TITLE 7 - US CODE - SUBCHAPTER IX - RURAL COLLABORATIVE INVESTMENT PROGRAM

7 USC 2009dd - Purpose

The purpose of this subchapter is to establish a regional rural collaborative investment program
(1) to provide rural regions with a flexible investment vehicle, allowing for local control with Federal oversight, assistance, and accountability;
(2) to provide rural regions with incentives and resources to develop and implement comprehensive strategies for achieving regional competitiveness, innovation, and prosperity;
(3) to foster multisector community and economic development collaborations that will optimize the asset-based competitive advantages of rural regions with particular emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship, and the creation of quality jobs;
(4) to foster collaborations necessary to provide the professional technical expertise, institutional capacity, and economies of scale that are essential for the long-term competitiveness of rural regions; and

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(5) to better use Department of Agriculture and other Federal, State, and local governmental resources, and to leverage those resources with private, nonprofit, and philanthropic investments, in order to achieve measurable community and economic prosperity, growth, and sustainability.

7 USC 2009dd1 - Definitions

In this subchapter:
(1) Benchmark 
The term benchmark means an annual set of goals and performance measures established for the purpose of assessing performance in meeting a regional investment strategy of a Regional Board.
(2) Indian tribe 
The term Indian tribe has the meaning given the term in section 450b of title 25.
(3) National Board 
The term National Board means the National Rural Investment Board established under section 2009dd–2 (c) of this title.
(4) National Institute 
The term National Institute means the National Institute on Regional Rural Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship established under section 2009dd–2 (b)(2) of this title.
(5) Regional Board 
The term Regional Board means a Regional Rural Investment Board described in section 2009dd–3 (a) of this title.
(6) Regional innovation grant 
The term regional innovation grant means a grant made by the Secretary to a certified Regional Board under section 2009dd–5 of this title.
(7) Regional investment strategy grant 
The term regional investment strategy grant means a grant made by the Secretary to a certified Regional Board under section 2009dd–4 of this title.
(8) Rural heritage 

(A) In general 
The term rural heritage means historic sites, structures, and districts.
(B) Inclusions 
The term rural heritage includes historic rural downtown areas and main streets, neighborhoods, farmsteads, scenic and historic trails, heritage areas, and historic landscapes.

7 USC 2009dd2 - Establishment and administration of Rural Collaborative Investment Program

(a) Establishment 
The Secretary shall establish a Rural Collaborative Investment Program to support comprehensive regional investment strategies for achieving rural competitiveness.
(b) Duties of Secretary 
In carrying out this subchapter, the Secretary shall
(1) appoint and provide administrative and program support to the National Board;
(2) establish a national institute, to be known as the National Institute on Regional Rural Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship, to provide technical assistance to the Secretary and the National Board regarding regional competitiveness and rural entrepreneurship, including technical assistance for
(A) the development of rigorous analytic programs to assist Regional Boards in determining the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed to receive the greatest regional competitive advantage;
(B) the provision of support for best practices developed by the Regional Boards;
(C) the establishment of programs to support the development of appropriate governance and leadership skills in the applicable regions; and
(D) the evaluation of the progress and performance of the Regional Boards in achieving benchmarks established in a regional investment strategy;
(3) work with the National Board to develop a national rural investment plan that shall
(A) create a framework to encourage and support a more collaborative and targeted rural investment portfolio in the United States;
(B) establish a Rural Philanthropic Initiative, to work with rural communities to create and enhance the pool of permanent philanthropic resources committed to rural community and economic development;
(C) cooperate with the Regional Boards and State and local governments, organizations, and entities to ensure investment strategies are developed that take into consideration existing rural assets; and
(D) encourage the organization of Regional Boards;
(4) certify the eligibility of Regional Boards to receive regional investment strategy grants and regional innovation grants;
(5) provide grants for Regional Boards to develop and implement regional investment strategies;
(6) provide technical assistance to Regional Boards on issues, best practices, and emerging trends relating to rural development, in cooperation with the National Rural Investment Board; and
(7) provide analytic and programmatic support for regional rural competitiveness through the National Institute, including
(A) programs to assist Regional Boards in determining the challenges and opportunities that must be addressed to receive the greatest regional competitive advantage;
(B) support for best practices development by the regional investment boards;
(C) programs to support the development of appropriate governance and leadership skills in the region; and
(D) a review and evaluation of the performance of the Regional Boards (including progress in achieving benchmarks established in a regional investment strategy) in an annual report submitted to
(i) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives; and
(ii) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate.
(c) National Rural Investment Board 
The Secretary shall establish within the Department of Agriculture a board to be known as the National Rural Investment Board.
(d) Duties of National Board 
The National Board shall
(1) not later than 180 days after the date of establishment of the National Board, develop rules relating to the operation of the National Board; and
(2) provide advice to
(A) the Secretary and subsequently review the design, development, and execution of the National Rural Investment Plan;
(B) Regional Boards on issues, best practices, and emerging trends relating to rural development; and
(C) the Secretary and the National Institute on the development and execution of the program under this subchapter.
(e) Membership 

(1) In general 
The National Board shall consist of 14 members appointed by the Secretary not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
(2) Supervision 
The National Board shall be subject to the general supervision and direction of the Secretary.
(3) Sectors represented 
The National Board shall consist of representatives from each of
(A) nationally recognized entrepreneurship organizations;
(B) regional strategy and development organizations;
(C) community-based organizations;
(D) elected members of local governments;
(E) members of State legislatures;
(F) primary, secondary, and higher education, job skills training, and workforce development institutions;
(G) the rural philanthropic community;
(H) financial, lending, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and other related institutions;
(I) private sector business organizations, including chambers of commerce and other for-profit business interests;
(J) Indian tribes; and
(K) cooperative organizations.
(4) Selection of members 

(A) In general 
In selecting members of the National Board, the Secretary shall consider recommendations made by
(i) the chairman and ranking member of each of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;
(ii) the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate; and
(iii) the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
(B) Ex-officio members 
In consultation with the chairman and ranking member of each of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, the Secretary may appoint not more than 3 other officers or employees of the Executive Branch to serve as ex-officio, nonvoting members of the National Board.
(5) Term of office 

(A) In general 
Subject to subparagraph (B), the term of office of a member of the National Board appointed under paragraph (1)(A)[1] shall be for a period of not more than 4 years.
(B) Staggered terms 
The members of the National Board shall be appointed to serve staggered terms.
(6) Initial appointments 
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Secretary shall appoint the initial members of the National Board.
(7) Vacancies 
A vacancy on the National Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
(8) Compensation 
A member of the National Board shall receive no compensation for service on the National Board, but shall be reimbursed for related travel and other expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of the member of the National Board in accordance with section 5702 and 5703 of title 5.
(9) Chairperson 
The National Board shall select a chairperson from among the members of the National Board.
(10) Federal status 
For purposes of Federal law, a member of the National Board shall be considered a special Government employee (as defined in section 202 (a) of title 18).
(f) Administrative support 
The Secretary, on a reimbursable basis from funds made available under section 2009dd–7 of this title, may provide such administrative support to the National Board as the Secretary determines is necessary.
[1] So in original. Probably should be “paragraph (1)”.

7 USC 2009dd3 - Regional Rural Investment Boards

(a) In general 
A Regional Rural Investment Board shall be a multijurisdictional and multisectoral group that
(1) represents the long-term economic, community, and cultural interests of a region;
(2) is certified by the Secretary to establish a rural investment strategy and compete for regional innovation grants;
(3) is composed of residents of a region that are broadly representative of diverse public, nonprofit, and private sector interests in investment in the region, including (to the maximum extent practicable) representatives of
(A) units of local, multijurisdictional, or State government, including not more than 1 representative from each State in the region;
(B) nonprofit community-based development organizations, including community development financial institutions and community development corporations;
(C) agricultural, natural resource, and other asset-based related industries;
(D) in the case of regions with federally recognized Indian tribes, Indian tribes;
(E) regional development organizations;
(F) private business organizations, including chambers of commerce;
(G) 
(i) institutions of higher education (as defined in section 1001 (a) of title 20);
(ii) tribally controlled colleges or universities (as defined in section 1801 (a) of title 25); and
(iii) tribal technical institutions;
(H) workforce and job training organizations;
(I) other entities and organizations, as determined by the Regional Board;
(J) cooperatives; and
(K) consortia of entities and organizations described in subparagraphs (A) through (J);
(4) represents a region inhabited by
(A) more than 25,000 individuals, as determined in the latest available decennial census conducted under section 141 (a) of title 13; or
(B) in the case of a region with a population density of less than 2 individuals per square mile, at least 10,000 individuals, as determined in that latest available decennial census;
(5) has a membership of which not less than 25 percent, nor more than 40 percent, represents
(A) units of local government and Indian tribes described in subparagraphs (A) and (D) of paragraph (3);
(B) nonprofit community and economic development organizations and institutions of higher education described in subparagraphs (B) and (G) of paragraph (3); or
(C) private business (including chambers of commerce and cooperatives) and agricultural, natural resource, and other asset-based related industries described in subparagraphs (C) and (F) of paragraph (3);
(6) has a membership that may include an officer or employee of a Federal agency, serving as an ex-officio, nonvoting member of the Regional Board to represent the agency; and
(7) has organizational documents that demonstrate that the Regional Board will
(A) create a collaborative public-private strategy process;
(B) develop, and submit to the Secretary for approval, a regional investment strategy that meets the requirements of section 2009dd–4 of this title, with benchmarks
(i) to promote investment in rural areas through the use of grants made available under this subchapter; and
(ii) to provide financial and technical assistance to promote a broad-based regional development program aimed at increasing and diversifying economic growth, improved community facilities, and improved quality of life;
(C) implement the approved regional investment strategy;
(D) provide annual reports to the Secretary and the National Board on progress made in achieving the benchmarks of the regional investment strategy, including an annual financial statement; and
(E) select a non-Federal organization (such as a regional development organization) in the local area served by the Regional Board that has previous experience in the management of Federal funds to serve as fiscal manager of any funds of the Regional Board.
(b) Urban areas 
A resident of an urban area may serve as an ex-officio member of a Regional Board.
(c) Duties 
A Regional Board shall
(1) create a collaborative planning process for public-private investment within a region;
(2) develop, and submit to the Secretary for approval, a regional investment strategy;
(3) develop approaches that will create permanent resources for philanthropic giving in the region, to the maximum extent practicable;
(4) implement an approved strategy; and
(5) provide annual reports to the Secretary and the National Board on progress made in achieving the strategy, including an annual financial statement.

7 USC 2009dd4 - Regional investment strategy grants

(a) In general 
The Secretary shall make regional investment strategy grants available to Regional Boards for use in developing, implementing, and maintaining regional investment strategies.
(b) Regional investment strategy 
A regional investment strategy shall provide
(1) an assessment of the competitive advantage of a region, including
(A) an analysis of the economic conditions of the region;
(B) an assessment of the current economic performance of the region;
(C) an overview of the population, geography, workforce, transportation system, resources, environment, and infrastructure needs of the region; and
(D) such other pertinent information as the Secretary may request;
(2) an analysis of regional economic and community development challenges and opportunities, including
(A) incorporation of relevant material from other government-sponsored or supported plans and consistency with applicable State, regional, and local workforce investment strategies or comprehensive economic development plans; and
(B) an identification of past, present, and projected Federal and State economic and community development investments in the region;
(3) a section describing goals and objectives necessary to solve regional competitiveness challenges and meet the potential of the region;
(4) an overview of resources available in the region for use in
(A) establishing regional goals and objectives;
(B) developing and implementing a regional action strategy;
(C) identifying investment priorities and funding sources; and
(D) identifying lead organizations to execute portions of the strategy;
(5) an analysis of the current state of collaborative public, private, and nonprofit participation and investment, and of the strategic roles of public, private, and nonprofit entities in the development and implementation of the regional investment strategy;
(6) a section identifying and prioritizing vital projects, programs, and activities for consideration by the Secretary, including
(A) other potential funding sources; and
(B) recommendations for leveraging past and potential investments;
(7) a plan of action to implement the goals and objectives of the regional investment strategy;
(8) a list of performance measures to be used to evaluate implementation of the regional investment strategy, including
(A) the number and quality of jobs, including self-employment, created during implementation of the regional rural investment strategy;
(B) the number and types of investments made in the region;
(C) the growth in public, private, and nonprofit investment in the human, community, and economic assets of the region;
(D) changes in per capita income and the rate of unemployment; and
(E) other changes in the economic environment of the region;
(9) a section outlining the methodology for use in integrating the regional investment strategy with the economic priorities of the State; and
(10) such other information as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
(c) Maximum amount of grant 
A regional investment strategy grant shall not exceed $150,000.
(d) Cost sharing 

(1) In general 
Subject to paragraph (2), of the share of the costs of developing, maintaining, evaluating, implementing, and reporting with respect to a regional investment strategy funded by a grant under this section
(A) not more than 40 percent may be paid using funds from the grant; and
(B) the remaining share shall be provided by the applicable Regional Board or other eligible grantee.
(2) Form 
A Regional Board or other eligible grantee shall pay the share described in paragraph (1)(B) in the form of cash, services, materials, or other in-kind contributions, on the condition that not more than 50 percent of that share is provided in the form of services, materials, and other in-kind contributions.

7 USC 2009dd5 - Regional innovation grants program

(a) Grants 

(1) In general 
The Secretary shall provide, on a competitive basis, regional innovation grants to Regional Boards for use in implementing projects and initiatives that are identified in a regional rural investment strategy approved under section 2009dd–4 of this title.
(2) Timing 
After October 1, 2008, the Secretary shall provide awards under this section on a quarterly funding cycle.
(b) Eligibility 
To be eligible to receive a regional innovation grant, a Regional Board shall demonstrate to the Secretary that
(1) the regional rural investment strategy of a Regional Board has been reviewed by the National Board prior to approval by the Secretary;
(2) the management and organizational structure of the Regional Board is sufficient to oversee grant projects, including management of Federal funds; and
(3) the Regional Board has a plan to achieve, to the maximum extent practicable, the performance-based benchmarks of the project in the regional rural investment strategy.
(c) Limitations 

(1) Amount received 
A Regional Board may not receive more than $6,000,000 in regional innovation grants under this section during any 5-year period.
(2) Determination of amount 
The Secretary shall determine the amount of a regional innovation grant based on
(A) the needs of the region being addressed by the applicable regional rural investment strategy consistent with the purposes described in subsection (f)(2); and
(B) the size of the geographical area of the region.
(3) Geographic diversity 
The Secretary shall ensure that not more than 10 percent of funding made available under this section is provided to Regional Boards in any State.
(d) Cost-sharing 

(1) Limitation 
Subject to paragraph (2), the amount of a grant made under this section shall not exceed 50 percent of the cost of the project.
(2) Waiver of grantee share 
The Secretary may waive the limitation in paragraph (1) under special circumstances, as determined by the Secretary, including
(A) a sudden or severe economic dislocation;
(B) significant chronic unemployment or poverty;
(C) a natural disaster; or
(D) other severe economic, social, or cultural duress.
(3) Other Federal assistance 
For the purpose of determining cost-share limitations for any other Federal program, funds provided under this section shall be considered to be non-Federal funds.
(e) Preferences 
In providing regional innovation grants under this section, the Secretary shall give
(1) a high priority to strategies that demonstrate significant leverage of capital and quality job creation; and
(2) a preference to an application proposing projects and initiatives that would
(A) advance the overall regional competitiveness of a region;
(B) address the priorities of a regional rural investment strategy, including priorities that
(i) promote cross-sector collaboration, public-private partnerships, or the provision of interim financing or seed capital for program implementation;
(ii) exhibit collaborative innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly within a public-private partnership; and
(iii) represent a broad coalition of interests described in section 2009dd–3 (a) of this title;
(C) include a strategy to leverage public non-Federal and private funds and existing assets, including agricultural, natural resource, and public infrastructure assets, with substantial emphasis placed on the existence of real financial commitments to leverage available funds;
(D) create quality jobs;
(E) enhance the role, relevance, and leveraging potential of community and regional foundations in support of regional investment strategies;
(F) demonstrate a history, or involve organizations with a history, of successful leveraging of capital for economic development and public purposes;
(G) address gaps in existing basic services, including technology, within a region;
(H) address economic diversification, including agricultural and non-agriculturally based economies, within a regional framework;
(I) improve the overall quality of life in the region;
(J) enhance the potential to expand economic development successes across diverse stakeholder groups within the region;
(K) include an effective working relationship with 1 or more institutions of higher education, tribally controlled colleges or universities, or tribal technical institutions;
(L) help to meet the other regional competitiveness needs identified by a Regional Board; or
(M) protect and promote rural heritage.
(f) Uses 

(1) Leverage 
A Regional Board shall prioritize projects and initiatives carried out using funds from a regional innovation grant provided under this section, based in part on the degree to which members of the Regional Board are able to leverage additional funds for the implementation of the projects.
(2) Purposes 
A Regional Board may use a regional innovation grant
(A) to support the development of critical infrastructure (including technology deployment and services) necessary to facilitate the competitiveness of a region;
(B) to provide assistance to entities within the region that provide essential public and community services;
(C) to enhance the value-added production, marketing, and use of agricultural and natural resources within the region, including activities relating to renewable and alternative energy production and usage;
(D) to assist with entrepreneurship, job training, workforce development, housing, educational, or other quality of life services or needs, relating to the development and maintenance of strong local and regional economies;
(E) to assist in the development of unique new collaborations that link public, private, and philanthropic resources, including community foundations;
(F) to provide support for business and entrepreneurial investment, strategy, expansion, and development, including feasibility strategies, technical assistance, peer networks, business development funds, and other activities to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the region;
(G) to provide matching funds to enable community foundations located within the region to build endowments which provide permanent philanthropic resources to implement a regional investment strategy; and
(H) to preserve and promote rural heritage.
(3) Availability of funds 
The funds made available to a Regional Board or any other eligible grantee through a regional innovation grant shall remain available for the 7-year period beginning on the date on which the award is provided, on the condition that the Regional Board or other grantee continues to be certified by the Secretary as making adequate progress toward achieving established benchmarks.
(g) Cost sharing 

(1) Waiver of grantee share 
The Secretary may waive the share of a grantee of the costs of a project funded by a regional innovation grant under this section if the Secretary determines that such a waiver is appropriate, including with respect to special circumstances within tribal regions, in the event an area experiences
(A) a sudden or severe economic dislocation;
(B) significant chronic unemployment or poverty;
(C) a natural disaster; or
(D) other severe economic, social, or cultural duress.
(2) Other Federal programs 
For the purpose of determining cost-sharing requirements for any other Federal program, funds provided as a regional innovation grant under this section shall be considered to be non-Federal funds.
(h) Noncompliance 
If a Regional Board or other eligible grantee fails to comply with any requirement relating to the use of funds provided under this section, the Secretary may
(1) take such actions as are necessary to obtain reimbursement of unused grant funds; and
(2) reprogram the recaptured funds for purposes relating to implementation of this subchapter.
(i) Priority to areas with awards and approved strategies 

(1) In general 
Subject to paragraph (3), in providing rural development assistance under other programs, the Secretary shall give a high priority to areas that receive innovation grants under this section.
(2) Consultation 
The Secretary shall consult with the heads of other Federal agencies to promote the development of priorities similar to those described in paragraph (1).
(3) Exclusion of certain programs 
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the provision of rural development assistance under any program relating to basic health, safety, or infrastructure, including broadband deployment or minimum environmental needs.

7 USC 2009dd6 - Rural endowment loans program

(a) In general 
The Secretary may provide long-term loans to eligible community foundations to assist in the implementation of regional investment strategies.
(b) Eligible community foundations 
To be eligible to receive a loan under this section, a community foundation shall
(1) be located in an area that is covered by a regional investment strategy;
(2) match the amount of the loan with an amount that is at least 250 percent of the amount of the loan; and
(3) use the loan and the matching amount to carry out the regional investment strategy in a manner that is targeted to community and economic development, including through the development of community foundation endowments.
(c) Terms 
A loan made under this section shall
(1) have a term of not less than 10, nor more than 20, years;
(2) bear an interest rate of 1 percent per annum; and
(3) be subject to such other terms and conditions as are determined appropriate by the Secretary.

7 USC 2009dd7 - Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subchapter $135,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2009 through 2012.