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Suzette's Letter, June 10, 2016


Obama Administration Names Final Round of Promise Zone Communities

The Obama Administration today named the final nine Promise Zones across the country – high poverty areas in select urban, rural and tribal communities. Through the Promise Zone Initiative, the Federal government will work strategically with local leaders to boost economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, reduce crime and leverage private investment to improve the quality of life in these vulnerable areas.

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
  2. Nashville, Tennessee
  3. Evansville, Indiana
  4. South Los Angeles, California
  5. San Diego, California
  6. Southwest Florida Regional Planning Commission
  7. Spokane Tribe of Indians, Washington
  8. Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Rolette County, North Dakota
  9. Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro traveled to Atlanta to make the announcement while U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new Promise Zone in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico on Friday.  In addition, a host of other senior Administration officials made individual announcements in the other Promise Zones.


Racial/ethnic diversity in rural America is increasing

Racial and ethnic minorities made up 21 percent of rural residents in 2014. Hispanics (who may be of any race) and Asians are the fastest growing minority groups in the United States as a whole and in rural areas. Over 2010-14, the rural Hispanic population increased 9.2 percent, and their share of the total rural population rose from 7.5 to 8.2 percent. Asians and Pacific Islanders represent a small share of the rural population—about 1 percent—but their population grew by 18 percent between 2010 and 2014, while rural Native American and Black populations grew at more modest rates. This is in contrast to the rural non-Hispanic White population, which declined by 1.7 percent between 2010 and 2014. Overall rural population loss (which was -0.2 percent for the period) would have been much higher if not for the growth in the rural racial and ethnic minority groups. Rural minorities tend to be younger on average and have larger families than non-Hispanic Whites, and this, along with net migration, is reflected in the varying growth rates.


Local Governments Cry Foul over Feds' Move to Limit Tax-Exempt Bonds

Public officials in Minnesota and across the nation are scrambling to head off a proposal they say would deliver a devastating blow to their ability to fund infrastructure and economic development projects.


Income Inequality: A Growing Threat to Eliminating Rural Child Poverty

No child in this country should grow up in poverty.  And as a new analysis by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) makes clear, to end that injustice we must do more to tackle growing income inequality.  The study found that rising income inequality explains an overwhelming 93 percent of the increase in rural child poverty between 2003 and 2014.  As the report notes, income inequality was considerably higher in 2014 than in 2003 in both urban and rural areas.  Over the past seven years, USDA and the Obama Administration’s work to bring economic opportunity to rural America has produced concrete results: rural areas are seeing income growth; two-thirds of rural communities have demonstrated job growth; and for the first time in years, rural areas are gaining population rather than losing residents.  But this new research on the pervasive effects of income inequality underscores that broader Administration priorities, like raising the minimum wage, must be part of any comprehensive approach to rural poverty.


Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food May 2016 Newsletter

With the warmer weather, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) Initiative also brings warm greetings and many exciting announcements. At USDA, we just wrapped up KYF2/Organics Month, during which we launched a number of new local and regional food system activities and also enhanced our existing resources. The Department kicked off the month by publishing the latest installment of our Results project, summarizing the major achievements we’ve made on local and regional food systems since the founding of KYF2 in 2009.  And we launched a brand new version of our website.


New Tools Bring Lenders to the Table for Local, Regional Food Enterprises

USDA has joined forces with Wholesome Wave, a national non-profit working to increase affordable access to local produce, to offer free online interactive training to help funders of all stripes better understand what these food businesses have to offer the bottom line. We’ve already begun training USDA staff at all levels, and now we’re making the free online training available to the public so funders and investors everywhere can learn more, on their own time and pace, about this emerging business sector. The online training entitled, What’s the Big Deal? Assessing and Financing Regional Food Enterprises, helps funders and investors better understand and assess regional food businesses by providing an introduction to the food sector and regional food enterprises, a framework for conducting due diligence and a case study exercise to practice assessment. The training also introduces “capital stacking,” by which multiple funders, from private philanthropy, mission-oriented lenders, traditional lenders and public or government programs, use different models and levels of risk-tolerance to meet the capital needs of regional food businesses need.


ULI: Creative Finance for Smaller Communities

The Urban Land Institute provides a series of case studies that illustrate how communities have used P3s and other financing mechanisms to improve the appearance and functionality of their infrastructure.


CDFA RLF Resource Center

The CDFA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center contains lists of federal, state and local RLF programs, as well as detailed information on how to capitalize and operate new RLF programs.


Weighing Economic Incentives in the Location Decision

Today's market conditions call for a savvier real estate approach, and it is no longer a secret that a solid incentives package can mean the difference between propelling a deal forward and maintaining the status quo.


2015 National Food Hub Survey

The data from 2015 National Food Hub Survey is first ongoing national data set of its caliber on food hub operations. This report details findings on topics such as the financial state of food hubs, the numbers and types of farmers and ranchers that they work with, and the types of customers they serve. The findings of this, the second national food hub survey, together with the 2013 National Food Hub survey, are the beginning of a longitudinal data set that tracks what food hubs look like and what impacts they are having across the United States. Overall, the 2015 National Food Hub Survey indicates that the food hub model can be financially successful across a variety of legal structures and geographic or customer markets. As consumer interest in local and regional food grows, the market for food hub services also grows.


Angel Investing: Patience and a Portfolio Required

The latest Angel Resource Institute (ARI) survey of returns for nearly 250 angel investments reveals the number of projects failing to breakeven during their liquidity events is up sharply since before the Great Recession – nearly 35 percent more are losing money for their angels than ARI found in a 2007 survey. In 2007, 52 percent of liquidity events failed to reach 1x, while that figure has grown to 70 percent in 2016. Add to that, angel investors are holding companies in their portfolios 12 months longer on average, 4.5 years in 2016, than they did in the first study. A third strike for the faint of heart might be the internal rate of return dropping five points, down from 27 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2016. Do these trends provide insight on how best to advise crowd funding participants? Read more...


Expanding Veterans’ Opportunities to Become Entrepreneurs

Todd Connor, CEO of Bunker Labs, begins his pitch in front of a Startup Week event in Columbus, Ohio with a compelling statistic. In the six years following WWII, 50 percent of returning veterans started their own businesses. Today, only 6 percent of post-9/11 vets do the same, despite surveys showing four times that number would like to do so. What has changed to lead to such a contrast and entrepreneurship gap? Read more...


Americans are consuming less caloric sweeteners, with children leading the way

A recent linking of ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data with intake surveys from 1994-2008 reveals that American children are doing a better job of cutting down on sugary beverages and other sweetened foods than adults are. In 1994-98, children ages 2 to 19 consumed 94.0 pounds per person per year of caloric sweeteners compared with 81.4 pounds consumed by adults. Over the next decade, per-capita consumption of caloric sweeteners by children fell to 77.4 pounds per year, while adults’ consumption rose before returning to 1994-98 levels. Caloric sweeteners include cane and beet sugar, high fructose corn sweeteners, glucose, dextrose, honey, and edible syrups—common ingredients in sweetened beverages, baked goods, spaghetti sauces, ketchups, and a host of other processed foods. Over 1994-2008, consumption of sweeteners declined across all income and race/ethnicity groups, with Hispanics and other races/ethnicities consuming less caloric sweeteners than non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks. The data for this chart and similar information on 62 other food commodities can be found in the ERS report, U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008, March 2016.

Performance Partnership Pilots: An Opportunity to Improve Outcomes for Disconnected Youth

Federal agencies have released a second call for bold proposals to improve education, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth. Over five million 14-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. are out of school and not working. In many cases, they face the additional challenges including being low-income, homeless, in foster care, or involved in the justice system. In response, seven federal agencies are jointly inviting state, local, and tribal communities to apply to become a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieving better outcomes for these youth, as well as youth at risk of becoming disconnected from critical social institutions and supports.

Senate Passes Energy Reform Bill

The Senate passed a wide-ranging bill to modernize energy policy, the culmination of nearly a year and a half of bipartisan work by top energy senators.


Impact Investing in the Energy Sector

IIPC highlights specific actions the federal government can take to coordinate and direct diverse actors with flexible, mission-interested capital. The ultimate policy objective is to catalyze investment in energy innovation and deployment


Foundations Aligning Investments With Their Missions

While foundations traditionally have kept the management of their endowment funds separate from their grantmaking activities, some are aligning more of their investments with their missions, the Financial Times reports.Seeing their endowments as a tool that can help them pursue their philanthropic goals, some foundations have opted to eschew investments that might be regarded as unethical or counter-productive, including investments in arms manufacturers, tobacco companies, and/or fossil fuel companies. For example, more than a hundred and twenty-five foundations have signed on to the Divest-Invest Philanthropy campaign, which calls on foundations to divest their portfolios of investments in the two hundred largest fossil fuel companies and invest at least 5 percent of their assets in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology within a five-year period....


Study Outlines Billion-Dollar Philanthropic Bets to Address Poverty

Billion-dollar philanthropic investments in key areas could improve social mobility and revive "the American dream" for low-income families, a report from the Bridgespan Group argues.

The report, "Billion Dollar Bets" to Create Economic Opportunity for Every American (33 pages, PDF), identified four areas in which investments of $1 billion could dramatically improve the lifetime earnings of low-income Americans — building skills and assets, addressing cultural and structural inhibitors, transforming communities, and building the infrastructure to implement and scale interventions that work. The researchers evaluated proven interventions and promising innovations in the four areas, which they then narrowed to six "big bets" — improving early childhood development, establishing clear and viable pathways to careers, reducing rates of conviction and incarceration, reducing unintended pregnancies, reducing the effects of concentrated poverty on those living in distressed neighborhoods, and improving the performance of public systems that oversee social services....




HUD Launches Improved On-Line Tool to Facilitate Consultation with Indian Tribes About HUD-Assisted Development

HUD’s Office of Environment and Energy, in collaboration with the Office of Native American Programs, and with extensive technical support from the Office of Policy Development and Research, has completed a new update of the Tribal Directory Assessment Tool (TDAT 2.1), a database of tribal contact information and geographic areas of interest. All federally recognized Indian tribes were contacted to update information on tribal leaders and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and the names of counties where they have a current or ancestral interest. Sixteen percent of the tribes identified additional counties of interest over the 2011 edition of TDAT. The new TDAT 2.1 is publicly available on HUD's website.



For more CED-related content please subscribe to the following:

Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development

Cooperative Reports, Publications, and Statistics

Rural Cooperative Magazine

Placed Based Initiatives & Regional Programs

Community Economic Development

Suzette's Letter, May 6, 2016


USDA Unveils New 'Urban Agriculture Toolkit' for Urban Farmers and Agri-business Entrepreneurs

Last week Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/knowyourfarmer?navid=kyf-urban-agric">USDA Urban Agriculture Toolkit, a new resource created by USDA's Know Your Farmer team to help entrepreneurs and community leaders successfully create jobs and increase access to healthy food through urban agriculture. From neighborhood gardens grown on repurposed lots, to innovative mobile markets and intensive hydroponic and aquaculture operations, urban food production is rapidly growing into a mature business sector in cities across the country. USDA's Toolkit is an electronic document that helps urban and small farms navigate more than 70 helpful resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. It focuses on some of the most pressing challenges confronting urban producers such as land access, soil quality, water resources, capital and financing, infrastructure, market development, production strategies, and applying for federal, state or private foundation grants. University extension service partners in Chicago and Indianapolis helped develop cost estimates for starting urban farms and the toolkit includes information on best practices and check lists for start-ups and early-stage producers planning outdoor or indoor operations.


SSBCI Bill Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services

A bill to reauthorize the successful State Small Business Credit Initiative and to allow participating States to provide program funds to small businesses for development of affordable housing was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.


New Market Tax Credits Infographic

Dan McRae's infographic sorts out allocation, credits, sheltered income and unsheltered income, and trace the actual funding from New Market Tax Credits.

LGBTQ Healthcare: Building Inclusive Rural Practices
by Zachary Toliver
Like all rural residents, LGBTQ individuals need access to quality healthcare from an engaged provider. But sometimes, providers lack the specific training and cultural know-how to address the healthcare needs of LGBTQ patients. This article discusses the barriers rural LGBTQ people face and what providers can do to ensure quality care.

Startup Seeks to Open up Public Finance to Small Investors

In 2012, two entrepreneurs came up with a novel way to open up public finance to small investors: create an online marketplace allowing people to invest smaller-than-usual amounts of money in municipal bonds backing specific civic projects.

Setting the Stage for Leveraging Resources for Brownfields Revitalization

This guide from the U.S. EPA provides guidance and technical assistance to localities and brownfields practitioners on leveraging resources for brownfields revitalization. This guide explores how communities can prepare to successfully leverage funding and other resources for brownfields revitalization.

House Subcommittee Examines EPA Brownfields Program

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing about the EPA Brownfields Program, including what about it currently works well, what could be improved, and how the program helps communities handle issues like environmental liability concerns, financial barriers, cleanup considerations, and reuse planning.

Three-quarters of WIC benefits are redeemed in large stores

A recent ERS report finds that, despite the fact that WIC benefits are not structured to encourage participants to consider price when they acquire their WIC foods, 76 percent of WIC retail redemptions in fiscal 2012 were at large lower price stores, such as supermarkets, supercenters, and large grocery stores. Another 9 percent of benefits were redeemed at WIC-only and A-50 stores (those that derive more than 50 percent of annual food-sales revenue from WIC redemptions).

Number of farms with direct-to-consumer sales increases, sales plateau

Data on direct-to-consumer (DTC) food sales were first collected in the 1978 Census of Agriculture, and DTC sales data have been collected in every agricultural census thereafter (except in 1987). In 1992, the number of DTC farms fell to the lowest level since information collection on DTC farms began; since that time, the number has slowly and steadily increased, peaking in 2012. The constant-dollar value of DTC sales increased as well, before declining slightly in 2012. Two factors may have contributed to the lack of growth in DTC sales over 2007-12. First, consumer demand for local food purchased through DTC outlets may have plateaued. Second, where local food systems have been thriving, farmers may have been able to direct more of their sales to “intermediated” outlets, such as local restaurants and retailers, institutions, and local aggregators. ERS research finds that the number of farms marketing through intermediated channels increased by 34 percent from 36,000 in 2008 to 48,300 in 2012



Business Leader Conference Call with President Barack Obama | Friday, May 6 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT

 To cap off National Small Business Week, President Obama and senior Administration officials will join Business Forward’s nationwide network of business leaders to discuss the role of small business in growing the American economy. The discussion will focus on key economic initiatives, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition to hearing from the President, business leaders from across the country will have the opportunity to ask questions of Administration officials about how various economic policies affect their companies, employees, and local economies. http://action.businessfwd.org/page/s/obama-call">>>REGISTER NOW (Space is limited)


RD Apply Webinar | May 18th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm EDT

The USDA Telecommunications Program will host a webinar focused on our new application intake system, RD Apply. This new system allows interested parties to apply electronically for loans and grants administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Apply with ease for the latest RUS Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program and Infrastructure Program loans through RD Apply. Eventually, more programs will be added into the system, allowing a wider range of customers to submit applications electronically. Due to the limited amount of room available, you must register with the RUS Policy & Outreach Division to attend. Please pre-register at https://www.livemeeting.com/register. Register soon to ensure your spot in the session. If the above registration link does not work, please copy and paste the following link you’re your browser: https://www.livemeeting.com/lrs/8002989786/Registration.aspx?pageName=746cbz7gc5dnb4nf.

Requirements for Committing HOME Funds Webinar - May 10, 2016 - 2:00 PM EDT

HUD's Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) is pleased to announce a webinar on the HOME requirements contained in Notice CPD-15-09 Requirements for Committing HOME Funds on May 10, 2016, from 2:00 PM EDT until 4:00 PM EDT. This webinar will describe what Participating Jurisdictions must do in order to meet the HOME requirements for committing funds to specific local projects and to programs undertaken by State recipients and subrecipients. It will explain the requirements contained in the definition of “commitment” (at 24 CFR 92.2) and the underwriting, subsidy layering, and project assessment requirements (at 24 CFR 92.250(b)), all of which must be met prior to the commitment of HOME funds.


For more CED-related content please subscribe to the following:

Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development

Cooperative Reports, Publications, and Statistics

Rural Cooperative Magazine

Placed Based Initiatives & Regional Programs

Community Economic Development

Suzette's Letter April 22, 2016


USDA Sponsors Cooperative Development and Local Foods Meeting in Kyle, SD

The local food movement is becoming an established part of the overall marketplace, and beyond healthy benefits for human nutrition, provides increased economic health and strength to participating communities.  A local foods conference was held in Kyle, S.D. on March 16, 2016.  The purpose was designed to help area producers, entrepreneurs, communities and consumers explore the many ways to participate in the movement. Read more about the meeting here.


March 2016 Tax Credits & Incentives Update

This post continues a monthly series outlining updates in state tax credits and incentives; included here are legislative, gubernatorial and case law updates.


3 Steps to Take to Prepare for GASB 77 Tax Abatement Disclosures

State and local governments will soon begin disclosing financial information about tax abatements in their annual financial reports. Economic development organizations should consider taking these three steps now to help their communities comply with disclosure rules.

A Rural Healthcare Roadmap
Apr 12, 2016 -- Describes a recent study that finds financial pressures on rural healthcare facilities impact rural healthcare delivery and, in turn, shape the way architects design these facilities. Highlights key principles of rural healthcare design identified by the study, including optimizing accessibility, operating self-sufficiently, standardizing and adapting clinical spaces, and maximizing staff connectivity.
Source: Healthcare Design In Rural States Policy Changes To Improve Access To Home Dialysis Are Vital
Apr 12, 2016 -- This blog post highlights the benefits of and barriers to home dialysis for rural residents with chronic kidney disease; many of whom have to travel many miles to dialysis centers.
Source: Health Affairs Blog

Rural Medicine: Pediatric Care Costly and Complex
Apr 11, 2016 -- Highlights a recent study that found healthcare disparities between rural and urban children. These disparities include differences in rates of medically complex chronic conditions and hospital readmission. (May require free subscription for full access.)
Source: MedPage Today A New Divide in American Death
Apr 10, 2016 -- Reports on recent findings describing mortality rates and the disparities within them; most notably the difference between urban-rural women. Illustrates growing rural mortality rates over the past two decades by providing statistics and graphics.
Source: The Washington Post


Rural Recruiting, Retention Proves Daunting
Apr 7, 2016 -- This blog post shares the thoughts on a young physician who highlights both the positive aspects of practicing rural and the negatives aspects that impact rural facilities' ability to recruit and retain workforce.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians New Stark Law Exception Breathes Life into Primary Care, Especially in Underserved Areas
Apr 6, 2016 -- Describes a regulatory adjustment making hiring practices more flexible for primary care and mental health providers in underserved and rural areas.
Source: JD Supra

Child Poverty in Rural America
A policy brief describing the needs, challenges, and experiences of rural children and families living in poverty, and how poverty affects their health. Offers recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop appropriate and integrated health and human service delivery programs, and to create flexible grant opportunities that will reach children and families in need.
Sponsoring organization: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services
Date: 12/2015



CDFA and The Kresge Foundation RFP Webinar

This one hour informational webinar will give background to Kresge's partnership with CDFA, and explain the types of projects Kresge wants to fund through Kresge Community Finance.

USDA Seeks Reviewers for Grant Programs Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking reviewers to evaluate grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).  Reviewers for both programs will receive a stipend.  Applications to serve as a reviewer are available on the FMLFPP reviewer webpage and the FSMIP reviewer webpage, and are due no later than May 2, 2016. If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, please visit the FMLFPP reviewer webpage or the FSMIP application reviewer webpage.  AMS will contact selected FMLFPP reviewers in mid-May while FSMIP reviewers will be contacted in early June.

CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: Development Finance Solutions for Disaster Resiliency

During this CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast, hear from financing experts as they share capitalization options available for resiliency efforts.

Impact Investment in the Municipal Bond Market

Charles Laven and Julijs Liepins provide readers with an introduction to both impact investing and municipal bonds, and explain how impact investments can strengthen the municipal bond market.

Energy Investment Partnerships Webinar Series
April 26, May 19 - 1-4pm Eastern

The Energy Investment Partnerships Webinar Series is a tailored four-part webinar series designed specifically for states and stakeholders working to develop or enhance an Energy Investment Partnership (EIP).

Prospective Applicant Webinar: FY 2016 EDA Regional Innovation Strategies Program

SSTI is hosting with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) an informational webinar regarding the 2016 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. Under the RIS program, the U.S. Department of Commerce is soliciting applications for $15 million in funding awards. These awards are intended to help develop regional innovation ecosystems that provide support and funding to startups engaged in the commercialization process that ultimately lead to high-growth companies – the drivers of regional economic prosperity and job creation.

Date: Thursday, May 5
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 P.M. ET

Senior Management Institute
The Senior Management Institute is an eight-month program designed for senior level managers of arts and culture organizations. The Institute provides a cross-disciplinary, supportive yet challenging environment to improve communication skills and to lead high-performing teams. Applications are open through April 12, 2016. Learn more »

Creative Community Fellows
Creative Community Fellows unites a group of twenty-five change-makers throughout the U.S. Over nine-months, Fellows receive tools, training and access to a community of support to activate their ideas and move their projects forward. Fellows jump-start the program by living and learning together for one week in rural Vermont in an incubator-like environment. Fellows take monthly online courses together in topic areas such as community partnerships, finding capital & support, budgeting and more. They share updates on their projects, meet with leaders in the field who serve as mentors and have the rare chance to engage face-to-face with funders to pitch their projects and receive feedback. Applications are now open through April 24, 2016. Learn more »

Webinar: The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices

The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices, developed by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in cooperation with Colorado State University (CSU), uses real-world projects, experiences, and applied research to help community leaders, planners, economic development specialists, public agencies, and private businesses or foundations evaluate the economic benefits of local and regional food systems.

What: Free webinar on how to use The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices. The webinar will last approximately 90- minutes.

When: 3 p.m. E.T., Thursday, April 28, 2016


Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma Grant Program | Pre-application Technical Assistance

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is announcing a series of informational technical assistance conference calls and webinars for applicants interested in applying for the Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma Grants. Conference calls and webinars will be held on the dates and times listed below. Interested parties may participate by using the respective dial-in numbers, pass codes, and links.

April 20, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Dial-In Number: 888-942-9713, Participant Passcode: RECAST
RSVP for this webinar.

May 20, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM EDT
Dial-In Number: 888-439-9713, Participant Passcode: RECAST
RSVP for this webinar.

Conference Calls

May 6, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET
Dial in number: 888-928-9713
Participant passcode: RECAST

May 25, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET
Dial in number: 888-928-9713
Participant passcode: RECAST

June 3, 2016
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET
Dial in number: 888-928-9713
Participant passcode: RECAST

For more CED-related content please subscribe to the following:

Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development

Cooperative Reports, Publications, and Statistics

Rural Cooperative Magazine

Placed Based Initiatives & Regional Programs

Community Economic Development

Suzette's Letter, April 11, 2106


Public-Private Partnership to Strengthen Local Food Systems

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and fifteen philanthropic organizations have announced an initiative to bolster the supply chain for locally produced food in ten U.S. Cities and regions. With $2 million from philanthropic partners and $850,000 in federal funding, the Food LINC project will work to strengthen each region's local food business sector and increase consumer access to healthy, locally produced food by connecting farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs with families and institutional consumers. A full-time Food LINC coordinator will be embedded for up to three years in a host organization in each of the ten cities/regions. Cities or regions participating in the initiative include Albuquerque, New Mexico; Atlanta, Georgia; Central Appalachia; the Chesapeake region; the Delaware Valley region; Jackson, Mississippi; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Arkansas and northwest Mississippi; Pueblo/Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.


Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Child Nutrition

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement in response to http://frac.org/pdf/take-up-of-cep-report.pdf">a new report done jointly by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) regarding positive outcomes of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), part of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which allows eligible high-poverty schools to offer school meals to all students at no charge, so they can focus on serving children the nutritious meals they need to learn, instead of doing paperwork.

"This report is further evidence that schools participating in CEP are making great strides ensuring that all children are well nourished and prepared to learn, especially since many of these students rely on school meals as their best source of nutritious food. CEP is a win for schools, parents and students, and the results we've seen in the first 2 years of nationwide implementation are inspiring. The report also underscores how the 2010 bipartisan child nutrition law has achieved significant positive results for child nutrition and health. It is because of these undeniable results that I urge Congress to stay the course in child nutrition. It would be unwise to roll back standards, saddle parents and school administrators with more paperwork or weaken assistance for our most vulnerable children. USDA stands ready to work with Congress to support the reauthorization of child nutrition programs that continue to improve the health and wellbeing of the next generation."

Time to Think Differently About Brownfields

All of the changes in manufacturing require that American regions change the traditional economic development approach to site development in some significant ways, according to economic developer Mark Barbash.


New Markets, New Opportunities: Strengthening Local Food Systems and Organic Agriculture

USDA’s Office of Communications releases new “USDA Results” page for the month of April focusing on Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food and organic agriculture. This page characterizes the great work USDA has done to support and invest in local and regional food systems across the country since 2009.



Upcoming Webinar: Integrating Health and Human Services in Rural Communities
Join the RHIhub on Thursday April 14th at 1:00 p.m. Central. This webinar will feature the new Rural Services Integration Toolkit on the RHIhub website, along with successful programs funded by FORHP, including lessons learned. Featured speakers include Alycia Bayne, NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis; Laura Watters, Network Director of Florissa & Day Services; and Cassalyn David, Mariposa Community Health Center.


Reaching your Redevelopment Goals with Brownfields Revolving Loan Funds

EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants enable states, local governments, quasi-governmental entities, and federally recognized tribes to make low to no interest loans or subgrants to carryout cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Through best practices and case studies, this free webinar will examine the RLF structure that has been shown to bring brownfield sites back into productive use. Join CDFA, EPA, and experienced brownfield communities on Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 2:00 – 3:30pm Eastern as we discuss the key features of a successful Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund and the commonalities and challenges associated with implementing this underutilized financing resource. Learn how even the most challenged or understaffed communities can implement RLF loans and sub-grants.

When: April 21, 2016 | 2:00 - 3:30 pm Eastern

VAPG Application Webinar

USDA Rural Development invites you to attend our VAPG Application Webinar.  In this webinar, Rural Development staff will walk you through the VAPG application and review the scoring process.  Hear application tips from the Business Specialist who will ultimately be scoring your application and make your project proposal as competitive as possible. 

When: Thursday, April 21 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

CDFI Fund Releases Final Webinar Schedule for Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas Training

The final five webinars for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund)’s Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas training series have been scheduled. The series, part of the CDFI Fund’s Capacity Building Initiative, provides specialized training and technical assistance to certified and emerging CDFIs to extend their reach into certain underserved communities in the United States that currently lack a CDFI presence.

The free webinars, provided by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and its partners, are intended to maximize Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) participation in this important training. The Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas webinars are free and open to the general public, but advanced registration is required to access the live presentations. Registration may be completed up until the start time listed for each individual session.

CDFI Fund Resource Bank

The CDFI Fund has added an Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas Virtual Resource Bank to its website. The new Resource Bank supplements the training and webinar series with reference materials for CDFIs, community development practitioners, and the general public. The Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas Resource Bank includes the series’ training materials, additional publications, and tools. The topics covered are relevant for CDFI banks, credit unions, loan funds, and venture capital funds seeking to expand their coverage. Past webinars will also be archived and added to the Resource Bank.  https://www.cdfifund.gov/programs-training/training-ta/Pages/resource-bank.aspx?Name=Expanding%20CDFI%20Coverage%20in%20Underserved%20Areas">View the Resource Bank here.

To learn more about Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas series and the other training series available under the Capacity Building Initiative, please visit https://www.cdfifund.gov/cbi">www.cdfifund.gov/cbi.

Fundraising on the Move: Crowdfunding for Walkable Communities Webinar

This webinar with the crowdfunding nonprofit ioby will help you learn more about how crowdfunding can be both an effective fundraising and community-engagement tool for walkable community advocates. The webinar will include real-life case studies of successfully-funded walking advocacy projects, crowdfunding myth busting, and best practices for campaign planning, donor prospecting, social media use, and more. You’ll leave with the information you need to decide if, when, and how crowdfunding can best support your goals, and to plan an effective campaign. Material covered is pertinent to volunteers and informal community groups, as well as nonprofits. No prior fundraising experience required.

CDFA and USDA Launch Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit

The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are excited to announce the release of the Community Facilities Infrastructure Toolkit (CFIT), a guide which was developed in collaboration over the past year. The CFIT contains best practices for planning, designing, developing and financing rural community facilities that can be used by nonprofits and public entities. In order to further analyze the Toolkit, CDFA, in partnership with the USDA, is offering a complimentary education webinar to examine how conventional bank loans, bond financing, or state and federal grant and lending programs can be applied broadly across organizations regardless of project type or finance resources.

Making Sure Your Community Benefits from Vacant Land Reuse Strategies

Groundwork USA explores the best practices for implementing adaptive and inclusive processes to achieve more equitable re-development of vacant, underutilized, and sometimes even contaminated properties.

Shared Measurement Training: Accessing and Understanding Secondary Data on Food Access

Join us for a webinar – part of the Michigan Good Food Charter Shared Measurement training series – that will introduce a range of sources for accessing secondary data related to healthy food access and overview the value and limitations of utilizing secondary data.

When: Thursday, April 28th 2:00-3:00pm ET



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