RI Policy on Community Economic Development

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The Rotary Foundation strives to process grants efficiently and ensure the quality of grant-funded projects. In each policy statement, you’ll find lists of eligible and ineligible activities, including examples of the types of projects that Rotary clubs and districts have successfully implemented. All grant requests must comply with the policy statement related to their intended area of focus. Project planning is the responsibility of the host club or district. (Release - October 2020)

Rotary supports investments in people and communities to alleviate poverty, creating measurable and enduring economic improvements in poor and underserved areas.

Area of Focus Statement of Purpose and Goals
TRF enables Rotarians to alleviate poverty by:
1. Building the capacity of local leaders, organizations, and networks to support economic development in poor communities
2. Developing opportunities for productive work and improving access to sustainable livelihoods
3. Empowering marginalized communities by providing access to economic opportunities and services
4. Building the capacity of entrepreneurs, social businesses, and locally supported business innovators
5. Addressing gender or class disparities that prevent populations from obtaining productive work and accessing markets and financial services
6. Increasing access to renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures to create more sustainable and economically resilient communities
7. Empowering communities to develop environmental and natural resource conservation skills for economic gain
8. Strengthening communities' economic resilience and adaptive capacity5 in response to environmental and climate-related hazards and natural disasters
9. Developing and supporting community-based basic emergency preparedness services to improve economic resilience
10. Funding graduate scholarships for career-minded professionals related to community economic development

Parameters for Eligibility
TRF considers the following activities to be within the scope of the community economic development area of focus:
1. Providing poor communities with access to financial services, including microcredit, mobile banking, savings, and insurance
2. Offering training related to community economic development, including entrepreneurship, community leadership, vocational skills, and financial literacy
3. Developing community members' economic and employment potential through leadership training and empowerment tools, especially through initiatives for women, refugees, and young adults
4. Supporting small-business, cooperative, or social-enterprise development and income-generating activities for the poor, including organizing area-wide businesses that provide employment
5. Furthering agricultural development for subsistence and small farmers, including building capacity and facilitating access to financial markets and capital
6. Organizing community-led and -coordinated adopt-a-village initiatives, or comprehensive community development activities
7. Supporting equal and effective economic opportunities for women, refugees, and other marginalized populations
8. Providing access to renewable, clean, and efficient energy through sustainable, locally purchased, and innovative technology, as well as substantial training directly connected to economic outcomes
9. Training communities in conservation and resource management to help them preserve, protect, and sustainably use natural resources for their economic benefit and growth
10. Improving communities' ability to adapt to environmental and climatic changes through capacity-building, and developing sustainable economic activities
11. Providing training and basic resources to support basic emergency preparedness initiatives and enhance communities' economic resilience, including fire prevention and natural disaster preparedness

TRF considers the following activities to be outside the scope of the community economic development area of focus and not eligible for global grant funding:
1. Community infrastructure or equipment projects without direct economic results, or without operational and maintenance plans
2. Community beautification projects such as parks and playgrounds
3. Projects to rehabilitate community centers

Elements of Successful Humanitarian Projects and Vocational Training Teams
Community economic development global grants are:
1. Sustainable - Communities can address their economic development needs after the Rotary club or district completes its work.
2. Measurable - Sponsors need to set targets and identify measurements to track project outcomes. Standard measures are listed in the Global Grant Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Supplement.
3. Community driven - Projects meet the needs identified by the host community.
Areas of Focus Policy Statements (October 2020) 15

Elements of Successful Scholarships
Global grants support graduate-level scholarships for professionals interested in pursuing careers in community economic development. TRF considers the following when evaluating global grant scholarship applications:
1. The applicant's previous work experience in the field of community economic development.
Applicants are expected to demonstrate how their work contributed to the economic well-being of poor, low-income, or underserved communities at the local, regional, or national level.
2. The academic program's alignment with community economic development
   a. Examples include social science degrees with a focus on community economic development and business degrees tailored to social business, micro-entrepreneurship, or microcredit
   b. Programs that will be favorably considered include those that:
      i. Emphasize local, regional, or national economic development strategies
      ii. Focus on addressing economic issues of poor, low-income, and underserved communities
      iii. Support social business development, such as a specialized track within a master of business administration program
      iv.  Provide a business degree to teach entrepreneurial skills or support startups at the local, regional, or national level
      v. Include "community development" in the name of the program or specialized track
Improve the coaching or advising capability of an individual working with small businesses or entrepreneurs
      vii. Focus on strategies to address environmental issues that affect poor, low-income, and underserved communities, such as resource management, environmental and conservation studies, resilience planning, and preparedness
      viii. Use urban planning principles to guide economic development strategies
c. Programs that will not be favorably considered include those that:
      i. Focus on purely theoretical, macro-level economics, politics, or finance
      ii. Support general private business development, such as a master of business administration for professions unrelated to social enterprise
3. The applicant's career plans as they relate to community economic development
   a. Careers that will be considered favorably include those that:
      i. Improve the economic and social well-being of poor, low- income, and underserved communities at the local, regional, and national level
      ii. Are in a nonprofit or social enterprise environment
      iii. Support advocacy for economic and social well-being (e.g. for poor communities, youth, women, indigenous peoples, refugees, and other underserved populations)
      iv. Address environmental issues that affect poor, low-income, and underserved communities through strategies including resource management, environmental and conservation studies, resilience planning, and preparedness
   b. Careers that will not be considered favorably include general roles in business, engineering, or social work, or general administration in a private or corporate environment.

Note:  Adaptive capacities refer to the social and technical skills of individuals and groups that allow them to respond effectively to environmental and socioeconomic changes.


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