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December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities

Resourceful Communities offers a variety of training opportunities to strengthen community programming. Our trainings are designed to meet the needs of grassroots organizations and take many forms: workshops, individual trainings, and peer learning visits. Support is provided at no-cost. 

We hope you’ll join us at one of our network events listed below.  Keep an eye on our Facebook page for additional information or give us a call if you have questions!


 

2021 Upcoming Events


april


Resource Roundup: Volunteer Strategies (A Virtual Event)
April 6th from 10:00 -11:00 AM
Registration is FREE!
Register herebit.ly/2OkIVUz

You're invited to our Resource Round-Up: Volunteer Strategies training! The pandemic has increased volunteerism for some and decreased it for others. Regardless of the size of your volunteer base, strong volunteer recruitment and management tools will ALWAYS be beneficial to your organization.

Join us to learn from some tried-and-true strategies from your peers and their volunteers for recruiting volunteers and keeping them around. You’ll have plenty of time to network with others in breakout sessions and determine how to take the information back to your communities.

For more information, contact Olivia Percoco at opercoco@conservationfund.org.



May

Resource Roundup: Evaluation (A Virtual Training)
May 13, 2021 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Registration begins April 19, 2021. You can register here: https://www.cognitoforms.com/TheConservationFund1/ResourceRoundupEvaluationMay132021

Do you dread being asked about your “evaluation strategy” when applying for funding? Unsure what that means or where to begin? Looking for easy, grab-and-go tools you can right-size for your organization? This workshop will cover all of this and more. During this interactive session, you will (a) learn why having an evaluation plan is worth the effort, (b) learn some helpful “dos” and “don’ts”, and (c) try on various evaluation resources in real-time. You’ll walk away with a (virtual) stack of tools and resources for improving your own evaluation efforts before projects and programs kick into high gear this summer!

Goals/Objectives

Participants will:
• Understand the importance of having an evaluation strategy
• Be able to identify the elements of a weak vs strong evaluation plan
• Learn how to build their own evaluation plan, based on the organization’s mission and program goals
• Learn different methods and tools for implementing their evaluation

For Questions about registration and additional information, contact Olivia Percoco at opercoco@conservationfund.org or via phone at (631)-905-9550.



Resourceful Communities will not hold any in-person events until further notice due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Workshops and trainings will resume whenever possible. We appreciate the continued work you are doing in the community. Please be safe and adhere to the country’s social distancing appeal and email us if you have specific needs. Registration for virtual trainings, information and additional details coming soon!


The following information applies to all events:


COST:  There is no charge to attend, but ALL participants must register in advance.

MEALS:  Snacks and lunch will be provided as needed.

MILEAGE ALLOWANCE:  A mileage allowance is provided, limit one allowance per car.

LODGING:  Lodging is offered to those driving more than 2 hours to the workshop closest to your home.

QUESTIONS?  Contact Donna Pratt at dpratt@conservationfund.org.
December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities
By the Numbers:
Resourceful Communities has awarded more than $6.8M in grants awarded to community organizations 2,200 local “green” jobs supported $12 to $1 return on investments in community solutions.

Our triple bottom line network engages more than 500 community and resource partners, creating environmental, economic and social justice benefits for communities that need it most.
Many of America's most important natural areas are frequently home to our most economically and socially distressed communities.  Resourceful Communities creates opportunities that preserve the rural landscape, lift people out of poverty and celebrate our partner communities’ unique cultures.  Working with a network of 500 grassroots and community organizations, we take a balanced 'triple bottom-line' approach that generates economic, environmental and social justice benefits.  Our effective combination of direct support, skills building and connections to resources nurtures real change where it’s needed the most.  By bringing together communities and conservation, people and places, we have created or retained over 2,200 jobs, and advanced a $12 to $1 return on investments in community solutions.

December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities
A specialized program of The Conservation Fund, Resourceful Communities supports a network of community groups, faith-based organizations, small towns and resource providers. The triple bottom line is the foundation of our work:  environmental stewardship, social justice and sustainable economic development. Rather than addressing community challenges as isolated issues, this integrated approach nets sustainable, comprehensive improvements.

Our work is built on values and practices that uplift our partners. Our triple bottom line mission grounds our work in helping communities build on their greatest resources: natural, cultural and human assets. 

We help communities implement the triple bottom line through three primary strategies:

Strengthening Organizations: Capacity Building

Resourceful Communities typically works in economically- and socially-distressed places. Our capacity building efforts are designed to meet the needs of limited-resource organizations and takes many forms: workshops, individual trainings, and coaching. All support is provided at no-cost and builds the capacity of the organizations to deliver more effective community programming.

Resourceful Communities offers a variety of training opportunities to strengthen community skills. Capacity building ranges from individualized technical assistance, which aims to improve organizational practices, to workshops that provide skill building opportunities on a range of topics presented by experts and peer educators. Technical assistance and training is designed with partner input and is offered free-of-charge to facilitate participation. Topics might include board development, fundraising and equitable partnerships and community engagement strategies.

Investing in Communities: Small Grants

Through our small grant program, the Creating New Economies Fund (CNEF), we invest in innovative triple bottom line projects.  Grants average $8,000-$12,000, with a maximum award of $15,000. The grants are as unique as the organizations we support, but all funded projects reflect the needs and visions of the communities. Funding has supported a variety of projects, including:  eco-tourism, sustainable agriculture, youth leadership development, alternative energy, and more.

Since CNEF began in 2001, Resourceful Communities has awarded more than $6.8 million in grants, and thanks to this investment, grantees have secured an average additional $12 for every $1 of grant support. Funded projects include development of food distribution centers, green job training programs, paddle trails and more. Our combination of training, funding and connections to additional resources strengthens community-led efforts and results in broad community benefits.

Grant applicants receive training in general grant writing as well as effective project planning strategies. Resourceful Communities continues to provide support to strengthen community projects through improved project design (timeline, budget, evaluation plan, etc.), community engagement and sustainability through connection to additional resources.

We thank our supporters, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the Oak Foundation, USDA Rural Community Development Initiative, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Overhills Foundation and private donors. If you are a current applicant or grantee, please visit our Tools and Forms section to download grant materials, or contact us at kmarks@conservationfund.org. To see a complete list of grantees, click here.

Nurturing Our Network

Resourceful Communities started and continues to support a growing network of grassroots partners and resource organizations (organizations and agencies that provide resources such as training, funding, technical assistance and expertise). We actively provide network opportunities that result in: reduced isolation, shared lessons learned, new partnerships and collaborations, replication of successful models, and new resources for grassroots organizations. Our network connects people across age, race, economic status and geography and help build a movement that advocates for the triple bottom line.

We support our network through:
  • Annual convenings where participants connect with each other and resources and learn about broad trends that affect their communities;
  • Peer learning visits provide opportunities to learn about specific topics and replicate effective strategies by visiting successful projects and engaging with community practitioners;
  • Facilitated connections that provide opportunities for frequently excluded communities to access resources and begin building equitable partnerships.

Video: Resourceful Communities Prioritizing Community Land Preservation

December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities


About the Creating New Fund Economies Fund

Resourceful Communities’ small-grant program, the Creating New Economies Fund (CNEF), provides direct investment in community-based efforts. Seed money supports a range of projects: eco- and heritage tourism, youth conservation programs, farmers markets, alternative energy production and more. Additional information for applicants follows. Submit questions to smallgrants@conservationfund.org.

A portion of CNEF funds are available to help rural United Methodist Churches (UMCs) strengthen food ministries. UMCs are encouraged to contact a Faith and Food Coordinator, Justine Post (jpost@conservationfund.org) or Jaimie McGirt (jmcgirt@conservationfund.org), or email smallgrants@conservationfund.org to discuss potential projects.


FOR CNEF APPlicants

  • Click here to view important dates for the 2020 Creating New Economies Fund grant cycle.
  • Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020 Creating New Economies Fund grant cycle.
  • Click here to view the Creating New Economies Fund list of grantees.
  • Click here for sample completed budget.

 

For CNEF Grantees


online application




Additional Resources

Virtual Trainings

  • Click here to view virtual learning opportunities and trainings for our community partners hosted by Resourceful Communties

background checks

  • Click here to learn more about obtaining county-level background checks in North Carolina

Considerations for new community garden projects

  • Click here for some key questions to ask before digging in.

EVALUATION TOOL FOR GARDEN PARTNERS

  • Click here for practical steps and tools to evaluate the triple bottom line impacts of your garden program.
  • Watch this demonstration for help navigating the website.

GUIDE FOR LIMITED-RESOURCE FARMERS

  • Click here to learn more about technical assistance, business and legal, networking and learning, and financial assistance for limited-resource farmers

Triple Bottom Line

  • Need help understanding the triple bottom line, a requirement for all funded projects? Check out the video below and learn more by clicking here. 

PROJECT BUDGETS AND Working with a Fiscal Agent

  • If your organization is not a nonprofit and you are working with a fiscal agent:
    • Click here to learn more about fiscal agents.
    • Click here to download a sample Memorandum of Understanding.
    • Please be sure to include non-cash support or in-kind support for your project.  Learn more here.
    • Questions about cashing checks?  Download this helpful guide.

TRIED and tested Rural Health Ideas

  • Click here to visit Try This NC and learn about rural health initiatives from our partners

Corporate Giving Guide

  • Click here to learn about grants and giving programs available in NC and nationwide, including funding priorities and sample applications.
December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities

Our emphasis on the triple bottom line means that Resourceful Communities engages in work and with partners that represent a broad range of issues – renewable energy, youth leadership development, eco-tourism, cultural preservation and more.  We recognize that some issues call for special attention because they are innovative, represent critical need, and support The Conservation Fund’s broad mission of working land protection and economic development.  Our targeted initiatives advance innovative solutions for our most economically- and socially-distressed communities.

North Carolina ranks in the top ten most food insecure states, with significant rates of poverty, farm loss and food deserts.  Two of our current initiatives, Healthy Eating, Active Living and Food and Farm, address these serious trends.  By employing our three primary program strategies of training, direct investment and networking, we are increasing low-income individuals' and families' access to healthy food and opportunities for recreation.  We also help small farmers connect with new markets, better growing strategies and hard-to-reach resources.

Through these initiatives, we have supported SNAP/ EBT access at local markets with targeted technical assistance on securing and implementing equipment and targeted outreach to low-income community members and effective vendor education to support sales to SNAP recipients.  Other projects include community gardens and trail building, training for youth and veterans in agriculture entrepreneurship, a chop-and-bag project that provides cafeteria-ready produce to rural schools and more.  Convenings and peer learning visits support awareness of trends related to these issues; connections to peer educators and other resources; and skills to replicate effective strategies that garner real community change.

In addition, we are working with agency partners to advance Community Forestry.  Many landowners and small municipalities own property that provides critical habitat; can improve water quality; offers outdoor education and passive recreation opportunities; and can generate sustainable revenue.  Through workshops and technical assistance, we are helping develop partnerships and stewardship plans to ensure the best use of forest resources.  

Resourceful Communities is also developing our Growing an Outdoor Generation initiative to help people of color and low-income communities connect with the outdoors. By connecting low-income youth of color and rural youth with environmental/outdoor education field trips, STEM-based curriculum programs, and natural-resource based professional development opportunities, we’re helping create new environmental stewards and addressing economic and social inequities. 

December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Programs
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, plaga blandit mara utrum mara comis ne, et lobortis exerci humo nisl praesent brevitas et. Aliquip qui verto pertineo eum jumentum sudo elit luptatum. Plaga consequat augue plaga in velit eu pagus enim euismod incassum esse. Enim loquor autem vero te, in et saepius ventosus typicus. Minim, wisi consectetuer wisi adipiscing nimis dolor epulae defui, adsum defui venio in iaceo.
December 31, 2014| Cities

Optimization Modeling

If you’ve ever studied a crowded supermarket shelf—Which brand? Size? Price?—you know the challenge of comparison shopping. So do conservationists. From state governments to local land trusts, cash-strapped conservationists must choose which of America’s special places to save. Today, with tight budgets, those choices are tougher than ever.

But we’ve developed a tool that can help.  Our strategic conservation team, working with a resource economist, has crafted a computer model that enables conservationists to shop smart—by evaluating potential conservation projects for best dollar value.

“We all want the most bang for our buck, and conservation is no different,” says Will Allen, our director of strategic conservation. “Are you spending too much money on expensive projects, or are you getting real value? With public budgets so tight, government officials must be able to justify how they’re spending these dollars wisely.”

The new model “optimizes” conservation decisions. It works by turning raw data about conservation decisions—project costs, benefits (scored numerically), budget constraints—into a user-friendly spreadsheet yielding comparison shopping conclusions.  Using the model, for example, a government agency can quickly compare the relative value of all possible projects and then make, and justify, an informed choice.

Optimization Modeling On The Ground

On the ground, the Baltimore County Agricultural Land Preservation Program in Maryland has already used our optimization model to save 22% more farmland than it would have otherwise over the past three years. Every year since 2007, Baltimore County has applied the optimization model to choose which agricultural lands to save. Optimization has helped the county protect an additional 680 acres of high-quality agricultural land, at a cost savings of roughly $5.4 million—a return on investment over three years of more than 60 to 1. In other words, for every $1 that Baltimore County spent using the optimization model, it has gained more than $60 in conservation benefits.

Wally Lippincott, Land Preservation Administrator in Baltimore County, is pleased with the results: “After trying for years to balance price with farm quality using rank based methods, we switched to optimization. In the first three years of using optimization, Baltimore County has been able to protect an additional 680 acres for the same amount of funds that would otherwise have been spent.  This also translates into a savings of approximately $5.4 million.”

Rob Hirsch likes that the program is easy to use: “Optimization has proven easier to administer and run than our old methods.  During our rank-based days, we performed extra administrative and mathematical work in order to solicit discounts and award extra LESA points for discounting.  With optimization, this is no longer required.”



More about OPTIMIZATION

Purchase book on optimization and strategic conservation
December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities

 
table of contents





COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants Webinar

Picture4

Click here to view the video.

If you have questions, check out our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding FAQ document here.

Thanks to generous support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC Foundation, grants up to $25,000 are available to address the continuing COVID-19 crisis in NC, with emphasis on activities that address food insecurity. Funding will prioritize BIPOC-led community- and faith-based organizations with limited access to funding in rural communities. This webinar explains this grant opportunity, including eligibility, deadlines, and the online application. Questions? Email smallgrants@conservationfund.org.


Time stamp:

00:01:00
                RCP Overview

0:03:00                  Grant overview and overview of eligible expenses

0:04:20                  Q&A Pt 1

0:06:25                  Eligibility, including: eligible/ineligible counties, fiscal sponsorship, and funding priorities

0:09:35                  Q&A Pt 2

0:12:45                  Important dates, deadlines, and documentation (Grant due-date: June 30th, 2021)

0:19:00                  How to save and continue editing your online application, required documentation, and some Q&A

0:25:00                  Q&A Pt 3





Resource Roundup: Evaluation


Picture1

Click here to view the video

Do you dread being asked about your “evaluation strategy” when looking for funding? Unsure what that means or where to begin? Looking for easy, grab-and-go tools you can right-size for your organization? This workshop will cover all of this and more. During this interactive session, you will (a) learn why having an evaluation plan is worth the effort, (b) learn some helpful “dos” and “don’ts”, and (c) try on various evaluation resources in real-time.





Resource Roundup: (Virtual) Youth Programming


Picture1
Click here to view the video

Join C.A.R.E/ The John 3:16 Center as they share their wisdom on how to run a program that keeps youth engaged, happy, and healthy throughout the summer and afterschool. They share ideas for curriculum resources, partnerships, and funding opportunities, as well as how to keep youth safe virtually. Lots of great questions were asked during this session, as well as insights on working with Cooperative Extension.




Resource Roundup: Volunteer Strategies

Picture1 copy copy

  • Click here to view the video

 

The pandemic has increased volunteerism for some, and decreased it for others. Regardless of the size of your volunteer base, strong volunteer recruitment and management tools will ALWAYS be beneficial to your organization and create less of a coordination headache in the long run. Listen in to learn from some tried-and-true strategies from your peers and their volunteers for recruiting volunteers and keeping them around.





What’s a Food Hub Anyway?

Picture1

  • Click here to view the video

 

Food hubs have a dual mission to strengthen local economies and increase access to healthy food. This training provides an overview of what food hubs are, which food hubs exist in North Carolina, and the many way churches can engage with them in their mission to feed their communities. If you are a rural church and would like to learn more, please reach out to one of our Faith and Food Coordinators (Justine Post: jpost@conservationfund.org; Jaimie McGirt: jmcgirt@conservationfund.org). You can visit www.ncfoodhubs.org to learn more about the NC Food Hub Collaborative work.




Grant Writing for Beginners

Grant Writing for Beginners copy
  • Click here to view all videos from this playlist

New to grant writing and feel overwhelmed by the grant application process? This playlist breaks up the process into manageable pieces and uplifts the most important facets of grant writing for beginners. We recommend you spend time watching all of the videos included here, but feel free to go at your own pace. This playlist includes the following sections:

  • Where to Find Funding
  • Funder Fit
  • Funder Cultivation
  • Grant Writing Checklist
  • Project Description
  • Building a Budget


Download the Grant Writing Checklist here, which is referenced in the Grant Writing Checklist video and is a great tool to reference in the future!




Virtual Peer Learning Visit: McDowell Local Food Action Council
 

Creating Community Food Access

  • Click here to view the video

COVID-19 has upended our world in many ways—but communities have risen to the challenge and proven that necessity truly is the mother of innovation. Learn from McDowell Local Foods Action Council as they share their creative strategies for food access in western NC, and the many ways they continue to adapt to the ever-changing need. This information is useful for all organizations working to increase community food access.




Trails & Greenways Amid COVID-19: Highlighting Hayesville’s Success

Trails and Greenways

  • Click here to view the video

COVID-19 has forced a lot of us indoors, but has also renewed interest in getting outside and enjoying some more isolated outdoor activities. For any organizations who have any interest in building a local trail or using cultural resources as a driver of health and economic development, we present to you the inspiration you need to kick it into gear: the story of Hayesville, NC, as told by Rob Tiger of Clay County Revitalization Association (CCRA)!

This 30-min virtual Peer Learning Visit focuses specifically on the building of Jackrabbit Trail and the partnerships that made it happen. This recording is suitable for any organization that is interested in learning more about the process of getting started with trail-building; it’s full of wisdom from Rob Tiger, who has been part of Hayesville’s renaissance from the start. We hope you are as inspired by their work as we are.




community garden evaluation

Picture1

  • Click here to view the video

Calling all garden partners! This workshop introduces RCP’s new, one-stop-shopping tool for all your garden evaluation needs. You’ll learn from peers as they share real-life examples of triple-bottom line evaluation for garden-based programming and how they use their data to improve their programs and tell amazing stories.Click here to jump to the evaluation tool.




Virtual Programming: Pivoting with Partnerships

Picture1

  • Click here to view the video


COVID-19 has opened up a whole new world of virtual learning opportunities (and challenges!). Join Men and Women United for Youth and Families (MWUYF) as they walk us through their experience pivoting to a virtual summer camp—through partnerships, youth engagement, and some key resources that made the camp a wild success. In the second half of the video, RCP will share how they supported with some programming resources & you’ll get a sneak preview of the healthy eating/active living curriculum that MWUYF used!


 

December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Cities
By the Numbers:
Strategic Conservation Planning has performed green infrastructure activities in close to 40 states.

Strategic Conservation Planning has completed greenspace plans for three of the largest metropolitan areas in the country.
The Conservation Fund works across America to support healthy, vibrant cities and more equitable and livable neighborhoods. We start by listening, working with people, local partners, and civic leaders to implement their visions. Our balanced approach to nature and our built environment is helping to revitalize neighborhoods, unite communities, and position cities to thrive for every resident.



December 31, 2014| Cities

Achieving environmental and economic goals often requires solving complex problems. That’s why creating practical approaches that balance natural systems with the built environment is essential for livable communities. Our team thinks big and offers solutions that government leaders, conservationists, and others need to create systemic and lasting environmental solutions in communities across the country. Strategic conservation makes economic sense—establishing an environmental legacy for future generations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

We bring strategic conservation expertise to government leaders, industries and communities across the country to achieve the multiple benefits from investing in clean air, clean water, habitat, climate resilience and adaptation, and community livability. We help communities identify their conservation priorities and goals, and we recommend high-impact and cost-effective implementation strategies that help build the capacity of communities to fulfill their conservation visions.

Through state-of-the-art geospatial mapping, and valuing the economic benefit of ecosystem services, we strategically evaluate areas for land protection and stewardship as well as identify opportunities to integrate planning for green and gray infrastructure.

We provide custom tailored tools to help solve complex planning problems:

  • Green infrastructure networks / landscape design
  • Regional conservation visions
  • Ecosystem service valuation
  • Rapid open space assessments
  • Strategic conservation guidance
  • Implementation / acquisition targeting
  • GIS decision support tools and map services
  • Optimization models for cost effective decision making
  • Structured decision tools using the Logic Scoring of Preference method
December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Cities