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NLCS Receives Ready Communities Competitive Grant to Improve Playful Pathways

ROI Grants


Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) has awarded six quality of place grants in five Indiana Uplands counties in the latest round of Ready Communities Implementation Grants. More than $1 million has been awarded in the third round of this grant program.

North Lawrence Community Schools received an award to expand its childcare program and high school Child Development Associate (CDA) educational pathway. This grant will develop the new Playful Pathways Early Childhood Center to serve children birth to age five and provide hands-on experience to high school students participating in Bedford North Lawrence’s child development pathway.

The Ready Communities competitive grant program empowers counties and communities to strategically plan for, develop, and implement projects and programs that build quality of place, grow regional capacity for workforce development and attraction, and improve the attributes and amenities that make the Indiana Uplands a desirable place to live, work, and play. With the completion of the third round of funding, ROI’s Ready Communities initiative has awarded $3 million in grants supporting a total of 17 projects in nine counties.

This Spring, ROI delayed the third round of implementation funding out of concern that counties would not be in a position to prepare grant applications given the challenges presented by COVID-19. According to ROI President and CEO Tina Peterson, “restarting the program in May allowed 59 applicants to submit letters of intent for a wide range of quality of place projects, each uniquely designed to advance place-based opportunities in their communities.”

“We were inspired by the sheer number of applications and the innovative approaches communities were proposing for creating opportunity in the Uplands,” added Peterson. “It is clear that communities across our region are determined to stay the course when it comes to advancing quality of place for those who currently call our region home and for those we intend to attract to the Uplands.”

Seventeen applicants were invited to submit full proposals, and eight of those ultimately made presentations to the evaluation committee.  At its October meeting, the ROI Board of Directors approved funding for six projects that align with Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction plans in individual counties and collectively make the Indiana Uplands a more attractive place to live, work, play, and raise a family.


About North Lawrence Community Schools

Located in Lawrence County, Indiana, North Lawrence Community Schools serves a student enrollment of approximately 4,700 students and 800 employees. Recognizing the value of every student and teacher, the mission of the North Lawrence Community Schools is to provide opportunities for the development of personal growth and academic competence, thus enabling them to utilize their full potential for success in an increasingly complex world. Learn more:


About Regional Opportunity Initiatives

The mission of Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) is to advance economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands (Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties). ROI is implementing education, workforce, and quality of place initiatives across the Uplands region. More information can be found at