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A heads up: Seeking Board Members for the Community Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board

The Federal Reserve Board on Friday announced the formation of a new advisory council that will be comprised of individuals with consumer- and community development-related expertise. The Community Advisory Council (CAC) will provide information, advice, and recommendations to the Board on a wide range of relevant policy matters and emerging issues of interest.  The CAC will meet semiannually with the Board in Washington to offer diverse perspectives on the economic circumstances and financial services needs of consumers and communities, with a particular focus on the concerns of low- and moderate-income populations. The fifteen CAC members will serve staggered three-year terms and will be selected by the Board through a public nomination process.  Information regarding the nomination process will be provided soon. The Board plans to hold the first meeting of the CAC in the fourth quarter of 2015.  


Reduced crop receipts largest contributor to the forecast decline in U.S. farm income

Net farm income is forecast to be $97.3 billion in 2014, down nearly $32 billion (25 percent) from 2013’s estimate. The 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but still $12.3 billion above the previous 10-year average. Crop receipts are expected to decrease by $25.1 billion, led by a projected $10.9-billion decline in corn receipts and a $9.5-billion decline in oil crop receipts, largely due to weak prices. Livestock value of production is expected to have strong gains, with increases across almost all livestock categories and the largest gains expected in cattle/calves and milk. Total production expenses are forecast to increase $18 billion in 2014, extending the upward movement in expenses for a fifth straight year. The elimination of direct payments under the Agricultural Act of 2014 resulted in a projected 4-percent decline in government payments due to offsetting supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance payments related to drought. For additional analysis, see the 2014 Farm Sector Income Forecast, updated December 12, 2014.

C2ER Partners with SelectUSA to Make Features of the “State Business Incentives Database” Available

The Council for Community and Economic Outreach (C2ER) and SelectUSA have entered into a partnership to make some features of the State Business Incentives Database publicly available through SelectUSA.gov.  SelectUSA is an initiative housed in the U.S. Department of Commerce that was established to attract and retain investment in the American economy. This initiative provides investors with information on accessing federal and state programs and services related to business investment.

With this new initiative, some of the information included in the C2ER State Business Incentives Database will now be available to the wider public, making it easier for domestic and international investors to learn about the vast array of state business incentives available across the country. The Database currently encompasses almost 2,000 state incentive programs from all U.S. states and territories, as well as an array of tools for allowing users to search and compare programs.

In order to ensure that the Database is as comprehensive and accurate as possible, C2ER has been reaching out to incentive program managers in every state and territory to receive feedback on the programs they administer. As the Database is updated on an ongoing basis, we welcome you to continue providing feedback on incentive programs in your states. Please provide your comments directly to Sarah Gutschow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


American Farm Bureau Foundation Launches Agricultural Literacy Database

SAN DIEGO, January 10, 2015 – The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, with the support of DuPont Pioneer, has announced the launch of an online database cataloging educational resources designed to improve understanding of the agriculture industry among students.

The new “Best of Ag Literacy” database will include more than 200 publicly submitted tools and resources tailored to multiple grade levels. Users will be able to review and download the resources for free, in addition to interacting with other users to share feedback and implementation strategies. The site will be updated annually, with top submissions recognized each January at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention.

This database will support AFBFA’s “Pillars of Agricultural Literacy”— a framework of standards for increasing agricultural literacy among learners of all ages. AFBFA believes that all people should have a basic understanding of the agriculture industry, and this document provides a guideline for expected learning outcomes by age. Designed with the purpose of guiding consistent development of educator resources, these standards are applicable in classrooms and non-traditional learning environments nationwide. The AFBFA board endorsed the Pillars of Agricultural Literacy in July 2013.

This site and resources are made possible through the generous support of title sponsor, DuPont Pioneer. The public is invited to submit resources for consideration for the 2015 “Best of Ag Literacy” database by Feb. 13. To receive a submission form and for more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Conference Call: Resilient Communities, Thursday, January 22, 2015, 2-3 p.m. EST - How can your city or town best prepare for unanticipated change? What will help your community respond to challenges not only to bounce back, but to become stronger than ever? Michael Crowley, senior program officer, Institute for Sustainable Communities, and Christine Morris, chief resilience officer with the city of Norfolk, Virginia, join CommunityMatters for an hour-long conference call on January 22. They’ll share ideas about and lessons learned from building resilient communities.   Register

Read more on the blog >

WEBINAR: Opportunities and Challenges of Sustaining Community Food Systems, February 10, 2015, 12:00 PM –CT / 1:00 PM – ET  

Local food systems projects have many different “faces” across the North Central Region. However, the principles of sound community development apply to the project’s success in any community. These principles include: assessment, vision creation, goal identification, project determination, outcome evaluation, and celebration of successes.  Through onsite discussions, eight communities in 3 North Central states shared the ways they used these steps  to identify the need to develop or strengthen the local food system, how they measure their successes, how their initiatives are funded, and how they plan to sustain the local food system for future generations. The findings from these 9 local focus groups will be the focus of this webinar.  An over view of each program will be shared as well as general best practices related to sound community planning principles.

About the Speakers:

Trudy Rice, Extension Community Vitality Specialist, Kansas State University Research and Extension. Trudy has spent her entire professional career with K-State Research and Extension first serving as a county agent and currently as a Community Vitality specialist at the state level.  Trudy works with local communities across the state as they assess their community strengths and opportunities for improvement.  Many times these include issues related the healthy lifestyle of people and the financial health of local communities.  Trudy has served on the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) board for the North Central Region and recently served as an Extension liaison to the National Association of Counties. 

Michelle Walk, Extension Educator, Michigan State University Extension. Michelle concentrates on programming related to Sustaining Community Prosperity/Tourism and Community Food Systems.  Michelle has been very active in working with communities in the UP of Michigan addressing the issue of local food as it relates to living a healthy lifestyle and providing economic health for the community.  Michelle has a strength in developing, promoting and fostering partnerships to work for the good of the people who live and work in local communities.


To join the webinar go to http://connect.msu.edu/ncrcrd, “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.  If you’ve never used Adobe Connect on the computer you will be using, please use the “Test your connection” link below and do a test connection to the actual meeting space well in advance of the scheduled meeting time. http://connect.msu.edu/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm.  There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar.

WEBINAR SERIES: Bridging the Manufacturing Skills Gap in Rural America

Globalization is creating an increasing skills gap in the US labor market, particularly within the nation’s growing manufacturing sector. Yet the gap is not a pervasive national problem, but rather, highly localized, with rural areas often confronting disproportionately deeper skills shortages than their non-rural counterparts. This webinar series highlights some of the key workforce issues throughout the US rural manufacturing heartland, and discusses innovative national and local programs, strategies and solutions in place geared to enhancing skills at the local level and bolstering long term economic growth. A webinar series sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development in collaboration with the Purdue Center for Regional Development


The Skills Problem in America’s Industrial Heartland: Causual Factors and Local Strategies
January 22, 2015 (12:30 PM - ET)
Presented by: Carolyn Hatch, Purdue Center for Regional Development

Manufacturing Skills Certification: Attracting and Retaining Talented Workers in Rural America
January 29, 2015 (12:30 PM - ET)
Presented by: Brent Weil, The Manufacturing Institute

Labor Pool vs. Talent Pool: Gathering Industrial Skill Requirements in Rural Areas
February 12, 2015 (2:00 PM- ET)
Presented by: Myra Wilson & Frank Gibson (The Ohio State University Alber Enterprise Center)


The webinars are free, to participate in any of the webinars above go to http://connect.msu.edu/ncrcrd - Log in as a Guest and select Enter Room.  NOTE: Adobe Connect is not compatible with CHROME, use Firefox or IE as your browser.  For webinar details go to: http://ncrcrd.msu.edu/ncrcrd/bridging_the_manufacturing_skills_gap_in_rural_america


Innovation Challenge for Coal Communities Launches

On January 7, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, with the support of EDA, launched a competition as part of their new partnership to support county and regional leaders in coal-reliant communities with retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions. Throughout 2015, NACo and NADO Research Foundation will host a series of three intensive, hands-on workshops designed to boost the innovative potential of coal-reliant counties and regions seeking to grow and diversify their economies. Counties and regions are asked to form teams no more than five people that must include at least one county elected official and an individual representing a regional development organization (such as an EDD staff member) to apply to enter the program. The Innovation Challenge is open to all counties and regions in the U.S. that are economically linked to the coal industry, including those that are coal-producing and those that are home to significant concentrations of coal processing and related facilities. View the application for the first workshop, along with details about eligibility and other FAQs.

          First Competition: Application opens: January 7, 2015. First workshop: mid-April, 2015 in eastern Kentucky

          Second Competition: Application opens: late May, 2015. Second workshop: mid-September, 2015 in Colorado

          Third Competition: Application opens: late August, 2015. Third workshop: mid-November, 2015 in West Virginia

RWJF Foundation Seeks Proposals for Projects That Increase Diversity of its Programming - DEADLINE: January 21, 2015 (Brief proposals)

Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to projects that increase the diversity of perspectives informing the foundation's programming and help its address its research and evaluation needs....


Hadassah Foundation Invites Applications for Leadership-Building Projects for Women and Girls - DEADLINE: February 17, 2015

One-year grants of up to $40,000 will be awarded to support gender-sensitive social-change projects that develop the leadership skills and capabilities of young Jewish women and girls....


Kessler Foundation Invites Applications for 2015 Signature Employment Grants - DEADLINE: February 13, 2015 (Concept Applications)

Grants of up to $500,000 over two years will be awarded to pilot projects leading to the generation of new ideas that address the high unemployment and underemployment of individuals with disabilities....


National League of Nursing Invites Applications for Education Projects - DEADLINE: February 19, 2015

Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded in support of high-quality studies that contribute to the development of the science of nursing education....

Infrastructure / Broadband: USDA Announces New Funding Opportunity under the Community Connect Grant Program - The closing date for applications is February 17.

The Community-Oriented Connectivity Broadband Grant Program (Community Connect Grant Program) is designed to provide financial assistance to provide service at the Broadband Grant Speed in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not currently exist. Grant funds may be used to: (1) deploy service at the Broadband Grant Speed to critical community facilities, rural residents, and rural businesses, (2) construct, acquire, or expand a community center, and (3) equip a community center that provides free access to service at the Broadband Grant Speed to community residents for at least two years. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis for entities to serve all premises in eligible rural areas at the Broadband Grant Speed to ensure rural consumers enjoy the same quality and range of broadband services as are available in urban and suburban communities.

USDA has announced the availability of $13,000,000 for award, anticipating an award floor of $100,000 and an award ceiling of $3,000,000.

The posting may be found on www.grants.gov (January 7).  


Wellmark Foundation Invites Applications for Healthy Communities Small Grant Program - DEADLINE: February 23, 2015

Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded in support of sustainable, innovative community-based wellness and prevention initiatives in Iowa and South Dakota....


Department of Justice Announces Funding Opportunity under “Swift, Certain, and Fair” Models; Identifies Hawaii’s HOPE Model for Emulation – Applications Due March 9

There are a multiple states, counties, cities, and tribes that are interested in implementing “Swift, Certain, and Fair” (SCF) models of supervision with offenders in the community. This interest has grown out of the potential promise that these SCF models have shown in effectively reducing recidivism and preventing crime. In particular, Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program has been shown to have promise, and as a result there is significant interest and activity in implementing models of supervision and other versions of the HOPE model which rely on swift, certain, and fair sanctions to improve the outcomes of individuals under community supervision.

SCF approaches are intended to: (a) improve supervision strategies that reduce recidivism; (b) promote and increase collaboration among agencies and officials who work in community corrections and related fields to enhance swift and certain sanctions; (c) enhance the offenders’ perception that the supervision decisions are fair, consistently applied, and consequences are transparent; and (d) improve the outcomes of individuals participating in these initiatives.

Through a FY 2015 grant announcement made on January 9, 2015, the Department of Justice will select multiple applicants to implement or enhance a HOPE model using SCF. Applicants selected under this announcement will work with BJA and its SCF training and technical assistance (TTA) partner to implement the model with fidelity.  BJA is supporting this effort to enhance public safety, foster collaboration, and improve the outcomes of individuals under the supervision of community corrections. This program is funded under the Project HOPE appropriation (P.L. 113-235). Note that applicants receiving funding under this solicitation must report on “employment services” and “educational services” provided to SCF participants (pages 19 – 20)

See https://www.bja.gov/Funding/15Swift&CertainSol.pdf


William T. Grant Foundation Invites Proposals for New York City Youth Service Improvement Grants - DEADLINE: March 11, 2015

Grants of $25,000 will be awarded to community-based organizations in the five boroughs of New York City that want to improve the quality of the services they offer to young people between the ages of 5 and 25....


Coastal Code Invites Applications for Coastal Preservation Projects in Western United States - DEADLINE: March 15, 2015

Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to projects that promote beach, lake, or waterway cleanup activities; restore water habitat; or are focused on ocean and coastal preservation in the western United States....


RedRover Seeks Applications From Emergency Shelter Organizations to Help Victims of Domestic Abuse and Their Pets - DEADLINE: May 15, 2015

Grants of up $6,000 will be awarded to help victims of domestic violence and their animal companions stay together during times of crisis....

Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie's Education Foundation Accepting Nominations for 2015 Outstanding Teacher Grants - DEADLINE: March 31, 2015

Grants will be awarded to outstanding California public school teachers in grades K-12....


Provident Bank Foundation Issues RFP for Community Signature and Impact Grants - DEADLINE: Various

Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to programs that drive economic development, contribute to a more well-rounded community experience, and provide increased access to information and specialized learning opportunities in communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania....




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