West Sacramento, Calif. — The American Express Center for Community Development (CCD) has awarded a $40,000 grant to Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to support the Building Rural Economies Entrepreneurial (BRE) Leadership Program in San Juan County, Utah.

BRE provides training in comprehensive community development and builds capacity for local organizations to network, plan and implement economic development initiatives in rural communities. This grant will help to create up to 10 new businesses; support 60 entrepreneurs, and catalyze two new projects. This work will address intergenerational poverty and long-term public assistance for low- to moderate-income individuals and families. San Juan County, the southern half of which is part of the Navajo Nation, is classified as a Persistent Poverty County.

The work stems from a partnership with two local organizations, Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) and the San Juan Foundation (SJF).

UDB and SJF will recruit up to 30 individuals with a business venture in mind and the willingness to spend eight days during four months to bring their ideas to reality. As a designated BRE community, San Juan County will also benefit from access to RCAC’s Loan Fund’s small business products, which are designed to finance small rural businesses that create or retain jobs.

“We are very pleased to receive this grant award and the expression of confidence in the BRE program for San Juan County,” said Stan Keasling, RCAC’s chief executive officer. “We are excited to be working with a broad coalition of interests in the county to build an economic development infrastructure that can support new business development.”

Along with increasing growth and diversifying San Juan County’s economy, small business entrepreneurship and community development planning, the county will have a cadre of Native American leaders prepared to work together to address their community economic goals.

Founded in 1978, RCAC provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. RCAC serves rural communities in 13 western states and the Pacific islands. RCAC provides a broad range of community and economic development services and lending to support local efforts. To find out more about RCAC visit our About page.

Julia Helmreich
Director, Communications, Development & Events
(916) 447-9832 ext 1008