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Citizens' Institute on Rural Design: Request for Host Applicants

This funding record is inactive. Please see the program website or contact the program sponsor to determine if this program is currently accepting applications or will open again in the future.

Building Community Workshop, Housing Assistance Council, National Endowment for the Arts
Jul 22, 2019

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) program consists of two different opportunities.

Workshop Communities: Up to 3 communities will be selected to host an on-site rural design workshop. With support from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops bring together local residents and local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government to develop actionable solutions to the community's specific design challenge. The community receives additional support through customized follow-up support after the workshop and web-based resources, webinars, and peer learning through the Learning Cohort (described below).

Learning Cohort Communities: Up to 20 rural communities will be selected to participate in a Learning Cohort. Rural community leaders from government, non-profits, local business, and civic organizations are invited to gather together for peer learning; training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques; and support in navigating funding opportunities to make their community's vision a reality.

Examples of potential design challenges include (but are not limited to):

  • Historic preservation and adaptive reuse of community buildings
  • Designing quality affordable housing that supports livable and equitable communities; including housing and other amenities that support young people, families, and/or the elderly and aging in place
  • Creating public or civic space that supports and integrates cultural expression and local identity and/or play and active recreation
  • Developing recreational trails for mobility, active transportation, and economic development
  • Redesigning Main Street as a local street versus state highway/thruway
  • Improving access to healthy food and local food ecosystems
  • Leveraging Main Street or local businesses for economic development, including branding, wayfinding, facade improvements, and streetscape design
  • Integrating cultural identity into the built environment to drive heritage tourism

Applicant Organizations must:

  • Be part of a rural or tribal community of 50,000 or less, that is rural in character
  • Have a specific design challenge in mind
  • Be able to participate in CIRD as indicated in the Participation Expectations
  • Commit to the full period of programming from September 2019 through December 2020

The following entities meeting the criteria above are encouraged to apply:

  • Municipal, tribal, and county governments
  • Local nonprofit organizations, including but not limited to Main Street organizations, art centers, preservation groups, historical societies, or chambers of commerce working in rural areas
  • Regional planning organizations
  • University community design centers, university agricultural/extension offices, and other programs with close ties to the community presenting the design challenge
  • Partnerships of entities listed above
Geographic coverage
Amount of funding

Workshop Communities: Three communities will be selected. Each workshop includes:

  • $10,000 stipend to the host community for workshop and related expenses
  • A tailored site visit and multi-day workshop with design experts to assist with project visioning and advancing toward implementation
  • In-person or virtual check-in with CIRD staff and team members (including designers and planners) on a quarterly basis after the workshop, to help tackle the community design challenge
  • A travel stipend to participate in Learning Cohort activities
  • Lodging stipend and registration fee waiver for Housing Assistance Council's (HAC) National Conference

Learning Cohort: An additional 20 communities from the applicant pool will be invited to n the Learning Cohort, an opportunity for two leaders from each selected community to gather together for peer learning; training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques; and support in navigating funding opportunities to make their vision a reality. The Learning Cohort opportunity includes:

  • Invitation to the Rural Design Summit, an in-person, design focused gathering of rural leaders, designers, and related subject experts
  • $1,000 travel stipend
  • Access to online education and coaching on design related topics catered to the cohort's particular design challenges
  • Opportunities to exchange knowledge and experiences of design issues with peers from across rural America
  • Invitations to in-person events and conferences to further peer learning and exchange
  • Invitations to link to HAC's national capacity building network including webinars, convenings, funding opportunities, and related opportunities
  • An opportunity to contribute to rural design conversations at the national level
Application process

Links to additional guidance, application instructions, and the online application are available on the program website.

Tagged as
Aging and aging-related services · Community and economic development · Food security and nutrition · Infrastructure · Leadership · Networking and collaboration · People with disabilities · Transportation · Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

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