Link to ARC home page.

About ARC Project Grants

How to Apply

Most ARC project grants originate at the state level. Potential applicants should contact their state's ARC program manager to request a preapplication package. Because individual states may limit ARC funding to specific areas, state ARC program managers should be consulted for information on their state's ARC funding priorities.The local development district serving the county in which the project is located may provide guidance on a project's eligibility for funding and assistance in preparing a grant application.

Following is an overview of ARC grants; for more information, see ARC project guidelines.


Match Requirements

ARC expects grantees to contribute matching resources to projects, to the extent they are able to do so, and to seek additional non-ARC funding assistance in a diligent manner. ARC has specific requirements for matching funds; individual states may have additional requirements. State ARC program managers or local development districts can provide information about state matching requirements.

Grant Administration

ARC grants are administered either by ARC or by a federal agency selected by the grantee. The Commission administers most grants where the funds are for technical assistance, program operating costs, or equipment purchase, with no construction costs involved. ARC enters into a grant agreement with the applicant that generally extends for a twelve-month period.

No projects involving significant construction, except housing projects, may be administered directly by ARC. A federal agency receives the ARC grant and makes payments to the grantee in conformance with the federal agency's program requirements.In many cases, the federal agency also provides matching grants or loans for the ARC project.

The federal agencies ARC works with most often are the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, through its Community Development Block Grant Program. In parts of central and southern Appalachia, the Tennessee Valley Authority also serves as a basic agency.

Eligible Activities

Business Development and Entrepreneurship

ARC makes a wide range of grants to public and private nonprofit organizations to help firms create and retain jobs in the Region. Examples of grants include

  • industrial site development;
  • business incubators;
  • special technical assistance and training; and
  • expansion of domestic and foreign markets.
ARC also capitalizes loan funds that improve access to capital for Appalachian businesses and can support other activities that foster entrepreneurship. Business development grants typically include participation of other federal agencies. In distressed areas, ARC assistance may provide up to 80 percent of the total cost of a project.

Education and Training

ARC funds projects that develop, support, or expand education and training programs. Eligible activities include teacher and administrator training; material, equipment, and computer purchases; building renovations; and start-up operational costs for new programs.

ARC-supported education projects range from early childhood and K-12 programs to post-secondary education programs that are oriented towards a specific degree or certificate. Students in these programs become ready for kindergarten, obtain their high school diplomas or GEDs, enroll in post-secondary education, or enter the workforce.

Training programs funded by ARC assist workers in upgrading job skills or learning new skills in order to retain current jobs in the face of increasing global competition, become eligible for better-paying positions, or obtain new jobs.

Health Care
ARC health care grants can be made for equipment and demonstration projects, and in special cases for renovation and construction of facilities. The ARC health program focuses on the development of rural primary care networks in distressed counties and areas. Eligible activities include support of rural health clinics and small hospitals; of programs that eliminate gaps in the delivery of health services, especially to children and the elderly; of projects that address infant mortality reduction, oral and mental health, and health planning activities; of telemedicine networks as a means of universal access to comprehensive health care; and of projects that increase the availability of health care workers.

Physical Infrastructure
Basic Infrastructure. ARC provides funds for basic infrastructure services, including water and sewer facilities, that enhance economic development opportunities or address serious health issues for residential customers.

Housing. ARC supports projects that stimulate the construction or rehabilitation of housing for low- and moderate-income residents. ARC housing grants fund plannng, technical services, and other preliminary expenses of developing housing projects, as well as demolition and necessary site improvements, including excavation, land fills, land clearing and grading; and infrastructure improvements, such as water and sewer system construction.

Telecommunications. ARC funds a number of telecommunications activities, including strategic community planning, equipment acquisition, and hardware and software for network building. ARC funds can be used for strategic telecommunications planning activities, telecommunication service inventory and assessment activities, agregation of demand projects, community awareness information technology (IT) outreach training programs, sector-specific training programs in IT/e-commerce for small and medium-sized businesses, activities related to assisting in the development of IT business development, the acquisition of telecommunications equipment and related software, general operational and administrative expenses associated with project implementation, the installation of telecommunication infrastructure necessary to implement projects or support the development of IT incubators or "Smart Parks," and limited telephone line charge expenses associated with the implementation of projects.

Leadership Development and Civic Capacity
Eligible activities include the development and implementation of community-based strategic plans; training for citizen leaders (both adult and youth leaders), local officials, and management staff from nonprofit community organizations; organizational support for community organizations, and other activities that help build a community's capacity to mobilize resources, gain leadership experience, and strengthen community institutions and partnerships.