Friday, April 7, 2017

Community Resources

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design Newsletter


After listening to our webinar recording, "Creative Placemaking: Economic Development for the Next Generation," learn more about Zachary Mannheimer's work and what exactly creative placemaking means in a rural context in an engaging interview with the Orton Family Foundation. In the interview, Mannheimer discusses what brought him to Des Moines, IA, from Brooklyn, NY, and how creative placemaking stimulates economic growth and opportunity. Read the full interview here.


Funding Rural Affordable Housing and Community Revitalization

Rural residents face several barriers to affordable housing because of lower incomes and higher poverty rates in rural areas. Residents also struggle with substandard housing conditions and additional associated costs including maintenance repair and healthcare costs. This article outlines USDA programs that help low-income rural Americans buy or rent affordable housing.  


Creative Placemaking: Economic Development for the Next Generation Webinar

Our webinar recording, "Creative Placemaking: Economic Development for the Next Generation," has been added to our Youtube channel. Listen to Zachary Mannheimer recount his approach to economic development. The webinar will give you an overview of how creative placemaking enhances livability and economic opportunity for small towns and rural communities.


Dates to Remember:


National Farm Viability Conference 2017

May 22-24, 2017
Albany Capital Center
Albany, NY


The National Farm Viability Conference is focused on strengthening farm sustainability, building stronger and more resilient local food systems and supporting the long term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs from start-ups to generational businesses.


You should attend the National Farm Viability Conference if you are a professional in the fields of farm and food business planning, financial planning, agricultural financing, farmland conservation, agricultural market development and food hub management. The National Farm Viability Conference is an opportunity for you to network and learn from other professionals in agribusiness, and develop new knowledge and skills.

Registration is Open!

A full program of workshops, and tours of nearby farms and value-added processing facilities has been developed, including sessions covering the following topic areas:

  • Finance and Business Development
  • Accessing Capital for Growth
  • Food and Farm Marketing and Distribution
  • New and Beginning Farmers
  • Equity and Social Justice in the Food System
  • Food Safety and Risk Management
  • Succession Planning and Land Transfer
  • Program Development, Funding and Design

Learn more about the conference schedule, lodging and registration.


Please help spread the word!


North Central Regional Center for Rural Development

Join us for the upcoming NCRCRD hosted webinars: Note link to participate in each of the webinars listed below.



Deaths of Despair in Pennsylvania and Beyond: A demographer’s Take on Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Mortality in Small City and Rural America

April 11, 2017 @ 12:00 PM-ET

Shannon M. Monnat, Pennsylvania State University

Participation link:


Community Impacts of Energy Development 16/17 Webinar Series (#4)

Presenters TBA

April 13, 2017 @ 2:30 PM-ET

Participation link:


Creating Resilient Small City Downtowns

April 17, 2017 @ 2:00 PM-ET

Bill Ryan & Chuck Law (University of Wisconsin), Zachary Kennedy (University of Illinois)

Participation link:


Urban First

April 26, 2017 @ 1:00 PM-ET

John Mann, Jason Parker and Scott Loveridge (Michigan State University)

Participation link:


Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Inequality

May 9, 2017 @ 2:00 PM-ET

Tom Lyons, Michigan State University, product Center food-Ag-Bio

Participation link:


To join the webinar go to link as noted “enter as a guest” is by default already chosen. Type your name into the text box provided, and click on “Enter Room”. You are now in the meeting room for the webinar.


To facilitate Q&A’s, participants submit questions/comments via the Chat Function in Adobe Connect.


To receive these announcements directly, or to correct errors in our distribution list, please email


Rural e-News

Funding and Finance Opportunities




THE AARP FOUNDATION is looking for grant applicants with evidence-based solutions on how to help ensure that low-income and vulnerable older adults have nutritious food, affordable, livable and healthy housing, a steady income, and strong and sustaining social bonds. Amounts range from $50,000 to $300,000 depending on level of evidence. Deadlines: the mandatory pre-application is due 4/7/2017; those invited to submit a full application must do so by 5/19/2017. For more information and to apply click here.


THE BROOKDALE FOUNDATION GROUP has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the creation or expansion of supportive services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Up to 15 programs will be selected to receive a seed grant of $15,000 ($10,000 and $5,000 respectively), contingent upon progress made during year one and potential for continuity in the future. Deadline: 6/`5/2017. Click here to review application guidelines and to apply. 




THE MONSANTO FUND, through its America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, offers farmers the opportunity to nominate rural public school districts to compete for merit-based math and science grants of either $10,000 or $25,000. After a school district receives its first nomination, the Monsanto Fund will notify the district and encourage them to design a project for the grant that enhances math and/or science education in their district. School districts are responsible for submitting a grant application describing their project. Deadlines: Eligible farmers must nominate their school district by 4/1/2017; schools must submit their grant applications by 4/5/2017. For more information on how to apply or be nominated, click here.  


THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION is offering six grants of $60,000 to support teams building healthy, child-centered communities through its Raising Places initiative. Raising Places catalyzes local momentum for cross-sector collaboration, engaging diverse partners to build healthier communities where all children and their families can thrive. Deadlines: the full application is released as of 4/3/2017 and will be due 5/5/2017. For more information and to apply, click here.


THE UNITED FRESH START FOUNDATION (UFSF) is providing grant opportunities to organizations interested in increasing children's access to fresh fruits and vegetables outside of school. UFSF is looking for creative methods to get fresh produce to children during the summer months, after school, and on the weekends. Deadline: 4/20/2017. Learn more about the initiative here and download the application here.




AETNA FOUNDATION is offering grants to community nonprofit organizations working to address social determinants of health in underserved, low-income and minority populations, as well as supporting physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. Deadline: 4/14/2017. Click here for funding guidelines.




NEWMAN'S OWN, FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION, AND MILITARY TIMES are offering $200,000 in 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 and/or be a nonprofit organization, and be working with Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve units, veterans, and their families. Applying organizations will be evaluated on their innovative plans for improving the quality of life for members of the military and their families. Grants of up to $50,000 are provided. Deadline: 5/2/2017. Visit the program’s website here to submit an online application.


Native Americans


THE POTLACH FUND is awarding grants of up to $10,000 to projects that impart values, histories, and knowledge across generations to make Native communities stronger and healthier. They are particularly interested in supporting initiatives that address the root causes of social, economic, racial, or environmental issues. Eligible applicants include Tribes, Tribal Nonprofits, or Native-led nonprofits that serve the residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Montana; or have a fiscal sponsor that is a Tribe, Tribal nonprofit, or Native-led nonprofit that serves the residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Montana. Deadline: 4/5/2017. Click here for more information and to apply.


CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE is offering funding to Indian Tribes for programs that are designed to strengthen tribal communities and solve local problems through service and volunteering. Deadline: Letter of Intent (optional) 4/19/2017; application 5/10/2017. Click here to visit the website for funding guidelines.  


CDFI FUND is offering Financial Assistance awards to Native CDFIs and Technical Assistance grants to Native CDFIs, Certifiable Native CDFIs, and Sponsoring Entities through its Native Initiatives program. To be eligible for a financial assistance award through this program, your organization must be a Certified or Certifiable CDFI, and at least 50 percent of your activities must serve Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and/or Native Hawaiian communities. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Learn more and apply here.


THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN INDIAN HEALTH is offering a Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Scholarship. The Scholarship offers financial support for American Indian and Alaska Native scholars, health leaders, health professionals, and paraprofessionals serving tribal communities that are interested in attending the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health’s Summer and Winter Institute courses at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Deadline to apply: 5/1/2017. Click here to review program requirements and to apply.


Other Opportunities


Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) created the Community Facilities Fund to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC provides permanent and construction to permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities, in rural communities with populations under 20,000. Deadline: ongoing. Click here for more information.  


THE WELLS FARGO REGIONAL FOUNDATION offers Neighborhood Planning and Neighborhood Implementation grants to support long-term, resident-driven neighborhood revitalization in low-income communities in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Neighborhood Planning grants range from $25,000 to $100,000 for those in the process of creating a comprehensive revitalization plan for a neighborhood. Neighborhood Implementation grants cover program costs to support comprehensive community development projects that target specific neighborhoods, ranging from $100,000 to $750,000 for single grantees and $100,000 to $1.25 million for collaborations disbursed over five years. Deadlines: Planning grant applications are due 9/1/2017; Implementation grants are due 4/7/2017 for the spring cycle, and 10/20/2017 for the fall cycle. Learn more and apply here.


BUSH FOUNDATION is accepting applications for the Bush Prize for Community Innovation. Grants of up to $500,000 will be awarded to community-based organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota with a track record of making great ideas happen. Deadline: 4/27/2017. Click here for an application.  


THE SINGING FOR CHANGE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION is dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations that inspire personal growth, community integration, and the enhanced awareness that collectively people can bring about positive social change. The Foundation provides grants to progressive, community-based nonprofit organizations nationwide that address the root causes of social or environmental problems. The Foundation primarily provides grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for projects that serve children and families, the environment, and disenfranchised groups. Priority is given to inclusive, grassroots organizations that rely strongly on volunteer efforts, where Foundation support makes a significant difference. Deadline: letters of interest by 5/1/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review the funding guidelines and to submit an online letter of interest.


THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY is offering grants to help Delta communities create jobs and improve infrastructure. Geographic coverage: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Deadline: 5/31/2017. Click here to review program guidelines and to apply.


Training Events and Conferences


The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), as part of its Next Generation 2017 Digital Exchange Webinar Series, will continue the Rural Creative Placemaking Summit conversation on “Promise of the Promise Zones: Linking Rural Arts and Economic Development.” The webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at 11:00 AM ET. Register here.


The National Endowment for the Arts will host a webinar on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM EDT. The National Endowment for the Arts Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health is a blueprint for collaboration among academic researchers, arts organizations, and artists aiming to study the arts’ effects on health and to extend this research to arts programs or therapies. The authors will discuss the guide during the webinar, encouraging arts organizations working at the crossroads of arts, health, and well-being to harvest the results of their work for evidence that can be used to communicate value and impact. To get the guide, click here. To register for the webinar, click here.


Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Atlanta will host a webinar “Education, Skills and Employer Preferences in the Middle-Skills Marketplace,” Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM EDT. Participation is free, but preregistration is required.  New research from the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Atlanta finds that the level of education requested to fill similar jobs across metro areas in the country varies substantially. Employers’ preferences for a bachelor’s degree are higher where recent college graduates are relatively more numerous, where wages are higher, in larger metro areas, and in the Northeast. The report finds this to be true overall and for four middle-skills occupations that can provide less-educated workers with a toehold in the middle-class. To register for the webinar, click here.  


The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017,” April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Click here for more information and to register.  


The National Rural Health Association will hold a Health Equity Conference on May 9, 2017, in San Diego, California. Click here for more information and to register.


A Rural Behavioral Health Webinar Series is offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Mental Health Promotion Branch, Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The next webinar is “Providing Culturally and Linguistically Competent Behavioral Health Services to Diverse Populations in Rural Communities,” May 17, 2017, 3:00 to 4:30 PM EDT. Other topics in the series are: “Responding to Natural Disasters in Rural Communities,” June 21, 2017, 3:00 to 4:30 PM EDT; and “A Focus on Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities,” August 16, 2017, 3:00 to 4:30 PM EDT. To register, click here.  


Novogradac will hold an Affordable Housing Conference May 18-19, 2017, in San Francisco, California. Registration is $675.00.  To register, click here.


The Appalachian Conference on Social Enterprise will take place May 19-20, 2017, at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. The conference will explore how social enterprise can be a tool to create economic opportunity as well as social and environmental impact in the Central Appalachian region. Social entrepreneurs, students, and citizens from West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky are coming together and harnessing the power of business to do good. Click here to learn more about the conference.


The 2017 Rural Arts and Culture Summit will take place at the University of Minnesota, Morris June 6-8, 2017. Organized by Springboard for the Arts and the Center for Small Towns, the Summit gathers rural artists, arts organizations and community leaders to highlight arts-based strategies to spur rural community and economic development. The registration fee is $100 before April 19th and $150 after April 19th. One day rates are also available. Register here.


The National Council of State Housing Agencies will host Housing Credit Connect June 20-23, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.  Click here to register.


Save the Date...


National Housing Conference Housing Visionary Awards Gala will be held June 8, 2017, in Washington, D.C.


2017 National Community Development Association Annual Training Conference will be held June 14-17, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Florida.


Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is hosting RCAP Outreach and Well Assessment Workshop for health and environmental professionals and others who work with well owners on August 24, 2017 from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm in West Sacramento, CA at the RCAC Corporate Office (3120 Freeboard Drive, West Sacramento, CA 95691). The second RCAP Outreach and Well Assessment Workshop will be hosted on September 7, 2017 from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm in Portland, OR at the Portland State Office Building (800 NE Oregon St, Portland, OR 97232.  


The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) will be hosting its annual training conference September 9-12, 2017, in Anchorage, Alaska. Registration begins April 1, here.


NDC Academy will be held October 23-25, 2017, in Washington, D.C. with the theme “Rethinking How We Invest: Homes, Jobs and Communities in 2017 and Beyond.”


Information and Other Resources


The Department of Health and Human Services released its annual poverty guidelines update to account for the last calendar year’s increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Get the guidelines and further information here.


Crosswalk Magazine features an interesting article on Native CDFIs titled, “A Financial Remedy on the

Reservation: How Native CDFIs Are Bringing Affordable Financing to Indian Country and Cultivating Community Health." Overall economic growth in Indian Country has outpaced the rest of the nation in recent years, but there is still a lot of catch-up to do. CDFIs are among the forces pushing these communities forward. Read the article here.  


The Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a study that found emergency room patients treated by physicians who prescribe opioids more often are at greater risk for long-term opioid use even after a single prescription than those who see less-frequent prescribers. The research is believed to be the first to measure variation in provider prescribing practices and their impact on long-term opioid use. Read the news article here and access the full study here.


USDA Economic Research Service has released a report, “Daily Access to Local Foods for School Meals: Key Drivers.” The Report highlights the progress of farm-to-school programs as a way to improve access to local foods for daily meals. It includes examples of successful programs, a discussion of the influence of school location, size, farmers markets, and state policies as impacts on that success, and variation by regional districts. Click here for a copy of the report.  


Research shows severity of affordable housing shortage for lowest-income renters. The GAP: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, reports there are only 35 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households nationwide, and 71% of ELI renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half their income on rent and utilities. ELI renters are those with incomes below 30% of area median or below the poverty level, whichever is higher. The report includes recommendations for better targeting of federal housing expenditures, including reform of the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit.  Click here to get the report.


The Carsey School of Public Policy has released the results of a study titled “Involuntary Part-Time Employment: A Slow and Uneven Economic Recovery.” The report examines trends in involuntary part-time employment from 2000 through 2015 and ncludes data for rural men and rural women, compared to the overall population. The report also compares rural and urban involuntary part-time work for those below the poverty line before, during, and after the recession. Click here for a free copy.


CFED's new report, “A Downpayment on the Divide: Steps to Ease Racial Inequality in Homeownership,” explores the relationship between race and homeownership and recommends ways to leverage the wealth-building potential of homeownership to close the divide. Get the report here.  


The Washington Post released an interactive tool that allows readers to find out how many structurally deficient bridges are in their counties using the latest data available from the 2015 National Bridge Inventory. There are more than 130,000 structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges across the country. Access the tool here.


An article in Affordable Housing Finance “Native American Communities Explore New Territory,” tells how a rugged patch of land is being transformed into a 41-unit affordable housing development on the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. Read the article here.  


The Rural Health Information Hub highlighted Schools as a Hub for Health, an innovative model created in Athens County, Ohio. The outcome is a learning community with multiple partners focusing on physical, mental, and social aspects of health. When local organizations were trying to find the best way to reach the county's population, they decided that schools could be the central location to provide community health programming and address health factors. Learn more about the project’s results and replicability here.


Census Bureau’s new OnTheMap Tool can be used to better understand Indian reservations’ employment and housing markets and infrastructure needs, including where American Indian reservation residents work, where reservation workers live, and the resulting commuting patterns to and from a reservation. Learn more about this usage here, and click here to access the tool.


The Center for Indian Country Development has released a working paper, "Dissimilarity on the Career Path: The Occupational Structure of the American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) Workforce." The analysis finds that AIAN workers are generally overrepresented in low-skilled occupations and underrepresented in high-skilled occupations, relative to White workers. Read the full paper here.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published “Profile of Older Americans: 2016.” The annual summary covers 15 topical areas including population, income and poverty, living arrangements, education, health, and caregiving. Click here to download a free copy.  


Minnesota artist Ashley Hanson, along with partners Springboard for the Arts, Creative Exchange, and Art of the Rural, is highlighting the work rural artists and arts organizations are doing to make their communities more vibrant, healthy, and connected places to live through her cross-country documentary art project and mobile artist residency program Public Transformation. All of the stories and works of art will be compiled into a multi-media exhibition that will be showcased at the Rural Arts & Culture Summit in Morris, Minnesota, June 6-8, 2017, and at Art of the Rural’s headquarters, the Outpost in Winona, Minnesota in July. Click here to learn more about the project and exhibit, and here to follow the journey.


 iVantage Health Analytics and the Chartis Center for Rural Health announced the Top 100 Performing Critical Access, and Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals across the country. “Measuring performance is central to improving the quality of healthcare and the performance of these top hospitals shows that, while greatly challenged, health leaders in rural can excel in the transition from volume to value,” commented Michael Topchik, national leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health. Check out the lists here and here, and read the full press release here


Rural LISC works with 77 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.






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



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