For the City Times
Incourage has received a 2016 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships for its Blueprints for Tomorrow (Blueprints) program.
The award, a national partnership between HUD and the Council on Foundations, was presented April 10 at the Council’s Annual Meeting, in Washington, DC. Incourage CEO Kelly Ryan accepted the award.
Blueprints is a 25-month Incourage and USDA-supported program combining training, coaching and community knowledge with evolving design and finance tools, to achieve together, projects that support community priorities. It is building networks, vision and skills to lead a new regional economy based upon the values of equity, opportunity and shared stewardship, according to Incourage CEO Kelly Ryan.
“Blueprints is helping the community’s institutions do business in new and different ways, ensuring that they are prepared to support an entrepreneurial culture shaped by resident participation,” Ryan noted. “We envision Blueprints presenting lessons for communities nationwide.”
The six organizations participating in this initial Blueprints group include: City of Wisconsin Rapids; Wood County; John E. Alexander South Wood County YMCA; Wisconsin Rapids Housing Authority; Central Rivers Farmshed; and through additional organizations investments, Incourage. These organizations were identified because of their projects and for their appetite for collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit, Ryan said.
“One of the biggest challenges to getting financial capital invested into rural areas is lack of capacity to broker deals,” Ryan explained. “These partners were chosen because they possess the potential and drive to attract the necessary resources to complete their programs. Blueprints builds on these institutions’ capacity to attract capital and support.”
“There is a tangible feeling that any project coming out of this collaboration has a stronger chance of real world success,” said Adam Tegen, City of Wisconsin Rapids Director of Planning & Economic Development. Tegen highlighted the partnerships that are emerging from Blueprints training as teams are look beyond their own priorities to see how they mesh with other teams and the community at large.