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University of Iowa News Release


May 17, 2010

Five Iowa communities selected for UI economic development pilot project

Five communities in Iowa have been selected to participate in a pilot program with the University of Iowa College of Law, looking for ways to strengthen their economies by improving cooperation between local governments and nonprofit organizations.

The communities will work with the law school’s Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center and Institute of Public Affairs to improve the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of communities and secular and faith-based nonprofit organizations that provide services throughout Iowa.

“Under this program, we will provide training and technical assistance at no cost to local governments under 5,000 population and eligible nonprofit organizations serving those communities to develop and implement long-term community economic recovery strategies,” said Jeff Schott, director of the institute. “The five pilot communities will be used to identify, develop, evaluate and refine effective strategies to achieve the program objectives, and respond to the issues, concerns, challenges and opportunities that we encounter.”

The five communities, and their nonprofit co-applicants, include:

--City of Belle Plaine and Belle Plaine Community Development Corp.

--City of Chariton and Chariton Chamber and Development Charitable Foundation, Lucas County Development Corp. and Chariton Chamber and Development Corp.

--City of Pocahontas and Pocahontas Chamber of Commerce.

--City of Prairie City and Friends of Prairie Learning Center, Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, Citizens in Action for Recreation Area Development, Inc. and Prairie City Business Association.

--Lee County communities of Donnellson, Franklin, Montrose, and West Point, co-sponsored by Lee County Economic Development Group, Inc. and Montrose Riverfront, Inc.

One city from each of five regions in Iowa was selected. Preliminary sessions will be held in each of the five communities this summer. The long-term community economic recovery strategy sessions and training and technical assistance programs will begin in September.

Schott said the results obtained from the pilot projects will be used to develop best practices for nonprofit organizations and local governments to build organizational capacity and promote collaboration to develop long-term community economic recovery strategies. It will also serve as the basis for statewide organizational development training and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations and local governments.

The program is funded by a $250,000 grant from the Strengthening Communities Fund – State, Local and Tribal Government Capacity program of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Strengthening Community Fund is dedicated to improving the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of communities and secular and faith-based nonprofit organizations located and providing services throughout Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jeff Schott, director, Institute for Public Affairs, 319-335-7586,; Tom Snee, University of Iowa News Services, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell),