Resource Directory

Rural Economic Development

Resources and Grants for Rural Communities

Whether you’re an individual, a business or a community organization, you can use the directory below to search a vast library of resources, tools and services. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), its economic development partners and other organizations around the state offer a range of resources on all aspects of economic well-being, from childcare and education to businesses and housing.

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  • Education & Schools

    2022 National Signature Project Award

    Rural Schools Collaborative

    The National Rural Education Association and the Rural Schools Collaborative are accepting applications for the National Signature Project Award, a $2,500 grant to an outstanding and innovative classroom project that exemplifies the very best in place-based education. The National Signature Project Award is open to any rural classroom teacher in the United States.

  • Sustainability

    Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    DATCP staff can work with the consultant or "responsible person" to monitor the cleanup. The program reviews applications for eligible cost reimbursement and provides cost reimbursement to responsible parties.

  • Agriculture, Economic Development

    Agricultural Enterprise Areas

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    AEA is an area of productive agriculture that has received designation from the state at the request of landowners and local governments. AEAs strive to support local farmland protection goals.

  • Agriculture

    Agricultural Producer Security

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    This program provides a level of assurance that producers of milk, vegetables, and grain will be paid for the products they sell and that grain in storage is properly cared for.

  • Other

    Anti-Human Trafficking Prevention & Awareness Toolkit

    Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

    This is a source of public information available to local communities, professionals, and other stakeholders interested in addressing human trafficking in Wisconsin.

  • Economic Development

    Brownfield Site Assessment Grants

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    The goal of the Brownfield Site Assessment Grant Program supports community redevelopment by providing grants of up to $150,000 to local governments seeking to redevelop sites impacted by environmental contamination.

  • Economic Development

    Brownfields Grant Program

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    The goal of the Brownfields Grant Program provides funds to support community redevelopment in commercial and industrial sites that have been adversely impacted by environmental contamination.

  • Business, Economic Development, Workforce

    Business Development Tax Credit Program

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    The goal of the Business Development Tax Credit (BTC) Program is to incent new and expanding businesses in the state of Wisconsin.

  • Agriculture, Food & Beverage

    Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    Grant program to strengthen Wisconsin’s agricultural and food industries by mitigating barriers in local food channels, increasing efficiencies in processing, marketing, and distributing local food in markets including stores, schools, and institutions.

  • Business, Start-Up & Entrepreneur

    Capital Access Clinic

    Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

    The Capital Access Clinic provides assistance to Wisconsin entrepreneurs who are seeking financing for their business. Through the Capital Access Clinic, entrepreneurs have access to an expert team of financial consultants.

  • Energy, Transportation

    Charging Forward

    U.S Department of Transportation

    A Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural Electric Mobility Infrastructure

  • Child Care

    Child Care Provider Portal

    Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

    A website for child care providers to manage their business

  • Energy, Sustainability

    Clean Energy Plan

    Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy

    The Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan aims to change the adverse trajectory of climate change impacts.

  • Clean Sweep

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    The Clean Sweep Program provides grants to organizations to create and operate local programs for the collection and disposal of agricultural pesticides, farm chemical waste, household hazardous waste, and unwanted prescription drugs.

  • Sustainability

    Clean Water Fund Program

    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    The purpose of the Clean Water Fund Program is to administer affordable financial assistance to communities within Wisconsin for wastewater infrastructure projects that protect and improve public health and water quality for current and future generations.

  • Economic Development

    Community Development Block Grant – Economic Development (CDBG-ED) Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    The CDBG-ED Program works with eligible businesses to complete the application resulting in typical awards from $7,000-$10,000 per job created or retained.

  • Housing

    Community Development Block Grant – Emergency Assistance Program (CDBG-EAP)

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    CDBG-EAP funds assist local units of government in addressing emergency housing, public facility, infrastructure, and business assistance needs that occur as a result of natural or manmade disasters.

  • Economic Development

    Community Development Block Grant – Planning (CDBG-PLNG) Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    Planning​ grant funds support community efforts to address improving community opportunities and vitality. Eligible projects include the development of comprehensive plans, community development plans, and small area and neighborhood plans.

  • Housing

    Community Development Block Grant – Public Facilities (CDBG-PF) Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    ​​​Public Facilities​ funds help support infrastructure and facility projects for communities. Eligible projects include improvements, repairs, or expansions of streets, drainage systems, water and sewer systems, sidewalks, and community centers.

  • Business

    Community Development Block Grant – Public Facilities Economic Development (CDBG-PFED) Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    CDBG-PFED grant funds are awarded to local governments for public infrastructure projects that support business expansion or retention such as water or sewer service.

  • Housing

    Community Development Block Grant – Small Cities Housing Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    Housing proposals will be funded in order to upgrade the quality and expand the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary housing for LMI households.

  • Economic Development

    Community Development Investment Grant Program

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    The goal of the Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant Program is to incent primarily downtown community development in the state of Wisconsin.

  • Community Education: Learning for a Lifetime

    Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

    Provides opportunities for local citizens and the community, school, agencies and institutions to become active partners in addressing education and community concerns.

  • Economic Development

    Community Placemaking & Community Design Charrette

    Community Design Team of Wisconsin

    The Design Wisconsin Team process uses a “tried-and-true” method known in planning and design circles as a “charrette”. Simply defined, a charrette is a period of intense, fast-paced planning and design.

  • Transportation

    Connect 2050

    Wisconsin Department of Transportation

    Connect 2050 is a vision plan, setting an overall direction for our transportation system and establishing goals and objectives based on transportation-related issues and trends, and comments.

  • Economic Development

    Connect Communities Program

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    Connect Communities supplements the Main Street program by expanding services to more downtowns across the state. Connect Communities provides training and networking for communities or organizations working on revitalization.

  • Agriculture

    Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    CREP is a resource to help agricultural landowners meet their conservation goals, particularly those who till or graze land along rivers and streams, by paying to install filter strips.

  • Other

    Consumer Protection

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    We provide outreach and education, assistance for consumers and general information on ways to protect your identity.

  • Child Care

    COVID-19 2022 Child Care Listserv Message Archive

    Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

    Collection of all emails sent through the Child Care Listserv during the COVID-19 emergency

  • Arts & Culture

    Creation and Presentation Grant Program

    Wisconsin Arts Board

    ​​​​​​Creation and Presentation Program (CPP) grants provide artistic program and operational support to established nonprofit arts organizations whose primary mission is to create or present ongoing arts programming that makes a significant local, regional, or statewide impact on the cultural life of Wisconsin, and that furthers the Arts Board’s community development and arts education goals.

  • Arts & Culture, Economic Development

    Creative Communities Grants Program

    Wisconsin Arts Board

    The Creative Communities (CC) grants program encourages arts education and community arts development in Wisconsin. It provides support for projects that further the Arts Board’s goals in the following three areas: Arts Education, Folk and Traditional Arts, and Local Arts. Through direct financial support of specific art​s projects, the Arts Board sustains the vitality of Wisconsin culturally, educationally and economically

  • Housing

    Critical Assistance Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    Critical Assistance funds may be used for the following homeless prevention activities. Payments are made directly to landlords, mortgage holders, local units of government (property tax payments) or utilities.

  • Agriculture

    Dairy processor grant

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    The emphasis of this grant program is to foster innovation, improve profitability, and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities.

  • Business, Economic Development, Workforce

    Diverse Business Development Program

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    The goal of the Diverse Business Development (DBD) Program is to support existing, new and expanding minority-, woman-, LGBT- and veteran-owned businesses in the state of Wisconsin.

  • Arts & Culture, Business, Food & Beverage, Parks & Outdoor Recreation

    Division of Food and Recreational Licensing

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    Licensing Specialists help potential operators of food, lodging, or recreational businesses understand which license is required for their business, and steps to take in obtaining that license.

  • Sustainability

    E-Cycle Wisconsin Collection Grant Program

    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    To provide more electronics recycling opportunities in underserved areas of the state, grants under this program must be used for hosting an electronics collection site or event or series of collection sites or events.

  • Emergency Solutions Grant, Housing Assistance Program, Homelessness Prevention Program EHH

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    The Emergency Shelter Grant can be used for rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, street outreach, Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS), and administrative costs.

  • Business, Economic Development, Workforce

    Emerging Business and Workforce Development Program

    Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority

    The Emerging Business Program was created to encourage the involvement, utilization, and development of economically disadvantaged businesses in the State of Wisconsin. The Workforce Development Program was created to enable unemployed and underemployed area-specific residents to obtain living wage construction jobs.

  • Workforce

    Employment Grants Program

    Department of Administration, ​Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

    Under the Employment Grants Program a municipality will use grant funds to connect homeless individuals with permanent employment.

  • Business, Education & Schools, Start-Up & Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneurial Training Program; Entrepreneurial Training Program Grants

    The Entrepreneurial Training Program provides expert guidance on business plan development to Wisconsin entrepreneurs and small businesses through an 8 to 12-week course.

  • Business, Start-Up & Entrepreneur, Sustainability, Workforce

    Enviro-Check

    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    Enviro-Check helps ensure your business is in good standing with environmental requirements. By voluntarily auditing your practices, you can reduce risks and limit liability. Whether you’re looking for efficiencies or want to verify your environmental performance, DNR’s Enviro-Check program enables you to proactively evaluate compliance.

  • Economic Development, Education & Schools, Workforce

    Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Grant Program

    Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

    The program is designed to support hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education by assisting public school districts with equipment purchases used in fabrication laboratories in Wisconsin schools.

  • Agriculture

    Farm Mediation and Arbitration Program

    Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

    The Wisconsin Farm Mediation and Arbitration Program is a confidential alternative conflict resolution resource available at no cost to Wisconsin farmers.