RC&D grant period underway, Wide range of funding available

Lauranne James was able to enjoy a short-lived retirement from NACOLG before agreeing to head up the Northwest Alabama’s RC&D Council.

By Kathryn “Chazz” Hirschfeld
Staff writer
HAMILTON — During a recent Marion County Commission meeting, Lauranne James, the executive director of the Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation and Development Council shared valuable information on her organization, the grant process and the wide range of grants available through RC&D.
Besides Marion County, RC&D also serves Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin and Winston counties.
“We provide funding for grants for municipalities, schools and 501(c)3 organizations (non-profits),” she said. “We team up with a lot of different groups and organizations. The Marion County Extension Service is one of our huge partners.
“We also partner with Emergency Management Agencies and volunteer fire departments to do special projects. Our funding comes from the state legislature, and we serve as boots on the ground for them.”

Grant application period began April 1
James noted RC&D’s grant period opened on April 1 and continues until June 30.
“That is for the funding for the next fiscal year,” she noted, adding approximately $100,000 for projects was granted throughout Marion County this year.
RC&D was credited by those in attendance as “doing an extremely good job of dividing the money from the legislature among the five counties.”
The minimum grant application amount is $5,000. Depending on the project, funds can total $10,000-$12,000.
“This year, we allocated $50,000,  $10,000 per county, toward providing weather radios to EMA’s to give out to the public for free.”
Marion County EMA Director Eric Terrell was at the meeting, and he gave high praise to RC&D officials for the ease of their grant process.
“If there’s anybody out there who has something to apply for, don’t be intimidated by this process,” he said. “They do a great job administering it and helping you go through it.”

Grant workshop
set for April 8
RC&D is joining with the Marion County Extension Service to host a free grant workshop on Monday, April 8, from 9-11 a.m. at the Bevill Building.
“Anybody who wants to come, bring your laptop or iPad with you and we will walk you through the process,” James said.
Interested persons are asked to register by April 5. Please see “Free grant workshop set for April 8” in this edition of the Journal Record for more information on the grant workshop.

 Grant examples
and qualifying
Examples of past grants include: outdoor classrooms; volunteer fire department equipment; park upgrades; spaying, neutering and pet adoptions; murals and trails; police department cameras and equipment; public and school libraries; first responder equipment; schools - lighting upgrades; and schools - athletic equipment and field upgrades.
Qualifying organizations include municipalities, schools, units of government and 501(c)3 non-profits.

How projects
are selected
During the meeting, James also explained how grant projects are selected.
“We have a seven-member board which votes on projects previously reviewed and scored by our council members,” she noted.
“There are three council members from each county. One represents the county commission, one is an at-large member and we have one representative each from the Soil and Water Conversation District.”
Marion County council members include: Warren Williford (Soil and Water); Kenneth Cochran (commission); and Don Burleson (at-large). Burleson also serves on the RC&D board representing Marion County.
“We’re not .gov or .edu, we’re .org,” she said. “So we don’t have all the guidelines tied to us like a lot of other grants that come through the state.”
RC&D also accepts online grant applications through its website at nwalrcd.org.
“We have a small staff,” she noted. “It’s me, our operations manager Vanessa King and our media design specialist Anna Morrison.
“We are here to help. Please call us at 256-383-1446 or email us at info@nwalrcd.org.”

See complete story in the Journal Record.
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