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Forward in the Fifth, in partnership with The Center for Rural Development, is accepting grant applications for projects to advance educational attainment in communities in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

During this cycle of grant funding, Forward in the Fifth plans to award a total of $9,000 in funding support to select groups whose vision and mission are focused on sustainable changes that will improve educational success among residents of those areas.

The funding is part of Forward in the Fifth’s efforts to develop a Local Educational Affiliate Program (LEAP) and assist counties in improving educational progress across its 42-county primary service area. Six applicants will be selected in this grant funding cycle to become a local affiliate of Forward in the Fifth and work collaboratively as a county to reduce educational challenges and strengthen educational progress in the future.

The deadline for applying for the grant funding is Sept. 9. Applicants may contact Forward in the Fifth—an affiliate of The Center for Rural Development—at 606-677-6000 to request an application form. An application can also be accessed online for downloading and printing by visiting here:

“Our goal is to encourage and facilitate local educators, community leaders, parents, students, and other interested stakeholders to work together on educational issues, problem-solve, and implement solutions,” Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth, said. “This next round of grant funding will provide seed money to help communities within our region implement an effective strategy for improving education.”

Each applicant will have the freedom to determine one of its greatest educational challenges in which their given county of stakeholders desires to address. All applications should demonstrate need, identify root cause(s), suggest proven strategies for improvement, and note how the project will be evaluated to determine success.

“All of the submitted projects must align with Forward in the Fifth’s mission of educational advancement,” Tackett said. “We are still working on achieving that goal and look forward to working with local communities in developing our Local Educational Affiliate Program.”

Forward in the Fifth, which was founded 25 years ago by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and a group of local business and community leaders, strives to reverse low educational attainment levels in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

 Eligible LEAP projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing teacher effectiveness through quality professional development;
  • Engaging a diverse group of stakeholders to increase the value a community places on education;
  • Providing direct services to students to improve student graduation rates, or reduce dropout or remediation rates;
  • Advancing educational and civic literacy skills of students or the general public within the county;
  • Developing and strengthening parental engagement to increase student success.

Successful applicants must demonstrate strong community partnerships and evidence of sustainability for the educational affiliate. All projects are required to be completed within six months after the grant award. Additionally, each selected community will need to provide a local match of 20 percent toward use in the approved project. Only one application will be accepted per county.

The initial round of LEAP funding presented by Forward in the Fifth earlier this year was awarded to Clay, Monroe, and Pulaski counties.

Counties eligible to apply for Forward in the Fifth grant funding support include: Adair, Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, , Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe counties.

For more information about the grant funding or Local Educational Affiliate Program, contact Laura Kamperman, community education specialist for Forward in the Fifth, at 606-677-6000 or e-mail