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Resources for rural communities, May 2, 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 regularly with resources galore for rural communities. I’ve been lax in getting this posted, so here’s the latest from two e-mails. Lots of intriging grant opportunities! Read and share with your friends and colleagues. —Heidi M-L


Mailing list of rural Resources from – The Rural Housing and Economic Development Gateway is an information clearinghouse providing technical assistance, training, and information resources to support rural housing and economic development.  Each person can sign-up based upon their interests.   They also host topic-based teleconferences, and include some good data resources on their website, just scroll down on the right to see them.


Expanded eligibility for USDA grants to improve access to fresh produce and healthy foods by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients at America’s farmers’ markets:  To find out more about available farmers market equipment funding or to learn more about accepting SNAP benefits at your farmers market, contact your SNAP State agency or visit

SD Broadband Initiative is looking for local partners!  This project serves to increase access to and use of broadband to better serve our citizens. With broadband everywhere, we can realize improved economic development, access to education and health care, enhanced public safety, improved government efficiencies, increased tourism, greater access to telework opportunities and more. Register  for your Technology Assessment.   For general questions, information or inquiries please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, or use the contact information below.  The South Dakota Broadband Technology Planning Team.  700 Governors Drive.  Pierre, SD 57501 (605) 773-4165  


Policy Link:  Improving Access to Healthy Food:  Communities across the country are working to expand and improve healthy food access through grocery stores, small stores, farmers’ markets, and urban agriculture. This  series of tools offers concerned residents, policymakers, business leaders, and advocates ideas and strategies for improving access to healthy food in underserved communities, based on the wisdom and experiences of local communities



The Department of Agriculture today announced (thirty-day notice) that its  Economic Research Service (ERS) plans to conduct the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (REIS) as a one-time inquiry with a canvass of 34,000 businesses and not-for-profit organizations.  The proposed collection will contribute to a better understanding of how international competition and the increasing knowledge intensity of economic activity in the U.S. are affecting the vitality of rural areas and effective adjustment of these pressures.   Click here for additional background and instructions for obtaining the survey instrument.  Comments are due by May 25.



EDA Requests Comments on Developing a Program to Provide Loan Guarantees to Small or Medium Sized Manufacturers

On April 17, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced a request for public comment on how to design and structure loan guarantees for small and medium-sized manufacturers. Specifically, EDA is considering how to implement its statutory authority to establish a loan guarantee program for small and medium sized manufacturers that encourages projects that re-equip, expand, or establish a manufacturing facility in the United States and that use innovative technology or processes in manufacturing. The loan guarantees should also be used to encourage the manufacture of innovative products, processes, or ideas developed by research funded in whole or in part by grants from the Federal Government. Comments must be received by May 15, 2013. Click here for more information on the specific questions EDA wants answered, how to submit comments, and to view the original announcement.




USDA Announces Expanded “StrikeForce” Initiative to Boost Rural Economic Growth and Opportunity

On March 26, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will launch its StrikeForce initiative in 10 additional states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. The primary goal of the StrikeForce initiative is to increase partnerships with rural communities and leverage community resources in targeted, persistent poverty areas. The StrikeForce initiative started as a pilot project in 2010 in selected regions in three states: Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi and expanded in 2011 to include Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Click here for more information about the StrikeForce initiative. Click here to view the full article.


New NADO Case Studies Series Highlights Youth Participation in Community Development Efforts
The NADO Research Foundation has recently launched a new case studies/resource series, “Youth with a Voice,” which highlights small towns and rural communities that are effectively engaging young people in planning and community development projects The first case study features a student-led initiative to develop a park and performance stage in downtown Brownsville, PA (pop. 2,300).  To learn more about the case studies series, click here.  To read the Brownsville case study, click here.


National Conversation on the Future of Our Communities

By 2027, what do we want our communities to look like? What development issues will we face and how will we solve them? In summer 2012, the Smart Growth Network issued a call for papers to start a national conversation around these questions. Twenty of these papers were published in a compendium that was recently released at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The papers featured in the Compendium cover a wide range of issues, from community and economic development to environmental justice, public health, housing, transportation, and more, including a paper on asset-based economic development in rural places, contributed by NADO Associate Director Kathy Nothstine. Download the compendium and view other papers and blog posts here, and contribute to this ongoing conversation about the future of our communities on the Smart Growth Network website.


Deep Development as Government Shrinks (3/31)  By Timothy Collins 

Rural community developers need more than ever to conserve resources and work on what’s basic: sustaining the environment. Rural life and livelihood depend on it. Read the story.


In Davenport, IA Quad Cities Food Hub acts as aggregator, retail market and kitchen incubator


PA Department of Ag partners with Turnpike Authority for farmers markets on the freeway


Old Army Depot eyed for future food hub in Kansas City, MO–Quartermaster-Depot-Rebirth


A new report that may be used to advance health equity in communities is available from Policy Link.  The report, “Promoting Equity through the Practice of Health Impact Assessment” aims to broaden the understanding of Health Impact Assessment as a tool for improving health and advancing equity in communities of color and in other vulnerable communities across the country. Get a copy of the report here.


The National American Indian Housing Coalition released the 2013 revised edition of the Indian Housing Development Handbook, which is a guide for tribal housing programs, federal and state government agencies, lenders, contractors, investors, attorneys and other housing professionals. Get a free copy here.


The University of Vermont has published “The Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm”. The guide details options and considerations for crafting unconventional financial arrangements that have been used in other sectors of the economy, but might be new to the agricultural sector. The 62-page guide addresses legal, accounting, environmental and social considerations relevant to pursuing customized financial agreements, and contains examples of farms that have used alternative financing. Download a free copy here.


Birth and Death in Rural America, Daily Yonder | READ STORY


Rural Population and Economy: County-level Data SetsCounty-level poverty rates, county-level unemployment rates and median household income, county-level education level, and county-level unemployment rates. The 2012 population data were added March 28, 2013.


If you would like to stay up to date with USDA Rural Development:  Self Register your email address and receive our quarterly newsletter


Kansas City Federal Reserve Newsletter: A KC Fed survey of low- and moderate-income families illustrates the struggles this population has faced in the recession and weak recovery, including hurdles blocking access to jobs, affordable housing and other basic services.


Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s website: The pace of U.S. “job polarization,” in which employment has shifted from middle-skill jobs toward high- and low-skill jobs, has varied across industries; across workforce segments by gender, age and education; and throughout the business cycle.


How are small businesses recovering? SBA Quarterly Bulletins in 2012 provide useful insights. Find them here.


Learn how an innovative redevelopment effort in North Carolina, using both public and private support, is combining the creative talents of seasoned artists with the skills of local manufacturers. Read the story here.


U.S. R&D Expenditures by State and Performer: 2009-10 – While New Mexico continues to lead the country in R&D intensity, California remains at the top in R&D expenditures, according to new National Science Foundation (NSF) data from 2009 and 2010. Using data from a recent NSF report, SSTI has prepared tables showing the overall R&D expenditures (in millions of dollars) by state in 2009-10 and by the three primary performer of R&D in the U.S. (federal, business and university) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The table also provides R&D intensity, an index for R&D spending that takes total R&D spending as a percentage of gross state product (GSP), and R&D intensity rankings for those states and the District of Columbia. Read more…



Census Bureau Releases New Extraction Tool for Local Employment Dynamics Data

On March 28, 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau released a beta version of a tool that gives data users the ability to access all 30 Local Employment Dynamics Quarterly Workforce Indicators, including measures of employment, turnover, hiring, job creation, job destruction, and average monthly earnings. Click here to view a one page summary. Click here to view the full article. Click here to start the new extraction tool.


The 2013 U.S. Microenterprise Census—the nation’s leading source of data on the microenterprise industry. Created by the Aspen Institute’s FIELD Program in 1992, the Census has become the most comprehensive and widely used source of information on microenterprise in the United States. If your organization offers microenterprise training and technical assistance, IDAs for microenterprise, or microloans, please take the survey! Even if that’s only one part of your mission, your input is valuable. CFED will raffle off a free registration for the 2014 Assets Learning Conference (a $700 value) to those who fill out the Census by June 2. All you need to do to enter the raffle is complete the survey.  By participating in the Census, you:


PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund have launched the Healthy Food Access Portal that connects community leaders, healthy food retailers, policymakers and advocates to an extensive array of resources, strategies and ideas to improve and increase access to healthy food retail—from grocery stores to corner stores, farmers’ markets, and mobile produce trucks—in underserved communities. Access the Portal here.


“Receiving Communities Toolkit,” developed by Welcoming America with the assistance of the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, provides detailed examples and resources on how to go about helping integrate immigrants into a community. The toolkit can be accessed by clicking here. Read more about the initiative here.


Resource Guide on Public Engagement is packed with tools and stories to help you tackle your community’s toughest issues.



ERS revises its farm typology – Nearly 15 years have passed since ERS first released its farm typology to classify farms into relatively homogeneous groups based on their gross farm sales, the primary occupation of their operators, and family farm status. A recent update to the ERS farm typology reflects commodity price inflation and structural changes in production that have occurred over time. An available chart is based on table 9 in the ERS report, Updating the ERS Farm Typology, EIB-110, April 2013.





From past Brownfields projects, EPA Releases an Evaluation of the National Brownfields Program Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new report after conducting the first national program evaluation of the outcomes, efficiencies, and economic benefits produced by Brownfields grants. Over 8,000 Brownfield sites were evaluated to determine property milestones achieved and how funding was used at those properties. Click here to view the report. Click here to view the original press release.


WEBINAR: Community Economic Development (CED), Office of Community Services, is offering webinars to Community Development Corporations that address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of sustainable business development and employment opportunities (grant deadline TBA). Two tracks are available: Track 1 for any interested applicants, and Track 2 for Healthy Food initiatives. CED’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative grants support projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that currently lack these options (grant deadline TBA). For a full listing of webinars, click here.



WEBINAR: NADO Research Foundation and EDA Webinar about the U.S. Cluster Map and Registry, May 2, 2013 from 2:00pm-3:15pm EST.

Join NADO Research Foundation and U.S. Economic Development Administration for a Webinar about the U.S. Cluster Map and Registry on Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 2:00pm-3:15pm EST. This Webinar will provide an overview of the U.S. Cluster Map and Registry ( which provides data on the regional clusters that are driving the national economy. Through this tool practitioners access key information on industries by location and type. The registry provides a useful tool for identifying potential organizations to partner with to advance regional cluster initiatives. Economic development organizations, practitioners, policy makers, and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend to learn how this tool can be useful in your planning and decision-making processes. Please contact NADO Deputy Executive Director Laurie Thompson at if you have any questions about this webinar. To register for the Webinar, go to


Building Organizational Capacity for Disaster Recovery in Small Communities and Rural Places, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 2:30 – 4:00 pm ET, Free

Natural disasters happen in all types of communities, both large and small, but small communities and rural places face unique challenges to recovery and long-term resilience. They are often spread out, without densely populated areas; this can make communication more difficult. While these communities may have fewer financial resources than their larger counterparts, small and rural areas have some advantages with regard to economic recovery and resiliency. This webinar will focus on disaster recovery efforts in two communities: Goderich, Ontario and Hancock County, Mississippi. Mr. Letts will share lessons learned during the recovery efforts in Goderich following a 2011 tornado that damaged much of the downtown area, and Ms. Williams will discuss the recovery efforts of Hancock County to Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.


WEBINAR: The May WCRL Webinar will be Place-Based Branding for Food Systems and Beyond: A study by the Central Appalachian Network, presented on Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 1-2 pm ET (noon-1 pm CT). Members of CAN will share the results of some recent research on place-based branding. A great opportunity for you to learn more! To register, click here.


RECORDED WEBINAR:  “Foundations as Investment Partners, Understanding the Opportunity” with Peter Berliner from Mission Investors Exchange.  
To access the audio and video from the presentation, please follow this link: You will need to register to view/listen to the recording.
RECORDED WEBINAR:  Accelerators, Bubbles and Regional Innovation — Two Experts Weigh In

With more than 200 mentoring-intensive accelerators launching, convening, or closing down sometime in the past two years, it has become clear that announcing an accelerator’s creation and sustaining one for multiple years are proving to be two very different matters.  Is the accelerator model overplayed at this point as a regional economic development tool? Read more…


Wells Fargo is proud to support organizations that work to strengthen our communities. If your organization meets Wells Fargo’s eligibility requirements and fits in with our philanthropic goals and objectives, we encourage you to submit a proposal that includes all items listed below. Organizations that serve a specific community are encouraged to contact their nearest Wells Fargo store to submit a grant proposal. View this link for more details:


Refugee Home Based Child Care is due May 21th –

Refugee Microenterprise is due June 10 2013 –


Aetna Grants for improving health and health care systems – The Aetna Foundation focuses their grant making on issues that improve health and the health care system in three areas: Obesity, Racial and Ethnic Health Care Equity, and Integrated Health Care.


THE WICK KENNEY FUND provides support to nonprofit organizations that work to protect and restore watersheds in the western United States. The Fund’s discretionary grants focus on projects that: provide a real opportunity to change western water policy on a local, state, or national level; defend environmental laws critical for the protection of all western rivers; focus on a specific strategy for protection of a biologically important western watershed; or research and analyze issues that affect western water. Discretionary grant inquiries are accepted throughout the year; however, grants are typically made only twice a year, in June and December. Click here to learn more.


STATE FARM is offering grants through its Youth Advisory that funds student-led service-learning projects throughout the United States and in the provinces of Alberta, New Brunswick, and Ontario in Canada. Each grant request must fall under one of the following issue areas, chosen by the board itself: community safety and natural disaster preparedness, environmental responsibility, accessing higher education/closing the achievement gap, social health and wellness issues, and financial literacy. Programs must be youth-driven and youth-led. Grants range from $25,000 to $100,000. Deadline: 5/3/2013. Click here for an application.


THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering funds to expand substance abuse treatment and HIV services for African American, Hispanic/Latina, and other racial/ethnic minority women who have substance use or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders and are living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. Deadline: 5/14/2013. Click here to learn more about the program and to apply.


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Department of Children and Families has grant money available through its Assets for Independence program, a community-based approach for giving low-income families a means for stepping up out of poverty through IDA programs. Deadline: 5/24/2013. Get an application and details here.


BIKES BELONG COALITION is offering Community Partnership Grants which are designed support partnerships between city or county governments, nonprofit organizations and local businesses that aim to improve the environment for bicycling in the community. Grants range from $2,000 to $10,000 and are primarily provided for the construction or expansion of bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, trails, and paths as well as advocacy projects that promote bicycling as a safe and accessible mode of transportation. Deadline: 5/24/2013. Visit the Coalition’s website here for an application.


HUD has released the NOFA for the 2013 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grants. Applications must propose a plan for the revitalization of a severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multifamily housing project located in a distressed neighborhood into a viable, mixed-income community. Deadline to apply: 5/28/2013. The NOFA can be viewed here.


THE US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has funding available to eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) to address the unique needs of small, rural school districts. The program provides financial assistance to rural districts to assist them in meeting their state’s definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP). Applicants do not compete but rather are entitled to funds if they meet basic eligibility requirements. Deadline: 5/31/2013. For more information and an application, click here.


GLADYS BROOKS FOUNDATION will consider major grant applications in the fields of libraries, education, hospitals and clinics. Deadline: 5/31/2013. For more information click here.


HUD is offering grants to nonprofits and Fair Housing Organizations (FHOs) for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to build capacity, conduct outreach, establish new fair housing enforcement organizations and/or provide fair lending enforcement in underserved areas. Deadline: 6/11/2013. For additional information and an application, click here.


The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund  is expanding the Capacity Building Initiative to critically needed community development financing. The new “Financing Community Health Centers” series will focus on building the capacity of CDFIs to finance and support community health centers in underserved communities. Opportunity Finance Network has been selected as the training provider. Check the website here for more information on this initiative.


National Guild for Community Arts Education Seeks Applications for Arts Education Grants – Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to projects that enhance arts learning in K-12 public schools during the 2013-14 school year…. Deadline: May 16, 2013


Spencer Foundation Invites Proposals for Research on K-8 Classroom Instruction – Grants ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 will be awarded for research projects that investigate how K-8 teachers use student performance data for instructional decisions and how organizational and individual factors affect that use…. Deadline: June 11, 2013 (Preliminary proposals)


Project Learning Tree Seeks Applications for Environmental Education Projects – Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded in support of environmental projects that demonstrate service-learning, exemplify student voice, and involve at least one community partner…. Deadline: September 30, 2013


Science of Philanthropy Initiative Call for Entries for 2013 Fundraising Idea Contest – SPI will award first-, second-, and third-place prizes of $5,000, $1,500, and $500, respectively, for evidence-based ideas that further the science of philanthropy…. Deadline: June 14, 2013


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the availability of $150,000 for state-level Conservation Innovations Grants (CIG).  Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to federally recognized Indian Tribes, state and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations and individuals.  Application period runs from April 26 to May 17, 2013.


Mission Investors Exchange is where philanthropic innovators exchange ideas, tools, and experiences to increase the impact of their capital.  Members include more than 200 foundations and mission investing organizations. Our full members are U.S. and some international foundations of all sizes and mission areas who use or are learning to use program-related and mission-related investing as a strategy to accomplish their philanthropic goals.   Learn more about membership here and see a list of our members here This type of funding vehicle can be useful to communities, and there are  many resources on the website to help.  But also help to community foundations and foundations to help focus on triple bottom lines, impact investing etc.


The Round 3 SGA for TAACCCT – The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) announces the availability of approximately $474 million in grant funds to be awarded under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. The TAACCCT grant program provides eligible institutions of higher education, with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, and are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers Program (“TAA-eligible workers”). Jul 03, 2013.  Note:  the NADO webinar under Learning, could be useful in applying.

Urban and Non-Urban Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), Application deadline: May 3, 2013
Funding to provide job training, counseling, and placement services (including job readiness, literacy, and skills training) to expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force.

Family Violence Prevention and Services Grants for Domestic Violence Shelters/Grants to Native American Tribes (Including Alaska Native Villages) and Tribal Organizations, Application deadline: May 4, 2013
Grants to assist tribes in establishing, maintaining, and expanding programs and projects to prevent family violence.

Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program, Application deadline: May 17, 2013
Provides funding for mental health services for veterans who live in rural areas via the use of networks, electronic communication, and telehealth.

Assets for Independence Demonstration Program, Application deadline: Jun 7, 2013
Grants for projects designed to assist low-income people in becoming economically self-sufficient.

Economic Development Assistance Programs, Application deadline: Jun 13, 2013
Grants for rural and urban communities to support the implementation of regional economic development strategies.

Open Meadows Foundation Grants, Application deadline: Aug 15, 2013
Grants for projects that are led by and benefit women and girls, particularly those from vulnerable communities.

Community Development Transportation Lending Services (CDTLS, the Fund), Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Provides loan funding to support transit services in rural areas.

Healthy Environments, Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Funding to improve the health and well being of vulnerable children from low-income families by making the places they live, learn, and play safe and supportive of overall good health.

Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Provides loans to intermediaries for the establishment of revolving loan funds in rural areas.

Pioneer Drama Service Seeks Entries From Middle and High School Drama Programs for ‘The Show Must Go On’ Video Contest
Up to $10,000 in scripts and royalties will be awarded to middle schools and high schools for three-minute videos created by students and staff that demonstrate why “the show must go on” on at their school….Deadline: June 30, 2013

EmcArts Invites Applications for Innovation Lab for Museums Program – Three museums will be selected for the year-long program, which will help them design, research, and prototype innovative approaches to field-wide challenges in a laboratory-like setting….Deadline: June 5, 2013

World We Want Foundation Invites Applications From Youth for Social Change Projects – Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to youth between the ages of 13 and 25 who want to make a difference through social action activities, including community service projects, service-learning projects, and social ventures…. Deadline: Rolling

Bush Foundation Invites Applications for 2013 Fellowship Program
Two-year fellowships of between $30,000 and $80,000 will be awarded to qualified individuals who care deeply about their communities and have a vision for how it can be a better place for everyone who lives there…. Deadline: May 24, 2013 (References Due May 20, 2013) Email me if you have questions!

Wounded Warrior Project Invites Letters of Interest for Projects That Provide Direct Services to Veterans – Grants of up to $250,000 will be awarded for projects that enhance the lives of injured service members and their families…. Deadline: June 1, 2013 (Letter of Interest; Final Applications, July 8)

2014 National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant Program:  Request for Proposals (RFP), grant proposals will be due July 15, 2013

Due to the continual changes to our end of year grant award due dates, we are shifting the program timeline to allow more time for applicants to apply, and proposals to be reviewed, and awarded.  We plan to announce future grant “Requests for Proposals” in January of each year. The 2014 Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Information is posted on the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council’s Website:

and   Search [CFDA number:  10.675], or [Grant Opportunity No.:  USDA-FS-UCF-01-2014]  Please contact Forest Service Regional Urban Forestry Program Manager, if you are interested in applying and have any questions.   The Forest Service Regional Urban forestry Coordinators are located:  For Region 2 Mountain (includes South Dakota) the new contact is: Claire Harper,


If you would like to be added to Christine Sorensen’s confidential listserv, e-mail her at

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