JULY-AUGUST 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 7
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also find online at: https://wp.me/pkVGJ-8a

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

ACROSS THE FIELD:

ACROSS THE FIELD: Strengthening towns and regions through our shared humanity

In every MRP Rural Round-up we feature important funding opportunities across sectors and issues for rural areas and small towns. We are taking the extra step this month to spotlight one of the smaller philanthropic organizations in Minnesota that help communities gain strength thru support of cooperation and intercultural understanding. Our mailbox this month included an announcement of two such grant application openings from the Laura Jane Musser Fund, which was established by the estate of Laura Jane Musser of Little Falls, Minnesota, to continue the personal philanthropy which she practiced in her lifetime.

Thank you Laura Jane Musser Fund for your generosity and far-sightedness.

  • Through the Rural Initiative, the Laura Jane Musser Fund encourages collaborative and participatory efforts among residents in rural communities that will help to strengthen their towns and regions. The applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or fewer. Program planning grants up to $5,000 and program implementation grants up to $25,000 will be considered. Applications will be accepted online through the Fund’s website from September 4 – October 3, 2018.
  • Through the Intercultural Harmony Initiative, the Laura Jane Musser Fund supports projects that promote mutual understanding and cooperation between groups of community members of different cultural backgrounds. Project planning grants up to $5,000 or implementation grants up to $25,000 will be considered. New programs or projects in their first three years are eligible. Applications will be accepted online through the Fund’s website from September 17 – October 17, 2018.

The complete guidelines are available at http://www.musserfund.org.

 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

— The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced a new grant program to fund the construction of 50 KW fast charging stations for electric vehicles. The grants are for 80% of the cost of a project up to $70,000. Entities such as hotels, restaurants, resorts, and convention and visitor bureaus are eligible, as are local units of government. The application deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 2:30 p.m.  For more information go to: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/ev-fast-charging-station-grants

Firehouse Subs First Responder Grants  for life-saving equipment and prevention education tools for first responders and public safety organizations. The Foundation recognizes the needs of rural and volunteer departments throughout the country and will consider their applications despite not being within 60 miles of a Firehouse Subs restaurant. Application deadline is August 30.

–The MPCA released the second Request for Proposal (RFP) for electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations using Volkswagen settlement funds. The purpose of the grant is to reduce air pollution by expanding access to EV charging across the state. The RFP makes available $158,625 to install Level 2 charging stations in Minnesota. These are charging stations used at businesses, public buildings, and multiple-unit dwellings. (A separate RFP for EV fast-charging stations along highway corridors was released earlier this month.)  This amount would fund about 45 Level 2 stations.

Visit the EV Charging Station Grant webpage to learn more about this grant opportunity and download the application forms. All questions should be submitted to grants.pca@state.mn.us using “EV Level 2 charging” in the subject line. Answers to questions will be posted in the Questions and Answers tab on the webpage.

Additional grants for EV and diesel vehicle replacement projects using VW settlement funds will be forthcoming over the next year. To learn more about Minnesota’s plan for VW settlement funds, visit our website and sign up for VW settlement-related emails.Grant proposal submissions are due September 5, 2018.

Foundation for Rural Service Grant Program  Grants for rural communities in the areas of business development, community development, education, and telecommunications, with a priority for broadband enabled, technology focused projects. Application Deadline: September 15, 2018.

AARP Foundation has issued the following Requests for Applications (RFAs): The Increasing Social Connectedness for Older Adults RFA will support nonprofit organizations with innovative solutions to bring to scale proven approaches that increase social support and connectedness among low-income older adults. The Tackling Senior Food Insecurity RFA will support nonprofit organizations with innovative solutions to bring to scale proven approaches that increase food security for low-income older adults. The application deadline for both is 9/28/2018. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about each grant opportunity.

–USDA seeks applicants for Rural Broadband Access Loans https://wp.me/p3if7-4xT  Deadline is September 30th.

2019 Tourism Marketing Grant Guidelines The new 2019 Tourism Marketing Grant Guidelines & Request for Funding forms are available on the Explore Minnesota industry site under “Ways to Get Involved.”  Due October 1, 2018.

Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program tis o support community-based child health projects that improve the health status of mothers, infants, children, and adolescents in rural and other underserved communities by increasing their access to health services. Application deadline is October 1.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project  Farmers enroll for a chance to direct $2,500 to local nonprofit organizations that are important to them and their communities. Geographic coverage: Available in selected counties in 41 states. Application deadline is November 1.

Annie’s Grants for Gardens are to develop edible garden projects that help connect kids to nutritious food. Application deadline is November 1.

BNSF Railway Foundation Grants  to organizations that operate near a BNSF railway line. Priority areas include health and human service organizations, programs that address chemical dependency treatment and prevention, spouse and child abuse, women’s and children’s aid, transitional shelters, hospitals, medical programs, and youth development programs.

— The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) plans to award up to 75 grants to rural communities as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning (RCORP)initiative in FY 18. Successful awardees will receive up to $200,000 for one–year to develop plans to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations. The initiative will focus on the 220 counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being at risk, as well as other high risk rural communities. The lead applicant must be part of a group including at least three other partners that have committed to forming a consortium or are part of an established consortium. All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for–profit, will be eligible to apply and all services must be provided in rural communities. For more information please contact: Allison Hutchings.

–Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) created the Community Facilities Fund to provide capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC utilizes this fund to provide permanent and construction-to- permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. Deadline: ongoing. Click here for more information.

SEARCH – Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households provides funding to financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects.

Capital Funding for Rural Healthcare This guide has received its annual update. In addition to providing an overview of what capital funding is and how it can be useful for a rural organization, it also includes a number of grant and loan programs that support capital projects, discusses rules and eligibility for common funding programs, and touches on strategies for fundraising and finding funding opportunities.

— USDA’s Direct Home Loan Program offers financing to qualified very-low and low-income applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required, and the interest rate could be as low as one percent with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines and demonstrate repayment ability. The program is available in rural communities of 20,000 people or less. The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 at a one percent interest rate, repayable for a 20-year term and can be used to improve or modernize homes and do essential repairs. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace. Time is limited to receive these funds. Qualified applicants have until the end of September 2018 to apply. Contact a USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist in your area today, to see if you qualify.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

2019 Affordable Housing Plan Webinar will be Tuesday, August 28 from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

–The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is hosting a series of two online webinars on Disaster Preparation and Recovery. The webinars will cover why disasters are important for housing counseling; the potential effects of disasters on communities, agencies and counselors; and the six areas in which housing counseling has played a key role in disaster recovery to help participants gain a broad understanding of the agency disaster preparation and recovery role, including pre-disaster agency planning, identifying and collaborating with key stakeholders, and recognizing opportunities for disaster recovery housing counseling services. The webinars will take place on September 11 and September 13, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM EDT. Learn more about the webinars and register here.

September 17-18: 2018 Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit  The 2018 Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit will be held at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center. Presentations will explore how data and community indicators can increase understanding of issues, influence practices, support informed decisions about policies and programs, and track progress toward sustainable and equitable communities.

September 20: Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit at Bemidji State University

Learn more and register.

Register for the Minnesota Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus Annual Meeting & Conference  The Minnesota Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus 2018 Annual Meeting & Conference will be held Oct. 2-3 in St. Louis Park.

— The Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2018 Minnesota Hospitality Conference & Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. For more information, visit hospitalitymn.org/expo.

Border to Border Broadband: Transforming Minnesota Oct 23-24. Join policymakers, economic and community development professionals and community broadband champions from across the state for this annual opportunity to learn, connect and engage. https://wp.me/p3if7-4E8

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25-26 in Bloomington.

Save the date for Minnesota Venture Conference: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.  New format: The conference agenda will feature modules on hot technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cyber security.

  • Thought leaders and industry experts will lead off each module followed by an investor panel discussion, wrapping with pitches by top start-up companies in Minnesota and the upper Midwest.
  • Investor panels will include venture capitalists, angel investors, corporate/strategic investors, academic institutional investors and federal funding resources.
  • Featured content will shine a spotlight on Minnesota’s tech hubs–medical, financial, ag, food, sports and advanced manufacturing industries.

Look for more opportunities to connect entrepreneurs, investors and service providers throughout the day.  Stay tuned for registration information at http://mnventure.org/

–The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) will host the fifth-annual MnSEIA Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference on Nov. 13-14 at the Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn. The conference will focus on the state of solar in Minnesota, the Midwest, and the nation. It will bring together solar industry practitioners from all over the country for education, networking, and MnSEIA’s plans to grow Minnesota’s solar market. To register and for more details, read more.

–November 14 and 15 at the St. Paul RiverCentre is the MCN’s Annual Conference: Choosing Hope in Times of Disruption.

OPPORTUNITIES

–Deadline is August 30 for the 2019 Bush Fellowship

Rural Health Fellows Program  A year-long, intensive fellowship program designed to develop a community of rural health leaders. Application deadline: August 30, 2018.

—  Nominate Your Town as the Best in Minnesota  Following Bemidji’s win in 2017, the second-annual “Best MN Town” search is launching Aug. 1. From small villages to large cities, Minnesota Monthly is looking to find and celebrate the town that best embodies the spirit of Minnesota. Entries will be accepted online at BestMNTown.com under the tab “Town Portal.” When prompted, enter the code BMT18. The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. CST on Friday, Aug. 31. There is no fee to enter or to win.

Important note: Only one official civic representative may submit the entry. After Aug. 31, the editorial team of Minnesota Monthly will narrow the entries down to 10 finalists. Then, a panel of notable Minnesotans as well as a public vote will select four finalists and one winner. Those five towns will be notified by Nov. 1 and invited to attend the “Best of Minnesota” party on Dec. 5, where the 2018 Best MN Town winner will be announced.

Rural Hospital Leadership 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. Application deadline is August 31.

USDA Invites Comments on the Implementation of the e-Connectivity Pilot Program 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is inviting comments through Monday, September 10, 2018 on the implementation of the e-Connectivity Pilot Program. This program aims to catalyze private investment and expand broadband access in unserved rural areas of the country. Feedback is sought specifically on ways of evaluating a household’s “sufficient access” to broadband of adequate speed, how service affordability should be factored in, best ways to verify broadband speeds, and best indicators of potential project benefits for rural industries using readily available public data.

Bloomberg Fellows  is a fellowship for individuals who want to achieve a Master’s or PhD degree in Public Health, as well as on-the-ground training and experience. The program is looking for leaders working in the areas of addiction and overdose, environmental challenges, obesity and the food system, risks to adolescent health, and violence. Application deadline is December 30, 2018.

Rural PREP Travel Support  A travel support program for individuals presenting at regional/multi-state, national, and international meetings held within the United States with the primary purpose of disseminating rural health professions education research and scholarship.

–Great River Energy offers energy management program for farmers.  Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Great River Energy (GRE) is offering Energy Wise for your Farm, a program for all types of agricultural producers who are members of the 28 electric cooperatives served by GRE. The program provides farmers with an energy efficiency management program to identify and prioritize energy efficiency opportunities. It covers 75% of the cost for a farm energy audit and provides a comprehensive energy management plan tailored to the farmer’s needs. Rebates and other incentives to help pay for the energy improvements may be available through the farmer’s cooperative. Read more (pdf) or call 800-441-8525 for more information.

–The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) offers a program called “Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota” that offers custom project assistance and tools to farmers and rural small businesses that are interested in pursuing renewable energy projects. The program explores project options, identifies potential funding and financing options, and provides one-on-one assistance. Learn more.

MISCELLANEOUS

The lower 48 U.S. states are a 1.9 billion-acre jigsaw puzzle. Here’s how America uses all that land to feed itself, power the economy and extract value for business and pleasure.

Choose your data adventure: Build Your Own data profile! Learn about four ways you can build, draw, and compare data profiles using the new Minnesota Compass Build Your Own data tool. Read more.

–Minnesota Compass Research shares key regional strengths and challenges identified by participants of the statewide Minnesota Compass listening sessions last fall. Read now.

Current Indicators of Farm Sector Financial Health  Errata: On July 26, 2018, the Amber Waves article “Current Indicators of Farm Sector Financial Health” was reposted to correct data for farm sector net cash income in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph. The first chart was also corrected.

–The Minneapolis Fed’s CD360 Notebook blog is where you’ll find timely briefs on community development research, events, and other happenings. Check out the latest CD360 Notebook posts, which explore the demographics of Opportunity Zones; the effects of education on racial gaps in employment, income, and wealth; and the question, Is college still worth it? Read more

–Preview: Investing in America’s Workforce a chapter of a forthcoming Federal Reserve System book on workforce development is available to preview. In “Results and Returns from Public Investments in Employment and Training,” the role of the public workforce development system in job training is discussed. The chapter is from Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers, which will be released on November 9. Link

It’s an Addiction Crisis: Across Minnesota, the “Opioid Crisis” Is so Much More than Just Opioids   Details the opioid crisis in the state of Minnesota. Includes statistics on overdose deaths and treatment admissions for alcohol, heroin, methamphetamine, and other opiates. Covers hospital addition costs and workforce issues posing a barrier to access in rural areas. Reviews three rural community models working to address substance abuse.

Opioid Misuse Resource Map Presents a map of the U.S. which details the opioid resources available by state. Features programs providing emergency services, treatment, and prevention.

RHIHub has published a guide, “Rural Response to the Opioid Crisis.” This new topic guide identifies rural-specific initiatives and funding opportunities, program examples, and tools and resources focused on prevention, harm reduction, and treatment, to help address this crisis in rural communities. Get the guide here.

USDA has launched an interactive map of opioid epidemic resources. Visitors can use an interactive map to learn about, access or replicate actions rural leaders are taking in small towns across the country to address the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment and recovery opportunities. The interactive map can be viewed here.

–Carsey School of Public Policy has released “The Opioid Crisis in Rural and Small Town America.” The report provides data on opioid mortality rates in 2016 and changes in opioid mortality from 1999 through 2016 for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties. It also provides metropolitan and nonmetropolitan data on drug overdoses by type of opioid- heroin, prescription opioids, synthetic opioids, and unspecified opioids-from 1999 through 2016. Get the report here.

–Introducing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook, a production sponsored by the Kaufman Foundation to advance its mission to develop a new model for inclusive economic development. The draft is here.

–“Growing Up Rural in America” is a report by Save the Children on the state of childhood in rural America. It details challenges rural children face, such as growing up in poverty, adolescent pregnancy, and access to food, and features rural-urban comparisons and state-by-state data. Get the report here.

EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!

 

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JUNE 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 6
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

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

ACROSS THE FIELD:

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

–The MPCA is releasing the first Request for Proposal (RFP) under the Minnesota VW Settlement Diesel Replacement Program. The RFP is for grants of $15,000 or $20,000 to school bus owners or their representatives around the state to replace old diesel school buses with new diesel, natural gas, propane or electric school buses.  There is a total of $2,115,000 available under this grant opportunity.

Grants will be awarded based on selection criteria that include emissions reduction, cost effectiveness, health effects, and environmental justice ramifications. Please visit the School Bus Replacement Grant webpage to learn more about this grant opportunity and download application forms.  This is the first grant opportunity under this new program.  Additional grants for a variety of other diesel vehicle replacement projects will be forthcoming in the near future.  To learn more about Minnesota’s plan for VW settlement funds, visit our website.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Provides funding to help nonprofit housing and community development intermediary organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Application Deadline: June 25, 2018.

New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program  Tax incentives for investments in business or economic development projects in distressed rural or urban counties, including capital investments in healthcare facilities. Investors give to Community Development Entities who then offer low-interest financing to businesses; in return for their investment, investors receive a tax credit against their federal income tax.  Application Deadline: June 28, 2018

–The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced the availability of $330,000 in shooting range grants to build or improve trap, skeet, rifle, pistol or five-stand shooting ranges in the state. The application period closes June 29.

Shooting clubs that allow members of the public to shoot at reasonable times and for a reasonable fee are eligible for the grants, which require a one-to-one match.

There are two levels of grants available: small grants, which are between $2,500 and $25,000, and large grants, which are above $25,000. All grantees must verify current female participation data and show an intent to improve future diversity opportunities.

–The National Park Service announces that it is now taking applications for community assistance in planning park, trail and conservation projects through its Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Apply by June 30 to receive technical assistance with project elements, such as: park and trail planning, visioning and goal setting, partnership building, organizational development, resource analysis, community outreach, facilitation, priority setting, consensus building, and developing funding strategies. If accepted, your project team will receive assistance for a year or more from an experienced Outdoor Recreation Planner at no cost.
Click here for more information, or contact holly_larson@nps.gov or 651-293-8444.

–Charles A. Frueauff Foundation awards grants in the areas of education, human services, and health. Specific project initiatives include food and hunger; economic development; daycare programs; hospital and healthcare agencies; health screenings; health education; AIDS/HIV prevention and education; and equipment for healthcare facilities. Deadline: 7/1/2018. Click here for an application and funding guidelines.

–The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF), a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, is offering grants to nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and school districts involved in youth baseball or softball to finance a new program, expand or improve an existing program, undertake a new collaborative effort, or obtain facilities or equipment necessary for youth baseball or softball programs. Grants average $40,000. Deadline: 7/1/2018. Visit the BTF website here to learn more about the grant criteria and application process.

–Department of Justice is offering grants to expand/enhance access to opioid prevention among youth. Deadline: 7/2/2018. Click here for application materials.

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program  Secured, direct loans and loan guarantees for eligible water infrastructure projects, with 15% of funds set aside for small, rural, and tribal communities.  Application Deadline: July 6, 2018. Sponsor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

–The Home Depot Foundation is offering grants to nonprofit organizations through the Veteran Housing Grants Program for the new construction or rehabilitation of multifamily, permanent supportive housing, and transitional facilities for veterans. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 are available solely for the physical construction or repair of housing for veterans (hard costs), and the grant amount must comprise less than 50 percent of the total development cost of the project. Nonprofit organizations that have been in existence at least five years and have a current operating budget of at least $300,000 are eligible to apply. Deadline: 7/13/2018. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review the funding guidelines and take the online eligibility quiz.

–Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE) was launched by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  It is a new competitive loan program for high-tech startups based in Minnesota, with interest-free loans ranging from $20,000 to $50,000, which require a one-to-one match from another funder and are to be repaid within four years. Apply for first round of loans by July 16. More info is here.

Vulnerable Rural Hospitals Assistance Program  Funding for a single entity to provide targeted in-depth assistance to vulnerable rural hospitals within communities that are struggling to maintain healthcare services. Application Deadline: July 16, 2018

BUILD Discretionary Grants for capital investments in unmet surface transportation infrastructure needs with an emphasis on rural areas and tribal lands.  Deadline: July 19, 2018.

–USDA is seeking applications for grants under the Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant program. The purpose of this program is to provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Eligible applicants include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives and cooperative development centers. This program supports Rural Development’s mission of improving the quality of life for rural Americans and commitment to direct agency resources to those who most need them. A socially-disadvantaged group is one whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. A majority of the applicant’s board of directors or governing board must be comprised of individuals who are members of socially-disadvantaged groups.

For FY 2018, USDA plans to award up to $3 million in grants. The maximum grant award is $175,000. Grants may be used to develop and operate a Rural Cooperative Development Center that could provide the following technical assistance and other services to rural businesses:

  • Conducting feasibility studies
  • Developing business plans
  • Providing leadership and operational improvement training

Paper applications are due July 30, 2018. Electronic applications are due July 24, 2018. Questions about the application process may be directed to your local Rural Development Area Office.  For more information, see page 24719 of the May 30 Federal Register or visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.

–USDA is seeking applications for grants under USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant program (RCDG).  This program helps improve the economic condition of rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply. Public bodies, for-profit business and individuals are not eligible. USDA expects to award up to $5.8 million for FY 2018.

The maximum grant award is $200,000. Grants may be used to develop and operate a Rural Cooperative Development Center that could provide the following technical assistance and other services to rural businesses:

  • Conducting feasibility studies
  • Developing business plans
  • Providing leadership and operational improvement training

Questions about the application process may be directed to your local Rural Development Area Office. Paper applications are due July 30, 2018.  Electronic applications are due July 24, 2018. For more information, see page 24726 of the May 30 Federal Register or visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.

–National Endowment for the Arts is supporting creative placemaking projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes through its Our Town grants program. This funding supports local efforts to enhance quality of life for existing residents through arts engagement, cultural planning, design, and/or artist/creative industry support, or to build and disseminate knowledge about how to leverage arts, culture, and design as mechanisms for strengthening communities. All applications require partnerships that involve at least two primary partners: a nonprofit organization and a local governmental entity. One of the two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. Our Town offers matching grants starting at $25,000 for Place-Based and Knowledge Building projects. Deadlines: submit SF-424 by 8/9/2018; submit materials to Applicant Portal 8/14-21/2018. Click here to learn more and apply.

— USDA’s Direct Home Loan Program offers financing to qualified very-low and low-income applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required, and the interest rate could be as low as one percent with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines and demonstrate repayment ability. The program is available in rural communities of 20,000 people or less. The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 at a one percent interest rate, repayable for a 20-year term and can be used to improve or modernize homes and do essential repairs. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace. Time is limited to receive these funds. Qualified applicants have until the end of September 2018 to apply. Contact a USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist in your area today, to see if you qualify.

–USDA seeks applicants for Rural Broadband Access Loans https://wp.me/p3if7-4xT  Deadline is September 30th.

— The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) plans to award up to 75 grants to rural communities as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning (RCORP)initiative in FY 18. Successful awardees will receive up to $200,000 for one–year to develop plans to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations. The initiative will focus on the 220 counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being at risk, as well as other high risk rural communities. The lead applicant must be part of a group including at least three other partners that have committed to forming a consortium or are part of an established consortium. All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for–profit, will be eligible to apply and all services must be provided in rural communities. For more information please contact: Allison Hutchings.

–Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) created the Community Facilities Fund to provide capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC utilizes this fund to provide permanent and construction-to- permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. Deadline: ongoing. Click here for more information.

SEARCH – Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households provides funding to financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–The 2018 Minnesota Rural Health Conference – Community: The heart of health – is dedicated to our rural community citizens, advocates, organizations and rural health systems. The theme is inspired by rural communities working together to ensure healthy communities. This year’s conference will be held June 25–26 in Duluth. Conference registration has opened

–Thriving by Design – Rural & Urban Together, to create the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint – June 27-29, 2018, Prairie’s Edge Casino & Resort, Granite Falls, MN. Shorthand names: RU Together MN, Granite Gathering.  For more info contact jane@growthandjustice.org or brett1mn@gmail.com   and go to: http://www.growthandjustice.org/thriving-by-design

— The Community Solar Power Summit will be held July 18-19 at the Radisson Blu Downtown Minneapolis. The Summit, produced by the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), brings together leading community solar businesses, utilities, nonprofits, and policymakers for a two-day event featuring in-depth conversations with national community solar leaders from CCSA, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), and other industry leaders. Read more.

–The second webinar in the 2018 Rural Behavioral Health Webinar Series: “The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children and Youth in Rural Communities-How Schools and Communities are Responding” will be held July 19, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT. Click here to register in July.

–The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is hosting a series of two online webinars on Disaster Preparation and Recovery. The webinars will cover why disasters are important for housing counseling; the potential effects of disasters on communities, agencies and counselors; and the six areas in which housing counseling has played a key role in disaster recovery to help participants gain a broad understanding of the agency disaster preparation and recovery role, including pre-disaster agency planning, identifying and collaborating with key stakeholders, and recognizing opportunities for disaster recovery housing counseling services. The webinars will take place on September 11 and September 13, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM EDT. Learn more about the webinars and register here.

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25-26 in Bloomington.

–The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) will host the fifth-annual MnSEIA Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference on Nov. 13-14 at the Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn. The conference will focus on the state of solar in Minnesota, the Midwest, and the nation. It will bring together solar industry practitioners from all over the country for education, networking, and MnSEIA’s plans to grow Minnesota’s solar market. To register and for more details, read more.

Border to Border Broadband: Transforming Minnesota Oct 23-24
Join policymakers, economic and community development professionals and community broadband champions from across the state for this annual opportunity to learn, connect and engage. https://wp.me/p3if7-4D6

OPPORTUNITIES

–Each year, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits seeks nominations for individuals to represent their communities and serve on the MCN board of directors. Leaders of MCN member nonprofit organizations are encouraged to nominate themselves or a colleague for a board position.

Nominations are now open, and MCN’s board nominating committee is seeking at least five candidates for nominated for three open positions. Voting will open in October. Three-year terms for the newly elected board members will start in January 2019.Hurry and nominate yourself or a colleague now – nominations close on July 27, 2018!

–2018 Tekne Awards – The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) announced categories for our 19th Annual Tekne Awards. Applications will be accepted until August 3, with the Tekne Awards ceremony to be held November 29.

Tekne Awards recognize the leaders in Minnesota’s innovation economy and cutting-edge innovators in science and technology. The awards celebrate 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.

2018 Tekne Award categories are:

  • Biotech/Pharmaceuticals
  • Building Design and Infrastructure
  • Clean Tech/Energy
  • Community Impact
  • Cybersecurity
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Food/Ag Tech
  • Health IT
  • IT Solutions Consulting
  • Medical Device
  • Science & Technology Startup
  • Software—Established
  • Software—Small and Growing
  • STEM Workforce Development

Learn more.  Also, on June 20 at 9 a.m. there is a Tekne Award Webinar.  MHTA will be hosting a webinar to provide advice and answer your questions on award categories, eligibility, important dates and more. A past award recipient and Tekne judge will also provide their perspectives. Register here for the webinar.

Smart Rural Community Showcase Award honors rural communities that have achieved high levels of broadband activity and have used it to support innovative practices in industry sectors, such as healthcare, safety and security, and economic development. Application deadline is July 1, 2018.

NTIA: Improving the Quality and Accuracy of Broadband Availability Data  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is requesting comment on ways to improve the quality and accuracy of broadband availability data, particularly in rural areas. Information will be used to identify gaps in availability which can then be used to improve policymaking and inform public investments. Comments are due by July 16, 2018.

–Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their community. First place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

–Explore Minnesota is seeking proposals to host the 2019 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. This event is held annually and is coordinated by Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a host community/tourism organization. Event dates are Oct. 11-12, 2019 and will mark the opener’s ninth year. This year’s opener is being held in Luverne.

Proposals will be accepted from community organizations such as chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, or a committee formed specifically for the event. A specially formed committee must show documentation of active support from local organizations. Extensive community involvement and support is necessary for a successful event.

All proposals must be received by Wednesday, August 1. For information about the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener and to receive a copy of the proposal guidelines, please contact Lisa Havelka at 507-389-2683 or lisa.havelka@state.mn.us.

Rural Health Fellows Program  A year-long, intensive fellowship program designed to develop a community of rural health leaders. Application deadline: August 30, 2018.

Rural Hospital Leadership 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. Application deadline is August 31.

Rural PREP Travel Support  A travel support program for individuals presenting at regional/multi-state, national, and international meetings held within the United States with the primary purpose of disseminating rural health professions education research and scholarship.

MISCELLANEOUS

What Unites and Divides Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities  Report highlights different outcomes and opinions of people in rural, suburban, and urban communities on a number of topics, including demographic shifts, urgent problems, and life satisfaction, among others. Features demographic data, a county level breakdown, and a case study highlighting a rural, suburban, and urban county.  Additional links: Full Report

–The Walton Family Foundation published a report featuring case studies of how smaller communities in the Heartland have outperformed communities in other parts of the nation. “Micropolitan Success Stories from the Heartland” examines five micropolitan areas that are experiencing strong economic growth, and explores the ingredients of their success and how the achievements are combined to form unique economic recipes. Get the report by clicking here.

–The Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report that identifies recreation, which makes up a bigger share of the U.S. economy than agriculture or mining, as a critical engine for the national economy, and highlights rural communities and small business owners as a key ingredient in the growing economic engine. Read more about the report and the economic potential for this industry in rural communities in the Daily Yonder article here.

Rural Response to the Opioid Crisis This new topic guide identifies rural-specific initiatives and funding opportunities, program examples, and tools and resources focused on prevention, harm reduction, and treatment, to help address this crisis in your rural community.

Rural Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Toolkit This toolkit, created in collaboration with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and the University of Minnesota’s Rural Health Research Center, has received an update. It is designed to help organizations identify and implement sustainable health promotion programs in their rural communities.

Providing Access to Mental Health Services for Children in Rural Areas  Policy brief discussing options for improving access to mental health services for rural children, including telemedicine, integration of behavioral health and primary care, and school-based care. Features three brief case studies.

Preventing Suicide In Rural America  Policy brief focused on rural suicide prevention. Provides an overview of rural suicide rates and key suicide risk factors for rural residents. Identifies policy options for preventing suicide in rural areas and includes two brief case studies.

America’s Health Rankings Senior Report 2018  Provides a national and state-by-state overview of population health for older adults across 34 measures, as well as two supplemental measures new in 2018: suicide rate and risk of social isolation. Includes a special focus on persistent health disparities and challenges facing rural seniors.
Additional links: Executive Summary

CMS Announces Agency’s First Rural Health Strategy The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their first Rural Health Strategy. This agency-wide strategy is intended to provide a proactive approach to healthcare issues to ensure access to high quality, affordable healthcare by applying a rural lens to CMS programs and policies, advancing telehealth, improving access through provider engagement and support, empowering rural patients to make decisions about their healthcare, and leveraging partnerships to achieve these goals. A fact sheet is also available.

Mobility & Aging in Rural America: The Role for Innovation Outlines challenges facing older people, people with disabilities, and people in areas with few mobility options. Includes a section on funding strategies for rural transit. Describes successful programs, defines mobility as a social determinant of health, and explores approaches for improvement, including new partnerships with healthcare providers and telehealth.

–Introducing Fed Small Business  Check out FedSmallBusiness.org, a new website featuring small business research and analysis from the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, including findings from the annual Small Business Credit Survey.

–Explore more from the Fed. Looking for more information on community development issues and best practices? Connect to hundreds of resources from the Federal Reserve System at FedCommunities.org, an online portal that can be browsed by Federal Reserve District, resource type, or topic.

EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!

MAY 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 5
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Access the newsletter online

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

ACROSS THE FIELD:  Help Minnesota Thrive by Design: Rural, Urban, Suburban, Exurban, Micropolitan & Metropolitan — all pulling together for shared sustainable prosperity

Join us at the Upper Sioux Community Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort and in the City of Granite Falls, June 27-29, for Thriving by Design – Rural & Urban Together, to help create the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint. Get current overviews of the state of our state. Get updates on essentials to community and economic vigor such as broadband & other physical infrastructure, childcare, small business development, education & workforce, water quality, arts, health care, the environment and more. Then, with your neighbors from across Minnesota, start assembling the Equity Blueprint, a next-generation inclusive community & economic development policy agenda based on equity as the smart growth strategy, to propel Minnesota and Minnesotans towards shared, sustainable prosperity.

Co-hosts Growth & Justice and OneMN.org and their planning team have gathered topnotch speakers and presentations, including some of the most knowledgeable people in the region on our demographic and economic disparities, and how to fix them.  Among them: Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey; State Demographer Susan Brower; Cornelia Flora Butler, co-creator of the Community Capitals Framework and a highly respected expert in rural community development; and Craig Helmstetter, managing director of the American Public Media Research Lab.  Kate Searls, Research Director at Growth & Justice, will give an update on rural urban economic linkages. The Theater of Public Policy troupe will be in residence and presenting a show on June 28.  Most importantly, hear from folks who have devised local & regional solutions to the thorny issues and waiting opportunities of our time and into the future. Out of this “data download,” attendees will begin creating a comprehensive new policy framework — a unifying “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint’’ — a social contract to heal our divisions and help us strive for more equitable economic growth and climate action over the next decade.

We need you there!   Registration is open!  Registration is $195 for the entire June 27 to June 29 gathering, including 6 meals. Or register for one day, Data Download Day, June 28, for $100. Registration options include participating as an official delegate to this Equity Blueprint gathering in June and in the follow-up six-month blueprint development process, or, sign up as a general participant for the June gathering only.   Those who sign up as delegates are eligible for scholarships to help support the costs of participation.

Please spread the word, even if you cannot attend.  The Blandin Foundation and the McKnight Foundation are helping to underwrite the conference and the community convening process. (Sponsorship opportunities are still available!) The League of Minnesota Cities and the MN Association of Development Organizations are also partners, along with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

USDA Rural Utilities Service has announced the availability of funding through the Community Connect Broadband Grant Program which provides grants for communities without broadband service to provide residential and business broadband services and connect facilities via broadband facilities such as police and fire stations, healthcare, libraries, and schools. Deadline: 5/14/2018. Click here to review application guidelines.

— Minnesota Housing and its partners are pleased to announce the availability of funding to build and preserve affordable housing across Minnesota.  Visit the Minnesota Housing website for applications and instructions for the Consolidated 2018 Multifamily and Single Family Requests for Proposal (RFPs) and 2019 Housing Tax Credits (HTC).  Applications must be received by Minnesota Housing by the following due dates to be eligible for funding consideration:

  • Preservation Pre-Application: May 15, 2018 by 4:30 p.m.
  • Intent to Apply (required for all Multifamily applicants): May 31, 2018 by 5:00 p.m.
  • 2018 Single Family RFP: June 12, 2018 by 12:00 Noon
  • 2018 Multifamily RFP/2019 Housing Tax Credits Round 1: June 14, 2018 by 5:00 p.m.

All funding recommendations must be approved by the Minnesota Housing board. Funding partner proposal recommendations will be made at their respective board meetings.

AARP Community Challenge  Grants for projects that work to improve livability for all residents of a community. Application Deadline: May 16, 2018.

— Apply now for a clean air grant to reduce VOCs! MPCA grant funding is now open for cost-effective projects that reduce volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) in a range of Minnesota-based organizations. VOCs come from solvents, inks, coatings, cleaners, and vehicles as well as process or maintenance equipment used every day across the state. Using alternatives can save money and protect employee and community health.
Eligible applicants:

  • Small businesses under 500 employees (e.g. manufacturers, printers, industrial finishers, automotive, metal casting, etc.)
  • Governmental agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Non-profits
  • Trade groups
  • Associations

The maximum grant award is $24,000 with a 50% required match. The most cost-effective projects will score highest. Special consideration will be given for innovative projects from targeted applicants in environmental justice and highly urbanized areas. Deadline May 18, 2018.  To review grant materials, frequently asked questions, and the short two-page application, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/voc. Send RFP or application questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us  If you need help developing a VOC-reducing project or calculating the cost-effectiveness or impact of your project, contact Matt Domski, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, 612-624-5119 or domsk004@umn.edu.

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program provides funding to community-based, outreach education and extension programs at land-grant colleges and universities that provide individuals and families based in rural areas with information on health, wellness, and prevention, including the prevention and reduction of opioid misuse and abuse.  Application Deadline: May 24, 2018.

BEST BUY is offering grants through its Community Grants Program provides support to community-based organizations that are located within 25 miles of a Best Buy facility. Grants focus on out-of-school time programs that create access to technology education and tools that teens will need to be successful in their future schooling and careers. Programs should include hands-on learning opportunities and engage the youth, ages 13-18, in experimenting and interacting with the latest technologies to build 21st century skills. Deadline: 5/31/2018. Click here to visit the program’s website for application guidelines.

Innovations in Accessible Mobility  Grants for innovative projects that increase accessible transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities. Application Deadline: May 31, 2018.

The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Homeownership Counseling Grant Program supports local nonprofit housing organizations nationwide that help create affordable and sustainable homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income families. The program focuses on homebuyer counseling, homebuyer education, and foreclosure prevention activities. Deadline: requests may be submitted from 6/1/2018 through 6/30/2018. Visit the Wells Fargo website here for more information about the program.

Department of Defense is offering funding through the Wounded Warrior Service Dog Program for programs that provide assistance dogs to service members or veterans with disabilities. Deadline: 6/4/2018. Click here for more information and to apply.

— Minnesota Housing and the Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness are pleased to announce the anticipated availability of funds for the Homework Starts with Home program.  This initiative will support collaborative efforts between schools, housing organizations, and local governments to identify, engage, and stabilize students experiencing homelessness and their families. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 4, 2018.  Learn more about this opportunity

Applications due on June 4th for USDA RUS Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Programhttps://wp.me/p3if7-4yj  The program helps rural communities use capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, the program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another. Eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or healthcare through telecommunications including: most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, non-profits, for–profit businesses, and consortia of eligible entities. Applicants are required to provide a minimum 15% match and awards can range from $50,000 to $500,000.

Tribal Colleges Extension Grant Program: Capacity  grants to establish and strengthen capacity to equip, train, and deploy extension educators and specialists to carry out tribal extension needs assessments and outreach activities. Application Deadline: June 6, 2018.

FUEL UP TO PLAY 60 invites applications for K-12 Healthy Food Programs. Grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded to qualified K-12 schools to jumpstart healthy changes in the lifestyles of young people. Deadline: 6/13/2018. Click here to review application guidelines.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Provides funding to help nonprofit housing and community development intermediary organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Application Deadline: June 25, 2018.

Charles A. Frueauff Foundation awards grants in the areas of education, human services, and health. Specific project initiatives include food and hunger; economic development; daycare programs; hospital and healthcare agencies; health screenings; health education; AIDS/HIV prevention and education; and equipment for healthcare facilities. Deadline: 7/1/2018. Click here for an application and funding guidelines.

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program  Secured, direct loans and loan guarantees for eligible water infrastructure projects, with 15% of funds set aside for small, rural, and tribal communities.  Application Deadline: July 6, 2018. Sponsor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

BUILD Discretionary Grants for capital investments in unmet surface transportation infrastructure needs with an emphasis on rural areas and tribal lands.  Application Deadline: July 19, 2018.

–USDA Seeks Applicants for Rural Broadband Access Loans https://wp.me/p3if7-4xT  Deadline is September 30th.

— The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) plans to award up to 75 grants to rural communities as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning (RCORP)initiative in FY 18. Successful awardees will receive up to $200,000 for one–year to develop plans to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations. The initiative will focus on the 220 counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being at risk, as well as other high risk rural communities. The lead applicant must be part of a group including at least three other partners that have committed to forming a consortium or are part of an established consortium. All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for–profit, will be eligible to apply and all services must be provided in rural communities. For more information please contact: Allison Hutchings.

Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) created the Community Facilities Fund to provide capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC utilizes this fund to provide permanent and construction-to- permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. Deadline: ongoing. Click here for more information.

SEARCH – Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households provides funding to financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit will be held May 16th from 9am to 4pm in Mankato.  Learn more  MCN is pleased to host our eighth annual conference for nonprofits in small towns and rural communities, this year in Mankato. This day-long event is designed to bring together staff, board members and volunteers from across Southern Minnesota to learn, network and strategize.

The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) is putting on a series of 30-minute webinars in 2018, with the first webinar on May 17 to feature PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing for commercial properties. The webinar will describe PACE, where it is currently available, and how you can help in PACE expansion and how it can benefit your community. The webinar is from 1:30-2:00 p.m. and is hosted by Peter Lindstrom, CERTs Public Sector & Community Engagement Manager. Read more to register and for more information on the PACE webinar.

— Free Webinar: How Small Towns Give Poor Youth a Head Start.  New research shows that children from poor families in rural communities earn more by their mid-20s than their urban peers, contrary to stereotypes about the disadvantages of growing up rural. A major study of individual incomes by The Equality of Opportunity Project, found that poor children who grow up in three-quarters of rural counties earn more than the national average by their mid-20s. Find out about what researchers call “neighborhood effects” and the lifelong advantages of growing up in places with less income disparity, good schools, and strong civic life. Hear about newly released research on how community matters to poor youth.  Register Now!  Thursday, May 17, 2018 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern.

— Every month, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Partnership Program hosts free webinars. You must register for them.

-Creating high reliability in patient safety. Thursday, May 17, 2:00 – 3:00 PM CDT.

-Navigating a value-based world as a small or rural hospital. Friday, May 18, 2:00 – 3:00 PM CDT.

National Rural Assembly “Building Civic Courage” will be held May 21-23, in Durham, North Carolina.  For more information go to:  http://ruralassembly.org/2018-rural-assembly/

2018 Tribal Public Health Summit.  The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is hosting the 9th annual Tribal Public Health Summit (TPHS) for public health professionals, elected leaders, advocates and researchers May 22–24 in Prior Lake. The conference theme Balance, Harmony, Culture, Health will feature solutions for Indian Country. Topics include:

  • health promotion and disease prevention
  • public health policy, infrastructure, and capacity
  • substance misuse and behavioral health
  • climate change and environmental health
  • cancer prevention and treatment

–The 2018 Minnesota Rural Health Conference – Community: The heart of health – is dedicated to our rural community citizens, advocates, organizations and rural health systems. The theme is inspired by rural communities working together to ensure healthy communities. This year’s conference will be held June 25–26 in Duluth. Conference registration has opened

Thriving by Design – Rural & Urban Together, to create the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint June 27-29, 2018, Prairie’s Edge Casino & Resort, Granite Falls, MN. Shorthand names: RU Together MN, Granite Gathering. Registration and delegate application begins on April 16. For more info contact jane@growthandjustice.org or brett1mn@gmail.com   and go to: http://www.growthandjustice.org/thriving-by-design 

— The Community Solar Power Summit will be held July 18-19 at the Radisson Blu Downtown Minneapolis. The Summit, produced by the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), brings together leading community solar businesses, utilities, nonprofits, and policymakers for a two-day event featuring in-depth conversations with national community solar leaders from CCSA, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), and other industry leaders. Read more.

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25-26 in Bloomington.

NACRHHS Policy Brief on Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America The webinar on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services’ Policy Brief on Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America.

OPPORTUNITIES

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is seeking nominations for its annual Mission Awards, including awards for Advocacy and for Anti-Racism mission work. Staff members, board members, volunteers, program participants, donors, or other supporters may nominate a nonprofit for a Mission Award. The deadline for nominations is Monday, May 21. To learn more, visit the Mission Awards page on the MCN website.

Know Someone Doing Amazing Work With Little Recognition? Nominate them for a Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award!

We are excited to announce its fourth annual awards program in partnership with The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation seeking to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Four Minnesotans, two from the Twin Cities metro and two from Greater Minnesota, will each receive $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state of Minnesota and its communities.

The criteria for the award is simple. A Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero is an individual who has had a significant impact on the state of Minnesota and its communities. This individual:

  • Has played a significant role on creating a positive impact on Minnesota and its communities.
  • Has not been widely recognized for his/her work in the past.

For more information on the award and to nominate someone, visit our websiteNominations are open until May 25!

–Blandin Foundation is now accepting applications for its Blandin Broadband Communities program, which supports rural community efforts to improve both access to and use of broadband that enhance community vitality. Selected communities will participate as a cohort with other Minnesota communities over a 24-month period, will have access to up to $75,000 in project grant funds and will receive priority for up to $25,000 in grant funds from the Foundation’s Robust Network Feasibility Fund program. Applications are due May 31.  —The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Application deadline is May 31.

Nominations are open for the 2018 Veterans’ Voices Award. These actively engaged former and current military service members are thriving and making significant contributions that improve the lives of people in their Minnesota communities and beyond. Take a moment to recognize a veteran in your community. Nominations are due June 7.

Smart Rural Community Showcase Award honors rural communities that have achieved high levels of broadband activity and have used it to support innovative practices in industry sectors, such as healthcare, safety and security, and economic development. Application deadline is July 1, 2018.

Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their community. First place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

Rural Hospital Leadership 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. Application deadline is August 31.

 MISCELLANEOUS

The Minnesota Department of Human Services Crisis Text Line is offering text–based suicide prevention services across Minnesota. People who text MN to 741741 will be connected with a counselor who will help defuse the crisis and connect the texter to local resources. Crisis Text Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Take the Digital Readiness Survey, Please!  Communities across Minnesota rely on high-speed Internet access to compete in today’s economy, yet critical gaps exist. Rural Minnesotans have an opportunity to help identify those gaps through the Digital Readiness Survey, offered by the Purdue Center for Regional Development and supported by Blandin Foundation and Growth & Justice. https://wp.me/p3if7-4zg

Rural Development Innovation Center  Website provides information about the Rural Development Innovation Center, which features resources and best practices for rural communities seeking to improve quality of life through job creation, infrastructure improvements, community partnerships, and more.

Rural Data Visualizations Looking for state-specific data? Struggling to find data for your rural county? These new tools compile data from federal and other publicly-available sources in a variety of formats to best fit your needs. Check out our Chart Gallery with national and state-specific charts and our Rural Data Explorer, an interactive map with county-level data that is printable for your convenience.

Population & Migration  Nonmetro areas in some parts of the country have experienced population loss for decades. However, 2010-16 marks the first period with an estimated population loss for nonmetro America as a whole. The number of people living in nonmetro counties increased by 33,000 between July 2016 and July 2017, ending 6 years of modest population losses. However, 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.

Natural Decrease Counties, Before and After 2010  Map identifying counties that had a natural population increase (births exceeding deaths), a natural decrease that was new since 2010, and a natural decrease in 2000-2009.

Population Change, 2010-17  Map showing counties that lost population between 2010 and 2017, counties with an increase less than 5%, and those with a population increase of 5% or more.

Rural Poverty & Well-being research on this topic focuses on the economic, social, spatial, and demographic factors that affect the poverty status of rural residents.

Annual Figures Show Slight Rise in Rural Jobs, But Gap With Metro Widens 
Details annual job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which revealed that rural counties have yet to return to the levels of employment from before the Great Recession, with 750,000 fewer jobs in 2017 than in 2008. Although rural employment did increase from 2016, the gap between rural and urban counties continues to increase over time.

— The ORHPC has released the 2017 Snapshot of Health in Rural Minnesota. This snapshot provides an overview of key health indicators, behaviors and social determinants of health that are important in understanding rural communities and addressing health disparities. This is the third in a series of rural health status reports and is a follow-up to the 2011 report The Health Status of Rural Minnesotans. For more information, contact Emma Distel at (651) 201–3528.

— The 2017 Minnesota Statewide Health Assessment tells the story of health in Minnesota. Each section of the assessment links data on social, economic and environmental conditions with rates of disease or individual health behaviors to strengthen the understanding of what creates health and health equity. The themes of opportunity, belonging and nature that frame the data in the assessment are new for many public health audiences. A discussion guide is now available on the MDH 2017 Minnesota Statewide Health Assessment Discussions website. Questions about the assessment, discussion guide, overview handout and an available PowerPoint presentation may be directed to dorothy.bliss@state.mn.us or jeannette.raymond@state.mn.us.

Preventing and Treating Cancer in Rural America  Policy brief focused on rural cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and cancer survivorship. Provides an overview of rural-specific issues related to cancer. Identifies policy options for addressing cancer in rural areas and includes four brief case studies.

Social Determinants of Health: Transforming the Buzz Phrase to a Rural Action Item
Two healthcare organizations demonstrate how the social determinants of health and social risk assessment can be used as a framework for transforming a rural “health delivery system to a true health system.”

AWEA 2017 wind report: Minnesota ranks 7th in wind generation. Wind power now supplies more than 30% of electricity in four states and more than 10% in 14 states, including Minnesota, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) newly released U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017. Minnesota generated 18.2% of its electricity from wind in 2017, ranking it seventh in the nation. Overall, wind accounted for 6.2% of electricity in the United States. To download the report’s executive summary, read more.

New Wind Turbine Database is available. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association, released the United States Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) and the USWTDB Viewer to access this new public dataset. This new Wind Turbine Database is a comprehensive dataset of U.S. wind turbine locations and characteristics that is easily accessible, more accurate, and updated more often than existing wind turbine datasets. Read more.

For the first time, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has issued state-by-state energy and water flow charts in one location so that analysts and policymakers can find all the information they need in one place. LLNL worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to produce the atlas of hybrid energy/water Sankey diagrams for each of the states. These diagrams depict energy use and water flow during the year 2010, the latest year for which comprehensive data is available. See the flow chartsRead more.

“A Compass for Families: Head Start in Rural America Report” details the importance of Head Start programs to rural communities. The report details the services Head Start provides for rural families, such as child care, connection to health services, and transportation, among others, and features county level data and rural-urban comparisons. Get the report from the Center for American Progress by clicking here.

Planners4Health has published “Emergency Preparedness and Recovery: A Toolkit for Rural Communities” that provides information and resources to assist a long term recovery group (LTRG) responding to a disaster and implementing recovery plans in a rural community. The Toolkit addresses the infrastructure and health needs of rural residents in a disaster. Get the toolkit here.

— Lessons from the Kresge Foundation’s Journey to Creative Placemaking – the integration of arts, culture, and resident-engaged design into community development and planning – are highlighted in a series of white papers launched recently by the Foundation’s Arts & Culture Program. The papers are geared toward helping grantmakers and creative placemaking practitioners more successfully integrate arts and culture into community development. Read the papers here.

— The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s “Grow Your Own, Entrepreneurship-Based Economic Development” is a free publication available for those interested in entrepreneurship-based economic development. Get the publication here.

EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!

APRIL 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 4
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Access the newsletter online

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

ACROSS THE FIELD:  Celebrating a life well-lived: Jane Freeman, First Lady of Minnesota and Minnesota Rural Partner extraordinaire

by Jane Leonard

We mourn the loss of a wonderful friend & mentor, Jane C. Freeman, who passed away last month at the age of 96. Last Saturday witnessed an incredible gathering of her family, friends, and colleagues at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. They came across the decades and across political parties to honor Mrs. Freeman and celebrate her life.

She was eulogized by her son, current Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, and her daughter, Connie Freeman, an international development expert, who said that “three key adjectives capture well Jane’s essence: passion, presence, and pragmatism.”

Mrs. Freeman knew me since I was born; my Dad was press secretary to Jane’s husband, Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman, and we followed the Freemans out to Washington when Governor Freeman became U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Kennedy & Johnson.

We stayed in touch over the years and when the Freemans returned to Minnesota for good in the 1990s, Mrs. Freeman began attending and supporting every one of the 10 Minnesota Rural Summits that MN Rural Partners organized between 1997 and 2007. She was an avid reader of this newsletter, too, and would often send us “well done” notes and encouragement on the work we were doing. She was intensely interested in helping people improve our state and our world, all the way to the very end of her life. She lives on in all of us whose lives she touched and we will carry on her “passion, presence, and pragmatism.”

And to that end: Minnesotans, Your State Needs Your Passion, Presence & Pragmatism, too! Help out today and in future planning by….

  1. Take the just out Digital Readiness Survey: This research will measure Minnesotans’ online access and skills to inform economic development strategy.

Why take the survey? Communities across Minnesota rely on high-speed Internet access to compete in today’s economy, yet critical gaps exist. YOU have an opportunity to help identify those gaps through the Digital Readiness Survey, offered by the Purdue Center for Regional Development. Supported by Blandin Foundation and Growth & Justice, all Minnesotans are invited to take the survey. The 20-question survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and is available here:  https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6g2CYwO18MIVy2F

  1. Then sign up to be a delegate to help create the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint

RU Together, MN?! You are needed to help develop the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint! Apply starting April 16 to be a delegate to the kickoff convening, Thriving by Design – Rural & Urban Together, to be held in Granite Falls, June 27-29, 2018. You can apply to be a delegate and can also register for the gathering at: http://www.growthandjustice.org/thriving-by-design (On and after April 16.)

The Blueprint creation is a key part of the MN Rural Equity Project, an ambitious effort funded by Blandin Foundation and organized by the non-profit group, Growth & Justice and several other partners in early 2017 to shine a light on persistent socioeconomic and public investment gaps throughout rural and Greater Minnesota.

Starting in June 2018, Growth & Justice, along with co-host OneMN.org, is kicking off a six-month community engagement process with Minnesotans to create a comprehensive policy agenda for decision-makers — the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint — for achieving rural-urban and racial economic equity and inclusive growth. The blueprint is meant to serve as a roadmap for policy makers and community members in Minnesota going forward – together – over the next several years.

The delegation and other participants in Granite Falls will learn about the issues before us as a state and begin to build the outlines of the Equity Blueprint, using the Shared Sustainable Prosperity (SSP) model and Community Capitals Framework (CCF) as a way to both comprehensively organize the policy framework and measure subsequent outcomes over time.

In the six months following the June gathering in Granite Falls, delegates will host further community input on the draft blueprint through regional meetings and network of networks dissemination. At a concluding statewide gathering in December 2018, delegates will finalize the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint to present it to the new Governor, Legislature, and back out to the wider One Minnesota Equity Blueprint network of networks.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

–HUD has released the Notice of Funding Announcement (NOFA) for the FY 2017 Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). The purpose of the YHDP is to promote comprehensive systems of care to address youth homelessness. YDHP will select up to 11 communities, including at least five rural communities, to support them in developing and implementing a coordinated community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness.  Applications are due 4/17/2017. More information about the opportunity is available on the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ website here.

— Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP)  provides grants to tribal colleges and universities for research projects that address concerns and needs of tribal and reservation communities, including projects that focus on health, environment, and agricultural production needs of remote reservation communities through research.  Application deadline is April 23, 2018.

Newman’s Own Award offers grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life for military members and their families, including programs for job training, housing, caregiver support, and mental health. Application deadline is April 25, 2018.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program  provides grants to support domestic violence shelters.  Application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grants and Guaranteed Loans  Financing and grant funding for agriculture producers and rural small businesses to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems or complete energy efficiency improvements. An example of a potential funded project may be the installation of solar panels for hospitals or clinics to improve energy costs.
Application Deadline: April 30, 2018.

Department of Veterans Affairs is offering grants to nonprofit and other organizations for programs to support adaptive sports activities for veterans within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sports programs at the regional and national levels. Deadline: 5/2/2018. Click here to review funding guidelines.

Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)   Grants for projects that assist in the development, improvement, and expansion of domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community‐supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer‐to‐consumer market opportunities.  Application Deadline: May 7, 2018

USDA Rural Utilities Service has announced the availability of funding through the Community Connect Broadband Grant Program which provides grants for communities without broadband service to provide residential and business broadband services and connect facilities via broadband facilities such as police and fire stations, healthcare, libraries, and schools. Deadline: 5/14/2018. Click here to review application guidelines.

AARP Community Challenge  Grants for projects that work to improve livability for all residents of a community. Application Deadline: May 16, 2018.

— Apply now for a clean air grant to reduce VOCs! MPCA grant funding is now open for cost-effective projects that reduce volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) in a range of Minnesota-based organizations. VOCs come from solvents, inks, coatings, cleaners, and vehicles as well as process or maintenance equipment used every day across the state. Using alternatives can save money and protect employee and community health.

Eligible applicants:

  • Small businesses under 500 employees (e.g. manufacturers, printers, industrial finishers, automotive, metal casting, etc.)
  • Governmental agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Non-profits
  • Trade groups
  • Associations

The maximum grant award is $24,000 with a 50% required match. The most cost-effective projects will score highest. Special consideration will be given for innovative projects from targeted applicants in environmental justice and highly urbanized areas. Apply now! Deadline May 18, 2018.  To review grant materials, frequently asked questions, and the short two-page application, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/voc. Send RFP or application questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us  If you need help developing a VOC-reducing project or calculating the cost-effectiveness or impact of your project, contact Matt Domski, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, 612-624-5119 or domsk004@umn.edu.

Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program provides funding to community-based, outreach education and extension programs at land-grant colleges and universities that provide individuals and families based in rural areas with information on health, wellness, and prevention, including the prevention and reduction of opioid misuse and abuse.  Application Deadline: May 24, 2018

Tribal Colleges Extension Grant Program: Capacity  grants to establish and strengthen capacity to equip, train, and deploy extension educators and specialists to carry out tribal extension needs assessments and outreach activities. Application Deadline: June 6, 2018.

Charles A. Frueauff Foundation awards grants in the areas of education, human services, and health. Specific project initiatives include food and hunger; economic development; daycare programs; hospital and healthcare agencies; health screenings; health education; AIDS/HIV prevention and education; and equipment for healthcare facilities. Deadline: 7/1/2018. Click here for an application and funding guidelines.

RURAL LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) created the Community Facilities Fund to provide capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC utilizes this fund to provide permanent and construction-to- permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. Deadline: ongoing. Click here for more information.

SEARCH – Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households provides funding to financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

– Broadband Day on the Hill: April 12th, MN State Capitol – Please join the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition and your fellow broadband advocates from across the state for our Day on the Hill event! The Day on the Hill provides you with an opportunity to participate in St. Paul for a day of broadband advocacy and networking with colleagues and legislators. https://wp.me/p3if7-4ww

–Minnesota Campus Compact 2018 Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 19, at Hamline University.  For more information go to: http://mncampuscompact.org/event/2017-state-summit-and-awards-luncheon/
Attend the Northwest Minnesota Tourism Conference  The Northwest Minnesota Tourism Conference, presented by Riverland Association, will be held on Tuesday, April 24, at the University of Minnesota in Crookston.

— The 2018 Midwest Solar Expo returns to Minneapolis for its 5th annual conference, exhibition and Smart Energy Symposium on April 30-May 2 at DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis Hotel, Park Place. Attendees will gain insights about the Midwest solar industry, hear from solar experts, receive hands-on product training, and enjoy networking with over 400 solar professionals from across the solar industry. The Expo combines with the Smart Energy Symposium, a one-day speaker series dedicated to the smart, connected grid ecosystem, exploring how emerging smart energy technologies will interact with city infrastructure. For information and to register, read more.

–National Rural Assembly “Building Civic Courage” will be held May 21-23, in Durham, North Carolina.  For more information go to:  http://ruralassembly.org/2018-rural-assembly/

–2018 Tribal Public Health Summit.  The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is hosting the 9th annual Tribal Public Health Summit (TPHS) for public health professionals, elected leaders, advocates and researchers May 22–24 in Prior Lake. The conference theme Balance, Harmony, Culture, Health will feature solutions for Indian Country. Topics include:

  • health promotion and disease prevention
  • public health policy, infrastructure, and capacity
  • substance misuse and behavioral health
  • climate change and environmental health
  • cancer prevention and treatment

–The 2018 Minnesota Rural Health Conference – Community: The heart of health – is dedicated to our rural community citizens, advocates, organizations and rural health systems. The theme is inspired by rural communities working together to ensure healthy communities. This year’s conference will be held June 25–26 in Duluth. Conference registration has opened! Early bird rates are available until May 4. Make sure you sign up for email conference updates when you register so that you receive continual information about the conference.

-SAVE THE DATE: Thriving by Design – Rural Urban Together – OneMN Blueprint 2040 (you heard it here first, folks, shorthand names: RU Together MN, Granite Gathering…) – June 27-29, 2018, Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort, Granite Falls, MN. For more info, contact jane@growthandjustice.org or brett1mn@gmail.com  

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25-26 in Bloomington.

OPPORTUNITIES

— 2017-2018 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announces the 30th Annual Student Essay Contest open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Essays are due April 20.

National Native American Youth Initiative (NNAYI)  A summer program designed to prepare American Indian and Alaska Native high school students to pursue careers in healthcare or biomedical research. Application Deadline: April 30, 2018.

–The MDH Rural Health Awards. It’s time to nominate an individual or a group of people you feel deserves to be honored for their work in rural health. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health and Primary Care bestows three rural health awards annually: the Minnesota Rural Health Hero Award, the Rural Health Team Award, and the Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Awards is distinguished from the other two awards in terms of length of service and breadth of impact. It is meant for individuals who, over the span of their career, have made a lasting or significant contribution to improving rural health. Nominees for all the awards will have made positive or innovative contributions in the areas of rural health policy, education, legislation, patient care, services, or health care systems within their communities or at a state level. Nominations are due May 1. All the awards recognize outstanding contributions to rural health in our state. They will be presented during the 2018 Minnesota Rural Health Conference Awards Breakfast on June 26 in Duluth.

–MRHA Emerging Rural Health Leader Award.  This award, bestowed by the Minnesota Rural Health Association, recognizes a health profession student who demonstrates outstanding desire and effort in rural health leadership (i.e., a student willing to “lead the charge” for improving rural health and health care on a regional and/or statewide basis; seen as an emerging leader on rural health issues). The MRHA Emerging Rural Health Leader Award Nomination is due May 1.This award will be presented during the 2018 Minnesota Rural Health Conference Awards Breakfast on June 26 in Duluth.

— Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Scholarship  Financial support for American Indian and Alaska Native scholars, health leaders, health professionals, and paraprofessionals serving tribal communities who are interested in attending the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health’s Summer and Winter Institute courses at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Application Deadline: May 1, 2018.

The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Application deadline is May 31.

Smart Rural Community Showcase Award honors rural communities that have achieved high levels of broadband activity and have used it to support innovative practices in industry sectors, such as healthcare, safety and security, and economic development. Application deadline is July 1, 2018.
–Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their community. First place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

Rural Hospital Leadership 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. Application deadline is August 31.

— Rural and Tribal Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance  Technical assistance for tribes and rural communities of less than 50,000 people to plan system start-up, transit service improvements, facility development, marketing, transportation coordination, and staff training.

–The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) recently launched “Solar Possible,” a cooperative purchasing effort to facilitate more state agencies, local governments, and schools to acquire solar for their facilities. Collaborative procurement is an effective approach to reduce barriers, learn together, and drive projects to successful completion. This initial effort is geared toward jurisdictions in Xcel Energy territory. Read more.

 MISCELLANEOUS

— Research will measure Minnesotans’ online access and skills to inform economic development
Communities across Minnesota rely on high-speed Internet access to compete in today’s economy, yet critical gaps exist. Rural Minnesotans have an opportunity to help identify those gaps through the Digital Readiness Survey, offered by the Purdue Center for Regional Development.

Supported by Blandin Foundation and Growth & Justice, all Minnesotans are invited to take the survey. The 20-question survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and is available at  https://goo.gl/ZHfAyK

Farm Bill Portal The Farm Bill affects all Americans, whether they work in agriculture or not. IATP created a new resource full of information on the history and impact of this critical legislation.

2018 Compass Points now available The annual indicator report includes data and analysis about notable trends, key demographics, and a dashboard that highlights how Minnesota is doing in key topic areas. The information is useful for policymakers, business and community leaders, and others working to ensure the health and well-being of all Minnesota residents and communities. Download the pdf here.

Little or no growth expected in Minnesota’s working-age population  Statewide, we expect no growth in our working-age population (age 18-64) over the next two decades. By region, the working-age population is only expected to grow in the Twin Cities. All other regions of the state expect to see declines through 2030. Check out this and other featured trends.

Rural Public Health Agencies This topic guide has been updated with new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on challenges and opportunities, workforce, and how rural providers and public health workers can collaborate on population health. We also have a new FAQ on accreditation, including research related to costs and barriers in rural areas, and an updated FAQ on public health infrastructure and governance.

2018 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report  Analyzes health factors and outcomes to report on county-level health disparities throughout the U.S. Discusses a variety of health measures, including low birth weight, residential segregation, child poverty, and teen birth. Covers key findings, and calls to action and community guidance to improve health outcomes for all health measures.  Additional links: 2018 State Health Reports

HHS Strategic Plan FY 2018 – 2022  Identifies the strategic goals and objectives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Strategic Goals 1 and 2 discuss healthcare access and health workforce in rural and tribal communities, including access to mental health and substance abuse care.

–The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published a policy brief focused on preventing rural opioid overdoses and reducing overdose deaths in rural areas. The brief identifies policy options and includes three brief case studies. Get the brief here.

Leading a Faith-Based Charge Against Opioid Abuse: How a Minnesota Rural Health Organization Became a National Leader  Describes prescription drug abuse treatment efforts of CHI St. Gabriel’s Health, a multi-facility rural health organization in Little Falls, Minnesota.

–The Minnesota Department of Health has released county tobacco profiles for each of Minnesota’s counties. These profiles show commercial tobacco’s toll in each county in one year. They also include local and statewide data on products stores sell, youth tobacco use, and tobacco use during pregnancy. These profiles are an excellent tool for public health professionals to talk about the burden of tobacco use to stakeholders in the community. Contact: Parker Smith at (651) 201–5496 or parker.smith@state.mn.us.

Healthy Children, Healthy Nations: Charting Pathways on Early Childhood Development and Nutrition for Minnesota’s Native Children  Report discusses the health of Native American children in Minnesota. Features state and national data about Native American children’s health, as well as interventions in children’s nutrition, early childhood development, and childhood trauma.

Trends Report: 2017 Transportation Trends Topic Spotlight: Rural Travel Training 
Presents a report on rural travel training programs. Discusses the challenges and opportunities rural elderly and disabled people face in navigating their communities. Features several examples of programs exhibiting best practices.

Rural Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Toolkit  Provides information and resources to address rural transportation safety issues. Discusses crash countermeasures, traffic management, operations and maintenance, emergency services, surface transportation and weather, rural transit and mobility, and tourism and travel information.

Guide helps schools achieve zero energy.  A new publication is now available to empower owners, contractors, consulting engineers, architects, designers and administrators of K-12 school buildings to cost effectively achieve advanced levels of energy savings. The resource, “Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings – Achieving Zero Energy,” is the first in a series of guides that is tailored to the design and creation of zero energy buildings. Zero energy is defined as a building that, on an annual basis, draws from outside resources equal or less energy than it provides using on-site renewable energy sources. The guide is available as a free download at www.ashrae.org/freeaedg.

Resource Guide for Explore Minnesota Programs Now Available  The Explore Minnesota Resource Guide is a free publication designed to inform the Minnesota tourism industry about all the ways to get involved with Explore Minnesota programs and promotions.

2018 Tourism Fact Sheet Provides Summary of Industry’s Importance  The 2018 edition of Explore Minnesota’s Tourism and Economy Fact Sheet provides the latest available data that points to the importance of Minnesota’s travel and tourism industry.

Reports on Impact of Broadband and Economic Development. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 10 years the digital economy grew 5.6 percent compared to overall economic growth of 1.5 percent. https://wp.me/p3if7-4wL The National League of Cities releases a report that calls out broadband as a tool to bridge the rural-urban economic divide. https://wp.me/p3if7-4wB The Foundation for Rural Service reports that transactional value of the Internet in rural American is nearly $1.4 trillion. https://wp.me/p3if7-4wm

“Design, innovation, and rural creative places: Are the arts the cherry on top, or the secret sauce?” was published in PLOS One. This article was produced by a partnership between the Economic Research Services, USDA, and the NEA’s Office of Research & Analysis. The study identifies the local factors associated with a strong design orientation, and estimates the impact that a strong design orientation has on the local economy. Get the report here.

–National Endowment for the Arts has published a data profile on rural arts, a research report and a series of research briefs based on a collaboration with the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although the focus is on “rural arts, design, and innovation,” some of the findings pertain to performing arts organizations in rural communities. Get the report here.

EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!

MARCH 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 3
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Access the newsletter online

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

ACROSS THE FIELD:  National League of Cities new report “bridges the urban-rural economic divide” and cites Minnesota Rural Partners’ 2011 research
by Jane Leonard

We are honored that a report just out this week from the non-partisan National League of Cities (NLC) on “Bridging the Urban-Rural Economic Divide” cites earlier work done in 2011 by Minnesota Rural Partners, on rural-urban linkages and economic interdependencies in Minnesota.

“Linking urban-rural areas creates economic growth” says the NLC report, and it offers fresh new insights from across the country, guided in part by several earlier studies, including the one from Minnesota. In the introduction to the NLC report, the authors cite MRP’s 2011 report, “Pilot Study: Estimating Rural and Urban Minnesota’s Interdependencies.” 

From the NLC’s 2018 report intro:

“A 2011 study examining the interdependence between Minnesota’s urban and rural areas found that urban regions receive substantial economic benefits from improved prosperity in rural areas. Every $1 billion increase in rural manufacturing output produces a 16% increase in urban jobs, significant additional business-to-business transactions and statewide consumer spending and investment.”

Members of the MRP research team presented that Minnesota rural urban linkages study to gatherings of policymakers and economic development practitioners beginning in late 2010 and concluding in April, 2011, with the statewide “Rural Urban Interdependencies Forum: Understanding Linkages That Drive Job Creation.”  The forum provided a summary of evidence for renewed commitment to an integrated – rural and urban together — approach to community and economic development to foster Minnesota vitality.  Alas, the seeds of such rural urban partnering lay dormant until now, hopefully to be awakened by the NLC’s national study.

We can and should heed the advice within the NLC’s 2018 report:

“It’s time for the narrative to shift from urban vs. rural to a shared economic future. Bridging the economic divide between urban and rural areas will require states, regions and localities to understand and bolster the relationship between urban and rural areas in economically meaningful and strategic ways.”

The NLC report highlights the importance of broadband, education attainment, and infrastructure investments across the board:

“One consistent theme…is the importance of infrastructure connectivity and market access, indicating that sustainable growth hinges on the connectedness of places, not necessarily their designation as urban or rural…In all states, urban areas outpace their rural counterparts in broadband access… underscoring the importance of extending affordable broadband to rural areas…States with strong levels of educational attainment have less conspicuous educational divides between urban and rural areas. Often, rural areas are home to universities, which connect rural residents to educational opportunities and narrow the gap.” 

Timely and right on target with the NLC’s shared economic growth frame, the nonprofit policy development organization, Growth & Justice (where MN Rural Partners is now co-housed), has been working for over a year with several partners on implementing the MN Rural Equity Project (funded by Blandin Foundation). As a part of that project, Growth & Justice and OneMN.org, are co-organizing the Thriving by Design – Rural Urban Together – One Minnesota Blueprint 2040 process to create a comprehensive rural urban partnering agenda by December, 2018, for the new Governor and state legislature to consider.

If you are interested in applying to be a delegate to the statewide kickoff gathering (to be held in Granite Falls, June 27-29, 2018), contact me at jane@growthandjustice.org.  We are trying to recruit two people from every Minnesota state senate district to ensure statewide participation in this historic gathering and spark rural urban collaboration towards economic equity and inclusion for all Minnesotans.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

— The FY19 Minnesota Festival Support Program overview and application instructions are available on the Arts Board website.  Minnesota Festival Support is a grant program designed to provide meaningful arts experiences to Minnesotans through festivals that celebrate the arts, build community, and expose communities to diverse art forms including folk and traditional arts. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 23.

–Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering funding to coalitions working to reduce substance abuse among youth and to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, organizations, and governmental entities. Application deadline: 3/29/2018. Click here for funding guidelines.

–U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) has opened the FY 2018 funding round for the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA) Program. The awards from these programs will support Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) providing affordable financing and related services to low-income communities and populations that lack access to credit, capital, and financial services. Application deadline: 4/4/2018. Click here to review program guidelines for the CDFI Program, and here to review program guidelines for the NACA Program.

–The MEDICA Foundation offers awards for projects that assist people in recovering from serious mental illness and chemical addictions through the recovery process through its Behavioral Health Grant program. Programs should focus on a continuum of care and provide person-centered, multidisciplinary services using evidence-based screening, assessment, diagnostic, treatment, and/or prevention services. Programs should address gaps in behavioral health services, integrate physical and mental healthcare, and provide supportive and intensive case management services. Application deadline: 4/6/2018. Click here to learn more and to apply.

School Grants for Healthy Kids  awards funding to implement school health and wellness practices that help students eat better, stay physically active, and be better prepared to learn. Application Deadline: April 6, 2018.

–National Endowment for the Arts is offering support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations-those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability through its Challenge America program. Grants of $10,000 are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development, and require a minimum $10,000 match. The involvement of experienced artists and arts professionals is essential. Each applicant must present a straightforward project that reflects only one of the following three project types: guest artist, cultural tourism, public art. Application deadline: 4/12/2018. To learn more and to apply, click here.

–HUD has released the Notice of Funding Announcement (NOFA) for the FY 2017 Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). The purpose of the YHDP is to promote comprehensive systems of care to address youth homelessness. YDHP will select up to 11 communities, including at least five rural communities, to support them in developing and implementing a coordinated community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness.  Applications are due 4/17/2017. More information about the opportunity is available on the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ website here.

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP)  provides grants to tribal colleges and universities for research projects that address concerns and needs of tribal and reservation communities, including projects that focus on health, environment, and agricultural production needs of remote reservation communities through research.  Application deadline is April 23, 2018.

Newman’s Own Award offers grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life for military members and their families, including programs for job training, housing, caregiver support, and mental health. Application deadline is April 25, 2018.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program  provides grants to support domestic violence shelters.  Application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Grants Available to Help Employers Develop Apprenticeships. Employers are invited to apply for the Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative grant to help them create or expand registered apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care, information technology and transportation. Employers can receive up to $5,000 for each registered apprentice.

–U.S. Department of Labor is offering funding for events that offer homeless veteran populations a variety of social services such as housing, healthcare, and employment opportunities to help them to reintegrate into their communities. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is offering grants for innovative projects that are working to build a culture of health, ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need and all families have the opportunity to make healthier choices. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to visit the website to review funding guidelines.

—-Community Food Projects Technical Assistance provides one-on-one technical assistance, educational resources, and professional development opportunities for current grantees and potential applicants of the USDA Community Food Projects grant program. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

—-Affordable Housing Loans for Low-Income Rural Communities  provide short-term loans at below market interest rates to local nonprofits, for-profits, and government entities developing affordable housing for low-income, rural communities. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

–The Walmart Community Foundation’s Community Grant Program is offering grants to nonprofit organizations and agencies that work in one of the following areas: hunger relief and healthy eating, health and human service, quality of life, education, community and economic development, diversity and inclusion, public safety, or environmental sustainability. Awards range from $250 to $5,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Click here to learn more and to apply.

–The Home Depot Foundation provides funding for nonprofit organizations and public agencies in the United States that are using the power of volunteers to improve communities through its Community Impact Grants program. Priority is given to projects that benefit veterans and/or diverse and underserved communities. Projects should be volunteer-friendly, engage people at all skill levels, and be expected to have a strong and lasting impact. Awards of up to $5,000 will be given in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services.  Awards are made on a rolling basis. Click here to learn more and to apply.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program  provides grants to eligible organizations to cover all or part of the costs associated with purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–The 2018 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference is the place to go to consider the ways your nonprofit is balancing the art of communication in a world of high-speed technology.  It will be held Wednesday, March 21 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.  Learn more and register today!

— The CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference is on March 28-29 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.  Read more for registration information and the agenda.

–The 14th Annual Worthington Bioscience Conference will be held on April 5-6, 2018 in
Worthington, MN.  For more information go to:  http://www.worthington-minnesota.com/bio-science-conference-information

–AURI’s New Uses Forum 2018: Adding Value at the Speed of Innovation will be held April 11 and 12 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN.  For more information go to: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eezeyr8wfe403e0f&llr=btf8y8cab

Broadband Day on the Hill: April 12th, MN State Capitol – Please join the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition and your fellow broadband advocates from across the state for our Day on the Hill event! The Day on the Hill provides you with an opportunity to participate in St. Paul for a day of broadband advocacy and networking with colleagues and legislators. https://wp.me/p3if7-4ww

–Minnesota Campus Compact 2018 Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 19, at Hamline University.  For more information go to: http://mncampuscompact.org/event/2017-state-summit-and-awards-luncheon/

–National Rural Assembly “Building Civic Courage” will be held May 21-23, in Durham, North Carolina.  For more information go to:  http://ruralassembly.org/2018-rural-assembly/

OPPORTUNITIES

–Apply for the Blandin Broadband Communities program!  Blandin Foundation is currently seeking four new Blandin Broadband Communities for a 2018-20 cohort.   https://blandinfoundation.org/programs/expanding-opportunity/broadband/blandin-broadband-communities-program/

— The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on Feb. 15 released the draft plan for investing the funds the state is set to receive as part of the national Volkswagen settlement. Now it seeks public input on the draft to ensure that Minnesotans feel it reflects their priorities. In 2016, Volkswagen was caught violating air pollution standards for nitrogen oxides in its diesel cars and SUVs. As part of the national court settlement, states and tribes are eligible for funds to reduce diesel pollution in their jurisdictions. Minnesota’s share of the settlement is $47 million over 10 years. The MPCA received extensive public input throughout 2017 to help develop its draft plan.  The draft plan is open for comment through March 19, 2018.  Read more.

FCC Seeks Nominations for Tribal Government Representatives to Serve On Renewed FCC Native Nations Communications Task Force  This task force will make recommendations to the FCC on communications-related issues that affect tribal interests, including the availability of facilities and services like broadband. Nominations are due March 31st.

–Applications are open for Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) 2018 Scholarship!  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. LEARN MORE AND APPLY 

— Apply for McKnight Foundation’s Education and Learning Program.  Is your organization doing innovative work to advance education or have a focus on engaging families and communities to have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect their children’s education? You may be a great fit for McKnight Foundation’s Education and Learning Program.  This program advances equitable, sustainable systems change in education by building pipelines of diverse, effective educators and engaging families. The deadline for initial inquiries is April 5, so head to the McKnight Foundation website and become familiar with the guidelines and application requirements.

— 2017-2018 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announces the 30th Annual Student Essay Contest open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Essays are due April 20.

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Scholarship  Financial support for American Indian and Alaska Native scholars, health leaders, health professionals, and paraprofessionals serving tribal communities who are interested in attending the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health’s Summer and Winter Institute courses at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Application Deadline: May 1, 2018.

The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Application deadline is May 31.

Smart Rural Community Showcase Award honors rural communities that have achieved high levels of broadband activity and have used it to support innovative practices in industry sectors, such as healthcare, safety and security, and economic development. Application deadline is July 1, 2018.

–Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their community. First place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

Rural Hospital Leadership 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. Application deadline is August 31.

Rural and Tribal Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance  Technical assistance for tribes and rural communities of less than 50,000 people to plan system start-up, transit service improvements, facility development, marketing, transportation coordination, and staff training.

–Xcel Energy opened applications for Solar*Rewards Program; other incentive options still available to install solar in Minnesota.  While the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is no longer available, Xcel Energy and other utilities continue to offer incentive or rebate programs to incentivize solar energy systems for their customers. Xcel Energy  Solar*Rewards Program is open for residential and commercial customers. Two other investor-owned utilities —Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power—also offer solar incentives. Minnesota Power offers solar incentives to qualified customers through its SolarSense program. Otter Tail Power offers a Publicly Owned Property Solar program that provides cash incentives to publicly owned facilities that install non-residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

With the 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit still in place through 2019 and other utility incentive programs in force, support for Minnesota residences and businesses to install their own solar energy system remains strong. Several electric utilities in Minnesota voluntarily offer incentives for customers who install solar energy systems. Check with your utility to see if it offers incentives for new solar energy systems. See the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which offers a comprehensive list of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

Scholarships Available to Foodservice, Lodging & Hospitality Students. The Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation annually awards scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education for careers in the restaurant industry or in lodging management. Last year, 29 students received scholarships totaling $99,000.

MISCELLANEOUS

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America  View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America’s counties. View indicators about people, jobs, veterans, and county types. The atlas has been updated to include 2012-16 American Community Survey data and the latest (2016) median income and poverty estimates.

–Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) is an online resource that leads “Creating a Sustainable Network for the Rural Aging Movement,” a three-year program to improve the experience of rural aging by connecting and supporting key players, sharing knowledge, and expanding the resources available to rural older adults. The website features Rural Aging Resources, Opioid Crisis Resources, and a Rural Aging Listserv where participants in the GIA Rural Aging Network can interact to share best practices and new ideas, as well as to promote new partnerships. Visit the website here.

— The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released an updated and modernized version of its National Broadband Map. This version of the map is designed to support more frequent data updates in order to provide a reliable source of broadband deployment information for consumers.

Cybersecurity Toolkit for Rural Hospitals and Clinics  describes 4 steps in awareness, assessment, implementation & remediation, and education, to help rural clinics and hospitals develop and maintain cybersecurity programs. Includes a list of resources, checklists, and tools appropriate for all users.

Exploring Strategies to Improve Health and Equity in Rural Communities  identifies the strengths and assets of rural communities, key partners, change agents, and opportunities to leverage assets to improve rural health and equity through a national forum of over 400 national and region cross-sector stakeholders. Findings were organized into four categories: individual assets, organizational assets, community assets, and cultural assets. Includes discussion on challenges and opportunities for action for each asset category.
Additional links:

The Health Center Program Is Increasing Access to Care Through Telehealth provides a snapshot showing how community health centers utilize telehealth to expand access to quality healthcare. Includes data comparing how rural and urban health centers use telehealth to provide different types of healthcare services.

2018 Telehealth Policy Barriers  discusses existing policy barriers at the federal and state level that inhibit the use of telehealth in rural and urban areas, including: reimbursement; malpractice; licensing; HIPAA/privacy/security; prescribing; credentialing and privileging; and other influences on policy.

Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Primary Care Practices  provides tools, information, and resources to implement suicide prevention practices in primary care settings, including those in rural areas.  Additional links: PDF Version

–The NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis conducted formative research to enhance understanding of strengths and assets in rural places, identify key partners and change agents, and identify opportunities to leverage assets to improve rural health and equity. In their report, Exploring Strategies to Improve Health and Equity in Rural Communities, the Center engaged over 400 national and regional cross-sector stakeholders through a national discussion forum that included key informant interviews, regional community forums, regional vetting sessions, formal partnerships, and feedback sessions at national conferences. Click here to read the full report.

 

Rural Food Access Toolkit This new toolkit compiles resources and model programs on improving access to healthy food in rural areas. Created in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, this toolkit is designed to guide you through creating a sustainable program from development through evaluation.

National Trends in Drinking Water Quality Violations  examines patterns in health-related violations in the Safe Drinking Water Act by analyzing data from 17,900 community water systems from 1982-2015. Identifies vulnerability factors in communities and water systems. Includes a rural and urban comparison of total violations by water system, and county-level information on violation hot spots and spatial trends in community water systems.

— CERTs reaches out to Greater Minnesota to develop renewable energy projects through its Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota Program, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) offers custom project assistance and tools to farmers and rural small business owners who are interested in pursuing renewable energy projects. CERTs is available to help the people of Greater Minnesota complete clean energy projects such as solar, wind, and biomass. CERTs can help:

  • Explore projects that could work for your farm or business
  • Identify potential funding and financing options
  • Get one-on-one assistance on your project

Read more about Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota.

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EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!

FEBRUARY 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 2
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

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

ACROSS THE FIELD:  Happy Valentine’s Day!

We have a short Across the Field today to give a hearty shout-out to all of our steady readers who’ve been with us over these past 16 years! And welcome to new readers, too! We appreciate your interest and we’ll keep supplying practical info on these pages for as long as possible.

Thanks as well to my co-editors, Deb Miller Slipek — who gathers all this amazing info from her many sources across the countryside, and Ann Treacy — who gets us online every month on the MN Rural Partners website and beyond.

To all of our readers, keep doing good work out there. You are appreciated each and every day!

–Jane Leonard

 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program  promotes the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential healthcare services; and strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole. Application deadline is February 23, 2018. 

Native Youth and Culture Fund provides grants for projects that focus on youth and incorporate culture and tradition to address social and health issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, and mental health. Letter of Intent (Required by March 8, 2018. Application deadline is May 1, 2018.

–AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by expanding markets. Grant opportunity for individuals (farmers) or businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and local government entities. Grants are for equipment purchases or physical improvements and are intended to support businesses. Application deadline is March 9th.  For more information go to:  https://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/valueaddedgrant.aspx

— Good Food Access Program (GFAP) Technical Assistance Grant assists in increasing the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low and moderate-income areas. Grants are intended to assist technical assistance providers in working with new or existing for-profit, not-for-profit, and cooperative self-service retail food establishments with needs-based assistance. Application deadline is March 14th.  For more information go to: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/gfaptechassistance

— The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is accepting applications for the following grant programs: outdoor recreation, natural and scenic areas, regional trails, local trail connections and federal recreational trails. These grants help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects such as local parks, regional trails and trail connections. The application deadlines are Wednesday, Feb. 28, for the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program and Friday, March 30, for the other programs. The DNR anticipates that both federal and state funding will be available during 2018 for these programs. For information about eligible projects and how to apply for a grant, visit the recreation grants page of the DNR website at mndnr.gov.

–The FY19 Minnesota Festival Support grant program is now open for application. The

FY19 Minnesota Festival Support Program overview and application instructions are available on the Arts Board website.  Minnesota Festival Support is a grant program designed to provide meaningful arts experiences to Minnesotans through festivals that celebrate the arts, build community, and expose communities to diverse art forms including folk and traditional arts. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 23.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering funding to coalitions working to reduce substance abuse among youth and to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, organizations, and governmental entities. Deadline: 3/29/2018. Click here for funding guidelines.

Applications are open for Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) 2018 Scholarship!  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. LEARN MORE AND APPLY 

Newman’s Own Award offers grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life for military members and their families, including programs for job training, housing, caregiver support, and mental health. Application deadline is April 25, 2018.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program  provides grants to support domestic violence shelters.  Application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Smart Rural Community Showcase Award honors rural communities that have achieved high levels of broadband activity and have used it to support innovative practices in industry sectors, such as healthcare, safety and security, and economic development. Application deadline is July 1, 2018.

Grants Available to Help Employers Develop Apprenticeships. Employers are invited to apply for the Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative grant to help them create or expand registered apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care, information technology and transportation. Employers can receive up to $5,000 for each registered apprentice.

U.S. Department of Labor is offering funding for events that offer homeless veteran populations a variety of social services such as housing, healthcare, and employment opportunities to help them to reintegrate into their communities. Deadline: applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is offering grants for innovative projects that are working to build a culture of health, ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need and all families have the opportunity to make healthier choices. Deadline: applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to visit the website to review funding guidelines.

—-Community Food Projects Technical Assistance provides one-on-one technical assistance, educational resources, and professional development opportunities for current grantees and potential applicants of the USDA Community Food Projects grant program. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

—-Affordable Housing Loans for Low-Income Rural Communities  provide short-term loans at below market interest rates to local nonprofits, for-profits, and government entities developing affordable housing for low-income, rural communities. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program  provides grants to eligible organizations to cover all or part of the costs associated with purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

–The Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) Grants for Overcoming Racism Events in Greater Minnesota.  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–28th Annual Energy Design Conference & Expo, is to be held February 19-21 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The conference features 44 sessions, highlighted by Peter Yost’s February 20 keynote address titled “The Art, Science, and Business of High Performance Homes.” Read more to register and view the agenda.

— Register to Attend 2018 Aquatic Invaders Summit III  scheduled for February 28 and March 1, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Minneapolis, the Aquatic Invaders Summit III is hosted by Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates.

–Mark your calendar now to attend the 2018 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, March 6-7, at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato. If you are interested in being a sponsor or having a booth in the Marketplace, contact Lisa Havelka at 888-975-6766 or lisa.havelka@state.mn.us.  For additional conference questions, contact Lori Peterson at 651-757-1876 or lori.a.peterson@state.mn.us

–Save the Date! The 2018 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference is the place to go to consider the ways your nonprofit is balancing the art of communication in a world of high-speed technology.  It will be held Wednesday, March 21 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.  Learn more and register today!

The CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference is on March 28-29 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.  Read more for registration information and the agenda.

AURI’s New Uses Forum 2018: Adding Value at the Speed of Innovation will be held April 11 and 12 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN.  For more information go to: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eezeyr8wfe403e0f&llr=btf8y8cab

–Save the Date!  Minnesota Campus Compact 2018 Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 19, at Hamline University.

–National Rural Assembly “Building Civic Courage” will be held May 21-23, in Durham, North Carolina.  For more information go to:  http://ruralassembly.org/2018-rural-assembly/

OPPORTUNITIES

Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships — Accepting Idea Briefs for project proposals and Board member applications. DETAILS

— Public Hearing and Comment Period: Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing, Action Plan and Consolidated Plan. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Housing, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services are accepting comments on the following documents until March 2, 2018:

  • Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing
    • This study is part of HUD’s requirement in the Federal Fair Housing Act to affirmatively further fair housing choice and create economic opportunities, and will cover 2018-2021.
  • State of Minnesota 2018 Housing and Community Development Annual Action Plan (Action Plan)
    • Directs how the state will meet needs and priorities in 2018 and will be submitted to HUD to receive federal housing and community development funding.
  • Substantial Amendment to the 2017-2021 Consolidated Plan
    • Examines the housing and community development needs of the state and sets priorities for allocating HUD funds.

How to Participate

  • Read the Plans: Visit our website to read the draft plans and see full instructions for commenting.
  • Attend a Public Hearing: Tuesday, February 20 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at Rondo Library, 461 N. Dale Street in St. Paul.
  • Submit Comments: By mail to Minnesota Housing, Attn: Action Plan/AI, 400 Wabasha Street N., Suite 400, St. Paul, MN 55102. By email to mn.housing@state.mn.us with “Action Plan/AI” in the subject line. Comments will be accepted until close of business on March 2.
  • Questions? Contact Jessica Deegan.

Xcel Energy opened applications for Solar*Rewards Program; other incentive options still available to install solar in Minnesota.  While the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is no longer available, Xcel Energy and other utilities continue to offer incentive or rebate programs to incentivize solar energy systems for their customers. Xcel Energy  Solar*Rewards Program is open for residential and commercial customers. Two other investor-owned utilities —Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power—also offer solar incentives. Minnesota Power offers solar incentives to qualified customers through its SolarSense program. Otter Tail Power offers a Publicly Owned Property Solar program that provides cash incentives to publicly owned facilities that install non-residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

With the 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit still in place through 2019 and other utility incentive programs in force, support for Minnesota residences and businesses to install their own solar energy system remains strong. Several electric utilities in Minnesota voluntarily offer incentives for customers who install solar energy systems. Check with your utility to see if it offers incentives for new solar energy systems. See the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which offers a comprehensive list of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

Scholarships Available to Foodservice, Lodging & Hospitality Students. The Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation annually awards scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education for careers in the restaurant industry or in lodging management. Last year, 29 students received scholarships totaling $99,000.

— Udall Scholarship offers scholarships to Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, self-governance, native health, or the environment.  Application deadline is March 8.

— 2017-2018 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announces the 30th Annual Student Essay Contest open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Essays are due April 20.

The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Application deadline is May 31.

–Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their communityFirst place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

Rural Hospital Leadership 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. Application deadline is August 31.

–WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS

 MISCELLANEOUS

Updated DEED Business Guide Now Available  The 2018 edition of “A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota” is now available from the Small Business Assistance Office at DEED. This popular guide, which is now in its 36th edition and free of charge, provides a concise summary of the major issues faced by anyone starting a business in Minnesota. –Minnesota benefits from the many ways immigrants from across the globe help build the vibrant communities we live in and love today. Here is a compilation of  a variety of demographic data in easy-to-use infographics that illustrate how Minnesota’s immigrants contribute to our economy and communities. The data is available for the state as a whole, and for each of Minnesota’s eight Congressional Districts.

About Half of Rural Counties Now Experiencing More Deaths than Births  is a map showing natural decrease in population in rural counties, before and after 2010. Identifies rural counties that had a natural increase, that had a natural decrease in 2006-2009, and those with a natural decrease that was new since 2010. Based on population data from 2000 through 2016.

Reinventing Rural Health Care: A Case Study of Seven Upper Midwest States  examines the current state of rural healthcare in seven states – Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming – and uses the findings to determine the impact of existing federal policies, understand ongoing healthcare challenges, and identify opportunities for improvement in rural healthcare access and delivery. It recommends the following actions to improve rural healthcare: rightsizing healthcare services to fit community need, creating rural funding mechanisms, building and supporting the primary care physician workforce, and expanding telemedicine services. Analysis is based on interviews with over 90 national thought leaders and key stakeholders.  Additional links: InfographicSummary – Rural Health Care: Lessons Learned

Taking Stock: Policy Opportunities for Advancing Rural Health  examines the progress of health system transformation and discusses the challenges that remain for rural people, places, and providers. Organized around seven main topics: Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, insurance coverage and affordability, quality, healthcare finance and system transformation, workforce, and population health. Provides background information on each topic and shares policy suggestions for addressing each topic’s most pressing issues.

Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health  topic guide was updated with new resources and information.

2016 American Community Survey (ACS) State and County Dashboard is a map-based interactive tool for accessing selected 2012-2016 American Community Survey data at the state and county level. Includes data on population, poverty, unemployment, and more.

Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The MLU series contains acreage estimates of major uses for the U.S., regions, and States, beginning in 1945 and published about every 5 years since (through 2012). The annual cropland summary table has been consistently maintained since 1910 and now includes data through 2017.

–The Broadband Task Force released their latest annual report. They recommend $35.7 million a year for ongoing broadband grants. https://wp.me/p3if7-4qx Word is spreading in local media.  https://wp.me/p3if7-4qT

The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s newest interactive tool, the Opportunity Occupations Monitor, identifies well-paying jobs across various educational requirement levels in states and metro areas. The monitor separates occupations into labor market groups based on entry-level educational requirements by employers. It also provides geographic-specific information on occupations, including total employment, median salary, and percent of monthly income needed for median regional housing costs. Access the tool here.

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EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!

November-December 2017 and January 2018- Volume XVI, Number 1
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also available online at:

  • FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
  • TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • OPPORTUNITIES
  • MISCELLANEOUS

ACROSS THE FIELD:  MN Rural Partners’ MRP Round-Up finds a home at Growth & Justice!
by Jane Leonard

Deb, Ann & I are happy to announce that after years of wandering in the wilderness, the MRP Rural Round-Up has been adopted into the office home of Growth & Justice , a St. Paul-based non-profit with a mission to “develop and advocate for public policy that makes Minnesota’s economy more prosperous and fair for all Minnesotans.”

In early 2017, Growth & Justice launched its “Minnesota Rural Equity Project” — an ambitious effort to shine a light on persistent socioeconomic and public investment gaps throughout rural and Greater Minnesota, and to create a “One Minnesota” policy framework for decision-makers in 2018 and beyond. At its start, the project posed this overarching question: “What kinds of state policies, public investments, business incentives, and local initiatives will work best to strengthen Greater Minnesota communities, revitalize local economies, and reduce inequality, poverty, and racial disparity?”  Listening for the answers to that question has led Growth & Justice to believe that better understanding and investing in rural equity, and in the opportunities of rural urban interdependence, is essential for statewide prosperity.

Just two weeks ago, I was thrilled to start a new job as President of Growth & Justice, taking over from retiring President Dane Smith (who actually will continue writing and connecting for G & J in his semi-retirement, as Senior Policy Fellow & President Emeritus). My new colleagues were equally thrilled to welcome the MRP Rural Round-Up as a partner and platform for continued  exchange of ideas and resources as part of the MN Rural Equity Project, continuing the work started by Minnesota Rural Partners nearly 10 years ago on Minnesota Rural Urban Connections: We are all in this together!

From the MRP report back then that estimated Rural Urban Interdependencies and proposed a Rural Urban Partnering Framework: In Minnesota today, as in many states across the nation, rural and urban lines continue to blur — spatially, culturally and economically. Instead of continuing to treat these interdependent places, people and economies as separate entities, Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. (MRP) believes more can be gained – socially and economically – by intentionally building a rural urban partnering framework that supports existing partnerships and spurs many more new connections, coordination and collaboration for the benefit of all.”

We’re happy to be housed with Growth & Justice — happy to be partnering so we can continue to bring you this helpful Round-Up of facts, figures, thoughts and gosh darn good resources for funding, opportunities, trainings/meetings, and miscellaneous — to help rural and urban people and places thrive – together!

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

— USDA Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) Program is taking applications.  The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products. The grant covers 50 percent of the total project costs. Applications are due January 31, 2018.  Additional details are available at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants

–INVESTOPEDIA.ORG, an initiative of Investopedia, supports programs that enhance financial empowerment among low-income individuals and communities. Investopedia.org defines “financial empowerment” as providing the information, tools and coaching needed to achieve financial sustainability in the short and long term. One-year grants in the range of $10,000 to $25,000 are being offered to nonprofit organizations that are working to help low-income individuals and communities reduce bad debt, make the most of their financial resources and build assets. Eligible applicants include 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations based in the United States. Deadline: 1/31/2018. Visit the Investopedia website here to review the funding guidelines and to submit an online application.

–The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) wishes to announce to all local artists, organizations providing arts programming, and schools within Region 7E (the Minnesota Counties of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs) that there are five February 1, 2018 art grant deadlines!

Art in Our Schools Grants: School districts may apply for special arts project related funding up to $3,000.

Small/Art Project Grants: Nonprofit organizations, art groups, school districts, and local units of government may apply for arts funding ranging from $500-$5,000.

Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Organizations: Nonprofit organizations, art groups, school districts, and local units of government may apply for arts funding ranging from $5,000-­$15,000.

Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Individuals: Individual artists may apply for arts project funding up to $2,500. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents in Region 7E and must have an open to the public component to their project.

Individual Artist Grants: Individual artists may apply for arts project funding up to $1,000. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents in Region 7E.

  • The link to all of these online application processes can be found at the ECRAC website: http://www.ecrac.org/grants.
  • The online grant application process is open now.
  • For further information, please call 320-396-2337 extension 2 or email: grantinfo@ecrac.org

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Offers grants to fire departments and EMS organizations for equipment, training, personnel wellness programs, capital funding, and collaboration efforts. Application Deadline: Feb 2, 2018.

— National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is offering grants through the ART WORKS program for artistically excellent projects that celebrate America’s creativity and cultural heritage, invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups, and broadens an understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society. Deadline: 2/15/2018. Visit the NEA’s website here for details.

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program Grants to promote the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential healthcare services; and strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole. Application Deadline: Feb 23, 2018.

–AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program.  Grant opportunity for individuals (farmers) or businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and local government entities. Grants are for equipment purchases or physical improvements and are intended to support businesses. The 2018 application period is until March 2018.  For more information go to: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/valueaddedgrant.aspx

— The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is accepting applications for the following grant programs: outdoor recreation, natural and scenic areas, regional trails, local trail connections and federal recreational trails. These grants help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects such as local parks, regional trails and trail connections. The application deadlines are Wednesday, Feb. 28, for the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program and Friday, March 30, for the other programs. The DNR anticipates that both federal and state funding will be available during 2018 for these programs. For information about eligible projects and how to apply for a grant, visit the recreation grants page of the DNR website at mndnr.gov.

Grants Available to Help Employers Develop Apprenticeships Employers are invited to apply for the Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative grant to help them create or expand registered apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care, information technology and transportation. Employers can receive up to $5,000 for each registered apprentice.

–Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is offering grants for innovative projects that are working to build a culture of health, ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need and all families have the opportunity to make healthier choices. Deadline: applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to visit the website to review funding guidelines.

Community Food Projects Technical Assistance One-on-one technical assistance, educational resources, and professional development opportunities for current grantees and potential applicants of the USDA Community Food Projects grant program. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Affordable Housing Loans for Low-Income Rural Communities  Short-term loans at below market interest rates to local nonprofits, for-profits, and government entities developing affordable housing for low-income, rural communities. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program  Grants to eligible organizations to cover all or part of the costs associated with purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

–The SURDNA Foundation is offering grants to nonprofit organizations with its Thriving Cultures program.  Through the program’s Artists and Economic Development funding area, the Foundation supports efforts that provide artists with business training and financial resources enabling them to be, and create, valuable economic assets for their communities. The focus is on nonprofit organizations that operate business and entrepreneurship training programs for artists and cultural organizations, provide financing to artists and artist-centered enterprises, and offer arts and culture-based programs and services that directly engage and support the people who live and work in the area as a strategy for equitable economic development. Letters of inquiry are accepted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Artists and Economic Development funding area.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–The 28th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo will be held Feb. 19-21, 2018 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Once again the conference will provide the latest in energy-efficient building and technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design. There will be over 40 sessions from some of the top educators in the business, as well as plenty of opportunities to network. The Minnesota Department of Commerce will be an exhibitor at the event. Read more.

Register to Attend 2018 Aquatic Invaders Summit III  scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 1, 2018, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Minneapolis, the Aquatic Invaders Summit III is hosted by Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates.

–Mark your calendar now to attend the 2018 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, March 6-7, 2018, at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato. If you are interested in being a sponsor or having a booth in the Marketplace, contact Lisa Havelka at 888-975-6766 or lisa.havelka@state.mn.us.  For additional conference questions, contact Lori Peterson at 651-757-1876 or lori.a.peterson@state.mn.us

–Save the Date! The 2018 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference is the place to go to consider the ways your nonprofit is balancing the art of communication in a world of high-speed technology.  It will be held Wednesday, March 21 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.  Learn more and register today!

— The CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference on March 28-29 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.  Read more for registration information and the agenda.

–Save the Date!  Minnesota Campus Compact 2018 Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 19, 2018 at Hamline University.

OPPORTUNITIES

–Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.  Accepting Idea Briefs for project proposals and Board member applications. DETAILS

–Xcel Energy opens applications for Solar*Rewards Program on Jan. 8; other incentive options still available to install solar in Minnesota.  While the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is no longer available, Xcel Energy and other utilities continue to offer incentive or rebate programs to incentivize solar energy systems for their customers. Xcel Energy is open Solar*Rewards Program for residential and commercial customers.

The 2017 Legislature extended Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Program for three years and increased its funding to $15 million in 2018, $10 million in 2019 and 2020, and $5 million in 2021. The Solar*Rewards Program provides recipients with 10 years of annual incentive payments based on the solar energy system’s annual production. Solar*Rewards applicants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Two other investor-owned utilities —Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power—also offer solar incentives. Minnesota Power offers solar incentives to qualified customers through its SolarSense program and will begin taking applications on Jan. 9. Otter Tail Power offers a Publicly Owned Property Solar program that provides cash incentives to publicly owned facilities that install non-residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

With the 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit still in place through 2019 and other utility incentive programs in force, support for Minnesota residences and businesses to install their own solar energy system remains strong. Several electric utilities in Minnesota voluntarily offer incentives for customers who install solar energy systems. Check with your utility to see if it offers incentives for new solar energy systems. See the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which offers a comprehensive list of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

–The Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced the opening of the application process for the 2018 Clean Energy Community Awards (CECA). The awards recognize the good work of Minnesota communities in helping to achieve the state’s clean energy goals. Commerce is the sponsor and coordinator of the program, with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Applications and award information are available, with applications accepted until Feb. 5, 2018. The awards will recognize communities that implement planning, programs, policies, and technologies that encourage energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation. Read more about award criteria and who can apply. Visit the CECA webpage for more on the Clean Energy Community Awards and past award recipients.

The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships Provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Application Deadline: May 31, 2018.

–Tribes can get technical assistance for energy planning, renewables. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy provides federally recognized Indian tribes, including Alaska Native villages, tribal energy resource development organizations, and other organized tribal groups and communities with technical assistance to advance tribal energy projects at no cost. On-Request Technical Assistance provides energy planning, housing and building energy efficiency, and much more. The Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) assists in the development of tribal renewable energy projects. Learn more.

— Udall Scholarship offers scholarships to Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, self-governance, native health, or the environment.  Application Deadline: Mar 8, 2018.

— 2017-2018 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announces the 30th Annual Student Essay Contest open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Essays due April 20, 2018.

–Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their community. First place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

–Grant Reviewers Needed ECRAC (East Central Regional Arts Council) is a Minnesota Regional Arts Council serves Region 7E the counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine) will be using more grant review panels this year.  If you are interested in assisting in the grant review process please contact us to volunteer! The time commitment is usually less then 10 hours and the learning opportunity is priceless.  Contact us at www.ecrac.org or 320.396.2337.

–The Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) Grants for Overcoming Racism Events in Greater Minnesota.  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS

–WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS

 MISCELLANEOUS

Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity  Inaugural report from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity identifying key opportunities for improving the well-being of America’s rural communities and citizens. Provides recommendations to the President of the United States, focusing on five main areas: e-Connectivity, improving quality of life, supporting a rural workforce, harnessing technological innovation, and developing the rural economy.

Rural America at a Glance, 2017 Edition  The rural population is shrinking due to outmigration of young adults, fewer births, increased mortality among working-age adults, and an aging population. Rural job growth since 2011 has been well below the urban growth rate.

–Most of Minnesota’s major cities (10,000+ residents) saw no change in median household income between the 2007-2011 and 2012-2016 time periods, according to new estimates from the American Community Survey. Read now.

–Minnesota Compass has new data on poverty, median income, health care coverage by city, immigration, and proportion of adults working. To see highlights and analysis of the new data, go to New Data.

Rural Poverty & Well-being ERS research in this topic focuses on the economic, social, spatial, and demographic factors that affect the income and poverty status of rural residents.

–The Carsey School of Public Policy has released “Employment, Poverty, and Public Assistance in the Rural United States.” The report reveals that despite the abundance of farmland in rural America, just six percent of rural workers depend on agriculture. Twenty-two percent depend on manufacturing, and the rest work in retail, sales, health care, construction, transportation, banking, services, tourist industries, and government – similar to their counterparts in cities and suburbs. Download the brief here.

State Fact Sheets The ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and agricultural exports. Data are available for all States, and for metro/nonmetro breakouts within States. Links to county-level data are provided where available. This release provides the latest available (2016) U.S. and State-Level poverty estimates.

ERS County-level Data Sets  Provides access to county-level data on poverty rates, population change, unemployment rates, and education levels. Includes state maps illustrating the county data.

–The Minnesota Solar Guide has been published by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and copies are now available. The guide is a listing of solar businesses in the state, from solar manufacturers and system developers and installers to the agencies that help finance solar projects. It helps solar businesses connect with one another and helps consumers find the solar products and services they need to plan and install solar on their homes and businesses. Printed copies can be obtained by contacting solar.help@state.mn.us. The guide is also available for downloading as a pdf on the Commerce website.

Rural Transit Fact Book 2017  Provides national, state-level, and county-level statistics and information on rural transit in America. Includes data regarding transit trips for medical purposes with an urban/rural comparison. Also, covers financial and operating statistics for agencies receiving section 5311 funding. Includes a section on tribal transit.

Rural Transportation: Challenges and Opportunities  Policy brief discusses a study on the challenges of implementing rural transportation services and their implication on transportation policy. Analyzes infrastructure, geography, funding, accessibility, support and public awareness, and socio-demographics as barriers to rural transportation systems.

–“Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns: A Vital Mobility Link,” a report by the American Public Transportation Association, looks at specific groups of non-drivers that require some form of public transportation, as well as the different types of transit available and the advantages they present to small, rural communities. Several case studies are presented, and myths about rural public transportation are addressed. Get the report here.

–The MPCA Small Business Program has created a new webpage for MN microbreweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries that covers environmental regulation and sustainability resources. MPCA is assisting these facilities and their consultants to become more aware they may need to comply with certain environmental regulations, including:

  • Air emissions
  • Construction stormwater
  • Hazardous waste
  • Industrial stormwater
  • Industrial wastewater
  • Recycling
  • Refrigerants
  • Community right-to-know reporting

It also offers information about environmental sustainability including greening your business, facility/building conservation for energy, water, and waste, and funding opportunities for all small businesses including grants and loans. Though some of the content is brewery/distillery-specific, there are practical tips and suggestions that are applicable to many emerging small business sectors.

–“Tackling the Opioid Crisis in a Rural Community,” a report by the American Hospital Association, highlights a partnership between a rural hospital physician and the director of a community counseling center to establish a medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction in rural Maine. The report presents the program’s support structure, as well as the advantages of having an integrated treatment approach. Get the report here.

–The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released, “2017 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report: Chartbook on Rural Health Care.” The report summarizes trends in healthcare quality and disparities for rural populations, and includes quality measures for access to healthcare, patient safety, person- and family-centered care, care coordination, affordability, healthy living, and effective treatment. Click here to get the report.

2017 Rural Health Report Card  Provides an overview of healthcare in rural America and comparatively ranks rural health for each state. Details the reasoning behind the rankings for multiple measures related to mortality, quality of life, and access to care. Includes a discussion on rural healthcare facilities, the urban-rural divide, and rural resources available within the state.

Diabetes Mortality in Rural America: 1999-2015 Examines diabetes-related mortality, with a particular focus on the roles of rurality and race, during a 16-year period from 1999-2015.

Chronic Disease in Rural America This new guide provides an overview of chronic disease generally as well as specific conditions, including heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory conditions, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS.

Rural Aging in Place Toolkit This new toolkit compiles resources and model programs on Aging in Place. Created in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, this toolkit is designed to guide you through creating a sustainable program from development through evaluation.

Employment Spillover Effects of Rural Inpatient Healthcare Facilities  From 2001 to 2015, inpatient healthcare facilities experienced modest employment gains in rural counties despite the effects of the Great Recession. However, rural healthcare jobs do not have strong spillover effects on jobs in other sectors.

National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network  Provides access to national, state, and county-level data on environmental health topics, including air quality, heat stress, exposure to pesticides, and other factors. Also includes data on health concerns impacted by the environment, including asthma, COPD, cancer, and heart disease.
Additional links: Data Query Tool,  Info by Location (County)

–Enterprise Community Partners has developed Opportunity360 Toolkit, a comprehensive approach to better understanding and addressing the challenges facing communities, and to improving outcomes for all residents in areas such as housing stability, quality education, health and well-being, economic security, and mobility. Through a user-friendly web interface, Opportunity360 features cross-sector data, community engagement, and measurement tools to help community development partners make smart investments, build more inclusive communities, and create collaborative solutions that transform communities across the country. Access the toolkit here.

–HUD’s Office of Recapitalization published two documents that guide owners through the process of developing a preservation strategy for their HUD-insured or -assisted multifamily affordable rental properties. The “HUD Preservation Workbook: Successful Stewardship of Multifamily Housing Recapitalization” is designed to support the exploration and decision-making that owners will undertake to preserve their properties. The workbook is meant to be used in tandem with the Recapitalization Excel Tool. The tool contains numerous spreadsheets for owners to enter baseline information about the property, its current Section 8 contracts and financing structure, financial performance, and physical condition. Get the Workbook here, and the Tool here

Rural Households Account for Nearly One-fifth of U.S. Food-insecure Households
Pie chart showing the proportion of food insecure households in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in 2016.

— The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has a website, “Plan. Prepare. Prevail,” containing disaster-preparedness information including: financial documents and records they need to have available in case of a disaster; personal and small business financial inventory forms (also available in Spanish); quick checklists to identify and organize key financial records (also available in Spanish); as well as links to other valuable resources and materials. Visit the website here.

–“Rural Arts, Design, and Innovation in America” is a report that stemmed from a research collaboration with the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It analyzes data from the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey to quantify relationships among arts organizations, design-integrated firms and business innovators in rural settings. Get the report here.

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EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to Jane Leonard at minntwin@comcast.net. And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!