October 2014- Volume XII, Number 7

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

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

Across the Field: FALL HAS ARRIVED!!

We will let the photo of the Fall season fallserve as our Across the Field (or Across the Forest!) this month. We hope that in the midst of your busy days you find some time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors in our state!

FUNDING        

– The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is offering grants to nonprofits for programs that support veterans and their families. Programs supported by the Trust typically provide the following: food, shelter, and other necessary items to homeless or at-risk veterans; mobility items or assistance specific to veterans with blindness or vision loss, hearing loss, or amputations; qualified therapeutic activities for veterans and/or their families; and physical and psychological rehabilitation projects. Priority is given to long-term service projects providing direct assistance to sick and injured veterans and their families. Deadline to apply: 10/20/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.

–The YMCA of the USA is accepting entries from individuals and groups for its third annual My Fresh Page Project competition. Through the competition, the Y will award a total of $20,000 in support of small ideas that impact communities in big ways. Community members from across the nation will be able to vote for their favorite idea once a day, now through October 24, 2014. Applicants may submit their projects in one of three prize categories: $5,000 prize, $1,000 prize, and $500 prize. The deadline to apply: 10/24/2014. Click here for further guidelines.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting applications to its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. Grants will be used to deploy broadband infrastructure and expand access of broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the state. Applications due October 28.

–The Griswold Cares Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the country that enhance the quality of life for low-income seniors and adults with disabilities who choose to age in place. The Foundation’s 2014 funding priorities focus on support for programs that provide respite care and short-term home care. The Foundation also supports local community and grassroots organizations that provide other programs and services with the intent of helping those of limited financial means to age in place. Deadline: 10/31/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.  

–Whole Kids Foundation is offering grants to schools and nonprofit organizations working at schools to support edible gardens at schools serving any grade K-12. These grants of $2,000 are awarded in the U.S. and Canada. Consideration is given to new or existing garden projects at any stage of development, whether planning, construction, or operation, that help children engage with fresh fruits and vegetables. Deadline: 10/31/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to complete the online application.

Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC) announces two new grant programs: the Dental Safety Net Grant Program and the Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program. Both provide support for treating the uninsured, with funds distributed based on the number of individual uninsured patients under the age of 21 served by the applicant. Learn more on the ORHPC Grants and Loan page. Step 1 applications due October 31.

–The Laura Jane Musser Fund is offering grants for programs that encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in communities in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wyoming. Through the Rural Initiative Program, the Fund supports efforts that will help to strengthen individual rural towns in the targeted states in a number of civic areas, including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education. Deadline: 11/1/2014. Specific grant guidelines and application procedures are available on the Fund’s website here.  

–The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is offering grants in the following two categories: 1) Community Development Grants supporting nonprofit organizations that nurture the participation of people living in poverty to change structures and policies that affect their lives. At least 50 percent of those benefiting from the applying organization’s efforts must be people experiencing poverty. 2) Economic Development Grants supporting Economic Development Institutions that include the voice of the poor and marginalized in developing new businesses that offer good jobs or develop assets that will be owned by local communities. Grants range between $25,000 and $75,000. Deadline: pre-applications for both programs are due by 11/1/2014. Visit the CCHD website here for more information.  

ArtPlace America is now accepting Letters of Inquiry for projects that strengthen community via art and culture. Grants range from $50K-$500K. Apply by November 3, 2014.

–The Federal Transit Administration announced approximately $20 million in funding for the Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development Planning. These funds are for local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning through a transit capital investment. Award amounts will vary from $250,000 to $2 million. Deadline: 11/3/2014. For guidelines, click here.  

–TRIBECA ALL ACCESS will award a $15,000 grant to five narrative filmmakers and five documentary filmmakers whose teams include a U.S.-based director or screenwriter from a community that is statistically underrepresented in the film industry for use in the development, production, post-production, or marketing of their film project. Deadline to apply: 11/5/2014. Click here for guidelines.  

The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is accepting applications to the FY15 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program to improve outreach and service delivery in local and regional rural communities. The lead applicant must be a rural non-profit or rural public entity representing a consortium of at least three health care providers. Applications due November 14.

–HUD has announced the second round of Promise Zones competition. To apply, communities must meet poverty rate and population requirements. HUD will designate six urban communities, one rural community and one tribal community through the competition. Deadline: 11/21/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to register for one of the webcasts.

–The AGSTAR Fund for Rural America supports nonprofit organizations in the service area where AgStar has a significant business presence in Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The Fund offers grants of up to $10,000 for direct project or program costs for programs in the following four major areas: education, environment, technology, and quality of life. Deadline: 11/30/2014. Visit the AgStar website here to review the funding guidelines and application instructions.  

–THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (NEA) is offering Our Town grants to support creative placemaking projects that contribute towards the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, equitable, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The Our Town program supports arts engagement, cultural planning, and design projects. The NEA is also offering a new project category this year, funding up to five projects carried out by arts or design service organizations, or other national or regional membership organizations, that provide technical assistance to those doing place-based work. The goal is to expand the knowledge base about creative placemaking to their members and the field. Deadline: 12/15/2014. Click here to learn more about this program and to register for one of the webinars.  

The Minnesota Angel Tax Credit Program is reaching out to a broader audience. The popular state program that has attracted more than $260 million for high-tech startups in Minnesota since 2010 will focus much of its efforts in the next two years on helping businesses located in Greater Minnesota and those owned by women or members of minority groups. READ MORE

The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced the incentive amounts for the second year (2015) of its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. The incentives are available to customers of investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) who install solar electric systems (PV) using solar modules certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Applications will be accepted annually between Jan. 1-Feb. 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery. Read more on the incentive amounts.

Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge -Win $15,000.00 – enter today!

What is the Challenge?  Link to Website for more information  If you live in a nonmetro county this message is for you! Your business does not have to be ag related! http://www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge/eligibility/  

Bush Foundation offers opportunities to help your organization move toward innovation: https://www.bushfoundation.org/ – Community Creativity Cohort – a one-time program designed to both recognize and learn from exemplary organizations that meaningfully engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life. The Community Creativity Cohort will inform the Foundation’s future work in the arts. Applications accepted through October 16.

 BEN & JERRY’S FOUNDATION is offering grants of up to $20,000 to support nonprofit community-organizing groups in the United States working to further social and environmental justice and support sustainable and just food systems. Deadline: 10/15/2014 (pre-applications). Click here for application guidelines.  http://benandjerrysfoundation.org/the-grassroots-organizing-for-social-change-program/

The Explore Minnesota guidelines for 2015 grants are now available. The grant program is offered to assist communities and scenic byway organizations in attracting travelers to Minnesota. Information on the program and guidelines for grants are posted on the industry website at http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/ways-to-get-involved/grants/

The maximum grant amount is $8,000 and requires a match from the recipient. Organizations with total income of $100,000 or less qualify for a 1-to-1 match; those with total income over $100,000 are required to match at 2-to-1.  Very little was changed in the 2015 grant guidelines, however, prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review the guidelines as they consider projects that might be included in the grant application. Applications are due Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.  Minnesota non-profit tourism or scenic byway organizations who want further information on the grant program should contact their respective regional manager: Central or Northwest – Carol Altepeter, 888-629-6466, or David Bergman, 888-563-7777Metro – Gayle Junnila, 800-657-3637; 651-757-1852 Northeast – Tim Campbell, 888-876-6784Southern – Dave Vogel, 888-975-6766

Laura Jane Musser Fund: Intercultural Harmony Program  The Fund would like to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between groups and citizens of different cultural backgrounds within defined geographical areas through collaborative, cross-cultural exchange projects. Projects must be intercultural and demonstrate intercultural exchange, rather than focused on just one culture.  Deadline: October 17, 2014.  http://www.musserfund.org

The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund program is accepting grant applications from sponsoring institutions with accredited teaching programs providing clinical training in fiscal year 2013 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 must submit their application through their sponsoring institution. Find more details on the MERC Grant Application Information page. Applications due October 31. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/hep/merc/mcapinfo.html

USDA is offering grants to nonprofits through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) which provides financial and technical assistance to recipients in developing their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development. DEADLINE: 11/12/2014. Click here for application guidelines.  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/had-rcdi_grants.html

–MPCA Environmental Loan Program.  Consider applying if you’ve been thinking about a project in green chemistry, pollution prevention, source reduction, recycling, or source-separated composting. Eligible applicants for the EA Loan Program include Minnesota-based, small- to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Candidates that are contemplating smaller projects are particularly encouraged to apply this spring. Priority eligible applicants are Minnesota-based small to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Applications are being accepted until June 30, 2015. Visit the MPCA Environmental Assistance Loan Program for more information. http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/assistance/financial-assistance/environmental-assistance-grants-and-loans/environmental-assistance-loan-program.html

FINRA INVESTOR EDUCATION FOUNDATION offers funding to nonprofits, and state and public colleges and universities for projects that advance understanding of the relationships among financial literacy, financial capability, and financial well-being. Deadline: A Project Concept Form may be submitted at any time. Grants of $50,000 to $100,000 are available. Visit the Foundation’s website here for application guidelines and more information. http://www.finrafoundation.org/grants/general/guidelines/

 –Blandin Foundation trustees voted to extend broadband work and allocate $1.5 million more for broadband grantsMore information here.   

- MPCA Small Business Environmental Loan Program. To qualify, a borrower must:  be an existing small business corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or association and have less than 50 full-time employees, have an after-tax profit of less than $500,000 and a net worth of less than $1,000,000, demonstrate an ability to repay the loan. To receive an application, contact the MPCA’s Small Business Ombudsman, Mike Nelson at michael.nelson@state.mn.us or 651.757.2122.

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. 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. 

– 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

Competitive Grant To Establish a USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice ResearchUSDA ERS in partnership with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting proposals to establish the USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research. The USDA Center will apply behavioral economics to food choice behaviors, including consumer, food industry, and retailer behaviors, that are relevant to USDA policies, with special attention to the SNAP and WIC programs. http://tinyurl.com/pupeczx 

TRAINING/MEETINGS

– RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY FORUMS in TRACY AND BENSON. Join the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (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: in Benson on October 20 at ACMC/Swift County Benson Hospital and in Tracy on October 21 at the Fitness Depot Wellness Center. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or judith.bergh@state.mn.us.

–Policy Link will offer a webinar titled “Financing Basics: Working with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)” on October 21, 2014, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET. This webinar will introduce the audience to CDFIs and will feature different financial products that CDFIs can use to finance healthy food projects and provide examples of successful projects. Click hereto register.  

Cyber Security Summit will be held in Minneapolis on October 21-22.

The first “Worker’s Compensation Seminar: What You Need to Know” will be held at Central Lakes College on Oct. 27 from 1- 4PM. There will be additional seminars held at different locations on Oct. 28 (Bemidji), Oct. 29 (Thief River Falls), and Oct. 30 (Perham). Fee for each one is $25. To register for any of the seminars and to see timing and location of the other seminars, please go to https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/ Default.aspx?EventID=1617620  

FEAST! the largest celebration of local foods in the tri-state area will premiere November 2-3, 2014 at the Rochester Civic Center in Rochester, MN.   For general information go to:  http:// www.local-feast.org/.  For exhibitor details and application form, visit http://local-feast.org/ exhibitor_app or contact Devon at devon@rtcinfo.org.  

The CDFI Fund, in partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network, is holding a series of webinars exploring the financial intricacies of community health centers and ways CDFIs can invest in them. The last webinar will be held October 22 at 2:00 PM ET. Learn more about the series by clicking here.  http://ofn.org/financing-community-health-centers#Technical-Assistance-Webinars

30th Annual Minnesota Policy Conference will be held October 15,  at the Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul. Keynote presentations from Susan Brower, state demographer and Laura Kalambokidis, state economist will highlight key trends that everyone involved in policy work needs to know. http://cce.umn.edu/annual-minnesota-policy-conference/

–The Art of Participatory Leadership, October 21-23 in Mankato, MN. Information and registration is available here:  http://issuu.com/katieboone/docs/aopl_mankato_invite There is an early bird registration discount.

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

The MINN IDEA Summit will be held on October 24 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs campus in Minneapolis bringing together hundreds of leaders from nonprofit organizations, foundations, donor groups, the private sector, and educational institutions with a professional or personal interest in international work and a passion for assisting others.  The theme of Innovation through Collaboration will be examined through speeches, panel discussions and breakout sessions. Summit attendees will gain knowledge of the latest development trends, be exposed to new programming approaches and acquire new ideas for more effective action. Learn more and register. http://tinyurl.com/k8kcsxz

Food Access Summit 2014.  October 28-30, 2014, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center http://www.foodaccesssummit.com/

– The Minnesota Council on Foundations 2014 Annual Conference, Today’s Realities | Tomorrow’s Opportunities, to be held on October 31, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul-Riverfront in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Watch for more information next month!
Nonprofits in Motion: Momentum for a New Minnesota will be held November 6-7, Saint Paul RiverCentre.   

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.  

Mark your calendar now to attend the 2015 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Feb. 3-4, 2015, at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.  

OPPORTUNITIES

–Calling All Finance Experts.  The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and the Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) are seeking your proposals for breakout sessions at the 2015 Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference. The conference will be held March 5, 2015 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN.  Are you able to talk about complicated finance subjects in simple and interesting ways? Do you have a strategy for long-term sustainability you’d like to share with other nonprofit leaders? Submit an online proposal now! 

MCN and NAF seek workshops that will focus on a range of skills and knowledge. Sessions will highlight everything from technical skills such as budgeting, audits and compliance to leadership skills around developing teams of staff or volunteers who understand their roles around organizational sustainability, internal controls and oversight. The deadline for proposal submission is 5 p.m. on Friday, October 17, 2014. 

–The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is soliciting comments regarding its Capacity Building Initiative (CBI). The Capacity Building Initiative provides direct training and technical assistance on issues impacting CDFIs. Written comments should be submitted by e-mail to cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, and should have the subject line “Comments on the Capacity Building Initiative”. To be considered, comments must be received on or before October 24, 2014. Please direct any questions to the CDFI Fund’s Help Desk at (202) 653-0421, Option 1. To read specific questions on which the CDFI Fund is seeking comments, click here.

Are you a school, city, township, or county that has been innovating to improve services or reduce the cost of local government? Share your innovation for a chance to win $5,000 and a professional video highlighting your effort! The Local Government Innovation Awards recognizes the creative ways counties, cities, townships, and schools are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. http://lgia.umn.edu/

The MPCA’s Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) recently helped the Salvation Army in Minneapolis save money by reducing its use of water and energy, leaving more money for its mission of helping those in need. RETAP works with businesses and institutions to reduce environmental impact and costs. RETAP conducts free energy, water, and waste audits, and provides prioritized recommended changes and estimated financial and environmental savings. Recommendations range from simple changes such as turning thermostats down a few degrees in the winter or installing occupancy sensors in meeting rooms, to larger, high-impact projects like lighting retrofits or upgrading inefficient boilers.  Small businesses, municipalities, churches, and schools in Minnesota can contact RETAP to request a free audit and get suggestions for reducing their environmental impact and costs. Contact RETAP at 612-781-1307, or visit www.pca.state.mn.us/retap

Blandin Broadband Communities: An Opportunity. Building on the successes of MIRC and BBC community broadband engagement projects, Blandin Foundation is seeking up to ten new communities for the 2015-16 cohort of Blandin Broadband Communities. Applications will be accepted through October 17, 2014.Click here for details, or learn more from an archive of a recent webinar on the topic:  http://wp.me/p3if7-2Na

Lights! Camera! Save! Video Contest for Teens October – November 2014 (Nationwide)The American Bankers Association (ABA) Community Engagement Foundation sponsors this video contest for banks to engage teenagers to educate themselves and their peers about the value of saving and using money wisely. Banks host the local level of the competition and select winners to compete on the national level. The top three winners receive cash prizes to help pay for their education. Winners will be announced in February 2015 during America Saves Week. http://www.aba.com/Engagement/Pages/financialed.aspx

–J-1 VISA WAIVER PROGRAM. Minnesota Department of Health has revised its guidelines for the J-1 Visa Waiver program, also sometimes known as the Conrad 30 program. Due to increased demand, the program has changed from a first-come, first-served approval process to a competitive review with a due date at the end of November. The J-1 visa allows International Medical Graduates to remain in the U.S. until their studies are completed. At the completion of their studies, they are expected to return to their home countries for two years. A J-1 Visa Waiver waives the two-year home residency requirement and allows a physician to stay in the U.S. to practice in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA). Find the updated guidelines on ORHPC’s J-1 web pagehttp://tinyurl.com/nywbftr

MISCELLANEOUS 

Ten projects, including one from the University of Minnesota, will receive funding aimed at accelerating genetic breeding programs to improve plant feedstocks for the production of biofuels, biopower, and bio-based products. The Minnesota project intends to genetically improve the agronomic traits of field pennycress for its use as a new winter annual oilseed/meal/cover crop in the Upper Midwest. The research grants are a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read more.

–USDA has published a guide that presents statistics on food security, food expenditures, and use of food and nutrition assistance programs. Food insecurity was more common in large cities and rural areas than in suburban areas and exurban areas around large cities. Download a free copy here.

The Census Bureau recently released income, poverty and health insurance data for 2013. The poverty rate declined from 2012; this is the first decline since 2006. The poverty rate for children under 18 declined as well, for the first time since 2000. Visit the Census Bureau website hereto review the data.

Rural Transit Fact Book 2014 Serves as a national resource for statistics and information on rural transit in America. Includes rural demographic and travel behavior data indicating that work, school, and medical trips comprise a higher percentage of rural transit trips. Includes state-by-state data.

Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS research and analysis on the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America. The August 2014 issue includes articles on the broiler production, food security in sub-Saharan Africa, the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, SNAP and time eating, natural gas extraction, fresh fruit and vegetable imports, and organic trade. http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves.aspx

Minnesota’s aging population: Prepare for lift-off  Our baby boomer population is like a jet airplane that has just lifted off. Minnesota Compass Project Manager Craig Helmstetter highlights 5 implications for Minnesota.

The White House Rural Council announces a $10 billion dollar investment fund to promote rural economic development. This fund will continue to grow the rural economy by increasing access to capital for rural infrastructure projects and speeding up the process of rural infrastructure improvements. http://wp.me/p3if7-2Lf

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has introduced “Plan. Prepare. Prevail: a Disaster Financial Readiness & Recovery Blueprint” to assist individuals, families and small business owners in learning about the financial documents and records they need to have available in case of an emergency. To review the Blueprint’s financial forms, checklists and other resources, click http://tinyurl.com/o7zbovn

–The Rural Policy Research Institute has published a report on high-poverty counties over a 50 year period, with a poverty rate of 20% or more, based on data from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey, compared to 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census data. The report includes comparison of rural (micropolitan and noncore) counties and metropolitan counties, and identifies counties with persistent and intermittent high poverty, as well as newly high poverty counties. Download the report http://tinyurl.com/q7kp4ae

A United States Department of Housing and Urban Development report examines trends in social, economic and housing circumstances of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. http://tinyurl.com/nvseegc

The National Rural Housing Coalition has published “Rural America’s Rental Housing Crisis: Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities” which documents the successes of USDA’s rental housing programs and the challenges facing them now. http://tinyurl.com/l6jtj75

Accountable Communities for Health. If you missed one of the recent regional meetings on the Minnesota Accountable Health Model – SIM Minnesota project, the presentation slides and handouts — including “Accountable Communities for Health: How to Get Started” and the SIM Glossary — are now available on the SIM Events web page. http://tinyurl.com/lglfxt4

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued a new topic guide on Community Paramedicine. The guide includes an overview of this emerging profession, how rural communities can use paramedics and EMTs in this expanded role; how to start a community paramedicine program; and models of existing programs. http://tinyurl.com/kpu25f9

Transportation to Support Rural Healthcare Topic Guide- RAC’s Transportation topic guide has received a major update and is now focused on how rural communities can address transportation issues to improve access to care. http://tinyurl.com/n7psrgc

2014 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-being Annie E. Casey Foundation provides national and state-by-state information on the conditions of America’s children and families. Includes data on overall child well-being and ranks states in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family & community. http://tinyurl.com/k6rbdsy

AARP Fraud Watch Network. AARP offers this Web site that provides alerts on the latest frauds and scams affecting adults 50 and over. The site also contains an interactive map for consumer stories and communication from attorneys general about fraud. http://tinyurl.com/nrmdfzs

AARP SBA Webinars.AARP and the U.S. Small Business Administration host new webinars and publish previous webinars to educate people who want to start businesses or expand existing ones. http://www.aarp.org/work/work-webinars/

Protecting Senior Residents From Financial Exploitation The CFPB offers this guide to help staff of long-term care facilities prevent, recognize, and report elder financial exploitation. http://tinyurl.com/q7etfxf

My Social SecurityThe Social Security Administration maintains a Web site that offers quick and secure access to consumers personal Social Security information. http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

The National Community Land Trust Network, in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, has released two working papers on inclusionary housing: “Resident and Community Engagement in Community Land Trusts” examines the practices of six well-established CLTs that have successfully engaged residents and communities in their operations. Download a copy here. “Achieving Lasting Affordability through Inclusionary Housing” analyzes 20 inclusionary housing programs to show how long affordability periods, strong legal mechanisms, carefully designed resale formulas, dedicated program stewardship, and strategic partnerships can help preserve affordable homes for multiple generations. Download a copy  http://tinyurl.com/mu5crzo

–Community development isn’t just about where low-income people live; it’s about how well they live. Zip code and health are intrinsically linked. In the first of a series of articles on this from the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, LISC’s Amy Gillman looks at how and why community development has become so critical to the question of better health in distressed areas, with everything from good housing and strong schools to local health centers, fresh food markets, and athletic programs helping sever the long-standing link between poor places and poor health. Read the full article http://tinyurl.com/pnubh7p

A report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee recognizes that keeping rural communities healthy is vital to the U.S. economy. The report provides an overview of rural populations, rural health statistics, barriers to healthcare in rural areas, economic implications of rural healthcare, and relevant policy actions to keep rural America healthy. Click herefor a free copy of the report.  http://tinyurl.com/q4sqyrq

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. The report expressed the concern that, “Multiple funding sources for community development projects may be leading to duplication of the federal New Markets Tax Credit.” The report also identified complexity of financial structures in NMTC projects as a challenge. Typically, communities combine multiple sources of funding in order to make these large projects financially feasible. The GAO report is available http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664717.pdf

–”Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland” is the title of a report prepared by TRIP, a national transportation research group. The report looks at the condition, use, and safety of the nation’s rural transportation system and discusses recommendations to improve connectivity in America’s small communities and rural areas to access jobs, education, and healthcare. Download a copy http://tinyurl.com/l2raoac

Data+Design: Free eBook for Evaluation Beginners.  More than 50 volunteers worked on Data+Design, a free ebook that explains visualizing and working with data to those with no specialized training. https://infoactive.co/data-design

Partnership Rubric.  This rubric from Rhode Island’s Partnerships for Success is designed to support institutional, organizational, and programmatic partnership development and assessment. It functions as a set of standards, a road map to developing a reciprocal partnership, and a self-assessment tool for existing partnerships. http://tinyurl.com/ktwjj3g  

Free Guide to Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums.  The Kettering Foundation has a new report on developing materials for deliberative forums. It’s a handbook for anyone interested in supporting deliberative conversations on difficult public issues. http://tinyurl.com/m47l6ex

August 2014- Volume XII, Number 6

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

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

Across the Field: Will return in September! 

We’ve been attending several conferences this summer and have a collection of great people and ideas to share with you once we catch our collective breath. In the meantime, mark your calendars now for the Community Development Society’s annual conference in late July 2016, hosted here in Minnesota (last time we hosted was in 2001), with a working theme on Community Change. Read about the most recent CDS conference at the CDS website.

FUNDING           

–The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering RSVP grants that support volunteers age 55 years and older in activities that serve community needs and respond to the National Performance Measures in the following focus areas: disaster; education; economic opportunity; environment; healthy futures; and veterans and military families. Deadline to apply: Letter of Intent 8/8/2014; application 9/9/2014. Click here to read the funding guidelines and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/kve8opg

–The Minnesota Judicial Branch is accepting applications for court technology funds. Deadline is August 11http://wp.me/p3if7-2JW

–HUD is offering Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grants to public housing authorities, local governments, tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations to support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans. Deadline: 8/12/2014. Click here for application guidelines. http://tinyurl.com/lvr47e2

–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 through August 15, 2014. Visit the Home Depot website here to submit an online application. http://tinyurl.com/6vrjyzo

–The Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC) program seeks applications for Access to Care grants. The grants provide up to $20,000 in matching funds for community-based initiatives that provide dental care and ultimately serve as a Dental Home to underserved/limited-access children. Letters of intent are due August 18. http://www.aapd.org/foundation/kids/

–HUD is offering grants to public housing agencies, tribes, tribal housing entities, resident associations, and nonprofits for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency-Service Coordinators Program.  Funding will support services and activities for public and Indian housing residents. Deadline: 8/18/2014. Click here for application materials.  http://tinyurl.com/lvr47e2

–The Department of Health and Human Services has announced the availability of grants for nonprofit and public agencies for funding to expand access to high-quality, comprehensive services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families through Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships, or through the expansion of Early Head Start services. Deadline: 8/20/2014. Click here to learn more about this program and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/lt5dw4a

–Application materials for the Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program (MN SLRP) are now available. The program provides funds for repayment of qualifying educational loans of up to $20,000 annually for full-time primary care providers and up to $10,000 annually for half-time primary care providers. For 2014, an estimated 5-10 loan repayment awards will be available. Applications due by August 20.

–USDA Rural Housing Service is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to enable very low- and low-income rural homeowners to repair and rehabilitate their homes. Deadline: 8/23/2014. Click here for more information and to apply.  http://tinyurl.com/73au54f

–The Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic Fund has issued a 2014 Request for Proposals seeking applications from safety net primary care providers for projects that improve access to and the quality of primary care clinical services for low-income people, communities of color, and the medically underserved. All eligible projects will be considered, but priority will be given to reproductive, dental and mental health care initiatives. Applications are due September 11. http://tinyurl.com/mdbj2v8

Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless Launches Greater MN Shelter Capacity Grant.  Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has funds available for 501 c 3 agencies in select Minnesota communities for the purpose of increasing their capacity to serve more homeless individuals or families. Those homeless due to domestic violence are also eligible.  This is a Special Project of Open Your Heart. Applying for or receiving grant through this project does not affect an agencies eligibility to apply for any other Open Your Heart Grants within the calendar year 2014.

DUE DATESeptember 15, 2014 for consideration at our October 20th Board Meeting.  Funds for successful applicants will be available no later than November 1, 2014. Grant funds must be expended by December 31, 2015.

MAXIMUM GRANT: $20,000.

Learn more on the Open Your Heart website http://tinyurl.com/mw65bcz

– The 2014 Minnesota Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program will award grants to emerging film, video, and digital makers in the disciplines of experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation. Deadline September 26, 2014.

The Explore Minnesota guidelines for 2015 grants are now available. The grant program is offered to assist communities and scenic byway organizations in attracting travelers to Minnesota. Information on the program and guidelines for grants are posted on the industry website at http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/ways-to-get-involved/grants/

The maximum grant amount is $8,000 and requires a match from the recipient. Organizations with total income of $100,000 or less qualify for a 1-to-1 match; those with total income over $100,000 are required to match at 2-to-1.  Very little was changed in the 2015 grant guidelines, however, prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review the guidelines as they consider projects that might be included in the grant application. Applications are due Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.

Minnesota non-profit tourism or scenic byway organizations who want further information on the grant program should contact their respective regional manager: Central or Northwest – Carol Altepeter, 888-629-6466, or David Bergman, 888-563-7777 Metro – Gayle Junnila, 800-657-3637; 651-757-1852 Northeast – Tim Campbell, 888-876-6784 Southern – Dave Vogel, 888-975-6766

–MPCA Environmental Loan Program. Consider applying if you’ve been thinking about a project in green chemistry, pollution prevention, source reduction, recycling, or source-separated composting. Eligible applicants for the EA Loan Program include Minnesota-based, small- to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Candidates that are contemplating smaller projects are particularly encouraged to apply this spring. Priority eligible applicants are Minnesota-based small to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Applications are being accepted until June 30, 2015. Visit the MPCA Environmental Assistance Loan Program for more information

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

MPCA Small Business Environmental Loan Program. To qualify, a borrower must:  be an existing small business corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or association and have less than 50 full-time employees, have an after-tax profit of less than $500,000 and a net worth of less than $1,000,000, demonstrate an ability to repay the loan. To receive an application, contact the MPCA’s Small Business Ombudsman, Mike Nelson at michael.nelson@state.mn.us or 651.757.2122.

–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. 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

– 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

Competitive Grant To Establish a USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research.  USDA ERS in partnership with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting proposals to establish the USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research. The USDA Center will apply behavioral economics to food choice behaviors, including consumer, food industry, and retailer behaviors, that are relevant to USDA policies, with special attention to the SNAP and WIC programs. http://tinyurl.com/pupeczx

TRAINING/MEETINGS

–On May 20, 2014, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law the new Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. This $20 million grant program will be used to fund the build out of infrastructure to promote the expansion of broadband service to areas of the state that are unserved or underserved.

The Office of Broadband Development at DEED is working to set up the grant program and application process. To ensure potential applicants have a preliminary understanding of the grant program and can start to make initial preparations, the office will make information available here as soon as practicable. Notification of significant updates will also be distributed by email; sign up at their Contact Us webpage. Currently, meetings will be held at the following locations to discuss the proposed application process and obtain feedback. At those meetings, we will work from the Border-to-Border Infrastructure Grant Program Overview slides.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014  1:30 to 3:00 p.m.  Wyoming Library  26855 Forest Boulevard  Wyoming, MN 55092

Tuesday, August 19, 2014  2:00 to 3:30 p.m.  University of Minnesota at Crookston  2900 University Avenue  Bede Ballroom A, B and C  Sargeant Student Center 2nd Floor  Crookston, MN 56716

Friday, August 22, 2014   1:30 to 3:00 p.m.  Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation   525 Florence Avenue   Owatonna, MN

Tuesday, August 26, 2014  Time and location TBD  Perham, MN

These meetings are open to anyone. Potential applicants are also reminded of some available resources. First, if you are working to identify broadband availability for your project, any inquiries you have regarding the data shown on the broadband map can be submitted to Connect Minnesota for clarification-just fill out the form at that website. County maps (make sure you enter the name of the county you are interested in reviewing) have also been posted showing unserved and underserved areas as defined by the grant program requirements and as reflected by the current data.  Finally, we encourage all potential applicants to subscribe to the Office of Broadband Development’s email list which will be used to distribute information on the grant process as it develops.

Earn a Certificate in Festival and Event Management Online  The University of Minnesota Tourism Center offers a comprehensive online course in festival and event management to help organizers run successful events.

– Grant Program and Outcome Evaluation Information Sessions.  The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is holding free information sessions about the ECRAC funding opportunities available for artists, arts organizations, schools, community organizations, and non-profit organizations. These sessions includes an overview of all Regional Arts Council grant programs followed by a question and answer period. The outcome evaluation session includes an overview by Dr. Pat Shifferd of the SMART model to be used in the ECRAC Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) grant proposals plus a question and answer period.  Individual appointments with either ECRAC staff or Dr. Shifferd are also being offered. http://tinyurl.com/l4n3kel

Sessions are being held:

  • ECRAC Grants – Wednesday, August 6, 2014: 10 – 11 a.m.
  •  ECRAC Grants – Thursday, September 11, 2014: 5 – 6 p.m.

Location: 

East Central Regional Arts Council

112 Main Avenue S.

Braham, MN  55006

 

Registration: The information sessions and individual appointments are free of charge, but advance registration is required. To register call the Regional Arts Council office at (320) 396-2337 or email info@ecrac.org.

 

–Farm Fest (Redwood County) will be held August 5-7thFor more information go to: http://www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest

 

– TheMinnesota Mentoring Conferenceis 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 Cloquet (September 22) and Maple Grove(October 20). 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://tinyurl.com/n2nbyv7

 

-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://tinyurl.com/mfbzlmf

 

 

OPPORTUNITIES

 

Community Vitality and Rural Healthcare Topic Guide - this new guide, developed by the Rural Assistance Center focuses on the linkage between rural healthcare and the economic strength and overall vitality of the community.

 

—-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.

 

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://tinyurl.com/nghqkhl

 

– 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.

 

–The Eide Bailly Resourcefullness Award provides recognition and support to 501(c)(3) organizations that have undertaken sustainable, creative and impactful revenue generation initiatives. In Minnesota, three prizes ranging from $2,000 – $10,000 will be awarded to nonprofits judged on sustainability, creativity, implementation and impact. Award applications are due by August 29, 2014.

Rural Health Fellows ProgramA year-long, intensive program designed to develop a community of rural health leaders. Application deadline: Aug. 31, 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kvfg9w7

 

Jim Meeks, PA-C, DFAAPA Memorial AFPPA Student ScholarshipOffers a scholarship to a physician assistant student who display a commitment to family practice and rural health. Application deadline: Sept. 1, 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kqktl68

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

–The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently published “America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs”. The study finds that significant erosion in renter incomes over the past decade has pushed the number of households paying excessive shares of income for housing to record levels. Download a free copy http://tinyurl.com/nvb2gmy

 

–The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released its annual “Advocates’ Guide to Housing and Community Development Policy” to educate advocates of all kinds about the programs and policies that make housing affordable to low-income people across America. Read the guide http://tinyurl.com/m84ynyf

 

–Right to the City’s Homes for All Campaign has released a report detailing a growing need for, but lack of affordability of, rental housing. The report explores the causes of the issue and lays out key solutions. Read it by clicking  http://tinyurl.com/nutg25y

 

–The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has released the “State of the Nation’s Housing 2014″. One of the key themes of the report is the ongoing crisis of affordability, as 40.9 million American households (35.3 percent), both homeowners and renters, spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. This number includes 19.8 million (17.1 percent) who spend over half of their income for housing. The site also includes an Interactive Housing Cost Burdens Map which allows users to see both homeowner and renter cost burdens around the country. Click here to download the report and view the map. http://tinyurl.com/nfxexuu

 

–HUD released “Continuity and Change: Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Housing Conditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives”. Written by the Urban Institute, the report is a comprehensive look at the state of housing and the overall economy on tribal lands. Download the report by clicking http://tinyurl.com/lngb6ot

 

Housing Resources for Consumers, Bankers The American Bankers Association  (ABA) has developed resources to help bankers promote consumer awareness about their housing options. The resources include tip sheets in English and Spanish and calculators to help educate consumers on housing options, such as renting versus buying, choosing a lender, saving for a down payment, and improving credit scores. http://tinyurl.com/ou5up6z

 

–In a Carsey Institute brief, “Proposed EITC Expansion Would Increase Eligibility and Dollars for Rural and Urban ‘Childless’ Workers”, authors Jessica Carson and Marybeth Mattingly use data from the 2013 Current Population Survey to examine how President Obama’s proposal to expand eligibility and raise credit values for the Earned Income Tax Credit among those without a qualifying child might affect tax filers in both rural and urban America. Download the brief http://tinyurl.com/psoglg8

 

–”Remembering Rural Philanthropy in an Urban-Focused Society” is the title of an article in Nonprofit Quarterly by Rick Cohen that describes a lack of rural focused funding, highlighting a pattern over the years of rural philanthropy being considered an afterthought.  The article calls for a change in perspective by current philanthropic leadership. Read the article http://tinyurl.com/ok2c9rc

 

–”How Artists Can Revive Rural Manufacturing” is the title of a podcast featuring Janet Kagan of Art-Force, a non-profit organization that brings innovation to small communities by putting artists and designers at the center of rural industrial renewal. Art-Force’s mission is to “stimulate and diversify economic development in distressed communities”. They ally artists, designers, and creative thinkers with entrepreneurs, small businesses, educational institutions, and local agencies to reaffirm connections to place through cross-currents of artistic design and production. Click here to listen to the podcast. http://tinyurl.com/okwebod

 

–USDA announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. It also unveiled www.usda.gov/newfarmers, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed. Click here to visit the website. http://tinyurl.com/mrhn46f

 

–The National Endowment for the Arts’ “Our Town” creative placemaking initiatives have grown and expanded. The Endowment has decided to invest in an e-storybook of case studies that will be launched this fall on arts.gov called “Exploring Our Town”. It will have 70 case studies, including pictures and videos, and analysis of what has been occurring in the projects, with links to key technical assistance resources. The site will launch in September 2014, but there are some organizations hosting some of the content now. Check out one of these project profiles from Exploring Our Town, at LISC’s Institute for Comprehensive Community Development http://tinyurl.com/ojgqzbo

 

–The Nemours Foundation has published a brief on childhood obesity in rural communities including common themes and lessons learned, and the role of early care, education, and out-of-school time in obesity prevention. The document also provides examples of community initiatives and recommendations to policymakers for preventing obesity. Click here to download a copy. http://tinyurl.com/oej77te

 

–Vital Communities Toolkit.  From the Vital Aging Network, this toolkit helps build the capacity of individuals to create vital communities in which people of all generations work together to find the right balance between meeting individual needs and achieving the common good. http://tinyurl.com/maofshm

 

–Google Educator Groups   This new free resource from Google is a platform for educators to collaborate with one another, pick up creative ideas from one another, and help each other best meet the needs of their students with Google solutions, through GEG activities taking place both online and offline. http://tinyurl.com/kofe87z

 

AARP Fraud Watch Network AARP offers this Web site that provides alerts on the latest frauds and scams affecting adults 50 and over. The site also contains an interactive map for consumer stories and communication from attorneys general about fraud.

 

AARP & SBA Webinars AARP and the U.S. Small Business Administration host new webinars and publish previous webinars to educate people who want to start businesses or expand existing ones.

 

Consumer Action HandbookUSA.gov offers this publication containing information on consumer rights and filing complaints. USA.gov also offers social media profiles and videos highlighting stories of how the handbook has helped consumers.

 

Road to Financial Responsibility The ABA partnered with CFED to create a resource available in English and Spanish giving pointers that help parents instill financial capability at every stage in a child’s life.

 

Financial Literacy Resource Directory The OCC’s Financial Literacy Resource Directory provides information on financial literacy resources, issues and events that are important to bankers, organizations, and consumers of all ages. The Web directory includes descriptions of, and contact information for, government programs on financial literacy education and capability, a sampling of organizations that have undertaken financial literacy initiatives as a primary mission, fact sheets, newsletters, conference materials, publications, and links to Web sites.

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

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

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

Across the Field: Summer conference season heats up!

by Jane Leonard & an assortment of contributors

In Minnesota, we know summer by road construction and road warriors on their way to various conferences here in the Upper Midwest.  I just returned from last week’s head-turning Symposium on Small Towns at the University of Minnesota-Morris, busting the myths and looking at the realities of rural migration trends and patterns. In short, rural areas and small towns are generally gaining population and experiencing Brain Gain, not Brain Drain.  Check out the full story at www.ruralmigration.org .

And this week some of our colleagues were in Kansas attending the 2014 Rural Grocery Summit at Kansas State University in Manhattan. It’s a chance for grocery owners and managers, and others interested in rural food access issues, to learn about this important field of study. There is actually a community of scholars, small business owners, grocery managers, planners and small town activists who study the importance of rural groceries, and what the best practices are to keep them thriving and serving their communities with fresh and healthy food.

The summit responded to the challenges facing rural grocery stores by offering the latest and best ideas for rural grocery operations. The event focused on the “triple bottom line” of rural grocery store benefits – nutritional health, economic development, and community sustainability and features the launch of the rural grocer “toolkit.”  Check out http://www.ruralgrocery.org 

Next month, from July 20-23, just down river from Minnesota, the lovely city of Dubuque, Iowa, hosts the 45th annual international conference of the Community Development Society at the Grand River Center  http://www.comm-dev.org .

Early bird registration ends June 20; the conference is the annual gathering of CDS members like me and other colleagues from around the world who believe in and practice community development as a multi-disciplinary field

This year’s meeting features sessions devoted to communities and regions that are on the path to creating their own unique Renaissance. Dubuque’s downtown and waterfront will provide an ideal setting to share and learn innovative strategies in economic development, health, education, local facilities/services, transportation, planning, natural resources management, and more.   It’s also an amazing opportunity to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and network with community development professionals.

Finally, if you are not on conference overload, or even if you are, save time for the upcoming rural design & design thinking conference at the University of Minnesota-Crookston, July 30 & 31. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/rsdp/northwest/rural-design-conference/index.html

Thriving by Design II: Achieving Rural – Urban Economic and Community Health gathers people from diverse disciplines to experience design and design thinking as an essential creative catalyst and problem-solving approach for planning and development across the rural-urban continuum. It will emphasize connections, interactions, and inter-dependencies between rural and urban people and places. And it’s a bargain at the early bird rate of $60, with lodging in new on-campus residence halls for as low as $59/night.

Community leaders, elected officials, and planners, especially those from rural and small urban areas, designers, and anyone interested in learning about the use of design and design thinking as a problem-solving opportunity should attend. You’ll gain experience in visualizing and using design to achieve, sustain, and strengthen community vitality across our region. In doing so, you will help create, select, and frame ideas and goals that can inform Minnesota’s community development.

So get on the road with the rest of us this summer and learn something or share something. See Minnesota and the Midwest at its finest!

FUNDING                 

–USDA is offering funding for the Farmers Market & Local Food Promotion Program. The program offers competitive grants to promote local food and farmers markets. Deadline: 6/20/2014. Click here: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/fmpp for an application for farmers markets and here http://tinyurl.com/lxka5gq  for an application for local food promotion.

The Department of Justice is offering funds to nonprofit and public agencies to advance the practice of community policing in law enforcement agencies through training and technical assistance, the development of innovative community policing strategies, applied research, guidebooks, and best practices that are national in scope. Deadline: 6/23/2014. Click http://tinyurl.com/o6fm32q for funding guidelines.

–The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has opened the fiscal year (FY) 2014 application period for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. The NOGA makes up to $750 million in bond guarantee authority available to eligible CDFIs in FY 2014. Deadlines: qualified issuer applications must be submitted through www.myCDFIFund by 11:59 p.m. EDT on 6/23/2014; guarantee applications must be submitted through www.myCDFIFund  by 11:59 p.m. EDT on 6/30/2014. Application materials are available on the CDFI Fund’s website http://tinyurl.com/3uvefxe

–USDA is offering grants to cooperatives, CDCs, and other organizations devoted to helping rural producers to provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. Deadline: 6/24/2014. Click here for application guidelines.  

–HUD is offering grants to cities and other public agencies for rehabilitation of housing to remove or remediate lead-based paint hazards in privately owned housing owned or occupied by low-income families with young children. Deadline: 6/27/2014. Click  here for application guidelines.

–USDA has announced funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program for organizations that loan to small rural businesses. Deadline: 6/30/2014. Read the notice of funding availability here.

–  Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge  Win a matching grant for your neighborhood–up to $2,000–with the Center for a New American Dream’s 2014 Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge. Apply by June 30, 2014.

The Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program (SSDPG) at USDA will make $3 million available nationwide to provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers through eligible cooperatives and cooperative development centers. Awardees will be able to conduct market research, product and/or service improvement, feasibility studies, training, and implement business plans. Applications are being accepted through June 30, 2014.  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html 

–The Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG) at USDA will make up to $5.8 million available nationwide to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, which in turn, provide technical assistance to individuals and entities improving the economic condition of rural areas by supporting start-up, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Cooperatives have often been the mechanism used by small and midsized producers to work together to access new markets or market value-added products. Applications accepted through June 30, 2014. http://tinyurl.com/7mypqwl 

Partners for Places builds partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. Partnership investments are between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects or $50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects with a 1:1 match. Apply by July 3. Read more.

–USDA has announced funding for the Rural Energy for America Program which offers grants and loan guarantees for rural renewable energy projects. Deadline: 7/7/2014. Click here for program guidelines and a grant application.

–USDA is offering grants to provide increased access to technology to foster education, training and health care resources for people living in rural areas of America. Deadline:  7/7/2014. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The National Science Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits, public agencies, and others for STEM Learning Projects. Deadline: 7/10/2014. Grants will be offered to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments.  They will also provide multiple pathways for broadening access to STEM learning experiences, and provide other activities. Click here for guidelines and an application: http://tinyurl.com/kzwofvg 

– 2014 MPCA Environmental Assistance Grant Round.  Applications are now being accepted for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Environmental Assistance (EA) Grant Program.  Approximately $1 million is available for 2014 EA grant awards. Financial assistance is targeted towards nine (9) focus areas addressing pollution prevention, solid waste management, climate change adaptation, and resource conservation, among others. Eligible applicants, grant award amounts and minimum matching fund requirements will vary by Focus Areas and Preferred Proposals.

The deadlines for submitting grant proposals is July 16, 2014, for Focus Areas B-I and August 13, 2014, for Focus Area A (Volatile Organic Chemicals, or VOCs). All proposals are due by 2 p.m. on those dates.  The EA Grant Program RFP and application materials, as well as further information on the EA Grant Program, are available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/ktqh28 

– Community Economic Development (CED) Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects awards funding to Community Development Corporations for projects designed to address food deserts and improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in a rural community. Application deadline: July 21, 2014

–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service is offering funding for projects aimed at business development opportunities and creating employment for low-income individuals located in geographic areas with a demonstrated need. Deadline: 7/21/2014. Click here for an application package.

–National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is offering grants for nonprofit coalitions to improve community health through strategic partnerships. Deadline to apply: 7/22/2014. Grants are offered to healthcare organizations and government units to maintain a functioning multi-sectored community coalition. Click here to learn more and to apply.

–The USDA has announced a $150 million investment in a new Rural Business Investment Company. Advantage Capital Partners will be responsible for managing the new fund and eight Farm Credit Institutions will invest the $150 million: AgStar Financial Services (Mankato); AgriBank (St. Paul); Capital Farm Credit (Bryan, TX); CoBank (Denver, CO); Farm Credit Bank of Texas (Austin, TX); Farm Credit Services of America (Omaha, NE); Farm Credit Mid-America (Louisville, KY); and United Farm Credit Service (Willmar). Applicants have until July 29th to submit applications for FY 2014. Applications submitted after that time will be considered for subsequent years. Funding is intended to be available until FY2016. For more information, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/kwfwuwy 

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 through August 15, 2014. Visit the Home Depot website hereto submit an online application. http://tinyurl.com/6vrjyzo 

–The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is offering grants to support community-based initiatives that provide dental care to underserved children. Deadline: 8/18/2014. Click here for program guidelines.  

– The Jerome Foundation’s 2014 Minnesota Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program will award grants to emerging film, video, and digital makers in the disciplines of experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation. Deadline September 26, 2014.

MPCA Environmental Loan Program. Consider applying if you’ve been thinking about a project in green chemistry, pollution prevention, source reduction, recycling, or source-separated composting. Eligible applicants for the EA Loan Program include Minnesota-based, small- to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Candidates that are contemplating smaller projects are particularly encouraged to apply this spring. Since the amount that is available fluctuates, it is recommended to contact the program with questions on fund availability.

Eligible loan costs are limited to the capital costs of implementing waste or pollution prevention technologies in Minnesota. Capital costs are limited to the costs of acquisition of machinery and equipment, including freight and installation, and related improvements.

The EA loan program is offering participatory and direct loans. Participatory loans provide up to $100,000 at zero percent interest. Participatory loan funds must be matched by a minimum dollar-for-dollar match by loans from a participating financial institution. Direct loans are limited to businesses/entities and provide for awards up to a maximum loan of $50,000 at four percent interest or one half the prime rate, whichever is greater. Direct loans must be matched by a minimum of one dollar for every two dollars received of funds from the applicant. Start-up businesses are not eligible for direct loans.

Priority eligible applicants are Minnesota-based small to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Applications are being accepted until June 30, 2015. Visit the MPCA Environmental Assistance Loan Program for more information.

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

– MPCA Small Business Environmental Loan Program. To qualify, a borrower must:  be an existing small business corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or association and have less than 50 full-time employees, have an after-tax profit of less than $500,000 and a net worth of less than $1,000,000, demonstrate an ability to repay the loan

The types of projects that qualify need to involve pre-approved capital equipment purchases that meet or exceed environmental rules and regulations, or pre-approved site investigations and cleanups. Please note – projects that were begun or completed prior to receiving approval from the MPCA through the application process are not eligible. Loans are awarded on a competitive basis throughout the year and are based on available funds and number of applications received. It typically takes a minimum of 45 days to complete the process once a loan is awarded.

For Auxiliary Power Units (APUs), diesel truck engines need to be older than 2007.  The EPA maintains a list of verified idle reduction technologies, including APUs. These can be found on EPA’s Verified Idling Reduction Technologies page.

The general terms are as follows:

  • a loan amount not less than $1,000 or more than $50,000
  • an interest rate of four percent or one-half the prime rate, whichever is greater at the time the loan is awarded,
  • a repayment term of not more than seven years for environmental improvements, collateral is required.

In addition, once the project is completed, borrowers are asked to complete an evaluation of the project’s realized environmental and economic benefits. The MPCA uses this information as ongoing feedback to evaluate and enhance the program.

To receive an application, contact the MPCA’s Small Business Ombudsman, Mike Nelson at michael.nelson@state.mn.us  or 651.757.2122.

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.

– 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.

–Competitive Grant To Establish a USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research.  USDA ERS in partnership with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting proposals to establish the USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research. The USDA Center will apply behavioral economics to food choice behaviors, including consumer, food industry, and retailer behaviors that are relevant to USDA policies, with special attention to the SNAP and WIC programs. http://tinyurl.com/pupeczx 

TRAINING/MEETINGS

–Meet the Broadband Policymakers. The Humphrey Institute and Blandin Foundation are hosting a TISP Broadband Roundtable on June 17 in Minneapolis. The inclusive Roundtable brings together main leaders in the broadband policy debate. Join to learn from this past year as well as next steps in implementation of the Broadband grant program. Much remains to be done;this Roundtable discussion will help clarify where we are going. http://wp.me/p3if7-2Ic 

–The Association of Public and Land Grant Universities is hosting a series of free webinars. The next two offerings are: Convening the Conveners: Working with Economic Development Organizations, Thursday, June 19; and Civic and Social Engagement: Why Community Development Partnerships Matter, Thursday, September 18. MORE

Principles and Practices: Key Changes. The Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence provides guidelines that set a foundation of excellence for Minnesota nonprofits. Over the past 12 months, Minnesota Council on Nonprofits staff worked in partnership with 40 nonprofit leaders from across the state to review and revise this important document.

Join this free webinar on Thursday, June 19 from 10-11a.m. to hear about key changes made to the Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence as a result of this review process, including the addition of new principles on Volunteer Management and Leadership and Organizational Culture. Staff will also highlight MCN’s plan to redevelop the Principles and Practices’ presence online, including a significant build out of tools and templates to help nonprofits manageably accomplish the practices for their organization. Learn more and RSVP here.

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

– A Rural Design Conference event, titled “Thriving by Design II,” will bring together people from diverse disciplines to experience design and design thinking as essential to catalyze planning and development for rural economic prosperity. Emphasizing the connections, interactions, and interdependencies between rural and urban people and places will be held at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) on Wednesday-Thursday, July 30- 31.

Community leaders, elected officials, and planners, especially those from rural and small urban areas, designers, and anyone interested in learning about the use of design and  design thinking as a problem-solving opportunity should plan to attend.  Conference organizers include the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, a part of UMN Extension; the UMN Center for Rural Design; University of Minnesota Crookston; and the EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  For more information on this conference, visit the event website. Also included in this design thinking conference is the breakout on “Extension Reconsidered.”

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/n49ywdg 

– 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  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://tinyurl.com/n2nbyv7 

-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://tinyurl.com/mfbzlmf 

OPPORTUNITIES

–CURA Kris Nelson Community Based Research Program.  The Kris Nelson Community Based Research Program builds partnerships between community-based organizations and suburban government agencies and local colleges and universities. The research needs of organizations are matched with students to carry out community-defined and guided projects. Applications are due June 30th. Projects will run from August 25, 2014, to January 7, 2015. http://www.cura.umn.edu/Nelson-Program 

The application process for the 2014 Tekne Awards is now open! Innovative companies, organizations, non-profits and government agencies doing work within Minnesota are encouraged to apply.  Applying for a Tekne can bring extensive visibility to an organization and provide great opportunities to celebrate and showcase products and innovations within the Minnesota science and technology community. There is no fee to apply.  Applications will be open until July 11th. APPLY NOW

The Minnesota Tekne Awards honor the individuals and organizations that play a significant role in discovering new technologies that educate and improve the lives of Minnesotans and people around the world. Now in its 15th year, the Teknes have honored hundreds of companies and leaders who continue to make Minnesota a home to cutting-edge innovation.  Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges with experience and expertise in each of the categories.  Contact Erika MacCallum (emaccallum@mhta.org or 952-230-4553) with any questions.

Recognize innovative clients, partners and customers – Nominate them for a Tekne. The Minnesota High Tech Association announced it has opened the entry period for the 2014 Tekne Awards earlier this month, and is now looking for your help. MHTA is asking the science and technology community to recognize the innovative partners, clients and vendors they work with by nominating them for a Tekne Award. READ MORE

Learn about the Tekne Award application process at Tekne 101. Thinking about applying for a Tekne Award, but have questions on how to best complete the application? Wondering what category fits your initiative best or exactly what the selection committee looking for? Just want to run your thoughts by someone before you begin? This is your opportunity to do just that. LEARN MORE

Festival of Farms™ on July 12th, 2014 is an opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture, network within the community, and have fun at various farms across the state. The Festival is a project of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA); individual SFA chapters are arranging activities unique to their regions, including farm tours.  For detailed information on Festival of Farms tours and other events scheduled around Minnesota, visit http://www.sfa-mn.org/festival-of-farms/ 

–The American Hospital Association (AHA) is accepting applications for the Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award. The award provides an educational stipend to a small or rural hospital administrator or chief executive officer to attend an AHA Annual Meeting or Health Forum Leadership Conference. Applications due July 25. http://tinyurl.com/llv8mah

—-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. Click here for more info.

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://tinyurl.com/nghqkhl

–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 Scholarshipshttp://tinyurl.com/lncqx3d

Rural Health Fellows Program. A year-long, intensive program designed to develop a community of rural health leaders. Application deadline: Aug. 31, 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kvfg9w7

Jim Meeks, PA-C, DFAAPA Memorial AFPPA Student Scholarship. Offers a scholarship to a physician assistant student who display a commitment to family practice and rural health. Application deadline: Sept. 1, 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kqktl68

MISCELLANEOUS

Four Counties offer free GIS data.   Ramsey County in February became the first metro county to adopt a policy making all its public data from geographic information systems (GIS) technology available to the public free of charge. The technology enables data from public records to be layered like a giant cake and precisely analyzed in hundreds of combinations to reveal new insights. Ramsey County’s lead was followed by Hennepin, Dakota and Carver counties. Similar measures are under consideration in Anoka and Scott counties. Ramsey County made the decision to improve public service and meet public demand. http://tinyurl.com/m5f4nuv 

Who lives in your city?  With support from the Bush Foundation, Minnesota Compass has expanded its geographic profiles to include snapshots for all cities of 1000+. Find the median income, job outlook, commute time, and much more. Check them out now.

– Creative Class County Codes  The USDA ERS creative class codes indicate a county’s share of population employed in occupations that require “thinking creatively.” This update to the creative class codes is based on a special tabulation from the American  Community Survey and represent averages over 2007-11.

2013 NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties. Updates the 2006 NCHS urban-rural county classification. Uses the classification to analyze selected National Vital Statistics System and National Health Interview Survey data, to show the utility of this classification method in identifying rural-urban differences. http://tinyurl.com/lvt577u 

Long-Term Trends in Rural Depopulation and Their Implications for Community Banks.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently published an article exploring the trends in rural depopulation in the United States and the implications of these trends for rural community banks. Read the full article here.

–The Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released a new issue of Community Dividend that features articles on arts and communities, CDFIs (community development financial institutions), and rural development. To read the issue visit:  http://tinyurl.com/kt4f52n 

–Agbioscience strategy implementation update.  AURI staff are working with others across the state on the implementation of the Minnesota Agbioscience Strategy, a report completed by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, which finds that Minnesota has tremendous growth opportunity in the area of agbioscience. Along with several meetings that are happening about the recommended strategy, AURI staff presented at the 10th Annual Regional Bioscience Conference. http://tinyurl.com/mtejrkv 

–Housing Assistance Council has published a report on rural veterans’ housing. “From Service to Shelter: Housing Veterans in Rural America”, funded by the Home Depot Foundation, covers the challenges of housing rural veterans, and summarizes available housing resources. Click hereto download the report. http://tinyurl.com/lfrwwr8 

–The National Housing Conference – Center for Housing Policy has published a report called “Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities”. The study identifies ways successful programs in rural places offer transportation to medical services, shopping and social activities, or bring various services to the homes of older adults who are unable to travel while keeping them in their homes as they age. Download a copy here.   http://tinyurl.com/ldlj3vm

–The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report called “Native American Housing: Additional Actions Needed to Better Support Tribal Efforts”. The report discusses the housing challenges faced by tribal entities and suggests actions that could address those challenges. To read the report, click http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662063.pdf

 Supportive Housing Outcomes in Minnesota.  A Wilder Research study of supportive housing in Minnesota, including time-limited transitional housing and permanent supportive housing. The study looked at the characteristics of the programs and the populations they serve, outcomes achieved by participants over time, and the program models that appear to work best for participants.

–The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Ninth District Insight: A Front-line Perspective on the Economic Health of Low- to Moderate-Income Communities presents findings from a semiannual survey of community development and service organizations that is designed to provide insight on key indicators related to the economic health of low- to moderate-income communities. State-level data are available for states in the ninth district, including Minnesota and North Dakota.

–A new CFED study reveals challenges facing microbusiness owners. “In Search of Solid Ground: Understanding the Financial Vulnerabilities of Microbusiness Owners” sheds light on the many factors that contribute to or detract from microbusiness owners’ financial capability-a combination of knowledge, behaviors, and access and use of safe, appropriate financial products and services. Download the study http://tinyurl.com/ksumpy4

–Stratis Health has released new Health Information Technology toolkits for local public health, social service, home health and behavioral health settings to help providers select, implement and use electronic health record systems (EHRs) and other health information technology solutions. http://tinyurl.com/jwbpbze

–A video and accompanying discussion guide, “The value transformation of rural health care,” is available from Rural Health Value, a collaboration between the Office of Rural Health Policy, the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, and Stratis Health. The 10-minute video describes the shift to value-based purchasing of health care, and is intended in part to stimulate discussion among key stakeholders, clinicians and staff. http://tinyurl.com/la3w86z

Extent of Telehealth Use in Rural and Urban Hospitals. Provides discussion with statistics on the use of telehealth in rural hospitals and the opportunities telehealth can bring to supporting health care in rural communities. http://www.raconline.org/

2013 Healthy Minnesota Partnership Annual Report.  Healthy Minnesota 2020 is a framework for creating and improving health throughout the state of Minnesota, based on the statewide health assessment, The Health of Minnesota, and adopted by the Healthy Minnesota Partnership on July 30, 2012.

The framework features three themes that reflect the importance of social and economic determinants for health.

  • Capitalize on the opportunity to influence health in early childhood
  • Assure that the opportunity for health is available everywhere and for everyone
  • Strengthen communities to create their own healthy futures.

The framework also identifies nine core indicators to monitor and provides examples of a range of strategies that relate to each of the three themes.  Each year the Healthy Minnesota Partnership compiles an annual report reflecting the progress made on the Healthy Minnesota 2020 Framework.  The 2013 Annual Report can be found online: http://www.health.state.mn.us/healthymnpartnership/publications.html 

It includes an update on the progress towards changing the conversation about health, new narrative frames developed by the Partnership’s Narrative Strategy Team, updated Healthy Minnesota Indicators, and 2013-14 plans for the Partnership.

Affordable Care Act and Insurance Coverage in Rural Areas. Examines differences in urban and rural populations and health insurance coverage patterns and assesses how ACA coverage reforms will affect rural and metropolitan areas in different ways.

Guide to Understanding the Variation in Premiums in Rural Health Insurance Marketplaces.  Discusses several factors to consider when comparing health insurance plans in the health insurance exchange marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act across geographic areas.

–Survey helps tech companies benchmark employee benefits. One of the key emerging questions of the health care reform era is how are companies evolving their benefit plans. The annual Health Benefits Benchmarking survey is designed for mid-market employers and offers comparison of their unique plans to other companies in their geographic area and size.  READ MORE

Rural veterans at a glance developed by the USDA Economic Research Service.

 University of Minnesota Tourism Center Posters Available.  Eight new informational posters are available for download on the University of Minnesota Tourism Center website.

Rural MN broadband access is 57%; Statewide access is 75% – Connect Minnesota unveils results from their latest survey. They found that 74.93% of Minnesota households can access fixed broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload; however, only 57.07% of rural households can access these broadband speeds. http://wp.me/p3if7-2I8

–Conquering the Challenges of Broadband Adoption reports that rural Americans are more than 13 times more likely to lack access to fixed broadband than Americans in non-rural areas. Authors report that the Internet is increasingly important in the distribution of high-quality healthcare. The Internet can allow patients to interface directly with healthcare professionals a great distance away, but this requires a robust broadband connection.http://tinyurl.com/n7jrkv3

– Last month Blandin Foundation hosted a webinar on Making 700 MHz Wireless Work in Rural Minnesota with Kevin Larson. The archive is available online.http://wp.me/p3if7-2EM

–Connect Minnesota recently offered a webinar on Federal broadband policy updates. And archive is available. http://wp.me/p3if7-2FR 

–Video of May 6th Spring Conference Sessions available now! Did you miss a session at Minnesota High Tech Association’s annual Spring Conference in May or want to re-watch your favorite session? Thanks to a partnership with Implex, all educational sessions from MHTA’s annual Spring Conference held at the Minneapolis Convention Center are available online now. Don’t miss next year’s event -mark your calendar now for Weds, May 6, 2015. VIEW SESSIONS HERE

Federal Grant Writing Manual, developed to help grant applicants write federal grant proposals. Includes basic information on how to evaluate if an applicant is qualified to apply for a federal grant. Manual also focuses on the different components of a grant application: goals and objectives, budget, work plan, project sustainability and how to evaluate the proposed project.http://www.raconline.org/

–PowerCheck: A Tool for Assessing Community Organizing Capacity. The Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy is out with an advocacy tool designed to help organizations assess their capacity to accomplish community organizing goals. It consists of assessment of 24 core indicators that include pre-organizing goals, power analysis, and planning; empowerment or constituent leadership; organizing for change; community consensus building; and organizational operations and infrastructure. http://tinyurl.com/jvpe2zl

Third National Climate Assessment Report Released 

The following is adapted from the May 9th, 2014 edition of EPA Climate Change and Water News, a bi-weekly e-newsletter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water.  For more information or to subscribe, see http://water.epa.gov/scitech/climatechange/ 

On May 6th, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third National Climate Assessment. The report summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.  A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Third National Climate Assessment describes the impacts of climate change across ten geographic regions of the United States, and in economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, and health.  The descriptions translate scientific insights into practical information that can help decision-makers and citizens anticipate and prepare for climate-change impacts.

The report is available for download and can be explored in an interactive format through the new U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program website – http://globalchange.gov .  An important feature of this interactivity is the traceability of the data and other information in the report, giving users the means to refer back to this data for analysis and decision support.

To view the National Climate Assessment as a full report, highlights, or an overview, visit: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov

For links to key resources such as the adaptation chapter of the report and federal adaptation resources, visit: http://globalchange.gov/explore/adaptation .

For a calendar of events surrounding the National Climate Assessment, visit the NCAnet Partners Calendar: http://ncanet.usgcrp.gov/partners/calendar .

WORK OPPORTUNITIES

– Explore Minnesota Tourism Marketing Manager Position Is Open. Explore Minnesota Tourism has an opening for a tourism marketing manager to direct travel trade programs. http://tinyurl.com/kvgxkml

Red Wing VCB Seeks Executive Director. The Red Wing Visitor & Convention Bureau is looking for an executive director. http://tinyurl.com/krj32qy

– Visit Bemidji Seeking Executive Director. The full-time executive director position at Visit Bemidji is responsible for planning, directing and managing marketing and sales efforts to generate overnight visits to Bemidji from leisure and group tour travel, including meeting and convention business. http://tinyurl.com/mznkhp5 

Visit Mankato CVB Seeking Brand Manager. Visit Mankato CVB is seeking an experienced professional to plan, drive and grow the performance of Mankato’s tourism brand. http://tinyurl.com/kluw2k5 

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

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 701 other followers