Monday, November 3, 2014

FW: Publications, Tools, Learning and Funding Opps

From our colleagues at USDA-RD as well as additional information from the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC;




FTA Publishes Guidance on Implementation on Section 5311 Rural Area Formula Program

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has placed in the docket and on its Web site, guidance in the form of a circular to assist grantees in implementing the Section 5311 Rural Area Formula Program. The purpose of the circular is to provide recipients of FTA financial assistance with updated instructions and guidance on program administration and the grant application process. The revisions to FTA Circular 9040.1F are a result of changes made to the Rural Area Formula Program by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).


The final circular becomes effective November 24, 2014. The Section 5311 Program, as amended by MAP-21, provides for expanded eligible activities and set-asides that support rural transit program such as the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Program, the Rural Transit Assistance Program, and the Tribal Transit Program. The Section 5311 Program permits activities authorized under the repealed Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to qualify as Section 5311 eligible activities. Additionally, since MAP-21 changed the program's name from the Formula Grants for Other Than Urbanized Area Program to the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program, the term ``rural'' replaces ``non-urbanized area'' or ``other than urbanized area'' throughout the circular.

Click here for the October 24 FEDERAL REGISTER notice. An electronic version of the circular can be found at


Deloitte Consulting Availability of New Handbooks for Job Seekers, Employers and Communities

Creative class county job growth resilient following recession

During the pre-recession economic growth years, counties with a high percentage of their workforce employed in “creative” occupations—engineers, scientists, artists, and others tasked with combining knowledge and ideas in novel ways—tended to experience higher rates of local employment growth than other counties, but having a high share of creative jobs did not offer much local job market protection during the 2007-09 recession. “Creative class” counties—those in the top quartile of all counties ranked by their share of creative jobs—were more likely to experience employment losses in the recession than other counties. However, a higher share of creative class counties gained employment during the economic recovery. While a much higher percentage of metro counties have seen recent employment growth whether or not they are creative class counties, a higher share of nonmetro counties gained employment during both the recession and recovery, the latter group benefitting from employment gains driven mainly by the energy boom. This chart is derived from the October 2014 Amber Waves data feature, “What Happened to the “'Creative Class' Job Growth Engine” During the Recession and Recovery?





10 step guide to fundraising - Raising funds will help expand your outreach, involve more people in dialogue and community change and tell the story of the impact you are having. Use this guide to help you think about budgeting and fundraising.


Speed Meeting Activity for Communities Addressing Racism- This activity is for programs addressing racism and racial equity, particularly those that are using the Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation discussion guide. This activity can be used whenever people don't know each other and need to connect at any phase of the work, and especially in the organizing phase.





WEBINAR: Rural leaders invited to join Climate Dialogues Webinar, November 12, 3:30pm CST/4:30pm EST

This webinar is geared toward rural leaders, organizers, and community stakeholders who are looking for a process to engage their communities in conversations about climate change.

Hosted by Assembly Steering Committee member Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), the Rural Climate Dialogues are part of an effort to spur rural leadership and build resiliency in the face of extreme weather conditions and a changing climate.  This webinar will provide an overview of the first Rural Climate Dialogue in Morris, Minnesota, focusing on the process, outcomes, follow-up, and a participant's perspective. REGISTER HERE

WEBINAR: Crowdfunding the New Economy, Thursday, November 20, 2014, 12:00 - 1:30 pm ET- A WealthWorks Perspective, a webinar presented by the Croatan Institute. Check out this blog post to learn more. Register 


WEBINAR: TAKE OUT MENU” November 20, 2014 (2:00 PM – ET): How the University of Minnesota Tourism Center contributes to Event Management Education: Introducing the Online Festival & Event Management (FEM) Course. Presenter: Xinyi (Lisa) Qian (University of Minnesota).)

During this webinar, Dr. Qian will introduce the online Festival and Event Management (FEM) course. She will talk about the key topics the course covers and the ongoing effort to develop special topic sessions. She will also introduce the team of instructors and the online interactions they engage in with students. Dr. Qian will finish the webinar by talking about the option of obtaining the certificate of completion for the course and plans to continuously improve the course.


WEBINAR: CommunityMatters Talk on Civic Health, Nov. 20.  You will need to register

We all know the importance of physical health—good habits like regular exercise and eating well help us keep on track with that (most of the time). How do we maintain our civic health? 
Dr. Mike Stout, associate professor, University of Missouri and Evan Weissman, executive director, Warm Cookies of the Revolution join CommunityMatters® on November 20 for an hour-long talk about promoting healthy civic life. They'll share both fun and data-driven approaches to promoting civic health. 

RECORDED WEBINAR: Rewriting the Rural Narrative 

If you missed Ben Winchester's talk on population trends in rural communities, no worries. You can download a recording of the hour-long webinar that focuses on Ben's research on rural migration trends and the impacts they have on social and economic opportunity. While brain drain, the loss of 18- to 29-year-olds, dominates the conversation about rural population change, Ben's research shows a lesser known migration. A majority of rural counties are, in fact, experiencing brain gains as newcomers age 30-49 move in. Ben is a research fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality.  Download now »





“Yes, Virginia, there is funding for Rural Areas” - - a page with ideas on rural funding


Looking for volunteers? Apply for AmeriCorps- AmeriCorps volunteers work to strengthen communities. The focus areas for funding are: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environment, veterans and military families, governor and mayor initiatives, and programming that supports My Brother's Keeper.


Funding for grassroots, social change organizations-  Haymarket makes Sustaining Grants that range up to $10,000/year for grassroots, social change organizations that meet their funding criteria and priorities in the New England area. They fund both start-up groups and groups that are more established.


FTA Announces Funding Opportunity under the Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative) – revised NOFA

The Federal Transit Administration has announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative).

Eligible applicants include departments of transportation (DOTs) providing public transportation services; Metropolitan Planning Organizations; Indian Tribes; nonprofit institutions; and institutions of higher education. Only these types of organizations are eligible to apply to this program. The cooperative agreement will be between FTA and the selected organization, which must have a substantial interest in the project and must not simply act as a pass-through for funds. Applicants may apply individually or in a consortium of eligible applicants. The consortium of eligible applicants must include a lead applicant as the primary recipient of federal funds. Complete proposals are due December 23, 2014.  Click here for full background, including the relevant partnership information, application content requirements and process, and Federal evaluation criteria. Prospective applicants may visit for additional information.


NSF Announces Funding Opportunity under “US Ignite”; Identifies  Resources for Scaling Up Smart and Connected Cities and Regions”

US Ignite is an Administration initiative seeking to promote US leadership in the development and deployment of next-generation gigabit applications with the potential for significant societal impact. The primary goal of US Ignite is to break a fundamental deadlock: there is insufficient investment in gigabit applications that can take advantage of advanced network infrastructure because such infrastructure is rare and dispersed. And conversely, there is a lack of broad availability of advanced broadband infrastructure for open experimentation and innovation because there are few advanced applications and services to justify it. US Ignite aims to break this deadlock by providing incentives for imagining, prototyping, and developing public sector gigabit applications, and by leveraging and extending this network testbed across US college/university campuses and cities. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has published a solicitation that builds on the experience gained from initial US Ignite activities to further engage the US academic research and non-profit communities along with local cities, municipalities, and regions in exploring the challenges of developing and applying next-generation networking to problems of significant public interest and benefit.   Full applications are due by January 21, 2015. NSF has identified $10,000,000 to support the award of 6 to 10 grants.

Funding and Financing Opportunities

THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY is offering funding to rural counties and parishes within the Delta region for direct technical support and assistance needed to develop a connected workforce development system at the local level. Geographic Coverage: available in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky. Deadline: 11/10/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.

HUD has opened the second round of Promise Zone funding for high poverty communities where the federal government will partner with and invest in high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities to create jobs, increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, and reduce violent crime. HUD will designate six urban communities, one rural community and one tribal community through the competition. Deadline: 11/21/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.

THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS FUND is accepting applications from CDFIs, potential CDFIs, and Native American CDFIs to build their capacity to serve low-income people and communities that lack access to affordable financial products and services. Deadline: 11/24/2014. Click here for application guidelines.  

ALASKA CONSERVATION FOUNDATION (AFC) is offering grants through the Alaska Native Fund for projects in the following categories: Climate Change, Food Security, Sustainable Economies, Energy, and Holistic Wellness. Alaska Native organizations and individuals that address one of these issues are eligible to apply. Deadline: Letters of Inquiry by 12/1/2014; full proposals by 3/1/2015. Visit ACF’s website here to learn more about the Foundation's application guidelines.  

THE INDIAN LAND TENURE FOUNDATION will provide grants to Indian nations and nonprofit organizations that are working to promote education about Indian land issues, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands. Letters of inquiry are accepted throughout the year. Application Deadline: 12/15/2013. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about applying for these funds.

LAURA BUSH FOUNDATION FOR AMERICA'S LIBRARIES is accepting applications to help libraries expand, update, and diversify their book collections at schools where 85 percent or more students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Deadline: 12/15/2014. Click here to visit the website and download an application.

USDA is offering grants to nonprofits, public agencies and food suppliers to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Deadline: 12/15/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.  

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to reduce barriers to community living for people with disabilities and to address families' lack of access to the services, advocacy and the assistance they need. Deadline: 12/16/2014. Click here for application guidelines.

HUD is offering funding to public housing agencies through the Jobs Plus Pilot Program to support programs that will improve employment and earnings outcomes for public housing residents through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement and financial literacy initiatives. Deadline: 12/17/2014. Click here to learn more about this program.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfields sites. Deadline: 12/19/2014. Click here for guidelines.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY is also offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to prevent, inventory, assess, clean up, and reuse brownfields sites. Deadline: 12/19/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.

THE PUFFIN FOUNDATION is offering Artist Grants to art organizations and artists throughout the country to encourage emerging artists in the fields of fine arts, public interest, and video/film. The Foundation is particularly interested in supporting innovative initiatives that will advance progressive social change. Deadline: send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Foundation by 12/6/2014; completed applications will be accepted through 12/27/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review grant guidelines.

USDA Rural Development has announced that preservation revolving loan fund monies for Section 515 and 514/516 housing are still available for intermediaries, due to receiving an insufficient number of applications in 2014. Deadline to apply: 12/22/2013. Click here to read the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).  

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN is providing grants of up to $10,000 for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equality for women and girls, especially in STEM disciplines. Deadline: 1/15/2015. Click here for funding guidelines and an application.

ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION is offering grants of up to $200,000 through the New Jersey Health Initiative to existing multi-sector, community-focused coalitions in the state working to make sustainable systems changes and advance long-term policy-oriented solutions for healthier living. Deadline: 1/15/2015. Click here for more information and to apply.

THE CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE is offering AmeriCorps State and National Grants to public and private nonprofit groups for projects that will improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic participation through service and volunteering. Deadline: 1/21/2015. Click here for an application.

GANNETT FOUNDATION is offering Community Action Grants to nonprofit organizations, with funding priority given to programs that focus on education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Deadline: 2/28/2015. Geographic coverage is limited to certain areas of 35 states and U.S. territories. Click here to visit the Foundation’s Website for details.  

Training Events and Conferences

The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations will hold its 8th Annual Summit in San Antonio, Texas November 12-14, 2014. The Summit provides opportunities to engage with community development association professionals and board members. For more information, click here.

The 10th Annual “I’m Home” conference will be held November 12-13, 2014 at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle, Washington. “I’m Home” is an initiative of CFED to advance the concept of high quality manufactured housing as a key source of affordable housing and asset-building for low and moderate-income families. Click here to visit the website and to register.  

Ballard Spahr's Ninth Annual National Housing Symposium “Beyond the Horizon: Housing and Community Development Strategies for the Future” will be held in Washington, DC on November 13, 2014. Participants will explore how the various housing pieces fit together to create financing and development solutions, and learn about recent trends and industry developments that are defining the future of affordable, sustainable housing projects. Click here to register.  

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco will host the San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing Summit “Impacting Communities with Collaborative Community Development” on Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Pacific Time in Stockton, California. Click here to learn more and to register.

The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) will host the 2014 National Development Finance Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona November 18-21, 2014. The Summit will feature speakers from across the country presenting case studies, challenges and solutions in the development finance industry. This year’s National Summit will feature CDFA’s training workshops as a pre-Summit training course focused on building a local seed and venture capital initiative. Click here to learn more about this event and to register.

The 2014 Affordable Housing Developers Summit will take place November 19-21, 2014 at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Attendance is reserved exclusively for people who are primarily owners and developers of affordable housing, state and local housing finance agency representatives, and nonprofit organizations focused on the business of affordable housing. For more information about this event, click here.  

Wealth Creation and Rural Livelihoods will partner with The Croation Institute to offer a webinar titled “Crowdfunding the New Economy - A WealthWorks Perspective” on Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 12:00-1:30 PM Eastern Time. Presenters will give an overview of the Wealthworks approach to local and regional economic development, and will introduce how online crowdfunding can fill the funding gap in early-stage ventures. Click here to register.

The National Council of State Housing Agencies will host the 2015 HFA Institute January 11-16, 2015 at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, DC. Participants will explore techniques for administering the Low Income Housing Tax Credit; the HOME Investment Partnerships program; Mortgage Revenue Bonds, Federal Housing Administration and rural housing mortgage insurance; and HUD's Performance-Based Section 8 Contract Administration initiative. Click here to learn more about the event and to register.

The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) will host its 2015 Midyear Meeting January 26-28, 2015 at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Visit CARH’s website here to learn more about the event and to register.  

Information and Other Resources

USDA has released a new state-by-state "Made in Rural America" report showing the impact of USDA investments in rural communities. Each state factsheet highlights specific investments in rural businesses, manufacturing, energy, water and other infrastructure development. They also outline how USDA is helping rural communities attract businesses and families by investing in housing and broadband. Click here to access the state factsheets. writes about the work of NeighborWorks and Rural LISC member CDC Impact Seven to maintain Section 515 affordable housing in Wisconsin. Read the article here about its work and its recent $100,000 Wells Fargo NEXT Seed Capital Award.  

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has published “Housing America's Older Adults—Meeting the Needs of An Aging Population.” America’s older population is in the midst of unprecedented growth. With the aging of the baby-boom generation and increased longevity, the 50-and over population is projected to increase about 20 percent by 2030, to 132 million. In just 15 years, one in five people will be at least aged 65. Download a copy of the report here.

“Beyond Year 15: Preserving Housing Credit Projects & Portfolio” has been published by Enterprise Community Partners. The guide includes organizational procedures for preparing for Year 15 events as well as strategies for repositioning communities for the long term. Download a free copy here.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a study called “Manufactured-Housing Consumer Finance in the United States.” The Bureau found that manufactured home loans are typically much more expensive than traditional mortgages and have fewer protections for borrowers. Industry sources also help dispel one of the myths of this market: manufactured homes are not mobile. Click here to read a press release from CFPB and download the report.  

The U.S. Census has released 2013 American Housing Survey tables. This survey includes characteristics and physical condition of the nation's housing units, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, and home improvement activities. This year's survey includes new topics: disaster planning and emergency preparedness, public transportation, household involvement in neighborhood and community activities and the prevalence of "doubled-up" households. Click here to view the tables.

According to Rural Family Economic Success Action Network (RuFES) one-in-Five New Rural Americans is foreign-born. Over 11 million new residents moved to rural and mixed-rural counties across the United States since 2000. Of the 11 million, 2.3 were foreign-born. That means that one-in-five new rural Americans are immigrants. To check the ratio in your state, click here. To read an article about how a rural Minnesota community found a way to help their foreign-born neighbors, click here.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published its list of rural and underserved counties for 2015. View the lists here.  

“Supporting Veterans Housing: A Time for Action” is the title of an article by Matt Josephs, Senior Vice President for Policy, at Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Ending homelessness for our brave returning veterans is an ambitious but doable goal. But it requires an effective and strong Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Read the article here.

Rural Voices fall issue addresses the question “What Does Affordable Housing Mean to You?” The magazine presents the perspectives of rural families, the challenges they face when living in unaffordable or substandard conditions, and how they used federal resources to obtain quality housing. Click here to read the full issue.

“The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2013” from the U.S. Census Bureau provides estimates of poverty for the official poverty measure and the supplemental poverty measure, which takes into account government programs that support low-income families. Tables provide data for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. Click here to download the report.

An article in The Daily Yonder titled “Rural Mortgage Activity Declines” uses Housing Assistance Council’s mortgage data to illustrate that rural mortgage markets continue to struggle in the aftermath of the national housing crisis. While the number of loans for rural home purchases grew slightly from 2012 to 2013, refinance loans dropped by 23% in rural America. Rural counties continue to have a disproportionate share of higher-interest-rate loans, according to analysis by the Housing Assistance Council. Read the article here.  

The Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Richmond are issuing a call for papers for the 2015 Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital, and Inequality, which will be held June 18-19 in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference brings together researchers and practitioners interested in economic policy and development in low- and moderate-income communities. Deadline for submissions: 12/19/2014. Please submit an extended abstract or a draft of your research paper to the address here. Authors will be notified of accepted papers by January 31, 2015; full conference papers will be due June 4, 2015. Please direct any questions about the call for papers to Dionissi Aliprantis at, Lisa Nelson at, or Shannon McKay at



Associate Professor and Community Development Specialist

Department of Agricultural Economics

Oklahoma State University

323 Ag Hall

Stillwater, OK 74075


405-744-8210 – fax

Find grants and professional development resources on my blog


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