Available Grants

Rural Workforce Development Initiatives


Economic Development Organizations (EDOs*) are a vital link between rural communities and the private businesses in their area. By helping to build the conditions for businesses to start, grow, and expand, EDOs directly contribute to the economic vitality of their towns, counties, and regions. A strong workforce with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to meet the needs of local businesses is a key component of a thriving rural economy, and EDOs are often at the forefront of helping to attract, train, and retain those workers. Through knowledge of their communities’ unique strengths and assets, partnerships with local business interests, and experience in economic development, EDOs help create a thriving rural economy.

With the goal of supporting the workforce development needs of rural communities in our catchment, we are pleased to announce the launch of our Rural Workforce Development grant! This grant opportunity is available to 501(c)(3) economic development organizations within the Patterson Family Foundation catchment that are committed to helping address their communities’ workforce needs. Awarded grant funds can be used to address your workforce needs in a variety of ways, including:

  • Training and/or reskilling initiatives for high-demand jobs.
  • Initiatives aimed at developing a local workforce to align with the needs of potential new businesses.
  • Implementing, piloting, or expanding replicable/sustainable ideas and best practices for workforce development.
  • Training a local workforce for high-paying, in-demand careers.
  • Identifying and evaluating high-need skills for your community.
  • Education, training, or certification for workers in a specific region, industry, or sector.
  • Projects or programs that support your community’s workforce needs not specifically mentioned here.

Organizations interested in being considered for this funding will need to register through the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal and apply. We request that each organization select one contact per organization to register and apply through the Grants Portal, typically an Economic Development Director or similar position.

One goal of the Rural Workforce Development grant is to gather knowledge and insights from the individuals and organizations that best understand the needs of their community to support our continued focus in workforce development.

Applications will be received from September 27 to October 27, 2023. Read on for more details. We understand that some organizations may need approval from their board to apply for grant funding. If your board's schedule does not align with our application deadline, please reach out to us. We will work to accommodate your schedule.

  • Note: “Economic Development Organization” is not a specific designation, and for the purposes of this grant opportunity, PFF considers an EDO to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses primarily or entirely on economic and workforce development. For more eligibility information, please read through the FAQ section at the bottom of this webpage.

Program Details


Applicant organizations should:
• Be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
• Be located in and serving a county or community within the Patterson Family Foundation's Kansas or Western Missouri catchment.
• Be actively working on or interested in workforce development initiatives within your catchment.

Grant Award

Please note that this is a highly competitive grant process. Only the strongest proposals will be considered for funding. Applications with the best data demonstrating the precise need, how funding will be used, evidence supporting the efficacy of the proposed initiative, and realistic expected outcomes will have the best chance of being selected. This opportunity is being made available to more than 100 economic development organizations in the Patterson Family Foundation's catchment. There is no minimum or maximum award per applicant. The Patterson Family Foundation has budgeted $1,500,000 to support workforce development initiatives throughout rural Kansas and Western Missouri with this grant opportunity.


If you have any questions about this program, please contact:

Adam Erickson, Program Officer
Patterson Family Foundation

Use of Grant Funds

Grant funding may be used for:

• Training and/or reskilling initiatives for high-demand jobs.
• Initiatives aimed at developing a local workforce to align with the needs of potential new businesses.
• Implementing, piloting, or expanding replicable/sustainable ideas and best practices for workforce development.
• Training a local workforce for high-paying, in-demand careers.
• Identifying and evaluating high-need skills for your community.
• Education, training, or certification for workers in a specific region, industry, or sector.
• Projects or programs that support your community’s workforce needs not specifically mentioned here.

Out of scope:

• Capital expenses.
• Scholarship, tuition, or other direct non-career education expenses for individuals.
• Funds to support salary, benefits, or costs related to existing applicant organization staff.
• Funds to support salary, benefits, or costs related to hiring applicant organization staff.
• Expenses related to travel or accommodation for training, conferences, etc.

Supporting Documentation
  • Your organization’s official tax-exempt status documentation
  • A recent 990 or similar organizational budget document
  • A budget outline of the proposed workforce development project
How to Apply
  1. Register your organization through the Patterson Family Foundation Grants Portal.
  2. Once your organization has been approved, use your new login name and password to log in to the Grants Portal.
  3. Click “Programs” at the top of the page.
  4. Click “Rural Workforce Development” on the Funding Programs page.
  5. Click the “Apply” button and complete the application.
Grantee Responsibility

• If awarded, your organization will be responsible for executing the workforce development initiative as outlined in your unique grant application.
• If the project involves brokering payments to local organizations, the grantee will be responsible for managing and tracking those payments and outcomes.
• If this program requires marketing to individuals or organizations, that should be reflected in the project budget at the time of application.

Reporting Requirements

Reporting requirements will vary depending on the specific timelines, goals, and outcomes of your unique workforce development program. Generally, the Patterson Family Foundation requires one (1) report for every twelve months your program is active, with a final report one year after the program has concluded and/or all grant funding has been utilized.

Notification to Grant Recipients

Award determinations will be sent to all applicants in November 2023. Organizations selected for funding will be sent an Award Letter outlining the terms of the grant agreement. We ask that all awarded grantees sign and return their Award Letter within one week of its receipt.


• Unless specifically requested otherwise, full grant funding will be disbursed in December 2023.
• Awardees must sign and return an Award Letter agreeing to the terms of the grant funding before funding is disbursed.
• Funding will be disbursed from the Patterson Family Foundation directly to the awarded organizations.
• Funds will be disbursed either by check or wire transfer.
• Grantees must sign and return a Contribution Acknowledgement within one week of receiving grant funding.


The Workforce Development Initiatives grant is only available to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. However, we do understand that there are partnerships, collaborations, and affiliations between various different types of economic development organizations in workforce and economic development. Projects or initiatives that involve multiple community organizations are encouraged, but awarded funds must be disbursed directly to an eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity.
At PFF, we are big believers in the power of community foundations. They are a major focus of our strategic programs now and into the future. However, this particular grant opportunity is focused on economic development organizations, and is not available for community foundations. However, we do understand that community foundations work alongside and collaborate with economic development organizations to improve their communities. If an economic development organization applies and is awarded funding through the Workforce Development Initiatives grant, and their project or initiative involves working with a local community foundation, we support that! We also have a funding opportunity available for Community Foundation Capacity Building. Please visit grants.pffkc.org to see details and eligibility.
To keep it simple, at PFF we consider an economic development organization to be any organization with a primary mission of improving the economic well-being and quality of life for a community. Whether through programs, projects, initiatives, or activities, any 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that is dedicated to helping create and sustain a thriving rural economy can be considered an EDO.
Organizations located and serving in Kansas or Missouri within the Patterson Family Foundation's catchment. Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Please see "Eligibility" above for details. For the purposes of this grant, the Patterson Family Foundation considers an Economic Development Organization to be a tax-exempt entity that is dedicated to the economic development of a region (i.e. town, county, region, state.)
Information submitted either on or related to this program's  application is accessible by the Patterson Family Foundation staff only. The Foundation will not release any sensitive information gathered during this process; unless approved by the applicant.
The purpose of this grant is to support workforce development projects, programs, and initiatives. If your application is selected for funding, an award letter will be sent that outlines the conditions of funding specific to your proposed project. If you accept funding, your organization must agree to utilize funding as outlined in your application and approved by the Patterson Family Foundation. PFF reserves the right to suggest changes to funding use in the event there are concerns regarding distribution strategies.
The application process should take approximately one hour to complete. You may pause your application at any time during the process and return to it at your convenience.
Available funding opportunities can be found within the PFF Grant Portal.
Si necesita ayuda en español, favor de contáctenos en programs@pffkc.org
The Patterson Family Foundation is new to this arena, too. We aim to explore, understand and learn how workforce development programs and partnerships can help sustain rural communities' success. We want to learn more about the unique challenges associated with rural workforce development, as well as any unique opportunities. This is your opportunity to strategize and plan regarding workforce development in your individual community. If your program or strategy is new, we realize you may not have every detail -- but we do hope to see data and information to support your ideas.
We encourage partnerships and collaboration between different organizations in your community! While the Patterson Family Foundation requires that an applicant be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization for this grant opportunity, we hope that any grantee will be proactive in working with other organizations and groups across their catchment to help ensure the success of a project.
Funding from the Workforce Development Initiatives grant can not be used to fund the salary or benefits for a staff member at the applicant organization, nor can it be used for contract positions.
We realize it can be a challenge to describe budgetary needs! We suggest you ask for the resources that align with your best possible workforce development outcomes. If a resource is needed, tell us -- but please also explain the data and the "why." All information is valuable to our team as we explore this new space of workforce development and rural community success. If you are not selected as a recipient, please note that we envision workforce development as a long-standing and vital component of our ongoing mission. Together, we will continue to see the bigger (and the more detailed) picture of how workforce development can be supported to reach our Patterson Family Foundation mission of helping rural communities thrive.
Yes! If your organization is seeking funding from other sources, we encourage you to include that information in your application. We love to see community support and buy-in for projects, and if your organization is attempting to work with multiple funders to meet your goals, matching funds or “challenge grant” opportunities are welcome.

“Create value and good things will happen.”

Neal Patterson

“Every opportunity is the result of a problem.”

Neal Patterson

“It’s all hard, complex and ambiguous at best.”

Neal Patterson

“Leading through vision is how you move the boundaries of an organization.”

Neal Patterson

“Live good lives. Be bold. Be brave. Don’t be a wimp.”

Neal Patterson

“The future can be changed in the present.”

Neal Patterson

“You have to have fun along the way. You can’t wait for it.”

Neal Patterson