Western PA SBA District Office
PRP Board Member
November 24 – “Shop Small Business Day” Thanksgiving is fast approaching. After enjoying the feast, time to shop until the consumers drop. It will start at midnight on Friday and run through the weekend with all those special sales. The large businesses have the advertising dollars to draw the consumer in. As the consumers drive to the malls and big box stores, they pass the fabric of their community, small businesses.
Who are those small businesses being passed? The florist shop, boutique store, restaurant, dry cleaner, martial arts studio, dance studio, bakery, paint shop, local drug store, local hardware store, local grocery store, clothing store, tattoo parlor, beauty salon, insurance, dentist, doctor office, etc. are waiting with doors open for the consumers. The small businesses do not have the advertising dollars to attack the malls and big box stores. Hopefully the consumer will take a minute to think about what the small businesses do for the community.
It is spring, summer, or fall time; the children are on all
kinds of team sports. Who typically helps sponsor the uniforms for the teams? When the teams win the big game where do they go for treats? Where are the trophies or ribbons bought? The proms and weddings who has the special item or outfit? When teenagers go looking for first job where do they look especially if no car? Who sponsors school activities? Whose children go to school with the consumers’ children? Small businesses are the correct answer.
They are so in the fabric of the community the consumers forget they need business to stay in business. Think about it if the malls and big box stores stayed and the small businesses were not there, would the community have closeness or seem cold and empty. The big box stores and malls are here, but they are being challenged by the Internet. Don’t forget to look on the web at the small businesses on what they have to offer. Yes, community small businesses are in the 21st century when it comes to technology, but have the customer service of the 1950’s.
As the holidays kick into full gear, don’t forget what the holidays are really for “giving”. Remember the community small businesses are there year round for the giving. Let’s give a little to the community small businesses during the holidays especially on November 24, Saturday, “Shop Small Business Day”.
Carl can be contacted at email@example.com or 412.3
Denise S. Schlegel
DS Schlegel and Associates LLC
PRP Board Member
Ar-got: a secret vocabulary or language such as in grant writing
Grant writing! The very thought it can make you want to run away! Has someone ever placed a request for proposal on your desk, demanding that you be the one to write the grant and get the money so that the organization or program can keep on going? How are you as a staff member going to find that kind of time Where and how do you start this lovely task? What do you do first? Where do you find the code book to decipher the grant writing argot into English so you can actually understand what the funder is asking you to do?
These are just a few of the questions we are hoping to answer with this new resource for PRP’s rural community. This column is being developed to help you work your way through the grant jungle to get the resources and tools you need to make your work more productive, get the tools you need and to meet the ever growing demands government and nonprofit budgets. The hows and whys, the ins and outs, the preparation shorts cuts and the deciphering code to grant jargon will all be attacked in future issues about grants.
Over the past decade in my grant writing classes, I have worked with more than six thousand men and women from hundreds of organizations nationwide, who have taught me many things about their needs and difficulties
with grant writing. With subsequent issues of this monthly column, we will begin the task of dissecting the grant process to make it work for you. Hopefully you
will pick up a few pointers along the way.
Firsts things first, after interviewing all kinds of funders
(federal, state and private) over the years I have developed a list of funder’s “pet peeves”. These are things which funders say are important for all grant writers to think about as they begin to write an effective grant application.
1. Speak English.
Your proposal should be easy to read and crystal clear in scope, need, problem, project description and what you are really going to do. Grant reviewers like reading a proposal that speaks to the funder’s mission. Many funders tell me that they get “grumpy” when they waste their time reading proposals and in the end have no clue what the grant seeker is trying to accomplish.
2. Please Read:
Funders want you to read ALL of their materials to get to know their passion and mission. It is your responsibility to read all documents, search and understand their website profile. Get to know the culture and personality of the funder. Get to know the funder. They only date people who really know them! Speed dating is not allowed!
3. Pay Attention:
The grant seeker must come to a full understanding of the funder’s guidelines and application procedures. Formatting is very important. Follow the formatting rules so the reviewers may focus on your content rather than your mistakes. The funder should never doubt your ability to manage a grant if you can’t follow the rules for submission. Mother always told you to follow the directions!
4. Be Complete:
Always remember to include your contact information with your application. Believe it or not, many grant applications are sent to the funders without contact information. If they can’t find you it makes it very hard for them to give you the money. Besides, if you and your organization are prepared for grant competition you would not have to complete the grant at 3 AM allowing for mistakes such as this one!
5. Submit Early:
Don’t wait till the last minute to submit your grant proposal. Many e-grants systems send out busy signals the last few days, especially the federal system. Besides, last minute applications make a bad impression and it makes the funder work harder making them tired. Never exhaust a funder!
6. Get it Right:
Make sure you get the name of the funder correct. Many applicants submit the same grant proposal to several funders usually leaving the name of the “other” funder in the application. That is just plain tacky!
7. Be logical:
Create a proposal that makes sense and flows through a year sequentially. The timeline, goals and objectives, project description must be in order of when they will occur. Three by five cards can help you “shuffle” the major steps in your grant. Each need should have a stated objective, activity and evaluation statement. Confusion only ends up in the circular file!
8. Well Spent:
Develop a budget that is complete and clear. Say what you are hoping to accomplish and don’t forget to buy what you need not want. For example, if developing a training program, be certain to include where, how many times, with what materials for what learning outcomes which will justify those budget items listed. The funders are very good at finding missing links so create a complete puzzle with a clear picture!
9. Be Professional:
Proposal formats are essential. When scoring a grant application the formatting provides a guideline for “leveling the playing field”. If they all look the same they are easier to compare. Learn the professional formatting and you will never be turned down for the typeface.(Psst….The secret is Times New Roman 12for narrative, 14 for headings, single space for paragraphs on 8 ½ by 11 24 pound white paper, no binding or stapling of any kind) But if the funder has other formatting parameters, always follow their directions first!
10. Just Right:
Winning proposals are not too long or too short. They are just right. The funder wants just enough to make your point clear. The guidelines may limit your proposal to 10 pages and the scoring says the problem statement is worth 20 points. That means your problem statement should be no longer than 2 pages. Make sense?? Map out your writing to match the scoring! That will really make the funder happy!
Thank goodness grant writing is not as complicated as rocket science or few people would get their applications approved. With some clear guidance and some directions from a voice of experience any of you will be able to create and submit a competitive application. A series of articles has been mapped out to take you through the grant writing process with clear direction and of course the code book to decipher any funder’s materials. Examples will be provided for you to use as a guide and worksheets (yes cheat sheets) will be provided to help you work through any grant that comes down the pike.
Hopefully these few suggestions will be the start of understanding the language of grants. The Pennsylvania Rural Partners is working to build a web resource to assist you in meeting your funding needs in this
challenging economy. Visit us again for upcoming website grant resources and information for Pennsylvania’s rural communities!
Denise can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570.573.1101 if needed.
PRP Board Member
Public policy for rural places and regions has been fragmented and narrow in its scope. Given the social, political, economic, and cultural importance of rural areas in our society, it is imperative that we reexamine our public policy framework as it relates to rural people and places. A cohesive and comprehensive place-based rural policy should address four key issues: the agriculture and natural resource economy, the non-farm economy, the environment and local/regional ecology, and a cross-cutting pillar that encompasses the social, cultural, and political spheres. Very broadly, policymakers should strive to create conditions for dynamic social learning and innovation across sectors as well as social and spatial boundaries.
Although rural communities boast a range of unique histories and traditions, they are also linked by a similar set of experiences and challenges. The extractive and manufacturing industries that have come to dominate most rural economies are structured to allow extralocal urban investors to capture large profit margins while rural workers are paid low wages and receive few or no benefits. This structure restricts rural citizens’ access to both economic and social resources, suppressing economic diversification and providing few incentives and opportunities for local leadership development and collaboration. The combined impact can be devastating for rural communities faced with economic downturn, particularly associated with the relocation of a central industry. In contrast, advocates for place-based rural policy identify economic and social diversity as the foundation upon which resilient, and ultimately sustainable, rural communities can be built. Such an approach highlights the distinctive assets and capabilities of communities and regions; strategic, competitive advantage serves as a springboard for developing smaller-scale, entrepreneurial firms.
This vision for the future of rural communities requires a broad, flexible suite of policy initiatives to address the array of complex and interconnected issues such communities face. At the most basic level, policy makers must commit to establishing and strengthening the physical infrastructure necessary to participate fully in emerging markets and to fostering inclusive, participatory forms of governance through which local knowledge can be gathered and utilized and diverse actors can come together to generate innovative ideas. For many rural communities, the lack of high-speed, broadband internet is the most significant barrier to participation in the global economy. In 2009, the USDA reported that 59 percent of rural communities in the United States did not have sufficient, affordable broadband access. Fostering inclusive, participatory forms of governance also necessitates the formation of new vertical and horizontal partnership across levels of government and between government, the private sector, and civil society. The shape that such forms of governance may take depends largely on the historical patterns of social interaction and the associated power structures that characterize different communities and regions. Attention to local context requires a shift away from the traditional systematic, step-by-step approaches to capacity building and community development. Instead, policymakers should support the development of participatory processes with mechanisms for continual evaluation and the highest standards of transparency, and the education of leaders who are first and foremost strong communicators and facilitators. Although challenging to implement, such integrated, multi-level governance strategies are gaining traction as policy platforms. Most notably, the LEADER Program in the European Union stands out at as a strong example of the possibilities for comprehensive rural community development.
Ted can be contacted at email@example.com
One of my fondest memories as a young man some forty
years ago soon after moving my family to North Central Pennsylvania was the raspy voice of Pete Wambach, a well known news paper and radio personality who each week would announce "It's a Beautiful Day in Pennsylvania". Pete would tell his listeners and readers historical stories, usually of a small rural community and the significant role they played in the history of the Commonwealth and our Nation. Pete never had to look very hard to find wonderful stories to share, the depth of our state's history is unequaled. I'm proud to say that when I moved to South Central Pennsylvania my wife introduced me to Pete and his family and although he has passed, we remain friends with his wonderful family.
Pennsylvania boasts a broad range of natural, human, and cultural resources. It is home to diverse environments and ecosystems, with mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, fertile farm land comprising dynamic rural, suburban, and urban landscapes. The commonwealth’s population, with its diversity, skills, and strong work ethic, and Pennsylvania’s history and cultural heritage are incredibly rich.
Rural communities in particular have played and
continue to play a central role in state and national history. According to the Center for Rural
Pennsylvania, citizens living in diverse small and medium-sized rural communities account for twenty-seven percent of the total population of the state, with 48 of 67
counties defined as rural.
Small towns in rural Pennsylvania are essential to quality of life in the state. They provide food, energy, and valuable ecosystem services that benefit not only citizens living in the immediate area but also in surrounding regions. They are economic and cultural centers with powerful histories that extend from storied local traditions to the critical role of many rural Pennsylvania communities in influencing issues of national importance, such as immigration and labor advocacy. These small towns are invaluable assets to all Pennsylvanians.
Pennsylvania has a beautiful landscape, and
intrastate travel is a wonderful way to visit and appreciate what small towns have to offer. Examples of the unique communities range from Northumberland, home to the National Historic Landmark and National Historic Chemical Landmark, the Joseph Priestly House; to Ridgway, which hosts an annual Chainsaw Carver Rendezvous to celebrate the traditional craft; to Waynesburg, home to Waynesburg University, which offers doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations and supports three adult centers in the Pittsburgh region; to Wellsboro, the entry point to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon; to Butler, which in 2012 the Smithsonian ranked as one of the top twenty best small towns to live in within the United States. Small towns like these are
the heart and soul of Pennsylvania.
Small Pennsylvanian communities carry history with them through time. Contributing to a rich culture, the history of these towns reflects not only the passage of time, but also the development of community connections. These areas of the commonwealth each have a unique personality and culture, framed by their
individual histories. Each distinct town with its unique culture acts as one component of rural Pennsylvania,
complementing the state’s culture as a whole.
While the rural communities in Pennsylvania have distinct economic, social, and cultural histories, they also share a number of valuable characteristics of small towns. These communities are often characterized by close-knit social and community pride that provide residents support, access to local knowledge, and a cultural identity. These communities reflect the continuing role of place in shaping self-identity and sense of efficacy. Moreover, rural towns can also be important settings for collective action and agency.
Yet, small towns in rural Pennsylvania face
complex and significant challenges relating to environmental, economic, political, and social sustainability. A central policy challenge going forward for Pennsylvanians is fostering the vitality of our small towns and places in rural and non-metropolitan areas.
If you are ever curious you can drive North, South, East or West and you will find a beautiful rural community with warm welcoming residents and a captivating history. Pennsylvania is still unequaled.
Bill can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
President Bloomsburg Fair Association
PRP Board Member
The Bloomsburg Nationals powered by Carlisle Events takes center stage for the first time on Friday, August 10. The event, which will span August 10-12, will be held at the massive 227-acre Bloomsburg Fairgrounds in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. All cars, trucks and motorcycles of varying eras, make, model and style are encouraged to be part of the weekend. Carlisle Events, one of the world's largest presenters of collector car, truck and motorcycle entertainment will exclusively present the swap meet, car corral and showfield, while the Bloomsburg Fair Association and the Dream Machines Motor Club will take point on entertainment and certain aspects of staffing. The partnership combines nearly 70 years of experience and will yield a unique atmosphere.
No matter your automotive interest, the Bloomsburg Nationals powered by Carlisle Events will provide a festive family weekend with limitless possibilities for fun and entertainment. Weekend activities will include the car show itself with awards presented to participants, bull riding, a Saturday night concert featuring country singers Mandy Barnett and Michael Twitty, food, games and so much more. Automotive enthusiasts from throughout the Keystone State and beyond should make plans for the second weekend in August and the first ever Carlisle supported, Bloomsburg based event.
2012 Schedule of Events:
Spring Carlisle & Auction (Carlisle, PA) – April 25-29
Performance & Style (Carlisle, PA) – May 12-13
Import & Kit Nationals (Carlisle, PA) – May 18-20
Auburn Spring (Auburn, IN) – May 31 - June 3
Ford Nationals (Carlisle, PA) – June 1-3
GM Nationals (Carlisle, PA) – June 22-24
Chrysler Nationals (Carlisle, PA) – July 6-8
Bike Fest (Carlisle, PA) – July 20-22
Truck Nationals (Carlisle, PA) – August 3-5
Bloomsburg Nationals (Bloomsburg, PA) – August 10-12
Corvettes at Carlisle (Carlisle, PA) – August 24-26
Auburn Fall (Auburn, IN) – Aug. 30 - Sept. 2
Fall Carlisle (Carlisle, PA) – Oct. 3-7
Paul can be reached at email@example.com.
Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania
PRP Board Member
In my 20 years of work in rural research and policy development, I have been fortunate to work with many people in government, academia, business and community-based organizations from across the country. Pennsylvania has many dedicated professionals who “get it,” especially when it comes to sustainable community development. Taking from those rural experiences and contacts, I offer these considerations for how Pennsylvania can recover from the lingering effects of the 2008 recession and create and sustain livable communities.
First and foremost we have to understand there is no rural economy that is separate and distinct from our overall economy. We are one commonwealth – urban, suburban, and rural – that is economically linked together and to the national and global economy. Rural Pennsylvania does not need separate policy; rather it should be an integral part of all public policy. Rural Pennsylvania is every much as dynamic and changing as urban Pennsylvania. It should not be marginalized by placing it in a separate policy box. The bottom line is – for Pennsylvania to succeed, its rural areas must also succeed.
However, we also have to understand that one-size-fits-all economic development policies and programs do not always work as intended for rural Pennsylvania. What we need to ensure the maximum return on public and private investment are flexible policies and programs that recognize the diversity of Pennsylvania, its people and its communities. As cluster development studies have shown, Pennsylvania cannot be economically homogenized; each area needs to capitalize on its assets and strengths. Place-based development strategies that build and capitalize on an area’s or a region’s unique qualities have a better chance of succeeding.
Local capacity or leadership also is critical in any project. Throughout America, local leadership is the key human element for successful projects. However, there are two demographic trends affecting this in Pennsylvania; we continue to experience out-migration of youth and the leaders who remain are getting older. By the year 2025, rural Pennsylvania will have more residents age 65+ than age 18 and younger. We must continue to invest in human capital development.
Another piece of human capital development is local entrepreneurship, which is a critical component of any sustainable economic development strategy. A 2008 study sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on rural small business owners found that these businesses were very “local” in nature, with 90 percent of all revenues from sales within Pennsylvania. We need to provide the education, infrastructure, and affordable capital necessary to grow our local entrepreneurs. By fostering an “entrepreneurial climate,” we can create an environment conducive to risk taking and entrepreneurial growth.
We must also encourage the practice of lifelong learning. Paul Saffo, a Silicon-Valley-based technology forecaster, said: “Lifelong learning will be the key to unlocking the future. If you stop learning, you will become unemployed or unemployable very quickly.” In today’s world, a four-year college degree isn’t the only option for career advancement. According to surveys from Manpower, a worldwide employment services company, some of the top 10 hardest jobs to fill in America don’t even require a college degree, but they do require specific skills and continual training.
Finally, when local economic development efforts include a primary focus on improving overall quality of life, everyone – businesses, the community and the commonwealth – wins. Whether it’s implementing a downtown beautification project, developing recreational programs, or undergoing an historic preservation project, by developing and enhancing the community’s assets, the area becomes more vibrant and more attractive to new businesses. And that may give our youth a reason to stay and sustain their communities.
Barry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Program Director at Rural LISC
PRP Board Member
Community revitalization efforts in rural America provide the best results when a holistic, strategic approach is implemented. It takes multiple agencies with varying talents, skills and resources to create that 360-degree look at the community and its needs. One resource to assist comprehensive revitalization efforts is The Institute For Comprehensive Community Development.
The Institute is a place where the community development field can take what it learns from practice and use it as a base from which to provide training, to promote research in comprehensive community development, and to investigate the public policies that would best advance this work locally and nationally. The Institute is the locus where practice and theory meet, and where experimentation and innovation – grounded in real-world
experience – flourish.
The Institute helps by:
• Building the capacity of community development practitioners;
• Providing on-site support and technical assistance to comprehensive community development initiatives in cities across the U.S.;
• Applying lessons learned through research and performance evaluation to continually improve on-going comprehensive community development initiatives and to develop new initiatives;
• Supporting the development of public policies which integrate government programs in order to effectively facilitate and support comprehensive community development;
• Communicating broadly the best there is in practice and theory in the field of community development.
Find The Institute at http://www.instituteccd.org/index.html
Joe Yarzebinski can be reached at JYarzebinski@lisc.org
Lisa Davis, Director
Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health
Heath care continues to be front and center in discussions at the federal, state, and local levels and those who advocate for quality health care in rural communities need to remain current on those conversations.
The last half of 2011 was dominated at the federal level by the work of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the Super Committee). Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s role on the committee put the Keystone State front and center in the discussions. Programs supported by Medicare were especially vulnerable and included discussions about eliminating or significantly reducing the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program which lends support to the nation’s 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals and to other programs that bolster health care delivery in rural areas. Rural health advocates from across the country made their voice known and those cuts were bypassed.
At the National Rural Health Association’s 2012 Policy Institute held in January in Washington, DC, rural health advocates heard unanimous consensus from federal legislators who pledged that rural America matters to Washington and that health care in rural areas is important. The difference is how that support is organized and funded. During the Institute, the House of Representatives’ Commerce Committee voted to repeal the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) portion of the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act, paving the way for repeal of more portions of the Act. During that week, the Senate formally proposed the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity (R-HoPE) Act of 2011 which includes a number of provisions that are important to rural health, notably payments to rural hospitals, health care providers, rural health clinics, and other components of the rural health delivery system; incentives for telehealth services, and the reauthorization of the State Office of Rural Health Program. And the Supreme Court will be considering the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, beginning on March 26, 2012.
The work for the rural health community remains. During the week of January 30, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report predicting that government spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs will more than double over the next decade to $1.8 trillion. Even under its most conservative projections, the CBO estimates that health care spending will rise by 8 percent a year from 2012 to 2022, mainly as a result of an aging population and rising treatment costs and will continue to be a key driver of the national budget deficit. This means that programs that support rural health and the safety net system will continue to be under scrutiny; the focus on quality of care will continue to be emphasized; and health information technology implementation will be a driver of accessibility, quality, and cost of care. Rural health advocates need to continue to make their voice heard.
Lisa Davis can be reached at (814) 863-8214 or email@example.com.
The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation charged with being a source of coordination, networking, and technical assistance. The office is located at The Pennsylvania State University and is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, other state agencies, and Penn State.