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Application now open for participation in SET VI 

Missouri was one of eleven states chosen to participate in round six of Stronger Economies Together (SET VI).  USDA-Rural Development made the announcement on Feb. 29 in a press release.      

SET VI will enable three or more contiguous rural counties to collaboratively develop and implement an economic development plan for the multi-county region. The plan will help counties strategically build on current and emerging regional economic strengths and grow the region’s economy.

The SET program was launched in 2009 by USDA Rural Development in partnership with the four Regional Rural Development Centers and land grant universities. SET aims to increase collaboration among counties in a given region to boost local economic development growth.  

Missouri’s statewide SET team will work with a local regional team to assess the region, analyze data and develop strategies designed to enhance economic opportunities. The process is designed as a 12 to 18 month intensive engagement. 

SET VI is focused on counties with high or persistent poverty.   Applicant regions must be a region of at least three contiguous counties and must meet at least one of two conditions:

  1. 51 percent or more of the region's population is classified as rural; OR
  2. 75 percent of the region's land area is located in rural areas of that region.

For more information on SET VI and how to apply, visit http://srdc.msstate.edu/set/apply and click on “Phase VI Applications.” The Missouri application, additional information and resources can be found on the website.  The deadline to apply is Monday, April 5 at 11:59 p.m. 

If you have questions or need further information or assistance, please contact:

Sharon Gulick, Director, ExCEED, University of Missouri Extension, 573-884-0669 or GulickS@missouri.edu 


Gregory Batson, Program Support Director, USDA-RD Missouri, 573-876-9304 or Gregory.Batson@mo.usda.gov   

ExCEEDing expectations

Communities in Missouri have regained a voice at the local, regional and national level, through MU Extension's ExCEED program. As a nationally recognized, multi-disciplinary program focused on partnership with communities and regional collaboration across the state of Missouri, ExCEED enables the revitalization of economies through innovative engagement techniques designed to jumpstart community development.

Building resilience in Missouri communities

ExCEED ignites a sense of ownership and resilience within the community, enabling active participation representative of the whole community, during all phases of the process. The program encourages communities to analyze and synthesize their assets (rather than focusing on needs or shortcomings). In short, ExCEED fosters more informed citizenry and increases local community capacity for sustained development. By targeting activation of core community assets, ExCEED empowers Missouri communities to engage with funders, foundations and stakeholders — in pursuit of resilient economies.

At all phases of the engagement process, ExCEED works with communities, one-on-one, to discover the central vision articulated by the people on the ground — local citizens and neighbors — what we call "the well-springs of community knowledge and history." With respect for local context, ExCEED infuses concepts of economic sustainability and resilience into each community-based strategic visioning session and all action-planning workshops. Participants of these ExCEED workshops invest quality time into the long-term planning process; after all, project implementation takes place by community, for community while ExCEED remains dedicated to providing auxiliary support, tracking progress and celebrating transformative change triggered by local constituents.

Capturing the Show-Me spirit

The ExCEED program uses a grassroots community engagement model that emphasizes regional collaboration and cooperation, galvanizing citizens across county lines to rediscover Missouri's potential for renewal. The program's magnetic, bridge-building initiatives stoke momentum on the ground and animate the combined energies of local, regional and national stakeholders, strengthening economies across the greater Missouri area. ExCEED joins with communities just like yours — celebrating renewed "Show-Me" spirit across our region.

For more information on ExCEED's community-based efforts, please feel free to read the ExCEED 2013 Annual Report (PDF) and visit our Services page to learn more about our engagement techniques. We welcome your inquiries and hope to meet your community soon!