INDIANAPOLIS (May 20, 2024) – Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced the new Building Socially Connected Communities grant program. The program, aiming to increase social connection in rural communities across the state, will open for interested communities on June 3, 2024.

In recent years, around 1 in 2 American adults reported experiencing loneliness, according to an advisory report by the U.S. Surgeon General.  The report states the mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

“Living in rural areas of Indiana and living in urban areas of the state can both present challenges to Hoosiers,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The goal of this new program being launched by OCRA is to eradicate loneliness in Hoosiers living in rural parts of the state by helping build connections in communities and between their residents”

The grant program encourages communities to proactively address loneliness by helping fund projects that enhance opportunities for social connection.

“We often say our goal is for Indiana to be a place where people want to live, work and play. This program is investing in this mission. We want Hoosiers to feel connected to their communities and each other, and combat what has become a loneliness epidemic in adults in recent years,” said OCRA Executive Director Duke Bennett. “I encourage those interested to apply and work towards making their communities even more welcoming places to live and visit.”

The program is open to Indiana communities with populations less than 50,000. Eligible applicants include local governments, non-profit organizations, community groups and entities focused on addressing loneliness in older adults. Projects must fit into one of the following categories:

  • Community infrastructure enhancement
  • Social clubs and interest groups
  • Community well-being programs
  • Transportation accessibility
  • Intergenerational initiatives
  • Local business support

Through the Building Socially Connected Communities program, applicants may apply for two types of funding. The first is Quick Action projects with a minimum award of $1,000 and maximum award of $5,000. Quick Action projects have a required 1:1 match, and 30% of that match can be from in-kind sources. The second type of funding is for Large Impact projects, with a minimum award of $5,001 and a maximum award of $50,000 with a 1:1 cash match.

Total funding available for the program is $200,000. More information on the program, timeline and application process are available at Applications open on June 3, 2024 and are due by Noon E.T. on Sept. 12, 2024.

Visit for more information.

SOURCE: Press Release, State of Indiana

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