CRP Mini Grant Program

Center for Rural Pennsylvania

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Grant amount: Up to US $15,000

Anticipated deadline: May 20, 2019 2:30pm PDT

Applicant type: Faculty

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Pennsylvania

Location of residency: Counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny County, Berks County, Butler County, Cambria County, Centre County Expand all

University restriction: Pennsylvania State University Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania California University of Pennsylvania Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Clarion University East Stroudsburg State University Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Indiana University of Pennsylvania Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Millersville University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock University West Chester University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh at Bradford University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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Mission Statement

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

The Center works with the legislature, educators, state and federal executive branch agencies, and national, statewide, regional and local organizations to maximize resources and strategies that can better serve Pennsylvania's nearly 3.5 million rural residents.

The Center promotes and sustains the vitality of Pennsylvania's rural and small communities by:

  • Sponsoring research projects to identify policy options for legislative and executive branch consideration and action;
  • Collecting data on trends and conditions to understand the diversity of rural Pennsylvania;
  • Publishing information and research results to inform and educate audiences about the diverse people and communities of rural Pennsylvania; and
  • Participating in local, state and national forums on rural issues to present and learn from best practices.

Request for Proposals

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy research within the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Center’s mission is to promote and sustain the vitality of the state’s rural and small communities by:

  • Administering grants to conduct research on matters relating to rural conditions;
  • Maintaining and disseminating a broad base of information on rural trends and conditions;
  • Publishing research and project results; and
  • Sponsoring regional and statewide forums on rural issues.

As part of the Center’s yearly Research Grant Program, the Board of Directors approves topics for research projects. All projects must show a clear relationship to one or more of the Center’s mandated research areas, which are:

  • Rural people and communities;
  • Economic development;
  • Local government finance and administration;
  • Community services;
  • Natural resources and the environment;
  • Rural values and social change;
  • Educational outreach;
  • Agriculture; and
  • Health and welfare concerns.

CRP Mini Grant Program

Mini Grants are awarded to projects that focus on basic data collection and analysis, time-sensitive issues, and/or the preparation of reference materials. Projects supported as Mini Grants are a maximum of nine months in duration and are eligible for a maximum of $15,000 in Center support. Proposed Mini Grant projects must show a clear relationship to one or more of the Center’s seven mandated research areas listed below. 

Targeted Projects

This year the Board of Directors has approved seven Mini Grant targeted topics. The list of topics is listed below.

Analysis of Medical Assistance Mental Health Services in Pennsylvania

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians are living with serious mental illness. This research will analyze Medical Assistance county mental health (MH) services data, collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, to determine the number and characteristics of consumers of mental health services, the types of services provided, expenditure patterns over time, and differences between rural and urban areas. 

Key Expected Outcomes

Analysis of Expenditures and Participation in Public School Sports 

Public school districts in Pennsylvania are required to annually submit information regarding interscholastic athletic opportunities for both male and female students. Using data collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, this research will analyze interscholastic athletic participation and expenditure data for Pennsylvania school districts and their relationship to socio-economic and school district level indicators (PSSA scores, free and reduced school lunch, etc.). 

Key Expected Outcomes

Assessment of the State Office Downtown Location Law 

The Pennsylvania Downtown Location Law (Act 32, amended) encourages the Department of General Services (DGS) to locate state offices in a downtown area as a means of providing support for business districts and community revitalization. This research will assess the implementation of this law to determine the level of compliance with this act. 

Key Expected Outcomes

Analysis of Obesity Rates for School Children in Pennsylvania 

Tracking rates of childhood obesity is important as obese children can have higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems that impact their quality of life, even into adulthood. The Pennsylvania Department of Health measures obesity rates of children at the elementary and secondary levels for all public school districts. This research will analyze school district data to identify rates of and trends in childhood obesity as well as any relationships to socioeconomic and school-district-level indicators (PSSA scores, free and reduced school lunch, etc.).

Key Expected Outcomes

Availability of Hospice and Palliative Care in Rural Pennsylvania

Hospice and palliative care are generally provided for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less and may include pain relief and nursing care, emotional support, and help with everyday tasks. In 2013, an estimated 1.5 million patients received hospice care nationwide. This research will determine the distribution and types of hospice care services provided to rural Pennsylvanians and identify any unmet needs or service gaps for this type of health care. 

Key Expected Outcomes

Examination of the Impact of Population Change on Workforce Sustainability: What’s Working? 

Pennsylvania population projections show that from 2010 to 2040, the number of working age rural residents (20 to 64 years old) will decline 7 percent. This decline may prove to be challenging for businesses in rural areas. This research will examine the effect of population change on workforce availability and identify rural success stories in sustaining a viable workforce. 

Key Expected Outcomes

Examination of the City Revitalization and Impact Zone (CRIZ) Implementation

Enacted in 2013, the City Revitalization and Impact Zone (CRIZ) provides opportunity to spur new economic growth, help revitalize downtowns and create jobs for residents through the development of vacant, desolate, underused or abandoned properties. This research will provide a baseline study of municipalities that have established a CRIZ to determine community and economic impact as provided through the enabling legislation.

Key Expected Outcomes

Open Topics 

In addition to the targeted topics, other reasonable and potentially beneficial projects will be considered by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania under the Open Topics category. Proposed projects for this category must show a clear relationship to one or more of the Center’s mandated research areas listed above.  Open topic projects must define specific key outcomes and specific policy implications that will benefit communities in rural Pennsylvania. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The Center’s enabling legislation allows the Center to award grants to qualified faculty members of Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, and the regional campuses of the University of Pittsburgh.
  • A qualified faculty member must serve as the project director.


  • The Center does not require a cash match from applicants for the grant programs. However, investment by other partners clearly represents support and belief in a proposed project so the commitment of matching cash or in-kind funding can offer a competitive advantage to an applicant.
  • Partnerships with other academic institutions, community organizations, and public and private agencies are encouraged.