The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges – such as Main Street revitalization, how to manage and direct growth, design community-supportive transportation systems, preserve natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protect working agricultural lands, and provide adequate and affordable housing – who are interested in hosting a local workshop in 2014-2015.
Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website.
The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm EDT.
CIRD works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. CIRD brings local leaders, non-profits, and community organizations together with experts in planning, design, preservation and placemaking – all in an effort to help communities address pressing design challenges and to put design tools into the hands of the people who can create local change. CIRD does this by offering an opportunity for four rural communities to host local design workshops, and by offering free public webinars, conference calls, and a resource-rich website to practitioners and community leaders across the country.
Since the program’s inception in 1991, CIRD has convened 70 workshops in all regions of the country with results that range from strengthened local economies, enhanced rural character, the leveraging of cultural assets, and design of new housing and transportation systems. ￼￼￼￼￼Each community selected to participate in the Institute will receive $7,000 to support planning and hosting a two and a half day workshop. Communities are required to provide $7,000 in matching funds (cash or in-kind services). CIRD will work with community leaders to assemble teams of specialists most qualified to address the community’s identified design challenges. The workshops will be augmented with conference calls and capacity-building webinar presentations led by professionals who will discuss a range of rural design topics. All calls are also offered free to the general public through CommunityMatters®, a program of the Orton Family Foundation.
The CIRD website is a portal to resources on many aspects of rural design gathered from diverse organizations across the country including information on past CIRD workshops. It is a place for citizens and practitioners alike to get information about improving their own communities. Read more about last year’s workshops. 
Find the RFP and application guidelines at: http://rural-design.org/apply . Selected communities will be announced in June 2014, and workshops will be held during the fall of 2014 and first quarter of 2015.
CIRD will offer two pre-application assistance conference calls to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first of these calls is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, and the second call will take place on Thursday, April 24. Both calls will begin at 3:00 pm EDT and last approximately one hour. Participation in each call is free but registration is required. Register now .
The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and the CommunityMatters® Partnership.