April 2018 Newsletter

Former Transportation Secretary Foxx to keynote TOD symposium in Las Vegas

Anthony FoxxAnthony Foxx knows the impact transportation and infrastructure decisions can have on a community.

He, by his own account, grew up “on the wrong side of the tracks” in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The house in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood he grew up in was physically and socially connected to the community when his grandparents bought it in the early 1960s.

That was before the state built two highways through the neighborhood, isolating it from the surrounding city.

“That infrastructure sent a signal to me about my life,” he said in a 2015 interview with The Atlantic.

It’s not surprising then that during his time as U.S. Secretary of Transportation under the Obama Administration (2013 – 2017), Foxx supported programs and championed projects that knitted communities together and connected people to opportunity.

Among the tools he employed were grants that supported transit-oriented development (TOD).


Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a type of development located close to high quality, high capacity transit that creates a compact, walkable, mixed-use and dense environment. TOD areas contribute to livable communities and serve as activity centers that provide a range of benefits to the region, local community, and households.

“Public transit plays a critical role in connecting Americans to jobs, education and opportunity,” Foxx said in 2016 when touting a Department of Transportation TOD planning grant program.

“When we plan housing, jobs and services centered around transit lines, we build a strong foundation for the economic development that our growing nation needs – and reduce pollution, congestion and carbon emissions at the same time,” he added.

Foxx will be in Las Vegas today to deliver the keynote address at the Southern Nevada Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Symposium, where he is expected to discuss creating opportunities and strengthening communities through investment in transportation infrastructure.

The symposium, which is a joint effort by the RTC of Southern Nevada and Southern Nevada Strong (SNS), is intended to provide community leaders with a greater understanding of TOD and its potential to expand opportunities throughout the region.

The RTC is developing the region’s comprehensive transportation plan, “On Board,” to assess how enhanced transit options can support growth and reinvestment in neighborhoods, and enhance accessibility throughout Southern Nevada.

Additional speakers scheduled for the TOD Symposium include:

  • Chris Nevitt, TOD manager for the City & County of Denver
  • Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation
  • Jeff Tumlin, principal and director of strategy at ‎Nelson\Nygaard Consulting
  • John Tippins, chief executive officer of Northcap

RSVP is required for the event.

SNS kicks off workshop series focused on enhancing local nonprofit competitiveness for federal grants funding

Building capacity and fostering collaboration were the predominant themes of the first Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) workshop aimed at improving the region’s competitiveness for federal grant funding.

The March 26 workshop, which was attended by nearly 70 local nonprofit leaders and grant professionals, was the first of four that SNS will be hosting over the remainder of the year.

Click here to view the workshop in full.

During opening remarks, Scott Emerson, president of United Way of Southern Nevada (United Way), noted the importance of developing meaningful collaborative partnerships to tackle the federal grants issue.

“The future is going to require us to work as true collaborators together, which means we have to be vulnerable, we have to trust each other,” said Emerson. “And we have to give something of ourselves in order to sacrifice to be part of the whole and focus on the real issue at hand.”

Several presenters that followed Emerson shared similar sentiments.

Both Arash Ghafoori, executive director of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY), and David Paull, director of real estate development for Nevada HAND, highlighted strategic partnerships their organizations engaged that have strengthened their federal grant applications in recent years.

In both cases, their organizations identified programmatic and administrative deficiencies, and partnered with agencies that were strong in the deficient areas.

“Partnering is not an easy thing, and you will have growing pains,” Paull said during a panel discussion. “But if you want to have a better chance at getting more federal grants, you’re going to have to partner to come up with innovative solutions.”

Honestly assessing and investing in organizational capacity was also noted throughout the workshop.

NPHY spent several years evaluating and strengthening its administrative and financial capacity to the point where it could successfully administer federal grant awards on its own. The investment ultimately paid off, Ghafoori said, as the organization has been awarded several new federal grants in recent years.

Future workshops in the series will be more technical in nature and focus on skill development.

Tentative workshop topics include:

  • Workshop 2: Evaluating capacity, readiness, and fit: Assessing organizational capacity and evaluating grant fit
  • Workshop 3: Crafting compelling grants: From narrative and performance measurements to budget and sustainability explanations
  • Workshop 4: Successful implementation: Ongoing evaluation, communicating with funders, and reporting out

The workshop series was developed to further the Strategic Framework for improving Southern Nevada’s grant capacity and competitiveness finalized in 2017.

Project partners include United Way of Southern Nevada, Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, Nevada Community Foundation (NCF), and State of the Nevada Grants Office.

According to the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, Nevada currently ranks 44th nationally in federal grant funding per capita. Increasing the region’s share of federal grant dollars can lessen the pressure on the state’s general fund and ensure critical services and programs are available in the community as the region grows, according to Meredith Levine, the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities’ director of economic policy, who presented at the workshop.

Additional details, including dates and presenters, will be released soon. For more information, please contact southernnevadastrong@rtcsnv.com.

SNS partners with LVGEA on study to better understand the ‘workforce of tomorrow’

One in three workers in the U.S. is a millennial, making them the largest generation in the workforce. They also now make up the largest consumer group in the country.

As a result, it only makes sense for organizations to consider their values and perspectives when planning for the future.

Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) has teamed with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA) on a study to better understand the preferences of millennials, generally considered the generation born sometime between the early 1980s and mid-1990s.

The study aims to help the region develop a more robust sense of what Southern Nevada can do today to meet the needs of its current millennial workforce and help it attract talent from outside the region.

The first phase of the analysis will include market research using online and social media data to examine the preferences of millennials – both locally and nationally – with respect to several key quality of life factors: workplace, transportation, housing and community amenities.

The findings of the first phase are intended to help guide local jurisdictions, private entities and nonprofit organizations and inform future planning and development efforts in Southern Nevada.

Results from this initial analysis will be presented on May 15 at LVGEA’s Perspective 2018 event by Corey Padveen, a marketing expert and the author of “Marketing to Millennials for Dummies.”

You can also catch the presentation live on Southern Nevada Strong’s Facebook page at 8 a.m. on May 15.

Southern Nevada team brings home strategies, best practices for enhancing walkability from Walkability Action Institute

An action plan to improve walkability in Southern Nevada was developed by an interdisciplinary six-person team from Southern Nevada who attended the 2018 Walkability Action Institute (WAI), in Decatur, Ga., April 9-12.

The plan, which the team intends to finalize in May and start implementing immediately, focuses on:

  • Adopting new street design standards that will help provide better facilities for walking throughout the region
  • Working to pilot test infrastructure improvements and new programs at a limited number of locations in Southern Nevada
  • Communicating data about the health and transportation benefits from walking

WAI aims to prepare interdisciplinary teams from metropolitan regions to pursue the policy, systems, and environmental supports needed to promote active lifestyles and walkable communities.

The Southern Nevada team was comprised of:

  • Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Clark County Commissioner and Southern Nevada Health District board chair
  • Victor Arredondo, Senior Director, American Heart Association of Nevada
  • Robert Herr, Director of Public Works, Parks & Recreation, City of Henderson
  • Mike Janssen, Director of Public Works, City of Las Vegas
  • Michael Johnson, Director of Community Health, Southern Nevada Health District
  • Craig Raborn, Manager of Planning, RTC of Southern Nevada

The institute provided teams with best practices in walkability design, programming and policy solutions, and reinforced and supported implementation of significant national public health policy statements promoting walking and walkability.

Training included classroom lectures from national experts on walkability benefits, engineering, policy, and planning, as well as extensive field work in and around Atlanta.

WAI, which is formally known as the Step It Up! Action Institute to Increase Walking and Walkability, is an annual training sponsored by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Applicant teams were asked to demonstrate the required team make-up (public health, planning, transportation, and elected officials), as well as their past, current and future ability to influence walkable community design and project selection. The Southern Nevada team was one of nine interdisciplinary regional teams from across the country selected to attend the training.

Participation in WAI supports the Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) Regional Plan’s goal of promoting community wellness by partnering with municipalities to build healthy communities, and increasing transportation choice.

United Way of Southern Nevada announces $1 million in funding opportunities to help solve community issues

One million dollars.

That’s what United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) is putting up to help solve some of the region’s most persistent and complex issues.

United Way, in conjunction with the Women’s Leadership Council, pledged to grant out $1 million in funding over the next three years to support innovative programming and projects that break the cycle of poverty by addressing systemic problems at the roots.

Areas of focus United Way aims to address with this initiative include:

  • Early childhood education – Helping children reach their potential
  • Student success – Increasing high school graduation rates
  • Post-secondary attainment – Increasing the percentage of adults with college degrees
  • Workforce supports – Increasing full-time employment and retention

The multi-year funding model aims to address three historic issues faced by nonprofits:

  1. There is often hesitancy to go ‘all in’ with program efforts if agencies are unsure if funding will be there next year; The multi-year support will allow nonprofits to go ‘all in’ and build momentum and sustainability.
  2. It encourages collaboration building – which is a higher level of self-sacrifice to solve community issues, requiring organizations to be more than just a referral network.
  3. It reduces administrative burden of grant application through automatic renewal/extension if reporting due dates are met and the impact deliverables are achieved.

Click here to review this funding opportunity, as well as a separate $1.2 million grant opportunity for organizations that provide emergency food and shelter services. The funding opportunity document includes eligibility requirements, the application process, and sample programs/projects.

Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.

United Way offering free professional development workshops to strengthen nonprofit community

Last month, Scott Emerson, United Way of Southern Nevada president and CEO, announced the launch of “Be Your Best: United Way Professional Development Workshops,” a free workshop series to be offered to nonprofit staff and volunteers. The workshops aim to build a stronger nonprofit community in Southern Nevada.

Session topics range from Time & Stress Management to Supervisor Essentials: Maximizing staff Performance.

Click here for additional information, including a full list of workshops.

News Beyond the Valley

Here are a handful of stories that have caught our attention recently. Each article highlights how innovative, forward-thinking regional planning and policy can have tangible community impacts.

Berkeley Is Turning to the Blockchain for City Funding In an effort to reduce their reliance on federal and state funding, the City of Berkeley is turning to a surprising source: Cryptocurrency. The idea is to leverage the blockchain — the technology that makes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible — to spur private, crowdfunded investment in affordable housing and other local projects.

California’s Housing Problems are Spilling Across its Borders Reno and several other Western cities are experiencing congestion and new tensions as California residents and businesses seek more affordable locations.

The Activist Trying to Bring ‘Bike Libraries’ to Chicago Chicago is making strides in getting more African Americans on bikes, but the Windy City isn’t moving fast enough, according to local activist Oboi Reed. His solution: “bike libraries.” Reed is betting that allowing low-income users to borrow a set of wheels for free will help address biking’s equity gap.

L.A. Bets That Equity Is the Path to Resilience Los Angeles struggles with inequality and the threat of natural disasters turbocharged by climate change. Its new resilience plan seeks to address both issues at once. Some of the longer-term actions reiterate the city’s commitment to ongoing initiatives, such as its ambitious metro expansion and its plans to produce 100,000 new housing units by 2021 and cut homelessness in half by 2022. While these might not appear connected to climate or disaster resilience at first glance, they help create a stronger social fabric by improving the health, safety, and economic position of L.A.’s communities.

Can We Keep Food Waste Out of the Landfill? When it comes to food waste, the recycling numbers are particularly discouraging: 95 percent of it – some 38 million tons – ends up in landfills. However, there are signs of progress around the country. A recent study reported that a record number of U.S. households, 5.1 million, now have access to food-waste collection services.

Atlanta Releases First Cycling Report In 2012, Atlanta’s then-Mayor Kasim Reed made a promise that raised many a skeptical eyebrow — in four years, he would double Atlanta’s bike lanes and make the freeway-loving city a top-10 cycling hub. Six years on, that goal appears to be (partially) realized.