RCAP Solutions Selected in Inaugural Economic Recovery Corps to Drive Sustainable Economic Growth in Rural Communities

Media Contact: Maegen McCaffrey, Vice President of Communications, RCAP Solutions, Phone: 978.630.6714; Email: mmccaffrey@rcapsolutions.org

RCAP Solutions is pleased to announce that the organization has been selected as a host for the first cohort of Economic Recovery Corps Fellows, headed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) Fellowship program aims to build capacity in economically distressed areas across the U.S. while cultivating the next generation of economic development leaders. The program connects 65 host sites nationwide with diverse practitioners and leaders with the passion, skills, and vision to create new ways of performing economic development. The ERC Fellowship was launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). It is led by the International Economic Development Council and supported by six other national economic development organizations.

Each project across the United States receives a dedicated fellow, who is fully funded for 2.5 years from the ERC program, serving as a field catalyst to enhance, strengthen, and coordinate relationships and local efforts alongside the host communities. RCAP Solutions was matched with Elyse Oliver, who brings a wealth of education, experience, and passion to help the organization and local stakeholders on the “Community Engagement to Guide Ecosystem Development” project.

“We are excited to begin work with Economic Recovery Corp fellow, Elyse Oliver, and engage in community-led economic development planning and stakeholder engagement in rural communities,” expressed Jenna Day, Director of Development at RCAP Solutions. “This is an exciting opportunity to partner with IEDC and EDA to impact sustainable infrastructure planning and we are looking forward to what the next 30 months will mean to growing local capacity for development.”

This community engagement project, led by RCAP Solutions, will address challenges faced by disadvantaged communities in Franklin County, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont regarding infrastructure development and economic sustainability. The project aims to shift the narrative in rural communities, identifying opportunities for local capacity growth, fostering thriving small businesses, and promoting sustainable economic development. Ms. Oliver will play a pivotal role in community interaction, research of rural ecosystems, and infrastructure requirements. She will conduct extensive outreach and utilize online surveys and tools to validate identified needs. The goal is to communicate findings, gain insights, and identify catalysts for a regional action plan that will support resource planning for small rural communities seeking to cultivate sustainable economies.

“ERC is more than a fellowship; it is a testament to the power of collaboration and strategic partnerships deeply needed to produce lasting social and economic impact. By joining forces with national partners, host organizations, funders, and practitioners eager for new models and practices, ERC will build capacity in places of need while supporting the next generation of economic development leaders, all while driving more equitable economic outcomes,” said Nathan Ohle, President & CEO of IEDC. “By investing in capacity building and leadership development, facilitating knowledge sharing and partnerships, the ERC program will set the stage for the future of economic development and a new age of collaboration in the economic development field.”

RCAP Solutions was chosen from over 500 applications to be among the 65 host sites selected to receive help in advancing this project, which is critical to the economic recovery of our community. ERC projects represent the interconnectedness between economic development and the pressing needs in communities of all sizes, including workforce development, entrepreneurial ecosystem building, housing, childcare, climate resiliency, broadband, and access to capital.

“I’m excited about forming deep relationships with residents and town representatives,” commented Elyse Oliver, RCAP Fellow. “I look forward to demonstrating how community engagement can and should occur – as a central, guiding activity for pivotal planning efforts.”

For more information on how your community might benefit from RCAP Solutions’ “Community Engagement to Guide Ecosystem Development” project, please contact Madison Wellman at mwellman@rcapsolutions.org, call: (774) 239-9783, or visit: www.rcapsolutions.org/economic-development.

For more information about the Economic Recovery Corps program, please visit: economicrecoverycorps.org.

About RCAP Solutions, Inc.
RCAP Solutions is the go-to resource of sustained success for communities throughout the northeastern part of the U.S. and the Caribbean. Established in 1969 (as Rural Housing Improvement), RCAP Solutions has supported the power and potential of communities for over half a century as strategists of community-wide well-being. Our mission is to foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live. For more information, please visit www.rcapsolutions.org.

About IEDC
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,300 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development practices. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth. Learn more at www.eda.gov.

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Sustainable operations are a necessity in todays ever changing water and wastewater environment. This course will review the key aspects of sustaining your utility through analysis of the good, the bad and the ugly of how you rank and rate your system. The course will help you assess key areas that need to be considered to enhance the longevity and operations of your system and sustain your operations to best serve the rate payers. This training is for water operators, managers, billing, and support staff as well as board members.

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Rate Setting and Management Overview is a program that has been designed to provide systems of all sizes with an understanding of the importance of understanding of rates and your business operations. The training will include a description of rate structures through asset management (GIS Mapping, Capital Improvement Planning, Inventory Controls for Asset Management, etc.) as well as billing cycles and finances, budgets, and reserve accounts. The program will also look at key management areas and maintaining an active Board. Board members, operators, managers, accounting personnel and support staff are encouraged to join.

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Board Training is a program that has been designed to provide systems of all sizes with an understanding of the importance of planning, management of system assets and records to maintain a healthy viable service to the public. The training will include a description of key management areas, asset and project management, communications, budgeting, and financial management as well as rate setting, providing a perspective of the importance of an active involved board.

RCAP Solutions Team in Maine Delivers Lead Service Line Inventory Trainings

Written By: Jamie Bowden, Community Specialist

In November 2023, the RCAP Solutions team delivered three separate training courses across the state of Maine on the latest updates and regulation revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule. The trainings included information about the emerging lead service line inventory and replacement program with a looming deadline of October 16, 2024. The sessions were held in Biddeford, Bangor, and Houlton with over 70 different operators, board members, utility employees, schools, and daycares in attendance.

These trainings included an exercise to help participants identify changes with the lead and copper rule revisions, which include a re-visioned system for sample sites, changes in action level/ trigger levels for lead and copper, as well as changes to the notifications and timeframes in which they must be reported when an exceedance or violation occurs.

The lineup focused on the lead service line inventory/replacement planning in which attendees were asked their system size and shown the necessary steps to complete inventories with the associated spreadsheets, as well as with the assistance of a GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping. Participants left with a better understanding of how the new changes will affect their utilities and how to implement the recent updates.

A grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided funding for these trainings. RCAP Solutions would like to thank the Maine Drinking Water Program for their assistance with delivering these vital trainings, as well as Maine Water Company, Eastern Maine Community College, and the Houlton Lodge of Elks for allowing us to host these trainings at their facilities.

‘Twas Mid December at RCAP Solutions…

Click here to watch our holiday video!

‘Twas Mid-December and all through the skies,
RCAP teams with care and wise.
In every office, staff worked with glee,
Offering essential aid, as busy as can be.

The needy many, deserving of cheer,
In this season of giving, their hopes draw near.
For when the demand rises, so great and so clear,
RCAP’s dedication shines, year after year.

In our Housing Consumer Education Center,
We make sure every client has a supportive mentor,
To assist in all aspects of home ownership and leasing,
In case you should see a problem increasing,
If a concern should arise, there’s lending or training,
Should you find your bank account suddenly draining.

With Subsidized Housing, we help pay the rent,
Offering programs for both landlord and tenant.
Everyone deserves a safe home and a bed,
Where each family member can rest their head.
We can also assist with housing mobility,
And case management for economic stability.

Our Housing for Seniors and the Mobility Impaired,
Offers features and services that can’t be compared.
Our professional staff is supportive and giving,
With countless services for independent living.
For those who reside in RCAP’s great care,
Our teams will provide for ALL who live there.

Our Environmental Crew work with communities to ensure,
The water that pours from the tap is pure.
From Maine to Pennsylvania, we offer technical assistance,
For those in rural regions, we’ll travel the distance.
Whether it’s wastewater, mapping, training, and more,
We’ll assess your infrastructure, and help settle the score.

The Caribbean Team helps the islands with pollution,
Teaching about recycling, and solid waste solutions.
We offer disaster planning, and prepare for the future,
Should climate change impact your region and need suture.
Financial assistance for septic or well repair,
We’re here for our communities, never despair!

Here in Massachusetts, we’re Advocating for Change,
For private well homeowners, who may need a range,
Of regulations for education, testing, and support,
Should their water tests come up short,
And need repair to keep families in good health,
For every resident, across the Commonwealth.

Our Administrative Staff provides support to our programs,
IT keeps us online, and safely protected from scams.
Finance cuts checks and keeps the books in balance,
HR supports the organization, hiring people with talents.
Marketing ensures the public is in the know,
And Development guarantees that funding won’t slow.

In the Northeast our influence spreads, far and wide in stride,
In Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, forever shall we reside.
Fostering community’s power, potential, a bond we unify,
In this commitment, our focus and unity lie.

Nurturing strength, resilience, and confidence, our gift to bestow,
Supporting individuals, families, communities, helping them grow.

Timothy Grinham, RCAP Solutions Board Member

Timothy Grinham, a Commercial Banking and Lending Specialist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in July of 2022.

Headquartered in New York City, S&P Global is a world-wide leader providing financial services information. Tim works in their Market Intelligence division, working with financial institutions under $5 Billion in Total Assets on workflow automation and commercial prospecting.

Tim has a professional background in technology, banking, lending, real estate, and brings over 20 years of experience in finance, investment, and sales management to his role on the board. He has extensive knowledge of working with federal funding sources, financing, managing customer accounts and portfolios, developing business opportunities, customer service, and training.

When asked what he likes to do with his free time, Tim responds, “For me, it’s all about family time. I spend as much time as possible with my wife and my two daughters and am excited to be coaching my daughters in soccer and basketball.” In his spare time, he enjoys reading, catching up on current events, banking news and the stock market.

Tim was drawn to the banking profession almost by accident. “When I graduated in 2002, I walked into a large recession due to 9/11,” he stated. “There was not much activity going on in the job market, so I stumbled into the mortgage industry. It was a good opportunity with rates dropping and I was able to get into refinancing existing debt. I began the first part of my career in the residential market and later became involved in commercial banking.”

He had always wanted to pursue a career in technology, and in his current position, he is able to draw from his previous experience working with banks, credit unions, and smaller institutions, providing them with technological solutions for their information service needs.

Tim received his BA in Business Management from Johnson State College in Johnson, VT. His volunteer experience includes board membership with Worcester Community Housing Resources, the Town of Paxton Capital Improvements Committee, and as a mentor for SBA workshops and business incubation companies in and around MA.

When asked what Tim feels his greatest professional achievement is, he mentioned the impact that banking and commercial lending can have in the community. “We moved to the Worcester area in 2014,” he stated. “I was very excited to start a position lending with a bank located in downtown Worcester. Over the course of the next several years, I was able to be a part of the Worcester economy during a growth period. I take a lot of pride when traveling through Worcester and seeing the businesses that I worked with throughout my career and knowing that I had a small part in the positive impact on the area. I find it extremely rewarding to drive around the city with my family and say, ‘I worked on that building, or I or helped to finance those renovations.’”

He went on to say, “What I miss most about banking is the positive involvement in the community, which is what drew me to RCAP Solutions. I want to support the work the organization does in both the urban and rural areas of the region.”

Tim believes “it’s critically important to serve both markets, especially in these times of economic uncertainty, when there are factors outside of our control.” He went on to say, “RCAP is a great organization to be involved in. Because of the range of programs, we have an opportunity to serve many communities and a diverse client base.

As a relatively new board member, Tim considers his time volunteering with RCAP to be a positive experience. “I’ve learned a lot about the services RCAP offers,” he states. “When I came to the organization, I was familiar with the housing and lending services. Now that I have really gotten involved, I’m extremely impressed with how much the organization and staff accomplishes.” He has enjoyed getting to know the board members and employees. “I think the staff is incredible,” he remarked. “They work hard and do an excellent job. I have really appreciated learning more about the teams and their programs.”

Tim looks forward to completing the year-long strategic planning process that the organization is undergoing. “I anticipate that once we’re implementing it, we will see the positive impact that it has on both the organization and the clients that we work with.” He concluded by saying “It’s just been a great experience, and I look forward to continuing to see the organization do great work.”

Tim’s full bio can be found on our website.

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Management and finance are important for small systems to operate correctly. This course will be going over key areas of management, boards and stakeholder roles, asset management, budgets and the importance of reserves and rate setting. This training is also for potential water operations, managers, and board members as well as a requirement of the Maine State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) Principal Forgiveness Program.

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This workshop contains a review of the lead and copper rule. Trainers will provide a brief history of the regulations throughout the years and the significant differences in the action and trigger levels and review monitoring and treatment requirements. This class will comprehensively explain the Lead Service Line inventory requirements and how to conduct the inventory.

REGISTER HERE
 
This workshop contains a review of the lead and copper rule. Trainers will provide a brief history of the regulations throughout the years and the significant differences in the action and trigger levels and review monitoring and treatment requirements. This class will comprehensively explain the Lead Service Line inventory requirements and how to conduct the inventory.

REGISTER HERE
 
This workshop contains a review of the lead and copper rule. Trainers will provide a brief history of the regulations throughout the years and the significant differences in the action and trigger levels and review monitoring and treatment requirements. This class will comprehensively explain the Lead Service Line inventory requirements and how to conduct the inventory.

Tracey Weeden, MSW, LCSW/LICSW; RCAP Solutions Board of Directors, Vice Chair

Tracey Weeden is the Executive Director of Brockton Behavioral Health Facility at Boston Medical Center and joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in January of 2021.

She has extensive experience in the healthcare and nonprofit arena, with a background in administration, behavioral health, and homelessness prevention. In her previous position as Chief Operating Officer for First Step of Sarasota, she focused on affordable behavioral health treatment and system of care optimization. She also has experience managing a private practice as a psychotherapist.

Tracey was drawn to social work because of her childhood experiences growing up in an urban environment. She remarked “there was a lot of violence, parentification, mental illness, and substance misuse. But amid the prevalence of trauma, there was also so much hope for a better way of life. At an early age I was interested in other people’s stories and potential. When I went to college, I did not know what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to break the cycle of oppression in the community I had grown up in. I majored in social work, and it just felt right. At an early age, I felt sensitive to others’ needs and seemed to be able to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Although I don’t make it a practice to disclose my experiences, oftentimes I deeply understand the barriers to quality of life clients experience.”

Tracey is a former employee of RCAP Solutions, where she was a member of the leadership team, as Director of Counseling and Homeless Services. “When I was at RCAP, I absolutely loved the work,” she commented. “Working at RCAP, I showed up 100% every day for the organization and our clients. They were long days, but it was all worth it. RCAP is deeply mission driven. RCAP’s services for people in need is undeniable. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a community, helping people where they are and supporting them as they move to a better place? RCAP’s work aligns with my values and everything I stand for as a social worker, a woman, and a woman of color.”

Tracey went on to say “RCAP’s work comes down to people helping people. This resonates with me and is what’s unique about RCAP. The employees genuinely want their clients to achieve a better quality of life. At RCAP we are paying it forward.”

Tracey feels strongly about being an active board member. “I want to be a real objective resource to the leadership team and a sounding board. I understand the culture and dynamics as a social worker and as a businesswoman.”

When talking about her experience serving on the board, Tracey exclaimed, “It’s been fun! I like the diverse expertise the volunteer team brings to the table. The board is open to looking at things differently and trying new ideas. This will determine the sustainability of the organization overall. The board is engaged, understands the impact of the work, and is realistic about what it takes to provide services. It’s very exciting to be a part of this energized board.”

When asked about her future goals for the organization, she replied, “I hope that a year from now we are in the process of implimenting a successful, operational, and people-driven strategic plan. I believe we can really put RCAP on the map as a leader in all aspects of community and environmental services.”

Tracey is a self-published author and has volunteered for the City of Worcester’s Human Rights Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s suicide prevention initiative. She is currently a Commissioner for the Massachusetts Status of Woman of Plymouth County. Tracey earned a MS in social work at Boston University and is working towards her Doctorate degree in Business Administration with a focus in Health Services Administration at Northcentral University. She brings a deep understanding of the programmatic, funding, and strategic needs of the organization, along with nonprofit leadership, fundraising and community outreach.

When asked about her personal and professional achievements, Tracey commented, “it was always a goal for me to do more of the work in helping others to grow and lift themselves out of traumatic environments. I’m proud of that. In this field of social work, there are not many Black People or Native Americans in leadership positions. I don’t see a lot of “me” represented and I will never take it for granted. I hope to be an example and to inspire others.”

In her free time, Tracey enjoys creating things. “I love candle making, jewelry making, upcycling furniture, gardening, and creating a new space in my yard or home. It helps me relax. Being creative helps me to think outside of the box overall. I enjoy focusing on the hobby and it’s extremely relaxing for me.”

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This workshop will discuss six (6) topics:
 

  • Day 1 is Maine regulatory issues of Lead Service lines and PFAS, and Main Breaks/Cross Connections
  • Day 2 is Flushing, Contaminants of Concern: Manganese, Source Water Assessment and Protection

RCAP Solutions’ 2022 Impact Report – A Year of Rejuvenation

2022 was a year marked by growth, development, and ultimately rejuvenation as RCAP Solutions began its rebound from a tumultuous and transformational time. View our 2022 Impact Report to learn more about last year’s accomplishments and check out stories from the people we serve!

We thank our partners and continued supporters and invite you to join us as we continue to work towards a collective vision of a world made up of strong and resilient communities and individuals, confident in their potential and with ownership of their success.

We look forward to a productive 2023 as we remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfilling our mission: To foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live.

REGISTER HERE
 
Board and Operator Training is designed to provide an understanding of the overall management of wastewater systems including managing assets and records to maintain a healthy viable service to the public. The training will include a description of key management areas, asset and project management, communications, budgeting, and financial management as well as providing a perspective of the importance of the overall active involvement of all staff from operators to administrative staff to board members.

REGISTER HERE
 
Management and finance are important for small systems to operate correctly. This course will be going over key areas of management, boards and stakeholder roles, asset management, budgets and the importance of reserves and rate setting. This training is also for potential water operations, managers, and board members.

REGISTER HERE
 
Water Environment Federation Collection Systems for Wastewater training is a program that has been designed to provide systems of all sizes with an understanding of how wastewater collection systems function and are best managed. The training will include a description of system operations, internal components, and maintenance & repairs from historical and modern perspectives. The program will give an overview of system attributes for operators, board members, managers, and support staff including the ability to identify and define collection system components to better recognize their role in wastewater management and treatment.

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Need help managing your finances? Interested in developing a sustainable spending plan? At this workshop you will learn about managing personal finances and be empowered to make better decisions in order to achieve financial stability for yourself and your family!