Friday, June 2, 2017

Community Resources

Funding and Finance Opportunities




COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS FUND has announced the availability of funding through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. This program provides tax incentives for investments in business or economic projects in distressed rural or urban counties, including capital investments in healthcare facilities. Investors give to Community Development Entities who then offer low-interest financing to businesses. Deadline: 6/21/2017. Visit the website here for details.  


STATE FARM is offering grants through the "State Farm Neighborhood Assist," a program which provides grants of $25,000 for projects related to safety, community development or education. The program awards grants to 40 nonprofit organizations to help fund neighborhood projects involved in education, safety and community development. Deadline: 6/21/2017, or until 2,000 applications are received, whichever comes first. For more information on this opportunity, click here.  


WELLS FARGO is providing financial resources to local nonprofit housing organizations to create affordable and sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate income (LMI) people through its Homeownership Counseling Grant Program (HCGP). This is a small grants program with an average size of approximately $7,500. The grants are provided for costs directly associated with programs or projects focused on homebuyer counseling, homebuyer education, and foreclosure prevention activities. Deadline: 6/30/2017. To learn more and apply, click here.


THE LOWE'S CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION is offering grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners grant program to nonprofit organizations and local municipalities undertaking high-need projects such as building renovations and upgrades, grounds improvements, technology upgrades and safety improvements. Grants range from $2,001 to $100,000. Applications for the fall funding cycle will be accepted from 7/3/2017 to 8/25/2017. Visit the company’s website here to review the giving guidelines and to take the eligibility quiz.  


USDA is offering grants through the Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant Program. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and Federally recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for this funding. The maximum grant is $150,000. Deadline: 7/24/2017. Click here for application guidelines.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is inviting applications for grants to support economic development in rural communities through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI). These grants support partnerships between community development groups and rural communities to develop essential facilities and create jobs and business opportunities. Deadline: 7/25/2017. Click here to visit the RCDI website for more information on applying.  


FOUNDATION FOR RURAL SERVICE is offering grants to nonprofits seeking to create programs that promote business development, community development, education or telecommunications in rural communities served by National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) members. Awards range from $250 to $5,000. Preference will be given to proposals that foster collaboration among and community engagement, and that can be fully funded by the grant or have 75 percent or more of the project currently funded. Deadline: 9/15/2017. To learn more and apply, click here.



WASHINGTON, May 26, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is inviting applications for grants to support economic development in rural communities.


“These grants will support partnerships between community development groups and rural communities to develop essential facilities and create jobs and business opportunities,” USDA Rural Development Acting Deputy Undersecretary Roger Glendenning said.


USDA is making grants available under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program to strengthen the rural economy. Qualified intermediary organizations receiving RCDI grants will provide technical assistance and training to help nonprofit organizations and communities develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities or economic development projects. Applicants must have capacity-building experience for these types of projects and must provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. Grants range from $50,000 to $250,000.


Eligible recipients are nonprofit organizations, low-income rural communities or federally recognized tribes. RCDI grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals.


Examples of eligible projects include homeownership education, minority business entrepreneurship, strategic community planning or assistance to access alternative funding sources.  A grant awarded to Habitat for Humanity Virginia in 2016 shows how the RCDI program is helping rural communities. The organization used a $150,000 grant to train Habitat affiliates across Virginia to rehabilitate homes as an alternative to its traditional model of building them from the ground up. Increasing the capacity of Habitat affiliates to rehabilitate dwellings will greatly increase their ability to serve more low-income families in Virginia’s rural communities.


For more information on how to apply, see page 24281 of the May 26 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 25, 2017.


USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit


Grants & Funding




THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies through the Veterans Upward Bound Program to prepare, motivate and assist military veterans in the development of academic and other skills necessary for acceptance into and success in a program of postsecondary education. Deadline 6/21/2017. Click here to review application guidelines posted in the Federal Register.


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION is also offering grants through the Small, Rural School Achievement Program that provides support to local educational agencies to address the unique needs of rural school districts. Deadline: 6/30/2017. Click here to review application guidelines.  




SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION is offering grants of up to $200,000 per year for a maximum of three years to recovery community organizations (RCOs) that have been designated as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations for at least two years, and are controlled and managed by members of the addiction recovery community. The grant’s purpose, as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act: Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR), is to mobilize resources within and outside of the recovery community to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery support from substance abuse and addiction. Required activities include peer recovery support services and non-clinical recovery support services. Deadline: 7/3/2017. To learn more and apply, click here.


Native Americans


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering grants through the Tribal Self-Governance Program Planning Cooperative Agreement. The purpose of the program is to award cooperative agreements that provide planning resources to Tribes interested in participating in the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP), which gives tribes the authority to manage and tailor healthcare programs in a manner that best fits the needs of their communities. Deadline: 6/23/2017. Click here for application guidelines published in the Federal Register.


THE SEVENTH GENERATION FUND FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES is offering funding in the following program areas: Arts and Creativity, Health and Well-Being, Rights of Mother Earth, Sustainable Communities and Economies, Leadership Development, and Rights, Equity, and Justice. Grants from $250 to $10,000, with an average of $5,000, are provided to Native communities that address one or more of the Fund’s program areas. The remaining postmark deadlines for 2017 are 8/4/2017 and 12/1/2017. (Mini-grants of up to $500 are reviewed throughout the year.) Application guidelines and forms are available on the Fund’s website here.  


Other Opportunities


THE BIG LOTS FOUNDATION is offering support in the form of monetary gifts, gift cards and merchandise in-kind to nonprofit organizations affecting hunger, housing, healthcare or education. Organizations must serve areas where Big Lots operates stores (across the U.S.), distribution centers or their corporate office. Deadline: 7/1/2017. To learn more about eligibility and to apply, click here.


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE is offering grants through the Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry Program, which provides support for reentry services and programs that will reduce recidivism by facilitating the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals as they return to their communities. Deadline: 7/5/2017. Click here for funding guidelines.  


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering grants through the Street Outreach Program to nonprofit and public agencies to provide services to homeless and near-homeless youth on the streets. Deadline: 7/11/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.


THE DELTA REGIONAL AUTHORITY (DRA), in partnership with leading national arts and government organizations, launched its pilot Delta Creative Placemaking Initiative (DCPI) to strengthen the Delta economy and improve the quality of life for the region’s 10 million residents. DRA will contribute nearly $460,000 to stimulate economic and community development efforts through promoting the unique places, arts, culture, music and food of Delta communities. Local government entities, in partnership with at least one nonprofit organization, can submit applications for DCPI seed investments up to $30,000. In addition to the seed investment, successful applicants will also receive up to 50 hours of coaching, mentoring and technical assistance to advance creative placemaking efforts in their communities. Deadlines: notices of Intent to Apply for funding are due 7/21/2017; applications are due 7/31/2017. Click here for an application.


THE ALLSTATE FOUNDATION is inviting U.S. nonprofit organizations that address domestic violence to join the annual Purple Purse Challenge. This competition gives nonprofits that offer financial empowerment services to domestic violence survivors a chance to compete for a total of $700,000 in incentive funding. This year, the Foundation will partner with up to 250 national, state and local nonprofit organizations. These organizations will be divided into two divisions of roughly equal size based on organizational budget. Each selected Community Partner will have its own “Team Page” where it can raise funds through the Challenge from October 2 through October 31, 2017. At the end of the Challenge, the Foundation will award grand prize grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 to the top seven organizations in each division. The deadline to apply to be a Community Partner is 8/1/2017. (Organizations are encouraged to apply early to take advantage of training and support leading up to the competition in October.) Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Challenge.


THE WALMART FOUNDATION STATE GIVING PROGRAM awards grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico for programs that give individuals access to a better life. There are three funding cycles per year; the first two funding cycles are targeted to specific states. For the final funding cycle of the year, requests are accepted from organizations nationwide in the following two categories: Hunger Relief supporting programs such as food pantries, backpack programs, and SNAP outreach; and Community Engagement supporting other programs that focus on the unmet needs of underserved low-income populations. Examples of eligible programs include career opportunity, disaster preparedness, education programs, healthcare access, shelters, etc. Grants range from $25,000 to $250,000; the average grant size is $40,000. Deadline: applications for the final funding cycle will be accepted from 8/7/2017 through 8/11/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the State Giving Program.  


THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies through the Our Town Program. Grants will support arts engagement, cultural planning and design projects. Deadline: 9/11/2017. Click here for more information and to review funding guidelines.


Training Events and Conferences


Enterprise Community Partners will host a webinar on how to effectively use public land for affordable housing on June 6, 2017, at 2:00 PM EDT. Using publicly owned land for affordable housing in strong markets can expand access for affordable housing. Register for the webinar here.  The National Housing Conference has published case studies of public land used for affordable housing, which can be accessed here.


Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is offering a webinar on “JOE NYC.” JOE is a joint ownership entity that acquires and asset manages affordable multifamily properties on behalf of member CDCs. The mission of JOE is to secure the long term viability of nonprofit run affordable housing and to make members more competitive in securing new affordable housing development opportunities. Learn more about JOE NY here.  The webinar will be held June 15, 2017, 12:30 to 1:30 PM EDT. Click here to register.  


Novogradac is hosting an LIHTC Acquisition/Rehab Basics Webinar on Thursday, June 15, 2017, 1:00-4:00 PM EDT. Presenters will discuss various issues associated with acquiring and rehabilitating properties under the LIHTC. The nonprofit rate to register is $115.00. View the agenda here, and click here to register.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Mental Health Promotion Branch, Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) are offering a Rural Behavioral Health Webinar Series. The last two events in the series are: Responding to Natural Disasters in Rural Communities, June 21, 2017, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT; and A Focus on Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities, August 16, 2017, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT. Click here to register.  


The CHAM Annual Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado June 25-27, 2017. The Consortium for Housing and Asset Management (CHAM) is a collaboration of leaders in the fields of nonprofit affordable housing production and community development, including Enterprise Community Partners, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and NeighborWorks America. CHAM's mission is to better enable community-based organizations and others in the nonprofit housing industry to responsibly own and professionally manage affordable rental housing. Click here for more information about this event and to register.  


2017 Kansas Conference on Poverty hosted by the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs will be held in Topeka, Kansas, July 19-21, 2017. Click here for an agenda and registration.  

The next NeighborWorks Training Institute will be held August 14-18, 2017, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The symposium offered at the event will be “Pathways Out of Poverty: Creating Opportunities for Financial Inclusion and Economic Empowerment. Register here.


Save the Date...


Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is hosting two RCAP Outreach and Well Assessment Workshop for health and environmental professionals and others who work with well owners.  The first will be held on August 24, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM in West Sacramento, California at the RCAC Corporate Office (3120 Freeboard Drive, West Sacramento). The second will be hosted on September 7, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM in Portland, Oregon at the Portland State Office Building (800 NE Oregon Street, Portland).  


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


Save the date for the Investing in America’s Workforce 2017 Conference. Join leaders in workforce, employers and policy-makers from communities across the country for a dialogue on how to invest in creating a stronger workforce. The event will be held October 4-6, 2017, in Austin, Texas.  


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 current issue of the Housing Assistance Council’s Rural Voices presents some of the highlights of their 2016 Rural Housing Conference: Building Rural Communities. Held in Washington, DC, November 29 through December 2, 2016, the conference offered educational and networking opportunities for rural housing practitioners to advance their efforts to provide decent and affordable housing for our nation’s rural poor. The issue includes several articles adapted from speeches given, a set of maps taken from a conference presentation by HAC’s Research Director providing a dramatic view of some current “ruralities” (the ways rural America’s demographics and housing are changing), and a series of five articles addressing a rapidly changing rural America on topics ranging from persistent poverty to creative placemaking. Read the full issue here.


The PEW Charitable Trusts’ Stateline published an article detailing the additional challenges to fighting the opioid epidemic created by more severe opioids, such as heroin with additives like fentanyl and carfentanil. Because these additions are so much more potent, they are being linked to increased rates of overdoses throughout the country and complicating efforts to respond to the opioid epidemic. The article outlines policies and measures being used in some of the hardest hit states to battle fentanyl. Find the full article here.


NeighborWorks released a blog post highlighting the vital role nonprofits play in bridging the digital divide. Access to broadband internet is fast becoming a predictor of whether you are on the “have” or “have not” side of the American wealth divide. If you can’t access high-speed internet regularly and don’t how to take advantage of it, you probably won’t do as well in school, won’t know about good available jobs and won’t be able to get those jobs if you did. The blog post includes key findings from NeighborWorks’ April white paper on rural persistent poverty, and case studies of nonprofits’ efforts to equip residents with the tools they need to support their families by addressing this often-overlooked component of comprehensive community development. Read the full post here.


As part of its Policy Brief series, the Centers for Disease Control has released a brief on rural health policy, specifically addressing mental health services for children in rural areas. This brief presents a selection of potential policies and practices that may help rural children with mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders (MBDDs) to access behavioral health services, including telemedicine, integration of behavioral health and primary care, and school-based care. Across the country, people with mental health issues may struggle to get care due to a shortage of providers, and this problem is magnified in rural areas. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 61 percent of areas with a mental health professional shortage are rural or partially rural. Read the full brief here.


“Raising the Children of the Opioid Epidemic: Solutions and Support for Grandfamilies” is a report from Generations United that highlights the opioid epidemic and its impact on grandparents raising grandchildren. The report also offers recommendations to help guide the development of supportive federal and state policies and services for grandfamilies. Get the report here.  


The Census Bureau has a new tool called My Tribal Area that gives quick and easy access to detailed demographic, social, economic, and housing statistics for the nation's American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population from the American Community Survey (ACS). My Tribal Area is powered by the Census Application Programming Interface (API), and includes data from the 2011-2015 ACS. Check out the tool here.


A National Public Radio article “In Some Rural Counties, Hunger Is Rising, But Food Donations Aren't” highlights partnerships that have developed to address some of the underlying problems, including poverty, unemployment, poor health and a lack of health insurance. Read the article here.


An article in the Wallowa County Chieftain titled “Meeting the Need: Mobile Medical Begins Service in Rural Areas” highlights a mobile medical service in rural areas of Oregon and Washington that provides medical, dental, mental health and substance abuse services by scheduling and transporting health professionals to rural communities. Read the piece here.


Feeding America has produced a map providing county-level data on food insecurity and child food insecurity. Data includes estimates of eligibility for nutrition programs among food insecure people, and identifies the annual food budget shortfall. Click here to view the interactive map.


“Rural Community Violence: An Untold Public Health Epidemic” is a policy brief from the National Rural Health Association that examines the prevalence and nature of violent crime in rural communities across the U.S. The report examines the problem in a public health context, seeking to draw attention to an often overlooked and misunderstood issue, and provides a series of policy recommendations aimed at reducing violence in rural areas. Get the report here.  


Meals on Wheels America has published a report titled “Hunger in Older Adults: Challenges and Opportunities for the Aging Services Network.” The Report details the state of food security in older adults throughout the nation. It examines some of the negative health outcomes caused or worsened by malnutrition at an advanced age, and discusses some of the barriers that inhibit many elderly people from accessing food, such as immobility, lack of transportation and poverty, among others. Click here to get the report.  




May 25th Meeting Summary of USDA Food and Nutrition Service


Nick Groch, Clinical Nutrition Manager, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (Chicago), shared information about the hospital’s nutrition and agriculture initiatives. They run a twice monthly farmers market to improve access to healthy produce for the organization’s low-income community patients. Their initiatives arose from pressing health needs faced by the hospital’s patients. Thirty-five percent of patients are obese, more than 40% of households in the area suffer from food insecurity, less than 15% consume more than one serving of fruits and vegetables daily, and patients are located in areas with limited access to grocery stores that sell fresh produce. In 2015, the hospital and local stakeholders identified food access and obesity/diabetes prevention as top community needs. To address these needs, the hospital leveraged a grant from the Illinois Public Health Department/Illinois Hospital Association to host three farmers markets and a “Nutrition Prescription Program” to provide $15 produce coupons to patients. As an outcome of the program, 112 patients received fruit and vegetable prescriptions, and redeemed coupons at a 79% redemption rate. These results suggest the effectiveness of a produce incentive program to increase produce purchases. Nick can be contacted here.


Brenda Scott Henry, Director of Green Urbanism, and Mary Mulligan, Brownfields/Urban Conservation Specialist, City of Gary (IN), shared information about their work to support community efforts related to urban agriculture. The city of Gary includes USDA-identified food deserts, where residents need to travel at least seven miles to buy affordable groceries. One-third of the population receives SNAP benefits. The city also sits on contaminated soil from previous industries, receives contaminated storm water, and has a high percentage of vacant properties. As a broad goal, the city is working to re-purpose vacant areas into green areas that manage storm water and increase healthy food access, improve economic health through job creation, manage blight, and promote community building. To address lack of access to healthy, affordable food and economic opportunity, the city works with community leaders to run thirty community gardens. Some of the gardens have box plots for rent, which are used by seniors, youth, and youth-serving organizations. Produce is sold at the city’s farmers markets, including Miller Beach Farmers Market, Hallelujah Vegetable Market, Methodist Hospital Farmers Market, and other outlets. Kansas State University supports the city with an annual community garden assessment. Other city partner organizations include Trinity Baptist Church, Peace Garden & Farms Federal partners, Purdue University Extension, Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, Growing Power, and Methodist hospitals. The city has also supported community partners convert a vacant restaurant facility into a community kitchen. Brenda can be contacted here and Mary can be contacted here.


Shermain Hardesty, Cooperative Extension Specialist and Lecturer, University of California Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics, shared information about her team’s recent study, which quantified the economic impacts of direct marketing farms and ranches that sell locally within the Sacramento region. For direct marketing farms, $88 of every $100 spent to pay for workers’ wages, supplies, and services remained in the region. On the other hand, for non-direct marketing farms, only $45 remained in the region. Additionally, for every $100 spent, direct marketing farmers spent almost $50 on workers’ wages, while non-direct marketers spent a little more than $25 on workers’ wages. The research team also compared the economic impact of direct marketing agriculture to non-direct marketing agriculture. Sacramento-area farmers and ranchers who engaged in direct marketing generated twice as much regional economic impact per dollar of output, compared to area food producers who did not market directly. The team estimated that $1 million spent on direct market agriculture would generate an additional $1.8 million of economic activity and 25 additional jobs. These results suggest that direct marketing farmers generate more local jobs and economic activity compared to farmers who don’t market directly. Shermain can be contacted here


Rachel Armstrong, Founder & Executive Director, Farm Commons (MN), shared information about her organization’s work to empower direct-to-consumer farmers with the proactive legal attention they need to build resilient farm businesses. A farmer’s legal situation changes to reflect the additional risks they take to diversify their operations (like agritourism). To meet the needs of these farmers, Farm Commons provides no-cost legal workshops to farmers, including farm law 101. As a result of the organization’s workshops, 60% of attendees made changes within three months. The organization is primarily funded by grants, including the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant. As part of the grant project, the organization hosts direct-to-consumer farm law workshops, distributes legal quick guides, and  educates over 7,000 farmers on the law affects agritourism, CSA operations, farmers market sales, food safety, and other direct-to-consumer topics. For more information about resources provided by Farm Commons, click here. Rachel can be contacted here.


June 22nd Meeting Agenda


The first hour of our June meeting will focus on local food models. During the second hour of the meeting, we will focus on soil health. Some years ago, many of us didn’t think much about soil. These days, we know that soil health is critical to ensure that crops are productive. For related and recent information on soils, please see these recent articles on soil: Soil Health is Much More Than Nutrient Levels (Growing Produce). Five Signs You Might Be the Perfect ‘Soil Mate’; Soils and pulses: symbiosis for life; Micronutrients Needed for Macro Yields


Local Food Models:


Amber Canto, State Coordinator, FoodWIse,  University of Wisconsin-Extension, will share information about how her organization leveraged a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant in 2014 to study barriers for SNAP customers to shop at farmers markets and how market managers and community partners used the results of the study to overcome these barriers.


Jerry Ann Hebron, Executive Director, Northend Christian Community Development Inc., will share information about the organization’s Oakland Avenue Farm and Farmers Market and other programs that develop Detroit youth by building character, education, and environmental appreciation.


Alice Maggio, Director of Programs, Schumacher Center for a New Economics, will share information about the organization’s Berkshares program, which is a local currency designed and issued for circulation in local businesses in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts.

Soil Health:

Bala Chaudhary, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Studies, DePaul University, will share information about her research that focuses on plant-microbe interactions and soil ecology to address issues related to soil health.


Michelle Wander, Professor, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, will share information about her research related to the influence of management systems (tillage and cover crops, perennials, organic farming systems; crop rotation and fertilization) on soils.


Hannah Shayler, Extension Associate, Cornell University (NY), will share information about the Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities research and outreach program developed in response to concerns about contaminants in urban gardens and other community spaces. This work assessed contamination in community gardens in New York City and other areas and developed recommendations for healthy gardening practices to minimize the exposures of gardeners, garden visitors, and other community members to soil contaminants.


James Rospopo, Soil Conservation Technician, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, will share information about NRCS programs and resources that can help agricultural producers to promote soil health (invited). 


Grants, Resources, Opportunities, and More... 

(click on the links below to see more)

Resources, Tools, & Technical Assistance

Data, Statistics, & Reports

Food Waste


Employment Opportunities






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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