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October 3, 2014
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its report Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013, which showed the number of Americans living in poverty declining for the first time since 2006, but with the poverty rate in rural America still higher than the national level.  While the U.S. Census Bureau report delivers some good news, the lagging income levels and slow decline in the poverty rate signals that more work and attention are needed in rural communities.
Free Community and Economic Development Workshops
Each year, Smart Growth America provides a limited number of technical assistance workshops to help communities understand the technical aspects of smart growth development through a one- or two-day workshop at no cost. Communities can apply for one of 12 workshops, including planning for economic and fiscal health; regional planning for small communities; parking audits; land use code audits; walkability workshops; and others. Any unit or subdivision of local government, tribe, or regional government is eligible to apply for these free workshops.  Communities may apply for more than one workshop, but must submit separate applications for each.  Applications are due by October 23 at 5:00 p.m. ET.  Click here for more information and to apply. 

For at least a decade, experts have said that world population will likely stabilize at around 9 billion by the middle of this century. Scientists at the University of Washington and the United Nations, however, have now used a new mathematical method to conclude there is an 80% probability that world population – now at 7.2 billion – will not stabilize. Instead, according to their analysis, it will increase to between 9.6 and 12.3 billion by 2100. The journal Science published these scientists’ work online on September 18, 2014.
Rural Partners supports seminars for planned giving
Working with the Donors Forum, Rural Partners has funded a two-part seminar, offered in several locations this fall, to inform farmers and their advisors and, in an afternoon session, to inform nonprofits regarding fundraising strategies. Topics for farmers and their advisors include passing assets to the next generation, including tax issues, protecting land, and making tax efficient distributions to family and/or the community. Nonprofits will focus on integrating planned giving into a fundraising strategy.

Morning Sessions for Farmers and Advisors: Succession Planning for the Family Farm or Business
November 5, Decatur
November 13, Effingham
November 18, Champaign
Springfield, TBA

Afternoon Sessions for Nonprofits: Planned Giving: A Nonprofit Development Strategy
November 5, Decatur
November 13, Effingham
November 18, Champaign
Springfield, TBA
Free Grant Workshop
October 21, 2014, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
220 Browne Hall, Western Illinois University
Are you an artist seeking funding to support your work? Are you an artist practicing a traditional art form in your community? Would you like to pass on you mastery of a traditional art to others? Would you like to expand the audience for your art? Join Clark “Bucky” Halker, Ph.D., and Lisa Rathje, Ph.D., from Company of Folk for a free workshop on how to search for and write a successful grant. The workshop will include information about Illinois Arts Council Agency grants, with particular attention on grants to individuals who practice an art form that comes from a specific tradition or ethnic heritage and who are interested in the master apprentice fellowships in Traditional and Ethnic Arts, including duck decoy carving, bluegrass fiddle, folk or gospel music, blacksmithing, lacemaking, rosemaling, blues guitar, ethnic dancing—arts passed from one generation to the next. Halker and Rathje also will discuss other state and federal grants for individuals and small organizations interested in the arts, culture, and the humanities. Bring your project ideas and questions. Get hands-on help with your grant application. For additional information, contact: Sandy Wittig:; 800.526.9943
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Rural Partners is a member-driven forum that links individuals, businesses, organizations and communities with public and private resources to maximize the potential of rural Illinois.
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