PHOENIX, AZ, July 22, 2019 – Matching grants provided by the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation have enabled four regions to secure federal monies for strategic planning through United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative.
The USDA Rural Development Innovation Center created REDI to support the many rural communities that are facing regional economic challenges. The initiative provides free technical assistance to 47 rural regions seeking to build economic development plans and implement planning projects. Freeport-McMoRan Foundation provided the local match necessary for these four communities to qualify for, and eventually win, the competitive REDI grants from USDA.
The Freeport-McMoRan communities will be paired with McClure Engineering Company, who is partnering with CO.STARTERS, a Tennessee-based consulting firm, to help build plans to spur economic and community development, strengthen workforce readiness programs, and support entrepreneurship.
The four communities receiving grants include:
• Gila County, Arizona – Miami mining operations and smelter
• Southwestern Arizona (Graham County and Greenlee County) – Safford and Morenci operations
• Southwest New Mexico (Grant County) – Chino, Tyrone and Cobre mining operations
• Summit County, Colorado – Climax Molybdenum mining operations
Angie Harmon, Regional Manager, Community Development (North America) at Freeport-McMoRan, said, “Through Rural Rise, a grassroots network of individuals and organizations passionate about strengthening rural communities, we learned about this opportunity and were so excited about the innovative approach McClure and CO-STARTERS was proposing. We’ve seen growing interest in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in many of the locations where Freeport-McMoRan works and their expertise will help build upon capacity and development investments and activities already underway in these communities to further move plans to action.”
The four projects launched this week with introductory calls between McClure, CO-STARTERS and local staff, USDA Rural Development officials, and Freeport-McMoRan Community Development representatives.
By helping to maximize local capacity, McClure and CO-STARTERS will help the four rural regions become better equipped to create actionable economic development plans that include:
• Evidence-based assessments;
• Quantifiable goals;
• Plans to improve the local and regional economy; and
• Metrics to track implementation and progress.
Zachary Mannheimer, Principal Community Placemaker for McClure Placemaking, said, “We are excited to begin working in our four regions with our partner, CO-STARTERS. The generous investment from Freeport-McMoRan Foundation helped make all this possible. Their commitment to supporting their local communities was evident in their eagerness to support this initiative and in their ongoing engagement with our team and their local partners.”
In the four regions, CO.STARTERS entrepreneurial programming—specifically designed for rural residents—will train more than 160 aspiring entrepreneurs, who are collectively estimated to create more than 139 new businesses. In addition, planning activities will engage more than 425 local residents, serve more than 60 small businesses and organizations, and help regions leverage more than $10 million in public and private investment.
REDI supports recommendations identified in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity
Freeport-McMoRan is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. The company operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum and is one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers. Freeport-McMoRan operates around the globe, but each site is rooted in local communities where the employees, suppliers and partner organizations are integral to the success and development of the area. In 2018, Freeport-McMoRan provided $155 million in Global Community Investment.
About McClure Placemaking
McClure Placemaking strongly believes that the next spaces to be reinvigorated are the ones that are losing population the fastest: rural America. Rural cities and counties across the country have seen a steady population decrease for decades, and yet they have the good, high-paying jobs that people – and especially young people – are looking for.
What’s behind this discrepancy? Lack of amenities. Not only do people want good jobs, but they want to be able to have an active social experience, and a high quality of life. They want places to eat, drink coffee, or have a drink. Diving deeper, before they can enjoy these amenities, they need places to live, and modern rental units that attract young professionals are practically non-existent in rural towns. There’s little to no available childcare in these areas, and few opportunities for continuing their education.
The image that comes to mind when imagining creative placemaking is often of a new mural on the side of an old building, or a street festival showcasing local artists. This is all well and good, but McClure aims to widen the definition of placemaking to address the root problems of population decline, adding housing, childcare, workforce development and retention to the list of artistic and cultural approaches already included.
For more information on the McClure Creative Placemaking process and services please visit: www.mcclureplacemaking.com
CO.STARTERS helps communities build vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems by equipping them with the best tools and resources needed to support starters of all kinds. Building on initial grassroots efforts with starters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, CO.STARTERS now has a global reach with thousands participating in its programs annually.
We believe that individuals thrive in the context of community. All of our work focuses on the potential within people and places that is unlocked when you create human connections and build trust.
Our goal is to ensure every community has a thriving ecosystem of supports tailored to its unique needs, and as a result, helps entrepreneurs succeed. With each community, we work to find simple, proven solutions to fit their local context and generate sustainable momentum.
CURATED RESOURCES: We connect starters and local leaders to strategy and resources that address their community’s biggest needs.
PROVEN PROGRAMS: We create programs and tools to fill gaps in entrepreneurial ecosystems and empower communities to better support their entrepreneurs.
GLOBAL NETWORK: We provide centralized systems and connections with a community of peers to encourage and support grassroots leaders in their work.
To learn more about CO.STARTERS network and programs visit costarters.co.