Delta Area Economic Development

Delta Regional Authority's mission is to be an advocate for and partner with the people of the Delta to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.

This program focuses on activities which support DRA,s mission.

Specific program goal are:
(1) to develop the transportation infrastructure of the region for the purpose of facilitating economic development in the region (except that grants for this purpose may only be made to state and local government); (2) to assist the region in obtaining the job training, employment related education, and business development (with an emphasis of entrepreneurship) that are needed to build and maintain strong local economies; (3) to provide assistance to severely distressed and underdeveloped areas that lack financial resources for improving basic public services; (4) to provide assistance to severely distressed and underdeveloped areas that lack financial resources for equipping industrial parks and related facilities; and (5) to otherwise achieve the purpose of the Act.

Grants are made either directly by the Authority or grants may supplement other Federal grants.
Examples of Funded Projects

Targeted projects were for water and sewer systems for industrial parks, with committed tenants to locate, and municipalities facing impending sanctions; workforce training through schools of higher education to upgrade job skills with committed company participation; and business development through business incubator creation with committed tenants.

Agency - Delta Regional Authority

Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2007, 49 projects were approved. Because of the reduced funding the States concentrated efforts on meeting economic development needs in the Region through committed projects. Targeted projects were for water and sewer systems for industrial parks, with committed tenants to locate, and municipalities facing impending sanctions; workforce training through schools of higher education to upgrade job skills with committed company participation; and business development through business incubator creation with committed tenants. Projected performance from applications indicates; that 3,622 families will be helped by water projects, 774 jobs will be created, 1079 jobs will be retained and 70 people will be trained.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The grants may be used for providing supplemental funds under Federal grant-in-aid programs.

To be eligible for special basic grants, projects must be of high priority in the State's Delta development plan and be within the clarification guidelines of the clarification notes which are part of the pre-application used to determine eligibility.

The Authority must prioritize use of federal funds in the following order, with 75% of appropriated funds used in distressed counties and transportation and basic public infrastructure projects receiving at least 50% of the appropriated funds: (1) Basic public infrastructure in distressed counties and isolated areas of distress; (2) Transportation infrastructure for the purpose of facilitating economic development, (3) Business development with emphasis on entrepreneurship; (4) Job training or employment-related education, with emphasis on use of existing public educational institutions located in the region.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State, their subdivisions and instrumentalities and private nonprofit agencies.

Beneficiary Eligibility

General public.


The governor of each Delta state shall submit a State Delta Development Plan within 10 months after taking office, and must be approved by the board. Prior to December 15 of each year, the Governor of each state shall submit a Strategy Statement and Investment Program describing the state's program for achieving the goals and objectives contained in its state Development Plan, and must be approved by the board.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Local Development Districts will be the front-line facilitators, within their districts, to publicize, educate and provide technical assistance for the DRA yearly Federal Grant Program's pre-application process.

Specifically, each LDD will begin publicizing the DRA Federal Grant Program through their hosting of public-information forums plus all other means appropriate to their respective client bases.

Each LDD will be the principal contact for the provision of technical and pre-application assistance to the pre-applicants in its area throughout this period, from announcement to pre-application deadline.

The LDD's receive and review pre-applications for completeness, then forward the pre-applications to DRA at pre-application deadline.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Upon completion of his eligibility determinations, the Federal Co-Chairman will forward that list to each participating state member, and he will also notify the pre-applicants and the Administering Agencies. With the singular independence as prescribed by the Delta Regional Authority Act of 2000, as amended, each Governor will select his projects for funding, and will do so within the context of his own Authority-approved state plan and priorities. When the Governors have selected their projects, these selections basically become pre-certified for DRA funding, needing now an application (business plan) sufficient to satisfy the Authority and the (if needed) Administering Agency that the project will work as described and be able to comply with all appropriate Federal regulations. Using the DRA Federal Grant Uniform Grant Application Form, which will include the Administering Agency's required checklists and documents; the Federal Co-Chairman will invite a full application from each participating states lists of eligible and pre-certified projects. Upon receiving each application for their state, each participating Governor shall evaluate and certify each application conforming to the State Strategy Statement and Investment Program. The Governors will then forward their lists of evaluated and certified applications to the Federal Co-Chairman. Each application will be voted on and approved by the participating state members and the Federal Co-Chairman, together, the Delta Regional Authority.

Award Procedures

Once projects are approved, the administration of each project will proceed in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement between DRA and the appropriate Administering Agencies. The DRA notifies Congressional Offices and the Office of the Governor of grant awards.


A timeline is posted on the DRA web site for each fiscal grant cycle covering pre-application to grant awards.


Departments Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001, as amended by H.R. 2646; The Farm Security And Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 60 to 80 days after receipt of the full application by the Authority.





Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Generally grants are limited to 50% of project costs. For projects in counties designated as economically distressed, this limit can be raised to 90%.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is provided until project completion; funds are transferred to the basic Federal agency and disbursed as appropriate. DRA reserves the right to withdraw grants for projects not under contract within 18 months of approval.

Post Assistance Requirements


Reporting and performance monitoring as required by the DRA or the basic Federal agency, as appropriate.


Audits as required by the Federal agency and the Authority. In accordance with the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996, Public Law 104-156. In accordance with provisions on OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Records as required by the basic Federal agency. Under the total audit concept, audits will be made on an organizational-wide basis (rather than grant-by-grant) under GAO guidelines, Standards for Audit of Governmental Organizations, Programs, Activities and Functions, and for programs covered by A-102, Attachment P.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $8,015,805; FY 08 $7,789,000; and FY 09 est $8,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$25,000 to $200,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The Delta Regional Authority Code (limited distribution); Delta Regional Annual Report; The Communique an online journal devoted to the special problems and accomplishments of regional development.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Inquiries and proposals for projects should be submitted first to The Local Development District. (See DRA website for listing.) Other inquiries may be addressed to: Executive Director, Delta Regional Authority, 236 Sharkey Avenue, Suite 400, Clarksdale, MS 38614. Telephone: (662) 624-8600.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Only through the approved current grant year Timeline and Process.

Social Entrepreneurship

Philanthropy: Fortifying American Democracy

Robert Gallucci, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, writes that philanthropy should at least bolster America’s democracy.

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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