Grant Applications

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Nov. 7, 1997

Cooperative Project Grant Applications Sought

Groups in Minnesota or Wisconsin rural communities who are working together to cooperatively address common local issues are eligible to apply for up to $6,000 worth of training and technical assistance through a program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Rural Development Institute.

The Cooperative Development Initiative will select two projects, one in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin, to receive custom designed technical assistance from Cooperative Development Initiative personnel and others over a two-year period. Generally, projects consist of groups from multiple communities, although innovative projects from multiple groups within a single community will be considered. What is important is that the group wants to function using the principles of cooperation and collaboration.

Requests for proposals are available now, with a due date of Dec. 31, 1997. Applicants are asked to outline the issue being addressed, the goals they want to accomplish, who is involved, the resources committed to date, and the kinds of training and technical assistance requested. Selected projects will be notified in early February; planning for the training and technical assistance will begin in March.

The principles of collaboration and cooperation apply to many areas, said David Trechter, director of the Cooperative Development Initiative, and an extension specialist in cooperatives at UW-RF. "As resources get stretched tighter, and problems are beyond the scope or capacity of a single community or organization, more and more groups are choosing to collaborate to resolve common issues."

Projects the Cooperative Development Initiative has assisted in its first three years illustrate the diversity of the local issues that can be addressed cooperatively. Those projects include:
the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance, a consortium of 19 communities that are cooperatively promoting the St. Croix Valley as a tourism destination;
the Northwest Minnesota Development Achievement Center Cooperative, a cooperative nonprofit to improve services for developmentally disabled adults;
the Minnesota Agro-Forestry Cooperative, a producer-owned supply and marketing cooperative of hybrid poplar growers in central Minnesota;
the Barron County Transportation Coordinating Committee, an effort to improve and expand transportation in Barron County, Wis., through the coordination of services and resources; and
the Czech Area Development Committee, representatives from three Minnesota communities working to improve development opportunities in their area through coordinated land use planning among jurisdictions, and addressing transportation issues.

The Cooperative Development Initiative is a project funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation at UW-River Falls . Its aim is to assist start-up cooperative and collaborative ventures through the initial start-up phases, helping to ensure their long-term success.

Persons wishing to receive a request for proposals or who wish to discuss potential projects should contact Trechter at 715-425-3129 or Linda Jacobson at 715-425-0671.

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