Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kick-start Economic Development in Your Region: Apply for SET! Deadline is August 7, 2015

About the Stronger Economies Together (SET) Program: In many counties--especially counties with smaller populations--finding ways to create, attract, and retain jobs is a challenging process. Pursuing economic development as a single rural county--in isolation from other nearby counties--is oftentimes unproductive. In today’s global marketplace, economic development improvements are more likely to be realized when rural and metro counties work together as a multi-county region to assess, design, and implement plans that build on their assets and comparative economic strengths. That is what the SET project is all about.

Purpose: The purpose of SET is to strengthen the capacity of communities/counties in rural America to work together to develop and implement an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region, one that strategically builds on the region’s current and emerging economic strengths. In short, SET is a High Quality regional economic development Plan (HQP) development process.

Sponsors: The Stronger Economies Together (SET) Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development (USDA RD), in partnership with the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers, and their land-grant university colleagues.  One of the land-grant institutions playing a key coordinating role is the Purdue University Center for Rural Development (PCRD).  

Key Benefits of SET: Each selected region will receive a number of important benefits including:
·         Valuable coaching on the core building blocks that will serve as the foundation for developing and  launching your region’s HQP.
·         In-depth data that are tailored to your region, information that helps delineate the critical drivers of your economy (including the presence or emergence of regional clusters).
·         Tools that uncover local assets and resources that can be tapped to advance your region’s economic strategies and actions.
·         Coaching and a limited amount of technical assistance (up to 40 hours over a period of one year after completion of the SET planning process) from Extension educators, USDA RD State staff, and the Regional Rural Development Centers to guide your regional team as you begin to implement your HQP.
·         Opportunity to share information and gather ideas/insights from other regions across the nation involved in the SET program.

Applications: Applications are available here. (Please read the application materials carefully, as there are specific requirements which must be met, such as the number of counties and a rural requirement.) Applications are due electronically no later than August 7, 2015 to Dave Shideler at An announcement of participation is expected by the middle of September, 2015.

Questions? If you have questions about any aspects of the SET application or the training program, please contact:
Kathy James
USDA-RD State Office
Dave Shideler
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

Monday, June 15, 2015

FW: Publications, tools, learning, and funding

From our colleagues at USDA-RD; interesting resources on rural population gains due to young family migration, disaster preparedness, rural-urban linkages and native health care.


From: Agans, Suzette - RD, Washington, DC []
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2015 9:48 AM
Subject: Publications, tools, learning, and funding




Return migration among young families partially offsets rural population loss

Rural population loss is generally characterized as young people leaving. A typical nonmetropolitan county (based on the 50th percentile, or median, statistic) lost 28 percent of their 20-24 year olds to net out-migration during 2000-10, compared to just an 8-percent decline in the typical metropolitan county. However, stemming rural population loss may depend less on retaining young adults after high school than on attracting them back as they settle down to start careers and raise children.


Creating Opportunity and Prosperity through Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections

From the National Association of Development Organizations

Metropolitan and rural America are highly connected and interdependent. To succeed, metropolitan America needs a healthy and sustainable rural economy and culture, and in turn rural America needs vibrant, well-functioning cities and suburbs to thrive and flourish. Yet, the prevailing national narrative pits urban versus rural for investments and public resources. A new issue brief from the NADO Research Foundation describes some ways in which regional development organizations and other regional entities are recognizing the importance of connecting rural regions and urban centers


NADO Research Foundation and RUPRI Release Tool to Calculate Local Government Preparedness for Disasters
The NADO Research Foundation and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) have released a national spreadsheet tool to supplement their publication, “Financial Planning for Disasters:  A Workbook for Local Governments and Regions.”  


How Two Hospital Operators Are Bucking the Rural Health Crisis
Jun 8, 2015 -- Describes the experiences of two small rural hospitals that have been able to avert financial distress and possible closure by shifting patient care to outpatient settings when possible.
Source: Healthcare DIVE





FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority)
Information on the development of a national high-speed wireless broadband public safety network, supporting the work of first responders, including emergency medical services personnel.


RTT Collaborative Annual Meeting 2015 Presentations: Moving Forward in the Face of Chaos
Access to presentation slides from the 2015 annual meeting focused on rural training tracks for graduate medical education. Contains presentations describing specific programs' experiences, including challenges and successes during the creation of an RTT program. Also provides information on issues facing all RTT programs, such as sustainability. Organization: RTT Collaborative





WEBINAR: Pollinating Food Enterprises: Creative New Models for Starting, Supporting, and Financing Local Food Business  (FREE WEBINAR)

A “pollinator” is a self-financing enterprise committed to boosting local business.  Michael Shuman, author of The Local Economy Solution (Chelsea Green, 2015), argues that these enterprises are the keystone of sustainable economic development.
Thursday, June 18th, 2015 – 3:30-4:45PM ET Free! Register Now





Technical Assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Deadline: 7/14/2015


Walmart Foundation State Giving Program (Region 1) - Application deadline: Jul 17, 2015
Geographic Coverage: Available in 19 states and Puerto Rico. Provides grants to organizations working in the area of hunger and nutrition; career opportunity; education; health care access; and human services. Sponsor: Walmart Foundation


Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Grants - Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Among other things, provides grants to programs that support health professions education for the care of underserved populations.
Sponsor: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation


NB3 Foundation Announces “Seeds of Native Health” Promising Program Grant Opportunity  DEADLINE: July 20, 2015

Applications will be accepted from throughout the United States. However, preference will be given to applicants located in the following areas: Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota.  Grants have been awarded to locations outside of the targeted areas. Grants up to $40,000 each to support projects that strategically target childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes prevention through healthy nutrition programs.  


IEEE Foundation Invites Applications for Technology Education Projects - June 4, 2015  DEADLINE: August 1, 2015

Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in support of projects that aim to increase the understanding of technology and its critical role in meeting global challenges and improving the human condition....


Application Period Now Open for Innovation Challenge Workshop for Coal-Reliant Counties and Regions, Grand Junction, CO Sept. 16-18
Is your county or region experiencing economic challenges due to the contraction of the coal industry?  Searching for tools and resources related to economic diversification, job creation, or workforce training?  If so, consider applying to attend a workshop this fall that addresses all of these topics and more. DEADLINE TO APPLY: July 15th


SBA Releases 2015 Regional Innovation Clusters Solicitation -  DEADLINE: August 4th, 2015

Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released a combined synopsis/solicitation with the intention of awarding up to three contracts for entities to head regional innovation cluster initiatives. Three awards (not to exceed $500,000) will be awarded, one going specifically to a cluster initiative that services a community affected by the changing coal economy.


Open Meadows Foundation Invites Applications for Women-Led Projects - DEADLINE: August 15, 2015

Grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded for projects that promote gender, racial, and/or economic justice


New Our Town Deadline and Guidelines Released - DEADLINE: (step 1): 9/21/2015

The NEA's primary creative placemaking program, Our Town, has new tools and a new deadline. The application is still a two-part process, now with Step 1 due on September 21 (including submitting an SF-424 form to, and Step 2, the bulk of your application, due between October 1 and 8. The earliest start date for a proposed project is August 1, 2016. Grants will be available for projects in two categories: 1) arts engagement, design and planning, and 2) knowledge building.



Jordan Wente

Suzette M. Agans

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


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


Friday, June 5, 2015

FW: Publications, Learning, and Funding

From our colleagues at USDA-Rural Development in DC; particularly focus on local foods/farmers’ markets this week.


From: Agans, Suzette - RD, Washington, DC []
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2015 10:31 AM
Subject: Publications, Learning, and Funding



Fruits and vegetables top the list of locally produced foods served in U.S. schools

According to USDA’s Farm to School Census, 36 percent of the U.S. public school districts that completed the questionnaire reported serving at least some locally produced foods in school lunches or breakfasts during school years 2011-12 or 2012-13. The DOD Fresh Program allows districts to use USDA funds to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables through the Department of Defense, which provides information to districts on foods that are sourced locally. Read more here.


Foreclosure Crisis Fueled Dramatic Rise of Racial Segregation: Study
The foreclosure crisis that drove approximately 9 million people across the United States from their homes disproportionately displaced black and Latino households and led to a spike in segregation along racial lines, a new Cornell University study finds.


Percent of residents receiving SNAP benefits in 2014 declined in many States

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) served an average of 46.5 million people per month in fiscal 2014. The percent of Americans participating in the program declined from 15.0 percent in 2013 to 14.6 percent in 2014, marking the first decline in the percent of the population receiving SNAP since 2001.


EPA Office of Sustainable Communities Offers Two New Economic Development Resources for Small Towns and Cities





WEBINAR: “Creating Equitable Food Systems with the Healthy Food Financing Initiative” by Policy Link on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM EST.


WEBINAR: Citizen Planning Academies, Thursday, June 11, 2015, 3-4 p.m. EDT

Citizen Planning Academies are community education programs that build local leadership, increase awareness, and broaden involvement in community planning. Wayne Senville, publisher and editor,; Leanna Lawson, chairperson, Rockingham County Citizens' Academy; and Kathleen Osher, executive director, Transit Alliance, join CommunityMatters® for an hour-long conference call on June 11. They’ll share ideas and tips for starting a citizens’ academy in your community.


Free Webinar on Engaging Hard-to-Reach and Environmental Justice Populations and (only 250 spots available)

Can online engagement help reach the Environmental Justice and traditionally underrepresented populations? This webinar will explore key strategies and critical success factors. The presentation will be followed by an open Q&A session.
Date: June 24, 2015 (1:00 – 1:45 pm ET, 10:00 – 10:45 am PT)


NEA is offering two different webinars, on July 29 and August 5. Each session will be at 3:00 EDT. Registration for the webinars will be available in July in the webinar section of the NEA website. Please email for more information or with project-specific questions.


WEBINAR SERIES: The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) released the schedule of free webinars that will be provided as part of the Capacity Building Initiative’s “Financing Community Health Centers” series. The technical assistance webinars, held between June 2015 and July 2015, will provide Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with best practices on successful financing from leading experts in the field.





USDA is offering grant funds to be used to conduct tasks that are necessary for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to operate at farmers’ markets, and to increase the number and effectiveness of farmers’ markets participating in SNAP. Deadline: 6/18/2015.


US Dept. of Health and Human Services funding for prisoner-father reentry programs - funding to states, territories, Native American tribes and tribal organizations, and public and nonprofit community entities for prisoner reentry programs that provide innovative community-centered, skill-based pre- and post-release and supportive services to formerly incarcerated fathers. –

Deadline: 7/7/2015.


U.S. HHS Grant for Learning Cluster on Rural Child Poverty…

US Department of Health and Human Services offering grant for creation of learning communities within the Community Services Block Grant. Successful applicant will present a plan to create a new learning cluster focused on rural child poverty and multi-generational programs. Deadline: 7/13/2015.


William T. Grant Foundation Accepting Letters of Inquiry for Inequality Research Studies Grants of up to $600,000 will be awarded to projects designed to enhance understanding of the programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequalities in youth development....

DEADLINE: August 4, 2015 (Letters of Inquiry)


USDA Rural Development has issued a NOFA for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI). Provides funding to help nonprofit housing and community development organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Deadline to apply: 8/13/2015.


New Our Town Deadline and Guidelines Released –Deadline (step 1): 9/21/2015

The NEA's primary creative placemaking program, Our Town, has new tools and a new deadline. The application is still a two-part process, now with Step 1 due on September 21 (including submitting an SF-424 form to, and Step 2, the bulk of your application, due between October 1 and 8. The earliest start date for a proposed project is August 1, 2016. Grants will be available for projects in two categories: 1) arts engagement, design and planning, and 2) knowledge building.


WELLS FARGO CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS PROGRAM is offering grants in the following areas of interest: community development, including affordable housing, workforce development, financial literacy, and economic development; education, including K-12 and higher education; human services, including healthcare and basic needs; and arts, culture, and civic projects.



Suzette M. Agans

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


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