SFE Awards Two New Grants to Reimagine Infrastructure

At Siegel Family Endowment (SFE), we believe deeply in the importance of strong social, physical, and digital infrastructure as a prerequisite for cultivating an engaged, resilient, and equitable society. Strengthening our infrastructure is more vital than ever as we begin to recover from a devastating pandemic and continue to contend with increasingly frequent climate change-driven extreme weather events. We recognize both the need and the opportunity for infrastructure investment at this moment, which is why we’ve awarded new grants to Rebuild by Design and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). 

Rebuild by Design is focused on helping communities build more resilient infrastructure by fostering collaboration across sectors, from policy, to business, and nonprofit. Rebuild by Design’s Managing Director Amy Chester has been part of our network for years and was a fantastic partner to SFE as we launched our recent whitepaper on multidimensional infrastructure. 

Our grant will help fund a research project to inform state infrastructure funding decisions, which is modeled off of Rebuild by Design’s previous research and analysis that fed into the proposed $3 billion Bond Act for ecological restoration and flood resilience in New York, which both state legislative houses are now considering putting on the November 2021 ballot. With this support from SFE, Rebuild by Design hopes to further validate climate adaptation investment and legislation in other states, driving infrastructure resilience work forward at a time when the negative effects of climate change on our national infrastructure is more apparent than ever before. 

Resilience in the face of global challenges is also central to the work for the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), which provides small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country with the resources and support they need to participate and thrive in a 21st-century economy. We were introduced to the RCAP by Matt Dunne, Executive Director at the Center on Rural Innovation, a longtime SFE grantee who shares our belief in the incredible untapped potential and talent in rural America. As we were looking to expand our work around digital economic development and entrepreneurship, particularly in the aftermath of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, we directed our attention to the small businesses that are often the backbone of rural and tribal communities. 

Our grant to the RCAP will advance their Small Business Training Program and Small Business Toolkit. These initiatives provide pivotal technical training, skills, and support that can open the door to economic opportunities for entrepreneurs. Through this work, we’ll aim to continue building SFE’s focus on and investment in rural America by supporting the technical assistance RCAP provides to businesses across six rural U.S. regions.

Through Rebuild by Design’s physical infrastructure modernization efforts and RCAP’s provision of digital infrastructure access, the Siegel Family Endowment is investing in two impactful organizations which have the power to foster crucial digital connection and community engagement. We’re excited to count Rebuild by Design and RCAP as new grantees and partners in our mission to build and strengthen our infrastructure in pursuit of a more inclusive and resilient future. Read the press release about these two new grants here.

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Rebuild by Design convenes a mix of sectors — including government, business, non-profit, and community organizations — to gain a better understanding of how overlapping environmental and human-made vulnerabilities leave cities and regions at risk. Rebuild’s core belief is that through collaboration our communities can grow stronger and better prepared to stand up to whatever challenges tomorrow brings.

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) is a national network of non-profit partners including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) helping rural communities to build capacity, access capital, and drive prosperity. RCAP works with entrepreneurs and small business owners across rural America to ensure equal access to resources, support, and opportunities to succeed.