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Posted on March 16, 2012 at 01:05 PM by Tom Gray
The three Muskateers (Gregg, Rhonda and Tom) were sent off to Washington DC to attend the Health and Human Services (HHS) Community Economic Development Conference (CED). It was a chance to meet with our grant officer and learn about other upcoming federal grant opportunities. Our technical assistance advisors, Ralph and Glenn, were present also, and we had a productive meeting with them. We also met some other nonprofits that were doing amazing work. Coastal Enterprise, Inc (CEI) located in Maine was particularly inspiring. With their CED funds they have formed a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) through which they fund social enterprises in Maine with the goal of creating economic opportunities for disadvantaged populations.
We were excited to learn that there will be another round of grant applications to which we can apply. There was some fear that in the age of austerity that there would be no funds available. One of the programs which supported us two years ago is no longer funded (Job Opportunities for Low-income Individuals-JOLI). We went over to the White House to brainstorm with Michelle and Barack and we all decided that we should propose a broad expansion of our operations across the Midwest. Michelle, of course, wanted us to grow organic produce in addition to our recycling activities, but we persuaded her that that would constitute mission drift.