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Choctaw Nation Promise Zone Update and Resources - April 2015

May 05, 2015 Print ShareThis

What is the Promise Zone? How does it benefit my community?

The Promise Zone offers preference points on many federal grant applications the Choctaw Nation and our partners seek. To gain these preference points, the Choctaw Nation Promise Zone must certify and verify applications. These preference points give applications a "leg up" as they head to federal agencies for review. HUD Form 50153 must be signed by a Promise Zone Official before it's submitted with any grant. Sara Jane Smallwood is the Promise Zone Official for Choctaw Nation.

Please visit the Certification Form and Guidance for Promise Zone Preference Points or Priority Special Consideration resource page to obtain HUD Form 50153 and view the full list of grants with Promise Zone preference points.

What are the geographical boundaries of the Promise Zone?

The Promise Zone is a place-based initiative, and is confined to a set of Census tracts in southeastern Oklahoma. These areas were chosen because of their high need and opportunity for grants and programs to positively impact communities. Promise Zone preference is assigned to these areas. However, many of our school districts and communities in southeastern Oklahoma cross Census tract lines. Contact the Promise Zone team to help determine Promise Zone eligibility or for any questions on the boundaries. We have created an interactive map of the Promise Zone to help determine and highlight the Promise Zone boundaries. It's easy to use, and users can type in addresses to see if they're in the Zone. This is a helpful and effective tool for Choctaw Nation and our partners.

Please visit the Interactive Promise Zone map.

Upcoming Promise Zone Workshops

In addition to points in grants, the Promise Zone brings all resources of the federal government to southeastern Oklahoma. Federal agencies and partners are gearing their Technical Assistance to Promise Zones. We are happy to announce a series of workshops geared toward agricultural producers. Please see the list below of upcoming workshops in your area. Contact us if you would like specific events or resources for your community.

Profit Workshops: Financial Planning, Business Planning, and Food Safety for South & East Oklahoma

The University of Arkansas School of Law Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative has joined with the Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, the Wallace Center at Winrock International (Washington DC), Morse Marketing Connections (MMC), and the Choctaw Nation and Muscogee Creek Nations to offer an important set of "bootcamp" workshops in southern and eastern Oklahoma during 2015. You will hear the latest on food safety regulations and GAP certification, crop insurance and risk management tools, and will be given hands on experience in what are called "one page" financial, risk assessment and business plan tools. We will also provide information on new markets in the region and how your operation can participate in food hubs that are growing in number across the country as a way to link small, beginning, mid-sized, remote and new producers and their operations into new markets. The first in-person workshop was held on Thursday, April 30 at the Choctaw Community Center, 210 S. Chahta Road, Broken Bow, OK. All workshops are from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM. A light lunch and refreshments were provided. View the full schedule of workshops.

Workshops, Webinars, and Grant Opportunities

These events are not Promise Zones related, but might be of interest to your community.

Building Financial Capability: A Planning Guide for Integrated Services from CFED
Wednesday, April 29, 2:30 - 4:00 PM
Visit here for more information and to register.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Grants
Applications are due June 2, 2015.
Visit here for more information and to apply.

Recent Choctaw Nation and Promise Zone Successes

For more information, contact the Choctaw Nation Promise Zone Team:

Sara Jane Smallwood, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
580-924-8280, ext. 2315

Josh Riley, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
580-924-8280, ext. 2689

John Redman, USDA

Tags: Promise Zones