Helping to grow a new generation of rural leaders for the future.


The Center for Rural Outreach and Public Services, Inc. (CROPS) is a grassroots nonprofit, 501c3 charitable organization founded in 2004 by Beverly Santicola and her late mom, Ardella Paulsen. The mission of CROPS is to “alleviate poverty in rural America by providing capacity building services that promote intergenerational leadership.” Services include project facilitation, graphics design, book publishing and filmmaking. CROPS’ work with rural youth and elders resulted in Santicola being selected twice for the prestigious Encore.org Purpose Prize Fellowship, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies.


What We Do

Let's Bring Leadership to Our Youth

Leadership teams comprised of rural youth and elders are trained to work together to solve community problems such as housing shortages, substance abuse, suicide, poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation. Over the past six years as a result of this approach CROPS has helped generate over $100M in new grants for solar energy, water, wastewater, health, education, suicide and substance prevention, victims’ assistance, and child welfare services for four Native American Tribes. 

Purpose Prize Fellow

In 2010 and 2014 Beverly Santicola was selected as an Encore.org Purpose Prize Fellow for a youth led-intergenerational rural development project she designed called GROWING RURAL. Honoring extraordinary people ages 60 and older who tap into the power of life experience to build a better future for us all, the Encore Purpose Prize was funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and John Templeton Foundation. Currently, the Purpose Prize program is sponsored by AARP® Purpose Prize® honoring people over 50 that founded their own nonprofit organization to make a positive difference in the world.

Walk in Our Moccasins – 7 Strategies to Win More Grants

“Walking in Our Moccasins” is a name inspired by Chairman Manuel Heart of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, for a process that generated over $100 MILLION in new grant funding in just 6 years for his 2,100 member Tribe in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. “Walking in Our Moccasins – Seven Strategies to Win More Grants” is a customized fund development process for Native American Tribes that has been expanded and enhanced by the grant consulting team of Santicola and Company for 20 years and won ONE BILLION IN GRANTS for its clients. The Walking in Our Moccasins training can be delivered in a one-hour keynote presentation or a three-day onsite retreat where we recruit potential funding partners to participate in the event.

Growing Ute: Preserving the Language and Culture

Building on her success promoting intergenerational leadership in GROWING RURAL described above, Beverly collaborated with Juanita PlentyHoles, Anthony Two Moons and Encarnita Rivera in 2021 to publish a language preservation book called GROWING UTE. The GROWING UTE book features Ute Mountain Ute Tribe youth and elders who documented over 10,000 Ute words for an online dictionary, as well as Google Play and Apple apps. In 2022, the GROWING UTE language preservation book won 1 silver and 4 gold Anthem Awards in the category of Arts, Education and Culture. Brought to you by The Webby Awards, The Anthem Awards honors the purpose & mission-driven work of people, companies, and organizations worldwide. 


Together We Can Create Thriving Communities


Our Approach

Film-making and digital media technologies are used as a platform for youth leadership development. Between 2015 and 2022 the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe youth wrote, directed, performed, and produced six award winning films about serious social issues on their reservation, including teen suicide and substance abuse. Their films ESCAPE and THE STRENGTH OF SIBLINGS have been viewed by more than 5 million people online, and recent films such as OUR CULTURE IS OUR STRENGTH and WE ARE NUCHU have won 21 Telly Awards, including two People’s Choice Awards. Currently, CROPS is working with Edgy Lee and Marc Cohen of Filmworks Pacific; Steve Roberts of Crescent Sun Pictures; and Anthony Two Moons to produce a documentary on COVID RECOVERY AND RESILIENCY for the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.

​In some of the film projects, youth wrote the scripts, acted the parts, filmed the project, recorded sound, and designed make-up and costumes. Their films have received attention and interest from the Native American Affiliate of PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In addition, their first film ESCAPE won Best Student Film at the LA SKINS FEST in 2015 and the Jury Award at the 2016 Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival. The second film called the STRENGTH OF SIBLINGS was selected to be featured in the 2017 Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival in May, as well as LA SKINS FEST in November where they won the Best Film Award and Community Leadership Award respectively. OUR CULTURE IS OUR STRENGTH won 21 Telly Awards in 2021, including two People’s Choice Awards.



Seven Strategies to Win More Grants  (Available by CROPS as 1 hour training to 3 day retreat);

  1. Empower Leadership Using a Strengths-Based Approach 

  2. Creatively Design and Brand Place Based Solutions  

  3. Solve More Than One Problem 

  4. Propose Engagement of Youth and Elders as Leaders

  5. Produce High Quality Visual Arts and Film

  6. Facilitate Dialog with Funding Partners 

  7. Design Projects for Multi-year/Multi-agency Funding​

Growing Ute: Preserving the Language and Culture

By empowering Native American youth and elders and focusing on the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's passions, strengths, and needs, we have generated over $100M in grant funding to serve 2,100 people in seven years. In the last two years, we generated over $25 million for arts, education and culture. We produced two film shorts, Our Culture is Our Strength and We Are Nuchu, and one photo essay book titled, Growing Ute; Preserving the Language and Culture, and an online Ute dictionary available on Apple and Google Play, and chartered a tribal elementary school. The goal of Growing Ute is to preserve the language and culture of the Ute Mountain Tribe as a strategy for improving the quality of life for its 2,100 members. ​

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2021-2024

For any organization that applies for funding from the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) for planning, an annual Comprehensive Economic Strategies (CEDS) Plan is required. CROPS has been writing and updating the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s CEDS Plan since 2015, improving the content and visuals each year. This year Santicola & Company worked with Anthony Two Moons to produce the best CEDS report to date.


San Pierre, Indiana, Comprehensive Master Plan
The San Pierre Revitalization Project was a youth led rural development initiative where we trained more than 10 inner city youth from the International Boxing Club in Toledo, Ohio and 10 rural youth from North Judson-San Pierre to lead community improvement projects. Some of the projects they completed were:

  • Full basketball court 

  • Park pavilion enclosures

  • Repairs to historic stone bleachers

  • Playground equipment repairs

  • Lions Club building renovations

  • Growing Rural curriculum & book

Funding for these projects came from the Ball Brothers Foundation, Indianapolis Colts, Starke County Community Foundation, Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Roundup, and individual donations. In 2008 CROPS received a grant from USDA which funded a Comprehensive Master Plan for San Pierre. More than 100 youth, elders, veterans, residents and community leaders participated in planning activities. Robert Dorgan of the Institute of Small Town Studies was the consultant that facilitated town meetings, focus group sessions, and youth leadership activities.


05 Contact

T. 281-224-1443