Rural Initiative Program
THE LAURA JANE MUSSER FUND wants to encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities that will help to strengthen their towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education.
PRIORITY IS PLACED ON PROJECTS THAT:
- Bring together a broad range of community members and institutions
- Provide the opportunity for diverse community members to work together
- Contain measurable short term outcomes within the first 12 to 18 months
- Include community members actively in all phases of the process
- Work toward an outcome of positive change within their community
PROJECTS MUST DEMONSTRATE:
- Support from a diverse cross-section of community members and institutions
- Matching financial and /or in-kind support from the local community
- Significant volunteer participation
- Reasonable plans to complete their project within 18 months or less
LIMITS OF GEOGRAPHY:
- Programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wyoming may apply
- The applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or fewer and must be able to demonstrate the rural characteristics of their location
FUNDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR:
- Planning (up to $5,000) - These funds may support costs like: consultant or staff time, meeting costs, mailings, secretarial support, refreshments, local travel, childcare, etc. Note - this stage is optional and not a required phase prior to applying for or receiving an implementation grant. If an organization receives a planning grant from the Musser Fund, this in no way implies a commitment on the part of the Musser Fund to provide the organization with any subsequent implementation grant.
- Implementation (Up to $25,000) - These funds are available to implement community based rural projects that originate in, have been planned by, and involve diverse people from the local community. Capital campaigns will not be supported. The projects will result in a tangible outcome within at least the first 18 months.
- Projects will be eligible for either planning or implementation funds, not both.
HOW TO APPLY:
Please construct your application in the following format:
- Cover Form (click box in upper right corner)
- Proposal Narrative (please limit your narrative to a total of 5 pages)
Complete proposal packets must be postmarked by November 7, 2012. Funding decisions will be announced February 2013.
Below is a sample of the type of information we will be requesting as part of the application process.
- The proposal body can be no more than 5 pages
- SUMMARY: Provide a three sentence summary of your project at the beginning of your proposal.
- BACKGROUND: Summarize your organizational background and the history of your involvement in your community.
- RURAL IDENTITY: Describe, using qualitative and quantitative descriptions, the rural identity of your community.
- RURAL NEED: Provide a synopsis of the need or situation in your community that the proposed project will address.
- GOALS AND ACTIVITIES: Describe the overall goals of this project and the activities planned that will accomplish these goals; provide the timeline for the activities that includes schedule and completion for the project. Please note that projects funded with implementation grants must be completed within at least 18 months.
- COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND INSTITUTIONS: Describe the community members involved in this project; indicate how many have already announced support for the project.
- PROJECT LEADERS: Identify the leaders of the project and any special skills they bring to the project.
- PROCESS: Describe the process you will use to implement your project. Please be specific about the role of the community and the methods you will use to facilitate and encourage broad community participation.
- COMMUNITY IMPACT: Describe the impact the project will have on the various strengths of your community.
- OUTCOMES: List the outcomes expected.
The Directors of the Laura Jane Musser Fund continue to be interested in the replicability of projects requesting funding. If you have plans to share your project results, please include them in your proposal.
- Organizational budget (or if public entity, departmental budgets) for the most recently completed year.
- Projected budget for current year. Include up-to-date information including revenue sources, amounts, and what is secured and pending (Please explain any large surpluses or deficits).
- Project budget with detailed revenue sources – what is secure and what is pending.
- FISCAL SPONSOR: If the project will work with a fiscal agent, please provide a letter from the fiscal sponsor on their letterhead, indicating support and understanding of project.
- LETTERS OF SUPPORT: Please include letters of support from at least two (but not more than six) community members and institutions involved in your proposed project. In addition, please provide a letter of support from the local government entity that is most closely involved in your project. The Fund is only able to consider letters that arrive in the same packet with your proposal and before the submission deadline.
Please include a copy of your 501(c)(3) statement. If you are a unit of government, please send a detailed letter of endorsement for the project on agency letterhead signed by the leader of the department or agency.
WHAT THE PROGRAM WILL COVER:
- New programs or projects within their first three years
- A planning, and/or implementation phase
WHAT WILL NOT BE FUNDED:
- Capital Expenses
- General Operating Support
- Ongoing Program Support
WHO CAN APPLY:
- Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations
- Organizations that are forming if they are sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization
- Local units of Government
PROPOSAL FORMAT: Please submit your packet in a single-sided, unbound format. Please only send one copy. No materials other than those listed above will be included in the proposal review process. Only complete application packets can be considered.