Friday, March 20, 2015

FW: Publications, Learning, Tools and Funding

From our colleagues at USDA-RD – a couple of interesting themes: Local Foods, Rural Health and Built (Sustainable) Environments



"Building a Food Hub From the Ground Up: A Facility Design Case Study of Tuscarora Organic Growers," a new report by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, provides readers a snapshot of food hub facility planning, construction, costs, capacities, etc. Read the full report to discover how a food hub can rely on community equity to launch a lean start-up, growing as demand increases and changing the scale of operations when necessary helped to build a thriving business.


2015 Asset Scorecard Identifies Policy Solutions for Financially Precarious Families
One in five households regularly rely on fringe financial services to meet their needs. Nationally, 55.6 percent of consumers have subprime credit scores, meaning they cannot qualify for credit or financing at prime rates. In its 2015 Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) describes these and other difficulties faced by many Americans and breaks down disparities by race and state. The report also outlines how a combination of state policies such as protections against predatory lending and the establishment of housing trust funds can help families achieve economic security. Read More»


CDFI Fund Releases Two Independent Reports on the CDFI Program

The CDFI fund has also recently released two independent reports that provide the first-ever comparative analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as compared to mainstream lenders. The findings confirm that CDFIs are resilient and a reliable resource for capital in areas that need it the most.

·        CDFIs Stepping Into the Breach: An Impact Evaluation Summary Report

·        Introduction to Risk and Efficiency among CDFIs: A Statistical Evaluation using Multiple Methods


The Economist: Two Worlds of Deindustrialization
Indianapolis and Gary are two extremes, but such contrasts are indicative of the state of American manufacturing as a whole. The U.S. makes some of the most advanced technologies in the world, but contrary to reports of an American manufacturing "renaissance," that prosperity is not spread out. Read more...


Unconventional Success
Mar 15, 2015 -- Describes the unique success of a partnership between two Critical Access Hospitals and several outreach clinics that provide specialty services to a rural region in Iowa which has brought financial stability to both facilities and their communities. Source: The Globe Gazette


Practicing Rural Health Care Right Here at Home
Mar 5, 2015 -- Describes the efforts of a residency program in Hendersonville, North Carolina, that is preparing primary care physicians to serve in rural parts of the state. Highlights the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned in addressing primary care workforce shortages. Source: North Carolina Health News


Farmers' markets, other local food marketing channels show strong growth

Local foods is one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture, and the number of local food marketing outlets is increasing. Growing demand for local foods in the United States is, at least in part, the result of consumer interest in environmental and community concerns, including supporting local farmers/economies and increasing access to healthful foods. American farmers and consumers are increasingly finding more opportunities to sell and buy food locally. As of 2014, there were 8,268 farmers' markets in the United States, up 180 percent since 2007, despite no growth in real farmer-to-consumer (direct) sales between 2007 and 2012. Local food sales may be increasingly indirect, that is through intermediaries rather than farmer-to-consumer. The number of regional food hubs, (enterprises that aggregate locally sourced food to meet wholesale, retail, institutional and even individual demand) has increased almost threefold since 2007, to a total of 302 in 2014. Farm to school programs have multiple objectives, ranging from nutrition education to serving locally-sourced food in school meals. According to the USDA Farm to School Census, 4,322 school districts have farm to school programs, a 430-percent increase since 2007. A chart can be found in the ERS report, Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress, AP-068, January 2015.


Urban Land Institute Releases New Toolkit on Strategies to Enhance Health Outcomes Through the Built Environment   
The Urban Land Institute has released a new toolkit, Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment, that outlines 21 practical, evidence-based recommendations that the development community can use to promote health at the building or project scale. The recommendations, based on the latest documentation of the need for and impact of building for health, were formulated to help developers, owners, property managers, designers, and investors understand opportunities to integrate health promoting practices into real estate development.  The release of the report is in response to declining health trends in the United States and other countries around the world, with many of the conditions linked to past land use decisions that limited options for healthy, active living environments.  Click here to download the report.  Click here to download a poster with a summary of the 21 recommendations. 


Green Infrastructure and the Sustainable Communities Initiative.  This report showcases the climate and economic resilience benefits of green infrastructure in 30 grantee communities.  In the coming months, we will publish additional reports and fact sheets that summarize lessons learned and best practices across the grant program.




WALLACE CENTER WEBINAR:  The Million Dollar Question: Break-even and viability for different food hub models, Thu, Mar 19, 2015 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM EDT

How much volume does it take for a food hub to be a viable business? Food hub managers, planning commissions, funders, support organizations, economic development commissions and investors are all asking this same question! Of course this is difficult to answer with a single number since there are diverse food hub models and management structures. And context matters: the region of the country, urban vs. rural, and others.  This webinar peers in the operations and financial books of several illustrative examples of different hypothetical hubs to tease apart those "magic numbers" – where each model reaches profitability, and true viability.  Co-presenters: Jim Barham, USDA Rural Development, DC  and Jim Matson, Matson Consulting, SC



WEBINAR SERIES: USDA Rural Development (RD) is holding a various training webinars on different RD Programs. The webinars will be accessible by phone and via the Internet. Here is a list of upcoming webinars and topics:

·        Project Finance (Guaranteed Loans); Thursday, April 2; 2:00 PM Eastern Time;; Dial In: Toll-Free (US & Canada): (888) 669-0676, For more information:  Contact Venus Welch-White at or Tony Crooks at

·       The Rural Utilities Service is holding webinars to inform stakeholders about a new loan application system. The dates are March 19 and 27 for Telecommunications Program stakeholders, March 20 and 31 for Electric Program stakeholders, and April 1 and 2 for Water and Environmental Program stakeholders. All attendees MUST RSVP to get the link and the PIN code for the conference. Please RSVP at


Economic Developers—This Talk's for You!

Join a lively one-hour call and learn how Community Heart & Soul™, the Orton Family Foundation's signature approach to planning and community development, offers a way to involve everyone—from business owners to neighbors—in planning and development that leads to lasting results. You'll hear from community development experts who have seen first-hand the transformation that happens when resident-driven economic development takes effect, reducing risk for developers, increasing investor confidence and making possibilities happen in a way that benefits community members and investors, alike. The call includes time for audience Q & A.

Featured speakers are: Jared Duval, economic development director, Vermont Department of Economic Development and Orton Family Foundation trustee; Daniel Stevenson, director of economic and community development, Biddeford, Maine, and Patrick Wright, executive director, Gardiner Main Street, Gardiner, Maine.

Heart & Soul for Economic Development: Why Broad Community Engagement Leads to Revitalization, 4-5 p.m., Eastern, Thursday, April 9, Free. Register today!




What is CareerOneStop?

CareerOneStop is the flagship career, training, and job search website for the U.S. Department of Labor. The website serves job seekers, businesses, students, and career advisors with a variety of free online tools, information and resources.


Kauffman Foundation: How Local and State Governments Can Rev Up Business Creation

Local and state governments should reformulate their efforts to promote business startups, according to a research paper released today  (March 10) by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that first focuses on what does not work.

"Guidelines for Local and State Governments to Promote Entrepreneurship," reports that, even though many cities and states have been promoting entrepreneurship for at least two decades, the rate of new business formation is declining. New businesses comprised about 8 percent of all U.S. businesses in 2011, down from about 15 percent in the late 1970s. Further, recent groups of startups are creating fewer jobs.  Instead, state and local governments should implement strategies that focus on entrepreneurs as individuals who learn by doing and interacting with others. While books and courses may inform continuous learning, there is no substitute for advice from local business owners as entrepreneurs navigate the complicated decisions they face at each stage of their businesses' development, the paper reports. The paper recommends that state and local governments adopt several strategies to refocus their entrepreneurship support efforts, including:

·        Facilitate catalytic events that bring entrepreneurs together to learn and connect.

·        Reinvent existing public venture funds in ways that distribute multiple small investments and involve local entrepreneurs in award selection.

·        Reorganize existing incubators along a holistic format that integrates incubated firms, other local startups and experienced local entrepreneurs.

·        Identify and celebrate successful local entrepreneurs.

·        Reexamine professional and occupational licensing with an eye toward lowering barriers for startups.

·        Simplify tax codes and payment systems.

·        Rethink non-compete agreements.

·        Streamline zoning and approval processes.

·        Welcome immigrants, who have been nearly twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses.

·        Track the progress of whatever strategies are implemented.

While this may conflict with the goals of politicians seeking quick results, the paper emphasizes that all of the recommended strategies require a long-term outlook in order to work.





Trade Statistics -


A Basic Guide to Exporting - Welcome to Exporting 101

Looking for a comprehensive overview of how to export? For more than 70 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has been the resource that businesses have turned to for answers to their questions about how to establish and grow overseas markets for their products and services. Whether your firm is new to exporting or in need of a refresher on the latest ideas and techniques, this comprehensive guide, now completely revised and updated for 2012, provides the nuts-and-bolts information you need to meet the challenges of the world economy by learning:

·        How to identify markets for your company's products

·        How to finance your export transactions

·        The best methods of handling orders and shipments

·        Sources of free or low-cost export counseling


State Regional Trade Groups

FAS supports four State Regional Trade Groups (SRTGs), which in turn assist U.S. companies with creating and expanding export markets for value-added food and agricultural products. These non-profit organizations work closely with state Departments of Agriculture and offer services including:

·        exporter training and education;

·        analysis of export markets and opportunities;

·        trade shows and buying missions; and

·        support for international marketing campaigns and product promotion activities.


Reverse Trade Missions – Meet foreign delegates coming to the see U.S. products and technologies


Resources for Hazing Prevention on College Campuses

StopHazing, an organization dedicated to research about hazing and its prevention, collects data on hazing and is developing an evidence-base for hazing prevention. It offers a range of options for institutions to collaborate, build capacity, and create momentum around hazing prevention. Upcoming opportunities include: joining the Hazing Prevention Consortium; participating in a special Hazing Prevention Technical Assistance session at the upcoming NASPA meeting in New Orleans; or receiving customized hazing research and prevention consultation to support hazing prevention initiatives on your campus. For more information, click here


Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI)
Interactive web-based tool for viewing county-level health information. Offers comparisons to peer counties for key indicators related to healthcare access and quality, health behaviors, health outcomes, and other factors that impact health.
Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




CONFERENCE CALL: The State of Education in Rural America: A Discussion of Best Practices, Date: March 26, 2015, Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT RSVP by March 24

The U.S. Department of Education's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. The U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to ensuring that policies on federal financial aid for education are established, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds, collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research, focusing national attention on key educational issues, and prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

Leaders of the U.S. Department of Education will share their knowledge of successfully implementing activities that have expanded and created opportunities for those living in Rural America. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about best practices, discuss the challenges of developing educational programs within rural communities and establish contacts for future reference.

Join HUD's Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) and the U.S. Department of Education staff as we engage rural community leaders in this open forum on opportunities available through ED. Speakers will include:

  • Valerie G. Piper, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development;
  • Jackie L. Williams, Ph.D., Moderator, Director, Office of Rural Housing and Economic  Development, Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development;
  • Lucy Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education;
  • Dennis Bega, Director of Regional Offices, Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education;
  • Eric Schulz, Acting Team Leader of Rural Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education;
  • Lisa Ramirez, Acting Director of School Support in Rural Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education.

Topics to be discussed

  • Funding opportunities at the U.S. Department of Education
  • Performance Outcomes
  • Public and Private sources of funding to carry out projects
  • Best practices and lessons-learned

Format of the call

Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.  The 60 minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session.

Please RSVP by email to no later than close of business on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Please include your name and organization.

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



Aspen Institute Social Innovation Program Invites Applications for Hearst Fellowship for Minority Students - DEADLINE: March 31, 2015

The fellowship, which includes a $2,000 stipend, is designed to introduce undergraduate and graduate students of color to issues and challenges affecting the social sector....


Mountaineers Foundation Seeks Proposals for Mountain Conservation Projects - DEADLINE: May 1 and October 1, 2015

Grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded in support of projects that promote the study of the mountains, forests, and streams of the Pacific Northwest and contribute to preserving the region's natural beauty and ecological integrity....


ACF/ORR Announces Funding Opportunity for Projects to Establish and Maintain Individual Development Accounts for Low-Income Refugees – DEADLINE:  May 4, 2015

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) invites eligible entities to submit competitive grant applications for projects to establish and manage Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for low-income refugee participants.  Eligible refugee participants who enroll in these projects will open and contribute systematically to IDAs for specified Savings Goals, including home ownership, business capitalization, vehicles for educational or work purposes, professional certification, and education (limited to postsecondary education, college entrance exam fees, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and GED preparation and test fees).  Grantee organizations may use ORR funds to provide matches for the savings in the IDAs of up to $2,000 per individual refugee and $4,000 per refugee household.  Applications will be screened and evaluated as indicated in the published funding opportunity announcement.  Selection of awards will be contingent on the outcome of the competition and the availability of funds.


Family Violence Prevention and Services Grants for Domestic Violence Shelters/Grants to Native American Tribes (Including Alaska Native Villages) and Tribal Organizations - Application deadline: Apr 6, 2015
Grants to assist tribes in establishing, maintaining, and expanding programs and projects to prevent family violence. Sponsor: Administration for Children and Families


Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced a funding opportunity under its Pollution Prevention (P2) Grants Program, identifying 3.9 million in funding.   Applications are due by May 14. Grants will be awarded and managed by EPA's ten Regional P2 Program Offices.  EPA's national P2 Program is retooling the grant program for FY 2015 to address three topic areas suitable for expansion in the business community and ready for immediate implementation. The three topic areas are referred to as national P2 emphasis areas. Under each topic area, examples are provided to explain the types of activities that may be considered. Applicants are to select one or more of the identified emphasis areas as the focus of their P2 grant proposals. Please note the excerpted references below from the announcement to the establishment or maintenance of  E3 projects and support for Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnerships which both have ETA and interagency participation.

  • Creating regional manufacturing roundtables.
  • Developing community-based Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) projects that would result in reduced generation and use of hazardous substances, pollutants, and/or contaminants and increase efficiency by manufacturers.
  • Focusing Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) assessments on source reduction of food waste at one facility or at multiple points in the supply chain through more efficient food processing and handling of products.
  • Focusing on Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) assessments concerning GHG reductions through process and materials substitution as well as chemical substitutions for hydrofluorocarbons and other highly potent GHGs.


HHS/SAMHSA accepting applications for FY 15 "Now is the Time" Project AWARE-Community Grants - Application Due: Friday, May 1, 2015

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2015 "Now is the Time" Project AWARE-Community (Short Title: NITT-AWARE-C) grants. The purpose of this program is to support the training of teachers and a broad array of actors who interact with youth through their programs at the community level, including parents, law enforcement, faith-based leaders, and other adults, in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). Implementation of the NITT-AWARE-C program is expected to increase the mental health literacy among youth-serving adults, policy-makers, and administrators of programs serving youth.  For more information including eligibility requirements, application and deadline, visit


William T. Grant Foundation Launches Initiative on Understanding Inequality - DEADLINE: May 5, 2015

Grants of up to $600,000 will be awarded in support of research focused on the reduction of disparities in academic, behavioral, social, and economic outcomes for youth....


L'Oreal Paris Seeking Nominations for 2015 Women of Worth Awards - DEADLINE: May 15, 2015

Ten women will receive awards of $10,000 in recognition of their efforts to make a "beautiful difference" in the world through voluntarism....


National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program - Application deadline: May 7, 2015
Provides scholarships for students pursuing primary care health professions training in exchange for a service commitment in a health professional shortage area. Sponsor: National Health Service Corps


Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) - Application deadline: May 15, 2015
The goal of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) is to assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake education to enter a health profession. Sponsor: Bureau of Health Workforce


NURSE Corps Scholarship Program - Application deadline: May 21, 2015
Provides scholarships to nursing students in exchange for a two-year, full-time service commitment (or part-time equivalent), at an eligible health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses. Sponsor: Bureau of Health Workforce


Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging Invites Nominations for Innovation in Caregiving Award - DEADLINE: June 30, 2015

Up to three award winners will receive a commemorative plaque and a check for $1,000 in recognition of an innovative idea that resulted in improvements in care and increased comfort for those receiving care....


Harpo Foundation Invites Applications for 2015 Emerging Artists Fellowship - DEADLINE: July 5, 2015

Artist fellows will receive a one-month residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute that includes a well-appointed room with private bath, a well-lit studio space, and a $500 travel stipend....


Fleishhacker Foundation Invites Applications From Bay Area Arts Organizations - DEADLINE: July 15, 2015

Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to programs in a range of disciplines, including dance, film and media arts, interdisciplinary arts, music, theater, and visual arts....


The BNSF Railway Foundation is incorporated within the State of Texas and is housed at BNSF Railway's corporate headquarters in Fort Worth. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation had been BNSF Railway's main vehicle for charitable giving since 1996 when the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroads merged to form the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, now known as the BNSF Railway. The BNSF Railway Foundation has supported and helped improve quality of life for thousands of communities across the 28 states through which BNSF operates, and where BNSF employees live, work and volunteer. Indeed, as the corporation's assets have grown, the Foundation's giving has expanded to help more and more communities.