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The following is from Christine Sorensen, rural development coordinator for the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in Pierre, S.D. Read on for valuable resources for rural communities, including several grant opportunities.

Resources for rural communities, January 2, 2014

The following is from Christine Sorensen, rural development coordinator for the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in Pierre, S.D. Read on for valuable resources for rural communities, including several grant opportunities.



The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is accepting applications for the WKKF Community Leadership fellowship program. Through the program, the foundation hopes to create a cadre of community and civic leaders who are able to serve as vigorous advocates for vulnerable children and their families and bring diverse communities together. 

MarketPlace 2014: March 26, 2014 – Premiere Entrepreneurial event to be held in Aberdeen, SD. More Information. 

Announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – inviting applications for available funding through its Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program, and in order to assist producers with the application process, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released its latest guide on VAPG: the updated Farmers’ Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding. An NSAC press release on the announcement is available here. More USDA information can be found here.



GAO Releases Report on Local Area Challenges for Skilled Workforce
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on how local areas are having difficulty assisting employers fill certain jobs. According to the report, 80 percent of local areas reported that employers had difficulty filling certain “middle skilled” jobs such as welders and machinists because those jobs re​quire more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. Click here to read the full report.  

First Person Nonprofit: A Day in the Life of a Major Gifts Officer – – a portion excerpted below:

So exactly how do you lead someone up to a $1 million ask? The director of major gifts at a large regional environmental organization agreed to tell us everything . . . as long as we didn’t reveal her name or organization.

And best of all: post your questions to her in the Comments section and she’ll answer them there at the end of the week! 

SNAP participation rates for elderly households in Texas higher when non-elderly person present

Many people who meet the eligibility requirements for USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) do not apply to receive program benefits. Elderly Americans, in particular, tend to participate in SNAP at a much lower rate than other age groups. Just over one in three elderly individuals—those age 60 and older—eligible for SNAP participated in the program in fiscal year 2010, compared to about nine out of every ten eligible children, and seven out of ten eligible non-elderly adults. A chart appears in “New Analysis Reveals Significant Within-State Variation in SNAP Participation Rates” in ERS’s December 2013 Amber Waves magazine. 

Community Development in Native Communities – Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: We learn how Native communities are partnering with federal agencies to build and support sustainable housing in Indian Country, and establish modern water and sewer systems for remote Native communities in Alaska. The articles also examine a community-based health worker initiative that extends culturally-sensitive health care to the farthest reaches of Navajo Nation, and a Native Hawaiian financial education program and community-based lending institution. In addition, we discover how a community center in Portland, Oregon is bringing urban Native Americans together and preserving community ties in a city environment.

Read the full issue (web based)

Read the full issue (pdf, 1.45 mb) 

How to Staff and Support a Committee Is staffing a committee more like herding cats or like herding turtles? Actually it’s more like Dancing with the Stars. An important skill for nonprofit managers is knowing how to support a committee of volunteers, such as an Advisory Committee, a Board Finance Committee, or a coalition: When supporting a committee, the most seductive trap for a staffperson is . . .> Read more



CENSUS TOOL MAPS DATA AT LOCAL LEVEL. The new Census Explorer uses updated statistics from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey. It allows users to map out social, economic, and housing characteristics for a state, county, or census tract and to see how they have changed since the 1990 and 2000 censuses 

Using Data to Understand Your Community – Provides ideas and steps in using data to understand your community’s population. Includes a directory of websites for demographic, population, health, and other data for ZIP codes, cities, counties, and states. Organization: Rural Health System Analysis and Technical Assistance

One-Stop for Organics at USDA, USDA has a centralized web resource center on for all the programs, services, and data we have that support organic agriculture. Not only is this web resource center a “one-stop shop” for information about organics at USDA, but there is lots in store!



Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released a report, Serving Healthy School Meals: U.S. Schools Need Updated Kitchen Equipment, which focuses on school equipment needs based on a survey of school food service personnel:

  • America’s students now have healthier and more nutritious school meals due to improved nutrition standards implemented as a result of the historic Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
  • Last month, USDA issued an additional $5 million through the Farm to School grant program to increase the amount of healthy, local food in schools. USDA awarded grants to 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia. 

Recorded Webinar: Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RIAN) On December 6, NADO and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) hosted an informative webinar about SSTI’s Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RIAN). This was the fourth in a series of free webinars about various data tools developed with support from EDA. RIAN is intended to establish and support a virtual nationwide community of nonprofit Venture Development Organizations (VDOs). Click here for more information about RIAN and to watch the webinar recording.  

Recorded Event: Brookings Institution Hosts Event Addressing the Nation’s Skills Gap Employers routinely cite the “skills gap,” or lack of qualified, trained candidates, as a primary hiring hurdle. Talented workers are at the heart of a company’s economic success and key drivers for broader economic prosperity. Moreover, skilled workers command higher wages, plus enjoy greater potential for upward economic mobility than their less-skilled counterparts. On December 4, the Brookings Institution hosted an event “Fixing the Skills Gap: Getting Americans Back to Work via Workforce Development Programs” in Washington, DC to highlight the importance of understanding the workforce skills gap in order to create effective public policies aimed at creating equitable economic growth in America. Click here to watch a recording of the discussion and click here to read a summary of the event.      

METHOD: Live Health Assessment in a Virtual Class: Eliminating Educational Burdens for Rural Distance Learners Describes a study that allowed nursing students in a distance education program to demonstrate skills acquisition and get faculty feedback online. This approach could allow rural students to remain in their communities while continuing their education. Date: 12/2013. Journal: Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Pages: 6-22  

WEBINAR: Funding Rural America (Free) – January 30-Register now for this webinar with Cynthia Adams of GrantStation on January 30th. Cindy will share trends and resources for small communities seeking funding for local projects. Space is limited, so register early! 

CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development) Announces Savings Innovation Learning Cluster Selected participants will receive extensive TA and $30,000 stipend

FUNDING FOR LEARNING AND A WEBINAR: MetLife Savings Innovation Learning Cluster (SILC) – In partnership with the MetLife Foundation, CFED is soliciting applications from organizations to join a year-long learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clientsDownload the Request for Proposals here, and fill out the Participant Application here.

Organizations who are selected to participate in the Learning Cluster will receive a $30,000 stipend, the opportunity to learn and problem-solve with other members of the Learning Cluster through virtual and in-person convenings and extensive technical assistance from asset-building experts. If you are interested in participating, carefully review the Request for Proposals and submit your project proposal via the Participant Application Form no later than 5 pm EST on January 24, 2014. CFED will hold a webinar discussing the opportunity on January 7, 2014, from 4-5 pm EST. Please click here to register for the webinar.

If you have any questions, email Parker Cohen

WEBINAR: Owning Our Future presented by Marjorie Kelly, The Democracy Collaborative, January 23, 2014, 1-2 pm ET Marjorie will be sharing insights from her new book of the same title. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, Marjorie is a superb writer and this book reflects incredible research and stories about a variety of ownership models. To register for the webinar, click here.



In partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency and USDA/NIFA, the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) are pleased to announce several funded opportunities with our new Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE) project:  

        Post Doctoral Fellow – Applications due January 5, 2014*

        4 Regional Community Behavioral Health Specialists – Applications due January 21, 2014

        Social Media Specialist – Applications due January 5, 2014*

        Practitioner Slots on Technical Committee – Applications due January 21, 2014

        Pilot Communities – Applications due January 21, 2014* 

*The other opportunities are described in detail at the project web site: 

Funding Community Design and Development Projects – You’ve got great ideas and a plan for moving forward, but let’s face it: Your community lacks the cash it needs to make it real. Join CommunityMatters® and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) on January 9th for our free conference call, Funding Community Design and Development Projects. This call will focus on key sources of funding and resources to help make design and development projects happen. We’ll also cover strategies for creating successful funding pitches and positioning your project for funding applications. Read more on our blog >
Funding Community Design and Development Projects, Thursday, January 9, 2014, 3-4:15 PM EST Register now!  
This is the second call in our three part series on Making It Happen.

Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority and Underserved Children (R21)Application deadline: Oct 16, 2014
Awards funding for research that targets the reduction of health disparities among children, including rural, low-income, geographically isolated children.
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health  

EPA Announces FY 2014 Funding Opportunity under Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant Program; Boards Eligible to Apply; Applications Due February 13, 2014. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field, with a focus on solid and hazardous waste remediation, environmental health and safety, and wastewater-related training. In Fiscal Year 2014, EPA anticipates providing some funding preference to applicants who choose to deliver other types of environmental training, The application can be found at  Applications are due by February 13, 2014.   

EPA Announces Funding Opportunity under the Environmental Education Model Grants Program; Applications Due by February 4, 2014

The purpose of the Environmental Education Regional Grant Program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. Applications must be postmarked by February 4, 2014. Additional background / access to application package 

Crayola Invites Proposals From Elementary Schools for 2014 Creative Leadership Grants – DEADLINE: JUNE 23, 2014
Twenty cash grants of $2,500 each as well as in-kind grants of Crayola products valued at $1,000 will be awarded in support of innovative creative leadership-team building programs at the elementary school level…. 

American Honda Foundation Invites Applications for Youth Education Programs – DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 1, 2014
Grants of up to $75,000 will be awarded to nonprofits and schools for programs that support the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math…. 

Earth Day Network Seeking Entries for Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Prize – DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 28, 2014
The writing competition, which offers a first-place prize of $500, is designed to highlight the hard facts about school food in the words of students who eat it….



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