Program Solicitation: The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) Coordination

Funding Agency:
National Endowment for the Arts

The purpose of this program solicitation is to select an organization (Cooperator) to plan and administer the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD), a program of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The CIRD was created in 1991 with the goal of enhancing the quality of life and economic viability of rural America through planning, design, and creative placemaking. In the past, the program has hosted annually up to four, multi-day workshops in communities across the nation with populations of 50,000 or less to develop locally driven solutions for improving the ways a community looks, its quality of life, and its economic viability. These workshops have addressed specific planning and design issues including downtown revitalization, economic development, arts-based development strategies, creative business incubation, multimodal transportation, housing, and healthy living by design.

While the CIRD has successfully empowered local citizens to help capitalize on unique local and regional assets in order to guide the civic development of their own communities, the NEA has four overall areas of special interest:

1. Building capacity in rural communities to plan comprehensive revitalization strategies;

2. Introducing creative placemaking, arts, culture, and design strategies as drivers of economic development in rural America;

3. Facilitating a network of rural communities for idea exchanges and peer learning; and

4. Preparing communities to be ready and competitive for state and federal funding opportunities.

Applicants should propose a comprehensive plan for the CIRD program that addresses its goal and the four areas of special interest. In the past, the CIRD has used a local workshop format in selected communities; however, we are open to different solutions such as local design workshops, regional or peer exchange convenings, a training program for field leaders to host their own local workshops, or any combination of these elements. Specific CIRD program activities could include, but are not limited to: public design workshops to help rural communities plan for their future; convening experts to deliver practical how-to training and ideas for rural community leaders; and building a cohort of rural communities (in a single state or region) to learn from design experts and from each other.

An organization may submit only one proposal under this program solicitation.

  • Duke Internal Deadline: July 23, 2018
  • Sponsor Deadline: Aug. 8, 2018

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; U.S. institutions of higher education; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes may apply. 

Amount Description

The National Endowment for the Arts expects to award one Cooperative Agreement of up to $350,000, contingent upon the availability of funds. This Cooperative Agreement requires a nonfederal cost share of at least 50% of the Cooperative Agreement amount. Matching funds cannot include funds from any NEA or other federal sources. 

Funding Type





Arts & Humanities
Community Outreach and Engagement

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here:

Internal Deadline

July 23, 2018

External Deadline

August 8, 2018