Announcing the call for the next Issue Corps: Diversity & Inclusion

Call for Proposals Extended to January 5, 2016

All 33 previously submitted projects have been accepted. This extension is being made to increase the number of project teams.

Quick link to application form here

Note: All project teams must include at least one person representing an eXtension Foundation Member Institution. Questions about the Diversity and Inclusion Issue Corps? Contact Terry Meisenbach or LuAnn Phillips A recording of one informational meeting is available here:

The eXtension Foundation is seeking proposals for 35 projects focused on improving Diversity and Inclusion within Cooperative Extension, its partners, and the public. We are seeking projects that can have a visible, measurable impact at the local level. The eXtension Issue Corps process combines virtual and face-to-face events (a designathon) and experiences to assist in project development, program innovation, use of technology, innovative design, problem solving, and gaining expertise focused on the solutions needed.

This 2016 i-Three Issue Corps project focused on increasing the diversity of customers and vendors at farmers markets in the greater Boise, Idaho area.


The Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps project can be proposed by an individual or a team with an interest in solving a local problem or addressing a local issue related to Diversity and Inclusion. This is an opportunity to tackle a NEW topic or goal with NEW strategies for execution and evaluation that can then be applied to future projects and programs. Issue Corps projects can be thought of as pilots and those findings could be used to expand to a larger scale once a tested methodology is established for the specific purpose. Scan projects from our first Issue Corps at i-Three Issue Corps Project Map of 2016.

“I don’t think I could have completed my project with the same amount of success without being part of the Issue Corps. Key informants were helpful. Concept mapping was insightful. Webinars were also valuable.” — 2016 Issue Corps Member


Accepted projects will participate in a 1.5 day eXtension Designathon February 14 & 15, 2017 held prior to the Tri-State Diversity Conference, February 16 & 17, 2017 in Cincinnati, OH. The Designathon experience is valued at more than $2,000 per project and is made available to Corps members without a registration fee. First priority will be given to projects led by eXtension Foundation member institutions.  Up to three members from a team project may attend this event. Travel, lodging, meals before and after daily events, and any incidental expenses are the responsibility of the attendees.

“I got a lot of ideas from the Designathon. Connections with others was very valuable. My project would not have been the same, if I had not been in the Issue Corps.” — 2016 Issue Corps Member
Paul Pangaro Assisting a Corps Team member
Design expert Paul Pangaro assisting a Corps team with concept mapping


This face-to-face event combines three elements guaranteed to bring clarity, focus, and innovation to propel your project idea into a successful launch:

  1. Design expert Paul Pangaro will engage us in design thinking via a hands-on and dynamic concept mapping exercise. This activity will help you identify leverage points and opportunities to strategically infuse your project design with innovative elements.
  2. Nationally-recognized Key Informants will be in the room to provide the one-on-one consulting you need to understand and apply the best-of-the-best innovative approaches and research-based practices to achieve your goals. These ideas can be immediately incorporated into your project design so that your take-away from the designathon is a strong pitch that will get you the support your great idea deserves. Draft list of Key Informant topics for this event includes: global dynamics and cultural knowledge, community engagement strategies, civil discourse, communications and marketing, social media strategy, storytelling, systems/processes, evaluation and impact reporting, funding opportunities, grant writing, online education strategies, and innovative technologies.
  3. Shared work will build new connections with colleagues across the country who share your passion for creating impactful programming that addresses real challenges at a local level.
“The Issue Corps provided access to people to promote my work, gain new members to my community of practice and most importantly get solid feedback. Having folks to share my work with who I don’t know provides a new lens which is key for any successful project. It also pushed me to do more sooner.” — 2016 Issue Corps Member
designathon work example
Integrated Pest Management educators from around the country collaborate on designing a Corps project addressing food safety in schools.


  • Submit a proposal by 5:00 p.m. PT December 5, 2016: This call for proposals is simple and straightforward asking for basic project information and 200 word responses to several questions. (see below) Proposals are assessed and selected based upon predetermined criteria related to the issue and developed by experts.
  • Upon acceptance, sign a memorandum of agreement listing all of the deliverables required as a Corps member.
  • Receive one-to-one online coaching to review your proposal and prepare for the Designathon.
  • Attend the Designathon – February 14 & 15, 2017 Corps members must arrive and be ready to start at 1 p.m. on February 14; the work of the Corps will be completed by 5 p.m. on February 15.  Up to three team members may attend this event. There is no registration fee. Travel, lodging, meals before and after daily events, and any incidental expenses are the responsibility of the attendees.
  • Receive post-event Coaching and Professional Development coordinated by eXtension as new questions or needs emerge after the Designathon.
  • Share outcomes and impacts of your project:
    • Share proposal and results via a webinar
    • Share work in social media networks & with your home institution’s communication team
    • Provide three blog posts for eXtension about the progress of your project
    • Showcase (abstract, paper, poster, presentation) your project work and outcomes at an appropriate national or state meeting
The Designathon is a great opportunity to make new connections with colleagues who share your passion.


Team members may be from any land-grant institution and include community collaborators. However, at least one team member must represent an eXtension Foundation member institution. Priority will be given to projects led by eXtension Foundation member institutions. Review the list of Member Institutions to verify membership status.

Projects should result in the ability to impact the target audience at a local level even if the activity is designed and delivered for a state, a region or nationally. Execution of projects must be accomplished by December 31, 2017. Innovative approaches to addressing local diversity and inclusion issues are desirable and preferred. Projects as presented for acceptance into the Corps will serve as a concept that is ready for further refinement during the eXtension Designathon.


  • Understand the history of oppression and discrimination that diverse communities have faced.
  • Increase intercultural communication skills related to (race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or religion)
  • Developing culturally relevant programs to reach diverse audience
  • Increasing understanding of voting rights
  • Combating bullying (both in person or online)
  • Engaging immigrants to create spaces for learning and/or collaboration to strengthen bridges among local communities
  • Increase awareness of the diversity of ethnic and cultural groups in communities
  • Developing a local workforce language registry.
  • Documenting emergency planning procedures for a diverse and underserved populations
  • Using a community development approach identify and map the ecosystems of vulnerable populations
  • Examining the intersection between social justice and environmental health
  • Increasing engagement/participation in civil dialogue among diverse groups
  • Addressing issues related to structural or institutional racism or sexism
  • Improving dialogue between law enforcement and ethnic groups

Or ANY innovative idea that you can conceive.


Submit your responses by December 5, 2016   extended to January 5, 2017 to the following questions using the online application.
  • Name of Project
  • Primary Contact for the project, Institution, & Contact Information
  • Names of Collaborators, Institutions, & Contact Information
  • Answer these four questions: 
  1. What is the Issue your project will address?
  2. What is your proposed solution (your project) to the problem?
  3. What is the theory of change that supports your approach?
  4. How will you measure the local change?

The Primary Contact for the project will be notified of acceptance into the Issue Corps no later than December 21, 2016.



Pamala Morris, Purdue University, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Community of Practice

Shalyse Iseminger, Purdue University, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Community of Practice

Natasha Saunders, University of Kentucky, Office of Diversity

June Mead, Cornell University,  CYFAR

Terrence Wolfork, Fort Valley State University, 1890 Institutions

Renee Pardello, University of Minnesota, Internationalizing Extension Community of Practice

Rachel Welborn, Southern Rural Development Center, Leader, ECOP Rapid Response Team for Civil Discourse

Brent Elrod, USDA/NIFA

John Phillips, AIHEC/FALCON