2/16: Lots of great, new Promise Zone opportunities

New resources, webinars, funding information for the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone

PromiseZone_logo_80wIn this new issue of our periodic newsletter about Zone opportunities, you’ll learn about a great new opportunity for communities to win support through the CommunityWINS grant program. It’s not part of the Promise Zone initiative, but it fits perfectly with the kinds of things being done in our Promise Zone.

Other new funding opportunities include programs for nonprofits, rural development grants for housing repairs, telehealth grants and healthier meals for students.

There are also several webinars on subjects as diverse as the Affordable Care Act, racial healing, retirement options for small businesses, USDA applications, and capacity building.

We also encourage you to get additional training through several blog postings and more in the “New Resources” section.


U.S. Conference of Mayors/Wells Fargo announces CommunityWINS grant program

$3 million to be awarded over three years to support local nonprofits to build prosperity

DEADLINE: March 18, 2016

Launched in 2015, the CommunityWINS grant program includes a $3 million investment by the Wells Fargo Foundation over three years. CommunityWINS grant program is administered by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.

“We are pleased to continue this great program in 2016 after a successful launch last year,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “The CommunityWINS program demonstrates how private and public sectors can work together to address local economic challenges and create positive change. Our organization and Wells Fargo share similar goals and commitments to help communities across the country succeed, and we look forward to teaming with additional cities and nonprofits to spur economic recovery in 2016.”

Through a competitive application process, the USCM will determine eligibility and administer grant funds to eligible nonprofits in six cities to support neighborhood revitalization, economic development and job creation initiatives.

USCM member cities can nominate up to three eligible nonprofit initiatives that address one of the following categories:

Neighborhood stabilization – projects designed to stimulate growth and stability while assisting in the removal of blight and the rebuilding of neighborhoods.

Economic development – projects designed to promote business development.

Job creation – projects designed to aid in local job creation or assist in job training.

Grant requirements, application details, application checklists, and the online application forms are available now at usmayors.org/communitywins. Applications must be submitted by March 18, 2016.


Blue Meridian Partners Established to Assist Disadvantaged Youth

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has announced it is joining with nine other donors to launch Blue Meridian Partners, a new funders collaborative that aims to invest $1 billion in high-performance nonprofits poised to have national impact for economically disadvantaged children and youth. Incubated at the McConnell Clark Foundation and chaired by philanthropist Stanley Druckenmiller, the venture has secured $750 million toward its initial fundraising goal, including commitments of at least $50 million from its general partners — the Ballmer Group, EMCF, Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, the Duke Endowment (with a focus on North and South Carolina), the George Kaiser Family Foundation (with a focus on Tulsa, Oklahoma), and the Samberg Family Foundation.

USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Repair Housing in Rural Communities, Deadline Extended

Deadline: March 15, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is seeking applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents, and has extended the deadline to March 15, 2016. The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program.

This program are intended to help rural homeowners and rental housing owners repair and improve their properties. Funds may be used to resolve health or safety issues, make accessibility modifications for people with disabilities, or make energy efficiency improvements to reduce utility costs.

Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP)
Deadline: April 8, 2016

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has funding to demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural, frontier and underserved communities.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
Deadline: April 15, 2016

This National Health Service Corps program provides loan repayment funding to primary healthcare professionals who agree to serve in Health Professional Shortage Areas.

US DOE Channels over $10M to Microgrids for Grid R&D

Microgrids Knowledge reports that within a $220M effort to modernize the US energy grid, the Department of Energy is allocating more than $10M for microgrid funding.

USDA, NFL, Fuel Up to Play 60 Partner to Award $35 Million to Help Schools Serve Healthier Meals, Strengthen Childhood Nutrition

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and Paul Rovey, dairy farmer and leader of the National Dairy Council (NDC), announced the availability of $35 million in grants to help schools upgrade their kitchen equipment and infrastructure in order to offer students better access to nutritious foods. Schools can apply for USDA funding through their state, or for funds from Fuel Up directly through the organization’s website. In both cases, funding will support the purchase of new equipment and/or the renovation/replacement of equipment. Equipment may include large and small items including utility carts, utensils, large-capacity food processors, industrial scales, steamers, freezers etc. Infrastructure elements may include building needs related to physical space, electricity, plumbing, ventilation and other remodeling needs.

Update for Capital Magnet Fund Applicants: Electronic Application Now Available

The electronic application for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 round of the Capital Magnet Fund is now available in the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund)’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS) and in Grants.gov.  All applicants must be registered in SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and AMIS to apply for funding. Organizations should confirm that their AMIS accounts are up-to-date as soon as possible in order to avoid potential application submission problems.  New potential applicants are encouraged to begin the registration process now.  Registration guidance for Grants.gov and SAM.gov can be found on the websites for those systems.  Guidance on using AMIS (including registration) can be found at https://amis.cdfifund.gov/. The CDFI Fund strongly recommends that the instructions and application timelines are reviewed closely by both first-time and repeat applicants and that applicants give themselves adequate time to submit their applications using AMIS. To assist potential applicants, the CDFI Fund has provided application guidance and frequently asked questions on its website, www.cdfifund.gov/cmf, under Step 2: Apply. There, applicants can also find information about upcoming live webinars about the FY 2016 Capital Magnet Fund application and AMIS application submission process.

Community Impact Grants Program

Home Depot Foundation is providing funding for nonprofit organizations, public schools, and public service agencies in the United States that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

MORE GRANTS: Click here to find recently-announced grant openings



Webinars | Affordable Care Act 101

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority will host free Affordable Care Act 101 webinars so small business owners can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and how they can enroll in health insurance marketplaces. The webinars begin at 2pm ET.

February 18 Register now

March 3 Register now

March 17 Register now

March 31 Register now

April 14  Register now

April 28 Register now


WKKF Launches Initiative on Racial Healing, Transformation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced the launch of an initiative to help communities embrace racial healing and uproot conscious and unconscious beliefs in the hierarchy of human value. Through the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) initiative, the foundation and a coalition of more than seventy partners will work to develop and support inclusive, community-based healing activities and policies aimed at changing collective community narratives and broadening the understanding Americans have for their diverse experiences. To that end, TRHT will assemble national and local commissions to hold public meetings on the consequences of racial inequity and build systems and structures aimed at creating more equitable opportunities.


Webinar | Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business

February 25, 2016 @ 2:00 – 3:15 PM ET

As part of America Saves Week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, in coordination with the Consumer Federation of America, is holding a webcast for small businesses and their service providers on the retirement savings options and the use of direct deposit for saving for retirement and more.

Learn practical information to help compare the employer-based options. The U.S. Department of the Treasury will discuss a new savings option – myRA . The Consumer Federation of America will focus on the use of direct deposit as a way to make saving easier

Register now


WEBINARS: Learn how to use USDA Rural Development’s new application intake system

Four times: Feb. 23, 2016 to March 23, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Telecommunications Program will host a series of webinars 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.

Learn about our new system at one of our WEBINAR training events (time and date subject to change): Feb 23, 2016       10 – 11:30 AM EST; Mar 8, 2016         10 – 11:30 AM EST; Mar 23, 2016       2:30 – 4 PM EST  | Instructions on attending these events can be found here


WEBINARS: Expanding Community Development Financial Institutes coverage in underserved areas

Four webinars: Feb. 23, 2016, to April 5, 2016

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) has released the schedule of the next set of free webinars through the Capacity Building Initiative’s “Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas” series. The webinars, provided by Opportunity Finance Network and its partners, will be held between January 2016 and April 2016. The CDFI Fund launched the “Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas” series to help fill the gaps in Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) service coverage in underserved communities in the United States and its territories. The free webinars are designed to maximize CDFI industry participation in this important training. The webinars will expand upon training topics developed for in-person training sessions held during the summer of 2015, as well as new topical content on expansion developed by CDFI experts. The five webinars are:

  • Capitalization Strategies: Raising Debt and Equity for CDFIs (Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 2 p.m. EST)
  • Customer Acquisition (Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 2 p.m. EDT
  • Fundraising Strategies for your CDFI (Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 2 p.m. EDT
  • Future webinar opportunities will be posted as they are confirmed to the “Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas” webpage. Webinars will be recorded and made available on the CDFI Fund’s Resource Bank later in 2016.


Blog | Beyond Your First Employee: How to Plan for and Manage a Growing Small Business Staff

You did it! You hired your first employee. What a relief to have someone to help you grow your business. But what about when it’s time to hire a second employee, and a third? How can you make sure to manage your employees fairly?

Blog | How to Start a Retail Business

Given the right amount of market research, business planning, and financial support, starting a retail business can offer many rewards to the right kind of entrepreneur.

Blog | Expanding SME Global Market Access

Many untapped opportunities exist outside the United States, but small firms often do not have the resources and personnel to leverage them, and rely heavily on negotiated free trade agreements to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers for their products or services.

Blog | SBA’s Emerging Leaders Helps Small Underserved Businesses to Grow

If you’re looking for a solution on how to grow your small business in 2016, the SBA may have the answer

Earned Income Tax Credit Can Help Rural Families

Thanks to the hard work of Rural Americans, along with record investments in infrastructure under the Recovery Act and the 2014 Farm Bill, over the last seven years America was able to pull itself out of one of the deepest economic recessions since the Great Depression.  While we’ve seen wages rise and unemployment fall in rural areas over the last several years, workers in rural America still receive less hours and earn less pay than those in urban areas. Fortunately, for those who need help making ends meet, the Earned Income Tax Credit can help.

Heron Foundation Calls on Foundations to Boost Use of Resources

In an essay written by its president, Clara Miller, the New York City-based Heron Foundation is calling on “its philanthropic peers to jettison outdated operating models that leave resources untapped in the face of systemic social ills.” The essay, “Building a Foundation for the 21st Century” (19 pages, PDF), argues that the twenty-first century global economy demands a different model of philanthropy, one that “makes use of all of its resources to actively engage with the capital markets for the public good.” Miller further argues that such a shift is necessary if philanthropies are to avoid undermining with their investments the progress they are helping to support with their grants, and she highlights the changes Heron itself is making with respect to the way it invests its capital….

Energy Investment Partnerships Guide:
How State and Local Governments Are Engaging Private Capital to Drive Clean Energy Investment

The United States Department of Energy released the Energy Investment Partnerships Guide, a technical document authored by the Council of Development Finance Agencies that examines how state and local governments can leverage private capital to drive clean energy investment and development.

Rural Healthcare Quality

This topic guide has been updated with new frequently asked questions and covers how healthcare quality is measured and defined, as well as differences that exist for rural healthcare providers related to quality. The guide is maintained by Brandon Baumbach, RHIhub Rural Health Policy Specialist.

USDA Finalizes New Food Safety Measures to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced the finalization of new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products, as well as in raw chicken breasts, legs, and wings. Based on scientific risk assessments, FSIS estimates that implementation of these standards will lead to an average of 50,000 prevented illnesses annually.

HUD Releases Notice CPD-16-01: Guidance on Submitting Consolidated Plans and Annual Action Plans for FY16

Notice CPD-16-01 instructs all Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) formula grantees on the timing of submission of fiscal year (FY) 2016 consolidated plans and action plans. This Notice provides instructions to grantees/participating jurisdictions under each of these programs regarding costs incurred prior to execution of a grant agreement. This Notice further informs Entitlement CDBG grantees and HOME participating jurisdictions of waivers being made available to certain grantees/participating jurisdictions to assist in the implementation of the pre-award costs instructions. These procedures apply equally to grantees’ 3-5 year consolidated plans as well as to annual action plans (either as a stand-alone document or as a component of the overall consolidated plan submission).

Conducting Rural Health Research, Needs Assessment, and Program Evaluation

This guide includes identifies the similarities and differences among rural health research, assessment, and evaluation. It also discusses common methods, provides contacts, addresses the importance of community-based participatory research in rural communities, looks at CHNA requirements, and examines the importance of building a rural evidence-base. Includes new questions related to strategies to share rural health research results. This guide is maintained by Maren Niemeier, RHIhub Information Resources Manager.

Unlocking the Development Finance Toolbox in Rural America

The Rural Financing Best Practices by CDFA explores how rural communities can leverage a wide range of tools and approaches to build on their assets, protect their resources, and make strategic investments that offer long-term benefits for residents and local businesses.

Q&A: Center for Rural Affairs

This Q&A with Traci Bruckner, Senior Policy Associate, addresses resources available for beginning, small- and mid-sized farms through federal agricultural policy. According to UC Food Observer, the Center for Rural Affairs is important to generate creative approaches to economic development.


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