Vibrant Rural Communities

This article provides links to 9 case studies in which small towns have collaborated to make a positive change, addition, or partnership in their community. Each small town is unique but shares a common theme of community and close-knit connections. These success stories provide some excellent best practice strategies that can be applied to any small town.  Click here to read more.  

WASACT – Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Action Coordinating Team

W2ASACT or the Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Action Coordinating Team, is a group of professionals from state, federal, and non-profit organizations that finance, regulate, and/or provide technical assistance for community water and wastewater systems throughout Montana. The W2ASACT website contains grant applications, guides and tips  for applying to 2014 water/wastewater funding. 

Youth With a Voice: Engaging Young People in Rural and Small Town Community Development

One of the greatest issues for rural communities is the outmigration of youth. These talented young individuals are leaving their rural hometowns for several different reasons, but a recurring theme of this outmigration is the lack of opportunities for career pathways and social development. This resource from NADO provides research and results of engaging youth in community as well as several examples of successful youth engagment projects.  Visit the NADO website for more information.  

Triple Bottom Line Economic Development Tool

The Triple Bottom Line Tool can be used to calculate the financial and community impact of economic decisions and investments given a variety of market, social, and environmental influences. This tool, a free on-line tool developed by funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, can be used in economic decision-making to see what effects investment choices will have on communities and regions. Follow the link to use the TLB Tool, read the PDF document for user guide and tips, and view an additional helpful video here

Triple Bottom Line Tool User’s Guide

Tools for Business Success

This toolkit from Sweetgrass Development Corporation provides information and resources for small business owners, employers, regional companies, and entrepreneurs. The website offers resources and helpful links to business plans, industry statistics, business expansion techniques, funding options, and educational materials. 

U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis

This study, conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the Department of Energy, analyzes the potential for six different renewable energy sources in the US, including Utility-Scale Photovoltaics, Wind, Solar, Biopower, Hydrothermal, and Geothermal. Researchers based their methods and analyses on renewable resource availability and quality, topographic limitations, technical system performance, environment, and land-use constraints. Method details and findings are available in the full report.  Click here for the website.  

NREL Renewable Tech Potential

Storytelling – Heart and Soul

This resource provides a best practice model for generating buy-in for planning projects through community member storytelling. By emphasizing the connections that people have to place, planning leaders can encourage communities to invest in creating plans and projects for the future of that place for which they have such a connection. Read further for details and visit the website for more resources on the Heart and Soul method of community development. 

Heart and Soul Story Telling