FROM POLLEN MIDWEST
Understanding that small communities often struggle to invest in economic development, GROW South Dakota (GROW) offers an innovative program of financial and technical assistance. Its efforts have sparked growth in 14 rural communities and developed a thriving network that actively shares best practices for housing, community and economic development.
Once communities established an economic development office, GROW worked with them to ensure they could support the work even when the grant money ran out. To do that, GROW connected economic development directors across the state, trained them and kept in touch through personal coaching calls and monthly newsletters.
Through its revolving loan funds, GROW established a unique series of positive feedback loops that allow the organization to finance its work independent of outside sources. The more money it invests in local businesses and homeowners, the more it gets back. GROW shares the risk of its loans with a network of local banks that provide additional support.