Resources to help you Get Things Done!
Grantwriting and Grants
- The Foundation Center http://foundationcenter.org/ has many valuable resources, including on-line classes on grant writng, some of which are free. They also keep a searchable database of all of the foundations in the US. This is a good way to identify potential funders for your project. They charge for the use of this database, but they also have ‘cooperating collections’, libraries and other institutions throughout the US which have paid for the service and offer it for free to the public. The link http://foundationcenter.org/collections/ will give you a list of cooperating collections in your area. Usually the institution housing the collection will have a librarian or other staff person to help you set up your search criteria.
- www.grants.gov is the tool which allows you to search for all federal grants. You can also apply on line. (No more trips to the copier at midnight, hoorey!) You can sign up to get e-mails with all federal grant notices issued that day. Most of these won’t apply to small towns but it is interesting to see what the US is funding. (USAID Phillipines Conservation of Biodiversity and Management of Natural Resources is an example of the type of funding you may see on a daily basis.)
Museums and Libraries
- The Institute for Museum and Library Services http://www.imls.gov/ has a variety of grant programs, large and small. They also have a resources page with useful publications.
Local Economic Development
- The E.F. Schumaker Socity (“Small is Beautiful”) http://www.schumachersociety.org/ provides information about sustainable local economic development, including community land trusts, local currency, etc.
- Many states and regions have assistance organizations for small towns and rural areas that provide loans, technical assistance, business incubation, etc. One example is The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) http://www.acenetworks.org/. Do a search with the name of your state/region and ‘rural development’.
- The Aspen Institute has a Community Strategies Group, http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/community-strategies, which focuses on rural economic development and capacity-building. They have good publications, some of which are downloadable.
- The Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, NE has a surprising amount of resources about rural development, including legislation updates, newsletters, articles, etc. http://www.cfra.org/
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation has good resources for downtown revitalization in their Main Street Program: http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/.
- Check out this downloadable report on community capacity building from the Aspen Institute – Measuring Community Capacity Building.http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/community%20strategies%20group/MEASURING_COMMUNITY_CAPACTIY_BUILDING.PDF.
- A nice guide on Meeting Facilitation from the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons Nebraska (pop. 963): http://www.cfra.org/files/How_To_Build_The_Rural_Community_Development_Puzzle.pdf
Walking and Biking Paths
- Municipal Research and Service Center of Washington has a resources page with examples of designs, community plans, etc. http://www.mrsc.org/Subjects/Planning/PlanPedBike.aspx#About
Parks and Recreational Trails
- FANTASTIC resources for building trails can be found at: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/trailbuilding/index.html.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an on-line training module for developing a watershed plan:http://www.epa.gov/watertrain/planning/. It has a lot of good information on community planning in general, including building partnerships, developing leadership, and building the relationships that are necessary to get things done. They also have an excellent handbook which you can order (no cost) or download from their website:http://www.epa.gov/nps/watershed_handbook/.
- Interested in reading about small town ‘social ecology’? I haven’t read this book but it sounds intriguing: The Small Town in America, a Guide for Study and Community Development, by Bert Swanson and Richard Cohen. Here’s an abstract: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED171440&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED171440
History of Community Development
- One of the coolest things I’ve found in my google searches for this site is a book written in 1915: Community Development, Making the Small Town a Better Place to Live in and a Better Place in Which to Do Business, by Frank Farrington. Google Books has it on-line: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED171440&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED171440. I just skimmed it but it is surprising how many of his ideas could still be useful.
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