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Check out this weekly listing of resources from Christine Sorensen, rural development coordinator for the USDA in Pierre, S.D.

Resources for rural communities, March 15, 2013

Christine Sorensen, rural development coordinator for the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in Pierre, S.D., sends out a jam-packed e-mail every week with resources galore for rural communities. She has given me permission to post that gathering of information for your benefit. It’s a long list, and not all of it will be relevant to you, but trust me—there are some great gold nuggets that make it worth sifting through. —Heidi M-L



With National Ag Day next week, March 19th.  I wanted to highlight this fun video as shared by Farm Service Agency:  Shrift Shop parody is “Ranching Awesome”

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) informational meetings will be held next week. REAP can assist with renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to cut costs or generate income.  For more information, please contact Rural Development Area Director Tim Potts at 605-342-0301 ext 112 or Loan Specialist Brian L. Ring at (605) 224-8870, Extension 122, email   Schedule as follows:

Pierre, SD:  March 18, 1:00 PM at the USDA Service Center,  1717 N. Lincoln Ave. meeting room.

The South Dakota Technology Business Center (SDTBC) is offering two entrepreneurial development programs in 2013 to help entrepreneurs launch and accelerate their business growth, the Business Launch Boot Camp and the SDTBC Accelerator.  More information:

INPUT SOUGHT by April 26  changes to 2 SBA programs: The Small Business Administration has determined that changing conditions in the American economy and persistent high levels of unemployment compel the agency to seek ways to improve access to its two flagship business lending programs: the 504 Loan Program and the 7(a) Loan Program.  SBA must receive comments to this proposed rule on or before April 26, 2013.  The February 25, 2012 FEDERAL REGISTER contains the proposed rulemaking and instructions for submission of comments.



HUD has published a guide to combining the HOME and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Guidebook. The book addresses compliance with the requirements of both programs. Get a free copy here.

State Fact Sheets – The ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each State in the United States

Limited Access: Rural Communities Struggle to Find Internet Providers – Feb 27, 2013 — Associated Press article via The Washington Post, (DC), tells why finding reliable and affordable Internet can be a headache in rural areas.

Imports account for large shares of U.S. consumption of some fruits – While the United States is one of the largest world producers of fruits and nuts, imports accounted for about 38 percent of the volume of U.S. consumption of fresh, processed, and frozen fruits and tree nuts in 2011. Imports account for important shares of U.S. consumption when products—primarily tropical products—cannot be produced in sufficient quantities domestically, or when imports can complement the seasonality of U.S. production. A chart is updated from one that appears in Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, December 2012.

Rural Development and Cooperative Programs released a new report – The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing (Service Report 73).  Here is a link to the press release issued by the Deputy Secretary’s office:  To view the full report, go to:

To learn even more about food hubs or other AMS local food marketing work, visit their Web site at:

Study shows consumers willing to pay more for local food –

Project for Public Spaces study indicates information and outreach bigger barrier than price at farmers markets.

Foreign-born populations are a growing presence in many rural areas – The foreign-born population of the United States has increased rapidly since 1970, primarily due to immigration from Latin America and Asia. By 2010, about 40 million people of foreign birth lived in the United States, accounting for 13 percent of the population. A map is found in Immigration and the Rural Workforce, on the ERS website, updated February 2013.

Hospitals Building Healthier Communities. Authored by research associate David Zuckerman, the report examines how hospitals strengthen local communities through engagement and economic development, as they embrace an anchor mission.

Food manufacturing accounts for 14 percent of all U.S. manufacturing employees  – In 2011, the U.S. food and beverage manufacturing sector employed about 1.5 million people, or about 14 percent of all U.S. manufacturing employees, and just over 1 percent of all U.S. nonfarm employment. This chart appears in the Processing & Marketing topic page on the ERS website, updated February 2013.

Benefits of EHRs for Critical Access Hospitals and Other Small Rural Hospitals 

Offers resources on the adoption and implementation of electronic health records for small and critical access hospitals. Also has resources on hospital leadership, funding for health IT, health IT workforce and broadband connectivity. Organization: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)

Regional Food Hub Resource Guide

Immigrant Worker Owned Cooperatives: A User’s Manual provides information to immigrant communities about how to create, finance, manage and grow worker cooperatives. Written by Minsun Ji of El Centro Humanitario and Tony Robinson of the University of Colorado, Denver, the manual gets into the nitty-gritty of organizing and managing a cooperative. Click here to get a copy.  

Shelterforce highlighted community-driven art projects in a recent article and says they are helping to define and reshape neighborhood spaces in Philadelphia. Groups across the city are increasingly using art to create and animate neighborhood spaces that reflect shared community values, aspirations and identity. And, in many cases, art can be a lasting community organizing tool. Read the article here.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published a report on how banks can participate in Healthy Food initiatives. The report describes how national banks and federal savings associations are helping to finance projects that bring fresh produce and healthy food choices to underserved, low-income neighborhoods. Read more here.  

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank has published a “Nonprofit Executive Succession-Planning Toolkit”. The toolkit is free and is designed for nonprofit boards of directors and executive leaders to effectively implement succession planning and overcome barriers. To get the toolkit, click here.



NCBA Webinars:  Register for any of these here

  • Board Member Engagement: Assessments and Succession Planning, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 • 2 – 3 pm, Eastern
    Learn two critical issues needed for board success in cooperatives: tools for assessment and succession planning.
  • How to Engage Media about the Cooperative Advantage, Tuesday, April 30, 2013 • 2 – 3 pm, Eastern
    Cooperatives have a good story to tell, and there are ways to engage the media to share the business model’s advantage with the public.

WEBINAR:  Rural Broadband Availability and Adoption:  Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Options:  Monday, March 18, 2013.  1:00 PM (Eastern Time)


WEBINAR:  Regional Food Systems — If you are working in regional food systems, think about registering for the March WCRL webinar – Thursday, March 28, 1-2 pm ET.Carol Kline will share her research on the sustainable farm to food value chain in North Carolina. Participate and contribute to the discussion! Click here to register. Please share the link with your networks!

WEBINAR: Local Government Finance in a Turbulent Economy 2013, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM (Eastern Time) Fiscal Sustainability Webinar: Local Government Finance in a Turbulent Economy – Economic Outlook for 2013 Dr. David Schweikhardt.  Registration is required for the webinar; to register go to  Contact Information: If you have any questions regarding the webinar series contact Mary Schulz

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services/Tribal Justice Support and Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, are presenting a legal training workshop on the subject of secured transactions laws that is specifically designed for tribal judges and tribal attorneys, as well those engaged in contracting and business development. It will be held May 8-9, 2013, at the Park Plaza Hotel, 4460 W. 78th Street Circle, Bloomington, Minnesota, 55435.  Tuition and comprehensive curricula materials are free, but you MUST register in advance to attend.  Forms for CLE credits will be available. For information about registration, please contact Craig Nolte at, or 206-396-2192.



2013 Research Grant Opportunities:  The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC, in partnership with USDA Economic Research Service, is pleased to announce the availability of TWO competitive grant programs for 2013.  Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program (Application due May 1)  Download RFP

Food Assistance and Nutrition Challenges of Rural Residents and Communities (Application due April 15)

As in past years, the SRDC RIDGE Center is seeking to invest in innovative social sciences-based research that explores the dimensions of the food and nutrition assistance challenges impacting residents (or communities) in rural America, including key populations such as Native Americans, immigrants, other racial/ethnic minorities, single parents, youth, the persistently poor, and others. For more information on this year’s research priorities and details of the application process, please check out the document  Download RFP

 THE HOME DEPOT COMMUNITY IMPACTS GRANT PROGRAM is offering grants to nonprofit organizations, public schools and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Applications will be accepted from 2/1/13 through 8/13/13. Visit the Home Depot website here to submit an online application.

 THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering grants through The Assets for Independence Demonstration Program that provides support for community-based organizations to offer Individual Development Accounts, financial education and related services to low-income individuals and families to help them accumulate savings and invest in appreciating assets such as a first home, small business or higher education or training. The application deadlines are 3/25/2013 and 5/24/2013. Click here to learn more.  

 THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE is also offering grant funds to nonprofits, public agencies, states, Indian Tribes and local governments to enhance the safety of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking by supporting projects uniquely designed to address and prevent these crimes in rural jurisdictions. Deadline: 3/26/2013. Click here for an application.

 THE eWOMEN NETWORK FOUNDATION is accepting grant proposals from nonprofit organizations working to improve the emotional and financial well-being of women and children. The foundation awards individual grants of $6,000 to small entrepreneurial organizations working to address the health, wellness and/or safety of underprivileged women and/or children. Eligible organizations must have been in existence for more than three years and have an annual budget between $25,000 and $1 million. Deadline: 3/31/2013. Click here to visit the website and get an application.

 LAND O’LAKES FOUNDATION is accepting applications for projects that benefit rural communities. Grants will be awarded to organizations working to address hunger, youth education, and arts and culture in rural communities. Deadlines for 2013: 4/1, 7/1 and 10/1. For more information and an application, click here.

 THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR is offering grants through the National Farmworker Jobs Program that provide support for training, employment services, and related assistance to increase economic opportunities for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their dependents. Deadline: 4/2/2013. Click here to apply.  

 THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration is offering grants to rural nonprofit and public agencies to support formal rural health networks that focus on activities relating to the recruitment, education, training and retention of Heathcare Information Technology specialists. Deadline: 4/15/2013. For guidelines and an application, click here.

 THE US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE is accepting proposals for the Farm to School program. This year, three different kinds of grants will be available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible nonprofit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum or further develop supply chains, among other activities. Deadline: 4/24/2013. A series of webinars is planned to guide applications. Click here for more information.  

 THE ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES is offering grants to Indian Tribes to develop, and within 24 months of grant receipt, submit to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a plan to implement a title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance and, at Tribal option, guardianship assistance program. Deadline: 5/14/2013. Click here to learn more about this program.

 American Kennel Club Humane Fund Invites Applications from Women’s Shelters that Permit Pets

Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded for essential operational support related to the housing of pets or capital improvements specifically for the housing and maintenance of pets…. Deadline: May 15, August 15, November 15, February 15, annually

Target Accepting Applications for K-12 Arts Education Programs – Grants will support programs that enhance the K-12 curricula by bringing the arts and cultural experiences into the classroom…. Deadline: April 30, annually

ESA Foundation Seeks Proposals for Youth-Oriented Tech/Computer Game Projects – Projects must benefit American youth between the ages of 7 and 18 and utilize technology and/or computer and video games for educational purposes…. Deadline: May 15, 2013

Kellogg Foundation Invites Applications for Programs that Engage Youth and Communities in Learning Opportunities

Grants will be awarded to organizations working to promote ideas about how to engage children and youth in learning and new ways to bring together community-based systems that promote learning…. Deadline: Open

Crayola Invites Proposals from Elementary Schools for 2013 Creative Leadership Grants – Grants of $2,500, plus Crayola supplies, will be awarded to elementary schools to build leadership teams that work to increase arts-infused education in and out of school…. Deadline: June 21, 2013

Cigna Foundation Invites Applications for Health Promotion Projects – The foundation provides funding to nonprofits working to promote wellness, expand opportunities, develop leaders, and strengthen community cohesiveness, particularly in communities where Cigna employees live and work….

Deadline: Open

Hitachi Foundation Seeks Applications for Young Entrepreneurs Program – Grants support young entrepreneurs whose businesses work to alleviate domestic poverty…. Deadline: March 28, 2013

Safeway Foundation Invites Applications From Nonprofit Organizations – Grants will support programs in the areas of hunger relief, education, health and human services, and/or assisting people with disabilities…. Deadline: Open

Gerber Foundation Seeks Proposals for Pediatric Research Projects

The foundation supports health and/or nutrition-related research projects designed to improve health, nutrition, and developmental outcomes for infants and young children….Deadline: June 1, 2013 (Concept Papers)

Fisher House Foundation Seeks Proposals for 2013 Newman’s Own Awards to Support Service Members and Their Families

Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to recognize and support innovative programs that improve the quality of life of active duty, Reserve, and National Guard and their families…. Deadline: May 1, 2013

USDA Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program – Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities for health care, public safety, and public services in rural areas.

 Leadership & Sustainability Institute Seeks Nominations for 2013-2014 Black Male Achievement Social Innovation Accelerator – Programs and organizations selected as BMA Social Innovators will receive $150,000 over a period of twelve months in support of their efforts to become national leaders in the field of black male achievement…. Deadline: April 5, 2013

Dog Fence DIY Invites Applications for Veterinary and Pre-Veterinary Academic Scholarships

Scholarships will provide $2,000, distributed in increments of $500 per semester, to qualified applicants enrolled in a doctor of veterinary medicine program, an undergraduate biology or pre-veterinary studies program, or the equivalent…. Deadline: June 1, 2013

Harpo Foundation Invites Letters of Inquiry from Visual Arts and Nonprofit Arts Organizations – Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to visual artists whose work promises to advance and cross the boundaries of visual media and artistic disciplines…. Deadline: April 5, 2013 (Letters of Inquiry)

Langeloth Foundation Invites Health Organizations to Register for Physical and Emotional Healing Grants – Grants will be awarded to healthcare nonprofits working to promote healing from illness, accident, physical, social, or emotional trauma, as well as for projects designed to reduce recidivism among former offenders…. Deadline: April 8, 2013 (Registration)

Looking@Democrazy Competition Seeks Provocative Media Pieces that Address American Democracy – The competition offers a total of $100,000 in prizes to individuals who have developed creative ways to engage Americans in the democratic process and refocus the discussion of democracy in America…. Deadline: April 30, 2013 (Extended)

Mutual of America Foundation Accepting Applications for 2013 Community Partnership Awards – Ten public-private partnerships will receive awards, including a top prize of $25,000, in recognition of an outstanding contribution to society…. Deadline: April 1, 2013

Positive Exposures Invites Applications from Nonprofit Organizations to Create Compelling Media Campaigns – Positive Exposures works with nonprofit organizations to create compelling media projects that help them expand their reach, educate the public, and increase their funding…. Deadline: April 30, 2013

FY 2013 Economic Development Assistance Programs Modification 2 –

Technical assistance is one of the allowable activities.


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