New Generation Leaders
Engaging action teams in hands-on community solutions
New Generation Leaders helps young rural leaders become more active in civic and economic affairs, in part through engagement in a group community improvement project.
To support this work, challenge grants of up to $20,000 will be issued annually for three years, beginning in 2012. The grants are awarded to local governments, educational institutions and community organizations, which serve as advisers to the action teams.
Leaders is part of the larger New Generation Initiative, a three-year effort to transform rural counties through youth and young adult engagement. Other programs of the initiative target community training, entrepreneurship and career development.
Young people ages 16 to 30 work as part of an action team to 1) design and implement the community improvement project and 2) develop recommendations for how their communities can become a more attractive and welcoming place for youth and young adults. During this yearlong process, the teams become immersed in their community's history, culture and economy while engaging with the larger community in discussions and activities.
Each action team is composed of approximately 25 youth or young adults, and solicits input from at least 100 additional young people in the community. The team also represents the diversity of the local communities.
Grants require collaboration by local organizations. Each grant is worth $20,000.
Eleven projects were selected for the first round of grants in June 2012. The lead organizations and the areas their projects will serve are:
Brunswick Housing Opportunities, Brunswick County
Caswell County Partnership for Children, Caswell County
Communities in Schools, Cleveland County
Duplin County Center for Leadership Development, Duplin County
Gates County Cooperative Extension, Gates County
Graham County Cooperative Extension, Graham County
Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, Halifax and Northampton counties
Rural School and Community Trust, Warren County
Town of Mars Hill, Madison County
United Way, Onslow County
Wilkes County Schools, Wilkes County
What the program offers
Challenge grants. The grants support the community improvement project, which is developed by a community action team, and the action team’s learning process. Projects focus on making the community a more attractive and welcoming place for youth and young adults. The grants require a 50 percent cash or in-kind match.
Training. Action teams attend a kickoff and training event in Raleigh to increase their leadership skills and to learn about the program process and expectations. Additional training is offered in local team meetings.
Technical assistance. State and local organizations provide action teams with resources and assistance as the teams learn about the community’s civic infrastructure, history, culture and economic climate and implement their projects.
Networking opportunities. Teams connect with one another through social media and share their successes and challenges through online blogging throughout the process. Teams also have the opportunity to visit other communities to learn about innovative projects and initiatives.
New Generation Leaders is offered in selected communities statewide.
Eligible to participate are:
Priority is given to communities that lost youth or young adult population between 2000 and 2010.
Local governments, educational institutions and community organizations may apply as the lead partner in a project. Applications, however, must demonstrate commitment by multiple partners, including representatives of the target age group.
Community organizations that apply as lead partners must include the whole community in the project service area, not just their own constituents.
How to apply
Applications are due April 17, 2013, for grants to be announced in June 2013. Download the application. (Word)
Misty Herget, senior associate for leadership development
N.C. Rural Economic Development Center
4021 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610
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