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Citizens' Institute on Rural Design Issues RFP for Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges

Partnership of federal agencies and national organizations offers workshop funding, technical assistance, and additional resources

Washington, DC -- Today, the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is issuing a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges to host local workshops in 2013.  

Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 grant and in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is on the new CIRD website: www.rural-design.org.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday March 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm EST.

CIRD (formerly known as "Your Town") works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. The program brings together local leaders, non-profits, and community organizations with a team of specialists in design, planning, and creative placemaking to address challenges like strengthening economies, enhancing rural character, leveraging cultural assets, and designing efficient housing and transportation systems.

Since the program's inception in 1991, CIRD has convened more than 60 workshops in all regions of the country with results that range from the development of public art plans and business improvement districts, to funding for the design of waterfront parks and pedestrian-friendly streetscape improvements. 
                  
Each community selected to participate in the Institute will receive $7,000 to support planning and hosting a two-day workshop. Communities will be required to provide approximately $7,000 in matching funds (cash or in-kind). CIRD will work with the communities to assemble teams of specialists based on the communities' individual needs. The workshops will be augmented with conference calls and webinar presentations led by experts who will cover topics related to rural design. The calls will also be open to the general public through CommunityMatters.

The new website at www.rural-design.org is a portal for resources on rural design gathered from diverse organizations across the country. It will be a place for interested citizens to connect with one another and get information about improving design in their own communities.

Find the RFP and application guidelines at www.rural-design.org/apply. Selected communities will be announced in May 2013, and the workshops will be held during the summer and fall of 2013.

   

CIRD will offer three free application-assistance calls to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first of these calls will take place on Wednesday, January 23, the second will take place on Thursday, February 7, and the third will take place on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Participation in each call is free but registration is required. To register, visit www.rural-design.org/application-assistance.

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and the CommunityMatters® Partnership. A task force of national experts in rural design and planning is also being assembled to help shape the CIRD program.

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About the National Endowment for the Arts 
The National Endowment for the Arts, established by Congress in 1965, is an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. Join the discussion on how art works. Visit the NEA at arts.gov.

About the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development USDA Rural Development administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. rurdev.usda.gov

About Project for Public Spaces 
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Founded in 1975, PPS has completed projects in over 2,500 communities and all 50 US states.  PPS has become an internationally recognized center for resources, tools, and inspiration about Placemaking. pps.org

About the Orton Family Foundation  The Orton Family Foundation, founded in 1995, helps small cities and towns harness the inherent ability of citizens to imagine and achieve a culturally and economically vibrant future for their community. The Foundation's Heart & Soul approach supports citizens in steering their town's future by discovering the characteristics and attributes valued most in their community and, then, by placing those shared values at the center of local decision making. orton.org

About CommunityMatters 
CommunityMatters is a national partnership of seven organizations with the common goal of building strong communities through the improvement of local civic infrastructure. The partners are: Deliberative Democracy Consortium; Grassroots Grantmakers; National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation; New America Foundation; Orton Family Foundation; Project for Public Spaces; and Strong Towns. communitymatters.org