Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FW: Publications, learning, funding

From our colleagues at USDA-RD; emphasis this week on small business assistance. Also interesting publications/webinars to participate in!




How to Fund Transit Without Raising Fares or Cutting Service


When Mark Aesch became head of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, back in 2004, the metro area's bus system was in terrible shape. The agency carried a $4.5 million deficit and on-time performance was stuck at 76 percent. Officials wanted to approach the problem the way so many other city agencies were handling similar situations at the time: with a fare hike. Aesch said no. Not only did Aesch keep his pledge not to raise fares, but in 2008 he actually lowered them. By the time he left the position, at the end of 2011, Aesch and his creative approach had transformed Rochester's bus system into a total winner. Buses drove fewer miles, carried more passengers, and boasted a 91 percent on-time record. The agency accumulated a $35.5 million surplus while decreasing its reliance on taxpayer funding by more than a third. Aesch has since started a consulting firm called TransPro and written a book called Driving Excellence. His mission with both is to encourage transit officials to bring a "private-sector mindset" to public transportation. "If the model of public transportation is simply to ask the taxpayer for more money or the customer for more money, it's a short path to reducing service and reducing quality," says Aesch. "You've got to go identify new business partners to fund public transportation with non-taxpayer dollars."


Do Cluster Initiatives Work? Evidence from SBA's Pilot Initiative

Small businesses often are surrounded by a myriad resources and potential partners that could help leverage their products and services to innovate and grow, but they are not always aware of how to access them. In order to remedy this lack of strong regional networks, the Obama administration has attempted to connect existing businesses, institutions of higher education, economic development organizations, investors, small businesses, and startups to create regional clusters that stimulate economic growth through SBA and EDA regional cluster initiatives. A commissioned study of the first two years of the SBA's 10 pilot cluster initiatives in which the agency invested $1 million toward regional industries and advanced defense technologies found a significant correlation between these initiatives and economic growth. Read more...

Rural educational attainment has been rising - Historically, rural (nonmetro) areas in the United States have lagged metro areas in educational attainment, but nonmetro areas are catching up over time. In the decade following the 2000 Census, the percentage of the rural population with less than a high school education dropped significantly, and is now only slightly higher than in urban areas. Meanwhile, high school completion, college attendance, and college completion rates in nonmetro areas all rose during the 2000s. However, nonmetro areas still face a large gap compared with metro areas in the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher—17.4 percent versus 30.2 percent in 2007-11. At least part of this gap reflects the higher pay that highly educated workers often can earn in metropolitan labor markets. This chart updates one found in the Rural Employment and Education topic page.

Food insecurity increased in most States over the last decade - As the 2007-09 Great Recession and its accompanying higher unemployment took its toll on U.S. families, food insecurity at the national level increased. In 2011, 14.9 percent of U.S. households were food insecure—up from 10.7 percent in 2001. Food-insecure households are those that were, at times, unable to acquire adequate food for one or more household members due to insufficient money or other resources for food. States differed both in the percentage of households that were food insecure and in the change in that prevalence rate during the period. From 2001 to 2011, the prevalence of food insecurity was essentially unchanged in 9 States and grew for the remaining 41 States and Washington, DC. This chart appears in “Food Insecurity Increased in Most States From 2001 to 2011” in the July 2013 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.


Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Newsletter:  Wind power development in the United States has increased substantially since the mid-2000s.  The latest issue of the Main Street Economist explores the fundamentals of wind power development, as well as the effects of federal and state renewable energy policies on the industry.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.kansascityfed.org/publications/research/mse/index.cfm?ealert=mse0713





IEDC to Host Free Webinar on Establishing a Small Business Emergency Loan Fund Program after a Disaster

On August 21 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. EST, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) will host a free webinar on establishing a small business emergency loan fund program after a disaster. The webinar will discuss ways to structure an emergency loan program with either public or private funding sources. This webinar draws on experiences in the Greater Los Angeles region following the Northridge earthquake and in Greater Beaumont, Texas following several hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Click here for more information on the webinar. Click here to register for the webinar.





TELECONFERENCE: Rural Gateway Peer-to-Peer Conference:  A Discussion of the Border Community Capital Initiative Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Date: August 8, 2013, 2:30 pm EDT
The Border Community Capital Initiative (BCCI) is a collaborative effort among three federal agencies – the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of the Treasury - Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) and the Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD). The BCCI’s goal is to increase access to capital for affordable housing, business lending, and community facilities in the chronically underserved and undercapitalized U.S./Mexico border region. Specifically, it will provide direct investment and technical assistance to community development lending and investing institutions that focus on affordable, small business, and community facilities to benefit the residents of colonias. 

HUD, CDFI fund, and USDA RD leaders have all identified the lack of capacity among organizations serving the colonias and similar persistent poverty communities as a limiting factor in the effectiveness of federal programs. Inconsistent availability of limited public funding in any one region or community plays a role in this, because organizations specializing in affordable housing, small business support, and community facilities cannot sustain themselves and grow. The partnering agencies recognize that the targeted border population and communities receive insufficient services because they lack organizations with the capacity to effectively respond to community needs.

Format of the call: Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on August 7, 2013. The 60 minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session. 
Please RSVP by email to rhed@hud.gov no later than 10 a.m. EDT on August 7, 2013. Please include your name, organization, city, and state.

If you have questions, call 1-877-RURAL-26 (1-877-787-2526).


Direct Line for American Business - Direct Line lets U.S. business hear directly from our Ambassadors and our economic and commercial experts at over 260 Embassies and Consulates in over 190 countries. Our staffs are trained to identify promising market sectors and to help U.S. exporters capitalize on new opportunities.  Any U.S. business can register for a Direct Line call at http://www.state.gov/e/eb/directline


National Service Agency Announces $14 Million Funding Opportunity to Engage Volunteers 55+: (Due 8.9.13) The Corporation for National and Community Service released a Notice of Funding Opportunity to provide local nonprofit and public agencies an opportunity to increase their capacity by engaging adults age 55 and older in high impact with volunteer service. Letters of intent to apply are due on August 9, 2013.  The deadline for applications is Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. 


Ronald McDonald House Announces Revision of Grantmaking Strategy
RMHC has revised its grantmaking strategy to focus on sustainable, replicable projects that include a train-the-trainer component and address the most pressing issues related to children's health and well being.... Deadline: August 30, 2013


Indian Land Tenure Foundation Invites Letters of Inquiry for Native Land Recovery Efforts - Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to support Native land recovery efforts, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands.... Deadline: August 5 and December 2, 2013 (Letters of Inquiry)


Chesapeake Bay Trust Accepting Mini-Grant Proposals for K-12 Environmental Education Programs
Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to support efforts to provide meaningful watershed educational experiences, environment-related professional development for teachers, and programs that advance environmental literacy in the Chesapeake Bay area.... Deadline: August 9, 2013


Gates Foundation Invites Submissions for Child Medical Record Design Competition - Cash awards of up to of $50,000 will be given to individuals and teams from any sector working to redesign child medical records so as to increase their accuracy and make them easier to interpret and use.... Deadline: October 31, 2013


Association of Health Care Journalists Invites Proposals for Healthcare System Reporting Fellowships - Grants totaling $6,500 will be awarded to individual journalists to support the production of a package of stories spotlighting a healthcare system-related topic, problem, or improvement.... Deadline: November 4, 2013



Suzette M. Agans

Community and Economic Development
Rural Development | U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Stop 3254 | Washington, D.C. 20250
Phone: 202.401.1922 | Fax 202.401.7311


"Committed to the future of rural communities"
"Estamos dedicados al futuro de las comunidades rurales"


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