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The Orton Family Foundation is excited to announce that it will partner with the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Project for Public Spaces, and the CommunityMatters partners to lead the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD).
CIRD (formerly “YourTown”) works to enhance the quality of life and economic viability of rural areas. CIRD does this through design workshops it organizes that gather local leaders together with experts in planning, design and creative placemaking to assist with locally identified issues. Since the program’s inception in 1991, CIRD has convened more than 60 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to recognize and leverage their local assets to build better places to live, work and play.
Beginning in July, the CommunityMatters partners will come together with NEA to design and launch the next round of community workshops, combined with new program elements including pre-workshop training calls, post-workshop follow-up and online resources.
“Over recent decades too many small towns have gone from the unique to the uniform, subject to cookie-cutter design and development,” said Bill Roper, President & CEO of the Orton Family Foundation. “But people have the power to weave a new community narrative for the future, one that enhances their town’s unique heart and soul. This uniqueness is core to small towns’ lasting economic success built on local assets. We are excited to bring all the knowledge, skills and resources of this partnership to aid America’s rural communities and help them thrive.”