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Direct Resource Referral Service

Community and Economic Development

The following are links related to community and economic development. The links have been divided into several categories:

State and Federal Government

This is the official homepage of the State of Kansas. The site is a searchable gateway to state agencies, the legislature, and professional, business and commerce, and education resources in Kansas.

FedStats is a federal informational site that provides links to more than 70 federal agencies that produce statistics of interest to the public.

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Online Libraries and General Reference

Blue Skyways:
As a service of the Kansas State Library, Blue Skyways provides useful information and links for Kansas communities, libraries, education, and government.

State Library of Kansas:
The State Library of Kansas provides information services for state and local governments, for local libraries and their users, and for people who communicate with the library in the Capitol Building or at its other service locations.

Kansas State Data Center:
The State Data Center (SDC) Program is a cooperative program between the states and the Census Bureau that was created in 1978 to make data available locally to the public through a network of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local governments.

The SDC Program provide demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources to our patrons. Because they are a state agency, in almost every case, the information they provide is free of charge. Those requests that require significant analysis or research time may be assessed a fee.

USDA Rural Information Center:
The Rural Information Center (RIC) provides services for rural communities, local officials, organizations, businesses and rural citizens working to maintain the vitality of America's rural areas.

The National Agricultural Library (NAL):
The vision of NAL is to advance access to global information for agriculture.

Federal Library Information Center:
This website links to the four national libraries as well as agency and other federal libraries.

Google is one of the of the most popular and powerful search engines on the Web.

Bing is Microsoft’s challenge to the Google search engine.

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Economic and Demographic Data

Bureau of Economic Analysis:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is the major source for recent state and county industry, wage, and personal income data.

Institute for Policy and Social Research, University of Kansas:
IPSR compiles data from a variety of federal, state, and other sources to publish the annual Kansas Statistical Abstract. The Kansas Data section is an excellent source of state and county-level data, including:

  • Economic Data Summary Reports--graphs and tables for each county including population, labor force, employment by industry, per capita income, and tangible assessed valuation.
  • Kansas County Profile Reports--graphs and tables for each county for over 100 data items selected from the Kansas Statistical Abstract.
  • Kansas Statistical Abstract Archive--custom tables, custom trend graphs, bar charts, and maps from the Kansas Statistical Abstract.

Kansas Action for Children:
Kansas Action for Children annually publishes the Kansas Kids Count Data Book, an excellent source of county-level statistics on children in Kansas.

Kansas Agricultural Statistics:
Kansas Agricultural Statistics publishes many useful reports, and most are available on the Internet, including Weekly Crop-Weather, Crops, Prices, Livestock, Hogs and Pigs, Bluestem Pasture, Custom Rates, Farm Facts, Wheat Quality, Wheat Varieties and Agricultural Land Values.

Situation and Trends County Data Reports:
These reports use data from a number of sources to examine the situation and trends in population, income, economy, education, social environment and agriculture in every Kansas county. Prepared by the Office of Local Government, K-State Research and Extension, January 2008.

Sources of Socioeconomic Data for Economic Development Analysis:
EconData.Net is designed to help practitioners, researchers, students, and other data users quickly gain access to relevant state and substate socioeconomic data. The site aims to be a convenient, comprehensive first stop for anyone searching among the vast, disparate array of public and private data sources on the Web. EconData.Net is sponsored by the Economic Development Administration as a service to regional data users, and is jointly operated by Impresa, Inc. and Andrew Reamer & Associates, independent economic development consulting firms.

US Census Bureau:
The Census Bureau is the main access site for social, demographic, and economic information collected by the federal government. It provides data on population, the economy, agriculture, and much more. Detailed decennial census information is available at the national, state, county, place, and block level. Tip: To find what you're looking for, browse the Subjects A-Z list (the search engine can be frustrating).

FedStats is a federal informational site that provides links to more than 70 federal agencies that produce statistics of interest to the public.

Community Economic Profiles/Data Sources:
This website provides links to example county profiles. It is provided by the Center for Community and Economic Development, part of the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Take Charge:
Take Charge, a program from Iowa State University, is an economic development educational program developed by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development whereby leaders in small communities learn about their community and plan for its future. Click the link for local economic and demographic trend reports.

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Community & Economic Development – Funding

Kansas Grants Clearinghouse:
This site provides state and local units of government and other interested parties a starting point for researching grant opportunities online. Tutorials, guidebooks and other resources from the Kansas Grants Clearinghouse.

Grants.gov is your source to find and apply for federal government grants.

Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Online:
The online Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides access to a database of all federal programs available to state and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and non-profit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.

Fundraising and Grant Writing Links:
This website is provided by the University of Wisconsin Extension. Skip the Wisconsin links to find a very extensive set of federal agency programs.

Nonprofit Resource Center:
This site contains a wealth of information on forming, managing, and maintaining a nonprofit organization.

Grantwriting Resources:
Links to funding sources, grantwriting guides, and similar resources are available at this site maintained by Texas A&M's Center for Community Support.

Finding the Funds You Need: A Guide For Grantseekers, Penn State

Grants and Grants-Proposal Writing:
A brief guidebook on seeking external resources.

Grantwriting Tips from the Donors Forum of Wisconsin

Foundation Center:
This website provides many useful tips and resources, including a short course. Access to their database is by fee.

The Grantsmanship Center:
The Center provides training and resources. Access to their database is by fee.

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Community and Economic Development - General

Kansas Department of Commerce – Rural Development Division:
The Division of Rural Development is designed to elevate Commerce’s focus on rural development and encourage seamless collaboration among existing rural development organizations. The Division comprises an array of technical and financial assistance programs and services for rural developers and agricultural producers. While these programs are integrated, it can be helpful to think of them as falling within these three categories: Agriculture Marketing and Food, Community Development, and Rural Opportunity.

The Community Tool Box:
The Community Tool Box, from the University of Kansas, is the world's largest resource for free information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement, and is growing as a global resource for this work.

Extension Center for Community and Economic Development, University of Wisconsin:
The CCED creates, applies, and transfers multidisciplinary knowledge to help people understand community change and identify opportunities. Only a few of many useful resources are highlighted here:
Growing Local Economies
Community and Economic Development Tool Box
Community Economic Profiles/Data Sources
Steps to Creating an Economic Development Corporation

The Tool Box:
A product of Pennsylvania State University, this website uses employment data to help you better understand your local economy.

Headwater Economics Economic Profile System:
Headwater Economics automatically and efficiently produces socio-economic profiles for any county in the United States.

EconData.Net is designed to help practitioners, researchers, students, and other data users quickly gain access to relevant state and substate socioeconomic data. The site aims to be a convenient, comprehensive first stop for anyone searching among the vast, disparate array of public and private data sources on the Web. EconData.Net is sponsored by the Economic Development Administration as a service to regional data users, and is jointly operated by Impresa, Inc. and Andrew Reamer & Associates, independent economic development consulting firms.

National Association of Counties:
The National Association of Counties (NACo) was created to make sure counties have a strong voice in Washington. It is involved in a number of special projects that deal with such issues as the environment, sustainable communities, volunteerism, and intergeneration studies.

North Central Regional Center for Rural Development:
The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) works with extension professionals, researchers, and their partners to enhance rural development outcomes in the twelve state north central region. The NCRCRD is jointly funded by the USDA and Land Grant Universities in the twelve state region. The NCRCRD is part of a group of four centers that together cover the entire United States.  The four centers work collaboratively on issues that cross regional boundaries.  The other three centers are: Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, Southern Rural Development Center, and Western Rural Development Center.

Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs:
The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) builds the capacity of community leaders and policymakers by providing technical support, applied research, policy evaluation, and training across the state. IIRA is a clearinghouse for information on rural issues, coordinates rural research, and works with state agencies on issues of importance to rural communities.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs’ State and Local Policy Program:
The Institute focuses primarily on the areas of transportation technology and policy and economic development and knowledge clusters.

Sustainable Communities Network:
This site provides resources on a variety of community development topics around the theme of sustainability.

Smart Communities Network:
This site offers a host of useful information to help you understand the concept of sustainable development.

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Rural Tourism, Agri-Tourim, Nature-Based Tourism

Tourism Development Toolbox:
This Toolbox provides resources to facilitate industry-specific tourism entrepreneurship in your community. It is provided by the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Promoting Tourism in Rural America:
Compiled by the USDA Rural Information Center, this site lists over 100 tourism-related articles, guides and reports.

Developing Naturally - Enhancing Communities:
The Developing Naturally website provides field-tested resources to enhance communities throughout the world. Included for downloading at no fee are "How to" guides on Nature-based Community Development, Bed and Breakfast Development, and Recycling. At this site, you’ll find, “Developing Naturally­The Manual,”an extensive guide to community planning for nature-based tourism and nature-based enterprise development.

Small Farm Program, University of California-Davis:
Agricultural tourism, or agri-tourism, is one alternative for improving the incomes and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities. Educational resources to promote rural tourism. Be sure to check out the links related to agricultural tourism, ecological tourism, general tourism, tourism and resource sustainability, and value-added agriculture.

Tourism & Hospitality Research Center, Purdue University:
This website provides research, information and links to a variety of agricultural-tourism resources.

Ecotourism Planning Kit, University of Hawaii:
This kit is an extensive guide to ecological tourism enterprise feasibility analysis. While focusing on prospective operators in the Pacific Islands, the steps in the planning process are sufficiently general that anyone contemplating an ecotourism venture should benefit.

Rural Tourism: An Annotated Bibliography:
This link is for rural/economic development practitioners interested in exploring the potential of rural tourism for their service area. Prepared by the Rural Information Center, USDA, the bibliography leads to a host of resources and research related to tourism planning and development, tourism marketing, tourism and rural development, tourism and sustainable development, economic and other effects of tourism, heritage tourism, nature based tourism, ecotourism and agri-tourism.

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Hispanic Population/Immigration Resources

Pew Hispanic Center:
The Pew Hispanic Center is a project of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Immigration Policy Center:
The Immigration Policy Center is the research arm of the American Immigration Law Foundation. IPC was established with the mission to provide policymakers, academics, the media, and the general public with access to accurate information about the effects of immigration on the U.S. economy and society.

Julian Samora Research Institute:
The Julian Samora Research Institute is committed to the generation, transmission, and application of knowledge to serve the needs of Latino communities in the Midwest.

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health:
The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the premiere science based organization focusing on the health of the Hispanic population.

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Resources for Women

Women's Resources:
From the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, this page provides resources and contacts of particular interest to women. Links to the various web pages will help organizations and individuals pursue grant funding and other resources.

National Rural Frontier Women's Health Coordinating Centers:
From the US Department of Health and Human Services, this comprehensive rural/frontier women's health coordinating center may be an effective strategy to address the health status of this population.

American Agri-Women:
American Agri-Women is the national coalition of farm, ranch, and agri-business women's organizations. They are a non-profit, non-partisan, public interest organization.

SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership:
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership exists to establish and oversee a network of Women’s Business Centers throughout the United States. Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged, are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.

Resources for Women Entrepreneurs:
The Service Corps of Retired Executives has assembled this list of hotlinks to useful Web sites for women entrepreneurs.

Woman Owned.com:
This site provides information, tools, networking opportunities and advice to help women start or grow their business.

The Office of Minority and Women Business Development:
The Office of Minority and Women Business Development promotes business development with a focus on minority- and women-owned businesses. Information and referrals are provided in the areas of procurement, contracting and subcontracting, financing and business management. The office also partners with other business advocates to sponsor business education workshops and seminars. A statewide directory of minority- and women-owned businesses is published by Commerce to assist those searching for businesses, products and services.

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Diversity Issues

Dimensions of Diversity, Penn State University:
At this site, diversity is viewed from a broad perspective that includes many dimensions. The goal of this site is to provide resources to help everyone increase their awareness, understanding, and value of diversity.

eXtension Diversity Center:
The eXtension Diversity Center is an initiative to provide a virtual community committed to developing educational institutions and agencies that are inclusive in make-up and practice.

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Alternative Income Opportunities for Rural Producers

Missouri Alternatives Center:
A resource dedicated to identifying and evaluating alternative farming opportunities, especially for smaller producers. Check out the “Extension Information on Alternatives” to find links to a very large number related publications.

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Electronic Commerce

SBDCNet National Information Clearinghouse:
This website contains lots of good information about electronic commerce, including getting started; building a Website; dealing with payment, security and taxes; and providing customer service and support.

Basic Guide to E-Commerce (Doing Business Over the Internet/Web):
This guide is another good compendium of resources related to e-commerce. Well worth checking out.

Access eCommerce:
Part of the Minnesota Main Street program at the University of Minnesota-Extension, the guide targets rural businesses interested in establishing or improving their presence on the Internet. A very practical step-by-step planning and evaluation guide.

The National e-Commerce Extension Initiative:
As part of the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative, this Learning Center provides exciting new e-commerce resources for entrepreneurs, small business owners, Extension educators, community development professionals, and group leaders.

E-Commerce – A Free Online Course from the Small Business Administration:
Several free online courses are offered by the SBA to help prospective entrepreneurs better understand the basics about e-commerce and technology. These self-paced courses are easy to use and understand. They will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Online Business from Business.gov:
For the most part, the steps to starting an online business are the same as starting any business. However, doing business online comes with additional legal and financial considerations, particularly in the areas of privacy, security, copyright, and taxation. This federal government Website helps explain how to comply with laws and regulations.

E-Commerce Guide:
From the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, this Guide helps you determine if your business is Internet ready.

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Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Communities

This site is an online information resource for entrepreneurs and supporters of entrepreneurship by the Kauffman Foundation. Entrepreneurship.org provides a solution to information overload on the Web by providing highly filtered information coded by stage of business development.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation:
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation works with partners to encourage entrepreneurship across America and improve the education of children and youth. The Foundation focuses its operations and grantmaking on two areas: entrepreneurship and education.

Edward Lowe Foundation:
The foundation actively embraces and encourages entrepreneurship as the source and strategy for economic growth, community development and economically independent individuals. Their mission is to champion the entrepreneurial spirit by providing information, research and educational experiences that support entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system.

The RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship:
This site is the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship’s online reference library. It has sections on entrepreneurial development, rural economic development, and enterprise facilitation. Some articles are targeted more at academic research, but some may be useful to entrepreneurs and community leaders.

The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education:
The Consortium is a US-based membership group that serves as advocates for entrepreneurship education for youth and adults. It's purpose is to provide information and resources “for teachers, instructors, program developers and others who help students of all ages find their own entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Economic Gardening – An Entrepreneurial Approach to Economic Development:
This website uses the example of Littleton, Colorado to demonstrate how having a healthy base of entrepreneurs creates healthy communities.

eXtension: Entrepreneurs & Their Communities:
A Community of Interest organized by the Cooperative Extension System.

Center for Entrepreneurship, Wichita State University:
The Center for Entrepreneurship offers public forums, training programs, and training tools on the topic of entrepreneurship.

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Rural Development

K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development:
The Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD) is a place where university faculty and community leaders can come together to address community challenges, meet community needs, and realize community dreams through effective scholarship-based engagement.
Business Development
Community Development
Environmental Understanding and Protection

Kansas PRIDE Program:
The PRIDE Program is dedicated to serving communities across the state to encourage and assist local government and volunteers in making their community a better place to live and work. Through PRIDE, local communities identify what they would like to preserve, create, or improve for their future. Then, working with the resources of K-State Research & Extension and the Kansas Department of Commerce, community volunteers pull together to create their ideal community future.

Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development:
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public/private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The Institute's mission is to enhance rural development by helping rural people help themselves. Specific objectives include:

  • Strengthen the roles of the private sector, entrepreneurship, and local leadership in rural development.
  • Encourage cooperation among rural development providers.
  • Identify emerging rural policy needs and communicate/facilitate needed strategies for the future through outreach to rural communities.
  • Articulate and promote the important benefits of agriculture and rural life and an appreciation of their vital importance to the nation.
  • Utilize strategic alliances and partnerships in accomplishing our mission.

USDA Rural Information Center:
The Rural Information Center (RIC) provides services for rural communities, local officials, organizations, businesses and rural citizens working to maintain the vitality of America's rural areas.

Rural Assistance Center:
The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) was established in December 2002 as a rural health and human services "information portal." RAC helps rural communities and other rural stakeholders access the full range of available programs, funding, and research that can enable them to provide quality health and human services to rural residents. 

USDA Briefing Rooms:
Each Briefing Room offers an in-depth discussion synthesizing USDA Economic Research Service research and the economic issues that frame the analysis.

Farm Foundation:
Established to improve the well-being of US agriculture and rural people. Its vision is to be widely recognized as a catalyst to increase the productivity and competitiveness of US agriculture and improve the quality of life for rural people.

Heartland Center for Leadership Development:
The Heartland Center for Leadership Development is an independent, nonprofit organization developing local leadership that responds to the challenges of the future.

National Association of Development Organizations:
NADO provides advocacy, education, research and training for the nation's regional development organizations. Building on nearly four decades of experience, the association works to enhance the ability of regional development organizations to foster "regional solutions" to local government, business and community needs.

National Association of Counties:
The National Association of Counties (NACo) was created to make sure counties have a strong voice in Washington. It is involved in a number of special projects that deal with such issues as the environment, sustainable communities, volunteerism, and intergeneration studies.

National League of Cities:
The National League of Cities works to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership, and governance.

National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals:
NACDEP is an organization dedicated to improving the visibility, coordination, professional status and resource base of community and economic development Extension programs and professionals.

National Rural Development Partnership:
The National Rural Development Partnership acts as a non-partisan forum for identifying, discussing, and acting on issues affecting rural America. The NRDP facilitates coordination and collaboration among its partners to improve implementation of rural programs.

Rural Policy Research Institute:
The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America. RUPRI’s aim is to spur public dialogue and help policymakers understand the rural impacts of public policies and programs.

The Rural School and Community Trust:
The Rural School and Community Trust is a national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities. Our mission is to help rural schools and communities get better together.

Rural Community College Alliance:
The Rural Community College Alliance is a network and advocacy group that helps build the capacity of member community colleges to improve the educational and economic prospects for rural America. The Alliance seeks to reduce rural isolation and share effective solutions to problems facing distressed rural communities.

Rural People, Rural Policy:
A W.K. Kellogg Foundation Initiative.

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