INDIANAPOLIS – Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced that the Stellar Communities Program is now open for Letters of Intent.
Launched in 2011, the Stellar Communities Program is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment initiative led by OCRA, which is overseen by Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. The program works with communities in creating regional development plans, promoting local and regional partnerships and implementing comprehensive solutions to regional challenges. The program will continue this year with a regional partnership design and select one regional designee.
"The authenticity of the regional relationships built through the Stellar process in Marshall County last year were inspiring to watch, and I’m excited to see the new relationships formed,” said Crouch. “I encourage all regional groups to apply! Each finalist benefits from this strategic process and walks away with a great plan.”
All participating communities must commit at least four years to the project. This collaborative effort brings together mentors and partners to advance comprehensive solutions for regional and local challenges throughout rural Indiana.
“Too often, we get caught up in the challenges and issues facing our community,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “By working together to move a region forward, even more can be accomplished and innovative ideas can become reality. This program helps a region begin that collaborative process.”
Eligible participants include local units of government, a county, city or an incorporated town not currently considered a HUD recognized entitlement community. Only communities that participate in the state Community Development Block Grant program are eligible.
Golden said that although any eligible community can apply, regional mentorships with past Stellar Designees and Finalists are highly encouraged. The Stellar Communities Program manager, Michael Sinnet, is available for consultation and technical assistance.
The Letters of Intent submission process is completed through an online grant management system. All regions must submit the required documentation in order to be considered. Letters of Intent are due by April 3, 2020 at 4 p.m. ET. No paper submissions will be accepted and submissions entered after 4 p.m. will not be eligible.
An informational program video is available online. Visit in.gov/ocra/stellar for more information.
Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the Secretary of Rural Development, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development. For more information, visit ocra.in.gov.