Thursday, January 12, 2017

Upcoming events w/ Becky McCray!

Quick! Name 10 good things happening for rural areas! Having trouble thinking of 10? You'll hear 10 positive trends for you in the next web broadcast by Becky McCray and Deb Brown. 


How does the declining cost of distance favor small towns? They'll talk about it. How is the gig economy affecting rural workers? They'll cover it. What's going on with rural retail? It's in there. How are travel motivations changing, and why does that help rural places? That's on the list, too. 


At the end of one hour, you'll know 10 positive trends for rural people. You'll also get a look at how these trends will play out over the next 30 years. The future is coming at us fast, even in rural places. Today is the best time to get ready. 


Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 6pm Central

The cost is $20. If you can't catch the broadcast live, it will be recorded. Learn more and sign up at


Also, a daylong live presentation and Census data workshop:

Registration link for the Small Business and Community Development Forum:­ty-development-forum-registration-29903502180



Have a great day!


Associate Professor and Community Development Specialist

Department of Agricultural Economics

Oklahoma State University

323 Agricultural Hall

Stillwater, OK 74078-6025


405-744-8210 – fax

Find grants and professional development resources on my blog


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Community Development Resources

Happy New Year! Here are several events to help you face the opportunities and challenges of 2017 in your communities!


(See attached flier for more details.)


Sustainable Communities:  Online course explores community systems

As communities struggle with increasingly complex social, economic and environmental issues related to sustainability they need the expertise of community development professionals now more than ever. Whether your expertise is in agriculture, natural resources, youth, family or economic development you will be asked to help guide a stakeholder group through a difficult decision making process.  The Foundations of Practice course, Sustainable Communities, offers you the tools, skills and knowledge to be the trusted resource community groups need in the emerging dialogs around local foods, energy and natural resources.

Successful community sustainability initiatives rely on understanding systems thinking, sustainability models and the needs and conditions in your town, county, state or region. Tapping into a long legacy of one of the country's most respected organizations, this training, brought to you by the Cooperative Extension System and the Regional Rural Development Centers, provides the background, resources and strategies to support your work in communities.

Best of all, this program comes directly to you! Each week via Zoom, an Extension Specialist will deliver world-class training to you in your office, conference room or even home.  Discussions and supplemental resources will be supported using a course website.

The eight-week series begins February 2, 2017. Each week features a 90-minute webinar focusing on timely topics including Energy, Local Foods, Built Environments, Mobility and Natural Resources. Supplemental resources and online discussion opportunities will be available on the course website. Participants can log in at their convenience to explore these topics further, pose questions, investigate additional resources and visit with colleagues in similar situations.

Sustainable Communities is an offering of the Foundations of Practice Program. It is appropriate for individuals who regularly work with community groups in any subject area and have a basic understanding of community development principles.  If you find yourself called upon to facilitate community-based initiatives, or you just want to better understand how communities function, this course is for you!

Registration is $125 per person. Register before January 27 and save $25. Registration forms and payment information is available at To learn more about the Sustainable Communities class visit our webpage.

Foundations of Practice is sponsored by the Regional Rural Development Centers in partnership with your Land Grant University network.  The course content was created by the eXtension Land Use Planning Community of Practice, Task Force for Sustainable Communities, with grant support from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.


Contact:  Mary Peabody, Email:

Individuals requesting a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program should contact Mary Peabody at or telephone 802-656-7232 by January 27, 2017.



December 27th, 2016

Our email blasts have a new look! Please be patient with us as we find our footing with the new technology. We hope that it will be a better way to communicate with you and manage our contact list.


Our next meeting will be held January 26, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Central Time. We have an awesome line up of speakers that will share their expertise on habitat restoration, child nutrition, food hubs and mobile food deliveries.


Also, below you'll find links to recent news, resources and grant opportunities. Please see below for details.




What is GoodGreens?

GoodGreens is a collaboration facilitated by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Midwest Region to share resources and best practices that support sustainable local foods production and increase consumption of healthy, locally grown foods. GoodGreens meetings are held monthly in person at the USDA Midwest Regional Office in downtown Chicago and via conference call.

Interested in a specific topic or speaker at a future GoodGreens meeting? Please email to let us know!



January 26 Meeting Agenda


1.     Noel Bielaczyc, Food Hub & Meat Value Chain Specialist at Michigan State University, will talk about his work coordinating the Michigan Food Hub Network. 

2.     Krista Kirkham, Assistant Aquatic Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy, will talk about the organization’s agricultural conservation work in central Illinois, focusing on cover crops, constructed wetlands, and habitat restoration on the Franklin Research and Demonstration Farm in Lexington, Illinois. The Conservancy also conducts outreach to the local agricultural community about opportunities and programs for farmers/landowners interested in conservation agriculture.

3.     Michelle Horovitz, Appetite for Change, will talk about her organization’s work to build health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis using food. The organization works through multiple avenues, including sponsoring food-related workshops, urban agriculture, providing high-quality kitchen spaces, and training youth in a number of food-related skills. 

4.     Chicago’s Urban Canopy will share information on the business’ work to establish and grow farmers markets in food deserts in Chicago. During the past year, its efforts resulted in major increases in SNAP, Senior Farmers Market and Farmers Market Nutrition Program redemptions. 

5.     Stephanie Folkens, Director of Programs at Common Threads, will share tools and resources from her organization’s evidence based global cooking and nutrition programs for pre-K through 8th grade students. The featured resource will be its newest online learning platform for nutrition and cooking,  Common Bytes, is an interactive web application for children to explore healthy recipes and behaviors. Common Threads provides cooking and nutrition education for schoolchildren, teachers, and families to cook healthy and economic meals. 

6.     Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director at Hunger Task Force, will share information about the partnership between her organization and Roundy’s on the Fresh Picks Mobile Market. The Market, which recently leveraged the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant program, sells 40+ seasonal fruits and vegetables and 10+ high-demand meat and dairy items (no canned items or processed foods) through a NASCAR trailer and fifth-wheel pickup truck styled as a grocery store to targeted low-income Milwaukee County neighborhoods with limited access to fresh and healthy foods. The Market is paired with the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and SNAP Outreach and accepts debit cards, credit cards, and SNAP benefits. 



Heading Here

How To Attend Meetings

We will send additional information, including
call-in (to hear presenters) and Live Meeting
(to view presentations) closer to the meeting date. 




News, Resource, Grants and More...

(click on the links below to see more)










Small Town Trends – What’s Coming Next for Rural Communities Webinar

All your life, you’ve been told that small towns are dying, drying up, and disappearing, and that there’s nothing you can do to change it. What if, just once, there was some good news about rural? There is! Big trends are moving in our favor: brain gain, changing retail dynamics, new travel motivations and more. Learn why we have a future and how to shape the future of your town.

Join Becky McCray and Deb Brown on January 18th at 6 pm CST for their next webinar Small Town Trends – What’s Coming Next for Rural Communities.  You can register at 

Given all the negative stories on the news and the depressing stereotypes you've heard all your life, you might think all small towns were dying, that the trends to urbanization inevitably will mean the end of all small towns. But that's wrong. 

There are at least three key reasons small towns are necessary to society. What? No one ever told you about those? Well, Becky and Deb will. They start with this specifically because no one talks about these key factors that will keep small towns around for generations to come.  Learn more about these trends, and also what is coming in the next 30 years for small towns. 

Compiled and published monthly by Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation
1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20006. Phone: 202.739.9294; Fax 202.785.8030


Funding and Finance Opportunities


KRESGE FOUNDATION offers funding through their Developing Healthy Places program on an ongoing basis to improve the places that shape health, including programs that promote healthy housing and neighborhoods, food systems for low-income communities, and equitable transportation and land use. Click here for program guidelines.

THE STEELE-REESE FOUNDATION is offering grants to nonprofits serving rural areas of Idaho and Montana. Nonprofit organizations serving rural regions in the areas of education, health, human services, the arts and humanities, and environmental conservation and historic preservation are eligible to apply. Deadlines: Online letters of inquiry must be submitted by 1/10/2017; invited applications are due 4/3/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the application guidelines for the Idaho and Montana Grant Program.  

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. This program enhances the capacity of local and tribal communities to effectively target and address significant crime issues through collaborative cross-sector approaches that help advance broader neighborhood development goals. Deadline: 2/2/2017. For more information, and to apply, click here.

USDA is seeking applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This is a major farmer and rancher funding opportunity that rewards farmers and ranchers for protecting and enhancing natural resources on their working lands. The program is designed to encourage and reward resource-conserving practices such as planting cover crops, rotational grazing, or ecologically-based pest management. CSP also doesn't forget smaller producers: for folks who qualify for the program, the minimum contract payment is $1,500, no matter the acreage. Deadline: 2/3/2017. Click here for an application.   For your Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office, click here.

USDA Rural Utilities Service will make grants to nonprofits to establish lending programs for homeowners to borrow up to $11,000 to construct or repair household water wells for existing homes. Grantees are encouraged to focus on high-poverty areas; areas with inadequate systems, particularly colonias or underserved trust areas; and places impacted by severe drought. Deadline: 2/6/2017. Click here for funding guidelines.  

THE CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE is offering 2017 Day of Service Grants for day of service projects in observance of September 11th and/or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Projects may focus on child welfare, safety, and health; healthcare access; assistance to veterans and active duty military families; and human services such as the provision of housing and emergency food. Deadlines: Letter of Intent (optional) 2/8/2017; Application 2/22/2017. Click here for funding guidelines.  

LOWE’S CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION is offering grants for school improvement projects designed around meeting the basic needs of students, e.g., school gardens, physical fitness areas, and walking trails. Deadline to apply: 2/9/2017. Click here to review application guidelines.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) is offering funding to American Indians and Alaska Natives through the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) initiative. Funds may be used to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent and control delinquency, strengthen the juvenile justice system, serve sexual assault and elder victims, and support other efforts to combat crime. Deadline: 2/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.

THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (NEA) is offering grants through Art Works 1 for FY 2018. An organization may submit only one application through one of the following two FY 2018 categories: Art Works 1 or Challenge America. An organization may submit one additional application under the FY 2018 Art Works category for a Creativity Connects project. Deadlines: Art Works 1; 2/16/2017; Challenge America; 4/13/2017. Click here to review application guidelines for an Art Works 1 grant. Click here for guidelines on Challenge America grants.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY’S COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS FUND (CDFI Fund) has opened the fiscal year 2017 application period for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. Deadlines: qualified Issuer Applications must be submitted through AMIS by 3/3/2017; Guarantee Applications must be submitted through AMIS by 3/17/2017. Application materials are available on the CDFI Fund’s website here.  

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) has launched its Solar in Your Community Challenge to support innovative and replicable community-based initiatives that bring solar power to low-income and underserved communities. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are eligible to participate in the Challenge, which aims to engage and support a wide variety of teams developing innovative and scalable business and financial models that can unlock the low- and moderate-income solar market. Teams will compete for $5 million in resources, including seed funding and technical assistance grants, and a $500,000 grand prize. Each team is expected to consist of a wide variety of stakeholders, including solar companies and entrepreneurs in partnership with key local stakeholders (e.g., utilities, banks, non-profit organizations, municipalities, and community leaders). Deadline: 3/17/2017. Visit the DOE website here for more information on this challenge.


Training Events and Conferences


Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) will host a webinar, “Broadband Opportunity Council (BOC): Accomplishments and Outlook,” Wednesday, January 18th, 2017, 2:00-3:00 PM ET. Click here to register.  

Novogradac will offer a webinar, “What the Election Means for Affordable Housing and Community Development,” Thursday, January 19, 2017, 10:00-11:30 AM ET. Nonprofit rate for the webinar is $95.00. Click here to register and see an agenda.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is offering a workshop, “Expanding Services to Rural and/or Underserved Communities,” January 25, 2017, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM PT, at the Shalom Center for TREE of Life in Los Angeles, California. Participants will learn to identify the resources available to develop programs and services in a way that better serves the rural community. There is a $50 fee for this workshop. Click here to register.  


Save the Date...


Housing California will be held March 8-10, 2017, in Sacramento, California.

National Housing Conference will host "Solutions for Housing Communications," April 27-28, 2017.

National Rural Health Association Annual Rural Health Conference will be held May 9-12, 2017, in San Diego, California.

Springboard for the Arts, the Center for Small Towns, and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota will host the 2017 Rural Arts & Culture Summit, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the University of Minnesota, Morris.


Information and Other Resources


An article in U.S. News and World Report, “Safely Aging in Place in Rural America,” discusses the health challenges faced by older Americans as they age in place in rural communities, including issues such as limited access to care, social isolation, and higher rates of chronic illness and poverty. Going forward, providing individually tailored support, connecting to local resources, and offering services via telehealth will be necessary to meet the healthcare needs of America's aging rural population. Read the article here.

A new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies says that by 2035, more than one in five people in the US will be aged 65 and older and one in three households will be headed by someone in that age group, according to “Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Adults 2015-2035.” This growth, the report notes, will increase the demand for affordable, accessible housing that is well connected to services far beyond what current supply can meet. Get a copy of the report here.

Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire has published a report titled “CDFIs and Online Business Lending: A Review of Recent Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities,” a report about the small business lending marketplace that affects community development lenders. Get the report here.

HUD has released “Breaking Down Barriers: Housing, Neighborhoods, and Schools of Opportunity,” a report about the relationship between neighborhoods and schools and the implications for housing policy. Get the report here.  

The Winter 2016 issue of Cascade from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank explores community development capital, resident engagement, anchor institutions, intentional integration in Philadelphia's Mt. Airy neighborhood, building savings and wealth, immigrant integration and economic development, and workforce development. Get the issue here.

HUD had released a new CDBG technical assistance product, “How to Use CDBG for Housing Activities.” In this six-module video, HUD explains the kinds of housing activities that can be funded with CDBG, how to use CDBG to meet the housing needs of the community, and the key elements to be considered in housing program design. Access the video modules here.  

The Democracy Collaborative has introduced the third toolkit in their Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities series, developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and designed to help health systems use their hiring, purchasing, and investing power to improve the health and well-being of underserved communities and communities of color. This installment, “Place-based Investing: Creating Sustainable Returns and Strong Communities,” provides hospital and health system leaders with the tools they need to make their investment portfolios work to improve the health of the communities they serve. Access all the toolkits here.

Transportation for America has released a new guide that shows gubernatorial administrations how a fresh approach to transportation is fundamental to creating quality jobs and shared prosperity while running an efficient government that gets the greatest benefit from every taxpayer dollar. According to the guide, quality of life, vibrant communities, and transportation choices are no longer simply nice add-ons, they are essential to economic growth and prosperity in communities large and small. Get the guide here.

The U.S. Census Bureau released its five-year American Community Survey data with a major focus on rural America. The data shows that people who live in rural areas are more likely to own their own homes, live in their state of birth, and have served in the military than their urban counterparts, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Read the press release from the Census Bureau here, and access the data here.

An article in the Daily Yonder, “Dynamic Delta Leaders: The Big Role of Small Business,” features the unique challenges and opportunities a rural area like the Delta offers to small business owners. Often the unsung leaders within a community, small business owners provide unique services and value to their communities. Read the article here.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has published “How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development.” The book features 28 essays from thought leaders active in arts-based community development as well as 13 case studies of projects funded through the NEA's creative placemaking program, Our Town, and is intended as a primer for those interested in bringing the arts to the community development table as a tool - along with housing, transportation, public health and other sectors - to advance revitalization efforts in an authentic way. Download the pdf of the book from the NEA website here.

Housing Assistance Council has published “Soldier’s Home: A Closer Look at the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) Home Loan Program.” The document provides a descriptive analysis of the program between 2005 and 2014, and gives an overview of the VA loan program and its trends, borrowers, and lenders. Click here to get a free copy.

“How the Opioid Epidemic Is an Infrastructure Issue” is the title of an article in CityLab that includes an interview with Alan Morgan, the director of the National Rural Health Association, about the connection between housing and infrastructure development and the opioid epidemic. This link has been highlighted by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, among others. The interview also includes discussion on potential approaches to this crisis, the disparities between urban and rural areas, and the lack of access to care for rural people. Read the article here.

HUD has published “Gentrification,” a 350+ page document in CityScape. The Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Minneapolis, the New York University (NYU) Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) jointly convened a research conference, “Research Symposium on Gentrification and Neighborhood Change,” on May 25, 2016, to bring together a set of multidisciplinary researchers to explore gentrification and its effects. Selected papers from that conference are included in this Symposium section of Cityscape. Get the document here.

“Access to Care for Rural People with Disabilities Toolkit,” developed by the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, provides information, strategies, and resources to help rural communities improve access to care for people with disabilities. Browse program models and examples and learn how to implement, evaluate, and sustain a program in your community and disseminate program results. Click here to view the materials.

An article in Inside Philanthropy, “Which Funders Care About Appalachia and What Are They Up To?” discusses the emergence of the Appalachia Funders Network, a group of over 40 philanthropic organizations banding together to support the "Appalachian Transition." As the coal industry continues to decline, the Network seeks long-term strategies to help revitalize Appalachia and rebuild the region with healthy communities and locally based, sustainable economies. One of the four working groups within the network is the health working group, which focuses on using economic development to address Central Appalachia's health and quality of life issues. Read the piece here.

The National Healthy Homes Partnership has announced the availability of two versions of a new guide (one for consumers, one for stakeholders) for healthy homes, “Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home.” The guides are available on HUD’s website here.

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute has released a report that looks at the connection between transit and rural livability by conducting surveys and interviews in two rural North Dakota communities: Valley City and Dickinson. Criteria for the survey included rider diversity, trip purpose, transit utilization, transit patronage, service variety, and ease of outreach. Discussion covers several factors of livability including access to quality healthcare. Get the report here.

“Health and Health Care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs)” is the title of an infographic released by the Kaiser Family Foundation that shows the rates of poverty, job security, insurance coverage, and chronic health needs in the American Indian and Alaska Native populations in the United States. Get the infographic and source slides here.

The National Association of Development Organizations has published “Measuring Rural Wealth Creation: A Guide for Regional Development Organizations.” The paper presents concepts and samples to assist in the creation of a plan for measuring progress in rural wealth creation for rural development organizations (RDOs) involved in community and economic development. Get the paper here.  



Rural LISC works with 76 partner organizations creating sustainable rural communities across 44 states. Visit our website here and sign up for the Rural LISC RSS feed here. If this email was forwarded to you and you would like to sign up to receive the Rural e-News each month, click here.


January 3, 2017  



A Promising Future for Southeastern Oklahoma


Welcome to the Choctaw Promise Zone newsletter. In this edition you'll find resources for applying for grants with Promise Zone preference, upcoming workshops with technical assistance from federal agencies, and upcoming events in our area. Some listings from last week's newsletter are still available, as well as new opportunities. Thank you for being a valued Promise Zone partner and your commitment to the future of southeastern Oklahoma. Yakoke!  



Choctaw Nation Opportunities



Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing License

The Choctaw Nation is excited to announce that hunting and fishing license will now be available for all Choctaw citizens residing within Oklahoma regardless of age or if they are a current Oklahoma lifetime license holder.

For more information or to access the online application you can click here.  


2017 Futures of Softball Showcase 

This event will take place at the Durant High School Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Facility. Players who attend will receive instruction and evaluation of skills from regional college coaches. Applicants need to be competitive softball players in grades 9-12 and have a Choctaw Nation Tribal Membership Card. We are expecting a great turn out with schools present from all levels (Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, and JUCO).
For more information or to access the online application you can click here.
Event: Sunday, January 15, 2017 -- 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


2017 Chahta Foundation Competitive Scholarship Season Quickly Approaching

The Chahta Foundation offers approximately 27 different scholarships on a competitive basis. Scholarships vary in the amounts given, and are available to all Choctaw students, undergraduate to doctorate. More information...
Applications will open January 15th.

2017 Annual Choctaw Nation Livestock Show

Shows will be held on February 4, 2017 at both the Wilburton (EOSC) Campus and the Durant (Bryan County) Fairgrounds.
Application Deadline: January 25, 2017
For more information
and to access the applications click here



Federal, State, and Nonprofit Opportunities


Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program

The purpose of the Network Planning program is to assist in the development of an integrated health care network, specifically for entities that do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts. This program promotes the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to: achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. More information... 

Location: Nationwide

Application Deadline: January 3, 2017

Source: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy 


Dreamstarter Teacher Grants 

Running Strong for American Indian Youth just announced a new project: Dreamstarter Teachers. They are giving away $500 - $1,000 grants to teachers serving Native students. Native or non-Native teachers or support staff (like librarians or guidance counselors) who teach and/or support Native students are eligible to apply. Grants can be used for (almost) anything teachers need for their classrooms, like educational resource materials, supplies, equipment, professional development, field trips, or stipends for bringing community liaisons into the classroom. More information...

Location: Nationwide

Application Deadline: January 9, 2017

Source: Running Strong for American Youth


Conservation Innovation Grants 

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands. More information...

Location: Nationwide

Application Deadline: January 9, 2017

Source: USDA


Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative 

The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. More information... 

Location: Nationwide 

Application Deadline: January 19, 2017

Source: USDA


Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. More information... 

Location: Nationwide

Application Deadline: January 31, 2017

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Paralyzed Veterans of America Education Foundation 

PVA's Education and Training Foundation is focused on funding educational projects that benefit and serve individuals with SCI/D, their families and caregivers. These projects should be designed to improve the quality of life for individuals with SCI/D, educate consumers about the consequences of and complications associated with SCI/D, improve the knowledge and skills of SCI/D health care professionals and to prevent the occurrence and complications of new SCI/D. More information... 

Location: Nationwide 

Application Deadline: February 1, 2017


Conservation Stewardship Program Open for Applications 

CSP is for producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat. Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat-all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. More information... 

Applications are available in local service centers.

Application Deadline: February 3, 2017

Source: USDA


FirstRisk Advisors Initiatives in College Mental/Behavioral Health 

This award is designed to fund the development of creative initiatives that address prevention, early intervention, and treatment for mental and behavioral health disorders among students. The goal of these initiatives is to reduce the risk of mental and behavioral illness and injury among college students and to enhance both individual and community health as a strategy to support student learning. More information... 

Location: Nationwide 

Application Deadline: February 3, 2017 


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

This program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. More information... 

Applications are accepted at your local office.

Application Deadline: March 31, 2017

Source: USDA


Economic Development Assistance Programs 

The Economic Development Administration's (EDA's) mission is to lead the Federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for economic growth and success in the worldwide economy. More information... 

Application Deadline: Rolling

Rural & Tribal Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance 

The rural program provides technical assistance for small communities of less than 50,000 people. The focus of the program is economic development: helping small and emerging businesses and stimulating economic development through new and improved public transportation.
The tribal program is designed to help Native American tribes enhance economic growth adn development by improving transportation services. Technical assistance is limited to planning and may support transit service improvements and expansion, system start-up, facility development, development of marketing plans and materials, transportation coordination, training and other public transit problem solving activities.
For more information and to register, click here. 

Location: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Rolling
Source: Community Transportation Association of America

Homegrown By Heroes

The Homegrown By Heroes label is a key differentiation for farmer veteran products in competitive markets. The HBH label gives farmer veterans the point-of-sale visibility they need to be successful in the marketplace. The HBH label also affords consumers a tangible way to support veterans while providing an avenue to share the veteran's story. More information...

Dates: Annually renewable

Location: Nationwide


Rural Business Development Grant 

A competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. More information... 

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted through local or state Rural Development offices once every year. 



Helpful Tools and Internship Opportunities


Forest Service Releases 2016 Fall Tribal Relations Newsletter

Click here to access the newsletter


Find Your Town, a New Tool Promoting Small Towns from the White House Opportunity Project

December 1, 2016 -- Small towns and rural places hold a special place in our vision of America. They offer residents a unique and often genial place to live. Visitors and those just passing through come to enjoy distinct lifestyles, commerce, and countryside.  Yet, many rural towns have trouble promoting themselves and planning for a vibrant future. More information...

Source: USDA


Native American Congressional Internship

The Native American Congressional Internship Program provides American Indian and Alaska Native students with the opportunity to gain practical experience with the federal legislative process in order to understand first-hand the government-to-government relationship between Tribes and the federal government. More information... 

Application Deadline: January 31, 2017


The Office of Senator James Lankford Internship

The Office of Senator James Lankford is currently seeking applications for unpaid interns for the Spring 2017 semester in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa offices. Intern responsibilities may include but are not limited to: answering phones, performing administrative tasks, assisting with database management, contributing to the office correspondence process, supporting staff with projects, and conducting legislative research. Applicants should be highly organized and hardworking. They should also have strong written and verbal communication skills and have the ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment. More information... 

Interested candidates should apply by emailing a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to

Application Deadline: April 14, 2017


Chuuk Women's Council Empowers Micronesian Women to be Healthcare Leaders 

November 2, 2016 -- Although there is only one state hospital for the 50,000 residents that inhabit Chuuk, a group of women is making a difference for the state's healthcare system and for Chuuk society as a whole. Read more... 



Training Opportunities


Overtime Law Workshops

Hear up-to-date information about the Fair Labor Standards Act, and its impact upon the nonprofit sector. The changes to overtime laws go into effect December 1, 2016.

Webinar - January 11, 2017 

Pauls Valley - March 30, 2017 


Nonprofit Management Certification Program

Through training sessions taught by experts in the field, participants will have an opportunity to apply and practice new skills as well as benefit from networking and confidential space to discuss issues and gain confidence. Each day-long session will cover a different topic pertinent to management in the nonprofit sector.

Oklahoma CityJanuary 11, 2017

TulsaJanuary 25, 2017


Leaders' Circle

The Center's Leaders' Circle program is a cohort of Executive Directors who meet monthly to create a support group and learn from community professionals. The goal is to help executive directors gain the knowledge and resources to deal with the challenges facing their organizations and to create a lasting support system throughout the community.

Tulsa January 12, 2017

Oklahoma CityJanuary 20, 2017


Standards for Excellence

Standards for Excellence 2.0 includes expanded and enhanced benchmarks for nonprofit best practices, including 79 benchmarks for best practices; new sample policies in social media and information technologies all nonprofits need to know; and improved information on outcome based measurements and logic models to prove mission impact.

TulsaJanuary 18-19, 2017

Oklahoma CityFebruary 9-10, 2017

StillwaterFebruary 21-22, 2017

TahlequahMarch 28-29, 2017

MuskogeeApril 18-19, 2017


2017 Advocacy Forums

This will be an advocacy and public policy discussion about the specific messaging your nonprofit needs to engage policymakers and our legislators in a conversation about how nonprofits can only create community change with the right legislative environment. While your organization might not receive state or federal funds, support for our core services through the state government means that communities and our state are stronger and healthier. 

TulsaJanuary 31, 2017

Oklahoma CityFebruary 2, 2017


2017 Oklahoma Conference on Nonprofit Law & Finance

This two-day conference will feature local and regionally recognized speakers on topics including legal compliance, charitable giving, financial oversight, Oklahoma policy and advocacy, along with new horizons: cultural competency, cyber security, and the affects of immigration policy on the nonprofit sector.

Oklahoma City University School of LawMarch 23-24, 2017


Fundraising Summits

The Fundraising Summit provides nonprofit professionals an opportunity to gain extensive knowledge about fundraising in a short, 6-hour setting. Fundraising experts present in quick succession their knowledge about best practices on the many topics every nonprofit professional needs to know. Participants will learn insider-tips for applying for grants, tried-and-true tactics for making bold asks, and flawless management for annual fundraising plans. 

Oklahoma City - April 6, 2017 




Other Opportunities


DOJ Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) Justice for Families Program

The program supports the following activities for improving the capacity of communities and courts to respond to impacted families: court-based and court-related programs; supervised visitation and safe exchange by and between parents; training and technical assistance for people who work with families in the court system; civil legal services; provision of resources in juvenile court matters; and development or promotion of legislation, model codes, policies, and best practices.
More information... 

Application Deadline: January 12, 2017 


EZ Guarantee Program and Micro Lender Program Status 

The EZ Guarantee Program will help lenders reduce costs of underwriting and servicing loans to help meet the unique financing needs of small farm operations. The intended effects of the rule are to make guaranteed loan programs more widely available and attractive to small farm operations and the lenders who work with those farm operations through a more flexible underwriting analysis process, reduced application requirements, and faster FSA approval. More information... 

Deadlines: Comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act - December 20, 2016. 

Comments on the regulatory changes - January 19, 2017.

Allied Arts Spring Cycle Grants

Allied Arts offers three grant programs to help ensure a dynamic, sustainable cultural community in central Oklahoma.

To learn more about these grants click here.

Application Deadline: January 13, 2017


Whitehall Foundation Invites LOIs for Bioscience Research Projects 

This program is designed for researchers at the assistant professor level who experience difficulty in competing for research funds because they have not yet become firmly established. Grants-in-Aid can also be made to senior scientists. All applications will be judged on the scientific merit and innovative aspects of the proposal, as well as on past performance and evidence of the applicant's continued productivity. Grants-in-Aid are awarded for a one-year period and do not exceed $30,000. More information... 

Location: Nationwide 

Application Deadline: January 15, 2017 (Letters of Intent) 

Sponsor: Whitehall Foundation 


NEA Foundation Invites Applications for Learning and Leadership Grants 

This program awards grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes, conferences, or action research. Also, grants to groups fund collegiate study, including study groups, action research, lesson plan development, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff. More information... 

Application Deadline: February 1, 2017

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

Each of the 12 award-winning programs will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, all of the winners will receive an award plaque; will have the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2017; and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program website, as a 2017 Awardee. More information...

Application Deadline: February 8, 2017


Runnerclick Accepting Submissions for Scholarship Program

Runnerclick feels that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and remaining active in sports as well as other outdoor activities can be beneficial in building a strong mind and good charcacter sportsmanship. The Runnerclick scholarship is awarded to three winners with an amount of $2,000. More information...
Location: Nationwide

Application Deadline: April 20, 2017






Bringing Life Downtown After Hours: Arts, Shopping, Culture After 5

Being open evening hours is not just a matter of extending store hours. It is more like opening a whole different store with different customers. Becky McCray and Deb Brown be sharing ideas and examples from real small towns. Deb will share from her experience as a Chamber of Commerce director, and Becky will share from her perspective as a business owner in a small town. More information...

When: Webinar continually available. 

Community Food Sovereignty Assessment Webinar Series (First Nations Development Institute)

This is a series of educational webinars created and hosted by First Nations Development Institute. The series aims to educate those who work in Native nonprofit and tribal organizations, or in nonprofit or for-profit enterprises engaged in Native agriculture or food systems work. These are led by Vicky Karhu, who is a longtime First Nations consultant and national expert in planning for and conducting Food Sovereignty Assessments in Native communities.

Dates: Moving forward/developing action plans (January 17, 2017).

Register here



What is the Promise Zone? How does it benefit my community? 

The Promise Zone offers preference points on many federal grant applications the Choctaw Nation and our partners seek. To gain these preference points, the Choctaw Nation Promise Zone must certify and verify applications. These preference points give applications a "leg up" as they head to federal agencies for review. HUD Form 50153 must be signed by a Promise Zone Official before it's submitted with any grant. Sara Jane Smallwood is the Promise Zone Official for Choctaw Nation.

Please visit this link to obtain HUD Form 50153 and view the full list of grants with the Promise Zone preference points.



What are the Promise Zone's geographical boundaries? 

The Promise Zone is a place-based initiative, and is confined to a set of Census tracts in southeastern Oklahoma. These areas were chosen because of their high need and opportunity for grants and programs to positively impact communities. Promise Zone preference is assigned to these areas. However, many of our school districts and communities in southeastern Oklahoma cross Census tract lines. Contact the Promise Zone team to help determine Promise Zone eligibility or for any questions on the boundaries. We have created an interactive map of the Promise Zone to help determine and highlight the Promise Zone boundaries. It's easy to use, and users can type in addresses to see if they're in the Zone. This is a helpful and effective tool for Choctaw Nation and our partners.

Please visit this link to use the interactive Promise Zone map.




Contact the Choctaw Nation Promise Zone Team

Sara Jane Smallwood, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma


Josh Riley, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma


Amber Anderson, USDA

Choctaw Nation Promise Zone Initiative Vision: To work collaboratively with community partners at the local, state, and national level to eradicate poverty, increase educational attainment, reduce criminal activity, and pursue economic development in southeastern Oklahoma.



Associate Professor and Community Development Specialist

Department of Agricultural Economics

Oklahoma State University

323 Agricultural Hall

Stillwater, OK 74078-6025


405-744-8210 – fax

Find grants and professional development resources on my blog