Materials Available from HUD Western Rural Grantee Gathering (Billings, MT)

Posted on: May 13th, 2015 by Brett Schwartz

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On May 5-6, around 50 participants met in Billings, Montana for the “Sustainable Communities Initiative Western Rural Grantee Gathering,” organized by the Minnesota Housing Partnership (http://www NULL.mhponline NULL.org/) and the NADO Research Foundation through the Sustainable Communities Learning Network (http://sclearningnetwork NULL.org/).  This event brought together representatives from six grantee teams and four federal agencies for training, peer exchange, and problem-solving sessions to address challenges and opportunities in supporting economic development and regional plan implementation in the rural West.

Over the course of two days, participants met in small groups to discuss how best to address capacity and resource challenges, engage with state and federal agencies, pursue funding and other resources, identify champions, and maintain momentum while moving towards plan implementation.  These sessions were grantee-led and created a space to compare notes and share useful and practical strategies.  Additionally, training sessions were held on a variety of topics including new directions in small town community and economic development, removing barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation, messaging and engagement, and affordable housing development in rural places.  Click here (http://mhponline NULL.org/mhp-blogs/mhp-connect/607-rural-west-gathering) for an event summary blog post from the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

This page contains materials from the event, including the agenda, participant information, presentation slides, and additional resources.  Click here (http://www NULL.dsamuelmarsh NULL.com/Client-Services/2015-Rural-Convening/) for a photo gallery of images.

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Participants spent productive time in small groups, sharing best practices and problem-solving strategies to address regional plan implementation challenges. Here, teams work to design an action plan to bring back home to their communities.


Event Materials:

Training Presentations: 

Dr. Michael Fortunato from the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University shared steps that can be undertaken to inspire citizen-led action on a tight budget in rural regions.  "Solving local problems with local talent is empowerment" in small places, said Fortunato.

Dr. Michael Fortunato from the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University shared steps that can be undertaken to inspire citizen-led action on a tight budget in rural regions. “Solving local problems with local talent is empowerment” in small places, said Fortunato.


Grantee Presentations:

Teams had 5 minutes and 5 slides to present to the group responses to the following questions:  What has been your project’s greatest success?  The greatest challenge?  What is the biggest need or resource to support plan implementation?  Where do you see your region in twenty years?

Additional Resources:

  • List of Federal and Non-Federal Livability and Sustainability Tools (compiled by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (http://www NULL.sustainablecommunities NULL.gov/))
  • Smart Growth National Funding Opportunities  (http://www2 NULL.epa NULL.gov/smart-growth/smart-growth-national-funding-opportunities#anchor9)
  • Community Builders webinar series (http://communitybuilders NULL.net/webinars/)
  • New Mobility West (http://newmobilitywest NULL.org/)
  • Center for Rural Studies, Sam Houston State University  (http://www NULL.shsu NULL.edu/org_crs/)
  • Minnesota Housing Partnership (http://www NULL.mhponline NULL.org/)
  • National Association of Development Organizations
  • Images from the event (courtesy of Dwayne Marsh)  (http://www NULL.dsamuelmarsh NULL.com/Client-Services/2015-Rural-Convening/)
The sun sets in Billings after a successful first day of the Western Rural Grantee Gathering, which brought together around 50 participants to discuss challenges and opportunities facing communities in the rural West

The sun sets in Billings after a successful first day of the Western Rural Grantee Gathering, which brought together around 50 participants to discuss challenges and opportunities facing communities in the rural West.

For more information about this event and NADO RF’s other capacity building activities as part of the Sustainable Communities Learning Network, please contact NADO Research Foundation Program Manager Brett Schwartz (bschwartz null@null nado NULL.org).

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