Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design Seeks Community Proposals

Reader Contribution by News Release

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<p class=”body” style=”margin-bottom: 0pt;”>Citizens&rsquo; Institute on Rural Design Issues Request for&nbsp;Proposals for Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges&nbsp;</p>
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Washington, DC&mdash;The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) has issued a request for&nbsp;proposals to rural communities facing design challenges – such as Main Street revitalization,&nbsp;how to manage and direct growth, design community-supportive transportation systems,&nbsp;preserve natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protect working agricultural lands, and&nbsp;provide adequate and affordable housing – who are interested in hosting a local workshop in&nbsp;2014-2015.&nbsp;Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise&nbsp;and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD&nbsp;<a href=”http://rural-design.org/request-for-proposals”>website</a>.<br />
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The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm EST&nbsp;<br />
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CIRD works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality&nbsp;of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. CIRD brings local leaders,&nbsp;non-profits, and community organizations together with experts in planning, design, preservation&nbsp;and placemaking &ndash; all in an effort to help communities address pressing design challenges and&nbsp;to put design tools into the hands of the people who can create local change. CIRD does this by&nbsp;offering an opportunity for four rural communities to host local design workshops, and by&nbsp;offering free public webinars, conference calls, and a resource-rich website to practitioners and&nbsp;community leaders across the country.&nbsp;Since the program’s inception in 1991, CIRD has convened 70 workshops in all regions of the&nbsp;country with results that range from strengthened local economies, enhanced rural character,&nbsp;the leveraging of cultural assets, and design of new housing and transportation systems.&nbsp;<br />
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Each community selected to participate in the Institute will receive $7,000 to support planning&nbsp;and hosting a two and a half day workshop. Communities are required to provide $7,000 in&nbsp;matching funds (cash or in-kind services). CIRD will work with community leaders to assemble&nbsp;teams of specialists most qualified to address the community&rsquo;s identified design challenges. The&nbsp;workshops will be augmented with conference calls and capacity-building webinar presentations&nbsp;led by professionals who will discuss a range of rural design topics. All calls are also offered&nbsp;free to the general public through CommunityMatters, a program of the Orton Family&nbsp;Foundation.&nbsp;<br />
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The CIRD website is a portal to resources on many aspects of rural design gathered from&nbsp;diverse organizations across the country including information on past CIRD workshops. It is a&nbsp;place for citizens and practitioners alike to get information about improving their own&nbsp;communities. Read more about last year&rsquo;s workshops <a href=”http://rural-design.org/blog/year-2013-cird”>here</a>.&nbsp;<br />
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Find the RFP and application guidelines <a href=”http://rural-design.org/apply”>here</a>. Selected communities&nbsp;will be announced in June 2014, and workshops will be held during the fall of 2014 and first&nbsp;quarter of 2015.&nbsp;<br />
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CIRD will offer two pre-application assistance conference calls to answer questions and guide&nbsp;interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first of these calls is scheduled for&nbsp;Tuesday, April 2, and the second call will take place on Thursday, April 24. Both calls will begin&nbsp;at 3:00 pm EST and last approximately one hour. Participation in each call is free but&nbsp;registration is required. Go <a href=”http://rural-design.org/application-assistance”>here </a>to register.<br />
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The Citizens&rsquo; Institute on Rural Design<sup>TM</sup>&nbsp;is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership&nbsp;initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces,&nbsp;Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and the CommunityMatters Partnership.&nbsp;</p>
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<p class=”body” style=”margin-bottom: 0pt;”>The National Endowment for the Arts, established by Congress in 1965, is an independent&nbsp;agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to&nbsp;support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and&nbsp;communities. Join the discussion on how art works. Visit the <a href=”http://arts.gov”>NEA</a>&nbsp;to learn more.</p>
<p class=”body” style=”margin-bottom: 0pt;”>USDA Rural Development administers and manages housing, business and community&nbsp;infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development&nbsp;has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs&nbsp;are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents,&nbsp;farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Visit the USDA website <a href=”http://rurdev.usda.gov”>here</a>.</p>
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Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization&nbsp;dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.&nbsp;Founded in 1975, PPS has completed projects in over 2,500 communities and all 50 US&nbsp;states. PPS has become an internationally recognized center for resources, tools, and&nbsp;inspiration about Placemaking; check out their <a href=”http://pps.org”>website</a>.<br />
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The Orton Family Foundation seeks to empower people to shape the future of their communities&nbsp;by improving local decision-making, creating a shared sense of belonging, and ultimately&nbsp;strengthening the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of each place. The Foundation’s Heart&nbsp;&amp; Soul approach supports citizens in steering their towns&rsquo; future by discovering the&nbsp;characteristics and attributes valued most by residents and, then, by placing those shared&nbsp;values at the center of future decisions. Visit the <a href=”http://orton.org”>Orton Family Foundation</a>.&nbsp;<br />
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CommunityMatters<sup>&reg;</sup> is a program of the Orton Family Foundation that equips cities and towns to&nbsp;strengthen their places and inspire change. Together, the CommunityMatters partnership,&nbsp;conference calls and other projects fuel a growing network of leaders, thinkers and doers in a&nbsp;variety of disciplines. The CommunityMatters partnership is driven by seven national&nbsp;organizations with the common goal of building strong communities through the improvement of&nbsp;local civic infrastructure. The partners are: Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Grassroots&nbsp;Grantmakers, National Coalition for Dialogue &amp; Deliberation, New America Foundation, Orton&nbsp;Family Foundation, Project for Public Spaces, and Strong Towns. Visit their website&nbsp;<a href=”http://communitymatters.org”>here</a>.</p>
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<em>This press release is presented without editing for your information.&nbsp;To learn more go to </em>
</em>www.rural-design.org.</span>
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