April 2014- Volume XII, Number 4  

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

  • –ACROSS THE FIELD
  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAININGS/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Remembering Mary Page and Continuing Her Work

 - Please join us on May 21st at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus - to honor her life, work, and legacy

 By Kathy Draeger, Statewide Director, 

University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnershipsand a rural Big Stone County resident.  

 

mary page

Mary J. Page (1934-2013)
was a voice for rural Minnesota.
As a commissioner for Renville County, mayor of Olivia, MN, a Regent for the U of M, and in many dozens of other leadership roles in the community and state, she carried the concerns of Greater Minnesota with her always.

One person makes a difference.  For me, no one typifies that better than Mary Page (1934-2013), whose legacy of rural activism left an indelible mark on Minnesota and beyond.  Those of you in small towns and rural places know that sometimes it’s “all hands on deck!”

Mary Page stepped up again and again to answer that call.  And not just for the easy jobs.  She served as the first woman mayor of Olivia, Minnesota, and as a Renville County Commissioner at a time when tensions and emotions ran high due to changes in agriculture on the rural landscape.

Mary remarked that she often found herself on the battle lines of the issues of the time.  From where I stand, that’s because she had both an openness and a special kind of courage to take on those challenges.

I first met Mary Page within hours of becoming the statewide director of the U’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships in 2005.  A former U of M Regent, she was then chair of our statewide board and a founding board member of the West Central Regional Partnerships. Mary left her mark on the U of M Regional Partnerships, and her insistence that citizens drive collaboration with the U still resonates in our values and our work.

What are the lessons for the rest of us?  How can we build upon Mary’s lessons and legacies?

  • First, know that one person matters and that person can be you.
  • Moreover, hold to your values, take the courage to stand up to those in power, be protective and thoughtful about the ideal, ideas, and projects, and programs that you love.
  • Continue to learn new things.
  • Enjoy and invest in your place.  (Mary’s legacy of family fun and the floats they built for Olivia’s Corn Capital Days are legendary.)

To honor and continue Mary’s legacy, the Page family and the University of Minnesota have created a Fund in her honor, the Mary Page Community-University Partnerships Fund.  The Fund will support students and faculty working on citizen-driven projects throughout Greater Minnesota, with special consideration to work in Southwest Minnesota where Mary was a beloved and influential community member.

The Page family, the U of M Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and U of M Extension invite you to a kick-off for the fund on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Cargill Building, 1500 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 on the St. Paul campus.  Parking is available in the Gortner Avenue Ramp, two blocks south.

Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit: wtansati@umn.edu or 612-624-7971

If you are unable to attend, please consider a donation to the Mary Page Community-University Partnership Fund.

Thank you and we hope to see you on May 21.

Our guest columnist this month is Kathy Draeger,statewide director of the U’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and rural Big Stone County resident.  Please “Like” the Partnerships on Facebook and follow on Twitter 

_______________________________________

FUNDING                 

The Made in Minnesota Solar Thermal Rebate Program is reopened, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced. The solar thermal program accepted applications this year from January 1-February 28, but the program was not fully subscribed. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until 2014 funds are fully reserved.  The rebate program, which is part of the 10-year, $150 million Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program that began this year, is for customers of electric investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power). Rebates are available to commercial and residential property owners who install solar thermal systems using collectors certified as Made in Minnesota. The rebate is equal to 25 percent of the system installed cost up to a maximum of $2,500 for residential, $5,000 for multifamily, and $25,000 for commercial systems. More information on the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is available online. http://tinyurl.com/m2g9vjh

–The Department of Labor is offering funding to nonprofit and public agencies for vocational construction skills training and, for certain applicants, construction and alternative vocational skills training, for at-risk youth and/or young adults, aged 16 – 24. Deadline: 4/22/2014. Click here for an application package. http://tinyurl.com/o3tg9sf

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites owners of heavy-duty diesel engines to apply for grants to reduce diesel emissions. This is an opportunity to upgrade fleets by installing idle reduction and pollution control devices, or by replacing engines, vehicles, or equipment.  Vehicles and equipment generally must be older than 2006 and trucks must be class 6 (19,500 lbs.) or larger to qualify and must be fully operational and not backup equipment.  Applications are due by 2 p.m. on April 23, 2014.  In recent years, the MPCA has awarded grants to replace heavy-duty engines on construction cranes and a rock crusher, and for replacing delivery trucks and retrofitting a diesel particulate filter on a long-haul truck.  Applications can be requested by emailing contracts.pca@state.mn.us, with subject line “CR7309 DERA”. The clean diesel web page is at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/wfhy4c4.

–NEWMAN’S OWN Awards Program recognizes volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting U.S. military families. Eligible applicants must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be nonprofit organizations, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve units and/or veterans. Deadline: 4/23/2014. Click herefor application guidelines and to apply online.  http://tinyurl.com/mpyycpu

–The MARY KAY Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits that aid female victims of domestic violence. Deadline: 4/30/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/887gx83

–The federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications to the Rural Access to Emergency Devices (RAED) Grant Program. Grants will be awarded to community partnerships to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs), provide defibrillator and basic life support training, and place the AEDs in rural communities with local organizations. Applications due April 30. http://tinyurl.com/nu5mlqt

Midwest Cleantech Open is opportunity for clean tech entrepreneurs.  Do you know an entrepreneur seeking to transform their clean technology into a commercial success? The Midwest Cleantech Open is now accepting Phase 1 applications for its national business accelerator program.  The final deadline is May 1. Emerging businesses with less than $6 million in funding can apply and will have a chance to access over 100 funding and commercialization partners regionally and nationally. Awards valued at $20,000 regionally and $200,000 nationally will be given at fall events that coincide with the completion of the program.

All Midwest companies will be featured as a main attraction at Cleantech Open’s Midwest Innovation Summit on October 14-15 in Minneapolis. Companies are provided with one-on-one meetings with investors and commercialization partners at that event and are able to showcase their clean technology. All applicants, regardless of whether they are accepted, receive feedback on their application and a discounted ticket to the Summit. Learn more and apply now.

–The Clinical Dental Education Innovations Grant Program is accepting applications from sponsoring institutions and clinical dental training sites for projects that increase dental access for underserved populations and promote innovative clinical training of dental professionals. Applications are due May 2. http://tinyurl.com/dfhf6h

–Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is inviting nonprofits to submit proposals for the Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges initiative. Deadline: 5/6/2014. This initiative brings together local leaders, nonprofits, and design specialists to address how rural communities can strengthen their economies, enhance their rural character, and design efficient housing and transportation systems. To review application guidelines, click here.  http://tinyurl.com/ob8ex2y

Angel Investor Tax Credit Extended, Funds Added. Minnesota’s popular Angel Investor Tax Credit has been extended for two more years and adds funds, but it also restricts eligible investors. Increasing the yearly allotment from $12 million to $15 million, the new law also adds an additional $3 million to this year’s program. Certifications for investors and companies are due May 11 for the additional $3 million in 2014. READ MORE

The Administration for Children and Families is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to conduct outreach services designed to build relationships between grantee staff and runaway, homeless, and street youth. Deadline: 5/12/2014. Click here to learn more and to apply.  http://tinyurl.com/q992pxl

Request for Proposals for a Smart Growth Information Clearinghouse.  EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities is seeking proposals for a Smart Growth Information Clearinghouse. Under this solicitation, EPA intends to fund further development and ongoing maintenance of a web-based national information clearinghouse focused on smart growth. Eligible applicants are States and local governments, Indian Tribes, public and private colleges and universities, and hospitals, laboratories, and other public or private nonprofit institutions, among others. For-profit organizations and individuals are not eligible to apply. Proposals must be received by EPA or through www.grants.gov by 4:00 p.m. Central time on Monday, May 12, 2014. EPA expects to make an award announcement by fall 2014.  For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/grants/index.htm#rfgpa

Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural AreasApplication deadline: May 27, 2014 (deadline extended)Awards grants to organizations that assist veterans in rural areas with transportation to VA medical centers and other VA and non-VA facilities for medical care. Sponsor: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs http://tinyurl.com/q7v6q3p

–The HOME DEPOT Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Priority is given to projects for veterans that include housing repairs, modifications, and weatherization work. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Deadline: requests will be accepted from February 1 through August 15, 2014. Visit the Home Depot website here to submit an online application. http://tinyurl.com/6vrjyzo

–Blandin Foundation trustees voted to extend broadband work and allocate $1.5 million more for broadband grants. More information here.  http://tinyurl.com/otl6mh5

Centennial Legacy Grant Program.  The Toro Company’s Centennial Legacy Grant Program is currently accepting applications from non-profits that are located within 30 miles of a Toro community (in Minnesota: Shakopee, Windom, and the Twin Cities). Grants will support non-profit organizations in their efforts to beautify and preserve outdoor environments and enhance green spaces at home, work and play. The objective of the program is to provide funding for projects in these focus areas that will serve the community for many years to come.

Grants will be made to qualified organizations in the communities where Toro employees live and work. The project funded should:

*Enrich outdoor landscapes for environmental benefits & enjoyment through outdoor physical activities by improving and beautifying parks, playgrounds, landscapes and community gardens

*Encourage efficient use of water in outdoor and agricultural applications by ensuring productive and sustainable practices and protecting our natural resources

*Involve children and adults in education programs on managing your water resources.

For more information or to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/oqv3r49

The G. UNGER VETLESEN Foundation is offering general support grants to nonprofit organizations for general support for religious, charitable, scientific, literary and education causes. Deadline: letters of inquiry may be submitted at any time. Click here to visit the website for application guidelines.  http://tinyurl.com/pupeczx

EPA Announces Availability of $400,000 for Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance.  The U.S. EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management has announced the availability of $400,000 in technical assistance for communities interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality and build more sustainable communities.  Communities across the country are interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality, provide ecosystem services, increase resiliency to climate change, create economic opportunities, and support a high quality of life. Many communities, however, lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals. As part of EPA’s commitment to engaging with local communities, the Agency is offering direct assistance to communities interested in implementing green infrastructure. This technical assistance will serve both to advance the adoption of green infrastructure programs in selected communities and to develop knowledge and tools that can be transferred to other communities and to a national audience. http://tinyurl.com/khav7kb

The value of the EPA assistance available in 2014 is approximately $400,000, and EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 to 7 communities. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to the Request for Letters of Interest at http://tinyurl.com/m4joxqd.

– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has set a goal of investing $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas over the next three years. The funding will be used for the construction, expansion or equipping of rural mental health facilities and will be provided through the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Loans.html

TRAINING/MEETINGS

– The Minnesota Mentoring Conference is the region’s only annual conference focused exclusively on supporting quality mentoring. In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (MPM) is hitting the road and offering Minnesota Mentoring Conferences in St. Peter(April 22), Cloquet (September 22) and Maple Grove(October 20). In an effort to better serve a vast network of mentoring programs, MPM made several great changes to its conference based on feedback, including:

  • *    Three conference dates and locations;
  • *    Reduced conference fee;
  • *    Contracting highly-rated workshop presenters;
  • *    Format changes to dive deeper into key issues
  • *    Lunchtime open for networking.

With a mission to lead the state in building and sustaining quality mentoring for every child, MPM’s conference is not to be missed by all youth mentoring program practitioners, AmeriCorps members who work to support youth through mentoring and tutoring, policymakers and funders. Register now. http://www.mpmn.org/Events/AnnualConference.aspx

–Red Hot Hack April 26 – Make it a Weekend Getaway!  Hosted by Red Wing Ignite:

  • *    Create applications that make use of Gig connectivity (YES – a Gig in Red Wing!!)
  • *    Come ready to jump in no matter what stage you’re at fresh idea or nearly finished project
  • *    Can’t code? That’s OK all skills are needed
  • *    Expand your relationships and networks.

We’re working with team, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond! Learn more: http://www.redwingignite.org/

First ever Southern Minnesota Economic Summit  This event, being held April 29-30 in Mankato, is Southern Minnesota’s local summit for business and economic stakeholders. Keynote addresses will include expert economists as well as panels of business leaders with a wide range of experiences from diverse industry sectors. Breakout sessions will appeal to the seasoned business owner as well as the emerging entrepreneur.

Southern Minnesota Nonprofit Summit will be held Thursday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Rochester.This day-long event is designed to bring together staff, board members, and volunteers from around the region to learn, network, and strategize. The Summit is especially designed for small to mid-size organizations and those located in or serving Southeast and Southern Minnesota.

The State of Water Conference 2014 – May 1 & 2.  The 2014 State of Water Conference is an opportunity for citizens committed to improving and protecting water resources to network, connect with resource professionals from around the state, gain technical insights, and find opportunities to engage in water resource protection.

The conference will be held at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd May 1 and 2. This year’s conference will feature speakers such as Darby Nelson, author of the book For Love of Lakes, and Dr. Peter Sorenson, the head researcher at the new Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota.  For more information or to register, visit http://tinyurl.com/q2eptyr.

–The University of St. Thomas’ Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014 at the University of St Thomas Minneapolis Campus.  It will offer a thoughtfully paced day with local and national activists who will dissect, discuss and engage with participants about important ideas on:

  • *    Impact investing – what is it?
  • *    How are new partnerships forged using new capital?
  • *    Who are social impact angel investors in Minnesota and what are they looking for?
  • *    How can leaders develop and sustain an innovation culture in nonprofits or social good for-profits?

Register now for the Symposium.

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Mark your calendars and register online, to showcase your product or promote your business that supports inventors. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office at 507.627.2344.

Taking on 2025 , May 6, in Duluth. This community forum for nonprofit and community organizations features Sean Kershaw, president of the Citizens League, to discuss two converging trends: the tidal wave of aging baby boomers and drops in the labor force growth.

–2014 Minnesota Affordable Housing Conference will be held Thursday, May 8th from 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the University of St. Thomas. Engage in a discussion about the development and financing of multi-family projects.  Join the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business for a conference bringing together a wide-ranging group of professionals: housing authorities, officials and advocates, economic development officials, property managers, real estate attorneys, elected officials and others involved in financing and development (both for- and nonprofit). This conference is your opportunity to exchange ideas, network and learn from one another’s successes.  Cost: $125 before April 17, $150 after April 17. Learn more at UST Affordable Housing Conference

 bushCONNECT is a regional leadership networking event to be held on Monday, May 12, at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.  The event is for folks from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. It’s about the people in the room and the connections you will make when we bring together different networks of leaders. It’s about thinking bigger and thinking differently about what’s possible in your community. The event is currently sold out, but you can put your name on a wait list. Tickets are $75 and include breakfast, lunch, snacks, and beverages. For more information go to: bushCONNECT.org

The Center for Small Towns is excited to present the 2014 Symposium on Small Towns! This year on June 4-5.  CST will present Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed. Hosted at the beautiful University of Minnesota, Morris campus, the symposium will address the changing truths of small towns and debunk the current myths surrounding migration to and from small towns. Spanning two days there will be a series of breakout sessions, discussions, and keynotes.  Click for more information.

The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington. http://tinyurl.com/p4delkb

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference: Weaving the Threads of Rural Health, will be held June 23-24 in Duluth. http://minnesotaruralhealthconference.org/

Market Your Destination to Corporate Meeting Planners in Minneapolis, Aug. 2-5Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the leading global association for corporate meeting and event professionals.http://tinyurl.com/orhpc6d

-The 2014 Many Faces of Community Health Conference: Community Centered Care and the People We Serve, will be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka. http://www.manyfacesconference.org/

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state. Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit. These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means that every three years they must attend a training session, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee to comply with Minnesota law.

Seventeen AIS training sessions are planned around the state. Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training. To register for training, find out if the business needs a permit, or for more information, visit the DNR website. A list of all 2014 training sessions is also available. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/index.html

OPPORTUNITIES

National Travel & Tourism Week Toolkit Now Available  The U.S. Travel Association provides a number of free, useful resources to help tourism businesses and destinations plan and stage effective activities in support of National Travel and Tourism Week, taking place May 3-11. http://tinyurl.com/olekb2x

Minnesota GreenCorps now accepting member and host site applications.  Minnesota GreenCorps, an environmentally focused AmeriCorps program coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), places members with organizations around the state to spend 11 months of service addressing critical environmental issues while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills.  Goals of the Minnesota GreenCorps program include reducing solid waste and increasing recycling in Minnesota communities; reducing greenhouse gases and other air pollutants; reducing water runoff and improving water quality; and training new environmental professionals.

Minnesota GreenCorps is a unique opportunity for individuals to gain experience in the environmental field, whether they are just out of college or contemplating a career change. The program allows organizations to make strides in the areas of energy conservation, green transportation, waste prevention, local foods, stormwater, urban forestry and living green.

The MPCA is currently recruiting host sites and members for the upcoming year, to begin in September 2014. Member applications are due June 6, 2014. Organizations that would like to host a GreenCorps member have until May 5 to turn in applications. For more information on Minnesota GreenCorps, please contact mngreencorps.pca@state.mn.us or visit http://www.pca.state.mn.us/mngreencorps.

–The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities facing design challenges – such as Main Street revitalization, how to manage and direct growth, design community-supportive transportation systems, preserve natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protect working agricultural lands, and provide adequate and affordable housing – who are interested in hosting a local workshop in 2014-2015.Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website.The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm EDT. 

CIRD works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. CIRD brings local leaders, non-profits, and community organizations together with experts in planning, design, preservation and placemaking – all in an effort to help communities address pressing design challenges and to put design tools into the hands of the people who can create local change. CIRD does this by offering an opportunity for four rural communities to host local design workshops, and by offering free public webinars, conference calls, and a resource-rich website to practitioners and community leaders across the country.

Find the RFP and application guidelines at:http://rural-design.org/apply.  Selected communities will be announced in June 2014, and workshops will be held during the fall of 2014 and first quarter of 2015. CIRD will offer pre-application assistance conference call to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The call will take place on Thursday, April 24 and begin at 3:00 pm EDT and last approximately one hour. Participation is free but registration is required.Register now.

–The Minnesota Cup – the largest statewide new venture competition in the United States is OPEN!  Minnesota residents have until May 9 to submit entries on the Minnesota Cup website to compete for $300,000 in prize money. http://tinyurl.com/py5wo5

Youth Voices of Change: The Climate Change Youth Video Contest.  The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Young people in Grades 4-12 are invited during the 2013-2014 school year to share their solutions and/or help raise awareness about climate change issues in the form of a video.  Ten finalist videos will be chosen and the competition winners will be announced the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Videos must fall into one of two categories: Action or Awareness:

Action videos show a real or proposed project that you are working on and are eligible for a seed grant to help accomplish it. These videos should educate your peers, families, or the public about the project and its impact.

Awareness videos should be educational and intentionally leave the viewer with helpful information, and/or a compelling story. These videos should educate your peers, families, or the public about climate change impacts and solutions.

Entries must be received or postmarked by May 16th, 2014.  For more information on the contest go to: http://tinyurl.com/pm64ysm

The Bush Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation from now until June 5, 2014. The Bush Prize honors and supports organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. Winners receive a flexible grant equal to 25% of their last fiscal year budget, up to $500,000. This is creative capital that can be used however the winners choose. The Bush Prize is open to nonprofits and government entities of all sizes in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.   Take time now to learn more about the Bush Prize.   Questions?  Contact Mandy Ellerton,  Bush Prize Manager at: CommunityInnovation@BushFoundation.org or 651-379-2266.

Savings Innovation Cluster CFED, in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, is soliciting applications from organizations serving low- and moderate-income households to join a yearlong learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clients.

Bring Back the Monarchs: Free Milkweeds for Schools and Non-Profits.  Monarchs and pollinators need our help due to habitat loss. If your school or non-profit organization is interested in this conservation measure, Monarch Watch, a nonprofit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas, can help you create a habitat for monarchs and pollinators.  If your organization qualifies, Monarch Watch will provide a free flat of 32 milkweed plugs as well as guidance on how to create a new habitat or enhance an existing garden. For more information or to apply, visit http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/free-milkweeds

MnDOT Seeking Input for Statewide Bicycle System Plan  MnDOT is hosting a series of workshops around the state to discuss the development of a Statewide Bicycle System Plan. http://cfed.org/assets/pdfs/MetLife_RFP_-_Final.pdf

Leadership Growth & Development Scholarships  The Northwest Minnesota Foundation recognizes nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and small businesses are experiencing dramatic changes in their current environments. In an effort to best meet the changing needs of the area’s NPOs and small businesses, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation is offering Leadership Growth and Development Scholarships. http://tinyurl.com/qfmsukf

MISCELLANEOUS

Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications  The Agricultural Act of 2014 became law on February 7, covering farming and ranching, conservation, nutrition, rural development, research, energy, and other topics. ERS web pages provide highlights and summaries of new programs and provisions in the law, as well as some economic implications.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released guidance recently on implementation of the new definition of “rural” as revised by the most recent Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, which passed in early February, included language that will allow for the continued grandfathering in of growing rural communities until the 2020 Census and will raise the population limit for these communities to 35,000. A recent blog post by the National Council of State Housing Agencies provides more details on the guidance, including key phases of implementation. Read the post http://tinyurl.com/o56h8yv

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America’s counties within different types of rural regions and communities. Get statistics on people, jobs, agriculture, and county indicators. Data have been updated to reflect the latest poverty and American Community Survey statistics.

Population & Migration  Nonmetro areas in some parts of the country have experienced population loss for decades. However, 2010-13 marks the first period with an estimated population loss for nonmetro America as a whole. Opportunities for population growth and economic expansion vary widely from one nonmetro county to the next, and new regional patterns of growth and decline have emerged in recent years.

Family Farming in the United States (Amber Waves feature)  Family farms represent 97.6 percent of all U.S. farms, and are responsible for 85 percent of U.S. farm production.

Poverty and Deep Poverty Increasing in Rural America Discusses data from the Supplement of the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey which presents the rise in poverty from multiple perspectives, including the total number of people living in poverty and deep poverty (those with incomes less than half of the poverty threshold), as well as the geographic distribution of poverty in urban and rural areas.http://tinyurl.com/orr76wy

Supporting Women in STEM: Our Bridge to a Strong Minnesota – A new white paper on gender disparities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) got Compass staffer Ruth Hamberg thinking about the benefits of STEM skills she has experienced and the importance of supporting all students in STEM subjects.

More Tourism Conference Presentations and Handouts Available for Download Explore Minnesota Tourism has posted additional presentations and handouts from the Tourism Conference held last month in Duluth.http://tinyurl.com/q58qwyq

Order Your Free Explore Minnesota Tourism ‘Cereal Box’The very popular “cereal boxes” promoting the economic impact of tourism in Minnesota are available to communities/organizations and businesses to share with elected public officials and media. http://tinyurl.com/oed49sw

–The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) invites you to read its updated Insights report on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program.  http://tinyurl.com/qyux78k This updated Insights report:

  • discusses the methods used by banks and federal savings associations to structure transactions and use the tax credits effectively.
  • highlights recent regulatory changes.
  • includes an expanded discussion on underwriting LIHTC investments.
  • provides new examples of how LIHTCs can be structured, and
  • discusses the public welfare investment authority under which LIHTC investments may be made.

Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse ToolkitDesigned to help rural communities develop and implement programs that meet their behavioral health needs based on proven approaches and strategies. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. http://tinyurl.com/pe4co58

Reducing Rural Suicide Outlines how psychologists are finding innovative ways to reach out to people in isolated communities with specific mention of Native American and Veteran communities. http://tinyurl.com/prdyuk8

Rural Implications of the Affordable Care Act Outreach, Education, and Enrollment  Policy brief outlines the opportunities for rural communities to benefit from the Affordable Care Act and discusses the importance of efforts aimed at furthering outreach, education and enrollment in rural areas. http://tinyurl.com/nwtzk7r

HealthLandscape An interactive web-based mapping tool that allows health professionals, policy makers and researchers to combine, analyze and display information in ways that promote better understanding of health and healthcare issues. Free registration required to use the tool. Requires registration (free). http://www.healthlandscape.org/

–The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps project released its fifth report ranking the health of every county in the U.S. The project ranks counties by overall health using a standard formula to measure the health status of county residents and how long they live. As noted in an MDH press release, the report shows a wide range of health status among Minnesota counties. http://www.countyhealthrankings.org

Northland Foundation launches three-year Rural Aging Initiative  The initiative is designed to enhance and strengthen the avenues for older adults in northeastern Minnesota to live full, meaningful lives with independence and dignity in their homes and communities.

DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Report AvailableThe Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee’s first annual report is now available. http://tinyurl.com/ojkpb4l

–The Orton Family Foundation gives “Five tips for making decisions based on shared community values.”  To read more about this concept go to: http://tinyurl.com/obqkmd8

 

To contribute articles, notices, and random comments, please send such items to Jane Leonard.

  

The MRP Rural Round-Up is published once per month around the second Tuesday of each month (or when we can get to it!). Items for posting in the newsletter should arrive in our box by the second Monday of the month to be included in that month’s edition.

 The Great Melt begins — Spring soon to follow!

March 2014- Volume XII, Number 3  

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

–ACROSS THE FIELD
–FUNDING
–TRAININGS/MEETINGS
–OPPORTUNITIES
–MISCELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Rewriting the Rural Narrative – this summer in Morris, MN!

We’re excited to help promote the Center for Small Towns (CST) in presenting their 2014 Symposium on Small Towns, June 4-5, on Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed. Hosted at the beautiful University of Minnesota, Morris, campus in western Minnesota, the symposium explores and confronts the changing truths of small towns and debunks current myths surrounding migration to and from small towns.

Goals for Symposium include:

  • Improving the dialogue surrounding migration research in rural areas.
  • Exemplifying the ways communities are connected through migration.
  • Informing the rural development industry of current strategies for recruitment and retention.
  • Bringing the macroeconomic perspective of migration theory to the rural development industry.
  • Exploring the role narrative language plays in recruitment strategies.
  • Delineating the strategy differences between youth and adult recruitment.
  • Developing a strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Exploring common recruitment strategies between states.
  • Describing the economic impact of newcomers.
  • Exploring opportunities the upcoming baby boomer housing relocation may hold for growth.
  • Gathering experiences with place-based strategies; i.e. Land incentives, internships, alumni.

SIGN UP FOR MORE INFORMATION AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE & check out more information on  Brain Gain and Rural Migration on the University of Minnesota Extension website.           

The Department of the Interior is offering funds to Indian Tribes, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations to protect and promote their unique cultural heritage and traditions. Deadline: 3/21/2014. Click here for an application package. http://www.nps.gov/history/tribal_heritage/

–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to community-based coalitions working to prevent youth substance abuse. Deadline: 3/24/2014. Click here to review application guidelines. http://tinyurl.com/obfhh9v

Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program.Offers grants to develop and enhance effective plans for the Tribal government to reduce violent crimes against Indian women and increase safety for Native women. Among other things, funds domestic violence prevention campaigns, direct victim services, and training programs for certain professionals who work with victims. Application deadline is March 24, 2014. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.raconline.org/funding/3420

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2015 Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund beginning July 1, 2015. The Trust Fund represents the money that, since its inception in 1991, has been generated by the Minnesota State Lottery to provide a constitutionally dedicated funding source for protection of the state’s unique natural resources. Approximately $44 million is expected to be available for projects being sought in environment and natural resource areas that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits.  Proposals are being requested in the following seven areas:

  • *    Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
  • *    Water Resources
  • *    Environmental Education
  • *    Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
  • *    Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
  • *    Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat
  • *    Land Acquisition for Habitat and Recreation

Proposals responding to the 2015 RFP are due Friday, March 28, 2014. For more information on the LCCMR funding process or the 2015 RFP, visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn.

–The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering funding to nonprofit and public agencies to expand the availability of comprehensive, high quality residential treatment services for pregnant and postpartum women who suffer from alcohol and other drug use problems, and for their minor children impacted by maternal substance abuse. Deadline: 3/31/2014. Click here for an application package.  http://tinyurl.com/n82yvcv

–WELLS FARGO is offering Neighborhood Implementation Grants that support comprehensive community development projects that target specific neighborhoods. The community development project must be based on a current resident-driven neighborhood plan. Deadline: proposals for Phase I of the application process are due by 4/1/2014. Click here to review application guidelines and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/pr9vozm

–USDA has released applications for the third round of USDA’s Farm to School grants to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers. New in FY 2015, USDA funds will be made available to support meetings, trainings, and events intended to strengthen farm to school supply chains or provide technical assistance. Deadline: Letters of Intent are due 4/2/2014. To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a series of webinars related to the application process. To learn more about this program and to apply, click here.  http://tinyurl.com/n5vchb9

–The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the American Youth Leadership Program for public and private nonprofits to implement an exchange program for American high school students that will enable the participants to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. Deadline: 4/4/2014. Clickhere to review application requirements.  http://tinyurl.com/ojc3mtf

–The Blandin Foundation invites applications from rural communities interested in pursuing better broadband. Funding is available through several programs, all of which have a deadline of April 4. Learn more on the Blandin Foundation website. http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/programs/

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through the Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies (SEEDS) program to Indian Tribes, Native Alaskans, and nonprofit agencies serving Native Hawaiians, and others. Deadline: 4/15/2014. Click here for program guidelines and to apply.  http://tinyurl.com/lk6aoo3

–The Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor is offering grants to nonprofits for programs that ensure that prisoners re-entering society have job skills and recognized job credentials. Deadline: 4/18/2014. For an application package, click here. http://tinyurl.com/ku5oce3

–The Department of Labor is also offering funding to nonprofit and public agencies for vocational construction skills training and, for certain applicants, construction and alternative vocational skills training, for at-risk youth and/or young adults, aged 16 – 24. Deadline: 4/22/2014. Click here for an application package. http://tinyurl.com/o3tg9sf

–NEWMAN’S OWN Awards Program recognizes volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting U.S. military families. Eligible applicants must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be nonprofit organizations, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve units and/or veterans. Deadline: 4/23/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to apply online.  http://tinyurl.com/mpyycpu

–The MARY KAY Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits that aid female victims of domestic violence. Deadline: 4/30/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/887gx83

–Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is inviting nonprofits to submit proposals for the Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges initiative. Deadline: 5/6/2014. This initiative brings together local leaders, nonprofits, and design specialists to address how rural communities can strengthen their economies, enhance their rural character, and design efficient housing and transportation systems. To review application guidelines, click here.  http://tinyurl.com/ob8ex2y

Centennial Legacy Grant Program.  The Toro Company’s Centennial Legacy Grant Program is currently accepting applications from non-profits that are located within 30 miles of a Toro community (in Minnesota: Shakopee, Windom, and the Twin Cities). Grants will support non-profit organizations in their efforts to beautify and preserve outdoor environments and enhance green spaces at home, work and play. The objective of the program is to provide funding for projects in these focus areas that will serve the community for many years to come.

Grants will be made to qualified organizations in the communities where Toro employees live and work. The project funded should:

*Enrich outdoor landscapes for environmental benefits & enjoyment through outdoor physical activities by improving and beautifying parks, playgrounds, landscapes and community gardens

*Encourage efficient use of water in outdoor and agricultural applications by ensuring productive and sustainable practices and protecting our natural resources

*Involve children and adults in education programs on managing your water resources.

For more information or to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/oqv3r49

EPA Announces Availability of $400,000 for Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance.  The U.S. EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management has announced the availability of $400,000 in technical assistance for communities interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality and build more sustainable communities.  Communities across the country are interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality, provide ecosystem services, increase resiliency to climate change, create economic opportunities, and support a high quality of life. Many communities, however, lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals. As part of EPA’s commitment to engaging with local communities, the Agency is offering direct assistance to communities interested in implementing green infrastructure. This technical assistance will serve both to advance the adoption of green infrastructure programs in selected communities and to develop knowledge and tools that can be transferred to other communities and to a national audience. http://tinyurl.com/khav7kb

The value of the EPA assistance available in 2014 is approximately $400,000, and EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 to 7 communities. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to the Request for Letters of Interest at http://tinyurl.com/m4joxqd

– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has set a goal of investing $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas over the next three years. The funding will be used for the construction, expansion or equipping of rural mental health facilities and will be provided through the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program. http://tinyurl.com/bndtlo8

TRAINING/MEETINGS

–The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business’Forum on Workplace Inclusion is the largest diversity and inclusion conference in the country. Being held on March 18-20, 2014, the Forum will provide a compelling learning experience fostering business and thought leadership in workplace diversity and inclusion.

At the Forum participants will find:

  • *    Active collaboration: participants will meet today’s organizational and business challenges head on with invigorating presentations, discussions and rich, interactive experiences.
  • *    Thought leadership: participants will be challenged by a unique, expertly curated gathering of the field’s most passionate thought leaders, fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to identify evolving trends and better prepare for what’s next.
  • *    Valuable tools: participants will leave with smart, real-world, transferrable tools they can put to work within their own organization to help grow diversity, inclusion and success.

“Welcome” is a word heard every day, but its power is often underestimated. Welcoming more people with more diverse backgrounds into all conversations, organizations and lives has never been more important than it is today.http://tinyurl.com/pslh8ct

The Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to great water technology and know-how, but how can we position Minnesota to be a stronger global leader in the water industry? This event will address that topic.  Minnesota Water Technology Business Summit will be Tuesday, March 25, 2014 from9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ecolab Schuman Campus655 Lone Oak Drive, Eagan, MN.  The event will feature breakout sessions and speakers, including Ecolab Chairman and CEO Doug Baker, who will share his vision for the state’s water business sector.  Among other highlights of the summit:

  • *    Learn about new initiatives to gain better access to the state’s research and development resources and expertise.
  • *    Hear from the state’s premier industry cluster expert on why the water sector is poised to grow.
  • *    Network with fellow water professionals, ranging from the large firms to solo consultants.

Summit speakers will include: Ecolab, DEED, Greater MSP, 3M, University of Minnesota, Pentair and Aeration Industries.   http://tinyurl.com/m8hfz3p

The University of Minnesota Tourism Center is hosting a train-the-trainer session in conjunction with At Your Service: Working with Multicultural Customers on Friday, March 28. Your staff is the face of your brand; train them to provide great customer service.

You will receive comprehensive training materials to deliver an effective half-day workshop for your staff to boost their skills and better serve your customers. A one-time purchase allows you to use the program for multiple trainings.

Register online at http://tinyurl.com/plsnjmz

–The 2014 Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center’s Forum, “Telehealth and HIT: Partners in Patient Care” is now open for registration. This year’s event will focus on how telehealth and other Health Information Technologies (HIT), including mHealth, can help provide coordinated patient care. It takes place April 3-4 in Minneapolis. Learn more and register on the gpTRAC website. http://tinyurl.com/owt7tt6

Minnesota Campus Compact’s 20th Anniversary Summit & Awards Luncheon will be held on April 16, 2014, at the University of St. Thomas.  Registration is now open .  Plan to join campus, community, and student leaders from across the state in this day not only celebrating excellent civic work to date but also addressing strategic issues for our collective work moving forward. A morning plenary featuring keynotes by Trista Harris, President of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, and John McKnight, Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, will be followed by an awards luncheon and breakouts on key issues.

–Red Hot Hack April 26 – Make it a Weekend Getaway!  Hosted by Red Wing Ignite. Create applications that make use of Gig connectivity (YES – a Gig in Red Wing!!) Come ready to jump in no matter what stage you’re at fresh idea or nearly finished project. Can’t code? That’s OK — all skills are needed. Expand your relationships and networks. We’re working with teams, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond! Learn more: http://www.redwingignite.org/

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Mark your calendars and register online, to showcase your product or promote your business that supports inventors. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office at 507.627.2344.

The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington. http://tinyurl.com/p4delkb

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 23 and 24 in Duluth.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state. Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit. These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means that every three years they must attend a training session, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee to comply with Minnesota law.

Seventeen AIS training sessions are planned around the state. Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training. To register for training, find out if the business needs a permit, or for more information, visit the DNR website. A list of all 2014 training sessions is also available. http://tinyurl.com/mfbzlmf

OPPORTUNITIES

The Community Assistantship Program (CAP), administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, is accepting applications from community organizations and government agencies in rural Minnesota for student research assistance. CAP provides approximately 200 hours of student time to work on a project defined by the community. Applications due March 15. http://www.cura.umn.edu/CAP

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits andThe International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Minnesota Chapterare pleased to hostA Gift of Communication, where six nonprofits (chosen by lottery) will receive an afternoon of free consultation from seasoned IABC MN communications professionals on March 20 from 1 – 4:30 p.m.  This event is geared towards nonprofits that are small enough to need help, but large enough to have some time and resources to devote to communications. Because of this we ask that participating organizations have an operating budget between $250,000 and $1 million. To enter your nonprofit, please fill out ashort survey. http://tinyurl.com/okyus7e

PLEASE NOTE: These survey questions just determine eligibility, so short answers are fine. The six nonprofits chosen to participate will be asked to provide more details. If selected, it is suggested that one or two members of your organization attend from senior management and/or your board. Applications will be taken through Wednesday, March 12, and winners will be notified the next day.

IABC specializes in helping organizations achieve excellence in corporate communications, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other forms of business communication. This event is theirGift” to the nonprofit community. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljn-TS40_Oc

STEM Scholarship applications now open.  The entry period for the Minnesota High Tech Association Foundation 2014 STEM scholarships is now open. Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies. READ MORE http://tinyurl.com/kh466cb

2014 MCRSA/IMPLAN Conference Proposal Deadline April 1. The Mid-Continent Regional Science Association is teaming with the IMPLAN Group, the makers of the IMPLAN economic modeling system, to host their annual conferences June 3-5, 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin.  This is to announce the call for regular papers and sessions and to encourage students to participate in the M. Jarvin Emerson Student Paper Competition. All persons wishing to submit an abstract or session proposal for both the MCRSA and IMPLAN conference sessions are encouraged to do so electronically via e-mail to John Leatherman at jleather@ksu.edu by April 1, 2014.

Get more info at the MCRSA Website: <www.mcrsa.org>  The conference remains a great buy among professional and academic association meetings.  Early registrants will enjoy a reduced conference registration fee of $270.  In addition, a special reduced fee for students will once again be in effect.  The full student registration fee is $110.

You can either download a conference registration form from the MCRSA Website, or register and pay online at IMPLAN’s Website <www.implan.com>.

The meeting will take place at The Madison Concourse Hotel in downtown Madison. Contact the hotel directly at1-800-356-8293 and indicate participation in the MCRSA/IMPLAN conference.

 

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, “Weaving the Threads of Rural Health,” will take place June 23-24 in Duluth, Minnesota.  The Conference Committee is seeking proposals for conference breakout sessions.  The first day of the Conference, June 23, is focused on critical access hospitals (CAHs) and their communities. The second day takes a broader look at rural health in Minnesota. https://secure.ruralcenter.org/conference/

Savings Innovation ClusterCFED, in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, is soliciting applications from organizations serving low- and moderate-income households to join a yearlong learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clients. http://tinyurl.com/nghqkhl

Youth Voices of Change: The Climate Change Youth Video Contest.  The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Young people in Grades 4-12 are invited during the 2013-2014 school year to share their solutions and/or help raise awareness about climate change issues in the form of a video.  Ten finalist videos will be chosen and the competition winners will be announced the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Videos must fall into one of two categories: Action or Awareness:

Action videos show a real or proposed project that you are working on and are eligible for a seed grant to help accomplish it. These videos should educate your peers, families, or the public about the project and its impact.

Awareness videos should be educational and intentionally leave the viewer with helpful information, and/or a compelling story. These videos should educate your peers, families, or the public about climate change impacts and solutions.

Entries must be received or postmarked by May 16th, 2014.  For more information on the contest go to: http://tinyurl.com/pm64ysm

MISCELLANEOUS

An article posted on the LISC Institute for Comprehensive Community Development website titled “How arts and culture can transform your community” discusses creative placemaking, a powerful, arts-based approach to community development. Read the article and visit the website http://www.instituteccd.org/news/4989

–Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide.  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published the 520-page, Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide which lists local, state, and national agencies engaged in, or supporting, community and economic development in rural Minnesota. http://tinyurl.com/o3y8p5q

Building Leadership for the Long Haul.  Milan Wall from the Heartland Center for Leadership Development shares qualities of effective community leaders and tips for recruiting new leaders in a changing world in this webinar recording. http://tinyurl.com/o3bg4fj

Onshore Oil and Gas Development in the Lower 48 States: Introducing a County-Level Database of Production for 2000-2011.  Until now, there has been no publicly available nationwide data on oil and gas production at the county level. County-level data from oil and/or natural gas producing States were compiled on a State-by-State basis. Most States have production statistics available by field, county, or well, and these data were compiled at the county level to create a database of county-level production, 2000-11. http://tinyurl.com/nk76stb

–The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis released a new Rural Care Coordination Toolkit to help rural communities and organizations identify and implement a care coordination program. http://tinyurl.com/pcz2pxa

–The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has released the 2014 federal poverty guidelines.

–The Flex Monitoring Team has launched a new website at flexmonitoring.org, offering access to their collection of resources aimed at improving the accessibility, viability and quality of health care for rural residents and communities.

–The website tribalhealthcare.org, produced by the National Indian Health Outreach and Education Initiative, provides training tools and consumer-oriented education materials to assist American Indians and Alaska Natives in understanding their rights and opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). http://tribalhealthcare.org/

Measuring Health Disparities is a free downloadable course on how to understand, define and measure health disparities. It is offered through the Michigan Public Training Center. http://tinyurl.com/qepmdf9

To contribute articles, notices, and random comments, please send such items to Jane Leonard.

The MRP Rural Round-Up is published once per month around the second Tuesday of each month (or when we can get to it!). Items for posting in the newsletter should arrive in our box by the second Monday of the month to be included in that month’s edition.

HAPPY VALENTINE’s DAY!

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

February 2014- Volume XII, Number 2  (Ya-we can’t believe we’ve been publishing continuously this long, either!)

–ACROSS THE FIELD
–FUNDING
–TRAININGS/MEETINGS
–OPPORTUNITIES
–MISCELLANEOUS
–EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES – New section!

Across the Field: What If?

–by Jane Leonard

I woke up this morning with this crazy idea in my head (after watching the Winter Olympics, where we all unite as the USA for a few weeks – not individual towns or states), and thought, What if?

What if we didn’t separate ourselves into rural, urban, suburban, exurban identities, but saw ourselves as part of a larger interconnected place, where we understood and supported each other, no matter what.

After years of individual competition, even Olympic figure skaters do team events now. It’s inspiring to see them cheer for each other, work together to achieve a common goal, and rally around their team member when his or her scores are announced – for the team.

What if we had more of that attitude across our state and across our country? Think of the things we could accomplish, together. What if, indeed!

–Jane Leonard is a community development consultant. She can be reached at jane@janeleonard.net

FUNDING                 

USDA has announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Grants are available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Deadline: 2/24/2014. NOFA for more information http://tinyurl.com/mc3ncwc

Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program Now Accepting Applications! The Minnesota Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.  This 10-year, $15-million-a-year program will be taking applications until February 28 for Minnesota residents and businesses to apply for the incentive to help defray the cost to install a solar electric system.  Made in Minnesota is one component of last year’s solar energy bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor that is aimed to grow the solar energy sector in Minnesota.

Who can apply for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program?  The solar incentive program will be available to customers of the following investor-owned utilities: Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power.  Consumers and businesses that would like to participate in the Made in Minnesota Program will need to install solar electric systems (also known as solar photovoltaic or PV) using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Currently, modules certified for the program are available from two Minnesota companies – tenKsolar and Silicon Energy.

Qualified solar electric systems must be less than 40 kilowatts (kW) to qualify for incentives. Applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted annually between January 1 and February 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery.  Applications are available online http://tinyurl.com/m2g9vjh The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of up to $15 million for 10 years, of which up to $250,000 per year is reserved for solar thermal rebates. Questions about the program can be directed to solar.help@state.mn.us or the Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3710.

Small towns in west central MN are invited to apply for Capital Improvement Plan grant. West Central Initiative’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) grant program provides funds for cities with populations less than 5,000 in the counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, and Wilkin. The 2014 CIP grant round is open until March 3, 2014. http://www.wcif.org/page/cip

–ACT on Alzheimer’s is accepting applications from Minnesota communities interested in becoming dementia capable. Eligible communities will use the ACT on Alzheimer’s Dementia Capable Communities Toolkit, undertake the processes defined by the toolkit, and implement at least one (1) major priority goal area identified through the process. Applications due March 4. Learn more on the http://www.actonalz.org/

–The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for 2014 Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Improve the Mental Health and Wellness of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities (short title: Circles of Care VI) grants. The grants are intended to increase the capacity and effectiveness of mental health systems serving tribal and urban AI/AN communities. Applications due March 7. http://tinyurl.com/muutfe8

–Southeast CERT Round 2 RFP.  The Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.  The primary objectives of this funding are to:

  • Encourage the implementation of      community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in      Minnesota.
  • Provide a forum for community      education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and      their economic, ecological, and community benefits.

Proposals are due by 4:00 PM on Monday, March 10th, 2014.  For more information, go to: http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/se-rfp 

–The Bush Foundation is once again accepting applications for Community Innovation Grants to support organizations working to create or implement a breakthrough in addressing a community need. Grants will range from $10,000-$200,000 for problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. Applications due March 13th. http://tinyurl.com/qxv4yyd 

–The Department of Commerce is offering grants to support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. Deadline: 3/14/2014. Click here for application guidelines. http://tinyurl.com/publ55b

–The Economic Development Administration is offering funding to public agencies, nonprofits, Institutions of Higher Education and Indian Tribes for a wide variety of planning, community development and economic development projects to improve economic conditions for low-income people in economically distressed communities. Deadline: 3/14/2014. http://tinyurl.com/pkhoeb5

–West Central Initiative’s 2014 grant round for its Competitive Workforce Grant program is open through March 14, 2014. WCI will provide one-year grants to qualified organizations and partnerships that want to try out innovative ideas and pilot new ways to address skill shortages in west central Minnesota. For more information visit http://www.wcif.org, or contact Wendy Merrick at 800-735-2239, wendy@wcif.org.

 —The Community Assistantship Program (CAP), a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, is pleased to announce a summer 2014 grant program. The grant will allow rural communities to hire a student to work on a project defined by those communities. The deadline for project proposals is March 15th, 2014. Approved projects will run from May 25th to August 24th 2014. Eligible organizations include community groups, organizations, and local governments outside the seven county metro. See: http://www.cura.umn.edu/CAP 
What is CAP?  The Community Assistantship Program provides applied research assistance to community-based groups outside the Twin Cities Metro Area. The research needs of community organizations are matched with the support of talented students. The idea is simple: get the resources of the University working with communities to address the significant issues facing the people of Minnesota. CAP projects typically place students in a community defined and directed part time research assistantship for one semester or over the summer. Students are selected by and report to the community organization. Throughout the project students are supported by a community supervisor, faculty and community mentors.

This year CAP has an Expanded Rural Opportunity grant from the Blandin Foundation.  This grant emphasizes three areas:

  • Community Economic Vitality.       Obvious topic areas include increasing the number of jobs and      increasing the income of holding those jobs.
  • Intentional Inclusion. Focus on      marginalized people of different race, ethnicity, gender, income level,      age, or ability.
  • Education Success.  The      traditional focus is preK-12 education, but education and training for      young adults is also valid.

CAP is particularly looking for projects that would be a fit for one or more of these guidelines. For more information and how apply: http://www.cura.umn.edu/CBR/how-to-apply   Contact: Jeff Corn, CURA,  jcorn@umn.edu, (612) 625-0744.

–Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program.Offers grants to develop and enhance effective plans for the Tribal government to reduce violent crimes against Indian women and increase safety for Native women. Among other things, funds domestic violence prevention campaigns, direct victim services, and training programs for certain professionals who work with victims. Application deadline is March 24, 2014. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.raconline.org/funding/3420 

–The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2015 Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund beginning July 1, 2015. The Trust Fund represents the money that, since its inception in 1991, has been generated by the Minnesota State Lottery to provide a constitutionally dedicated funding source for protection of the state’s unique natural resources. Approximately $44 million is expected to be available for projects being sought in environment and natural resource areas that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits.  Proposals are being requested in the following seven areas:

  • *         Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
  • *    Water Resources
  • *         Environmental Education
  • *    Aquatic and      Terrestrial Invasive Species
  • *    Air      Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
  • *    Methods to      Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat
  • *    Land      Acquisition for Habitat and Recreation

Proposals responding to the 2015 RFP are due Friday, March 28, 2014. For more information on the LCCMR funding process or the 2015 RFP, visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn 

–The Blandin Foundation invites applications from rural communities interested in pursuing better broadband. Funding is available through several programs, all of which have a deadline of April 4. Learn more http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/programs/ 

And, ….if you are into community and economic vitality like most of us are, read this latest report on ROI on broadband posted by the Blandin Foundationand also consider the ROI value of an older, but still exceedingly relevant information technology: small town – rural newspapers. They can be key builders of social capital — which is the foundation for any community capital creation to follow (Jane started her career on one –the Ada, MN-based Norman County Index).

–EPA Announces Availability of $400,000 for Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance.  The U.S. EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management has announced the availability of $400,000 in technical assistance for communities interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality and build more sustainable communities.  Communities across the country are interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality, provide ecosystem services, increase resiliency to climate change, create economic opportunities, and support a high quality of life. Many communities, however, lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals. As part of EPA’s commitment to engaging with local communities, the Agency is offering direct assistance to communities interested in implementing green infrastructure. This technical assistance will serve both to advance the adoption of green infrastructure programs in selected communities and to develop knowledge and tools that can be transferred to other communities and to a national audience.

The value of the EPA assistance available in 2014 is approximately $400,000, and EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 to 7 communities. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to the Request for Letters of Interest at http://tinyurl.com/m4joxqd 

– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has set a goal of investing $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas over the next three years. The funding will be used for the construction, expansion or equipping of rural mental health facilities and will be provided through the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Loans.html 

TRAINING/MEETINGS

–Register today for the 4th annual MN Entrepreneur KickOff Event. Wednesday, February 19th at the Base Camp in Fort Snelling MN. Crowdfunding and Start Up Finance are the highlighted topics for this very well attended networking event! www.mnentrepreneurs.org 

–Greater St. Cloud Community Priorities Forum.  The Initiative Foundation and the Central Minnesota Community Foundation have joined forces for a community visioning project to identify ways to increase the St. Cloud area’s vitality. The forum is part of the visioning project. It will be held from 7:30-10:30 a.m., February 20, at the River’s Edge Convention Center. http://tinyurl.com/n78vuva 

–Capitol Code: An Open Data Jam is coming Saturday, February 22 to CoCo in Uptown Minneapolis.   An event for techies and civic-minded folks to come together to CREATE great civic applications. Hosted by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, Capitol Code will give passionate and  engaged citizens the opportunity to explore and drive solutions using public data from the Secretary of State, including (but not limited to) data and election results, as well as information from the office’s Business Services Division. This will be a fun and enriching event where teams of community leaders, developers, public servants, designers and government officials will turn ideas into action, for the good of the citizens of Minnesota. This will be an extremely active day focused on doing, not just talking. Register for Capitol Code today and be a part of realizing the future of open data in Minnesota: capitolcode.mn.gov and follow on Twitter for updates at @MNSecofState, @CapitolCode, and #CapitolCode.

–The 24th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo, hosted by Minnesota Power, will be held at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on Feb. 25-26. This event will once again offer a diverse set of seminars and workshops about the latest in energy-efficient building and technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design. Each year the Expo attracts about 1,000 participants and 75 exhibitors. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources is a partnering sponsor and exhibitor. Visit www.duluthenergydesign.com to register and for conference details.

–A Solar Powering Minnesota Conference is planned on March 7 to help grow solar power in Minnesota. Utilities, policy makers, lenders, developers and contractors, local governments, and training and workforce development professionals will come together at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul to learn and connect about solar programs, incentives, and resources to help solar power shine. The conference features a keynote address by Minh Le, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Program manager, breakout sessions, and time to network. http://tinyurl.com/o24vr9b 

–The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business’Forum on Workplace Inclusion is the largest diversity and inclusion conference in the country. Being held on March 18-20, 2014, the Forum will provide a compelling learning experience fostering business and thought leadership in workplace diversity and inclusion.

At the Forum participants will find:

  • Active      collaboration: participants will meet today’s organizational and      business challenges head on with invigorating presentations, discussions      and rich, interactive experiences.
  • Thought      leadership: participants will be challenged by a unique,      expertly curated gathering of the field’s most passionate thought leaders,      fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to identify evolving trends and      better prepare for what’s next.
  • Valuable      tools: participants will leave with smart, real-world,      transferrable tools they can put to work within their      own organization to help grow diversity, inclusion and success.

“Welcome” is a word heard every day, but its power is often underestimated. Welcoming more people with more diverse backgrounds into all conversations, organizations and lives has never been more important than it is today. Register for the Forum now!

–The 2014 Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center’s Forum, “Telehealth and HIT: Partners in Patient Care” is now open for registration. This year’s event will focus on how telehealth and other Health Information Technologies (HIT), including mHealth, can help provide coordinated patient care. It takes place April 3-4 in Minneapolis. Learn more and register http://tinyurl.com/pslh8ct

–Minnesota Campus Compact’s 20th Anniversary Summit & Awards Luncheon will be held on April 16, 2014, at the University of St. Thomas.  Registration is now open at http://mncc20thsummit.eventbrite.com  – early bird deadline March 14th.  Plan to join campus, community, and student leaders from across the state in this day not only celebrating excellent civic work to date but also addressing strategic issues for our collective work moving forward. A morning plenary featuring keynotes by Trista Harris, President of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, and John McKnight, Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, will be followed by an awards luncheon and breakouts on key issues.

–Red Hot Hack April 26 – Make it a Weekend Getaway!  A hackathon hosted by Red Wing Ignite, where techies gather to create apps that everyone can use.

  • Create applications that make      use of Gig connectivity (YES – a Gig in Red Wing!!)
  • Come ready to jump in no matter      what stage you’re at fresh idea or nearly finished project
  • Can’t code? That’s OK — all      skills are needed
  • Expand your relationships and      networks.

We’re working with team, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond! Learn more: http://www.redwingignite.org/ 

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Mark your calendars and register online, to showcase your product or promote your business that supports inventors. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office at 507.627.2344.   There are just 3 easy steps to register:

1. Review the Registration Information

2. Download  and complete the fill-in-able Registration Form http://tinyurl.com/kxfl929

3. Submit Payment through ticket-e-split. http://tinyurl.com/ptlbg9t

– “Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed” – Symposium on Small Towns, June 4th & 5th, 2014, University of Minnesota, Morris,

http://www.morris.umn.edu/cst/symposium/

– The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington. http://tinyurl.com/p4delkb

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 23 and 24 in Duluth.

—-The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) offers a free monthly videocast providing news and public policy updates on the use and deployment of telemedicine, including remote clinical services, mHealth and online consultations. To see upcoming videocast dates and/or to listen to past videocasts, visit the This Month in Telemedicine Videocast page. http://tinyurl.com/opwb5du

OPPORTUNITIES

–Opportunity to benchmark Minnesota schools against high-performing countries. The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) is partnering with a national non-profit to benchmark local schools against those in other high-performing countries. The Innovate + Educate partnership is aimed at closing the skills gap by using internationally recognized test results to refine curriculum within individual schools. Limited opportunities for schools to participate remain – the deadline to apply is February 28th.  http://tinyurl.com/m69nc4x

–Thank Volunteers! The nonprofit sector relies heavily on amazing volunteers who give hours of time to support our communities. Now organizations can give back to those volunteers by nominating them to receive a free tank of gas. Cenex®, the CHS energy brand, has announced that it will continue the Tanks of Thanks® program for a third year. Since its launch in 2012, the Minnesota-based cooperative has collected and shared more than 10,000 inspiring stories of people who go above and beyond to make a difference in their communities. To date, Tanks of Thanks has awarded nearly $280,000 in free fuel to people doing good deeds for their communities. http://withyou.cenex.com/

–Solid Waste Trainings and On-Site Assessments.  The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota is providing solid waste trainings and on-site assessments http://tinyurl.com/kb2b7wp  free to attendees in 53 Minnesota counties through partnerships with counties, cities, tribal entities, Chambers, Rotaries, and other civic organizations.

Trainings are flexible and customizable. They may be provided as a stand-alone event, as part of an existing event, or before or after a site assessment. Assessments involve a facility walk-through to look at areas where waste is generated and current waste management practices. The assessment includes a report with tailored recommendations on how an organization can improve waste reduction and diversion.

MnTAP’s objective is to conduct trainings and assessments in ten communities with populations under 10,000. To date, MnTAP has conducted five events through partnerships with Becker, Cass, Otter Tail, and St. Louis Counties and the Perham and Pelican Rapids Rotaries.

Call or email Anna Arkin, MnTAP Solid Waste Specialist, at 612-624-0808 or  aiarkin@umn.edu for additional details and to reserve trainings and assessments tailored to fit your government, community, or association needs and interests.

–Call for Programs – Proposals due February 28th for the Minnesota High Tech Association(MHTA) annual Spring Conference to be held May 6th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  They are seeking proposals for one hour educational sessions that should address central questions associated with one or more of the areas listed below:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information Technology
  • Innovation
  • Leadership Development
  • Workforce Development
  • Doing Business

Read full details about topics and program proposals here.  Programs will be reviewed and selected by the conference advisory committee. All applicants will be notified of their status by April 1. Selected presenters will receive complimentary admission to the conference as well as promotion on the conference website and materials. http://tinyurl.com/ktwjy25

–STEM Scholarship applications now open.  The entry period for the Minnesota High Tech Association Foundation 2014 STEM scholarships is now open. Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies.  http://tinyurl.com/kh466cb

–Savings Innovation ClusterCFED, in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, is soliciting applications from organizations serving low- and moderate-income households to join a yearlong learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clients. http://tinyurl.com/nghqkhl

–Youth Voices of Change: The Climate Change Youth Video Contest.  The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Young people in Grades 4-12 are invited during the 2013-2014 school year to share their solutions and/or help raise awareness about climate change issues in the form of a video.  Ten finalist videos will be chosen and the competition winners will be announced the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Videos must fall into one of two categories: Action or Awareness:

  • Action videos      show a real or proposed project that you are working on and are eligible      for a seed grant to help accomplish it. These videos should educate your      peers, families, or the public about the project and its impact.
  • Awareness      videos should be educational and intentionally leave the viewer with      helpful information, and/or a compelling story. These videos should      educate your peers, families, or the public about climate change impacts      and solutions.

Entries must be received or postmarked by May 16th, 2014.  For more information on the contest go to: http://tinyurl.com/pm64ysm

MISCELLANEOUS

 

–A new study that finds increasing the federal minimum wage would produce widespread benefits in Minnesota.  National study confirms: minimum wage increase good for our economy and communitieslooks at areportfrom the Economic Policy Institute that concludes increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would directly and indirectly increase wages for about 462,000 Minnesotans. http://tinyurl.com/okbme89 

–A report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) on financial security finds over a quarter of Minnesotans don’t have enough liquid assets to cover an emergency in the face of job loss.  Minnesota’s policies promote financial security, but communities of color often left behind. For more information about the Assets & Opportunity Scorecardand Minnesota’s ranking. http://tinyurl.com/ode3srv 

–The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture released an update to the rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes that classify U.S. census tracts using measures of population density, urbanization and daily commuting. The update uses both the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates to create two levels of classification. ORHPC will be updating its Minnesota maps with the new codes in early 2014, but in the meantime, more information and the new codes are available on the http://tinyurl.com/pk4fuzs 

–Farm to school movement connects kids and healthy foods.  More and more schools are using their local purchasing power to change the relationship students have with food.  Featuring a video supplement: What Is Farm to School? http://tinyurl.com/mjedv63 

–Minnesota Department of Commerce posts three new energy reports.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) has posted three reports as required by state legislation passed in 2013. The three reports, commissioned by DOC, include:

The Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota develops scope for a study of how Minnesota can achieve a sustainable energy system that does not rely on fossil fuels. The report identifies potential approaches and considerations to assess cross-sector opportunities in electrical, transportation, thermal, industrial, and agricultural sectors.

The Value of Solar Heating and Cooling in Minnesota report analyzes the potential costs and benefits of expanding the installation of solar thermal projects in residential and commercial buildings in Minnesota. The report identifies the most promising opportunities for deployment.

The White Paper Analysis of Utility-Managed, On-Site Energy Storage in Minnesota examines the potential costs and benefits of grid-connected electrical energy storage technology located at the utility customer in the State of Minnesota. The investigation included standalone storage and storage integrated with solar photovoltaic (PV), and it considered both residential and commercial customer sites.

The three reports are available as PDFs on the Energy Reports section of the Division of Energy Resources website. http://tinyurl.com/m86nwsl

–It pays for Minnesota manufacturers to buy materials, components and products from each other instead of from out-of-state or foreign suppliers.  Now a new directory of products and supplies manufactured in the state makes it easy for Minnesota companies to find — and be found by — home-state suppliers that are a perfect fit.  The Made in Minnesota directory is a free online database you can use to find nearly 800 Minnesota manufacturers who make everything from food products to textiles, fabricated metals, machinery, and computers and electronics. Search by product, company name, county and NAICS codes.

There’s more: The Made in Minnesota Directory contains the names and addresses of participating companies, year the businesses were established, corporate contact information, number of employees, products they make and products they are interested in buying from Minnesota suppliers.  The directory also contains information on renewable energy products and suppliers to key Minnesota industries like medical devices.  If you’d like to list your company information in the database, just go to the Made in Minnesota website at www.tinyurl.com/MadeinMinnesotaDirectory and provide your businesses information – and you’re done. It’s that easy.

–IRS Proposed Regulations on 501(c)(4) political activity.  In November 2013, the IRS proposed new 501c4 regulations intended to clarify the definition of political activity, remedying the problems related to the currently vague “facts and circumstances” test, and provide new standards around what is allowed. The proposed regulations define that all voter registration, get out the vote, voter guides and candidate events are considered “political activity.”

While the regulations are not designed to affect 501c3 organizations, the nonprofit sector is concerned about the spillover impact that is likely to occur as the activities newly defined as “political” have long been core 501c3 non-partisan, non-political activities used to increase civic participation and voter engagement among under-represented populations. To learn more about this issue, consider watching a recent Independent Sector webinar on the proposed 501c4 regulations. http://tinyurl.com/oeyj2gx

–Did you know that the Department of Human Services (DHS) operates five community dental clinics for individuals with developmental disabilities, severe/persistent mental illness or traumatic brain injury who are unable to obtain care from other community providers? Clinics are located in Brainerd, Cambridge, Faribault, Fergus Falls and Willmar. The Faribault office also provides out-patient psychiatric services. Download a Dental Clinic brochure or visit the State Operated Services website to learn more. http://tinyurl.com/pg5hcyw

–What Are the Top Five Risks the World Faces in 2014?  Wharton’s Howard Kunreuther and Erwann Michel-Kerjan, contributors to the World Economic Forum’s newly released “Global Risks 2014″ report, comment on global interdependence and what it means for risk management. http://knlg.net/1advriZ 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

--Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce Seeks Executive Director  The Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) is seeking a new executive director. http://tinyurl.com/pva3y33 

–West Central Initiative Seeking Active Transportation Planner  West Central Initiative in Fergus Falls is seeking an Active Living/Transportation Planner for regional planning activities, including active living, active transportation, and Safe Routes to School planning work. http://tinyurl.com/pva3y33 

–The Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), a nonprofit organization designed to help new and expanding businesses find the resources they need to succeed, is seeking an Office Administrator.  The ideal candidate will have knowledge and experience with SharePoint, Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and social media. Must have accounting/bookkeeping experience. Must be able to prioritize workload and accept interruptions in workflow and adjust accordingly. Excellent organizational skills, communications skills, time management, critical thinking, detail oriented, and soft skills are a MUST.  For more information, and application instructions, visit our webpage at BLAEDC Employment. http://tinyurl.com/nym5xh8 

–RETAP Hiring New Members.  The MPCA’s Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) is hiring new members to conduct energy efficiency and waste reduction assessments.  Members are retired environmental professionals, are comfortable working independently, and are compensated at $14/hr.   RETAP employs skilled, retired professionals to provide facility assessments and community sustainability assistance to small businesses, institutions, and communities in Minnesota.  Check out www.pca.state.mn.us/retap  for more information about RETAP and the member positions. http://tinyurl.com/446tm86 

–Vice President for External Relations at the Initiative Foundation.  

The Initiative Foundation is searching for a proven leader for its External Relations team. The Vice President for External Relations is responsible for leading a five-person donor services and marketing/communications team while managing the Initiative Foundation’s development strategy to meet annual goals for its endowment fund, donor-advised funds and grant funding sources. This position requires a comprehensive knowledge of fundraising, planned giving and external relations.  For additional information or to apply, contact:  Richard Thompson Associates, Inc.222 South 9th St., Suite 1600Minneapolis, MN 55402 Phone: (612) 339-6060 Email: rpt@rthompassoc.com

To contribute articles, notices, and random comments, please send such items to Jane Leonard at jane@janeleonard.net

The MRP Rural Round-Up is published once per month around the second Tuesday of each month (or when we can get to it!). Items for posting in the newsletter should arrive in our box by the second Monday of the month to be included in that month’s edition.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

January 2014– Volume XII, Number 1

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller-Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • –ACROSS THE FIELD
  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Knowing how and why community improvement investments do – or don’t — make a difference

by Jane Leonard

Lately I’ve spent some time in the basement going through old (paper) files from my first days in community improvement work back in the 1980s with the Minnesota Community Improvement Program.  I’ve been around long enough to see how, over time, past approaches to community improvement get recycled and re-marketed as something new, better, even ground-breaking.

A few years back a little voice started nagging me: how and why do the things we do to help our communities thrive really do, or don’t, help? I started asking colleagues if they knew how we know we make a difference. Beyond their instincts, they weren’t exactly sure.  We get money to try stuff and it works, or doesn’t, and we keep trying other stuff. And now, as the resources for trying stuff become more finite, the funders of improvement work are starting to ask more deeply, what are we getting in return for those investments?

Asking and answering those questions continues to be a work in progress. Some of us who have straddled all three worlds – community members, community improvement practitioners and evaluators, and community improvement funders – are slowly coming together to help figure it out.  We can’t afford to try the same approaches over and over again without knowing better the suitability of those approaches to the complex conditions present in a community and the likelihood of success.

Innovative Measurement & Evaluation of Community Development Practices is a December 2013 Special Issue of Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society that frames current thoughts and actions possible in answering the “what makes a difference” question. I had the privilege of co-editing this issue; here’s an excerpt:

Since the 1960s, community development organizations in the public and nonprofit sectors have become increasingly conscious of the impact of their work in light of finite financial resources and a growing range of policy concerns. This article briefly reviews the history of outcome measurement in community development organizations and describes innovative and emerging measurement practices used to improve public policy. It also outlines key ingredients in successful measurement systems, especially the importance of linking the measures to the strategic planning process. (Norman Walzer, Jane Leonard & Mary Emery (2013) Community Development, 44:5, 529-533, DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2013.852596 )

In addition to the ways to measure, with improved communications and information technologies, we finally have ways to sort through all the data/indicators that do get collected on community improvement work. However, it’s still not collected systematically or uniformly enough to make good comparisons and learning easier.

The very tangible Community Capitals Framework (CCF) does provide a comprehensive, systematic, and consistent way to organize thinking, doing, and measuring for community improvement. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we used it everywhere and compared the data? It’s easy to understand, and on the front end of improvement initiatives, also provides a great frame for strategy planning and development.

I’m mystified as to why many community leaders, state development agencies, and community improvement organizations and funders don’t know about CCF or use it. Developed by Cornelia Butler Flora and Jan Flora at Iowa State University over 10 years ago, CCF organizes key components of community vitality into recognizable characteristics fairly easy to measure via existing data sets (such as those available from Minnesota Compass) and new, observable ground data as well.

Because community development issues are multidimensional, it is vital to have a solid analytical framework as a base for measurement and evaluation of policy changes. The Community Capitals Framework (Flora et al., 2008) provides this structure, because it helps to describe the important components in community development. A single measure used to describe results or outcomes from policy interventions risks overlooking improvements in other arenas important to overall community wellbeing. (From Community Capitals: A Tool for Evaluating Strategic Interventions and Projects, by Cornelia Butler Flora, Mary Emery, Susan Fey and Corry Bregendahl)

And finally, if you want to network with folks who are probably asking and answering some of the same questions you have in knowing what makes a difference and why, check out the RuralXChange and its Community Change Resource Bank. Good stuff collected and shared around the country!

–Jane Leonard is a community vitality consultant. Her motto is “Doing Good Works Well to Help People & Places Thrive.” She can be reached at jane@janeleonard.net

FUNDING                 

–Minnesota’s Angel Tax Credit provides a 25-percent credit to investors or investment funds that put money into startup companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology. The maximum credit is $125,000 per person, per year ($250,000 if filing jointly). The credit is refundable and non-Minnesota residents (including residents of foreign countries) are eligible.  A total of $12 million in tax credits is available in calendar year 2014.  For more information go to: http://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/tax-credits/angel-tax-credit/

–The Coca-Cola Foundation is offering grants to nonprofit organizations that address community needs and priorities in a meaningful way. The Foundation supports programs that focus on one of the following four categories: water stewardship; healthy and active lifestyles that lead to physical activity and nutritional education programs; community recycling; and education. Online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and application procedures.  http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/the-coca-cola-foundation

–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for both assessment and cleanup work at a specific Brownfield site. Deadline: 1/22/2014. Click here for more information about these grants.  http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-13-07.pdf

–The Department of Labor is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs and others to provide high school students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and technical curricula focused on specific in-demand occupations and industries. Deadline: 1/27/2014. Click here for guidelines and an application. http://www.doleta.gov/ycc/pdf/Youth_Career_Connect_SGA_13-01.pdf

Grant Funds Now Available for Sustainable Farming Innovations. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award up to $250,000 in 2014 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects. Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature increased funding for the Sustainable Ag Grant Program by $150,000 during the 2013 legislative session.  The MDA is now accepting applications for the grant program which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas.

The grant application is available on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.aspx or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at 651-201-6012. Completed applications must be received by MDA no later than January 29, 2014.

Examples of eligible projects include fruit and vegetable production, conservation tillage and weed management, integrated pest management, livestock production, organic farming, alternative energy crop production, and specialty crops as an alternative market.  These and other grant projects are highlighted in the Greenbook, which is free and available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook.

Safe Routes to School grants.  Minnesota schools and their partners are invited to apply for Safe Routes to School grant funds for projects that will help more children safely walk and bicycle to school. Applications are due January 31, 2014, and are available at: www.mndot.gov/saferoutes/.

Schools in Minnesota may apply for grants in two categories:

Infrastructure implementation grants – K-12 schools, in partnership with cities or counties, will receive grants to support infrastructure identified in Safe Routes to School planning efforts that improve safety or access for children walking and bicycling to school.

Planning assistance – K-8 schools will receive expert assistance to complete a Safe Routes to School plan, which will analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions. Planning grants are best for schools just getting started or looking to expand Safe Routes to School programs in their communities.

MnDOT has $4 million available for infrastructure grants and $700,000 available for planning grants for 2015-16.  All grants use federal funds, but a change this year requires a 20 percent local match for the infrastructure implementation application. The planning assistance grants remain at 100 percent funding.  More information about the grants and an additional funding opportunity from the Metropolitan Council is located on the MnDOT website at: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/saferoutes/grants.html.  For more information, contact Mao Yang at 651-366-3827 or mao.yang@state.mn.us.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants to identify and evaluate solutions to water problems relating to source, storage, treatment, and distribution, and to waste disposal problems relating to collection, treatment, and disposal, and to provide training that will improve the management, operation, and maintenance of water and waste disposal facilities. Deadline: 1/31/2014. Click here for application guidelines.  http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=246494

–The Captain Planet Foundation is offering funding to nonprofits and public schools for innovative programs that inspire youth to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. An additional priority is to fund programs that encourage environment-based education in schools. Deadline: 1/31/2014. Click here to visit the Foundation’s website for application guidelines. http://captainplanetfoundation.org/apply-for-grants/

East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) FY 2014  grant application materials are now online at:  http://www.ecrac.org/grants  The next grant deadlines are February 1, 2014.  

–William G. and Marie Selby Foundation is accepting applications from nonprofits for capital grants for the construction, acquisition and/or renovation of facilities, as well as the purchase of equipment or software. Projects focusing on education, human services, arts and community projects including history, science, and/or the environment will be given top priority. Deadline: 2/1/2014. Click here to visit the website for guidelines and an application. http://www.selbyfdn.org/page/grant-application-guidelines.aspx

– The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs seeks applications for Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas. The program awards funding for organizations providing transportation to VA medical centers and other VA and non-VA facilities for medical care. Proposals should include innovative approaches to transportation, including community linkages and relationships, and how the applicant will work with state and local agencies. Applications due February 3. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=248305

HUD is offering grants through the Continuum of Care program that provides grants for programs that assist homeless individuals and families by providing supportive care services as they move into transitional and permanent housing. Deadline: 2/3/2014. Click here to visit HUD’s website.  http://tinyurl.com/n4hyu27

–The Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for prevention and intervention activities that maximize community-based efforts and evidence-informed practices to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Deadline: 2/4/2014. For application guidelines, click here.  http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/docs/fy14-solicitation-final-new-budget.pdf

The Kessler Foundation is offering Signature Employment Grants to nonprofit organizations for non-traditional initiatives or social ventures that increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 per year are awarded nationally to fund new pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that lead to the generation of new ideas to solve the high unemployment and underemployment among individuals with disabilities. Deadline: online grant concepts are due 2/7/2014. Visit the Kessler Foundation’s website here to review grant guidelines. http://kesslerfoundation.org/grantprograms/signatureemploymentgrants.php

–The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recognize excellence in after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs for underserved children and youth. Twelve winners will receive a $10,000 award and an invitation to accept their award at a White House ceremony. Programs initiated by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, schools and universities, arts centers, community service organizations, and government agencies are encouraged to apply. Deadline: 2/10/2014. Click here to learn more about these awards and to apply. http://www.nahyp.org/

–Lowes Charitable and Education Foundation is accepting applications for the 2014 Toolbox for Education Grant Program. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of facility improvement projects that have a permanent impact on a K-12 school community. Deadline: 2/14/2014. Click here to visit the website and review program guidelines.  http://tinyurl.com/krtxd7k

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has funding for nonprofit organizations that show unique approaches to helping veterans either secure jobs or start their own businesses. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is intended to identify organizations that focus on providing business assistance and entrepreneurial skills for veterans. Grants of $10,000 to $50,000 will be provided in two program areas: Promoting Job Skills Development, and Advancing Veteran Business Development and Support. Deadline: 2/14/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to download the Veterans Grant Program RFP.  http://tinyurl.com/oha9xcw

–The Kazanjian Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits for projects with national impact that address issues of economic education. The average grant is approximately $22,000, however grants as small as $3,500 and as large as $150,000 have been made. Occasionally, multi-year grants are made for larger projects. Deadline: 2/15/2014. Click here to go to the Foundation’s website for guidelines and an application. http://www.kazanjian.org/grants/apply

–The Open Meadows Foundation supports projects that are designed and implemented by women and girls; reflect the diversity of the community served by the project; promote building community power; and encourage racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. The Foundation provides grants of up to $2,000 to cover start-up expenses or to support ongoing projects and also administers a number of special funds that are targeted to specific groups or activities. The next application deadline is: 2/15/2014. Funding guidelines and application instructions are available on the Foundation’s website here. http://www.openmeadows.org/

– The U. S. Department of Education is offering grants to nonprofits for academic and financial support to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their children complete their first year of college. Deadline to apply: 2/19/2014. Click here to see the NOFA for this program. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-16/pdf/2013-29821.pdf

–The U.S. Department of Education is also offering grants to nonprofits for High School Equivalency Program (HEP) grants to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their children obtain a general education diploma (GED) that meets the guidelines for high school equivalency established by the State in which the HEP project is conducted. Deadline: 2/19/2014. To see the NOFA, click here. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-16/pdf/2013-29823.pdf

–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for developing inventories of Brownfield sites, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to Brownfield sites. Deadline: 2/21/2014. Click here for guidelines and to apply. http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-13-05.pdf

–USDA has announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Grants are available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Deadline: 2/24/2014. Click here to read the NOFA for more information.  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-11-25/pdf/2013-28175.pdf

Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program Now Accepting Applications! The Minnesota Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.  This 10-year, $15-million-a-year program will be taking applications until February 28 for Minnesota residents and businesses to apply for the incentive to help defray the cost to install a solar electric system.  Made in Minnesota is one component of last year’s solar energy bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor that is aimed to grow the solar energy sector in Minnesota.

Who can apply for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program?  The solar incentive program will be available to customers of the following investor-owned utilities: Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power.  Consumers and businesses that would like to participate in the Made in Minnesota Program will need to install solar electric systems (also known as solar photovoltaic or PV) using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Currently, modules certified for the program are available from two Minnesota companies – tenKsolar and Silicon Energy.

Qualified solar electric systems must be less than 40 kilowatts (kW) to qualify for incentives. Applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted annually between January 1 and February 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery.  Applications are available on the Commerce’s Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program webpage .  The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of up to $15 million for 10 years, of which up to $250,000 per year is reserved for solar thermal rebates. Questions about the program can be directed to solar.help@state.mn.us or the Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3710. http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/topics/resources/energy-legislation-initiatives/made-in-minnesota/

–Southeast CERT Round 2 RFP.  The Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.  The primary objectives of this funding are to:

  • Encourage the implementation of community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota.
  • Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable

energy technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits.

Proposals are due by 4:00 PM on Monday, March 10th, 2014.  For more information, go to: http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/se-rfp

–The U.S. Department of Commerce is offering grants to support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. Deadline: 3/14/2014. Click here for application guidelines. http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=248297

–The Economic Development Administration is offering funding to public agencies, nonprofits, Institutions of Higher Education and Indian Tribes for a wide variety of planning, community development and economic development projects to improve economic conditions for low-income people in economically distressed communities. Deadline: 3/14/2014. Click here to review funding guidelines.  http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=248297

Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program. Offers grants to develop and enhance effective plans for the Tribal government to reduce violent crimes against Indian women and increase safety for Native women. Among other things, funds domestic violence prevention campaigns, direct victim services, and training programs for certain professionals who work with victims. 
 Application deadline is March 24, 2014. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.raconline.org/funding/3420

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2015 Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund beginning July 1, 2015. The Trust Fund represents the money that, since its inception in 1991, has been generated by the Minnesota State Lottery to provide a constitutionally dedicated funding source for protection of the state’s unique natural resources. Approximately $44 million is expected to be available for projects being sought in environment and natural resource areas that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits.  Proposals are being requested in the following seven areas:

  • Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
  • Water Resources
  • Environmental Education
  • Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
  • Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
  • Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat
  • Land Acquisition for Habitat and Recreation

Proposals responding to the 2015 RFP are due Friday, March 28, 2014. For more information on the LCCMR funding process or the 2015 RFP, visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn.

EPA Announces Availability of $400,000 for Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance.  The U.S. EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management has announced the availability of $400,000 in technical assistance for communities interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality and build more sustainable communities. http://tinyurl.com/khav7kb

Communities across the country are interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality, provide ecosystem services, increase resiliency to climate change, create economic opportunities, and support a high quality of life. Many communities, however, lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals. As part of EPA’s commitment to engaging with local communities, the Agency is offering direct assistance to communities interested in implementing green infrastructure. This technical assistance will serve both to advance the adoption of green infrastructure programs in selected communities and to develop knowledge and tools that can be transferred to other communities and to a national audience.

The value of the EPA assistance available in 2014 is approximately $400,000, and EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 to 7 communities. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to the Request for Letters of Interest at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/upload/RLI-2014-Version-4.pdf.

If additional funding becomes available, EPA may return to the applicant pool identified through this request to select additional recipient communities.

– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has set a goal of investing $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas over the next three years. The funding will be used for the construction, expansion or equipping of rural mental health facilities and will be provided through the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Loans.html

TRAINING/MEETINGS

The State Economic Competitiveness Summit will be held Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at the St. Paul RiverCentre.  At just $95 to attend, limited space will fill quickly.  https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1348585

Do you have a Facebook business page or a Twitter account but struggle to make good use of them? Attend a one-hour webinar on January 29th at 11 a.m. by the University of Minnesota Extension to learn strategies and tactics small businesses are using to engage with customers using social media. Register online at http://z.umn.edu/webinarseries.

Funding Rural AmericaRegister now for this webinar with Cynthia Adams of GrantStation on January 30th. Cindy will share trends and resources for small communities seeking funding for local projects. Space is limited, so register early!

Border to Border Broadband Conference: February 4th-5th!  Blandin Broadband Conferences are always a great place to learn what you need to know about community broadband initiatives – from new technologies to digital inclusion.  Blandin Foundation provides a range of opportunities to fit your style – straightforward content delivery from the front of the room to “open space” participant-centered interactive sessions to straight out networking.  Conference details:  Border to Border Broadband: A Call to Action
will be held February 4-5, 2014
at the St Paul RiverCentre. 
Cost: $120
 https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1360663 

Save the Date for “Minnesota Tourism: A Bright Future”.  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2014 Explore Minnesota Tourism conference February 4-5, 2014 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Canal Park in Duluth. http://tinyurl.com/qxowrlm

–The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business’ Forum on Workplace Inclusion is the largest diversity and inclusion conference in the country. Being held on March 18-20, 2014, the Forum will provide a compelling learning experience fostering business and thought leadership in workplace diversity and inclusion. http://www.stthomas.edu/mcf/about/default.html

At the Forum participants will find:

  • Active collaboration: participants will meet today’s organizational and business challenges head on with invigorating presentations, discussions and rich, interactive experiences.
  • Thought leadership: participants will be challenged by a unique, expertly curated gathering of the field’s most passionate thought leaders, fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to identify evolving trends and better prepare for what’s next.
  • Valuable tools: participants will leave with smart, real-world, transferrable tools they can put to work within their own organization to help grow diversity, inclusion and success.

“Welcome” is a word heard every day, but its power is often underestimated. Welcoming more people with more diverse backgrounds into all conversations, organizations and lives has never been more important than it is today. Register for the Forum now! http://www.stthomas.edu/mcf/registration/default.html

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Inventions and traditions will converge on Friday and Saturday, May 2 & 3, 2014, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, in Minneapolis, MN with the 57th annual Invention Expo, hosted by the Minnesota Inventors Congress (MIC).  This Minnesota tradition is the oldest annual invention convention in the nation.  The Minneapolis venue is a major change for this internationally recognized invention showcase. http://tinyurl.com/lfxox4k

The Expo is designed to help inventors test market their products. The inventors learn that by showcasing their latest product in a traditional trade show format. The general public is encouraged to attend because inventors need that public feedback to determine if there is a market for their product. Some inventors have market ready products that attendees can purchase. Product development experts from manufacturing, licensing, prototyping and others are also encouraged to attend the show to help inventors take their products to the next level in the product development process. Through our Inventing Success™ Workshops, aspiring inventors attend sessions that will help them learn the process of developing marketable products. Topics for these expert lead sessions may include intellectual property protection; writing a business plan; prototype development; sell sheets; licensing vs. going it alone; is your product right for direct response sales; and marketing. One of the most popular places on the show floor is the area for elementary school students who are showcasing solutions they invented to help solve a problem they have identified.

The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington.

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 23 and 24 in Duluth. http://www.health.state.mn.us/e-health/summit/summit2014.html

OPPORTUNITIES

–Call for programs opens for annual Spring Conference.  The Minnesota High Tech Association
(MHTA) is now accepting program proposals for our annual Spring Conference, scheduled for May 6th at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Conference organizers invite thought leaders to share industry expertise on technology trends in a variety of areas. LEARN MORE

Share Your Ideas to Reduce Poverty!  If you have ideas to reduce poverty, considering entering the Ideas for Action competition and win funding to make your ideas a reality.  Ideas for Action is a competition to develop and promote new thinking and policies to reduce poverty long term. It’s sponsored by the Northwest Area Foundation and is co-administered by the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.  Winners will receive awards ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. The submission deadline is January 24.

The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, “Weaving the Threads of Rural Health,” will take place June 23-24 in Duluth, Minnesota.  The Conference Committee is seeking proposals for conference breakout sessions.  

The first day of the Conference, June 23, is focused on critical access hospitals (CAHs) and their communities. The second day takes a broader look at rural health in Minnesota. https://secure.ruralcenter.org/conference/

The success of the conference depends on the excellent presentations people give about their work in rural Minnesota. Please consider applying to present a breakout session. View the Call for Proposals for more information. Proposals must be submitted electronically by February 7.

Call for Proposals

Online Submission Form

The deadline for submissions is February 7, 2014 at 5 p.m. CST.   If you have any questions please contact Kim Nordin at 218-737-9390 ext 237.

–Minnesota Council on Nonprofits is seeking presenters for its 2014 Nonprofit Leadership Conference, co-hosted by the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC) at the Humphrey School and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) and YNPN – Twin Cities.  The day-long conference is taking place on Thursday, June 26 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. We invite presenters knowledgeable in current leadership topics to submit a proposal by Friday, February 7 at 5 p.m. This year’s conference delves into the theme of Exploring Leadership Lenses. Through this theme, we hope to engage nonprofit leaders in discussions about the diverse lenses we bring to our leadership.  Learn more about submitting a proposal to present at the 2014 Nonprofit Leadership Conference. Also, whether or not you submit a proposal, we hope you’ll save the date to attend the conference.

Savings Innovation Cluster
CFED, in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, is soliciting applications from organizations serving low- and moderate-income households to join a yearlong learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clients. http://cfed.org/assets/pdfs/MetLife_RFP_-_Final.pdf

MISCELLANEOUS

A new report out shows that Minnesota’s economic future may well be rooted in its historic leadership in agricultural production. Agbioscience as a Development Driver: Minnesota Agbioscience Strategy, undertaken by the world-renowned Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, includes an assessment of Minnesota’s key capacities and opportunities in agricultural research and a suggested strategy for the state.

http://www.auri.org/research-reports/new-report-projects-minnesota-could-be-global-leader-in-agbioscience/

Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes.  The rural-urban commuting area codes (RUCA) classify U.S. census tracts using measures of urbanization, population density, and daily commuting. The latest RUCA codes are based on data from the 2010 decennial census and the 2006-10 American Community Survey. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/rural-urban-commuting-area-codes.aspx#.UtHrep5dVAE

– The Minnesota Department of Health – Health Economics Program issued a new report, Minnesota Health Care Spending and Projections, 2011.  The analysis finds, consistent with previous years, that health care spending per person in Minnesota is below national levels. Spending over the last two years represents the lowest year-over-year rates of growth since MDH began conducting the analysis in the mid-1990s. The report also finds that without a change in the drivers of spending or reforms to curb spending growth, Minnesota spending for health care would be expected to more than double over the next decade. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/hep/publications/costs/healthspending2013.pdf

America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs  Reports that erosion in renter incomes has pushed the number of cost-burdened households to record levels, and aid has not kept pace. Compares data for nonmetro and rural areas with cities and suburbs.  Developed by the Joint Center for Housing Studies – Harvard University. http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/files/jchs_americas_rental_housing_2013_1_0.pdf

Medicaid Expansion as a Rural Issue: Rural and Urban States and the Expansion Decision 
Examines the differences between rural and urban states regarding the decision of whether or not they would expand the Medicaid program as provided for in the Affordable Care Act.  Provided by the Center for Rural Affairs. http://files.cfra.org/pdf/medicaid-expansion-a-rural-issue.pdf

–The Center for Rural Affairs has published “Seniors and the Affordable Care Act” that discusses how the Affordable Care Act will affect seniors in rural communities. Click here to get a copy of the report.  http://files.cfra.org/pdf/ACA-and-Seniors.pdf

Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth.  Research indicates that the expansion of emerging energy industries—such as shale gas, wind power, and ethanol production—during the last decade created jobs in rural economies, but the employment impacts varied widely based on the industry. http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2013-december/energy-development%E2%80%99s-impacts-on-rural-employment-growth.aspx

Sharpen Your Financial Focus
 The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is sponsoring a grassroots effort to help Americans identify and resolve immediate financial concerns, gain deeper understanding of critical issues related to their unique situations, and move forward toward long-term financial stability. The Web site lists steps consumers can take. The Web site is available in Spanish. http://www.sharpentoday.org/

MyMoney.Gov
 The U.S. Department of the Treasury has redesigned MyMoney.gov, a “one-stop shop” for Americans looking to find financial education information and resources from across the federal government. The Web site highlights MyMoney Five, a research clearinghouse with information and games focused on youth. http://www.mymoney.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Plan, Save, Succeed!’ Interactive Game. The Actuarial Foundation offers this interactive game to accompany its financial literacy curriculum resource, “Plan, Save, Succeed!” The game, which is aligned with the Jump$tart Coalition’s National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards, and Common Core state standards, is designed to help students understand key financial literacy topics—including budgeting, income, saving, and credit—and makes personal financial concepts memorable for middle school students through goal setting and real-world examples. http://www.actuarialfoundation.org/plansavesucceed2

December 2013– Volume XI, Number 11

 Compiled & Edited by Deb Miller-Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

  •  – ACROSS THE FIELD — Guest columnist: Bernadine Joselyn from the Blandin Foundation
  • – FUNDING
  • – QUICK STUDY
  • – MEETINGS/TRAINING
  • – OPPORTUNITIES
  • – MISC ELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Rural Broadband is a Sound Investment in Minnesota’s Prosperity

by guest columnist Bernadine Joselyn

The Blandin Foundation has supported rural community leaders’ efforts to bring home the full benefits of broadband for 10 years. Our mission – strengthening rural Minnesota communities – is broad (pardon the pun), so why focus on broadband, you may ask?

The answer is that we recognize broadband as the indispensible infrastructure of our age.  We believe that without the availability of ultra-high speed broadband and the ability to use it, rural communities cannot survive, let alone thrive.

Governor Dayton’s appointment of Danna MacKenzie as the first director of the recently created Office of Broadband Development is good news for Minnesota, and especially for rural Minnesota.  Danna is a seasoned leader with deep experience in community-driven, community-focused broadband work. Hailing from Grand Marais, Danna combines a deep techy resume, unabashed geek-a-tude knowledge of this fast-moving sector, political savvy and collaboration skills, commitment, and vision with personal lived-experience of deep rural Minnesota.  As a longtime member of Blandin Foundation’s Broadband Strategy Board, and a partner in the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative, Danna has made important contributions to rural Minnesota’s broadband adoption development efforts.

Danna is a great pick to help steer Minnesota closer to the Governor’s vision of “border to border broadband” at the state access goals of  5-10 Mbps up and 10-20 Mbps downstream for all Minnesotans.  The goals call for the support of community leaders across the state interested in broadband and rural issues.

The disparity between urban and rural broadband access is real and persistent. A recent Connect Minnesota report indicates that 74.5 percent of Minnesota households can access fixed and mobile broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload. That is an improvement of almost five percent since April. However, the coverage map also makes clear that access at those speeds is uneven and metro-centric. Earlier Connect Minnesota reports show a troubling seven percent difference in urban versus rural broadband adoption rates.

Perhaps not coincidentally, there is also a disparity in our state between urban and rural economic recovery and growth. State Senator Matt Schmit and State Representative Rod Hamilton highlighted the disparity between urban and rural prosperity in a recent editorial in the Star Tribune. They write: “Greater Minnesota’s infrastructure shortcomings vary from roads to sewers, but significant disparities in broadband Internet connectivity are keeping much of Greater Minnesota from truly ‘connecting’. …  The Twin Cities have long been the state’s economic epicenter, but the gap between Minneapolis-St. Paul and the rest of [Minnesota] is widening. … Absent strong secondary drivers, rural areas face the risk of returning to recession as jobs and residents flock to the Twin Cities.”

Strategic Networks Group, a Colorado-based company that has nearly 20 years’ experience helping communities with their technology investment options, reports  that 23.4% of all new jobs created in the economies they have studied are directly attributable to broadband; 56 percent of businesses said that access to high-speed broadband was essential for remaining in their current location, and businesses that increase their utilization of broadband by ten percent realize a 24 percent gain in revenue and a seven percent reduction in costs.

We have found that supporting rural leaders’ efforts to boost broadband adoption spurs more, and more sophisticated, use among every segment of a community. Broadband adoption growth in Minnesota Rural Intelligent Communities (MIRC) grew nearly 15 percent faster than in the rest of rural Minnesota. The communities that reported the highest rates of participation in these market development activities also experienced the highest rates of broadband subscription growth.

We also see that in rural communities whose leaders invest time and energy to improve broadband access, it is becoming that “secondary driver,” for economic development – and for education, health care, civic engagement, and quality of life.

Increased use in rural areas helps build the demand that supports the business case for greater broadband deployment in rural.  And as we know from Metcalfe’s Law: the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.  In other words, the more users, the greater value for everyone.

And finally, our friends at Minnesota Rural Partners did a great job of making the case that investment in rural areas benefits urban and the state as a whole in their report Pilot Study: Estimating Rural and Urban Minnesota’s Interdependencies.

So it makes good business sense all the way around – money spent on broadband adoption and deployment in rural (and everywhere) is a good investment!  I think we could help Danna make her case if we all join her in spreading that message.

Bernadine Joselyn is director of public policy and engagement at Blandin Foundation. She also serves on the Governor’s Broadband Task Force.

This just in…. Voice your transportation views to MnDOT AND 3 meals will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland for each completed survey!

Share your opinion by taking the MN Department of Transportation survey www.mndotsurvey.com. It is an opportunity for you to voice your views on transportation issues and help MnDOT understand how the people of Minnesota feel about its services. MnDOT will use the results of this survey to inform transportation priorities for the entire state. Also, three meals will be donated for each completed survey (up to 3,000 meals total) to Second Harvest Heartland to help Minnesotans in need. Take the survey: www.mndotsurvey.com

FUNDING                

Minnesota’s Angel Tax Credit provides a 25-percent credit to investors or investment funds that put money into startup companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology. The maximum credit is $125,000 per person, per year ($250,000 if filing jointly). The credit is refundable and non-Minnesota residents (including residents of foreign countries) are eligible.  A total of $12 million in tax credits is available in calendar year 2014.  For more information go to: http://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/tax-credits/angel-tax-credit/

–The Coca-Cola Foundation is offering grants to nonprofit organizations that address community needs and priorities in a meaningful way. The Foundation supports programs that focus on one of the following four categories: water stewardship; healthy and active lifestyles that lead to physical activity and nutritional education programs; community recycling; and education. Online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and application procedures.

–Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundations are accepting applications for the Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in support of highly visible projects in regions where Wells Fargo operates that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Deadline: 12/16/2013. Visit the website by clicking here.

–The Notah Begay III Foundation offers capacity building grants to support projects focusing on the prevention of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes among Native American children. Preference will be given to organizations from the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico), the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin), and the Southern Plains (Oklahoma, Texas); however, applications will be accepted from anywhere in the United States. Priority will be given to proposals that demonstrate strong community engagement and a readiness to develop key strategies and an action plan. U.S. based Native American-controlled nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, and Native American community-based groups with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor are eligible to apply. The application deadline is: 12/16/2013. Click here to visit the Foundation’s website for guidelines and to download the Request for Proposals.

–Application materials are now available for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Loan Program. Funds are intended primarily for EHR software, hardware, training and support expenses. Priority applicants are critical access hospitals; federally qualified health centers; entities that serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved individuals (urban or rural); individual or small group practices focused on primary care; nursing facilities and elderly waiver facilities. Loans are six-year, no-interest with the first year’s repayment deferred. Applications due December 19th.

–The CDFI Fund has opened the FY 2014 Funding Round for the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program to Support Community Development in Low-Income Communities. The funds available to make awards are subject to final appropriations. Deadline to apply for CDFI Program and the NACA Program: 12/23/2013. For information both programs, click here.

–The Dakota Medical Foundation seeks entries to its Breakthrough Idea Challenge, which will award a total of $500,000 in 2014 for new ideas that significantly improve the health of people in the company’s service area (which includes the Minnesota counties of Becker, Clay, Clearwater, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Norman, Ottertail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Wadena and Wilkin). Focus areas include ways to help people access health care or medicine; ways to retain physicians and nurses in rural areas; fitness and healthy weight innovations; and ways to improve the health impact of organizations in the region. Ideas accepted through December 31.

–FISKARS is offering Community Garden Grants to provide funding for tools, materials, and other support to help communities reach their goals for neighborhood beautification, community collaboration, and healthy, sustainable food sources. Deadline: 12/31/2013. Click here to visit the website and to apply.

Made in Minnesota First Incentive Amounts Set for 2014.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced on Nov. 22 the 2014 incentive amounts for its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, to launch Jan. 1, 2014.

Made in Minnesota was one of several initiatives enacted by the 2013 Legislature to increase deployment of solar energy throughout the state. It will help achieve the state’s new solar electricity standard, which calls for 1.5 percent of electric sales from investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) to come from solar electricity by 2020.

The incentives for solar electric systems from the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be available to customers of investor-owned utilities who install solar electric, or solar photovoltaic (PV), systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Modules from two Minnesota companies—tenKsolar and Silicon Energy—have been certified for the program to date. Solar PV systems must be less than 40 kilowatts (kW) to qualify for incentives.

Applications will be accepted annually between Jan. 1 – Feb. 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery. Applications will be available at the Commerce website beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

—-The Susan G. Komen Minnesota is accepting applications to its 2014 Community Grants Program for innovative programs in the areas of breast health and breast cancer education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, treatment support, survivorship and health care delivery/systems change. A funding priority area this year is northwest Minnesota, including applications from Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Beltrami, Polk, Pennington, Clearwater, Red Lake, Norman, Mahnomen and Hubbard counties. Applications due January 10, 2014.

–National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2014 Our Town Grant guidelines. Depending on the availability of funding, grants will range from $25,000 to $200,000. Deadline to apply: 1/13/2014. Click here for an application.

–Blackstone Charitable Foundation is accepting proposals from nonprofits serving veterans and active servicemen and women transitioning to civilian life. Deadline: 1/14/2014. Click here to visit the Foundation’s website.

–The Administration for Children and Families is offering grants to provide services through transitional living programs or maternity group homes for runaway and homeless youth, including youth from rural areas. Application deadline: 1/15/2014. Click here to visit the website.  

–The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is accepting applications for Community Action Grants of up to $10,000. Grants are available to individuals, AAUW branches and AAUW state organizations as well as local community-based nonprofit organizations for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women. Deadline: 1/15/2014. Click here to learn more about the AAUW.

–The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is accepting applications to its FY 2014 Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program. A rural health network is defined as an organizational arrangement among at least three separately owned regional or local health care providers that come together to develop strategies for improving health services delivery systems in a community. Networks can include a wide range of community partners including social service agencies, faith-based organizations, mental health agencies, charitable organizations, educational institutions, employers, local government agencies or other entities with an interest in a community’s health care system. Applications due January 16.

–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for both assessment and cleanup work at a specific Brownfield site. Deadline: 1/22/2014. Click here for more information about these grants.

–The Department of Labor is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs and others to provide high school students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and technical curricula focused on specific in-demand occupations and industries. Deadline: 1/27/2014. Click here for guidelines and an application.

Grant Funds Now Available for Sustainable Farming Innovations. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award up to $250,000 in 2014 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects. Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature increased funding for the Sustainable Ag Grant Program by $150,000 during the 2013 legislative session.

The MDA is now accepting applications for the grant program which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas.

The grant application is available on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.aspx or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at 651-201-6012. Completed applications must be received by MDA no later than January 29, 2014.

Examples of eligible projects include fruit and vegetable production, conservation tillage and weed management, integrated pest management, livestock production, organic farming, alternative energy crop production, and specialty crops as an alternative market.  These and other grant projects are highlighted in the Greenbook, which is free and available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook.

East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) FY 2014  grant application materials are now online at:  http://www.ecrac.org/grants  The next grant deadlines are February 1, 2013.  

–William G. and Marie Selby Foundation is accepting applications from nonprofits for capital grants for the construction, acquisition and/or renovation of facilities, as well as the purchase of equipment or software. Projects focusing on education, human services, arts and community projects including history, science, and/or the environment will be given top priority. Deadline: 2/1/2014. Click here to visit the website for guidelines and an application.

–Lowes Charitable and Education Foundation is accepting applications for the 2014 Toolbox for Education Grant Program. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of facility improvement projects that have a permanent impact on a K-12 school community. Deadline: 2/14/2014. Click here to visit the website and review program guidelines.

–The Kazanjian Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits for projects with national impact that address issues of economic education. The average grant is approximately $22,000, however grants as small as $3,500 and as large as $150,000 have been made. Occasionally, multi-year grants are made for larger projects. Deadline: 2/15/2014. Click here to go to the Foundation’s website for guidelines and an application.

–The Open Meadows Foundation supports projects that are designed and implemented by women and girls; reflect the diversity of the community served by the project; promote building community power; and encourage racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. The Foundation provides grants of up to $2,000 to cover start-up expenses or to support ongoing projects and also administers a number of special funds that are targeted to specific groups or activities. The next application deadline is: 2/15/2014. Funding guidelines and application instructions are available on the Foundation’s website here.

–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for developing inventories of Brownfield sites, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to Brownfield sites. Deadline: 2/21/2014. Click here for guidelines and to apply.

–USDA has announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Grants are available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Deadline: 2/24/2014. Click here to read the NOFA for more information.

QUICK STUDY

What Does It Mean to Bring an Equity Mindset to Civic/Community Work? The Civic Leadership Institute Online (CLIO) will be sponsoring a free, text-based online forum from December 3-17, which offers you the opportunity to explore an important topic with colleagues whenever you’re available over the next two weeks. The forum facilitators are Artika Tyner, Director of Diversity and Clinical Faculty at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and Chelle Lyons Hanson, Director of Student Leadership and Service at Concordia College. Join the conversation.

TRAINING/MEETINGS

The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has released the schedule for a training series on “Financing Community Health Centers”. Starting in January 2014, four free two-day trainings will be provided for certified CDFIs that have the capacity to launch or expand their current community health center lending portfolio. The current list of training dates is as follows: January 23-24: San Francisco, California; March 5-6 in Atlanta, Georgia, May 1-2 in Boston, Massachusetts, and May 21-22 in Chicago, Illinois. Click here to apply to attend one of the free training sessions.  The Fund will hold an informational webinar on the training series on December 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM EST. Click here to register for the webinar.

The State Economic Competitiveness Summit will be held Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at the St. Paul RiverCentre.  At just $95 to attend, limited space will fill quickly.  Register Now

Do you have a Facebook business page or a Twitter account but struggle to make good use of them? Attend a one-hour webinar on Jan. 29 at 11 a.m. by the University of Minnesota Extension to learn strategies and tactics small businesses are using to engage with customers using social media. Register online at http://z.umn.edu/webinarseries.

Save the Date for “Minnesota Tourism: A Bright Future”.  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2014 Explore Minnesota Tourism conference February 4-5, 2014 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Canal Park in Duluth.

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Inventions and traditions will converge on Friday and Saturday, May 2 & 3, 2014, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, in Minneapolis, MN with the 57th annual Invention Expo, hosted by the Minnesota Inventors Congress (MIC).  This Minnesota tradition is the oldest annual invention convention in the nation.  The Minneapolis venue is a major change for this internationally recognized invention showcase.

The Expo is designed to help inventors test market their products. The inventors learn that by showcasing their latest product in a traditional trade show format. The general public is encouraged to attend because inventors need that public feedback to determine if there is a market for their product. Some inventors have market ready products that attendees can purchase. Product development experts from manufacturing, licensing, prototyping and others are also encouraged to attend the show to help inventors take their products to the next level in the product development process. Through our Inventing Success™ Workshops, aspiring inventors attend sessions that will help them learn the process of developing marketable products. Topics for these expert lead sessions may include intellectual property protection; writing a business plan; prototype development; sell sheets; licensing vs. going it alone; is your product right for direct response sales; and marketing. One of the most popular places on the show floor is the area for elementary school students who are showcasing solutions they invented to help solve a problem they have identified.

OPPORTUNITIES

–Each year 3M invites local teachers to participate in the 3M TWIST program (Teachers Working in Science and Technology) offered in collaboration with the Minnesota High Technology Foundation. This program provides a hands-on six week industrial science experience for Grades 7-12 Science, Math, Tech Ed., and Industrial Arts teachers under the supervision of a 3M scientist. Semi-weekly lunch sessions focus on a variety of topics including intellectual property and product development, and include tours of pilot plants and research facilities. This opportunity offers a $4500 stipend to the participating teachers as well as an opportunity to earn up to 4 graduate level semester credits through St. Mary’s University. The TWIST application can be found online at: http://3m.com/twist.

Minnesota Literacy Council Seeking AmeriCorps VISTA Projects 

The Minnesota Literacy Council is now accepting proposals for new AmeriCorps VISTA projects.

MORE

The Resilient Communities Project is now accepting proposals from cities and counties to be the RCP community partner for 2014-2015.  RCP is a year-long partnership between the University of Minnesota and one local community in Minnesota. Through the partnership, students and faculty from across the University collaborate with the partner community to address its self-defined sustainability-related needs through course-based projects. The collaboration results in on-the-ground impact and momentum for a community working toward a more sustainable and livable future.

RCP provides the partner community with efficient access to the broad base of sustainability expertise at the University of Minnesota by matching community-identified projects with graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses that can address the needs of the community. The partner community supports the effort through dedicated staff time and a local funding contribution.

RCP serves communities addressing sustainability at the local or regional scale. Cities, counties, and clusters of communities along a transportation corridor, around a regional center, or within a watershed are eligible to apply. To minimize travel time and costs, applicant communities should ideally be located within a two-hour drive of Minneapolis. Communities located further away from Minneapolis may be considered if additional funds are contributed for overnight travel costs.

For more information or to download the Request for Proposals packet, visit http://rcp.umn.edu/home/communities/apply-to-rcp/

—-The EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston is accepting Requests for Proposals.  This Request for Assistance (RFA) is designed to solicit requests from community, county and regional economic development agencies seeking direct technical assistance to support their economic development activities. This RFA will be the mechanism by which the EDA Center will identify its annual technical assistance projects.   All project requests will be assessed by EDA Center staff and advisory council for staff costs and time commitments.

Eligible Applicants: Public, tribal-supported and nonprofit economic development agencies supporting rural areas.

Types of Assistance: The EDA Center does not specifically define the types of assistance that rural economic development agencies may seek. Accordingly, the EDA Center will accept and review all requests for assistance from eligible applicants. The driving consideration in evaluating RFAs are potential regional impact and availability of university expertise. Typically, the EDA Center has found success finding expertise in assisting economic development in organizations in the following ways:

  • · Market Research
  • · Technology Studies
  • · Workforce Development Studies & Support
  • · Economic Impact Analysis
  • · Student-supported Projects and Internships
  • · Product Development Assistance
  • · Strategic Planning Services
  • · Statistical Studies
  • · Technology Deployment Planning
  • · Support of Entrepreneurial Program Development

Project Timelines: Due to constraints of EDA funding, project time lines should be less than 12 months in duration.

Costs of Assistance: The EDA Center does not have require matching resources it delivers technical assistance to, however we generally limit average project costs to less than $20,000. In addition, the EDA Center takes a partnership approach with the organizations it serves rather than an outside consultant. This means that technical assistance projects include clear mutual responsibilities between the EDA Center and the economic development agency.

EDA Center Priorities: The EDA Center will assess technical assistance requests based on the following criteria:

1. Location is in an economically-distressed area.

2. Impact on job creation, recruitment or retention.

3. Impact on the effectiveness of the economic development agency.

4. Project duration of less than 12 months.

5. Overall project costs.

How to Apply: The application process to request assistance from the EDA Center is simple and streamlined. Simply complete the RFA application along with a cover letter. Applications can be downloaded and submitted via email or completed and submitted online. The PDF can be downloaded at http://www.edacenter.org/downloads/EDA_RFA_Form.pdf. The online application can be found at http://www.edacenter.org/technicalAssistance_request.php.

Application Deadlines: There are no set deadlines for submitting technical assistance requests. Each application will be evaluated and responded to in a timely manner.

Have Questions?:   Contact Brent D. Hales, Ph.D., EDA Center Director at (w) 612-626-8256; (c) 601-467-1280 or email at bdhales@umn.edu.

You may also contact Kevin Cooper, EDA Center Associate Director at 218-281-8187 or email at coope474@crk.umn.edu.

MISCELLANEOUS

–Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition.  Since 2011, net job growth in nonmetro areas has been near zero while metro employment has grown 1.4 percent annually. Meanwhile, the first recorded period of nonmetro population loss occurred between 2010 and 2012.

Rural Veterans at a Glance. Veterans possess education and skill levels that position them to contribute economically to rural communities. ERS presents a social and demographic profile of veterans residing in rural areas.

The LISC Institute for Comprehensive Community Development has launched a “How to Do It” section on its website. If you need to prepare a Request for Proposals for a new quality-of-life plan, or develop strategies for integrating community safety into your neighborhood development plan, or you could use some tips on how to design and benefit from a good evaluation process, the site has information to share so you don’t have to start from scratch. Visit the website here.

–A new joint report by PolicyLink and The Food Trust, “Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters: A Review of the Research” emphasizes that access to healthy food is the foundation necessary for good health. The report shows that without grocery stores and other fresh food retailers, communities are also missing the commercial vitality that makes neighborhoods livable and helps local economies thrive. Read the report here.

–The National Rural Funders Collaborative has published “Race, Poverty, and Transforming Rural Economies: Lessons Learned after Ten Years of Collaboration” which includes a discussion guide. Download a .pdf of the report here.  

Demos and Northwest Area Foundation have released a report titled, “Running in Place: Where the Middle Class and Poor Meet”.  From the report: “Millions are working hard to move forward, or just to make ends meet, and getting nowhere. Anyone who wishes to address poverty and strengthen economic opportunity needs to connect the dots between the needs of the working poor and those of the middle class.” Download a copy of the report here.

–An article in Shelterforce Magazine “Lighting a Spark Between Energy Advocates and Community Development” makes the case for finding ways to effectively use utility company-sponsored green retrofit programs to help fund energy-related capital improvements. Read the article here.

HUD announced the 2014 “Difficult to Develop Areas” (DDAs) for the purpose of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC). A DDA, as designated by HUD, is an area that has high construction, land, and utility costs relative to the area median gross income. A LIHTC project in a qualified DDA is eligible to receive up to a 30 percent higher LIHTC allocation in order to make the building financially feasible. Read the Federal Register notice here.

–Housing Assistance Council has published “Housing Conditions for Rural Farmworkers” that documents the working conditions and low wages that hinder farm workers ability to access affordable and quality housing. Click here to download the report.

–In the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, a post titled “The Real Loser of the Recession is Rural America” revealed that the USDA’s annual survey of rural America shows that non-metropolitan areas experienced their first recorded period of population loss, and a decline in the labor force participation rate pushed unemployment down slightly. Get USDA’s survey results here. Read the Washington Post piece here.

Final Report from the 2013 National Rural Assembly. The National Rural Assembly is a network of more than 500 organizations and individuals across the United States working collaboratively to build a stronger, more resilient rural America. The report provides a good snapshot of the current state of rural America. MORE

Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth.  Production of wind power, corn-based ethanol, and unconventionally extracted natural gas more than doubled overall from 2000 to 2010. USDA ERS looks at the contribution these emerging-energy industries have made to local economies.

Finding Homes for Rural Foster Children
Rural America needs foster and adoptive homes in each community, with families trained, licensed and ready to care for the town’s own children if the need ever arises.

Rural Economic Development Resource Directory is provided by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  This directory provides descriptions and contact information for a number of organizations and Web sites that can provide resources to banks interested in lending, investing, or providing retail financial services in rural communities. These activities are organized under following:

November 2013– Volume XI, Number 10

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, & Jane Leonard

In this issue:

  • –Across the Field
  • –Funding
  • –Quick Study
  • –Training/Meetings
  • –Opportunities
  • –Miscellaneous

Across the Field: Come visit the frozen tundra!

By Paula Woessner, Community Development Publications Editor, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

As an editor, I work with words all day, but I’ve always secretly preferred pictures. Especially pictures in the form of maps that show striking and thought-provoking things, like this map measuring the natural amenities of the lower 48 states. Some MRP Rural Roundup readers might already be familiar with it, but it was new to me when it recently appeared on a coworker’s PowerPoint slide.

The map is a visual representation of “six measures of climate, topography, and water area that reflect environmental qualities most people prefer.” Four of the six measures fall in the “climate” category and include factors like warm winters, low-humidity summers, and winter sunshine. Shades of green on the map show the desirable places to live and shades of yellow to red show the less-than-desirable places.

Even if you haven’t glanced at the map yet, you can probably see where this is going. The Midwestern and Northern Plains states appear as one giant swath of less-than-desirable. Aside from isolated pockets like the Arrowhead region of Minnesota, everything east of the Continental Divide, north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and west of the Appalachians is a sea of red, orange, and yellow.

I probably shouldn’t place too much importance on the map. Its measures are arbitrary, after all. How is “warm winter” defined, for example? An Upper Midwesterner’s warm winter might feel unbearably cold to someone from the Deep South. Still, the map reflects an inescapable truth: Most people like warm temperatures, year-round sunshine, and mountains, and the places that offer those things mostly aren’t found in the north-central part of the country. Which begs the question, if you live in one of the map’s less-than-desirable places and you’re a development-minded person who’s committed to making your community thrive, how do you attract investment, industry, and tourism?

Many readers of this newsletter are engaged with that question, in one form or another, in their daily work. I haven’t polled them to confirm this, but I suspect their answer lies in focusing on the countless good measures of the yellow, orange, and red places, most of which have nothing to do with the climate. Things like civic engagement, educational attainment, and volunteerism. We might not have soaring mountain peaks and mild winters, but we’re amenity-rich in the sense of having an impressive network of professionals who are dedicated to helping others see that red can be the new green.

FUNDING

Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program are now available. The Flex program provides grant support to promote regionalization of health care services, improve access to quality health care services, and provide for the development and enhancement of rural health networks, including emergency medical service networks. Applications are due November 15.

–The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund program is accepting grant application from sponsoring institutions with accredited programs providing training in fiscal year 2012 for advanced practice nursing, clinical social workers, community health workers, community paramedics, dental students/residents, dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, chiropractic students, medical students/residents, pharmacy students/residents, physician assistants and psychologists. Programs wishing to apply for a grant from MERC must submit their application through their sponsoring institution. Applications due to MDH December 15. Applications have also been re-opened for specific types of clinic training provided in fiscal year 2011; these applications are due November 15. Find more details on the MERC Grant Application Information page.

–HUD has extended the deadline for Service Coordinators in Multifamily Housing grants to 11/16/2013. Funding is to enable independent living for people with disabilities and the elderly. Click here for more information.

–The National Community Land Trust (CLT) Network is seeking proposals from eligible CLTs or other organizations with long-term affordable housing programs that are advocating for the inclusion of long-term housing affordability in transit oriented development or inclusionary zoning initiatives, policies, and/or programs. Deadline: 11/18/2013. Click here for more information and to apply.

–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants for the Native Americans Programs and the Native American Caregiver Support Program. Deadline to apply: 11/21/2013. Grants will be awarded to Indian tribal organizations representing federally recognized Tribes and public or nonprofit private organizations that have the capacity to provide services to Native Hawaiians for providing nutritional and supportive services to at least 50 Indian and Native Hawaiian elders age 60 and older under Parts A and B and family caregiver support services under Part C. Click here to learn more about this program.

–The American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program is accepting applications for technical assistance grants from communities. Since 1967, the American Institute of Architects has made a commitment to the creation of healthy, livable communities through the Design Assistance Team program (DAT) that provides technical assistance and process expertise to help communities develop a vision and framework for a sustainable future. Deadline: 11/22/2013. Click here to learn more about this program.

–The AGSTAR Fund for Rural America supports nonprofit organizations in the service area where AgStar has a significant business presence in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The Fund focuses its giving program in the following four major areas: education, environment, technology, and quality of life. Grants of up to $10,000 are provided for direct project or program costs. Deadline: 11/30/2013. Visit the AgStar website here to review the funding guidelines and application instructions.

–ANNIE’S Homegrown is accepting applications for grants to develop school garden projects. Deadline: 12/1/2013. Click here to learn more about these grants and to apply.

–The LAND O’LAKES Foundation will award funding to Future Farmers of America chapters to plant, grow, and harvest fresh produce, which will then be given to rural food pantries. Deadline to apply:  12/1/2013. For more information, click here.

–Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is accepting school library grant applications for grants of up to $5,000 to help school libraries in disadvantaged communities expand, update, and diversify their book collections. Deadline: 12/2/2013. Click here for more information and to apply.

–The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization that supports American Indian nations and people working to recover and control heir homelands. ILTF is accepting Letters of Inquiry to support various aspects of Native land recovery, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to support Native land recovery efforts, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Deadline is 12/2/13 to submit a Letter of Inquiry. For more information on these grants, click here.

–The Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration, is offering technical assistance grants to existing Section 330 grantees and other nonprofits in specified areas to provide comprehensive primary health care services to an underserved area or population. Deadline to apply: rolling deadlines starting 12/4/2013. For more information, click here.

–The Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration, is seeking applications for the Rural Health Network Development (RHND) Program. The purpose of this program is to support rural integrated health care networks that have combined the functions of the entities participating in the network. Deadline to apply: 12/6/2013. For more information, click here.

–The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is accepting applications for its FY2014 Rural Health Network Development Program. This year ORHP has taken a new approach, requiring applicants to select at least one activity from among three primary charges: achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. The application can be downloaded via Grants.gov. Application deadline extended to December 6th.

–Application materials are now available for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Loan Program. Funds are intended primarily for EHR software, hardware, training and support expenses. Priority applicants are critical access hospitals; federally qualified health centers; entities that serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved individuals (urban or rural); individual or small group practices focused on primary care; nursing facilities and elderly waiver facilities. Loans are six-year, no-interest with the first year’s repayment deferred. Applications due December 19th.

–The CDFI Fund has opened the FY 2014 Funding Round for the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program to Support Community Development in Low-Income Communities. The funds available to make awards are subject to final appropriations. Deadline to apply for CDFI Program and the NACA Program: 12/23/2013. For information both programs, click here.

–FISKARS is offering Community Garden Grants to provide funding for tools, materials, and other support to help communities reach their goals for neighborhood beautification, community collaboration, and healthy, sustainable food sources. Deadline: 12/31/2013. Click here to visit the website and to apply.

—-The Susan G. Komen Minnesota is accepting applications to its 2014 Community Grants Program for innovative programs in the areas of breast health and breast cancer education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, treatment support, survivorship and health care delivery/systems change. A funding priority area this year is northwest Minnesota, including applications from Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Beltrami, Polk, Pennington, Clearwater, Red Lake, Norman, Mahnomen and Hubbard counties. Applications due January 10, 2014.

–National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2014 Our Town Grant guidelines. Depending on the availability of funding, grants will range from $25,000 to $200,000. Deadline to apply: 1/13/2014. Click here for an application.

–The Administration for Children and Families is offering grants to provide services through transitional living programs or maternity group homes for runaway and homeless youth, including youth from rural areas. Application deadline: 1/15/2014. Click here to visit the website.  

–The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is accepting applications for Community Action Grants of up to $10,000. Grants are available to individuals, AAUW branches and AAUW state organizations as well as local community-based nonprofit organizations for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women. Deadline: 1/15/2014. Click here to learn more about the AAUW.

East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) FY 2014  grant application materials are now online at:  http://www.ecrac.org/grants  The next grant deadlines are February 1, 2014.   ECRAC will offer various information sessions:

  • Thursday, November 21, 2013, at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at 5 p.m.

on the FY 2014 ECRAC grant funding, grant applications, grant reviews, and grant funding procedures. This is in preparation for the upcoming art grant application deadlines. The application forms and information will be available at the workshops. The location will be the East Central Regional Arts Council office located at 112 Main Street South in Braham. There is no charge for the following sessions but pre-registration is necessary. To register for any of these sessions contact the ECRAC office at 320-396-2337 or email info@ecrac.org.

QUICK STUDY

–Minnesota Compass’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) section offering a cradle-to-career framework for monitoring and supporting STEM in Minnesota. Find data, benchmarks, and best practices. Take a look

TRAINING/MEETINGS

On November 12-13, 2013, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, more than 500 global leaders in robotics research, design, business development, investment, law, and policy will share their insights into the worldwide explosion of robotics and autonomous systems at the Third Annual Robotics Alley Conference and Expo.  For more information go to: http://roboticsalley.org/overview.html

Broadband Conversations across MN Mid-November
To help move Minnesota forward to reach its broadband goal, the Blandin Foundation is helping to organize series of conversations on broadband in Minnesota with Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing. The public is invited to help set this legislative agenda by joining in on the broadband discussion at one of several scheduled meetings with Senator Schmit. The public is also urged to contact their own legislators to attend the local meetings and become more informed on this important rural Minnesota issue. http://wp.me/p3if7-2r8 (If you want to schedule a session, please contact Bill Coleman 651-491-2551 bill@communitytechnologyadvisors.com

Here are draft dates and details for upcoming meetings… 

  • Nov 11 from 1-3:00 pm at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 201 3rd St. NW, downtown Bemidji.
  • Nov 12 from 2-4:00 pm at Grand Rapids County Courthouse
  • Nov 13 starting at 8:00 am in Staples
  • Nov 13 starting at 1:00 pm at Mora  Life Enrichment Center
  • Nov 14 starting at 8:30 am in Willmar
  • Nov 14 starting at 2:00 pm in Winthrop
  • Nov 15 starting at 10:00 am in Austin

Youth Summits.  Minnesota Campus Compact (MNCC) is co-sponsoring–and several MNCC member campuses are hosting–summits bringing together youth and adults interested in increasing educational success and addressing the issues of concern to Minnesota youth. Convened by congressional district with the Minnesota Youth Council and Grad Minnesota initiative, summits will take place at Minnesota State University Mankato on Nov. 18, Lake Superior College on Nov. 23, St. Cloud State University on Dec. 3, Hamline University on Dec. 10, and Chanhassen High School on Jan. 22. For more information or to register, visit the Minnesota Alliance With Youth website.

–Connect Minnesota is excited to host the inaugural Connect Minnesota Summit: The State of Broadband on December 4, 2013 in Roseville, MN. The 2013 summit will provide an overview of the state of broadband in Minnesota and highlight the role of Connect Minnesota in the state.

Highlights from the agenda include:

  • The Blandin Foundation: Community-led approaches to increasing Broadband Adoption:  Success Stories from Minnesota Main Streets
  • Overview and Update from the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
  • How Federal and State Policy Will Impact Minnesota’s Broadband Landscape.
  • Keynote Speaker, Thomas Cohen, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, and Counsel to the Fiber to the Home Council Americas

Are you a panelist or public sector official? If so, contact Bill Hoffman, Connect Minnesota state program manager, at whoffman@connectmn.org, for a promotional code prior to registering.  To register go to: http://www.connectmn.org/broadband-summit

Save the Date for “Minnesota Tourism: A Bright Future”.  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2014 Explore Minnesota Tourism conference February 4-5, 2014 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Canal Park in Duluth.

OPPORTUNITIES

The National Civic League’s All-America City Award recognizes 10 communities annually for outstanding civic impact and action planning. The theme for 2014 is “healthy communities.” Monthly conference calls will take place from September of this year through February 2014. A letter of intent to apply is due November 15, and the final application deadline is March 18, 2014.  LEARN MORE >

–Mary Byron Project has announced the Roth Award for domestic violence programs focused on underserved populations. A nonprofit or government program focused on reaching underserved victims of domestic violence will be honored with an award of $10,000. Deadline for nominations: 11/22/2013. Click here to learn more about this award.

IDEA Competition is Open for Applications.  In the last five years of the competition, nearly $300,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs.  The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture.  The competition will have three $10,000 cash prizes up for grabs this year.  The deadline is Nov 30th.  Go to:

http://www.ideacompetition.org/enter.html

SciTechsperience launches with 100 matching grants. The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) is now accepting student and company applications for the SciTechsperience Internship 2013-2014 program year. SciTechsperience connects college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines to internships in small Minnesota companies.  READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

5 key reasons people are homeless in Minnesota. 
A new comprehensive report based on the 2012 study has just been released. Wilder Research Homeless Study Directors Greg Owen and Michelle Decker Gerrard share key findings. Read more

–The Housing Assistance Council (HAC), a national nonprofit organization that supports rural affordable housing efforts, has updated and enhanced its Rural Data Portal, located at www.ruraldataportal.org. The portal is a simple but powerful online resource that provides information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the U.S. Although its emphasis is on rural communities, information on urban and suburban areas is included as well. Key features of the portal include an interactive, roll-over map that provides at-a-glance data profiles of the 50 states and District of Columbia, down to the county level, and a tool that can generate reports on 36 different data indicators and automatically export them to a printer, Excel spreadsheet, or PDF file. The information the portal provides is largely based on HAC tabulations of public-use data sets, including U.S. Census Bureau releases and data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

U.S. Bioenergy Statistics are a source of information on biofuels intended to present a picture of the renewable energy industry and its relationship to agriculture. Where appropriate, data are presented in both a calendar year and the relevant marketing year timeframe to increase utility to feedstock-oriented users. The statistics highlight the factors that influence the demand for agricultural feedstocks for biofuels production; for instance, numerous tables emphasize the relationship between energy and commodity markets.

–The University of Minnesota Extension has created a short video on the health impacts of airborne emissions from animal feeding operations. The extension service encourages health professionals and community members interested in issues of air quality and rural health to watch the video and share it with others.

October 2013– Volume XI, Number 9

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller-Slipek, Ann Treacy, & Jane Leonard

– Across the Field

– Quick Study

– Funding

– Training/Meetings

– Opportunities

– Miscellaneous

– Federal Sites (special section of Federal news/websites during government shutdown – these sites may or may not work!)

Across the Field: “Federal Shutdown re-shapes October Rural Roundup content”

Dear Reader: We were happy last month to be planning for a column here by a guest columnist on a terrific information tool. We find this week, however, that we must postpone inclusion because the topic of the story – a web-based map supported by the Economic Research Service of the USDA – is not supported currently because of the Federal Government Shutdown (or should we say “showdown?”).

Whatever you call it, it’s a pain, not only to this monthly newsletter creation, but more so to the millions of people – all of us really – who depend on a fully functioning government to work in-sync with other sectors to support a fully-functioning, high quality community and economic life. We wish our congressional “leaders” would govern (rather than play injurious partisan games) heeding the oath of office they all took:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

And the first, defining line of the U.S. Constitution, our supreme law of the land, does specify what responsibilities and common goals our nation’s leaders (and we) have committed to:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Right now the domestic enemy is themselves (Pogo was right!). The rest of us – We the People – hope for the formation of a more perfect “Union” very soon to help us all uphold the rest of our Constitutional responsibilities.

– The Editors

FUNDING           

HUD is offering grants to owners of eligible subsidized housing developments to hire staff to coordinate supportive services for elderly residents and/or residents with disabilities. Deadline: 10/14/2013. Click here for more information and to apply.

–LOWE’S Toolbox for Education ® Grants support projects in the following categories: technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations and safety improvements. Grant requests can range from $2,000 to $100,000. Deadline: 10/15/2013. Click here to visit the website and read more about this program.

The Laura Jane Musser Fund is taking applications now through October 16 for its Intercultural Harmony granting area. It promotes mutual understanding and cooperation between groups and citizens of different cultural backgrounds through collaborative, cross-cultural exchange projects.  For more information go to: http://www.musserfund.org/index.asp?page_seq=25

It also opens the Rural Initiative grant application today, supporting participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities. Grants of up to $25,000 are given to encourage collaborative efforts that will help to strengthen rural towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education. Online applications will be accepted starting October 8 through November 6, 2013. Please see the Fund’s website at http://www.musserfund.org for more information.

CERTs accepting Seed Grant applications for clean energy projects.  The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) is seeking proposals for Seed Grants to support community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding will provide technical assistance services for projects in seven Minnesota CERTs regions: Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West Central. The primary objectives of the Seed Grant projects are to (1) encourage the implementation of community-based clean energy projects in Minnesota and (2) provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits. Project proposals are due by Oct. 18. View more information and the full RFP.

2014 Call for Preproposals NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant Program.  The North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) Research and Education Grant Program is a competitive grant program for researchers and educators involved in projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, profitable, and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems.  The 2014 NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant Program Call for Preproposals is now available online.  NCR-SARE’s Research and Education (R&E) program supports sustainable agriculture innovators with competitive research and education grants. Individual grants range from $10,000 to $200,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about seven to ten projects in the twelve-state North Central Region.

This year, NCR-SARE will be accepting online submissions for the Research and Education Grant Program using their online submission system. More information about the online submission system can be found in the call for pre-proposals. The deadline for Research and Education Program pre-proposals is October 24, 2013.  For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/o8ypv3s

Application materials are available for the Family Medicine Residency Grant program, a new grant program created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013 to assist Family Medicine Residency programs outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Step 1 applications are due October 25. If invited, Step 2 applications will be due November 25. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/index.html#residency

The Community Assistantship Program at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs is pleased to announce a spring 2014 grant program. The grant will allow rural communities to hire a student to work on a project defined by those communities. The deadline for project proposals is October 30, 2013. Approved projects will run from January 9 to May 25, 2014. http://www.cura.umn.edu/CAP

Whole Kids Foundation is accepting applications for its School Garden Grant Program. Grants of $2,000 are available for garden projects at public and private K-12 schools in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Deadline to apply: 10/31/2013. http://tinyurl.com/os36xfc

–The Office Depot Foundation is offering grant support to nonprofit organizations, government agencies, libraries, and schools that bring systemic change to the communities they serve. The Foundation provides grants averaging $1,000 in three distinct categories. The focus of the “Giving Children Tools for Success” category is on activities that give young people tools to succeed in school and in life through education and inspiration. The “Building Capacity to Serve Communities” category targets programs that help nonprofit organizations to serve the needs of their communities efficiently. The purpose of the “Disaster Preparedness, Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding” category is to support efforts that help people and communities prepare for disasters and rebuild and recover when disasters occur. Applications will be accepted through October 31, 2013. http://www.officedepotfoundation.org/funding.asp

–Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program are now available. The Flex program provides grant support to promote regionalization of health care services, improve access to quality health care services, and provide for the development and enhancement of rural health networks, including emergency medical service networks. Applications are due November 15. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/index.html#flex

– An organization that supports American Indian nations and people working to recover and control heir homelands. ILTF is accepting Letters of Inquiry to support various aspects of Native land recovery, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to support Native land recovery efforts, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Deadline is 12/2/13 to submit a Letter of Inquiry. https://www.iltf.org/grants/special-initiatives/land-recovery-efforts

–The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is accepting applications for Community Action Grants of up to $10,000. Grants are available to individuals, AAUW branches and AAUW state organizations as well as local community-based nonprofit organizations for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women. Deadline: 1/15/2014. http://tinyurl.com/lk876vb

– DOE offers funding for clean energy projects on tribal lands.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is offering up to $7 million to deploy clean energy systems in tribal communities. Through the “Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country” funding opportunity, up to $4.5 million is available for projects installing clean energy systems that reduce fossil fuel use by at least 15 percent in either new or existing tribal buildings. The “Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance” funding opportunity offers up to $2.5 million for projects installing renewable energy and energy efficiency that reduce fossil fuel use in existing tribal buildings by at least 30 percent. http://energy.gov/indianenergy/resources/funding-opportunities

The CHS Foundation invests in the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development and supports national projects related to its mission as well as programs within the CHS trade territory for regional multi-state, or statewide projects. The Foundation’s funding focuses on the following program areas: Cooperative Education, Rural Youth Leadership Development, Farm and Agricultural Safety, Returning Value to Rural Communities, and University Partnerships. All applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with the exception of Cooperative Education applications, which are due in the fall of each year. http://www.chsfoundation.org/about.html

QUICK STUDY

A new 2-minute tutorial helps you quickly access local data.  Looking for information about your county or city?  Compass researcher Jane Tigan demonstrates easy ways to access information for your area, including total population by age and ethnicity, median household income, crime rates, employment rates, and much more. http://www.mncompass.org/about/compass-toolbox.php

Poverty in Minnesota: 5 key facts and trends.  New poverty numbers were just released by the Census Bureau. Compass project manager Craig Helmstetter points out 5 trends to watch. http://www.mncompass.org/trends/ask-a-researcher/#.UkBZK4akpHQ

TRAINING/MEETINGS

Free Webinar: Community Technology and Entrepreneurship Networking: October 10 from 3-4pm.
A number of Minnesota communities are working to bring technologists and users of technology together to increase interaction and knowledge sharing. This webinar will highlight these examples and give tips on how to start these events in your own community. In addition, metro area technologists often participate in interactive, innovative events called hackfests. We will hear from an experienced hackfest organizer on how to bring the combined knowledge and experience of your local tech community to create local applications that benefit the community.

Register now: https://blandinfoundation.clickwebinar.com/Community_Tech_Networking_Events/register

Upcoming Energy Savings Goals (ESG) Study Stakeholder Meetings.  Legislation passed in 2013 requires the Department of Commerce http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/topics/resources/energy-legislation-initiatives/ to conduct public meetings with stakeholders that results in a legislative report with recommendations on the statewide and Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/topics/conservation/ energy savings goals. Information on this legislation can be found in Minnesota Legislature House File 729 (HF729) 4th Engrossment, Article 12 Section 8. Stakeholder meetings and technical workgroups will be held in October and November at the Wilder Foundation and at the Department of Commerce.

This stakeholder meeting will be moderated with presentations from industry experts and a panel discussion with representatives from different stakeholder groups. Details regarding the stakeholder meeting process and agenda will be provided prior to each of the meetings.

ESG Study Stakeholder Meeting #1

ESG Study Stakeholder Meeting #2

Invitations will be sent to participants for the technical workgroups held from October 23 – 28, 2013.  All materials (proposals, meeting minutes, reports, etc.) will be posted on the Department of Commerce’s web site. http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/topics/resources/energy-legislation-initiatives/

Minnesota Renewable Energy Roundtable will be held on October 24, 2013

at the College of Saint Benedict. http://www.auri.org/2013/09/october-minnesota-renewable-energy-roundtable/

Join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) on October 24-25 for North Star Nonprofits: Charting Our True Direction.  Minnesota’s largest gathering of nonprofit professionals in 2013, this two-day gathering will bring together nonprofit leaders and our allies to focus on ways we can embrace inclusion as a powerful strategy for building a stronger Minnesota together.  http://northstarnonprofits.org/index.html

Rural Health Community Forums – Little Falls and Breckenridge. 
Join Minnesota Department of Health ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Interested citizens, hospital administrators and staff, emergency medical services personnel, health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to attend one of two upcoming regional forums http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/forums/index.html: in Little Falls on October 28 at St. Gabriel’s Hospital and in Breckenridge on October 29 at St. Francis Healthcare Campus. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. To attend, please register online. https://survey.vovici.com/se.ashx?s=56206EE355ECF878 For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or judith.bergh@state.mn.us.

Youth Summits - Minnesota Campus Compact (MNCC) is co-sponsoring–and several MNCC member campuses are hosting–Youth Summits by congressional district together with the Minnesota Youth Council. These summits will bring youth and adults together to consider the issues of top concern to Minnesota youth gleaned from a survey of more than 1,000 young people last spring: crime, safety, and gangs; bullying; and drug and alcohol use; as well as GradMinnesota goals to increase youth engagement, improve graduation rates, and support post-secondary success. Locations and dates confirmed so far are Carleton College on Nov. 6, Minnesota State University Mankato on Nov. 18, and St. Cloud State University on Dec. 3.  All summits will begin at 3pm. http://mnyouth.net/work/gradminnesota/activities/

Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation.  Minnesota’s first “Conference on Climate Adaptation”, designed for Local Officials, Planners, Engineers and Natural Resource practitioners, is scheduled to take place on November 7th at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Participants will learn about other communities’ early successes in developing adaptation strategies in areas such as transportation infrastructure, natural resources, human health, and agriculture. The morning and noon speakers will set the stage, and the afternoon will features breakout sessions describing successful case studies.

Thursday, November 7, 2013 9:00 am – 5:30 pm, followed by reception at the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul.  Fee: $60 – includes lunch, breaks, and parking. Afternoon reception features appetizers and a cash bar.  Registration is limited, so individuals are encouraged to register early.  For more information or to register, visit  http://tinyurl.com/pscnk93

Cooperatives = Community Development Conference will be held in Minneapolis on November 8th.  NCDF is co-hosting a conference http://tinyurl.com/nrqgs6q on the role of cooperative businesses and housing in community and economic development.  Organized by CoMInnesota, along with NCDF partners, Cooperative Development Services and Northcountry Cooperative Foundation, the day-long event at the Thrivent headquarters in downtown Minneapolis will bring together community and economic developers and cooperative developers from throughout Minnesota.

On November 12-13, 2013, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, more than 500 global leaders in robotics research, design, business development, investment, law, and policy will share their insights into the worldwide explosion of robotics and autonomous systems at the Third Annual Robotics Alley Conference and Expo.  For more information go to: http://roboticsalley.org/overview.html

Save the Date for “Minnesota Tourism: A Bright Future”.  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2014 Explore Minnesota Tourism conference February 4-5, 2014 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Canal Park in Duluth. http://tinyurl.com/qxowrlm

OPPORTUNITIES

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is seeking nominees for two Board of Directors seats. One nominee selected will represent a research and promotion council and the other will represent Minnesota agribusiness. http://tinyurl.com/ozwlkmf

Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA)   
Are you a school, city, or county that has been innovating to improve services or reduce the cost of local government? Share your innovation for a chance to win $10,000 and a professional video highlighting your effort! Submissions are now being accepted until October 24https://sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/devlgia/

–The NBCC Foundation is currently accepting applications for scholarships to students working toward a graduate counseling degree who commit to practicing in rural areas after graduation. Applicants must be enrolled in a CACREP-accredited master’s degree counseling program. Eligible programs and more information is available on the NBCC Foundation website. Applications due November 1. http://www.nbccf.org/rural/

Seeking Dynamic Workshops for Nonprofit Technology Conference.  Now’s your chance to share your expertise in areas of nonprofit technology or communications. MCN and MAP for Nonprofits are seeking proposals for 75-minute breakout workshops for the upcoming Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference to be held on April 10, 2014 in Minneapolis. The deadline for submitting your proposal is 5 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013.  http://tinyurl.com/q4ds494

The National Civic League’s All-America City Award recognizes 10 communities annually for outstanding civic impact and action planning. The theme for 2014 is “healthy communities.” Monthly conference calls will take place from September of this year through February 2014. A letter of intent to apply is due November 15, and the final application deadline is March 18, 2014.  http://www.allamericacityaward.com/

IDEA Competition is Open for Applications.  In the last five years of the competition, nearly $300,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs.  The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture.  The competition will have three $10,000 cash prizes up for grabs this year.  The deadline is Nov 30th.  Go to: http://www.ideacompetition.org/enter.html

SciTechsperience launches with 100 matching grantsThe Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) is now accepting student and company applications for the SciTechsperience Internship 2013-2014 program year. SciTechsperience connects college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines to internships in small Minnesota companies.  http://tinyurl.com/p5kwh7e

MISCELLANEOUS

HEALTH REFORM – MNSURE. 
Enrollment is opened in MNsure, Minnesota’s new health insurance marketplace. Health care organizations will play an important role in outreach and enrollment in the new system. MDH has developed two resources for providers: MNsure Provider Network FAQs and a list of current provider networks that will be offered on MNsure. MNSure also has a set of FAQs for Consumer Assisters available on its website, and the Minnesota Hospital Association has two Fact Sheets for providers: MNsure 101: Top 10 things to tell your patients and MNsure 101: What Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems need to know about the new health insurance exchange. The National Rural Health Association has also summarized ACA tools for rural providers. http://www.mnsure.org/  – http://tinyurl.com/p7lofl7

–The Rural Health Systems Analysis and Technical Assistance (RHSATA) project, a collaboration between the Office of Rural Health Policy, the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis (RUPRI Center), and Stratis Health, launched a new website: Rural Health Value. The site offers tools, resources and information to assist rural communities and providers transition to a high-performance rural health system, as well as analysis of rural implications of policy changes. http://cph.uiowa.edu/ruralhealthvalue/

Rural Data Portal 
Provides over 350 data indicators identifying the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the United States using Housing Assistance Council (HAC) tabulations of public use data sets that include the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, the American Community Survey (ACS) and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data. http://www.ruraldataportal.org/

The Sustainable Communities Hot Report is a new web-based tool that gives community leaders and residents a quick and easy way to determine how well their communities are performing on a variety of sustainability indicators, including transportation, housing, economic development, income, and equity. Produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the tool can help communities measure their own performance and compare themselves to communities of a similar type. http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/

–The Minnesota Department of Health recently added two new modules to its Climate Change Training Modules series, developed as an educational tool for public health officials as well as for the general public. The fully-scripted series, which is designed for use as a train-the-trainer resource, addresses the potential impacts of a changing climate on public health.  The two latest training modules include:

* Mental Health, Climate Change, and Public Health.  This training module provides an overview of the observed climate changes in Minnesota, the public health issues related to climate change and mental health, and public health strategies for reducing the negative mental health impacts of climate change.

* Agriculture & Food Security.  This module provides an overview of the observed climate changes in Minnesota, the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security, and public health strategies to increase food security and food education.

To download these or other training modules in the series, or for more information, visit: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/climatechange/communication.html#modules

–“Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in a Global Marketplace” is a book funded by The Kellogg Foundation and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From the Executive Summary: “The local food movement is now spreading globally, yet is not well understood. To many, local food is exclusively about proximity, with discriminating consumers demanding higher-quality food grown, caught, processed, cooked, and sold by people they know and trust. But an equally important part of local food is local ownership of food businesses. This report is about the full range of locally owned businesses involved in food, whether they are small or big, whether they are primary producers or manufacturers or retailers, whether their focus is local or global markets. We call these businesses community food enterprises (CFEs).” http://communityfoodenterprise.org/book-pdfs/CFE%20Book_view.pdf.

–The Rural Homeless Youth Listening Sessions Project, a partnership of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Minnesota Department of Human Services (OEO-DHS), rural homeless youth service providers and the Otto Bremer Foundation, released a Summary Report based on listening sessions conducted in 10 rural and tribal communities in greater Minnesota. The report includes recommendations to invest in prevention, outreach and education; enhance service delivery; strengthen partnerships; and improve grantmaking programs. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/pubs/hmlessyth.pdf

“Changing Lands Changing Hands” is a 30-minute video that was produced by NET Television in Nebraska and Harvest Public Media that looks at the fastest growing group of farmers in the United States, those who are 65 years old and older. Thousands of farms, as much as half of the farmland in the United States, will be changing hands over the next generation. “Changing Lands, Changing Hands” examines how that could reshape the industry that drives the economy in middle America. Click here to watch the video. A second video “How Can We Save Rural America?” offers a 30-minute discussion program following up on issues raised in “Changing Lands, Changing Hands.” It focuses on solutions to helping small towns in rural America survive and thrive. http://video.netnebraska.org/video/2365061385/

–An article in the Daily Yonder titled “Broadband Availability: Geography Matters” discusses how rural areas lag urban ones in their access to broadband. A first-of-its-kind map and a state-by-state chart compute the geographical difference in “availability”. Read the article http://tinyurl.com/n4pvtdb

–“All-In Nation: An America That Works for All” is a book from PolicyLink and the Center for American Progress that offers policy recommendations for building a prosperous economy by ensuring that all are able to participate and achieve their full potential – particularly communities of color that are quickly becoming the nation’s majority. http://tinyurl.com/p8ajnr8

–The CDFI Fund has launched “Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities” Study and Focus Group Registration. Native Communities in the United States face unique economic challenges that affect the availability of capital and credit for individuals and businesses. The Study will identify these challenges, and is part of the long-term goal of the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives to overcome barriers to financial services in Native Communities. http://www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/Native_Communities_Study.asp

–“Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment” is a report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition that seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives and three student-led initiatives, as well as five potential future partnerships, where institutional investments are directed into local communities in a way that empowers low-income residents, develops small businesses and generates sustainable economic development. http://tinyurl.com/qxq7sna

–The National Association of State Units on Aging has launched a website “Clearinghouse for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)” that allows users to access information, tools, data and other resources for building programs to assist older adults and people with disabilities. http://www.hcbs.org/

–The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Mental Health Resources for Rural Communities website offers links to brochures, fact sheets, articles, research and organizations addressing mental health issues across rural America. http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/topic/rural/

“The Low Income Housing Tax Credit: Overcoming Barriers to Affordable Housing in Rural America”, published by Rapoza Associates, reports that the credit has an important impact in rural communities. http://tinyurl.com/k2e2qqe

–“Hunger and Housing in Rural America: Intersecting Challenges and Solutions” is the feature of a special summer edition of the Housing Assistance Council’s Rural Voices newsletter focusing on the intersecting challenges of housing and food security in rural America. http://tinyurl.com/o4ulffb

–A Nonprofit Quarterly article, “Why Rural Philanthropy Must Mean More than Money” explains that in rural communities and small towns, philanthropy can take stands, create coalitions, and break down racial barriers that other institutions avoid. James Joseph, former president of the Council on Foundations, finds that foundations have five forms of capital: social, reputational, moral, intellectual and financial. http://tinyurl.com/mxmsgpv

–The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published the latest edition of its Community Development Investments newsletter entitled “Extending Credit in Indian Country: How Banks Use Federal Programs to Promote Economic Development”. This issue reviews current economic conditions in Indian Country, presents examples of how national banks and federal savings associations can use federal programs to lend and invest in this market, and provides a primer on Community Reinvestment Act implications for OCC-regulated institutions that seek to do business in Indian Country.  http://tinyurl.com/o37glju

2012 Wind Report: Minnesota among leaders in wind power production.  Minnesota remains one of the leading wind power producing states, according to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report and the 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications. Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation for cumulative wind power capacity with 2,987 megawatts (MW) through 2012. Texas ranks No. 1 with 12,214 MW. Minnesota ranks fourth in percentage of in-state wind generation, with 14.3 percent of its electricity generated from wind. Minnesota is also leader in the installation of distributed wind energy systems. http://tinyurl.com/qdxafg8

DEED has made available the Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace. The book is aimed at providing practical guidance on the legal issues a business should consider when using social media. The book helps businesses navigate an array of laws and regulations, and offers best practices and ways to mitigate risk.  Guidance is provided on:
1. Safeguarding confidential and proprietary information.
2. Protection through terms of use and privacy policy.
3. Compliance with securities and disclosure laws.
4. Social media as a marketing tool.
5. Influence of social media on the employment relationship.
6. Ownership of social media accounts.

This book has been developed as part of DEED’s ongoing efforts to help aspiring entrepreneurs, small, and other businesses understand emerging workplace issues. The book was developed in partnership with the Minneapolis-based law firm of Gray Plant Mooty to produce the book.  It is available in print or CD-ROM from DEED’s Small Business Assistance Office at 651-259-7476 or 800-310-8323 or deed.mnsbao@state.mn.us. Or requests can be mailed to the Small Business Assistance Office at First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota St., Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351.  http://tinyurl.com/oj458bh Businesses are encouraged to check the website periodically for updates because regulations and laws continuously change.

Online Voter Registration Available.  Minnesota voters can now register online to vote. In addition, military and overseas voters can apply online to receive absentee ballots. Information about both of these tools can be found at www.mnvotes.org.

FEDERAL SITES (May or may not be available depending on Federal Shutdown status)

Effective October 1, 2013,USDA Rural Development will be implementing the 2010 Census Data for Rural Development Housing Programs. The result of this action will be a change in the eligible areas in the State of Minnesota where the Rural Housing Service Programs can be used. You can access the proposed area eligiblilty maps at: http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do   Simply click on the link, look to the left side of the page, and click on the appropriate section that you want to review.

–USDA has issued a NOFA for the Rural Community Development Initiative for qualified intermediary nonprofits to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities or community and economic development in rural areas. Deadline to apply: 11/12/2013. Click here for an application package.

USDA Rural Development’s Direct Home Repair Loan and Grant programs are designed to help eligible, low-income seniors who own inadequate but repairable housing.  Qualified projects can include repairing or replacing a roof, winterizing, purchasing or repairing a heating system, structural repair, water and sewage connect fees, and similar uses.  Applicants must own and occupy the home, and their income may not exceed guidelines established by county and household size.  Applicants must also have an acceptable credit history, show repayment ability, be unable to afford a conventional loan and live in a community with a population of 20,000 or fewer.  The maximum loan is $20,000, repayable over 20 years with a one percent interest rate. Grants of up to $7,500 are also available to homeowners over the age of 62 and must be used to remove health or safety hazards.  Contact your local Rural Development office or visit Rural Development’s website at www.rurdev.gov/MN to learn more about our Direct Home Repair Loan & Grant programs.

Information comes from a variety of sources including the American Community Survey, Census 1990, 2000 and 2010, the Department of Labor’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and State Occupational Projections, and the Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics (LED). Data are maintained and updated by the collecting agency.  To access the tool, visit http://thedataweb.rm.census.gov/TheDataWeb_HotReport2/EPA2/EPA_HomePage2.hrml.

U.S. Bioenergy Statistics are a source of information on biofuels intended to present a picture of the renewable energy industry and its relationship to agriculture. Where appropriate, data are presented in both a calendar year and the relevant marketing year timeframe to increase utility to feedstock-oriented users. The statistics highlight the factors that influence the demand for agricultural feedstocks for biofuels production; for instance, numerous tables emphasize the relationship between energy and commodity markets.

Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials  ERS has compiled over 75 charts and maps covering key statistics on farming, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, the interaction of agriculture and the environment, and more.

–Projecting regional population growth of nearly 900,000 people over the next 30 years, the Metropolitan Council has taken its first cut at forecasting where that future growth is likely to occur among metro area cities and towns. Council officials say the region’s economy will remain robust, but real estate demand and development patterns will differ from previous decades. Regional forecast details.

Eating Better at School: Can New Policies Improve Childrens Food Choices? (Amber Waves feature)  ERS research found that offering school lunches with a healthier mix of vegetables was associated with higher consumption of healthier vegetables, but also higher food costs. “Nudging” students can increase acceptance of healthier foods.

Cropland Consolidation and the Future of Family Farms (Amber Waves feature)

Over the past 3 decades, U.S. crop production has been shifting to larger farms for most crops and in most States. But family farms still dominate U.S. crop production, accounting for 87 percent of the value of U.S. crop production in 2011.

Household Food Security in the United States in 2012  An estimated 14.5 percent of U.S. households were food insecure some time in 2012, essentially unchanged from 2011. The share included 5.7 percent with very low food security

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