The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and CommunityMatters® Partnership.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funds and oversees the CIRD program. The NEA was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. www.arts.gov
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use its Rural Development network across the country to increase the number and quality of applications to the CIRD program and to serve on panels to select communities for workshops. USDA Rural Development administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. www.rurdev.usda.gov
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) serves as the lead cooperator for CIRD, administering and coordinating the program on behalf of the NEA. Founded in 1975, PPS is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. PPS has completed projects in over 2,500 communities and all 50 US states, and has become an internationally recognized center for resources, tools, and inspiration about placemaking. www.pps.org
The Orton Family Foundation is the lead partner for CIRD, assisting with key aspects of the program including development of the workshops, conference call and webinar series, and public engagement components. Orton, founded in 1995, helps small cities and towns harness the inherent ability of citizens to imagine and achieve a culturally and economically vibrant future for their community. The Foundation's Heart & Soul approach supports citizens in steering their town's future by discovering the characteristics and attributes valued most in their communities and, then, by placing those shared values at the center of local decision making. www.orton.org