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The Hometown Collaboration Initiative, an Initiative of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) is accepting applications from communities or counties with a current population of 25,000 or fewer. “Indiana is dotted with nearly 700 small cities and towns, and HCI is the right initiative to help strengthen the long-term vitality of these communities,” said Bo Beaulieu, Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and Purdue Extension community development program leader.

This initiative is targeted toward energizing communities who aim to develop a new generation of local leaders; promote the launch, survival and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs; or invest in place through community design, public space developments, local foods, or other quality of life initiatives. “HCI is the right fit for local leaders and residents in Indiana’s small communities who want to commit themselves to making a difference in their communities. The program equips the local HCI team with the tools, skills and strategies that can serve as a blueprint for making their hometown an ever greater place to live, work and play,” added Bo Beaulieu.

The Purdue Center for Regional Development and Purdue Extension Community Development Program are initiative partners with OCRA for implementing this community capacity building initiative. Also collaborating in as an HCI initiative partner is Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute.

The initiative has three phases: In the Foundation Phase, communities will study data, assess local assets, invite public input, and determine the priority needs of the community. Next, in the second phase, they will select one of three Building Blocks to explore more fully. The three Building Block options include:

Economy – growing and retaining small businesses and entrepreneurs
Leadership – developing new generations of leaders
Placemaking – investing in your place
Last, during the Capstone Phase, communities will finalize and implement a project that aligns with their Building Block activities.

Interested communities must electronically submit their application to no later than 4:00 p.m. EDT on November 4, 2016. Interested communities may sign up to attend a webinar to learn more about HCI. The webinar will be conducted October 3, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. For more information on how to apply for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative, visit the Hometown Collaboration Initiative website at