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Extension CED seeks communities for two-year partnerships

AMES, Iowa ― Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Community and Economic Development unit is launching a new program called Communities to Community (C2C). Through this program, CED will enter into partnerships with up to five Iowa communities in different areas of the state.

The C2C program will offer a two-year schedule of bundled design, educational, business and leadership development services available through CED and the ISU College of Design. The services will be customized to promote the positive changes and outcomes that client communities desire. Examples of outcomes include stabilizing downtown environments; improving citizen participation and local leadership; encouraging diversity; capitalizing on small business, retail trade and tourism opportunities; meeting housing needs; or achieving quality-of-life goals.

“We are interested in spending more time with a community to really help achieve goals and develop substantial ways to measure that progress,” said Tim Borich, ISU Extension and Outreach CED director. “We have the services of economists, planners, architects, landscape architects, sociologists and community development specialists. We also have both undergraduate and graduate students and it is important to us to involve our students in service to Iowa’s communities as part of their education.”

C2C will require a two-year contract with ISU Extension and Outreach with financial commitment ranging from $20,000–$40,000, depending on the services desired. Client communities will be asked to focus on measurable, achievable outcomes to document the impact of their efforts in order to help other Iowa communities learn from their experience.

“The two-year commitment not only gives us time to help a community achieve and measure goals, but to coordinate student design workshops, classes and student travel to the community that fits within the academic calendar and the community’s schedules,” Borich said.

Some of the services available for bundling through the C2C include the following. Descriptions of each service are available on CED’s Program Builder website at www.extension.iastate.edu/programbuilder/.

  • Community surveys
  • Economic analysis
  • Retail trade analysis and training workshops
  • Community visioning and strategic planning
  • Community design workshops (student studios)
  • Community engagement processes
  • Leadership development
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) workshops and projects
  • Tourism development and planning
  • E-commerce training
  • Diversity training
  • Nonprofit board management
  • Facilitation
  • Elder-friendly community planning
  • Housing trust fund development
  • Housing needs assessments and planning
  • Fund-raising training
  • Educational workshops on community-specified topics

Communities interested in participating in the C2C program should contact Borich at 515-294-8707 or borich@iastate.edu.

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