Featured stories and content

FEATURED CONTENT
NC Cooperative Extension Service

U.S. SMALL BUSINESS
ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FY 2015 PROGRAM FOR INVESTMENT IN MICROENTREPRENEURS (PRIME)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is soliciting applications to provide microenterprise technical assistance and capacity building services to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs). PRIME has two tracks for which SBA will consider granting awards under this program announcement. Track 1 – seeks applications for funding to provide training and technical assistance programs to disadvantaged entrepreneurs including training specifically designed to implement automated financial accounting, financial reporting, and inventory management systems, etc. Track 2 (Capacity Building) – seeks applications for funding to provide training and capacity building services to MDOs, microenterprise development programs, and groups of such organizations to assist them in developing microenterprise training and services, including services geared towards building MDO capacity to provide business training and technical assistance that will improve the ability of small businesses. In order to be eligible to submit an application for this funding opportunity an Applicant must clearly demonstrate that it is one of the following: A microenterprise development organization or program (or group or Collaborative thereof), such as a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution or similar entity, that has a demonstrated record of delivering microenterprise services to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; or An Intermediary (as defined in Section 8.1) which has experience in delivering technical assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; or A microenterprise development organization or program (as defined in Section 8.1) that is accountable to a local community, working in conjunction with a State or local government or Indian Tribe; or An Indian tribe acting on its own, if it can certify that no private organization or program referred to above exists within its jurisdiction. Up to $5,000,000 in funding is available for this program in FY 2015. SBA expects to make approximately 35 awards. SBA anticipates award for Tracks I and II will be in the range of $50,000 to $250,000. A 50 percent matching contribution is required, but SBA may reduce or eliminate this requirement in certain circumstances. Benefit to Promise Zones: Any applicant may receive up to 5 bonus points if it can demonstrate a track record of serving American Indians, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiian populations, or clients located in established Promise Zones. Please refer to page 22 of the application for more information. Application Deadline: June 29, 2015 View the FY 2015 PRIME Funding Announcement. Questions about this Program Announcement should be directed to the Office of Economic Opportunity at prime@sba.gov.

READ THE REST »
NC Cooperative Extension Service

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT
FOR THE ARTS Creative Placemaking Guidelines and Report Launched

Includes 2016 Our Town Grant and Technical Assistance Guidelines and the Report on Performing Arts and Transforming Place The arts are an integral component of building vibrant communities and as part of its commitment to supporting arts-based community development, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is posting information on funding opportunities and a new creative placemaking resource. These are: Guidelines for the 2016 Our Town grant program with an earlier application deadline of September 21, 2015. A program solicitation for an organization to run the new Our Town Technical Assistance Pilot Program that will provide grantees with capacity building support to more effectively execute their creative placemaking projects. A report on the performing arts in creative placemaking called Beyond the Building: Performing Arts and Transforming Place. Creative placemaking is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work—placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. The NEA's programs support local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place. 2016 Our Town Guidelines 2016 is the sixth year of Our Town, the NEA’s primary creative placemaking program, providing funding that supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place. Grants in 2016 will be available for projects in arts engagement, design and planning, and in knowledge building. The application deadline for the 2016 Our Town program is earlier than in years past and is on September 21, 2015. Guidelines and application materials for 2016 Our Town program are in the Apply for a Grant section of the NEA website. Since Our Town's inception in 2011, the NEA has awarded 256 grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, the NEA has created the online resource Exploring Our Town, with more than 70 case studies and lessons learned from organizations working in communities large and small, urban and rural across the country. In July, the NEA will announce the 2015 grantees, including projects from the new project type of supporting knowledge-building in the field of creative placemaking. Webinars to Assist Our Town Applicants To help applicants prepare competitive proposals, the NEA is offering two webinars; July 29 and August 5, 2015. Each session will be from 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT. Program staff will lead a Powerpoint presentation with tips and tricks for crafting compelling applications, followed by questions and answers. Registration for the webinar will be available in July in the webinar section of the NEA website. Our Town Technical Assistance Initiative The NEA is releasing a program solicitation for an organization to manage a new pilot technical assistance (TA) program that will assist Our Town grantees in completing their NEA-funded projects and building their organizational capacity. After a managing organization has been selected, it will work with the NEA to provide direct assistance to select Our Town grantees to help increase the likelihood that grantees’ projects are fully successful, resulting in longer term positive outcomes for communities. The NEA will share lessons learned, significant field trends, and other program resources with the public. Our Town grantees will be able to apply in February 2016 when guidelines are available, to be among the organizations selected to receive the direct assistance. Report on Performing Arts and Transforming Place The report features outcomes of the November 2014 convening, Beyond the Building: Performing Arts and Transforming Place. The event brought together 26 leaders from dance, music, theater, and multidisciplinary organizations to examine how performance-based groups, and the artists they engage, transform places through their artistic practices. Participants included artists, representatives from performing arts organizations, discipline-based service organizations, and arts funders. The event was supported by ArtPlace Americaand attracted an active online audience through a Twitter conversation curated by HowlRound. The convening yielded key observations and guiding principles towards helping performing arts organizations expand the work they do in communities. The report follows the format of the event, presenting lessons learned in six areas: language and framing, place and mission, events and effects, issues and impacts, relationships and resources, and equity. A list of convening participants grouped by discipline or organizational type (dance, funder, opera, symphonic music, theater, community organization/program, presenter) along with selected observations provides a sample of the conversation.

READ THE REST »
NC Cooperative Extension Service

Important Crop
Insurance Deadline Near for North Carolina Producers: Specialty Crop Producers, Others Need to Certify Conservation Compliance by June 1

Raleigh, May 21, 2015 — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) reminds agricultural producers seeking federal crop insurance thatthey must have their Highly Erodible Land Conservation and WetlandConservation Certification form, commonly called form AD-1026, on file withtheir local USDA service center by June 1, 2015.Many farmers may have their certification form on file meeting conservationcompliance provisions since it’s required for participation in other USDAprograms, including NRCS conservation programs. But producers, likespecialty crop growers who receive federal crop insurance premium subsidiesand do not participate in other USDA programs, must now file acertification form with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).“Most producers already have a certification form on file, but we want toensure all producers interested in USDA benefits take the steps to beeligible,” said Timothy Beard NRCS state conservationist in North Carolina.“We want to make sure producers interested in crop insurance know of theupcoming June 1 deadline. We encourage you to contact your local USDAservice center to ensure you’re in compliance.”Wake County Producers should contact a Conservationist  or visit the WakeSoil and Water Conservation District office at the USDA service centerbefore the June 1, 2015 deadline to ask questions, get additionalinformation or learn more about conservation compliance procedures.Producers that file their form by the deadline will be eligible for federalcrop insurance premium subsidies during the 2016 reinsurance year, whichbegins July, 1, 2015. The June 1 deadline does not apply to producersseeking benefits from FSA and NRCS programs.Additional information on conservation compliance is available atnrcs.usda.gov/compliance, including a Five Steps to Meet ConservationCompliance guide and answers to frequently asked questions.Stuart Ashby LeeState Public Affairs and Outreach SpecialistUSDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

READ THE REST »
At the moment, there are no upcoming events listed.
NEWS View All

Conserving Working Lands

A land legacy handbook with tools and resources to guide your conservation planning journey.   Conserving Working Lands MORE »

shutterstock_116752180 copy

At the Intersection of Arts and Agriculture

By Becky L. Bowen, J.D., Program Manager, CultivateNC  I had the good fortune this month to attend the Cross-Currents:  Art + Agriculture Powering Rural Economies conference sponsored by Art Force and the National MORE »

Integrating New Audiences

The demographics of North Carolina have changed significantly during the last two decades. Although the general public may believe this change is a result of the influx of immigrants moving to the state, MORE »

More News