Rural Growth Fund Established

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BOSTON — BOSTON – State Senator Adam Hinds and Representative Natalie Blais announced that their legislation to establish the $100 million Massachusetts Rural Growth Fund was secured during the end of the 2019-2020 legislative session. 

The Massachusetts Rural Growth Fund will enable small businesses to expand and create private-sector jobs by providing access to affordable, growth capital by establishing the Rural Jobs Tax Credit for businesses that make a capital contribution to a rural growth fund and create a tax credit for contributions to such funds by the applicant.  
"A key part of our economic recovery will be to actively incentivize increased investments in our small towns," Hinds said. "The Massachusetts Rural Growth Fund gives small businesses, and their communities, the platform to achieve long term, sustainable growth." 
 The Growth Fund will target small businesses to receive growth investments which means they must have fewer than 250 employees or show less than $10 million in revenue during the previous year. Qualified fund managers must apply to become Rural Growth Funds, to invest in and mentor rural, small businesses in Massachusetts and participate in the program. The program creates a tax credit for contributions to such funds by the applicant. 
 "For the 2019 Massachusetts Rural Policy Plan, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments examined a study that found that many state and federal economic policies base their funding decisions on 'innovation' that is narrowly defined as patent applications and research and development, which leaves out many businesses that are critical to the Commonwealth's rural economy and our small towns," said Linda Dunlavy, Executive Director of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and chair of the Rural Policy Advisory Commission. "The Massachusetts Rural Growth Fund will provide a needed opportunity for rural businesses to recover, grow and expand." 
"Rural areas have not recovered since the Great Recession the way our larger cities have because of challenges like slow infrastructure development, declining and aging population, lack of access to capital and economic opportunities," Hinds said. "The ultimate goals of the Rural Growth Fund are to spur economic development in rural communities and to support small businesses in those communities. This will not only create jobs, but it will also keep jobs in the Commonwealth," said Hinds. 
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Berkshires Beat: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service will look different this year throughout the county with COVID-19 altering annual cleanups and gatherings.
In North County, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, along with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and Williams College, will host the annual Community Day of Service on Jan. 18 from 9 am to 1 pm.
Activities will be socially distanced or virtual and include a canned food drive, mittens/socks/hats drive, a letter drive and card-making.
The Peacemaker Award Ceremony will be virtual.
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