Importance of grants to Miss. communities

Published 7:00 am Thursday, August 20, 2015

Part of my job as a U.S. Senator is to assist Mississippians with grant opportunities. The federal government provides grant funding across a wide range of agencies and programs. These grants help identify our nation’s most urgent priorities and ensure that taxpayer dollars are used wisely.
Private companies and charitable foundations are another good source of grant money, supporting everything from local ballfields and domestic violence shelters to school field trips and reading programs. In today’s tough budget environment, both public and private grants are an increasingly important tool for individuals and organizations to utilize.
Many communities turn to grants for key projects when faced with limited resources. As part of my office’s constituent services, my staff routinely informs Mississippians about competitive grant opportunities and helps with the grant process by writing support letters. In recent weeks, several communities across Mississippi have been awarded grants to improve transportation infrastructure, educational services, and public safety.
New Police Station in Wiggins
One of these communities is Wiggins in Stone County, which received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the construction of a new police station. The grant will be instrumental in paving the way for the building’s eventual completion. Other FEMA grants have gone toward needed equipment and training at more than a dozen fire departments across the state, and some have offered crucial assistance in times of disaster. After last year’s deadly tornado across Louisville and Winston County, FEMA disaster recovery grants helped with the cost of clearing and removing debris, giving Mississippians a chance to rebuild their lives.
Support for Airports, Higher Education
Job growth is a welcome benefit, too. Airports at Kosciusko, Starkville, and Gulfport recently received grants from the Federal Aviation Administration to improve public safety, the quality of runways, and noise pollution reduction. By upgrading these transportation services, grant funding can encourage greater business investment.
Last month, I was pleased to announce that eight of our state’s institutions of higher education will receive more than $2.25 million through the Department of Education’s Student Support Services grant program. These grants will be awarded annually over the next five years and are intended to support academic tutoring. Such services can help equip Mississippi students with tools for employment, in addition to boosting college retention and graduation rates.
Readying Mississippians for the workforce is also part of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) grant priorities. Because of an ARC grant, Northeast Mississippi Community College has been able to purchase four welding simulators to enhance its vocational training curriculum. I led efforts to reauthorize ARC – a federal-state partnership that supports economic development in 24 of Mississippi’s northeastern counties – in the long-term highway bill recently passed by the Senate. I am glad to see its beneficial impact on our state.
How to Learn More
My website provides a number of helpful resources on grants, including details about my e-Newsletter notifying subscribers about potential grant opportunities in specific areas of interest. To learn more, please visit and go to the Grants and Grants E-Newsletter pages under the Constituent Services tab. You can also e-mail or call my Jackson office at 601-965-4644.

By Senator Roger Wicker

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