Rural communities are often at a disadvantage in expanding jobs, creating opportunities for new businesses, or retaining existing small business operations. Barriers associated with geographic isolation, low market density, deteriorating infrastructure, and high unemployment rates underscore the need for community development. To better strengthen and develop communities served by the Cooperative, a matching grant program has been established, Nuestros Vecinos—“Our Neighbors” (“the Grant Program”).
Matching grants are available to rural communities, municipalities, or other non-profit groups that have a desire to remove barriers that inhibit growth and development—especially those obstacles that may hinder economic development. To demonstrate the company’s intent to be a good neighbor, a fund has been established that will allow up to $10,000 to be matched for those purposes.
Matching Grant Categories
Economic Development and Business Assistance - Support for communities in their efforts to create new jobs, provide incentives for prospective or newly developing industries or to meet business/industry requirements for employment, especially those that are newly locating to the Cooperative service area. (maximum grant amount - $10,000)
Economic Development Fund - To support and fund non-profit economic development organizations in the Cooperative service area for the purposes of creating jobs and economic sustainability. (One example would be an economic development organization established in a community to assist in creating jobs for the region.) (maximum grant amount - $5,000)
Disaster and Emergency Assistance - A fund established to support locally or regionally declared disaster recovery efforts due to storms, fires, floods or other unanticipated causes. (maximum grant amount - $5,000)
Community Sponsorships Support for those services, activities, events, recreational or other projects endorsed or sponsored by a fully-sanctioned body such as a municipality, county, local government, chamber of commerce or economic development organization that contributes to the economic viability, health or safety, or general well-being of those residing within the Cooperative service area (maximum grant amount - $5,000)
Disclaimer: Applications will only be considered if funds are available. The committee will then recommend grant requests based on availability of funds to the Board of Directors.
- Projects for which matching funds are to be used must be located in the Cooperative or Plateau Telecommunications service areas. Grant recipients in the Cooperative service area must be purchasing retail communications service or obtain retail communications service prior to payment of any grant funds. The service must be maintained for a minimum period of 12 months. Grants awarded to entities located outside the Cooperative service areas, but within Plateau Telecommunications service areas, will be in the form of a partial credit for communications products/services provided by Plateau Telecommunications.
- Applications requesting matching funds must be endorsed by a local governmental entity, a group, or individuals who have a bona fide interest in economic or community development. Examples would be a chamber of commerce or economic development organization. Individuals participating in the project must not derive direct, personal benefit from an award of funds.
- A completed application form and business plan detailing the intended use of the matching funds must be submitted for review and approval by the Board of Directors or its designees.
- This is a matching grant program. An applicant must contribute the same amount as the amount awarded. For example, if an applicant is awarded a $5,000 grant, they must provide a $5,000 match. Satisfactory proof that qualifying capital (qualifying capital is defined as a combination of cash, property and inventory equal to the amount of the requested grant) is available for the Grant Program to match. The nature of this accounting can vary, but may include bank statements, audit reports, property appraisal reports and copy of property ownership deed or receipt of funds from other grants.
- In the case of an Economic Development and Business Assistance grant request, before an application can be deemed complete, the recipient must also provide a detailed three (3) year business plan, including projected financial results. To be eligible for the maximum grant amount ($10,000), the proposed project business plan must include documentation that a minimum of two (2) full-time equivalent (FTE) positions (40 hours per week) will be created within 12 months of the grant award date. An applicant committing to create one (1) FTE position would be eligible to apply for no more than $5,000.00. The FTE position count excludes the owner(s) of the business. No award may be used to pay salaries to the owners or employees of the entity.
- Grant recipients have the responsibility of accounting for the proper utilization of all matching funds, and their records are subject to audit upon request. Final receipts supporting the intended use and consumption of funds must be filed with the Grant Program within one year (12 months) of receipt of grant funds. No loans will be made by the program. Failure to comply with the program requirements will result in the Grant Program taking action to recover previously granted funds. In the event the business ceases or materially reduces operations within 12 months of the receipt of grant funds, the recipient is required to repay the funds in full.
- Awards of matching funds can be made during the course of the fiscal year (January 1- December 31) or until which time the fund is depleted. At the discretion of the Board of Directors, the grant award may be paid out over a series of months. Projects that are uniquely different and independent from one another may be considered for separate funding. However no single entity may receive more than $10,000 annually or $25,000 in perpetuity. In addition, any entity receiving an Economic Development and Business Assistance grant shall not be eligible to receive another such grant for a period of two years (24 months). Any grant awarded must be expended in accordance with the original request or with an approved modification. If any monies are not spent as requested or as granted, said funds shall be returned to the Grant Program.
- After one year (12 months) unused, remaining, or uncommitted matched funds shall revert back to the Grant Program in accordance with the Grant Program repayment agreement.
- Any existing or proposed business that generates more than 25 percent of its annual revenues through the sale of alcohol, tobacco or other sources of revenue deemed objectionable by the Board of Directors, shall not be eligible for a grant.
Application Forms Request
Application forms or additional information may be received by contactingNuestros Vecinos - "Our Neighbors" (Matching Grant Program)
Attn: Launa Waller
P.O. Box 1947
Clovis, NM 88102
The deadline for submission of applications is the 10th of each monthNuestro Vecinos Grant Application