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Suzette's Letter July 24, 2015


Health-e-Schools - A telehealth program delivering health services to students in rural schools.

Using IT to Impact Population Health in Rural Communities
Jul 9, 2015 -- Video describes the work of the Critical Access Hospital Network of Eastern Washington and how they are using an innovative technological solution that utilizes data to drive service delivery and outcomes. Source: Hospitals & Health Networks

USDA Proposes New Ways to Help Meet Nutrition Needs of Low-Income, Homebound Seniors and People with Disabilities
Jul 13, 2015 -- Announces a policy to improve access to groceries for homebound seniors and people with disabilities by allowing grocery purchasing and delivery services run by government and non-profit organizations to accept SNAP benefits as payment. Source: United States Department of Agriculture


Large foundation grants to local nonprofit organizations vary widely across counties

From 2005 to 2010, there was wide variation across both metro and nonmetro counties in the real value of grants per person received from large foundations (based on Foundation Center data on grants by the largest 1,200 to 1,400 foundations). Regionally, the highest levels of grant funding per person were in the Northeast, North and South Carolina, upper Midwest, and West, while much of the Great Plains and South had smaller averages. During 2005-10, 14 percent of counties had no organizations that received grants from large foundations (though these counties may have benefited from grants to organizations based in other locations); 18 percent of nonmetro counties and 6 percent of metro counties had no large-foundation grant recipients. The average real value of grants received per person during this period across all counties (including those without any organizations that received grants) was about $124 per person (in 2010 dollars), averaging about $88 per person in nonmetro counties and $192 per person in metro counties.

A map can be found in the ERS report, Foundation Grants to Rural Areas From 2005 to 2010: Trends and Patterns, June 2015.

Nearly one-third of SNAP participants use someone else’s car, walk, bike, or take public transit for their grocery shopping

Data from USDA’s new National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (or FoodAPS) show that most U.S. households use their own vehicles for their primary food shopping. However, households that participate in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are more likely to rely on someone else’s car, walk, bike, or take public transit than households with incomes above the poverty thresholds. Sixty-eight percent of SNAP participants used their own cars for food shopping, compared to 83 percent of non-SNAP households with incomes between 101 and 185 percent of poverty and 95 percent of households with incomes above 185 percent of poverty. Travel modes of non-participants with income below the poverty line are similar to those of SNAP households. Among SNAP households, 19 percent reported using someone else’s car to do their primary shopping, and 13 percent walked, biked, or used a shuttle or public transportation. How one travels to a grocery store can influence what gets purchased; traveling by bus or walking limits purchases to what can be carried or pulled in a cart. A person needing to borrow someone else’s car—or share a ride to a store—may not be able to shop as frequently or at the times when food supplies are running low. A chart can be found on the ERS report, Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel to Get There?, March 2015.

ETA, NAWB and The Corps Network Release “Snapshot: Youth Corps and Workforce Partnerships”

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), and The Corps Network (TCN) have released Snapshot: Youth Corps and Workforce Partnerships. The document is research-based and provides information on how Corps and workforce systems can collaborate and best utilize resources to engage youth in comprehensive programming and reconnect to education and the workforce. Snapshot: Youth Corps and Workforce Partnerships is available to download at The Corps Network’s website and the National Association of Workforce Board’s website. 


NADO Research Foundation Launches New Website of Resources for Planning and Economic Development in Rural Regions and Small Towns 
The NADO Research Foundation has developed a new website Planning for Prosperity in Small Towns and Rural Regions that contains materials developed over the past four years by NADO and its partners through the HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative capacity building program.  On the website, you’ll find links to publications, webinars, workshop materials, and other information on a variety of topics and themes including economic resilience, entrepreneurship, community engagement, downtown redevelopment, food systems, and many other areas.  While designed initially to assist the SCI grantee communities, these materials should be helpful to planners, economic developers, elected officials, and local residents working to improve and strengthen their small towns and rural regions.  Click here to visit the site.  Please direct any questions to NADO Program Manager Brett Schwartz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

What Works? Strategies to Improve Rural Health
A guide for rural community health improvement. Explains how to find strategies that are likely to be effective. Identifies interventions related to health behaviors, healthcare access and quality, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. Organization: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Date: 07 / 2015


WEBINAR: The Impact of Shale Energy Development on Food Access in Rural Communities - August 18, 2015 (Tuesday), 2:00 PM – Eastern Time

Michael Betz and Jill Clark (The Ohio State University)  https://connect.msu.edu/ncrcrd There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar

About the webinar:  The shale energy boom is dramatically changing the face of rural America and previous research has demonstrated that local food environments have significant implications for individual health outcomes and community wellbeing. Much work has been done to estimate the economic and environmental impacts of shale energy development, yet little empirical work has assessed its impact on the food environment. Increased demand associated with population and income influxes from shale development is likely changing the retail landscape in shale communities. Yet, it is unclear what kind of retail food establishments are emerging in those communities and how shale development has changed the food environment for original residents. Increased retail grocery options would likely improve access to healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. However, given the transient nature of many oil and gas workers, fast food and convenience establishments may be more likely to enter shale communities. We use business establishment data to determine what kinds of retail establishments have moved into Pennsylvania following the shale boom between 2007-2012. Our findings have implications for policy leaders facing challenges to sustainably develop shale resources in their communities.

To facilitate Q&A’s, participants submit questions/comments via the Chat Function in Adobe Connect.  NOTE: Adobe Connect is not compatible with CHROME – use either EI or Firefox as your browser.

The webinar will be recorded and archived at http://ncrcrd.msu.edu/ncrcrd/chronological_archive.

Suzette's Letter July 10, 2015



Rural Philanthropy Still an Underfunded Afterthought  - http://nonprofitquarterly.org/2015/07/09/rural-philanthropy-continues-to-look-sparse-and-worse-according-to-usda-study/


Where are the Hardest Places to Live in the US? - Many of these areas are in the rural South.


Center for Rural Entrepreneurship Publications

by Opportunity Nation.

The newsletter offers good insight into capital access for rural and small town startups.

  • Clinton Global Initiative is now dedicating more time and resources to address the challenges facing rural America.
  • Incubator in rural WV aims to support LGBTQ startups. Learn more here.

HUD announces Renewable Energy in Affordable Housing

The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for a target of 100 megawatts (mW) of installed capacity of renewable energy on-site at federally subsidized housing by 2020. Federally assisted housing includes HUD’s rental housing portfolio (Public Housing, Multifamily Assisted) and USDA’s Rural Development Multifamily Programs, as well as rental housing supported through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

Bridges to Health
an innovative approach: Bridges to Health is a program to reduce barriers for accessing healthcare experienced by migrant farmworkers in Vermont, through use of care coordination and community health workers.

3 Physicians from America's Tiniest Towns Talk Patient Relationships, Rural Practice and the State of Healthcare
Jul 2, 2015 -- Interviews three physicians from small and rural hospitals highlighting their opinions on differences and similarities between healthcare in rural and urban settings. Source: Becker's Hospital Review

States Struggle With 'Hidden' Rural Homelessness
Jun 26, 2015 -- Describes rural homelessness in the United States and highlights some states' efforts to address the growing issue.
Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts

View the ECONversations webcast to hear more from Altig on his 2015 outlook.

In a June 23 Atlanta Fed ECONversations webcast, research director Dave Altig gave an overview of economic and policy conditions over the first quarter of 2015. Altig “deconstructed” the first quarter of the year and focused on the following key points:

Understanding the Geography of Growth in Rural Child Poverty
Discusses variations in child poverty among rural counties, based on 2009-2013 American Community Survey data. Includes a map showing rural counties with high child poverty. Discusses family- and community-level factors impacting child poverty.
Organization: USDA Economic Research Service



WEBINAR: Minority Business Development Agency to Host July 23 Public Meeting Via Webinar - Date: July 23rd, 1:00PM – 3:30PM EST

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has announced a public meeting will be held during the MBDA National Training Conference on July 23, 2015 in New Orleans. The public meeting will provide general information and an overview of the history of MBDA, MBDA's Federal Funding Opportunities, tips on writing grant applications, guidance on preparing budgets and budget justifications, and information regarding audit and compliance rules. The meeting will be available via webinar.


NEA Design Webinar: “How to Apply” - Date: July 29th, 3:00PM ET

Staff will give a 30-minute presentation on the 2016 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. Potential applicants are encouraged to attend live to have their questions answered

Social Impact Design NOW Webinar Series Archive Convening

In case you missed it, you can now see all three of our recent webinars looking at trends in social impact design on the NEA Webinar archive:

Suzette's Letter June 12, 2015


Return migration among young families partially offsets rural population loss

Rural population loss is generally characterized as young people leaving. A typical nonmetropolitan county (based on the 50th percentile, or median, statistic) lost 28 percent of their 20-24 year olds to net out-migration during 2000-10, compared to just an 8-percent decline in the typical metropolitan county. However, stemming rural population loss may depend less on retaining young adults after high school than on attracting them back as they settle down to start careers and raise children.


Creating Opportunity and Prosperity through Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections

From the National Association of Development Organizations

Metropolitan and rural America are highly connected and interdependent. To succeed, metropolitan America needs a healthy and sustainable rural economy and culture, and in turn rural America needs vibrant, well-functioning cities and suburbs to thrive and flourish. Yet, the prevailing national narrative pits urban versus rural for investments and public resources. A new issue brief from the NADO Research Foundation describes some ways in which regional development organizations and other regional entities are recognizing the importance of connecting rural regions and urban centers

NADO Research Foundation and RUPRI Release Tool to Calculate Local Government Preparedness for Disasters
The NADO Research Foundation and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) have released a national spreadsheet tool to supplement their publication, “Financial Planning for Disasters:  A Workbook for Local Governments and Regions.”  


How Two Hospital Operators Are Bucking the Rural Health Crisis
Jun 8, 2015 -- Describes the experiences of two small rural hospitals that have been able to avert financial distress and possible closure by shifting patient care to outpatient settings when possible.
Source: Healthcare DIVE





FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority)
Information on the development of a national high-speed wireless broadband public safety network, supporting the work of first responders, including emergency medical services personnel.

RTT Collaborative Annual Meeting 2015 Presentations: Moving Forward in the Face of Chaos
Access to presentation slides from the 2015 annual meeting focused on rural training tracks for graduate medical education. Contains presentations describing specific programs' experiences, including challenges and successes during the creation of an RTT program. Also provides information on issues facing all RTT programs, such as sustainability. Organization: RTT Collaborative




WEBINAR: Pollinating Food Enterprises: Creative New Models for Starting, Supporting, and Financing Local Food Business  (FREE WEBINAR)

A “pollinator” is a self-financing enterprise committed to boosting local business.  Michael Shuman, author of The Local Economy Solution (Chelsea Green, 2015), argues that these enterprises are the keystone of sustainable economic development.
Thursday, June 18th, 2015 – 3:30-4:45PM ET Free! Register Now




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