Grand Parenting and Grant Writing

Grand-parenting 2016-08-25As a relatively new grandmother, I have learned that transitioning into the grandparent stage of life is truly rewarding and fascinating. Viewing the world with the sponge-like mind of a child reminds us of the simplicity of life.

I was reminded of this during a recent trip to the toy store with my 2 ½ year old granddaughter. It was quite the adventure as we browsed all of the aisles examining the many products designed to encourage the buy activity. She picked up and inspected a multitude of items for brand awareness, interaction, durability and general interest. Once examined, the toys were returned back to their rightful display place. That is, until that special toy appeared! With eyes sparkling with anticipation and the toy clutched tightly in her hands I heard her exclaim, “Grammy, I need this.” At this point a conversation ensued in which we discussed the toy’s suitability for her age, price, and her commitment to playing with and caring for her toy of choice. It dawned on me then that these same principles apply to collaborating with others in grant writing. Like the conversation with my granddaughter, I’ve shared similar considerations with many of the Extension colleagues and clientele with whom I’ve worked. For example:

1)  You get nothing if you ask for nothing.

You cannot fear rejection. The grant-writing experience is beneficial even if your particular request is not funded. Generally, your success rate will increase with each submission. And, be sure your request matches the mission of the funding source. After more shopping experiences, my granddaughter should begin to learn what I might likely purchase for her and what I will not.

2)  Is it a want or a need?

Before moving forward with your proposal, be sure that you can cite evidence that clearly shows the project will solve a pressing problem and will be good for the community. Use statistics when possible to describe the impact.

3)  How will you use this?

Your goals should describe the focus of the project and how the project addresses the need. What are the primary anticipated impacts of this project? The goals may be broad as long as you can identify measurable outcomes. Objectives need to be SMART-specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

4)  What is the real cost?

Develop a detailed budget that will illustrate the project cost in total. Recognize funding collaborators, detail costs, outline a timeframe, and demonstrate the ability to sustain once the project is completed. Funders (like grandparents) want to make investments that are sensible. For grandparents and funders, ‘feel-good’ investments can be a recipe for disaster.

5)  Other key considerations when engaging in grant writing include building relationships with funding sources and being sure to follow grant application guidelines.

Remember these grant writing basics and enjoy the accomplishment of this “grand” option to impact your financial opportunities. Not sure where to start? Ohio State University Extension has resources and talent available to assist in writing a successful grant application.

It’s such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother — that’s why the world calls her grandmother.
~Author Unknown

Darlene Lukshin is a Program Specialist for OSU Extension Community Development in Washington County (Buckeye Hills EERA).

It’s time to rock and roll – NACDEP Conference coming to Cleveland!!!

Image - Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

How do you build team, showcase some of the amazing work being done by colleagues throughout the organization, and become more engaged in your professional association? You propose hosting the association’s annual conference in your state!

On behalf of Extension CD professionals throughout Ohio, I am pleased to announce that Ohio has been selected as the site of the 2018 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) Conference.

Please consider joining over 250 of your Extension colleagues from throughout the country as they engage in conversations, workshops and tours focused on local foods, urban programs, leadership development, economic development, and much much more.

Need more reasons to participate? With a nod to David Letterman, here are the top ten reasons you will want to attend NACDEP in Cleveland in June 2018:

10. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – its only rock and roll but I like it

9.   TameImage - Cedar Point the roller coasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park

8.   Life is a beach- enjoy visiting the Lake Erie Islands

Image - Cleveland Waterfront7.   Visit the Great Lakes Science Center – See, touch and explore! Enjoy amazing hands-on science exhibits, immerse yourself in a six-story OMNIMAX Theater, explore the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, and climb aboard the Steamship William G. Mather

6.   See urban farming up close with a personal tour of a vineyard

5.   Learn about the Global Center for Health Innovation Project– a focal point for the healthcare industry

Image - West Side Market4.   Visit Cleveland’s historic West Side Market– a century-old market where immigrants and shoppers have come for decades to find the dishes and spices of their home country

3.   Enjoy fine cuisine during a visit to the “Little Italy” neighborhood where you can dine, recline, and catch up with colleagues

Image - Playhouse Square2.   Take in a show at Playhouse Square– a collection of ten performance spaces, including five theaters restored to their original 1920s elegance



And the number one reason to attend the 2018 NACDEP Conference is……………………………….

It’s time to ignite!  Enlighten us, but make it quick. Come and watch colleagues as they get 5 minutes and 20 slides to tell a compelling story.

Still not sure if you want to come to Cleveland? Check out this video.

David Civittolo is serving as the conference committee co-chair and is an Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist for Community Economics.

Ohio Shale Energy Development: Assessing the Economic Opportunities and Risks

Ohio Shale Energy Development 2016-08-11 #2The recent technological advancement in horizontal hydraulic fracturing has unlocked oil and gas resources from shale formations once thought to be uneconomical to recover. According to an article by the U.S. DOE Energy Information Administration, “As a result of growth in production, domestic production is soon expected to surpass domestic consumption of natural gas, and by 2018 the United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since the 1950s.”[1]  Ohio is a major contributor to domestic oil and gas development as intense production from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations continue to expand.

At the local level, oil and gas development can create a boomtown scenario for communities who experience an increase in population, wealth and economic activity due to the sudden shock. Energy-based economies often experience a boom-bust cycle that follows the rise and fall of energy prices. A high performing energy sector often crowds out other sectors from additional growth, promoting a highly specialized regional economy that is dependent on the performance of the energy sector. This contributes to the volatility of the local economy by limiting economic diversification, and thereby impacting long-term economic growth.

Ohio Shale Energy Development 2016-08-11OSU Extension has collaborated with faculty researchers in OSU’s department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and the School of Environment and Natural Resources to develop resources that explain how oil and gas development can affect the social, economic, and environmental fabric of a community. A recently published fact sheet series titled, “Shale Energy Development Economic Impact Analysis” is based on the original research from the project “Maximizing the Gains of Old and New Energy Development for America’s Rural Communities.” The materials summarize the project’s research to inform the reader of economic impacts related to energy development.

  1. Ohio Energy Trends: Comparing Old And New Energy Development
  2. Characteristics Of A Boomtown
  3. Contributing Factors To A Boomtown Bust
  4. Developing A Model To Measure Economic Change In An Energy Economy
  5. Local Economic Development Strategies For Energy Boomtowns
  6. Community Planning Strategies For Energy Boomtowns

Readers are provided a background on energy development in Ohio, an investigation into the structural changes that local economies experience when faced with oil and gas development, and planning strategies that interested community stakeholders can employ to nurture long-term community vitality.

For more information, visit Ohioline to review the fact sheet series or contact Eric Romich.

Eric Romich is an Assistant Professor and Ohio State University Extension Field Specialist for Energy Development.


[1] United States Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (USDOE/EIA) . (2016, June). Most natural gas production growth is expected to come from shale gas and tight oil plays. Retrieved from EIA Today In Energy:

Vibrant Downtowns Key to Community Development

Prior to World War II, many communities in the U.S. were centered around downtowns for living, shopping, entertainment and work. The quintessential downtown was typically home to a bank, a post office, government offices, a library, clothing stores, a music store, a cinema, a grocery and a diner. Most of the buildings offered apartments on the second, third and fourth floors. Downtowns were the hearts of communities.

Since the post-war suburban boom, downtowns have changed and continue to evolve. With the emergence of shopping centers, malls, one-stop shops and improved transportation, many of the small businesses lining the downtown streets have been forced to close. Downtowns all over America lost that spark that made them special, some turning into local government offices, some with a few shops and a lot of boarded buildings. In some places, they have been completely abandoned as neglect and apathy took over. In the age of 70 mile per hour highways, constant sales and advertising, Internet shopping, and an always-on-the-go mindset, the glory days of downtowns are lost on many.

Many communities, however, have not given up on the importance of downtowns in community development. Many of these communities have joined Main Street America, an organization dedicated to revitalizing downtowns in a way that does not damage the historic integrity while ensuring economic vitality. Many communities in Ohio including Cleveland, Delaware, Greenville, Medina, Portsmouth, Van Wert, Wooster and others have become accredited Main Street America programs. The Main Street Approach is used by member programs to provide structure and stability to the revitalization efforts of downtowns. The approach includes inputs, transformative strategies and outputs.

Downtowns - Jones 2016-08-04

Jeff Speck, an urban planner and designer, has determined that the singular factor of community success is walkability, which is best accomplished in the downtown area of communities. In his 2012 book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, Speck writes, “The General Theory of Walkabilty explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting.” Speck explains how decisions have long-lasting and far-reaching effects and what decisions need to be made to have such effects on downtowns.

Walkable City - 2016-08-04Communities across the nation have seen the positive impacts a thriving downtown has on community development. If you believe your downtown could use a little TLC, suggest to your community development leaders consider strategies for revitalizing your downtown.

Revitalizing downtowns is not a ‘flavor of the month’ experiment, but rather a proven means to developing communities and stimulating local business. Additionally, revitalizing downtowns into walkable community areas will improve community health.

Check out Speck’s books and his TED Talk, contact Main Street America, and be sure to look over the variety of ready-to-use tools created by OSU Extension, UWEX, and University of Minnesota Extension that can be used to create vibrant downtowns.

Caitlin Jones is the Program Coordinator for OSU Extension Community Development in Van Wert County & the Maumee Valley EERA.