Publications, Webinar & Grant Opportunity


The National Rural Funders Collaborative has published “Race, Poverty, and Transforming Rural Economies: Lessons Learned after Ten Years of Collaboration” which includes a discussion guide. Download a .pdf of the report here.  

An article in Shelterforce Magazine “Lighting a Spark Between Energy Advocates and Community Development” makes the case for finding ways to effectively use utility company-sponsored green retrofit programs to help fund energy-related capital improvements. Read the article here.  

HUD and the Department of Transportation have launched “The Location Affordability Portal” which provides data and resources on combined housing and transportation costs for all parts of the U.S. including remote rural areas. Click here to access the site.  

EPA Releases New Report, “Smart Growth and Economic Success: The Business Case”
Many companies representing diverse business types have recognized that compact, walkable downtowns are good for business and are choosing their operating locations accordingly. Our new report, Smart Growth and Economic Success: The Business Case, shows the benefits for businesses of choosing a regional location with smart growth features. These advantages include increased productivity and innovation, improved ability to compete for labor, and stronger retail sales. The report is the second publication in the Smart Growth and Economic Success series.
What is “very low food security”? - Household food security statistics published annually by ERS are based on responses to survey questions about conditions and behaviors that characterize households when they are having difficulty meeting basic food needs. In households classified as having “very low food security,” the food intake of household members was reduced and their normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. In 2012, the 7 million households with very low food security reported the following specific conditions (along with other conditions): 96 percent reported that they had cut the size of meals or skipped meals because there was not enough money for food, 95 percent reported that they had eaten less than they felt they should because there was not enough money for food, and 68 percent reported that they had been hungry but did not eat because they could not afford enough food. A chart appears in Household Food Security in the United States in 2012, ERR-155.TOOLs

The LISC Institute for Comprehensive Community Development has launched a “How to Do It” section on its website. If you need to prepare a Request for Proposals for a new quality-of-life plan, or develop strategies for integrating community safety into your neighborhood development plan, or you could use some tips on how to design and benefit from a good evaluation process, the site has information to share so you don’t have to start from scratch. Visit the website here.  


A Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Approach to Community Action, Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Eastern
RSVP Link:
After a design or planning process, most communities end up with scores of potential actions. How do you prioritize dozens of competing options? How do you get some cool stuff done without breaking the bank or exhausting your list of volunteers? Easy: start with the petunias. That’s one key lesson from the “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” framework.
Join us and learn how to find the easiest, quickest and most impactful ways to start making things happen in your town. If you've used a Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach to get things done in your community, tell us about it when you register for the call. We'll ask a few people to share their story on the line!
This call is part of a capacity-building series offered jointly by CommunityMatters and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.
Webinar: Worker-Owner Cooperatives, Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 4:00-5:00 pm EST/3:00-4:00 pm CST/2:00-3:00 pm MST/1:00-2:00 pm PST
Since the Great Recession there has been a great resurgence of interest in innovative ways of doing business. One such innovation is the Worker-Owner Cooperative. While popular in Europe, worker-owner co-ops have been less popular in the U.S., but that may be changing. The eXtension Cooperatives Community of Practice, in conjunction with USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs and various state Cooperative Councils, will host a free webinar on where you can hear from worker-owners who will answer questions like:
·        What are the advantages of a worker-owner cooperative over that of a traditional business and member cooperatives?
·        What are the challenges of a worker-owner cooperative?

Panel members will also talk about a worker-owner cooperative and the characteristics that make it a success.

  • Dr. Rebecca Kemble, Worker-Owner, Union Cab Cooperative of Madison, Madison, WI and President, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
  • Mr. Joe Rinehart, Rural Programs Coordinator, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, San Francisco, CA
  • Ms. Leslie Schaller, Director of Programming, The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnets), Athens, OH

Moderator: Dr. Chester Bowling, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, Food Innovation Center

Webinar Link:     (Enter as guest.)
Participants who pre-register here will receive a copy of the presentation materials and discussion summary. 


Feds offer rural efficiency loans (The Hill – 12/4)
The Department of Agriculture is starting a new loan program to promote energy efficiency.
The department’s program, announced on Wednesday, will provide up to $250 million for rural electric cooperatives to lend to businesses and households to retrofit their homes and facilities.

THE COCA-COLA FOUNDATION is offering grants to nonprofit organizations that address community needs and priorities in a meaningful way. The Foundation supports programs that focus on one of the following four categories: water stewardship; healthy and active lifestyles that lead to physical activity and nutritional education programs; community recycling; and education. Online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and application procedures.

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY has issued a NOFA for the 2014 funding round of economic development grants through the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program Grants. Deadline for both programs: 12/23/2013. Click here to read the NOFA for economic development grants.  Click here to read the NOFA for the Native America CDFI Assistance Program.

BLACKSTONE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION is accepting proposals from nonprofits serving veterans and active servicemen and women transitioning to civilian life. Deadline: 1/14/2014. Click here to visit the Foundation’s website.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for both assessment and cleanup work at a specific Brownfield site. Deadline: 1/22/2014. Click here for more information about these grants.  

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR is offering WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants to states, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, or other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the western United States. Deadline: 1/23/2014. For more information, click here.

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs and others to provide high school students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and technical curricula focused on specific in-demand occupations and industries. Deadline: 1/27/2014. Click here for guidelines and an application.

THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION AND ARTS MIDWEST is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies through the Big Read program for reading programs that serve large geographic areas. Deadline: 1/28/2014. Click here for more information and to apply.  

WILLIAM G. AND MARIE SELBY FOUNDATION is accepting applications from nonprofits for capital grants for the construction, acquisition and/or renovation of facilities, as well as the purchase of equipment or software. Projects focusing on education, human services, arts and community projects including history, science, and/or the environment will be given top priority. Deadline: 2/1/2014. Click here to visit the website for guidelines and an application.

LOWES CHARITABLE AND EDUCATION FOUNDATION is accepting applications for the 2014 Toolbox for Education Grant Program. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of facility improvement projects that have a permanent impact on a K-12 school community. Deadline: 2/14/2014. Click here to visit the website and review program guidelines.  

THE KAZANJIAN FOUNDATION is offering grants to nonprofits for projects with national impact that address issues of economic education. The average grant is approximately $22,000, however grants as small as $3,500 and as large as $150,000 have been made. Occasionally, multi-year grants are made for larger projects. Deadline: 2/15/2014. Click here to go to the Foundation’s website for guidelines and an application.  

THE OPEN MEADOWS FOUNDATION supports projects that are designed and implemented by women and girls; reflect the diversity of the community served by the project; promote building community power; and encourage racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. The Foundation provides grants of up to $2,000 to cover start-up expenses or to support ongoing projects and also administers a number of special funds that are targeted to specific groups or activities. The next application deadline is: 2/15/2014. Funding guidelines and application instructions are available on the Foundation’s website here.

Call for Proposals: Behavior Health Information Pilot Communities - The Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE) project is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and facilitated by the USDA. The project is advised by a technical committee of university and community behavioral health professionals drawn from across the nation. The purpose of the project is to explore ways in which communities currently gain information on behavioral health, to discover what datasets exist, and to work with pilot communities to enhance access to needed information. Important information about behavioral health is often published at the county (or parish/borough) level, so this project focuses primarily on a county-level definition of community. Local leaders serving smaller geographic units partially or fully within the county (such as cities, towns or districts) will be included in the project activities. Measuring and monitoring the various behaviors and related health outcomes can provide pivotal information to community decision-makers. More information is available at the project web site: A webinar describing the project is scheduled for Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM – ET at The webinar will be archived at the project web site.

Timeframe & Available Support: Proposals are due January 21, 2014. Community selections are expected to be announced at the end of January. The pilot program is expected to run from March 3, 2014 to October 31, 2014. Communities selected for this program will receive funds to buy out up to 8 months of up to 1.0 FTE (0.67 FTE total) per selected community for current staff members to join the CAPE project. Funding will come in the form of a contract with the land grant institution leading the community effort. Community teams of one, two, or three individuals will be considered. Pre-approved travel or other pre-approved out-of-pocket costs will be directly reimbursed. Details and how to apply see attached document.

HUD announced the 2014 "Difficult to Develop Areas" (DDAs) for the purpose of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC). A DDA, as designated by HUD, is an area that has high construction, land, and utility costs relative to the area median gross income. A LIHTC project in a qualified DDA is eligible to receive up to a 30 percent higher LIHTC allocation in order to make the building financially feasible. Read the Federal Register notice here.  

Education, Community and Health Grants for FY13, Deadline: Open. Funder: RGK Foundation

Call for Proposals
Behavioral Health Information Pilot Communities