
the original grant award.
     Long-term Private Investment Leveraged--Applicants should 
include an estimate of the amount of private investment that will be 
leveraged within three years after project is completed (within six 
years from project inception) that result from funding from one of the 
Funding Partners. Funds reported should reflect the cumulative amount 
of private investment anticipated to be leveraged for the entire six 
year period since the original grant award.
     Long-term Businesses Assisted--Applicants should include 
an estimate of the number of businesses that will be assisted three 
years after project is completed (within six years from project 
inception) that result from funding from one of the Funding Partners.
    Additionally, applicants are encouraged to provide other self-
identified measures within the IWP which are specific to their proposed 
project activities. Such measures should align with the objectives of 
the individual project, as well as the overall Rural Jobs Accelerator 
initiative. For example, applicants may consider the following types of 
measures:
     Cooperation:
    [cir] Number of organizations actively engaged in the cluster (and 
new ones added to the network)
    [cir] Number of symposia held by the cluster
    [cir] Number of further cooperative agreements as a result of the 
supported activity
     Innovation:
    [cir] Number of new projects developed
    [cir] Number of education and training activities related to 
innovation
    [cir] Number of workshops and seminars related to innovation
     Workforce Skills:
    [cir] Percentage of employees for which training was provided by 
this project
    [cir] Average number of qualified applicants per job
    [cir] Number of recruitment events at universities and community 
colleges
     Business Creation:
    [cir] Number of newly formed businesses as a result of the 
supported activity
    [cir] Number of jobs relocated from outside the U.S. to the region
     Housing Support:
    [cir] Change in available housing units in supported communities
     Access to Capital:
    [cir] Amount and number of new equity investments in cluster firms
    [cir] Amount and number of new loans to cluster firms
     Market Development:
    [cir] Dollar increase in exports resulting from the project 
activities
    Applicants should note that the submitted IWP and associated 
information will form the basis by

[[Page 16530]]

which selected projects will be monitored. Grantees will be required to 
submit regular reports to the Funding Partners which document project 
progress against the scopes of work, deadlines, and short-term measures 
outlined in the original IWP. Reporting requirements will be outlined 
in the terms and conditions of the grant award.
    Applicant teams requesting funding from ARC or DRA should include 
measures for those funding agencies in the IWP.
    Evaluation criterion for this section will be based on the 
following:
    a. Includes specific and quantifiable measures of project impacts 
that benefit the regional economy and will support the cluster;
    b. Presents measures that are relevant to the proposed scopes of 
work and objectives;
    c. Presents measures that will help monitor progress towards 
meeting the objectivities of the Rural Jobs Accelerator; and
    d. Presents practical and clear tracking and reporting mechanisms.
6. Soundness of Approach (15 Points)
    The overall proposal will be considered under this criterion. 
Applicants must list the page numbers in the application that address 
these factors.
    The narrative response must demonstrate:
    a. The ability to implement the proposed scopes of work based on 
prior accomplishments has been demonstrated for both Building Community 
and Regional Capacity and Regional Linkages scopes of work.
    b. The proposed technical assistance program and regional linkages 
program is clearly stated and the application has defined how this 
proposal will be implemented. The plan for implementation is viable for 
both Building Community and Regional Capacity and Regional Linkages 
scopes of work.
    c. Cost effectiveness will be evaluated based on the budget in the 
application for both Building Community and Regional Capacity and 
Regional Linkages scopes of work. For the Building Community and 
Regional Capacity activity the proposed grant amount and matching funds 
should be utilized to maximize capacity building at the recipient 
level.
    d. The proposal fits the objectives for which applications were 
invited.

Application and Eligibility Review

    Each Funding Agency will conduct an initial application and 
eligibility review of applications submitted and received by the 
deadline Each Funding Agency will independently review applications to 
ensure compliance with its agency-specific requirements. This review 
will determine if the application satisfies: (a) All requirements for a 
complete submission (including all required forms, documentation of 
matching funds, and addenda to the Project Description); (b) agency-
specific eligibility criteria; and (c) agency-specific requirements for 
permitted activities. Applications found to be responsive will be 
forwarded for merit review.
Merit Review Panels
    Upon completion of the application and eligibility review, Merit 
Review Panels comprised of Federal employees from the Funding Agencies, 
who will review and evaluate applications deemed responsive. Merit 
Review Panels may also include experts from Support Agencies. The Merit 
Review Panels will evaluate the applications against the evaluation 
criteria enumerated. The Merit review Panels will award up to 100 
points to each application, rank the applications by consensus, and 
forward the evaluation findings and rankings to the Policy Review and 
Recommendation Committee.
Policy Review and Recommendation Committee
    Upon completion of the merit review, the Policy Review and 
Recommendation Committee composed of senior officials from the Primary 
Funding Agencies will review the top 30 ranked applications, or 
approximately 5 per EDA Region. This Committee will evaluate the 
applications based on how well they meet the purposes of the Rural Job 
Accelerator initiative. They may consider such factors as, geographic 
balance in distribution of program funds, balance of diverse project 
types in the distribution of program funds, balanced funding for a 
diverse group of organizations including smaller and rural 
organizations that may form part of a broader consortium to serve 
diverse populations, the availability of funds, the applicant's 
performance under previous Federal financial assistance awards, and the 
extent to which the applicant integrates and leverages multiple Federal 
resources to effectively support rural region and cluster development. 
For projects based within regions serviced by the Delta Regional 
Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Policy Review 
and Recommendation Committee will give additional consideration to 
projects that fully integrate and leverage the resources provided by 
these agencies. Based on these combined factors, the Policy Review and 
Recommendation Committee will recommend approximately twenty 
applications to the agency principals and selecting officials.
Agency Principals and Selecting Officials
    Agency principals and selecting officials will work together to 
make the final award determinations. The agency principals for the 
Primary Funding agencies include the Assistant Secretary of Commerce 
for Economic Development and the Undersecretary for Rural Development 
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Selecting officials are authorized to finalize funding decisions 
and make awards. The USDA selecting official will be the Tammye 
Trevino, Administrator for Rural Housing Service.
    Selecting officials may follow the recommendations of the Policy 
Review and Recommendation Committee, or may consider additional 
information in making their selections. If a selecting official makes a 
selection of an application that is not included in the set of 
applications recommended by the Policy Review and Recommendation 
Committee, the selecting official must document the rationale for the 
decision in writing.
Unsuccessful Competition
    On occasion, competitive solicitations or competitive panels 
produce less than optimum results, such as a competition resulting in 
the receipt of no applications, a competition resulting in the receipt 
of only unresponsive or unqualified applications, or too few highly 
rated applications. In the event that these conditions arise, the 
Funding Agencies shall take the most time- and cost-effective approach 
available that is in the best interest of the Federal government. This 
includes (1) Re-competition, (2) re-paneling, or (3) formal 
negotiation.
Transparency
    The agencies and bureaus involved in this initiative are committed 
to conducting a transparent grant award process and publicizing 
information about investment decisions. Applicants are advised that 
their respective applications and information related to its review and 
evaluation may be shared publicly as permitted by law. In addition, 
information about the grant award progress and related results may also 
be made publicly available. USDA may release a list of Rural Jobs

[[Page 16531]]

Accelerator applicants including organization, project name, city and 
state.
    Additional information regarding the ``Rural Jobs and Innovation 
Accelerator Challenge'' can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RuralJobsAccelerator.html.

Submission of Applications

    An applicant may obtain the appropriate application package 
electronically at Grants.gov. All components of the appropriate 
application package may be accessed and downloaded (in a screen-
fillable format) at www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp. 
The preferred electronic file format for attachments is PDF; however, 
electronic files in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Excel 
will also be accepted. The applicant must complete the Grants.gov 
registration process to submit applications through Grants.gov; 
however, please note that registration is not required for an applicant 
to access, view, or download the application packages. Alternatively, 
an applicant may request a paper application package by contacting the 
USDA Rural Development State Office listed in this Notice.

Electronic Submission

    The Primary Funding Agencies encourage electronic submission of 
applications through Grants.gov. Applicants should not wait until the 
application closing date to begin the registration and submission 
process. In order to submit an application through Grants.gov, 
applicants first must register for a Grants.gov user id and password. 
Note that this registration process can take between three to five 
business days or as long as two weeks if all steps are not completed in 
a timely manner (see http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp). Applicants should register as organizations, not as 
individuals. Please note that organizations already registered with 
Grants.gov do not need to re-register; however, all registered 
organizations must keep their Central Contractor Registration (CCR) 
database registration up-to-date and must designate the person 
submitting the application on behalf of the organization as an 
Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). See the following 
discussion of AOR requirements in this section.
    An application that is not validated and time-stamped by Grants.gov 
by the applicable deadline will not be processed.
    Applicants need to be aware that once an application is submitted, 
it undergoes a validation process through Grants.gov in which the 
application may be accepted or rejected by the system. The validation 
process may take 24 to 48 hours to complete. Applications that contain 
errors will be rejected by Grants.gov and will not be forwarded to the 
Funding Agencies for review. The applicant must correct the error 
before Grants.gov will accept and validate the application. The Funding 
Agencies will not accept late applications that were rejected by 
Grants.gov due to errors. Accordingly, the Funding Agencies strongly 
suggest that applicants submit their applications at least four to five 
days before the application deadline to allow the application to be 
accepted and validated by Grants.gov and to allow time for errors to be 
corrected. The Funding Agencies will consider the time-stamp on the 
validation from Grants.gov as the official submission time.
    AOR requirement. Applicants must register as organizations, not as 
individuals, and must register at least one Authorized Organizational 
Representative (AOR) for your organization. AORs registered at 
Grants.gov are the only officials with the authority to submit 
applications via Grants.gov. If the application is submitted to 
Grants.gov by anyone other than your organization's AOR, it will be 
rejected by Grants.gov and cannot be considered. Please note: An 
Applicant Team must submit its application package using the registered 
AOR for the organization applying for EDA funds.
    The Funding Agencies will not accept late submissions caused by 
Grants.gov registration issues, including CCR and AOR issues.
    The following instructions provide step-by-step instructions for 
accessing, completing, and submitting an application via Grants.gov. 
Save the application package at regular intervals to avoid losing work.
    a. Navigate to the URL www.grants.gov.
    b. Select ``Apply for Grants'' from the left-hand menu at 
Grants.gov.
    c. Ensure that you have installed a Grants.gov compatible version 
of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer. Incompatible versions of 
Adobe Acrobat Reader may cause errors. Please see compatible versions 
of Adobe Reader at http://grants.gov/help/download_software.jsp#adobe811.
    d. Select the link ``Download a Grant Application'' package.
    e. Enter [[``Rural Jobs Accelerator 2012'']] as the Funding 
Opportunity Number and click on ``Download Package.''
    f. Click on the ``Download'' link.
    g. Click on ``Download Application Package.''
    h. Save the application package to your computer or network drive. 
Note that the application package file can be shared among multiple 
users; however, each user must have a Grants.gov compatible version of 
Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in order to save changes to the 
application package.
    i. Click on each of the documents in the ``Mandatory Documents'' 
box and, after selecting each one, click on the arrow to move these 
into the ``Mandatory Documents for Submission'' box.
    j. In the ``Optional Documents'' box, click on Form SF-LLL if non-
Federal funds have been or are planned to be used for lobbying in 
connection with a covered federal transaction, including this 
competitive solicitation and then move this to the ``Optional Documents 
for Submission'' box. If you will submit your application via 
Grants.gov, also click on ``Attachments'' and move this to the 
``Optional Documents for Submission'' box. The Attachments Form also 
allows applicants to attach the Project Description documents, forms, 
and other documents required as addenda under this competition. Note 
that if the applicant is not submitting electronically, the Project 
Description documents and other required forms and addenda all must be 
printed and submitted in hard copy via a CD or paper.
    k. The application package should pre-populate with all selected 
forms embedded. Complete all mandatory fields (highlighted in yellow) 
on the forms. Note that mandatory fields will vary based on the type of 
applicant and the type of assistance sought. On Form CD-511, type ``not 
awarded yet'' in the ``project number'' field.
    l. Attach the Project Description documents and other required 
forms and addenda. Note, the mandatory USDA forms can be found on the 
``Full Announcement'' tab, and must be included as attachments to the 
application. The preferred electronic file format for the required 
attachments is PDF; however, the Funding Agencies will accept 
electronic files in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel formats.
    m. When all mandatory fields have been completed, scroll to the top 
and click on ``Check Package for Errors.''
    n. Click ``Save.''
    o. Click ``Save and Submit.'' At this point, the registered AOR for 
the EDA applicant must be connected to the Internet and will be 
prompted to enter

[[Page 16532]]

the appropriate Grants.gov user id and password in order to 
electronically submit the application.
    Verify submission was successful. Applicants should save and print 
written proof of an electronic submission made at Grants.gov. 
Applicants can expect to receive multiple emails regarding the status 
of their submission. Since email communication can be unreliable, 
applicants must proactively check on the status of their application if 
they do not receive email notifications within a day of submission. The 
first email should confirm receipt of the application, and the second 
should indicate that the application has either been successfully 
validated by the system before transmission to the Funding Agencies or 
has been rejected due to errors. Please note: That it can take up to 
two business days after Grants.gov receives an application for 
applicants to receive email notification of an error. An applicant will 
receive a third email once EDA has retrieved an application from 
Grants.gov.
    Applicants should refrain from submitting multiple copies of the 
same application package. Applicants should save and print both the 
submitted application confirmation screen provided on Grants.gov, and 
the confirmation email sent by Grants.gov when the application has been 
successfully received and validated in the system. If an applicant 
receives an email from Grants.gov indicating that the application was 
received and subsequently validated, but does not receive an email from 
Grants.gov indicating that EDA has retrieved the application package 
within 72 hours of that email, the applicant may contact the 
appropriate person listed in Appendix F. of this FFO to inquire if EDA 
is in receipt of the submission.
    It is the applicant's responsibility to verify that its submission 
was received and validated successfully at Grants.gov. To see the date 
and time your application was received, log on to Grants.gov and click 
on the ``Track My Application'' link from the left-hand menu. For a 
successful submission, the application must be received and validated 
by Grants.gov, and an agency tracking number assigned. If your 
application has a status of ``Received'' it is awaiting validation by 
Grants.gov. Once validation is complete, the status will change to 
``Validated'' or ``Rejected with Errors.'' If the status is ``Rejected 
with Errors,'' your application has not been received successfully. 
Some of the reasons Grants.gov may reject an application can be found 
at http://www.grants.gov/applicants/submit_application_faqs.jsp.
    Systems issues. If you experience a Grants.gov ``systems issue'' 
(technical problems or glitches with the Grants.gov Web site) that you 
believe threatens your ability to complete a submission, please (a) 
print any error message received and (b) call the Grants.gov Contact 
Center at 1-800-518-4726 for immediate assistance. Ensure that you 
obtain a case number regarding your communications with Grants.gov. 
Please note: Problems with an applicant organization's computer system 
or equipment are not considered ``systems issues.'' Similarly, an 
applicant's failure to (a) complete the registration, (b) ensure that a 
registered AOR with the EDA applicant submits the application, or (c) 
notice receipt of an email message from Grants.gov, are not considered 
systems issues. A Grants.gov ``systems issue'' is an issue occurring in 
connection with the operations of Grants.gov itself, such as the 
temporary loss of service by Grants.gov due to an unexpected volume of 
traffic or failure of information technology systems, both of which are 
highly unlikely.
    Applicants should access the following link for assistance in 
navigating Grants.gov and for a list of useful resources: http://www.grants.gov/help/help.jsp. Also, the following link lists frequently 
asked questions (FAQs): www.grants.gov/applicants/submit_application_faqs.jsp. If you do not find an answer to your question under the 
``Applicant FAQs,'' try consulting the ``Applicant User Guide'' or 
contacting Grants.gov via email at support@grants.gov or telephone at 
1-800-518-4726. The Grants.gov Contact Center is open 24 hours a day, 
seven days a week.
    Entities wishing to apply for assistance may download the 
application documents and requirements delineated in this Notice from 
the RCDI Web site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/rcdi. Application 
information for electronic submissions may be found at http://www.grants.gov.
    Applicants may also request paper application packages from the 
Rural Development office in their state.
    Applicants have the option of submitting their application on a CD 
or a completed paper application. Proposals submitted via CD or paper 
must be received at or before 5 p.m. Eastern time on May 9, 2012 at the 
following address: Attn: Terry D'Addio, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
14th and Independence Avenue SW., Room 6015-S, Washington, DC 20250.
    Proposals shall be submitted in sealed envelopes or packages with a 
cover page labeled with ``Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Rural Jobs 
Accelerator,'' the project name; and the organizations included in the 
application. One original and two copies of the CD or paper submission 
must be delivered via postal mail or courier service with a postmark or 
courier service's time and date stamp on or before the deadline. USDA 
mail security measures may delay receipt of United States Postal 
Service mail for up to three weeks. Therefore, applicants that submit 
via paper or CD are strongly advised to use carriers with guaranteed 
delivery services and that provide confirmation that indicates the 
application was delivered by the deadline.
    CDs must be labeled with the project name and verified as virus 
free. The Funding Agencies will not review any proposals submitted on 
CDs on which viruses are detected.
    The CD or paper submission must include all the required forms, 
Project Description documents and addenda for all applicants proposing 
scopes of work for the joint project (see section V.C. of this FFO for 
application content requirements).
    The applicant may download the appropriate application package in a 
screen-fillable format from http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp, save it electronically, and upload it onto the CD.
    If your application is received after the deadline, it will not be 
reviewed.
    Selection of an organization under this FFO does not constitute 
approval of the proposed project as submitted. Before any funds are 
awarded, the Funding Agencies may enter into negotiations about such 
items as program components, staffing and funding levels, and 
administrative systems in place to support implementation of the award. 
The amount of available funding may require the final award amount to 
be less than that requested by the applicant. If the negotiations do 
not result in a mutually acceptable submission, the Grants Officer for 
the applicable Funding Agency reserves the right to terminate the 
negotiations and decline to fund the application. The Funding Agencies 
reserve the right not to fund any application received under this 
competitive solicitation.

Unsuccessful Competition

    On occasion, competitive solicitations or competitive panels 
produce less than optimum results, such as a competition resulting in 
the receipt of no

[[Page 16533]]

applications, a competition resulting in the receipt of only 
unresponsive or unqualified applications, or too few highly rated 
applications. In the event that these conditions arise, the Funding 
Agencies shall take the most time- and cost-effective approach 
available that is in the best interest of the Federal government. This 
includes (1) Re-competition, (2) re-paneling, or (3) formal 
negotiation.

Part VIII--Award Administration Information

A. General Information

    Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the awarding 
official of the Agency shall make grants in ranked order to eligible 
applicants under the procedures set forth in this Notice.

B. Award Notice

    Applicants will be notified of selection by letter. Unsuccessful 
applicants will receive notification including appeal rights by mail. 
In addition, selected applicants will be requested to verify that 
components of the application have not changed at the time of selection 
and on the award obligation date, if requested by the Agency. The award 
is not approved until all information has been verified, and the 
awarding official of the Agency has signed Form RD 1940-1, ``Request 
for Obligation of Funds.''

C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Grantees will be required to do the following:
    1. Execute a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant 
Agreement.
    2. Execute Form RD 1940-1.
    3. Use Form SF 270, ``Request for Advance or Reimbursement,'' to 
request reimbursements. Provide receipts for expenditures, timesheets 
and any other documentation to support the request for reimbursement.
    4. Provide financial status and project performance reports on a 
quarterly basis starting with the first full quarter after the grant 
award.
    5. Maintain a financial management system that is acceptable to the 
Agency.
    6. Ensure that records are maintained to document all activities 
and expenditures utilizing RCDI grant funds and matching funds. 
Receipts for expenditures will be included in this documentation.
    7. Provide annual audits or management reports on Form RD 442-2, 
``Statement of Budget, Income and Equity,'' and Form RD 442-3, 
``Balance Sheet,'' depending on the amount of Federal funds expended 
and the outstanding balance.
    8. Collect and maintain data provided by recipients on race, sex, 
and national origin and ensure recipients collect and maintain the same 
data on beneficiaries. Race and ethnicity data will be collected in 
accordance with OMB Federal Register notice, ``Revisions to the 
Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and 
Ethnicity,'' (62 FR 58782), October 30, 1997. Sex data will be 
collected in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 
1972. These items should not be submitted with the application but 
should be available upon request by the Agency.
    9. Provide a final project performance report.
    10. Identify and report any association or relationship with Rural 
Development employees.
    11. The intermediary and recipient must comply with Title VI of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 
Executive Order 12898, Executive Order 12250 and RD Instruction 7 CFR 
part 1901-E.
    12. The grantee must comply with policies, guidance, and 
requirements as described in the following applicable OMB Circulars and 
Code of Federal Regulations:
    a. OMB Circular A-87 (Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian 
Tribal Government);
    b. OMB Circular A-122 (Cost Principles for Non-profit 
Organizations);
    c. OMB Circular A-133 (Audits of States, Local Governments, and 
Non-Profit Organizations);
    d. 7 CFR part 3015 (Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations);
    e. 7 CFR part 3016 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants 
and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments);
    f. 2 CFR parts 417 and 180 (Government-wide Debarment and 
Suspension (Nonprocurement);
    g. 7 CFR part 3019 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants 
and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and 
Other Non-profit Organizations); and
    h. 7 CFR part 3052 (Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-
Profit Organizations).

Additional Requirements

No Obligation for Future Funding
    If an applicant is awarded funding under this Notice, USDA is not 
under any obligation to provide any additional future funding in 
connection with that award or to make future award(s). Amendment or 
renewal of an award to increase funding or to extend the period of 
performance is at the discretion of USDA.
Freedom of Information Act Disclosure
    The Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) (FOIA) and the USDA's 
implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 1, subpart A set forth the rules 
and procedures to make requested material, information and records 
publicly available. Unless prohibited by law and to the extent 
permitted under FOIA, contents of applications submitted by applicants 
may be released in response to FOIA requests.
Past Performance and Non-Compliance With Award Provisions
    Unsatisfactory performance under prior Federal awards may result in 
an application not being considered for funding. Failure to comply with 
any or all of the provisions of an award may have a negative impact on 
future funding by the USDA and may be considered grounds for any or all 
of the following actions: (1) Establishing an account receivable; (2) 
withholding payments to the recipient under any USDA award(s); (3) 
changing the method of payment from advance to reimbursement only; (4) 
imposing other special award conditions; (5) suspending any active USDA 
award(s); and (6) terminating any active USDA award(s).

Part IX--Agency Contact

    Contact the Rural Development office in the state where the 
applicant's headquarters is located. A list of Rural Development State 
Offices is included in this Notice.

Part X--Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination 
in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital 
status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, 
genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or 
part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance 
program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with 
disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program 
information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a 
complaint of discrimination, write to

[[Page 16534]]

USDA, Director, Office of Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-
6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and 
lender.

Part XI--Appeal Process

    All adverse determinations regarding applicant eligibility and the 
awarding of points as part of the selection process are appealable 
pursuant to 7 CFR part 11. Instructions on the appeal process will be 
provided at the time an applicant is notified of the adverse decision.

Grant Amount Determination

    In the event the applicant is awarded a grant that is less than the 
amount requested, the applicant will be required to modify its 
application to conform to the reduced amount before execution of the 
grant agreement. The Agency reserves the right to reduce or withdraw 
the award if acceptable modifications are not submitted by the awardee 
within 15 working days from the date the request for modification is 
made. Any modifications must be within the scope of the original 
application.

Rural Development State Office Contacts

    Note: Telephone numbers listed are not toll-free.

Alabama State Office
    Suite 601, Sterling Centre, 4121 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 
36106-3683, (334) 279-3400, TDD (334) 279-3495, Allen Bowen.
Alaska State Office
    800 West Evergreen, Suite 201, Palmer, AK 99645, (907) 761-7778, 
TDD (907) 761-8905, Merlaine Kruse.
Arizona State Office
    230 North 1st Avenue, Suite 206, Phoenix, AZ 85003, (602) 280-
8747, TDD (602) 280-8705, Leonard Gradillas.
Arkansas State Office
    700 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 3416, Little Rock, AR 72201-3225, (501) 
301-3265, TDD (501) 301-3200, Stephen Lagasse.
California State Office
    430 G Street, Agency 4169, Davis, CA 95616-4169, (530) 792-5810, 
TDD (530) 792-5848, Janice Waddell.
Colorado State Office
    Denver Federal Center, Building 56, Room 2300, P.O. Box 25426*, 
Denver, CO 80225-0426, (720) 544-2927, TDD (720) 544-2976, Jerry 
Tamlin.

Connecticut

    Served by Massachusetts State Office.
Delaware and Maryland State Office
    1221 College Park Dr., Suite 200, Dover, DE 19904-8713, (302) 
857-3627, TDD (302) 857-3585, Denise MacLeish.
Florida & Virgin Islands State Office
    4440 NW. 25th Place, P.O. Box 147010, Gainesville, FL 32614-
7010, (352) 338-3485, TDD (352) 338-3499, Michael Langston.
Georgia State Office
    Stephens Federal Building, 355 E. Hancock Avenue, Athens, GA 
30601-2768, (706) 546-2171, TDD (706) 546-2034, Jerry M. Thomas.

Guam

    Served by Hawaii State Office.
Hawaii, Guam, & Western Pacific Territories State Office
    Room 311, Federal Building, 154 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI 
96720, (808) 933-8317, TDD (808) 933-8321, Alton Kimura.
Idaho State Office
    9173 West Barnes Dr., Suite A1, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 378-5617, 
TDD (208) 378-5600, David A. Flesher.
Illinois State Office
    2118 West Park Court, Suite A, Champaign, IL 61821, (217) 403-
6209, TDD (217) 403-6240, Michael Wallace.
Indiana State Office
    5975 Lakeside Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46278-1996, (317) 290-
3100 (ext. 407), TDD (317) 290-3343, Rochelle Owen.
Iowa State Office
    873 Federal Building, 210 Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA 50309, 
(515) 284-4459, TDD (515) 284-4858, Karla Peiffer.
Kansas State Office
    1303 SW. First American Place, Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66604-4040, 
(785) 271-2728, TDD (785) 271-2767, Kent Evans.
Kentucky State Office
    771 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Lexington, KY 40503, (859) 224-
7415, TDD (859) 224-7300, Vernon Brown.
Louisiana State Office
    3727 Government Street, Alexandria, LA 71302, (318) 473-7965, 
TDD (318) 473-7920, Richard Hoffpauir.
Maine State Office
    967 Illinois Ave., Suite 4, P.O. Box 405, Bangor, ME 04402-0405, 
(207) 990-9124, TDD (207) 942-7331, Ron Lambert.

Maryland

    Served by Delaware State Office.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, & Rhode Island State Office
    451 West Street, Suite 2, Amherst, MA 01002-2999, (413) 253-
4300, TDD (413) 253-7068, Daniel R. Beaudette.
Michigan State Office
    3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 200, East Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 
324-5208, TDD (517) 337-6795, Christine M. Maxwell.
Minnesota State Office
    410 Farm Credit Service Building, 375 Jackson Street, St. Paul, 
MN 55101-1853, (651) 602-7800, TDD (651) 602-3799, Terry Louwagie.
Mississippi State Office
    Federal Building, Suite 831, 100 W. Capitol Street, Jackson, MS 
39269, (601) 965-4326, TDD (601) 965-5850, Darnella Smith-Murray.
Missouri State Office
    601 Business Loop 70 West, Parkade Center, Suite 235, Columbia, 
MO 65203, (573) 876-0976, TDD (573) 876-9480, Clark Thomas.
Montana State Office
    2229 Boot Hill Court, Bozeman, MT 59715, (406) 585-2520, TDD 
(406) 585-2545, Steve Troendle.
Nebraska State Office
    Federal Building, Room 152, 100 Centennial Mall N., Lincoln, NE 
68508, (402) 437-5559, TDD (402) 437-5551, Denise Brosius-Meeks.
Nevada State Office
    1390 South Curry Street, Carson City, NV 89703-9910, (775) 887-
1222 (ext. 113), TDD 7-1-1, Cheryl Couch.

New Hampshire

    Served by Vermont State Office.
New Jersey State Office
    8000 Midlantic Drive, 5th Floor North, Suite 500, Mt. Laurel, NJ 
08054, (856) 787-7753, Kenneth Drewes.
New Mexico State Office
    6200 Jefferson St. NE., Room 255, Albuquerque, NM 87109, (505) 
761-4954, TDD (505) 761-4938, Martha Torrez.
New York State Office
    The Galleries of Syracuse, 441 S. Salina Street, Suite 357, 
Syracuse, NY 13202-2541, (315) 477-6400, TDD (315) 477-6447, Gail 
Giannotta.
North Carolina State Office
    4405 Bland Road, Suite 260, Raleigh, NC 27609, (919) 873-2063, 
TDD (919) 873-2003, William A. Hobbs.
North Dakota State Office
    Federal Building, Room 208, 220 East Rosser Ave., P.O. Box 1737, 
Bismarck, ND 58502-1737, (701) 530-2029, TDD (701) 530-2113, Mark 
Wax.
Ohio State Office
    Federal Building, Room 507, 200 North High Street, Columbus, OH 
43215-2418, (614) 255-2391, TDD (614) 255-2554, David M. Douglas.
Oklahoma State Office
    100 USDA, Suite 108, Stillwater, OK 74074-2654, (405) 742-1061, 
TDD (405) 742-1007, Jerry Efurd.
Oregon State Office
    1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 801, Portland, OR 97232, (503) 414-
3362, TDD (503) 414-3387, Sam Goldstein.
Pennsylvania State Office
    One Credit Union Place, Suite 330, Harrisburg, PA 17110-2996, 
(717) 237-2281, TDD (717) 237-2281, Susanne Gantz.
Puerto Rico State Office
    654 Mu[ntilde]oz Rivera Avenue, Suite 601, San Juan, PR 00918-
6106, (787) 766-5095, TDD (787) 766-5332, Nereida Rodriguez.

Rhode Island

    Served by Massachusetts State Office.
South Carolina State Office
    Strom Thurmond Federal Building, 1835 Assembly Street, Room 
1007, Columbia, SC 29201, (803) 253-3425, TDD (803) 765-5697, Jesse 
T. Risher.
South Dakota State Office
    Federal Building, Room 210, 200 Fourth Street SW., Huron, SD 
57350, (605) 352-1145, TDD (605) 352-1147, Doug Roehl.
Tennessee State Office
    Suite 300, 3322 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203-1071, (615) 
783-1345, TDD (615) 783-1397, Keith Head.

[[Page 16535]]

Texas State Office
    Federal Building, Suite 102, 101 South Main, Temple, TX 76501, 
(254) 742-9787, TDD (254) 742-9749, Michael B. Canales.
Utah State Office
    Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, 125 South State Street, 
Room 4311, P.O. Box 11350, Salt Lake City, UT 84138, (801) 524-4326, 
TDD (801) 524-3309, Debra Meyer.
Vermont State Office
    City Center, 3rd Floor, 89 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05602, 
(802) 828-6033, TDD (802) 223-6365, Rhonda Shippee.

Virgin Islands

    Served by Florida State Office.
Virginia State Office
    Culpeper Building, Suite 238, 1606 Santa Rosa Road, Richmond, VA 
23229, (804) 287-1577, TDD (804) 287-1753, Kent Ware.
Washington State Office
    1835 Black Lake Boulevard, SW., Suite B, Olympia, WA 98512-5715, 
(360) 704-7737, Peter McMillin.

Western Pacific Territories

    Served by Hawaii State Office.
West Virginia State Office
    1550 Earl Core Road, Suite 101, Morgantown, WV 26505, (304) 284-
4886, TDD (304) 284-4836, Janna Lowery.
Wisconsin State Office
    4949 Kirschling Court, Stevens Point, WI 54481, (715) 345-7615, 
TDD (715) 345-7610, Brian Deaner.
Wyoming State Office
    Federal Building, Room 1005, 100 East B Street, P.O. Box 11005, 
Casper, WY 82602-5006, (307) 233-6700, TDD (307) 233-6719, Alana 
Cannon.
Washington, DC
    Stop 0787, Room 0175, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC 20250-0787, (202) 205-9685, Shirley J. Stevenson.

    Dated: March 14, 2012.
Cristina Chiappe,
Acting Administrator, Rural Housing Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-6611 Filed 3-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XV-P