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Pingree Announces Nearly $500K in USDA Awards to Expand Economic Opportunity in Rural Maine

The USDA funds for The Island Institute, Penquis CAP, and the Cooperative Development Institute will support Mainers in some of the state’s most disadvantaged areas

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest nearly half a million dollars to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing, and health care for people who live and work in rural Maine areas. 

The funding will be awarded to:

  • The Island Institute in Rockland: $193,000 Rural Community Development Initiative grant to help Island Institute continue its Island Fellows program in five low-income communities to build capacity to perform economic and community development activities.
  • Penquis CAP, a statewide nonprofit organization based in Bangor: $124,604 Housing Preservation grant for the rehabilitation of very low and low-income, owner-occupied homes in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox counties. The program will focus on immediate health and safety issues and energy conservation repairs for the homeowner.
  • Cooperative Development Institute, a Maine, Mass., and N.Y. nonprofit: $174,833 Socially Disadvantaged Group grant to assist New Americans and BIPOC communities in developing and expanding cooperative business models in agriculture, childcare, affordable housing, and other sectors. 

“As the most rural state in the nation—Mainers know how important making our communities accessible and equitable is. Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you go to the doctor, get a good education, or make a decent living,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “Supporting rural Maine is a top priority of mine, and I’ll continue to advocate for rural funding through my role on the House Appropriations Committee and by supporting landmark legislation like Build Back Better, which will empower rural regions and support locally-led rural economic development.”

The grants are part of a $86 million USDA investment that will help more than 425,000 people in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the Western Pacific. The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural communities have equitable access to the infrastructure and opportunities often taken for granted by people living in urban and suburban areas.

Pingree serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. 



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