Current Projects

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative Project

With Nebraska Extension as a collaborating partner, we wrote a proposal for an RCDI grant to provide technical and financial assistance to flood-impacted communities in Knox County, Nebraska, and surrounding areas.  This grant has just been funded by USDA Rural Development.  Extension is matching the USDA grant. The Heartland Center has been the lead agency or a partner in several previous RCDI grants.  Kurt Mantonya is a key member of the project team, and he helped write the proposal.

RDI-Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Study of Leadership Programs

With Rural Development Initiatives, Inc., in Oregon, we are a partner in a project funded by the RWJF to synthesize promising practices strengthening rural community leadership.  Among other partners are the Brushy Fork Institute and MDC.  Our role is to assist with a listening tour of innovative approaches in the upper Midwest and help with two national convenings.  The foundation is interested in how RWJF and other foundations can more effectively support rural leadership development.

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Hospital Renovation

The Heartland Center partnered with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and BVH Architecture to plan renovation of a former hospital that was built in Walthill, Nebraska, in 1913 by the first Native American to earn a medical degree in the U.S.  USDA Rural Development has funded a major grant for exterior renovation of the building, and Milan just wrote a proposal to the National Park Service for interior improvements.  The first renovation was roof replacement, thanks to a grant we wrote to the Shakopee (Sioux) Foundation in Minnesota.

Wahoo, Nebraska School-Community Engagement Project

This project has been continued, and Milan and former Heartland Center Board Member Larry Dlugosh are facilitating a series of work sessions for a Community Advisory Committee appointed by the Wahoo Board of Education. The Advisory Committee is considering options for adding instructional and activity space to the school district’s elementary and middle-high school buildings.  Last spring, we did a series of stakeholder interviews and focus groups  to analyze why voters soundly defeated a proposed bond issue for facility improvements last fall.  future.

Community Facilities Priorities in Gage County

This three-year project is designed to help Gage County, Nebraska, communities identify and plan for community facility needs and other community and economic development priorities.     Craig Schroeder has been a big help with this project, which is funded by a USDA training and technical assistance grant.  This fall, we have expanded the youth engagement aspects of this project, which ends in about a year.  High school students are focusing on a community library in Odell, park improvements in Diller and main street amenities in Blue Springs and Wymore.