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SWVA Grant Competition for Eco Friendly Econ Dev Proposals; 100K to be Split by Winners

Copyright/credit: © Steven David Johnson / Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

If you have an idea for a cool, new, eco-friendly business you’ve always dreamed of starting, Southwest Virginia is looking for you. Grant money is available from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and The Nature Conservancy. Proposals are being accepted now, and you have until March 29th to submit yours.  

Southwest Virginia is having a moment.

The region was just awarded a large funding package from the state, to expand broad band in underserved areas.  And there’s an exciting new grant program from the Nature Conservancy to the University of Virginia at Wise, that will no doubt, benefit from the additional connectivity.

The Cumberland Forest Community Fund is holding a competition for proposals to support nature-based economic and community development projects in the seven-county region of Southwest Virginia. They’re looking for solid plans to revitalize the region, that reflect what’s known as the “Triple Bottom Line,” economic, environmental and recreation minded projects, that build on the strengths of the area.

Shannon Blevins, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Strategic Initiatives at UVA Wise. She says they’ve gotten some really fun applications, but there’s still room for more.

“I mean, one of the neat things in this region, uh, which is a real popular thing is bouldering and rock climbing. Are there some things that we could be able to do that would bring people to this region, that said, um, to take advantage of the outdoor adventure? Uh, but then when they're here, they're going to stay in our hotels, in our bed and breakfast, and they're going to eat in our restaurants and spend money in our shops.”

Time is short to get your dream proposal in, for the first round of grants. A total of one-hundred thousand dollars will be split among the ultimate winners. The deadline for entry is March 29, 2021.

Proposals are being accepted now through March 29, 2021. More information on the Cumberland Forest Community Fund, including the program guidelines and application, can be found here.

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg, covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia.