The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality. They offer annual competitive grant funding to as many as four small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-a-half day community design workshop. With support from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government to develop actionable solutions to pressing community design challenges. The community receives additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources. CIRD is currently accepting applications for community design workshops. Eligible project activities will address:
- building strong economies and grow jobs;
- locating new growth or redevelop older areas;
- designing efficient transportation systems;
- protecting the community’s historic and culturally significant resources.
Entities that are eligible to serve as the lead applicant to coordinate a CIRD workshop in a host community include but are not limited to: municipal, tribal, or county governments; local non-profit entities such as main street organizations, preservation groups, historical societies, or chambers of commerce; regional planning organizations; university community design centers located within 50 miles of the community; or local for-profit businesses. Two or more communities may submit a joint application. State-level entities may support an application, but cannot serve as the primary applicant.
One of the factors used to rate applications is Matching funds (CIRD suggested $7,000 cash or in-kind donations). This is another example of the value of tracking not only donations and in-kind services, but volunteer hours as well.
The link to the CIRD application is http://www.rural-design.org/application-form
CIRD Assistance with the application is here: http://www.rural-design.org/application-assistance.