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Federal Urban Policy (General)

Registration and Schedule Just Announced for Neighborhood Revitalization Conference

Conference registration is open and a complete list of sessions for the UNCA Neighborhood Revitalization Conference are available.  The conference, scheduled for June 27th and 28th in Washington DC, features leaders across the US working on comprehensive community development.  This unique conference includes in-depth discussions on a variety of issues: housing, safety, education, resident engagement, economic and community development, and neighborhood revitalization. Sessions will be facilitated by representatives from multiple sectors (practitioners, federal government officials, funders, universities, and other stakeholders).  Here’s a glimpse of a few conference sessions:

  • What’s Special About Resident-Centered Community Building – moderated by Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change
  • Neighborhood Revitalization and Economic Development – moderated by LISC
  • Sustainable Partnerships Between Schools and Community-Based Organizations – moderated by the Institute for Educational Leadership
  • Organizing for Safety – led by the US Department of Justice and LISC

View a full list of conference sessions and registration details.

Potential Funding Opportunity: Healthy Food Access Initiative

A new resource – the Healthy Food Access Portal– is useful for organizations looking to work on access to healthy food for their communities.  PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund have joined forces with numerous other partners and stakeholders from around the country to “create a comprehensive federal response to address the limited and inequitable access to healthy foods in low-income communities in both rural and urban America.” Their campaign recently launched the Healthy Food Access Portal to provide comprehensive resources to communities and organizations interested in pursuing projects to provide healthy food to lower-income and underserved populations.

This website provides resources, news, events, information on state and local food policy efforts, and examples of successful healthy food access programs nationwide, including such innovative strategies as mobile markets, food hubs, and co-ops. It is a great resource for communities interested in developing their own healthy food access initiatives.

The Healthy Food Access Portal also directs users to potential funding sources, including grants, loans, public-private partnerships, and the federal inter-agency Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). If your organization is interested in helping to increase healthy food choices for underserved communities, visit the Get Started page for more information and further resources.

New Funding Opportunity: AmeriCorps School Turnaround program

On Tuesday, February 26, the Corporation for National and Community Service, in conjunction with the US Department of Education, announced a new AmeriCorps program entitled the School Turnaround initiative. The program will place AmeriCorps volunteers in “persistently underachieving schools across the country.” According to CNCS, the AmeriCorps School Turnaround initiative will help fund and staff projects intended to “increase educational achievement, high school graduation rates, and college readiness for students in our nation’s lowest-performing elementary, middle, and high schools.”

The competitive grant program will award $15 million over three years to place nearly 2,000 AmeriCorps members at dozens of failing schools in cities and small towns. The presence of the AmeriCorps members in schools will help provide opportunities for academic enrichment, extended learning time, and individual supports for students. The program’s goals include increased academic achievement, improved high school graduation rates, and increased college readiness among some of the most disadvantaged students in America.

Public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and other community groups; schools or districts; institutions of higher education; cities and counties; Indian Tribes; and labor organizations are eligible to apply to the School Turnaround AmeriCorps initiative, along with partnerships and consortia of these entities. A notice of intent to apply must be submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service by April 2, 2013 via e-mail at: americorpsgrants@cns.gov. Applications are due on April 23, 2013. Grants will be awarded by mid-July. More information on the funding opportunity, as well as application information, is available on CNCS’s website.

The Sequester’s Impact: Damaging Funding Cuts

Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation, Headstart, and community health centers are among some of the programs that face funding cuts should the March 1st sequester go into effect. This federal funding crisis could be most damaging to programs with funding cycles that draw down funding soon after the sequester goes into effect. This issue has caught President Obama’s attention. Last week, President Obama touched on the upcoming sequester in his State of the Union address proposing that the US economy would be damaged by the spending cuts.

Learn how the sequester will impact Neighborhood Revitalization efforts by reading UNCA's one pager, NRI and Federal Funding Crisis.

Share Creative Ideas to Strengthen Democracy

Do you have ideas and solutions about how American democracy can be improved? If so, you could win a cash prize from MacArthur foundation for submitting a creative submission. They are seeking submissions that will galvanize conversations about democracy, the role of government, and how individuals an communities can strengthen democracy in America. If you have a story from your local community or see a gap in the national debate,  consider submitting your idea.

The first place submission will receive a $25,000 prize and additional cash prizes coming to a total of $100,000. Submissions are due by April 30, 2013. The goal of the contest is to shift the political discussion in fresh and engaging way. Watch this video (below) or go to MacArthur's website for more details:
[embedplusvideo height="281" width="450" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/KSXFxYclly4?fs=1" vars="ytid=KSXFxYclly4&width=450&height=281&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep8206" /]


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by Dr. Radut