Monday, March 7, 2016

FW: CED Matters - Publications, Funding, Events/Learning

From our colleagues at USDA-Rural Development.


Sent: Friday, March 04, 2016 3:05 PM
Subject: CED Matters - Publications, Funding, Events/Learning



Low-education counties are mostly rural and concentrated in the South and Southwest

The proportion of adults lacking a high school diploma or equivalent declined in rural America (defined here as non-metro counties), from 32 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2014. The proportion of rural adults with college degrees also increased from 12 to 19 percent during that time. Despite these overall gains, educational attainment varies widely across rural areas. ERS’s latest county typology classifies low-education counties as those where at least one of every five working-age adults (age 25-64) has not completed high school. In an average of data over 2008-12, ERS identified 467 low-education counties in the United States, 367 of which were rural. Eight out of 10 of all low-education counties are located in the South. Three-fourths of rural low-education counties also qualified as low-employment in the latest ERS county typology. Over 40 percent of rural low-education counties were both low-employment and persistently poor, reflecting the difficulty that adults without high school diplomas have in finding and retaining jobs that pay enough to place them above the poverty line. This map is part of the ERS data product on County Typology Codes, released December 2015.


Gateses' Annual Letter Calls for Improved Energy Access, Gender Equity

In their latest annual letter (28 pages, PDF or HTML), Bill and Melinda Gates argue that persistent poverty is as much about the absence of resources as it is about lack of money. The Gateses' eighth annual letter is addressed, for the first time, to high school students, who, as the couple writes, will be the ones "solving these problems." One of the problems highlighted by the Gateses is access, or lack thereof, to energy, which, as Bill Gates notes in his half of the letter, affects 1.3 billion people — 18 percent of the world's population. "Without access to energy," he adds, "the poor are stuck in the dark, denied all of these benefits and opportunities that come with power." Using a mathematical equation, he then highlights the need for an "energy miracle" — the development and transition to efficient green technologies that will boost energy production while reducing carbon emissions. Indeed, Gates argues, access to affordable sources of clean energy will transform the lives of millions of the poorest families, enabling them to study, run businesses, and power local clinics and hospitals....


Foundation Transparency Focused on Grantmaking, Goals, Survey Finds

Foundations and their grantees believe what matters most in foundation transparency is information about the substance of a foundation's work rather than disclosures about its finances or governance, a report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy finds. Based on survey data from a hundred and forty-five foundation CEOs and more than fifteen thousand grantees, as well as a review of more than seventy foundation websites, the report, Sharing What Matters: Foundation Transparency (52 pages, PDF), found that foundations see grantees and potential grantees as the primary audiences for their transparency efforts, and that community foundations also see individual donors as a key audience. Funded in part by the Fund for Shared Insight, the report also found that foundations do well when it comes to sharing information about their grantmaking processes and goals and strategies, with nearly three-quarters of the foundation CEOs surveyed saying that being transparent about the foundation's goals could significantly increase the foundation's ability to be effective and 69 percent saying the same about strategies. At the same time, only 46 percent of foundation CEOs said their foundation was "very" or "extremely" transparent about what had or hadn't worked, even though 69 percent said it could significantly increase the effectiveness of their grantmaking....


Third Round Promise Zones Competition Update

Thank you for your interest in the final round of the Promise Zones competition.  HUD intends to designate five urban communities and USDA intends to designate one rural and one tribal community. Applications for Promise Zone designations will be reviewed by representatives from the federal agencies affiliated with the initiative. Announcements will be made in the Spring of 2016. Urban, rural, and tribal Promise Zone applicants were asked to put together a clear description of how the Promise Zone designation would accelerate and strengthen the community’s own efforts at comprehensive community revitalization. All Promise Zones will receive priority access to federal investments that further their strategic plans, federal staff on the ground to help them implement their goals, and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the Promise Zone initiatives. Promise Zone designations will have a term of ten years and may be extended as necessary to capture the full term of availability of the Promise Zone tax incentives if enacted by Congress. For the Third Round Promise Zones competition, there were 82 applications submitted: 64 urban applicants, 11 rural applicants, and 7 tribal applicants. View the list of applicants. Join the mailing list to receive announcements and to follow the progress of the first and second round Promise Zones. More information is available on the Promise Zones website.


Princeton University has released a new report, "Rising Morbidity and Mortality in Midlife Among White Non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st Century”.

The report demonstrates the negative impact that economic hard times have on well-being. The report speaks to the importance of economic development that generates opportunities and prosperity for all. Download the report.


The Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference released "Housing Landscape 2016".

The report reveals that more low- and moderate-income working households are renting as opposed to owning their homes, with the share of households who rent increasing from 50.8 percent to 52.6 percent from 2011 to 2014. Download the report.


A white paper from the Summit on Creativity and Aging in America is now available to download from the National Education Association website.

This event, which was hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Center for Creative Aging in May 2015, brought together more than 70 experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the fields of healthy aging, lifelong learning in the arts, and design for aging communities. Download the paper.  

Forbes Magazine published an article titled, "Report Illuminates Wealth-Creation Gap Among Small Business Owners". The report highlights wealth building differences for minority and women entrepreneurs, based on CFED's Asset and Opportunity Scorecard. Read the article


Nearly one-third of SNAP recipients obtain food from a food pantry

Both Federal and community food and nutrition assistance programs are important resources for low-income households and together make up the Nation’s nutrition safety net. In addition to receiving Federal food and nutrition assistance, some low-income households access community programs such as food pantries and emergency soup kitchens to cope with food hardships. In 2014, nearly one-third of low-income households (with incomes less than 185 percent of the poverty line) that reported receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits also used a food pantry. About 23 percent of low-income households that received free or reduced-price school lunches or Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages also used a food pantry. Among low-income households that did not receive SNAP, free or reduced-price school lunch, or WIC, 8 percent used a food pantry. Fewer low-income households ate meals at less commonly available emergency kitchens. In 2014, 3.2 percent of SNAP recipient households also ate a meal at an emergency kitchen. Emergency kitchen use is likely understated because the survey underlying these statistics does not include people who are homeless. The statistics for this chart are from Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2014, AP-069, September 2015.



Strategic Economic and Community Development

Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) is a new provision from the 2014 Farm Bill that prioritizes projects which support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional plans whose long-term community and economic growth strategies reflect stakeholder collaboration and the unique strengths of rural communities. SECD sets aside up to 10 percent of program funds in Rural Development’s Community Facilities, Water and Environmental Programs, Business & Industry Guaranteed Loans, and Rural Business Development Grants for these purposes.


First Nations Development Institute

 Native Youth and Culture Fund is providing grants of $5,000 to $20,000 for projects that focus on youth and incorporate Native culture and tradition to address issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, mental health, and other social issues. Funded projects should address one or more of the following priority areas: preserving cultural or spiritual practices, beliefs, and values; engaging both youth and elders in activities that demonstrate methods for documenting traditional knowledge, practices, or beliefs; increasing youth's capacity to lead through integrated educational or mentoring programs; and increasing access to cultural customs and beliefs through the use of appropriate technologies as a means of preserving tribal language, arts, history, etc. Deadline:  Online Phase One proposals must be submitted by March 9, 2016. Visit the First Nations’ website to review the funding guidelines.


The Laura Jane Musser Fund is accepting applications for the Rural Arts and Environmental Initiative grants programs.

The Fund’s Rural Arts Program assists arts organizations in targeted states that offer artistic opportunities for adults and children in the areas of literary, visual, music, and performing arts. Grants of up to $10,000 are provided to organizations in rural communities with a population of 20,000 or under throughout Colorado, Hawaii, and Wyoming, as well as rural communities in selected counties in Michigan and Minnesota. The Fund’s Environmental Initiative Program supports projects that enhance the ecological integrity of publicly owned open spaces, while encouraging compatible human activities. The goal is to promote public use of open space that improves a community's quality of life and public health, while also ensuring the protection of healthy ecosystems. Organizations in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming are eligible to apply for grants of up to $35,000. Deadlines: applications for the Environmental Initiative Program must be submitted online by March 10, 2016; applications for the Rural Arts Program must be submitted by March 17, 2016. Visit the Fund’s website to review the application guidelines.


Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program

USDA is offering grants through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program to state and local governmental entities, Federally-recognized Tribes, nonprofits, for profit businesses, and consortia of eligible entities to help rural communities use telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, this program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another. Deadline: March 14, 2016. Visit the USDA website to review funding guidelines.


USDA Housing Preservation Grant Program

USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents, and has extended the deadline to March 15, 2016. The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program. Visit the USDA website to review funding guidelines.


The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has opened the fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding round for the Capital Magnet Fund.

The Capital Magnet Fund is a competitive grant program through which CDFIs and qualified nonprofit housing organizations receive awards to finance affordable housing and economic development activities in underserved areas. The CDFI Fund estimates that about $80 million will be available through the Capital Magnet Fund’s FY 2016 round. Deadline: March 6, 2016 for submissions through; March 30, 2016 for submissions through the CDFI Fund’s Award Management Information System (AMIS). Visit the CDFI website for application details.


CommunitWINS Grant Program

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS and WELLS FARGO are offering grants through the CommunityWINS grant program. Launched in 2015, the CommunityWINS program includes a $3 million investment by the Wells Fargo Foundation over three years to support neighborhood revitalization, economic development and job creation in local municipalities. Deadline: March 18, 2016. Visit the CommunityWINS website for additional information.


HHS Drug-Free Communities Support Program

HHS is offering funding through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program to community-based coalitions addressing youth substance abuse. Deadline: March 18, 2016. View the program guidelines.


HUD Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Department's Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant Program

HUD has announced the availability of $40 million to directly support housing counseling services that help low- and moderate-income families improve their housing conditions. Grant winners can use the money to help homebuyers evaluate if they are ready to buy a house, understand their financing and down payment options and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process. Grantees also help families find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to help struggling families repair credit problems. Deadline: April 4, 2016. Review the application guidelines and apply.


Department of Justice

Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to provide comprehensive wrap-around services/programs which incorporate the use of trained mentors to promote the safe and successful reintegration into the community of adults who have been incarcerated. Deadline: April 12, 2016. View funding guidelines and to get an application.


The Sparkplug Foundation

The Sparkplug Foundation provides grants to start-up nonprofit organizations or new projects of established nonprofits that are addressing the fields of music, education, and community organizing. In the Music category, the Foundation supports emerging professional musicians or music-development programs. In the Education and Teaching category, the Foundation funds projects that deal with "the whole student" and with learning as a community activity. In the Grassroots Organizing category, the Foundation encourages activist strategies for addressing institutional injustices and for building a reasoned, just society. The current focus is on ground-level community organizing at the intersection of utilities/energy infrastructure, housing/community resources, and racial justice. Deadlines: online questionnaires must be completed by April 15, 2016; letters of intent are due April 22,2016; and the deadline for final applications is May 13, 2016. Visit the Foundation’s website to review its mission and funding guidelines as well as the online application instructions.


Supportive Service Demonstration for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing

HUD has announced the availability of $15 MM in funds for the Supportive Service Demonstration for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing. Owners of elderly Section 202, Section 8, Section 515/Section 8 properties with at least 50 units are encouraged to apply. This demonstration will provide funding for a full-time on-site Enhanced Service Coordinator and/or a part-time Wellness Nurse to assist seniors aging in place. HUD is encouraging multiple applications from the same city or state, in order to produce evidence about the impact of supportive services models in existing assisted senior developments. Deadline: April 18, 2016. Review the application guidelines.



CDFI Fund is offering grants for financial assistance and technical assistance to improve low-income communities through economic development, affordable housing and other community development financial services. To assist potential applicants, the CDFI Fund has provided three guidance documents—a Quick Start Guide, an Application Evaluation Document, and the FY 2016 Frequently Asked Questions for the CDFI Program and NACA Program application—on its website. Deadline: April 18, 2016. Visit the website for application guidelines.


Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation and Military Times have joined together to offer grants to recognize volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting military families.

Eligible applicants to the Newman’s Own Awards Program must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be a nonprofit organization, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve units, or veterans. Applying organizations will be evaluated on their innovative plans for improving the quality of life for members of the military and their families. Deadline: April 28, 2016. Visit the program’s website to submit an online application.


Retirement Research Foundation

The Retirement Research Foundation is accepting applications for projects that improve lives of aging Americans. Deadline: May 2, 2016. View funding guidelines and get an application.


The Home Depot Foundation

Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through December 31, 2016. Visit the Foundation’s website to submit an online application.


The New Rural: Innovations in Rural Health Award. 

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is now taking submissions for the 2016 The New Rural: Innovations in Rural Health Award. In the spirit of the Trust's long history of leading and supporting rural health innovation, we want to encourage and recognize promising work that has the potential to improve the health status of people living in rural communities throughout the state and across the country.  We’re looking for original, innovative solutions to drive health improvement in rural communities. These don't have to be finalized projects - we encourage submissions from around the country that highlight new ideas and emerging innovations. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits and government agencies are welcome to apply. Finalists will receive a $7,500 award and one innovative and inspiring idea will win the New Rural Award and a total of $25,000. All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 29, 2016. For more information about the award, visit our information page.  If you have any questions about the award, please contact Erin Barlow, To learn more about how you can help with our efforts to market the award, please contact the Trust’s Communications Director Nora Ferrell,



Rural Gateway Peer-To-Peer Conference Call U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development’s Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) Funding Opportunity:  A Discussion of Best Practices

The Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) invites you to take part in our next Peer-to-Peer conference call. Scheduled for March 10, 2016, this call will offer participants the opportunity to learn about available activities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD). Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on March 9, 2016. The 60 minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session. Please RSVP by email to no later than close of business on March 8, 2016. Please include your name and organization. If you have any questions, please call 1-877-RURAL-26 (1-877-787-2526).


USDA Rural Development’s Home Repair and Homeownership Programs 1-minute Video

Sharing this newly created 1-min outreach videos regarding  USDA Rural Development’s Home Repair and Homeownership Programs: Please share with your regional counterparts, disaster centers, and other partner organizations interested in accessing our loan programs that can support individuals and families in rural have a safe home. 


Challenges & Opportunities for Co-op Development in African American Communities

During the webinar Melbah shares insights into organizing co-ops in some of the poorest rural areas of the country.  She discusses challenges and opportunities for co-op development in African-American communities.  Always the visionary, Melbah will also speak about future possibilities for co-op development.

Web Link:


CDFI Fund Implements Annual Certification Report

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) launched today a new mandatory Annual Certification Report for all certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).  The Annual Certification Report, which must be completed in the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS), will allow the CDFI Fund to annually assess certified CDFIs’ compliance with certification rules. The CDFI Fund has posted to its website’s Certification page instructions for completing the Annual Certification Report, along with a helpful glossary of terms.  These guidance documents can be found on, under How to Apply Step 2: Reporting.   The CDFI Fund will host training webinars on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. ET and Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. ET to provide training for CDFIs that must report in April.  Access information for the webinars can be found on the CDFI Fund’s Certification website under How to Apply Step 2: Reporting.  Additional webinars will also be scheduled to assist CDFIs with later reporting dates. The CDFI Fund will release information about additional webinars when available. 


CDFA and USDA Launch Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit

The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are excited to announce the release of the Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit (CFIT), a guide which was developed in collaboration over the past year. The CFIT contains best practices for planning, designing, developing and financing rural community facilities that can be used by nonprofits and public entities.  In order to further analyze the Toolkit, CDFA, in partnership with the USDA, is offering a complimentary education webinar to examine how conventional bank loans, bond financing, or state and federal grant and lending programs can be applied broadly across organizations regardless of project type or finance resources.


“Introducing a Food Access Survey” Training Webinar Hosted by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) Tuesday, March 15, 2:00-3:00pm ET

Join us for a webinar – part of the Michigan Good Food Charter Shared Measurement training series – that will provide an overview of a new food access survey tool and the associated Request for Applications (RFA) for piloting the tool.  If you are considering applying to participate in the pilot, this webinar will help you understand both the application and the pilot process better! You may also want to sign up if you just want to learn more about the pilot or are interested in using the survey tool in another context.

Courtney Pinard, Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, and Kathryn Colasanti, CRFS, will cover the following topics:

·        Dimensions of food access and associated measures

·        A walk-through of the new survey tool and where to access other tools

·        Tips on conducting surveys

·        An overview of the RFA to pilot the survey tool

·        Other opportunities to utilize the survey tool

·        Next steps in the shared measurement process

Register today at: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. This webinar will be recorded and made available for later viewing on the CRFS website. Please pass on to others who may be interested. For questions or more information, please contact Kathryn Colasanti ( at the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.


HUD's Office of Housing Counseling will discuss the FY16-17 NOFA for HUD’s Housing Counseling Training Grant Program in a webinar on March 2, 2016, 2:00-3:30 PM EST.

Speakers will cover changes to the application process including the new charts, funding methodology, the rating factors with information on specific charts, as well as submission requirements and other technical issues. Register for this webinar.


Branding Basics for Nonprofits

Tuesday, March 8, 2:00-3:00 pm ET | 11:00 am-12:00 pm PT

Ever wonder what makes a nonprofit's brand powerful? In this webinar, we'll show you how to lead a branding process and exercises to articulate your brand's most compelling attributes. Register Now»


Community Builders Webinar Series begins March 16, 2016, 2:00-3:00 PM EST, with “Cities Building Community Wealth”.

Sarah McKinley, Manager of Community Development Programs with the Democracy Collaborative, will present an emerging new way of doing community economic development. The work is place-based, fed by the power of anchor institutions, and built on locally rooted and broadly held ownership. Across the country, economic development professionals and mayors are working in partnership with foundations, anchor institutions, unions, community organizations, progressive business networks, workers, and community residents to implement strategies that build wealth and prosperity for everyone. Register for this webinar.


Now Available: Targeted Community Reinvestment: HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program as a Financing Tool - 2016 Update Webinar

This webinar, held on February 10, 2016, describes how the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program (Section 108) can serve as an important financing tool in targeting reinvestment for economic development, public facilities and improvements, and housing rehabilitation. The loan guarantees can help recipients leverage limited public resources to catalyze investment in communities, especially those facing, among other challenges, persistent poverty and the need to increase community resilience following the impact of natural disasters.

Along with this information, the webinar explains recent rule changes that permit HUD to charge borrowers a one-time fee upon loan approval. The webinar also provides an overview of how Section 108 recipients should be using HUD’s Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS) to track and disburse funds. Click the video to play the Targeted Community Reinvestment: HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program as a Financing Tool - 2016 Update Webinar.


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