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Suzette's Letter, July 22, 2016


  1. WA State Office CED Video

We are so proud to share this video from Washington State Office about what CED is for them. In the video, you will notice that program staff were interviewed as to how they view CED and what that looks like operationally.  The video offers a diversity of perspectives but also communicates a common vision – “making all of the pieces in the community function together.” Special thanks to Paul Johnson (CED Lead) and our friends in Washington, nicely done!


  1. ‘Economic Development’ Most Mentioned Topic in Mayoral State of City Speeches

A recently released analysis of mayoral State of the City addresses finds that economic development was the most frequently mentioned topic in such speeches for the third straight year. The National League of Cities’ (NLC) State of the Cities 2016 report reviews speeches from 100 mayors across the United States and in cities with populations ranging from 50,000 to more than 300,000. Economic development was mentioned in 75 percent of mayoral speeches, making it the biggest issue on mayors’ agenda – ahead of public safety (70 percent) and city budgeting (52 percent) – according to a NLC press release. Read more...

  1. Bank of America Commits $40 Million for Youth Success

Bank of America has announced a three-year, $40 million commitment to connect a hundred thousand teens and young adults to the skills and employment experiences they need for twenty-first century jobs.

The funding will support a range of programs and initiatives, including summer internships, education and job training, and talent recruitment initiatives at BofA itself. Through its Student Leaders program, for example, the bank will connect nearly seven hundred community-minded high school juniors and seniors from across the country with paid summer internships at local nonprofits. Participants in the program also will gather in Washington, D.C., for a summit focused on leadership and building a more diverse and inclusive society. Funding over the three years of the initiative will be targeted to low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by barriers to workforce participation and nonprofits that are leveraging their expertise to connect youth with employment opportunities, including the Urban Alliance, Jobs for the Future, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America....


  1. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) | Lifeline Program

Provides reduced rates for telecom services to eligible low-income consumers

Since 1985, the federal Lifeline Program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all people across the United States have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family, health care, and emergency services. This benefit is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. In today’s digital environment, there are still over 60 million people without a connection to the internet. The FCC enacted changes to the Lifeline Program to include broadband internet access as a Lifeline service to keep pace with ever-evolving technology and help narrow the digital divide. For more information, contact Jessica Zufolo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read the Fact Sheet. More information is available on the USAC website.

Upcoming Lifeline Program Webinars

July 27, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Register Here

August 10, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Register Here

September 14, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Register Here

October 12, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Register Here

November 9, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Register Here

December 14, 2016, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Register Here

  1. WEBINAR / TELECONFERENCE: August 4, 2016 (1:00-2:00PM ET) – Agricultural Marketing Service e-Round Table

AMS administers programs and offers services that facilitate the marketing of agricultural products domestically and abroad.  To ensure we are making our programs and services as widely available and effective as possible, AMS wants to engage in a two-way dialogue with Tribal Colleges and Universities as well as other institutions and organizations that serve Native American farmers and ranchers. 

Fact Sheet: Creating Opportunities for American Farmers and Business

Please RSVP to this webinar and teleconference by contacting Kimberly Duncan, Outreach Specialist, by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by phone at (202) 260-8605.

  1. PROFIT: Crop Insurance, Financial Management Updates, and Food Safety Risk Prevention

The PROFIT series consists of eight in-person workshops and eight online webinars, each focused on risk management solutions unique to farmers, ranchers and food businesses in Indian Country.

In July, the series will offer two webinars:

  • July 26, 2016 (2:00-4:00 PM CT): “Participating in New Market Ventures – How Best to Evaluate Your Risk”


  • July 27, 2016 (2:00-4:00 PM CT): “Business Planning and Tax Concerns for Farmers and Ranchers, New and Experienced”


  1. IN PERSON / WEBINAR: July 29, 2016 (1:00-3:00PM ET) – Rural Business Lending National Stakeholder Forum

Please join Doug O'Brien, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council, and Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Sam Rikkers at a national forum to announce the new final rule for the Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program. The forum will highlight major changes to improve program delivery, make the regulations easier to understand, and reduce delinquencies. Additional information is available in the attached flyer.

To participate online, register at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/njphkhxlsyvr&eom

  1. Save the Date! Economic Assessment of Local Foods – Practical Tools and Advice for Local Food Practitioners Conference (Travel Scholarships Available)

We have posted a brief application online for the travel scholarships to the Economic Assessment of Local Foods – Practical Tools and Advice for Local Food Practitioners pre-conference workshop at the Food Distribution Research Society’s annual conference. Please go to the following website, http://www.localfoodeconomics.com/benchmarks/ and complete the brief survey (link is below the Save the Date graphic) by July 27, 2016.


  1. https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/training/take-your-business-global-introduction-exporting?SOCMEDJULExportingGOVD=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery">Take Your Business Global - An Introduction to Exporting

This course is intended to be a guide for small businesses to help determine if exporting, as a business strategy, makes sense and whether the basic ingredients for export readiness are in-place.

  1. Webinar | Unexpected Ways to Grow Your Blog Subscriber List

http://event.on24.com/wcc/r/1214981/75B30E67553AF90294A6AAAA99A11A58?partnerref=sba&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery">Register | Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | 2pm ET

 How can we afford to write new content weekly? The internet is cluttered with advice on how to grow your blog subscriber list. In this webinar, you'll learn how to optimize and automate your content marketing to save your team time while building a truly efficient and effective content creation engine.

  1. Webinar | Protecting Your Business Data in Todays Inter-Connected World

http://goo.gl/forms/hGHatBaXu78Bx6n13?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery">Register | Thursday, July 28, 2016 | 8:30am - 9:30am PST

The threat landscape in cyber-space keeps evolving. Cloud technologies are designed to continuously identify and mitigate risks, and can help small businesses leverage the best of breed security and privacy capabilities, while focusing on their core competencies. Join this webinar to learn more about how cybersecurity threats are evolving, what risks they pose, and best practices to protect your business information in the digital age.

Suzette's Letter, July 15, 2016


  1. USDA Cooperative Programs Calls for Articles

USDA Cooperative Programs is again inviting co-op development centers nationwide to submit short articles highlighting any promising new or established co-op(s) they are working with. We also need photos to run with the articles. We will run these articles in the Co-op Month section of the Sept.-Oct. issue of USDA’s “Rural Cooperatives” magazine. Deadline for the articles is Aug. 26. It would be very helpful if you could let us know by July 25 if you plan to submit an article.  Articles should be about 450-600 words. Articles can discuss why a co-op was formed or expanded, who the members are, what the co-op is trying to accomplish, opportunities, and challenges facing the co-op, how your center is assisting, etc. Quotes from co-op leaders or members really liven up the articles. If you have a couple of co-ops you would like to feature, that’s fine, but please try to stick close to the 600-word limit. You may include a paragraph providing an overview of your Co-op Development Center, but please make the co-op the focus of the article. We are happy to give bylines to the writer and photographer, but no payment is involved; articles are considered to be in the public domain once we publish them. Re. photos: We need fairly high resolution photos. A jpg file of about 300 dpi (dots per inch) at 4-5 inches wide will usually work fine. If in doubt, just send us what you have and we will let you know if it will work. Please try to get some people in the photos, and a choice of photos is always appreciated. If you or someone at the co-op plans to shoot some photos for this article, please make sure your digital camera or phone is set to the “high” resolution setting. You can check out the Co-op Month section (starts on page 21) of last year’s Sept.-Oct. magazine on our website at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/RDRuralCoopMag_SeptOct15.pdf. Thanks for considering being part of our Co-op Month issue, and feel free to e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

  1. FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Takes More Actions to Address the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic
    Jul 6, 2016 -- The Obama Administration is taking actions to combat the heroin epidemic, including expanding telemedicine in rural areas and funding rural healthcare facilities, thus providing communities with much-needed services.
    Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
  1. With Hospitals in Critical Condition, Can Rural America Survive?
    Jul 5, 2016 -- Nearly 30 percent of the country's rural hospitals are at risk of closing in the next two years. Though rural hospitals have faced closure threats before, this time the challenges run deeper, and call into question whether rural areas themselves can survive in the absence of hospitals.
    Source: Governing

While there is a clear correlation between social progress — as measured in terms of basic human needs, well-being, and opportunity — and per capita GDP, economic wealth alone does not determine social progress outcomes, a report from the Social Progress Imperative finds. Based on fifty-three indicators in a variety of areas, including access to opportunity, health care, and education, the 2016 Social Progress Index (147 pages, PDF) ranked Finland at the top of the hundred and thirty-three countries included in the index, followed by Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Switzerland. The United States ranked nineteenth overall and twenty-first in basic human needs, thirty-second in well-being, and thirteenth in opportunity. Globally, indicators of nutrition and basic medical care and access to basic knowledge — categories aligned with many of the United Nations' Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals — performed well, while indicators of tolerance and inclusion, personal rights, access to advanced education, and environmental quality fared worse....

  1. White House Launches Data-Driven Justice Initiative

The White House has announced the launch of a public-private initiative aimed at encouraging the use of data to reduce mass incarceration in the United States. Through the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative, a coalition of sixty-seven city, county, and state governments will work to adopt data-driven strategies aimed at diverting low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and then connect them with health and social services. DDJ also will work to equip law enforcement and first responders with protocols for de-escalating crisis situations and to reform pre-trial incarceration practices so that low-risk offenders don't remain in jail simply because they can't afford bond. The coalition includes the governments of Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Utah....

  1. Focus on Equity Needed to Reduce Child Poverty, Illiteracy, Mortality

If the world community hopes to reverse troubling trends in child poverty and mortality by 2030, the target date for the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, governments, private donors, businesses, and international organizations must focus more on addressing the plight of the world's most disadvantaged children, a report from UNICEF warns. The report, The State of the World's Children 2016: A Fair Chance for Every Child (184 pages, PDF), found that if current trends persist, by 2030 sixty-nine million children under the age of five will die from mostly preventable causes, a hundred and sixty-seven million children will be living in extreme poverty, and sixty million children of primary school age will not be in school. Despite improvements since the 1990s in global under-five mortality rates, gender parity in primary school attainment, and poverty rates, progress has been neither even nor fair, the report further notes. Indeed, children from the poorest households are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday and to be chronically malnourished, while girls are twice as likely to be child brides as girls from the richest households. And while the report notes that education helps level the playing field, it estimates that about a hundred and twenty-four million children do not attend primary- or lower-secondary school today, while nearly 40 percent of those who finish primary school do not know how to read, write, or do simple arithmetic....


  1. New Resource for Two-Generation Approaches to Support Children and Parents Together 

The U.S. Department of Education's Place-Based Initiative Pilot Team recently released a resource focused on Two-Generation Approaches. Two generation approaches consider the needs of both vulnerable children and parents, together, in the design and delivery of services and programs to support improved economic, educational, health, safety and other outcomes that address the issues of intergenerational poverty.  Developed by Jobs for the Future, this document is intended to provide local communities and practitioners with an overview of the research, best practices, and resources available to stakeholders interested in two-generation approaches.  Your input on this resource is invited and appreciated!

  1. National Good Food Network Webinar | Before You Leap: Hidden Implications of Food Hub Business Growth

As food hubs strive to reach volumes which enable financial viability, they will often need to innovate - to take chances on new markets, products and approaches.This webinar presents three "roads not yet taken" that your hub or a hub you work with may encounter. Each road has the possibility of great success, but has potholes to avoid (some big enough to lose the whole business in). Tera Johnson is successful food entrepreneur and university lecturer who founded the Food Finance Institute at University of Wisconsin. She will take you on a journey through these three archetypal hub business decision points, and advise how to manage for success. Drawing from her own experience, as well as premier industry data, Tera will present a big picture view of: adding a frozen product line, adding a new distribution channel, and taking on a very large customer.

Thursday, July 28

3:30 - 4:45pm ET (12:30 - 1:45pm PT)

Free! Register Now


  1. Our Town: How to Apply July 2016

NEA Staff will give a 30-minute presentation on the FY 2017 Our Town grant guidelines, how to apply, and an overview of the review process. The presentation will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. The webinar will include guidelines for the Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, and Design Projects as well as the Projects that Build Knowledge about Creative Placemaking. Potential applicants are encouraged to attend live to have their questions answered by Our Town Program Staff. You will be muted and able to ask questions using the Q&A box. You can listen to the webinar using your computer speakers or dial-in to 1-877-685-5350, participant code: 739587. See the Our Town guidelines.

Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 15:00

  1. Our Town Proposals: Tips & Tricks for Success July 2016

NEA Staff will give a presentation to assist applicants in crafting a compelling creative placemaking project application. The presentation will include an overview of creative placemaking resources, sample projects that have been successful, the mechanics of a competitive Our Town proposal, and ideas on how to articulate anticipated project outcomes. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session. You will be muted and able to ask questions using the Q&A box. You can listen to the webinar using your computer speakers or dial-in to 1-877-685-5350, participant code: 739587.

Date: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 15:00

Register for the webinar.

  1. Leveraging Brownfields Resources for Revitalization Webinar Series - 7/26

July 26, 2016, 1:00-2:30 pm EDT
The first webinar will discuss available tools to assist communities in leveraging resources to address community revitalization goals and challenges.  It will include a presentation on Dubuque, Iowa's successful efforts to leverage its own resources to attract other federal, state, public and private sources of funding and technical assistance.

Suzette's Letter, June 21, 2016


  1. Incomes remained lower for the poorest rural families with children in 2014

By 2014, average income (adjusted for inflation) for all U.S. families with children exceeded prerecession levels, and average income had almost completely recovered for all rural families with children as well. For the bottom 25 percent of rural families (when ranked by income), however, average income remained considerably below its prior peak. In 2003, the average income for families in this lowest income quartile was $17,200 (in 2014 dollars) and it fell by 6.0 percent between 2003 and 2007, despite the fact that the U.S. economy was growing. Not surprisingly, incomes for the bottom quartile fell by another 4.6 percent between 2007 and 2010, due to the Great Recession (December 2007-June 2009). When economic growth resumed, however, it did not immediately translate into growth for these low-income rural families: by 2012, their average income had fallen by another 10.1 percent. Average income for the bottom quartile rebounded somewhat between 2012 and 2014, but remained 13.4 percent below the 2003 level.

  1. The Opioid Epidemic: Rural Organizations Fight Back
    by Zachary Toliver
    The initial shock of the opioid epidemic is settling, and rural communities have identified several avenues to combat opioid addiction. Rural organizations are implementing innovative solutions to shrink the number of opioid overdoses, and many are finding that great success requires teamwork.


  1. Food-Related Practices and Beliefs of Rural US Elementary and Middle School Teachers
    Results of a study examining personal health and eating habits, classroom food practices, beliefs about the school food environment, and nutrition knowledge of 102 teachers from 8 rural school districts in northeastern Oregon.
    Author(s): Nancy E. Findholt, Betty T. Izumi, Jackilen Shannon, Thuan Nguyen
    Location: Rural and Remote Health, 16
    Date: 06/2016
  2. Health Insurance Marketplaces: Premium Trends in Rural Areas
    A policy brief analyzing the variation in the average Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) health insurance premiums from 2014 to 2015, without accounting for subsidies. Provides a discussion on the differences rural populations may be experiencing in HIM insurance premiums relative to their urban populations.
    Sponsoring organization: RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
    Date: 05/2016
  3. Impact of the Affordable Care Act Coverage Expansion on Rural and Urban Populations
    A brief discussing the advances supported by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in health insurance coverage, premium tax credits, and healthcare access for rural and urban populations with a special focus on rural individuals.
    Sponsoring organization: HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
    Date: 06/2016
  4. Innovation in Rural Health Care: Contemporary Efforts to Transform into High Performance Systems
    Provides themes and strategies focused on reducing the challenges related to healthcare innovation in rural areas based on discussions with rural and frontier innovators held September 2013 and July 2015. Includes a brief summary of programs and interventions developed by the rural and frontier organizations participating in these discussions.
    Sponsoring organization: Rural Health Value
    Date: 05/2016
  5. Medicaid Payment and Delivery System Reform: Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Health Systems
    An analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on rural Medicaid programs across the U.S. Examines their acceptance of alternate payment models and their applications of delivery system reform. Provides policy recommendations supporting integrated and comprehensive primary care delivery, and rural participation in value-based payment and delivery system reforms.
    Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute Rural Health Panel
    Date: 06/2016


  1. Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America's Economic Future

The Failure to Act report series from American Society of Civil Engineers answers this key question — how does the nation's failure to act to improve the condition of U.S. infrastructure systems affect the nation's economic performance?


  1. Understanding Revolving Loan Funds

An introductory overview of revolving loan fund and the economic development needs of communities and small businesses involved are outlined by Mark Barbash of CDFA in this presentation.

  1. FY 2016 Community Compass and Capacity Building Program NOFA Notices

The FY 2016 HUD Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Program NOFA, Funding Opportunity No.: 6000-N-06 webinar, related presentation slides, and FAQs are now available for HUD customers. Materials related to the HUD Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Program NOFA will be posted on the NOFA page on hud.gov. The webinar is located on HUD’s YouTube channel. Should you have difficulty viewing either of these, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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, 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.



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