DED awards military communities grants to support programs

November 22, 2019

Today, the Missouri Department of Economic Development awarded three organizations a total of $167,000 through the Military Community Reinvestment Grant Program.

The Military Community Reinvestment Grant Program is designed to assist communities that support military bases and programs, encouraging coordination with federal defense agencies, developing action plans in advance of anticipated federal government closure decisions, and supporting efforts to attract new or expanded military missions.

“Missouri’s defense industry is a major employer and asset to our communities. The economic impact military installations have is undeniable,” Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “By promoting the growth of programs to diversify these installations, nondefense jobs also benefit.”

The Military Community Reinvestment Grant Program helps organizations address the needs of military families through housing, childcare, infrastructure, and expansion of Department of Defense missions. Meeting these needs increases the attractiveness of the area to future military investment which brings skilled workers to the area and boosts the economic health of the region.

“The department is proud to help create a higher quality of life for service members and their families by helping community organizations to better support military missions,” Executive Director of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission Joe Driskill said. “Through this program, DED helps strengthen military communities and Missouri’s economy.”

The following organizations have been approved:

Leonard Wood Institute

Leonard Wood Institute will use funds to attract new military and other federal agency missions, organizations, and functions to Fort Leonard Wood as well as defense and nondefense industry investments in the region. These increases would result in new job opportunities for a highly educated and skilled workforce that includes military spouses and transitioning service members, more efficient use of infrastructure, and quality of life improvements in the areas of education, transportation, and health care.

“We very much appreciate our state leaders making this grant program and the appropriations available to defense community support organizations like ours across Missouri. We are confident these resources will help us create opportunities to attract and retain service members and their spouses while growing the economy in the Fort Leonard Wood region,” said Dorsey Newcomb, Executive Director of Leonard Wood Institute/Sustainable Ozarks Partnership. 

Leonard Wood Institute was created in 2003 as a nonprofit organization to collaborate with the Army on federal research activities. In 2014, the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership was established as the regional support entity of Leonard Wood Institute to support and promote Fort Leonard Wood while working to improve the quality of life and access to services for citizens in the region of Laclede, Phelps, Pulaski, and Texas counties.

City of St. Joseph

The Community Alliance of St. Joseph is a partnership of area leaders including the city of St. Joseph and the 139th Airlift Wing. The City of St. Joseph has been home to the 139th Airlift Wing since 1947, and it is also the location of the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center.

Currently, the 139th Airlift Wing is implementing a move to the north of the current facilities, so the City of St. Joseph plans to use grant funds to commission an analysis of the vacated buildings for potential reuse. With close proximity to a military installation and an airport, the goal is to attract an aerospace technology company to bring high-paying, highly skilled jobs to the area.

“This grant will assist St. Joseph to identify and seek the highest and best reuse of military facilities as the 139th Airlift Wing continues their relocation to the north end of the airfield. The infrastructure that will be retained on the south end of the airfield may not meet the immediate needs of this branch of the military, but they will provide unique opportunities for aviation related private investment or perhaps other branches of the military,” said St. Joseph City Manager, Bruce Woody.

Whiteman Area Leadership Council

The Whiteman Area Leadership Council intends to use the grant funds to scope two comprehensive studies to assess the housing market and childcare provisions in the region. The goal of these studies is to offer community leaders and stakeholders a basis for formulating priorities on these topics. The analyses from the studies will be shared with the local communities so they will be better prepared to meet the current and future needs of military families.

”Working together, it is critical to have a fact-based understanding of the military family’s experiences regarding housing and childcare in order to implement effective improvements. Whiteman Area Leadership Council and its community partners are committed to identifying and leveraging key opportunities, services and supports to enhance and improve quality of life for military personnel and their families here in west-central Missouri.  We look forward to working with Whiteman Air Force Base, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Military Advocate’s Office to continue this important mission,” said James Smith, President of the Whiteman Area Leadership Council.

Whiteman Area Leadership Council was chartered in 2004 as a nonprofit corporation to support Whiteman Air Force Base and educate stakeholders about its national security mission and economic impact on the region.

For more information on funding opportunities and program eligibility requirements, click here.