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Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 4.13.2020



Protecting Your Finances During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau and other Federal regulators ban together and offer critical resources to the public to protect and manage finances during this difficult time of COVID-19.

Novel Coronavirus Resources
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a collection of COVID-19-related websites and documents prepared by the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE), including technical assistance responses, infectious disease resources, and topic collections.

NIST Funding Manufacturing Institutes to Support Pandemic Response
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announces they have opened a funding opportunity for rapid, high-impact projects that support the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will award these grants through the NIST Manufacturing USA National Emergency Assistance Program with no requirements for cost matching.

Peer Grant Reviewer Opportunity
USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement seeks panelists to review the Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) Program applications. For additional information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 202-720-6350

Event Opportunities

Regional Food System Partnerships Program Webinar
April 22 | Webinar
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service webinar to learn about this program to support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems.

Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program
April 23 | Webinar
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service webinar to learn about the program and application process for funding to support the development, coordination and expansion of local and regional food markets, enterprises and producer-to-consumer marketing.

Marketing Advice to Combat an Economic Downturn
April 28 | Webinar
SCORE, supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers marketing tips to re-generate businesses. 

Rural Energy Savings Program Webinar
April 29 | Webinar
USDA Rural Development offers a webinar to support potential applicants for RESP Funding where qualified utilities and similar intermediaries can provide loans to rural families and small businesses to help them reduce energy costs and make energy efficiency improvements.

Newsletters, websites and emails from which we gather this information include:

  • USDA Rural Development’s full Catalog of Programs
  • Grants.gov
  • Foundation Center
  • The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
  • Pew Research Center
  • Philanthropy News Digest 
  • Rural LISC e-newsletter
  • National Association of Development Organizations

USDA Rural Development Innovation Center

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Webpage: usda.gov/rdinnovation



Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 4/9/2020


COVID-19 and the Workplace
U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19.

New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities During Covid-19 Outbreak
U.S. Department of Labor announced new guidance outlining state flexibilities in administering their unemployment insurance programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

County Response Efforts and Priorities
National Association of Counties developed a resource landing page specific to counties with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Resources for Regions
National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) developed a comprehensive resource page for regional organizations to support as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Event Opportunities

Small Water Systems Webinar: Drinking Water Regulations 101 and Best Practices for Training Utilities
March 31 | Free Webinar
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development and Office of Water will host this webinar series to communicate the latest information on solutions for challenges facing small drinking water systems.

Job Quality in the Age of COVID-19: Strengthening Frontline Management and Supporting Workers
March 31 | Free Webinar
The Aspen Institute will convene workforce leaders for a conversation on strategies for strengthening supervision of frontline workers

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 3/13/2020


Investing in What Works for America’s Communities
This resource is a joint project by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund calling on leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build on what we know is working to move the needle on poverty.

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Annual Report
As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 50th anniversary celebration, the Agency has released its first-ever Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program annual report.

Rural Poverty and Well-Being
USDA Economic Research Service resource provides factors that affect poverty status of rural residents from using Census data to track poverty over time, analyze the severity and persistence of poverty over decades, and provide a rural/urban breakdown by race, family structure and age.

Event Opportunities

Community Facilities: Technical Assistance and Training Program Application Webinar
March 18 | Webinar
USDA Rural Development will host a webinar to provide an overview of the Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant program the application process, and special disaster recovery designation.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tools & Resources Webinar: Regional Sustainability & Environmental Sciences Research Program
March 18 | Webinar
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development will host a webinar series to share various tools and resources that can be used by representatives of state environment and health agencies, tribes, local governments, communities, and other decision-makers.

March 2020 Webinar: American Broadband Initiative – One Year Update
Mar 18, 2020 | Webinar
Join BroadbandUSA on this free Webinar covering how many federal agencies have made significant progress across government to improve broadband access for Americans and milestones reached since the American Broadband Initiative released the Milestones Report a year ago.

Small Water Systems Webinar: Drinking Water Regulations 101 and Best Practices for Training Utilities
March 31 | Webinar
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development and Office of Water host this webinar series to communicate the latest information on solutions for challenges facing small drinking water systems.

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 2/28/2020


USDA and EPA Announce Continued Commitment to Support Rural Water Systems
USDA announced a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will help rural water systems face the challenges of aging infrastructure, workforce shortages, increasing costs, limited management capacity and declining rate bases. Through this MOA, USDA and EPA will conduct joint activities to help rural water systems continue to provide access to safe drinking water.

USA Opportunity Zones
U.S. Economic Development Administration provides this new web-based tool to assist more than 390 EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs) across the nation, as well as local economic and community developers and investors, target private investment to economically-distressed areas where private investment may be eligible for capital gain tax incentives under the Opportunity Zones initiative.

Rural Voices: Hope After Disaster: Rural Resilience and Recovery
The Housing Assistance Council provides perspectives on disaster recovery contributed by entities ranging from local housing organizations to national lenders and offers resources for affected families, lessons learned and policy solutions.

Low-income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provide this tool to help states, communities and other stakeholders create better energy strategies and programs by improving their understanding of low-income housing and energy characteristics.

Event Opportunities

Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant Program Webinar
March 3 | Virtual
This webinar will inform participants about the major eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program and will provide detailed guidance on how to submit a successful grant application.

Department of Energy's LEAD Tool Enhanced Features Webinar
March 4 | Virtual
The Low-income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has been enhanced with new features and capabilities. DOE has made updates based on feedback from stakeholders about ways to increase the functionality of the tool.

Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) Webinar
March 12 | Virtual
Learn how to apply to receive SECD funding for rural projects that support regional economic and community development planning.

The Council of Development Finance Agencies Federal Policy Conference
April 14-15 | Washington, DC
This conference will feature development finance experts and practitioners from key federal agencies, congressional offices, and policy organizations and will feature an opportunity for attendees to network.



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