April 2016- Volume XIV, Number 4

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

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

The Sparkplug Foundation provides grants to start-up nonprofit organizations or new projects of established nonprofits that are addressing the fields of music, education, and community organizing. In the Music category, the Foundation supports emerging professional musicians or music-development programs. In the Education and Teaching category, the Foundation funds projects that deal with “the whole student” and with learning as a community activity. In the Grassroots Organizing category, the Foundation encourages activist strategies for addressing institutional injustices and for building a reasoned, just society. The current focus is on ground-level community organizing at the intersection of utilities/energy infrastructure, housing/community resources, and racial justice. Deadlines: online questionnaires must be completed by 4/15/2016; letters of intent are due 4/22/2016; and the deadline for final applications is 5/13/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review its mission and funding guidelines as well as the online application instructions.

Advancing Health Equity Initiative Grant Request for Proposal. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) actively works to integrate health equity in all of its work through a set of practices called the Triple Aim of Health Equity. These practices shift the way MDH, its grantees and other partners can approach public health issues including health inequities. Under the Advancing Health Equity Initiative grant program, MDH is seeking proposals from a non-profit agency (or group of non-profit agencies working as a consortium) to develop and implement an innovative, measurable process which engages communities experiencing health inequities. The Advancing Health Equity Initiative grant is intended to expand the understanding of what creates health by having a community experiencing a significant health inequity identify the relationships between the health inequity and structural inequities. MDH is committed to advancing health equity for Populations of Color (including immigrant and refugee communities) and American Indian populations. For more detailed information, please view the Advancing Health Equity Initiative Request for Proposal. The Intent to Apply form is due April 26.

Community Economic Development (CED) Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects awards funding to Community Development Corporations for projects designed to address food deserts and improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in a rural community. Application Deadline: April 27, 2016.

Community Economic Development (CED) Projects offers funds to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities, including expansion or construction of clinics and health centers. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in rural communities. Application Deadline: April 27, 2016.

NEWMAN’S OWN, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times have joined together to offer grants to recognize volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting military families. Eligible applicants to the Newman’s Own Awards Program must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be a nonprofit organization, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve units, or veterans. Applying organizations will be evaluated on their innovative plans for improving the quality of life for members of the military and their families. Deadline: 4/28/2016. Visit the program’s website here to submit an online application.

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced $500 million will be made available for transportation projects across the country under an eighth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. Like the first seven rounds, FY 2016 TIGER discretionary grants will fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The grant program will focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural. The Notice of Funding Opportunity has been released and $500 million has been appropriated for grants in this round of TIGER. Be sure and take part in the upcoming informational webinars about applying for a TIGER grant. The minimum TIGER grant amount for rural areas is $1 million. Applications are due April 29, 2016.

Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust Innovations in Rural Health Award for original, innovative solutions to drive health improvement in rural communities. Application Deadline: Apr 29, 2016.

Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Community College Grant Initiative provides funds to help community colleges advocate for, adopt, and implement a 100% smoke- or tobacco-free policy. Application Deadline: Apr 29, 2016.

Presbyterian Hunger Program provides funding to programs that work to address the root causes of hunger and provide services to those experiencing hunger. Letter of Intent (Required): April 30, 2016. Application Deadline: Jun 30, 2016.

Retirement Research Foundation is accepting applications for projects that improve lives of aging Americans. Deadline: 5/2/2016. Click here for funding guidelines and an application.

Comprehensive Services for Victims of All Forms of Human Trafficking funds for victim service organizations to support comprehensive services for all victims of human trafficking by increasing the capacity of communities to respond to human trafficking victims through the development of interagency partnerships, professional training, and public awareness activities. Application Deadline: May 2, 2016.

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions – NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. Deadline: May 3, 2016.

Household Water Well System Grants provides funds to create lending programs for homeowners to borrow funds for the construction or repair of household water wells. Application Deadline: May 9, 2016.

Specialized Services for Victims of Human Trafficking funds to enhance the quality and quantity of specialized services, including mental health services, provided by victim service organizations to assist victims of human trafficking. Application Deadline: May 12, 2016.

Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) offers grants to 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 12, 2016.

Minnesota Festival Support is a grant program of the Minnesota State Arts Board 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 program provides funding for sponsoring or presenting organizations to feature Minnesota individual artists and Minnesota arts groups in arts festivals, or in the arts component of broader, community festivals. The program is open to Minnesota 501(c)(3) organizations, community groups with a Minnesota 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, and public agencies that have produced the proposed festival at least once prior to the May 13th deadline. Grants range from $5,000 to $75,000, with a 25% cash match requirement, with a May 13 deadline! There will be a Webinar and conference call on April 14th at 3:00pm for anyone interested learning more about the program. Program guidelines, sample applications, webinar registration information, and contact information for the program officer can be found on the Arts Board website at http://www.arts.state.mn.us/grants/machf-mfs.htm.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program awards grants to women’s domestic violence shelters. Application Deadline: May 31, 2016.

Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE) Competitive Grants Program.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of funding rural communities can use to conduct health and safety outreach around prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. Opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, accounted for 28,648 deaths in 2014, and rural communities are affected at higher rates than urban communities. This year the United States Department of Agriculture is expanding its Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE) competitive grants program to give rural communities the opportunity to use funds for programs that will address the opioid epidemic. Applications are due June 1.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Grants offers funding to schools for the purchase of equipment that will enhance the long-term implementation of a lunch or breakfast program. Application Deadline: June 30, 2016.

USDA is offering money through Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) program. The purpose of SECD is to advance projects which support long-term community and economic growth strategies that reflect both multi-jurisdictional stakeholder collaboration and capitalize upon the unique strengths of the rural area. Through this provision, USDA Rural Development is empowered to work further with rural communities to align resources with long-range and multi-jurisdictional challenges and needs by leveraging federal, state, local, or private funding. Deadline to apply: 6/30/2016. To review funding guidelines, click here.

THE HOME DEPOT Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through 12/31/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS 

Free Blandin Webinar: Broadband-Focused Economic Development Marketing will be held Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Noon. To get the full benefits of new fiber network investments, communities must make targeted audiences aware that this new community and economic development asset is in place. All too often, here in Minnesota and elsewhere, the community efforts to market their fiber networks for business and resident attraction are weak, fragmented and short-term. Finding mention of robust broadband availability cannot be found on community websites. Targeted marketing to attract new firms ignores the competitive advantage that the fiber network provides for data-hungry businesses like manufacturing, data storage, engineering and marketing.
Register now! http://wp.me/p3if7-3rD

— Minnesota High Tech Association 2016 Spring Conference “Building Skills and Strategies for a Smart Society” will be held April 21, 2016. Registration is now open for the 2016 MHTA Spring Conference! This year’s Spring Conference will highlight how the state’s leading companies, large and small, are navigating this world and moving to the next big thing.

–2016 Community Economic Development Symposium, Building Blocks of Economic Development, will be held April 29, 2016, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Hamline University, Anderson Center.   This annual event that brings together professionals from business, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to address strengthening our communities through economic development and closing the income disparity gap. For more information go to: http://www.hamline.edu/business/events/community-economic-development-symposium/

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is pleased to host the Central Minnesota Nonprofit Summit, our sixth annual Greater Minnesota conference. It will take place on Thursday May 5th, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.
This year’s Summit will tackle some of the most pressing themes for nonprofits in Greater Minnesota. Namely, we’ll address rural philanthropy, fundraising in small communities, and a spectrum of nonprofit leadership issues, including governance, personal leadership, organizational culture, advocacy and more. Throughout each discussion, we’ll look at the ways that these issues play out in our Greater Minnesota communities and we’ll highlight opportunities for building a vibrant landscape for all. Register here.

–The Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), in conjunction with Central Lakes College (CLC), the Rural Information Technology Alliance Consortium (RITA), Region Five Development Commission, and the Blandin Foundation, will be hosting the “Tech Ready Brainerd Lakes Area Hackfest” on Saturday May 7th, 2016. You can find out more information about the event at http://techreadyhack.com/. 

National Rural Health Association’s Annual Rural Health Conference in Minneapolis. This year’s NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference is being held in Minneapolis. The keynote speaker is America’s 18th surgeon general, Regina M. Benjamin, MD. The conference will be held May 10-13.

— The American Telemedicine Association Annual Conference and Trade Show will be held May 15-17 in Minneapolis.

Join the 10th Symposium on Small Towns “Rural Housing: Moving In, Out, and FORWARD” hosted by the Center for Small Towns June 7-9, 2016 at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Participants from all over the state will come together to share skills and build networks to create a clear path forward in addressing current and future challenges and opportunities surrounding rural housing. Harnessing the strength, vibrancy, and adaptability of rural areas, CST hopes participants come away with innovative tools to help shape the future of housing in rural communities. For more information go to: http://www.morris.umn.edu/cst/symposium2016/

Registration for the Minnesota Rural Health Conference is Now Open!
Registration is now open for the 2016 Minnesota Rural Health Conference: Cultivating Resilient Communities, June 20-21 in Duluth. Visit the Minnesota Rural Health Conference registration page to register for the conference before May 20 for the early bird rates. Make sure you are aware of important conference information by subscribing to receive email updates.

–SAVE THE DATES for Minnesota Council of Nonprofit events! The Nonprofit Fundraising Conference will be held July 21, 2016 in Brooklyn Center and their Annual Conference will be held October 6 – 7, 2016 in Duluth. 

–Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives. Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth. The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. For more information go to: www.comm-dev.org

Save the date for the 30th Annual Minnesota Venture Conference — Minnesota’s premier event for entrepreneurs and investors! It will be held Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 7:15 am – 5:45 pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) recently announced that its 2016 Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference will be held Nov. 15-16 at the Hilton Airport/Mall of America in Bloomington. Information on registration and early bird rate is available.

OPPORTUNITIES

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program provides scholarships for students pursuing primary care health professions training in exchange for a service commitment in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Application Deadline: April 28, 2016.

–The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust announced the 2016 New Rural: Innovations in Rural Health Award. They are seeking original, innovative solutions that have the potential to drive health improvement in rural communities. They encourage submissions from around the country that highlight new ideas and emerging work. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits and government agencies are welcome to apply. Finalists will receive a $7,500 award and one innovative and inspiring idea will win the New Rural Award and a total of $25,000. Download the Call for Submissions to find out how to enter. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 pm EDT, April 29.

Agricultural Medicine Occupational and Environmental Health for Rural Health Professionals Scholarship awards scholarships to attend the Core Courses for Agricultural Medicine: Occupational and Environmental Health for Rural Health Professionals to be held in Iowa. Application Deadline: May 1, 2016. Sponsor: Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health.

2016 MN Cup competition now underway! Entering its twelfth year, the Minnesota Cup is now open for applications. Participants have until May 6 to submit for a chance to compete for a share of the prize money — which this year will nearly total a record-breaking $400,000. LEARN MORE

Nominations for the 2016 Minnesota Rural Health Awards are under way. This year, there are three awards to be considered:

  • The MN Rural Health Hero Award to one individual who has made an positive or innovative contribution to rural health
  • The MN Rural Health Team Award to a group of individuals or an organization that has made a positive or innovative contribution to rural health
  • The MN Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual that has made a lasting contribution to improving rural health over the span of his or her career                

–Art of the Rural and the InRural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) have launched Next Generation: The Future of Arts & Culture Placemaking in Rural America, a new website which engages artists, organizations, and communities across the public and private sector to advance collaboration, share innovative strategies and research, and elevate emerging leaders in the field. This initiative is conducted in concert with a range of regional and national partners and supported by The University of Iowa and the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program. Visit the website here.

Transportation for America has created a new guide and website called “The Scenic Route” to introduce creative placemaking to transportation planners, public works agencies and local elected officials who are on the front lines of advancing transportation projects. Supported by the Kresge Foundation, this primer for creative placemaking work lays out the why’s and how-to’s of the field, offers eight proven avenues for successful projects, and includes case prominent transportation-related case studies. Visit the website here.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. This new report ranks the health of nearly every county in the nation. Defining rural counties as those with less than 50,000 people, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Report states on the first line of its key findings that “rural counties have had the highest rates of premature death for many years, lagging far behind other counties.” The rankings use publicly available data to measure health outcomes, health factors and the policies and programs that affect them. Three new measures in this seventh annual edition highlight the impact of racial segregation, deaths due to drug overdoses and the negative effects of insufficient sleep.

Rural Tribal Health topic guide was recently updated and includes new frequently asked questions related to tribal healthcare and the health disparities of Native American populations.

Rural Services Integration Toolkit offers strategies for rural communities seeking to integrate health and human services to increase care coordination, improve health outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs. The toolkit was developed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and provides information, considerations for implementation, evidence-based models, and resources.

The Am I Rural? tool has been updated with a new interface and includes a map-based location verification. View the short video to learn how to use the tool’s new features and then find out if your location is considered rural based on various rural definitions by using the tool.

Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is hosting a series of seminars on CRA in rural communities. The first webinar in a series of three provided an overview of the CRA and how it touches rural communities. The discussion included a brief review of rural banking trends, a description of the CRA process, and an accounting of CRA oversight involving rural lenders and lending activity. Materials from the first seminar can be found on HAC’s website here.

–An updated edition of Community Developments Insights report titled Commercial Lending in Indian Country: Potential Opportunities in a Growing Market has been released. This report explores the commercial lending environment in Indian Country, including the relationship between the commercial lending business and Native American governmental, legal, and institutional structures.

— A new resource created by USDA and Colorado State University will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. “The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices” provides detailed guidance in seven modules to measure and assess the expected economic impacts of local food investments. Access the toolkit here.

Local Foods and Farm Business Survival and Growth (Amber Waves feature article) data from USDA’s 2007 and 2012 Agricultural Censuses show that farmers who market food directly to consumers have a greater chance of remaining in business than similarly sized farms who market through traditional channels. While farmers who directly market to consumers are more likely to continue farming than those who do not, their businesses expand at a slower rate.

MISCELLANEOUS

ExploreMinnesota.com offers free website listings to tourism businesses. The official state tourism website gets more than 4 million visits each year. To keep the site fresh and accurate, we depend on businesses and organizations to provide us with current information. When new businesses open, we’d love to work with them to create a new listing. If there are new hotels, restaurants, attractions or other eligible businesses in your community, please let them know that this opportunity is free and easy. Refer them to http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/ways-to-get-involved/website-listings/ to submit a request by clicking on the “Submit your business” link.

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: August 12, 2016.

Seeking Volunteers to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. Email Jane Leonard at jane.leonard@state.mn.us if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

We seek people who are into various art forms and perspectives, artists working in all disciplines, artists from communities of color, arts supporters and collectors, and people with knowledge of the regional arts community. If this piques your interest and you would like to become more involved in our vibrant arts community, consider becoming a board member! The application deadline is Tuesday, May 31st, 2016. Contact the ECRAC office at info@ecrac.org, or call 320-396-2337 to receive a nomination form.

The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is accepting applications for membership on its board. ECRAC is the primary funding source for artists and arts organizations in our area, awarding more than $300,000 in grants last year. We always welcome new talent from our community! There are currently 3 board member openings for residents of Isanti, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs Counties.

All the awards will be presented during the Conference Awards Luncheon on June 21 in Duluth. To nominate someone for an award, please complete and return the nomination form by May 9 to maria.rogness@state.mn.us If you do not receive an email confirmation, please call to check on the receipt of the nomination form at 651-201-3863. For more information about the conference, view the MN Rural Health Conference website.

March 2016- Volume XIV, Number 3

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

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program Grants provides grants to improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telemedicine, computer networks, and related advanced technologies. Application Deadline: March 14, 2016.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to increase capacity to provide accessible, effective, comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, and evidence-based treatment services; permanent supportive housing; peer supports; and other critical services to homeless people. Deadline: 3/15/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

–Department of Labor is offering grants up to $4 million dollars to nonprofit collaborations to develop an approach that provides skills training leading to family-supporting jobs for low- to middle-skilled parents while simultaneously developing and implementing a plan for applicants’ communities or regions that help families better navigate the existing complex systems of supportive services, including increased access to child care. Application deadline: 3/16/2016. Click here for guidelines.

Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to enable nonprofit community collaborations to implement locally designed initiatives to reduce substance abuse. Deadline: 3/18/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

U.S. Conference of Mayors and and Wells Fargo are offering grants through the CommunityWINS grant program. Launched in 2015, the CommunityWINS program includes a $3 million investment by the Wells Fargo Foundation over three years to support neighborhood revitalization, economic development and job creation in local municipalities. Deadline: 3/18/2016. Click here to visit the website for additional information.

–As part of its effort to invest in economic growth within the region, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is offering $100,000 in Incentive Grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or units/agencies of local, state, or federal government. Grants up to $20,000 are available to support collaborative projects or programs in early childhood and economic development areas. Applications for this grant round are due March 21, 2016, with awards announced in May. Full guidelines and online application can be found at www.smifoundation.org.

The SAFER Grant Program outlined in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015 provides $340,000,000 directly to fire departments and volunteer interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The SAFER Grant Program seeks to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies and assure communities have adequate protection from fire and fire–related hazards. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and technical assistance documents for this program are available at the federal Grants.Gov website and at the Federal Emergency Management Agency´s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants webpage. Applications are due March 25.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation: Healthy Communities: Health Equity in Action. Deadline: March 31, 2016. MORE

The East Central Regional Arts Council reminds all local artists, art organizations, and schools within Region 7E (the Minnesota Counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine) that the next deadlines to apply for funding are:

April 1st, 2016: The following grants are now open:

  • Art in Our Schools Grants
  • Small/Art Project Assistance Grants
  • Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Organizations
  • Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Individual Artists
  • McKnight Individual Artist Grants

Grant applicants requesting grant writing consultation or wanting more information regarding arts grant programs can contact the ECRAC office by phone at 320-396-2337, and by email at info@ecrac.org.

The 2016 NHSC LRP application cycle is now open to support primary care medical, dental and mental/behavioral health clinicians committed to caring for underserved people where they are most needed. Health centers are strongly encouraged to participate in the NHSC to help recruit and retain qualified health care providers. View the 2016 Application and Program Guidance. The competitive application cycle will close April 5.

–Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP), with the objective of demonstrating how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to health care services in rural, frontier, and underserved communities. The TNGP networks are used to expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of care services; improve and expand the training of healthcare providers; and/or expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decision making. Applications are due April 8. More information about this opportunity is available on the federal Grants.Gov website.

–The National Endowment for the Arts will offer Challenge America grants 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. Deadline: 4/14/2016. Click here to review program guidelines.

Ben and Jerry’s Foundation: Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program – Deadline: April 15, 2016 MORE

The Sparkplug Foundation provides grants to start-up nonprofit organizations or new projects of established nonprofits that are addressing the fields of music, education, and community organizing. In the Music category, the Foundation supports emerging professional musicians or music-development programs. In the Education and Teaching category, the Foundation funds projects that deal with “the whole student” and with learning as a community activity. In the Grassroots Organizing category, the Foundation encourages activist strategies for addressing institutional injustices and for building a reasoned, just society. The current focus is on ground-level community organizing at the intersection of utilities/energy infrastructure, housing/community resources, and racial justice. Deadlines: online questionnaires must be completed by 4/15/2016; letters of intent are due 4/22/2016; and the deadline for final applications is 5/13/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review its mission and funding guidelines as well as the online application instructions.

Community Economic Development (CED) Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects awards funding to Community Development Corporations for projects designed to address food deserts and improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in a rural community. Application Deadline: April 27, 2016.

Community Economic Development (CED) Projects offers funds to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities, including expansion or construction of clinics and health centers. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in rural communities. Application Deadline: April 27, 2016.

NEWMAN’S OWN, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times have joined together to offer grants to recognize volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting military families. Eligible applicants to the Newman’s Own Awards Program must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be a nonprofit organization, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve units, or veterans. Applying organizations will be evaluated on their innovative plans for improving the quality of life for members of the military and their families. Deadline: 4/28/2016. Visit the program’s website here to submit an online application.

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants  U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced $500 million will be made available for transportation projects across the country under an eighth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. Like the first seven rounds, FY 2016 TIGER discretionary grants will fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The grant program will focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural. The Notice of Funding Opportunity has been released and $500 million has been appropriated for grants in this round of TIGER. Be sure and take part in the upcoming informational webinars about applying for a TIGER grant. The minimum TIGER grant amount for rural areas is $1 million. Applications are due April 29, 2016.

Retirement Research Foundation is accepting applications for projects that improve lives of aging Americans. Deadline: 5/2/2016. Click here for funding guidelines and an application.

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions – NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. Deadline: May 3, 2016.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program awards grants to women’s domestic violence shelters. Application Deadline: May 31, 2016.

USDA is offering money through Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) program. The purpose of SECD is to advance projects which support long-term community and economic growth strategies that reflect both multi-jurisdictional stakeholder collaboration and capitalize upon the unique strengths of the rural area. Through this provision, USDA Rural Development is empowered to work further with rural communities to align resources with long-range and multi-jurisdictional challenges and needs by leveraging federal, state, local, or private funding. Deadline to apply: 6/30/2016. To review funding guidelines, click here.

THE HOME DEPOT Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through 12/31/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

New American Job Fair hosted by the Afro American Development Association http://www.aasaus.org/will be held at the Moorhead Center Mall in Moorhead MN
on March 10th, 2016 from 8am-10am. Resume and application assistance will be available from 10am-2pm. There will be interviews with potential employers. 
Join us in matching eager to work New Americans with potential employers. Translation and on-the-job training services will be available. Together, we can make our community stronger!

Minnesota Festivals and Events Association Annual Conference March 10-11 in New Ulm

Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 7, 2016 at Macalester College. This event brings together a variety of civic engagement stakeholders both to celebrate the good work already being done across the state and to consider ways of building on that work for greater impact. Tickets to the full summit or the awards luncheon are available at mncc2016summit.eventbrite.com until March 24, 2016.

–2016 Nonprofit Technology & Communications Conference will be held Tuesday, April 12 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in Minneapolis. The Nonprofit Technology & Communications Conference is the place to go to learn new things, old things and new ways to do old things. With over 30 breakout sessions, a keynote from Perla Ni, 50 resource exhibitors and plenty of time for networking, this is one conference you don’t want to miss for the latest and greatest in all things nonprofit tech.  Learn more

— Minnesota High Tech Association 2016 Spring Conference “Building Skills and Strategies for a Smart Society” will be held April 21, 2016. Registration is now open for the 2016 MHTA Spring Conference! This year’s Spring Conference will highlight how the state’s leading companies, large and small, are navigating this world and moving to the next big thing.

–SAVE THE DATE: The Federal Reserve Board, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and U.S. Department of Agriculture will host a conversation on the future of housing in rural America on May 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.

— The National Rural Health Association’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit will be held May 10-13 in Minneapolis.

— The American Telemedicine Association Annual Conference and Trade Show will be held May 15-17 in Minneapolis.

–The Minnesota Rural Health Conference “Cultivating Resilient Communities” will be held June 20-21 in Duluth.

–SAVE THE DATES for Minnesota Council of Nonprofit events! The Nonprofit Fundraising Conference will be held July 21, 2016 in Brooklyn Center and their Annual Conference will be held October 6 – 7, 2016 in Duluth. 

–Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives. Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth. The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Check our local host Facebook site for ongoing updates and to start connecting with colleagues now for a great summer gathering: https://www.facebook.com/cds2016. A Call for Papers will be announced soon, and online registration will begin later in 2016.

Save the date for the 30th Annual Minnesota Venture Conference — Minnesota’s premier event for entrepreneurs and investors! It will be held Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 7:15 am – 5:45 pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

OPPORTUNITIES

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is currently developing a five-year plan for housing, community development, and infrastructure. The plan will guide housing, community development, and infrastructure investment policy and actions, such as housing, economic development, public facility, water, and infrastructure investment, over the next several years.

Known as the “Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development,” the study is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The planning process is intended to more comprehensively fulfill three basic goals: to provide decent housing, to expand economic opportunities and to provide a suitable living environment. The plan also depends on the opinions and experiences of people who are knowledgeable about housing and community development in Minnesota – people like you.  The Small Cities staff needs your input so we can determine future use of CDBG funds from DEED. Because we feel that your input is essential to ensuring thorough representation of the views held by people throughout the state, we urge you to complete an online survey. Comments gathered during this survey will be used to create narratives for inclusion in the Consolidated Plan. Your individual comments will remain anonymous and will be compiled with all other responses by an outside vendor. An online survey has been prepared for you to complete at your convenience. It is located at this link: https://www.research.net/r/2016MinnesotaHCDSurvey

The Migrant Health Scholarship offers funds to individuals pursuing or continuing their career in the migrant health field and/or are employees at a Community/Migrant Health Center. Applications are due March 18, 2016. For more information, please contact Janie Favre at (512) 312-5460.

Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship Program provides scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in a health professions program. Application Deadline: March 28, 2016.

MHTA Foundation Scholarship applications now open! The application period for the 2016 MHTA Foundation STEM scholarships is now open. Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies. LEARN MORE

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announces the topic of the 28th Annual Student Essay Contest open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District: What change in the American K-12 education system would result in the most cost-effective improvement in student outcomes? Finalists receive cash prizes, with the first place winner receiving a paid summer internship at the Minneapolis Fed. Essay submission deadline is April 1. For more information go to: 28th Annual High School Student Essay Contest

Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service honors healthcare delivery organizations that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community service. Application Deadline: April 1, 2016.

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program provides scholarships for students pursuing primary care health professions training in exchange for a service commitment in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Application Deadline: April 28, 2016.

–The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust announced the 2016 New Rural: Innovations in Rural Health Award. They are seeking original, innovative solutions that have the potential to drive health improvement in rural communities. They encourage submissions from around the country that highlight new ideas and emerging work. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits and government agencies are welcome to apply. Finalists will receive a $7,500 award and one innovative and inspiring idea will win the New Rural Award and a total of $25,000. Download the Call for Submissions to find out how to enter. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 pm EDT, April 29.

Presbyterian Hunger Program provides funding to programs that work to address the root causes of hunger and provide services to those experiencing hunger. Letter of Intent (Required): April 30, 2016. Application Deadline: Jun 30, 2016.

Seeking Volunteers to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. Email Jane Leonard at jane.leonard@state.mn.us if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

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: August 12, 2016.

MISCELLANEOUS

Growing Immigrant Populations and Continuing Ed Needs in Greater Minnesota.

The Center for Rural Policy and Development documents shifting demographics and the opportunity for a new approach to continuing education to support farming in Greater Minnesota.

–A white paper from the Summit on Creativity and Aging in America is now available to download from the National Education Association website. This event, which was hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Center for Creative Aging in May 2015, brought together more than 70 experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the fields of healthy aging, lifelong learning in the arts, and design for aging communities. Click here to download the paper.

Child Poverty Higher and More Persistent in Rural America examines counties with high child poverty and persistent poverty over a 30-year period from 1980 to 2010, with data for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties. Includes maps showing regional trends. Also looks at poverty at the county level related to minority child population distribution.

IRS Seeking Comments on New Rules for Community Foundations. The Council on Foundations issued a summary of proposed rules just issued by the IRS for community foundation Type I and Type II support organizations. Read the summary and get the link to the rules as published in the federal register.

February 2016- Volume XIV, Number 2

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

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

USDA will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations. To learn more about this opportunity, click here.

Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofits and public agencies to expand and enhance service capacity through the provision of peer recovery support services for individuals with substance use disorders and their family members. Deadline: 2/15/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants through the Art Works program. Projects in this program: are likely to prove transformative with the potential for meaningful change, whether in the development or enhancement of new or existing art forms, new approaches to the creation or presentation of art, or new ways of engaging the public with art; are distinctive, offering fresh insights and new value for their fields and/or the public through unconventional solutions; and have the potential to be shared and/or emulated, or are likely to lead to other advances in the field. 2016 deadlines: 2/18 and 7/14. Click here to learn more about Art Works Grants.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is offering grants to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies through its GRO1000 Grassroots Grants program to help foster the development of gardens and green spaces in the United States. Grants of up to $1,500 are awarded to local communities throughout the country to help bring edible gardens, flower gardens, and public green spaces to more neighborhoods. The focus is on garden and green space beautification projects that incorporate the involvement and engagement of neighborhood residents and foster a sense of community spirit. Deadline: 2/22/2016. Visit the company’s website here to review the program’s FAQs and submit an online application.

HUD and USDA have announced that communities may now apply to be designated a Promise Zone under the third and final round competition. Any community meeting the eligibility criteria which include having a contiguous boundary, a high poverty rate and a population within the area not exceeding 200,000 residents, can apply for a designation. HUD and USDA will designate 7 Promise Zones across urban, rural and tribal communities for the final round. Deadline: 2/23/2016. Click here for the Federal Register notice.  To read more about the Promise Zone initiative, click here.

USDA Broadband Adoption Program. Communities interested in using broadband service to help revitalize small-town main streets and promote economic development are encouraged to apply for Cool & Connected. Deadline is Feb 24. http://wp.me/p3if7-3nl

–Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to provide transitional housing to victims of partner violence. Deadline: 2/24/2016. Click here for an application and funding guidelines.

–Home Depot Foundation is offering grants of up to $500,000 to organizations for the construction or repair of single or multifamily permanent supportive housing or transitional housing for veterans and their families. Deadline: 2/24/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP) offers grants to tribal colleges or universities for research projects that address concerns and needs of tribal and reservation communities, including projects that focus on nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and obesity reduction in tribal communities. Application Deadline: Feb 25, 2016

Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted until February 28, 2016 and will be selected by lottery. The solar incentive program is available to utility customers who install solar PV or solar thermal systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. The solar PV incentive program is open only to customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities (Alliant, Minnesota Power, Ottertail Power and Xcel Energy). Applicants can reapply if not selected in the previous year. The solar PV incentive is also available to developers of community solar gardens with less than 40 kilowatts (kW) of production.

Solar thermal rebate applications are open to utility customers throughout the state, with priority given to customers of the investor-owned utilities. The annual funding allocation is committed. More information on the Made in Minnesota program, including the incentive and rebate amounts, is available at the  Minnesota Department of Commerce website. Questions can be directed to the department’s Energy Information Center by email at energy.info@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1886 or 800-657-3710.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is now accepting applications for the following grant programs in 2016: outdoor recreation, local trail connections, federal recreational trails and regional trails. These grant programs help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund recreation opportunities. The application due dates are Mon. Feb. 29, for the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program and Thurs. March 31, for the other programs. The DNR anticipates that both federal and state funding will be available during 2016 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 www.mndnr.gov/grants/recreation/index.html.

For more information call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or send questions via email to info.dnr@state.mn.us.

Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program supports the establishment and development of Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) which provide technical assistance to health care organizations, health care networks, and health care providers in the implementation of telehealth programs to serve rural and medically underserved areas and populations. Application Deadline: Mar 4, 2016

U.S. Department of Education is offering grants to institutions of higher education or private nonprofit organizations that plan their projects in cooperation with an institution of higher education to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and members of their immediate families obtain the equivalent of a secondary school diploma, and subsequently to gain employment or be placed in an institution of higher education or other postsecondary education or training. Deadline: 3/7/2016. Click here to review application guidelines.

–The Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofits to develop and implement outreach strategies targeted at, and provide victim services to, adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking in underserved populations. Deadline: 3/9/2016. Click here to review application guidelines.

Department of Labor is offering tech hire partnership grants. Applications must include at least one representative of each of the following three types of entities: the workforce investment system; education and training providers; and business-related nonprofit organizations: organizations functioning as workforce intermediaries for the express purpose of serving the needs of businesses, or consortia of three or more businesses, or at least three independent businesses. The program is designed to equip individuals with the skills they need through innovative approaches that can rapidly train workers and connect them to well-paying, middle- and high-skilled, high-growth jobs across a diversity of H-1B industries such as IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and broadband. Deadline: 3/11/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program Grants provides grants to improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telemedicine, computer networks, and related advanced technologies. Application Deadline: Mar 14, 2016

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to increase capacity to provide accessible, effective, comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, and evidence-based treatment services; permanent supportive housing; peer supports; and other critical services to homeless people. Deadline: 3/15/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

–Department of Labor is offering grants up to $4 million dollars to nonprofit collaborations to develop an approach that provides skills training leading to family-supporting jobs for low- to middle-skilled parents while simultaneously developing and implementing a plan for applicants’ communities or regions that help families better navigate the existing complex systems of supportive services, including increased access to child care. Application deadline: 3/16/2016. Click here for guidelines.

Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to enable nonprofit community collaborations to implement locally designed initiatives to reduce substance abuse. Deadline: 3/18/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The National Endowment for the Arts will offer Challenge America grants 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. Deadline: 4/14/2016. Click here to review program guidelines.

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions – NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. Deadline: May 3, 2016.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program awards grants to women’s domestic violence shelters. Application Deadline: May 31, 2016

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

Minnesota’s Broadband Networks – Backbone of the 21st Century!” – February 18, in St. Paul.  Presented by the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, the Minnesota Cable Communications Association, and Minnesota Cellular Providers – AT&T/Verizon. For more information, including the conference agenda, click here: http://www.mnta.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=756159&group

Energy Design Conference & Expo is February 22-24 in Duluth.  For the 26th straight year, participants will learn about the latest in energy-efficient building technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design at the Energy Design Conference & Expo on Feb. 22-24, 2016 in Duluth, Minn. More than 40 workshop sessions are planned, with some of the leading professionals in the energy field presenting. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is a sponsor and partner of the event. To register and for more information read more.

— An online webinar- Information Session on Brown- field Resources will be hosted by EDAM on February 25th from 12-1:30PM. For more information, please go to http://z.umn.edu/129t .

Tech Cities 2016 will be held February 26, 2016 at the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis. For more in formation and registration go to: http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/events/tech-cities-conference

Save the Date for Minnesota Festival & Events Association Annual Meeting

Join MNFEA at the 2016 Annual Conference March 10-11, 2016 in New Ulm.

SAVE THE DATE for the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Sprout Food Hub and Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace will be Friday April 1, 2016 from 9:30 am- 1pm, in Little Falls, Minnesota

–Hold the Date! Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 7, 2016 at Macalester College.

— The National Rural Health Association’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit will be held May 10-13 in Minneapolis.

–The Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 20-21 in Duluth.

–SAVE THE DATES for Minnesota Council of Nonprofit events! The Nonprofit Fundraising Conference will be held July 21, 2016 in Brooklyn Center and their Annual Conference will be held October 6 – 7, 2016 in Duluth. 

–Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives. Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth. The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Check our local host Facebook site for ongoing updates and to start connecting with colleagues now for a great summer gathering: https://www.facebook.com/cds2016. A Call for Papers will be announced soon, and online registration will begin later in 2016.

OPPORTUNITIES

Want to host an intern this summer? Apply today!  MnTAP anticipates supporting up to 15 intern projects in water conservation, paint efficiency, waste reduction, pollution prevention, and energy efficiency in manufacturing and wastewater treatment plants. Proposed projects are evaluated for impact potential, project scope, and company interest and commitment. Interns are chosen for their educational backgrounds and leadership capabilities. Apply soon to ensure a spot.

Thirteen projects in 2015 focused on water, energy, and waste reduction, resulting in the potential to save their host companies over $1 million annually as well as 1.7 million pounds of waste, over 45 million gallons of water, 870,000 million kWh and 152,000 therms of energy per year. See their stories in the 2015 MnTAP Solutions magazine.

Rural Medical Educators Student Scholarship offers funding to medical students to attend the Rural Medical Educators Conference. Application Deadline: First-come, first-serve basis until all funds are committed. Event happens May 10, 2016.

Udall Scholarship offers scholarships to Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, native health, or the environment. Deadline March 2, 2016.

— IABC Minnesota is hosting A Gift of Communication on March 12, when six nonprofits (chosen by lottery) will receive an afternoon of free consultation from IABC Minnesota communications professionals. This event is geared toward nonprofits that are small enough to need help, but large enough to have some time and resources to devote to communications.  Learn more and apply on IABC MN’s website.

If you work for a government or nonprofit organization, you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program will forgive any debt you own on student loans after you have made 120 qualifying payments while working full time (at least 30 hours a week) for a qualifying government organization or 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Full-time service, such as AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, count toward the PSLF program as well. For more information on what types of work and loans qualify, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Additionally, in January, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education announced a new student loan refinancing program called SELF Refi. For more information about eligibility, visit the Office of Higher Education’s website.

Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship Program provides scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in a health professions program. Application Deadline: Mar 28, 2016

MHTA Foundation Scholarship applications now open! The application period for the 2016 MHTA Foundation STEM scholarships is now open. Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies. LEARN MORE

Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service honors healthcare delivery organizations that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community service. Application Deadline: Apr 1, 2016.

Seeking Volunteers to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. Email Jane Leonard at jane.leonard@state.mn.us if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

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: Aug 12, 2016.

Will You Endorse the Minnesota Broadband Vision? http://wp.me/p3if7-3np

Participants at the Minnesota broadband conference in November worked collaboratively to develop a broadband vision for Minnesota. Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe. More than a dozen cities, counties and organizations have endorsed the list. (Check out the full list.)  There is a Facebook Page to help keep up with all of the endorsements – community, corporate and personal. To show your support please like the page!

The spark ignited by the Blandin Foundation and attendees at the conference has been picked up by the Minnesota Broadband Coalition. The Coalition is promoting the broadband vision and compiling tools that proponents can use to help spread the word – to legislators, to friends and family who might also want to show support and to local leaders to encourage them to make broadband a priority. One immediate goal is to get more people and more organizations to endorse the vision. It will show legislators that people in Minnesota think broadband is a priority. It will convene proponents and make it easier to mobilize action to raise awareness and educate people on the need for world-class broadband everywhere.

Students from Statistics in the Community (STATCOM), a student group at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, are putting their skills to work by providing free statistical services to a variety of non-profit, governmental, and community-service organizationsMORE

–The University of St. Thomas is offering engineering-education courses for free to P-12 STEM teachers, thanks to sponsorship from Google. MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Tips for consumers considering community solar! Community solar opportunities are expected to increase greatly this year, especially as Xcel Energy implements its Solar*Rewards Community Program. While the Minnesota Department of Commerce supports the newly emerging option to participate in community solar, consumers are encouraged to apply due diligence before signing up to participate. Whether or not to subscribe to a community solar project is an important financial decision that can involve a long-term commitment. Before making a decision, be sure you understand the potential costs and risks as well as the potential benefits. You should carefully review the subscription contract before signing it and, as always, be wary of high-pressure “buy now or lose out” sales pitches. If you’re thinking about subscribing to a community solar garden, read “10 Questions You Should Ask” for some guidance from Commerce.

In addition, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) offers information about community solar on its website. CERTs highlights a tool that helps households and businesses determine the financial feasibility of community solar gardens.

Health Insurance Marketplaces: Geographic Variation in Premiums, Choices, Enrollment Across the U.S., 2014-2016 and Impacts on Health System provides an overview of health insurance enrollment characteristics with rural and urban comparisons using data reported by federally-facilitated marketplaces and state-based marketplaces. Topics covered include the cost of premiums, rate of premium growth, enrollment data of eligible uninsured persons, and the effect of the Affordable Care Act on uninsured adults. Slides from a presentation at the Rural Hospital Interest Group Meeting in January 2016.

Helping Kids PROSPER is a program delivery system, guides rural communities in implementing evidence-based programs that build youth competencies, improve family functioning, and prevent risky behaviors, particularly substance use.

The Economic Status of Minnesotans: A Chartbook with Data for 17 Cultural Groups is a statistical portrait of the economic status of Minnesotans, including much data that has never been seen before, for the 17 largest cultural groups in Minnesota.

CORRECTION:

Rural America at a Glance, 2015 Edition

On January 15, 2016, the Rural America at a Glance, 2015 Edition was updated to correct a statement that nearly 300 rural counties lost population due to natural change during 2010-14. The sentence was revised to read, “Almost 900 rural counties (including about 300 counties for the first time) lost population due to natural change during 2010-14.” Also, the information on two charts was clarified to match the data presented: source information on the chart at the top of page 4 was updated to reflect that 2014 data were used, and in the chart on page 6 the horizontal axis legend no longer contains the phrase “in 2000.” Finally, the chart depicting educational attainment for rural minorities, and a text reference to it, were corrected to remove the term “(non-Hispanic),” and the chart note was expanded to clarify that “people who identify their origin as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.”

January 2016- Volume XIV, Number 1

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

–FUNDING
–TRAINING/MEETINGS
–OPPORTUNITIES
–MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

— The Community Clinics Grant program provides funding to plan, establish or operate services to improve the ongoing viability of Minnesota’s clinic-based safety net providers. Grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. An eligible community clinic means a nonprofit clinic, government entity, Indian tribal government or Indian health service unit; or a consortium of these entities. Applicants must provide or plan to provide clinical services and use a sliding fee scale or other procedure to determine eligibility for charity care or to ensure that no person will be denied services because of inability to pay. Final applications are due in WebGrants@MDH 11:59 p.m. January 20. Contact Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845 for more information.

First Nations Development Institute is offering grants through its Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative. This initiative will provide up to ten grants to support projects that serve Native American children and families and aim to strengthen local food system control; increase access to local, healthy, and traditional foods; and decrease food insecurity and food deserts. Native American-controlled nonprofit tribal organizations and Native American community-based groups are eligible to apply. Deadline: 1/25/2016. Visit the First Nations website here to learn more about the funding guidelines and application process.

Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofits, public agencies, states, Indian Tribes, and local governments under the Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Assistance Program. Funds will be used to enhance the safety of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking by supporting projects uniquely designed to address and prevent these crimes in rural jurisdictions. Deadline: 2/1/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–The Farmer Veteran Coalition is offering grants to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces starting out in farming or ranching. Deadline: 2/1/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–FISKARS’ Project Orange Thumb is offering grants to nonprofit organizations, public schools, and municipalities in the U.S. and Canada for community gardens. Grants provide tools and resources to help communities reach their goals for neighborhood beautification, community collaboration, and healthy, sustainable food sources. Application deadline: 2/1/2016. Visit the Fiskars website here to submit an online application.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture administers the County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grantawarded to Minnesota’s county fairs to fund projects and programs to enhance arts access and education and to preserve and promote Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. Deadline for the non-competitive grants program is February 5, 2016.

— The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant program assists small rural hospitals in undertaking needed modernization projects to update, remodel or replace aging hospital facilities, record systems, and equipment necessary to maintain the operations of the hospital. Maximum awards will be $125,000. An eligible hospital is a general acute care hospital of 50 or fewer beds located in a community with a population of less than 15,000, according to United States Census Bureau statistics, outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Final applications (if invited) are due in WebGrants@MDH by 4:00 p.m. February 5. Contact Lina Jau at 651-201-3809 for more information.

Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofits and public agencies to expand and enhance service capacity through the provision of peer recovery support services for individuals with substance use disorders and their family members. Deadline: 2/15/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants through the Art Works program. Projects in this program: are likely to prove transformative with the potential for meaningful change, whether in the development or enhancement of new or existing art forms, new approaches to the creation or presentation of art, or new ways of engaging the public with art; are distinctive, offering fresh insights and new value for their fields and/or the public through unconventional solutions; and have the potential to be shared and/or emulated, or are likely to lead to other advances in the field. 2016 deadlines: 2/18 and 7/14. Click here to learn more about Art Works Grants.

HUD and USDA have announced that communities may now apply to be designated a Promise Zone under the third and final round competition. Any community meeting the eligibility criteria which include having a contiguous boundary, a high poverty rate and a population within the area not exceeding 200,000 residents, can apply for a designation. HUD and USDA will designate 7 Promise Zones across urban, rural and tribal communities for the final round. Deadline: 2/23/2016. Click here for the Federal Register notice.  To read more about the Promise Zone initiative, click here.

–Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to provide transitional housing to victims of partner violence. Deadline: 2/24/2016. Click here for an application and funding guidelines.

–Home Depot Foundation is offering grants of up to $500,000 to organizations for the construction or repair of single or multifamily permanent supportive housing or transitional housing for veterans and their families. Deadline: 2/24/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP) offers grants to tribal colleges or universities for research projects that address concerns and needs of tribal and reservation communities, including projects that focus on nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and obesity reduction in tribal communities. Application Deadline: Feb 25, 2016

Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted from January 1 through February 28, 2016 and will be selected by lottery. The solar incentive program is available to utility customers who install solar PV or solar thermal systems using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. The solar PV incentive program is open only to customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities (Alliant, Minnesota Power, Ottertail Power and Xcel Energy). Applicants can reapply if not selected in the previous year. The solar PV incentive is also available to developers of community solar gardens with less than 40 kilowatts (kW) of production.

Solar thermal rebate applications are open to utility customers throughout the state, with priority given to customers of the investor-owned utilities. the annual funding allocation is committed. More information on the Made in Minnesota program, including the incentive and rebate amounts, is available at the  Minnesota Department of Commerce website. Questions can be directed to the department’s Energy Information Center by email at energy.info@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1886 or 800-657-3710.

Department of Labor is offering tech hire partnership grants. Applications must include at least one representative of each of the following three types of entities: the workforce investment system; education and training providers; and business-related nonprofit organizations: organizations functioning as workforce intermediaries for the express purpose of serving the needs of businesses, or consortia of three or more businesses, or at least three independent businesses. The program is designed to equip individuals with the skills they need through innovative approaches that can rapidly train workers and connect them to well-paying, middle- and high-skilled, high-growth jobs across a diversity of H-1B industries such as IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and broadband. Deadline: 3/11/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–Department of Labor is offering grants up to $4 million dollars to nonprofit collaborations to develop an approach that provides skills training leading to family-supporting jobs for low- to middle-skilled parents while simultaneously developing and implementing a plan for applicants’ communities or regions that help families better navigate the existing complex systems of supportive services, including increased access to child care. Application deadline: 3/16/2016. Click here for guidelines.

Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to enable nonprofit community collaborations to implement locally designed initiatives to reduce substance abuse. Deadline: 3/18/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The National Endowment for the Arts will offer Challenge America grants 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. Deadline: 4/14/2016. Click here to review program guidelines.

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions – NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. Deadline: May 3, 2016.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS 

–USDA will host a webinar Rural America At a Glance – 2015 edition. In this webinar, ERS Economist Lorin Kusmin will discuss the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas, focusing on the U.S. rural economy, including employment, population, poverty trends, and educational attainment trends.  The Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, releases the Rural America at a Glance report annually, which summarizes the status of conditions and trends in rural areas.

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM EDT
Duration: 1 hour
Host(s): Lorin Kusmin, Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA
To register go to: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=s419an3x2srf

–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a webcast on improving energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing on January 19, 2016, at 1:00 PM ET. “Beyond the Light Touch: Next Steps for Improving Energy Efficiency in Multi-Family Affordable Housing” will explore the specific challenges and opportunities faced by programs that aim to improve energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing, with an emphasis on achieving multiple benefits through deeper retrofits. To register, click here.

2016 EDAM Winter Conference to be held on January 21-22 at the Minneapolis Marriott in Brooklyn Park. Registration is now open with discounted fees available until January 8. For more information and to register, please go to http://z.umn.edu/11lv .

–The MN Ag Expo will be held January 27-28, 2016 in Mankato at the Verizon Wireless Center.

Research shows that nonprofits that invest in their volunteers can build capacity and increase community impact. To support this effort, the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) is partnering with and training organizations to assess their current volunteer engagement efforts. This model, called Service Enterprise, also helps organizations create a plan to foster a culture of volunteerism. MAVA, along with HandsOn Twin Cities, is recruiting organizations to participate in two upcoming Service Enterprise training cohorts. St. Cloud cohort applications are due February 1, while Twin Cities cohort applications will be due in early May.  Visit MAVA’s website for more information or email Sara Wessling from MAVA or Zeeda Magnuson from HandsOn Twin Cities.

Register Now for the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference

The lineup for the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference on February 2-3 is complete and you’ll find many ways to THINK BIG in Bemidji this year!

Energy Design Conference & Expo is February 22-24 in Duluth.  For the 26th straight year, participants will learn about the latest in energy-efficient building technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design at the Energy Design Conference & Expo on Feb. 22-24, 2016 in Duluth, Minn. More than 40 workshop sessions are planned, with some of the leading professionals in the energy field presenting. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is a sponsor and partner of the event. Early registration ends Jan. 29. To register and for more information read more.

— An online webinar- Information Session on Brown- field Resources will be hosted by EDAM on February 25th from 12-1:30PM. For more information, please go to http://z.umn.edu/129t .

Tech Cities 2016 will be held February 26, 2016 at the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis. For more in formation and registration go to: http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/events/tech-cities-conference

Save the Date for Minnesota Festival & Events Association Annual Meeting

Join MNFEA at the 2016 Annual Conference March 10-11, 2016 in New Ulm.

–Hold the Date! Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 7, 2016 at Macalester College.

— The National Rural Health Association’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit will be held May 10-13 in Minneapolis.

–The Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 20-21 in Duluth.

–SAVE THE DATES for Minnesota Council of Nonprofit events! The Nonprofit Fundraising Conference will be held July 21, 2016 in Brooklyn Center and their Annual Conference will be held October 6 – 7, 2016 in Duluth. 

–Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives. Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth. The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Check our local host Facebook site for ongoing updates and to start connecting with colleagues now for a great summer gathering: https://www.facebook.com/cds2016. A Call for Papers will be announced soon, and online registration will begin later in 2016.

OPPORTUNITIES

Share Your Ideas for the 2016 Greater Minnesota Transit Investment Plan

Planning for the 2016 update to the Greater Minnesota Transit Investment Plan is underway, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation welcomes your ideas on how to improve transit in Greater Minnesota. The goal of the plan is to improve mobility for the general public with emphasis on seniors, low income populations, the homeless population, individuals with disabilities, veterans, New Americans and commuters. Share your ideas, learn more about the plan and view the latest updates. There are several ways for everybody, not just transit users, to participate! The better response the department receives, the more informed their strategies will be. For questions about this process, please contact Sara Dunlap at 651-366-4194 or sara.dunlap@state.mn.us.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is seeking comments on a proposed rule to implement the Duty to Serve provisions of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This statute requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (“the Enterprises”) to serve three specified underserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural markets. The proposed rule would require the Enterprises to adopt plans to improve the distribution and availability of mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low-, and moderate-income families in the three specified underserved markets. Here are links to the press release, and proposed rule.

Udall Scholarship offers scholarships to Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, native health, or the environment. Deadline March 2, 2016.

Seeking Volunteers to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. Email Jane Leonard at jane.leonard@state.mn.us if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

Students from Statistics in the Community (STATCOM), a student group at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, are putting their skills to work by providing free statistical services to a variety of non-profit, governmental, and community-service organizationsMORE

–The University of St. Thomas is offering engineering-education courses for free to P-12 STEM teachers, thanks to sponsorship from Google. MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Rural America at a Glance, 2015 Edition Rural employment gains were significantly higher over the past year than in recent years, but employment remains below pre-recession levels. Rural areas still suffer population loss, higher poverty, and lower education than urban areas.

County Typology Codes The 2015 County Typology Codes classify all U.S. counties according to six mutually exclusive categories of economic dependence and six overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes. The economic dependence types include farming, mining, manufacturing, Federal/State government, recreation, and nonspecialized counties. The policy-relevant types include low education, low employment, persistent poverty, persistent child poverty, population loss, and retirement destination.

The Housing Assistance Council has released Veterans Data Central, a website that provides essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of veterans in the United States.  Click here to visit the website.

America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2015 Edition Most U.S. farms (99 percent) are family operations. Small family farms make up 90 percent of the U.S. farm count but produce 22 percent of farm output. Midsize and large-scale farms (9 percent of farms) produce 68 percent of farm output.

Health Care Innovations for Rural Populations Features a selection of healthcare innovations and quality tools for rural populations that help to address health disparities including topics that cover service delivery models such as telehealth, mobile clinics, and integrated healthcare.

Keepin’ it REAL Rural is a drug and alcohol prevention program for middle school kids adapted to rural culture in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

— The U.S. Census Bureau released new American Community Survey data in December. The data show that the number of census tracts where at least 40% of residents live in poverty has grown steadily in the Twin Cities since 2000. People of color continue to be overrepresented in these tracts.

CERTs offers community solar garden financial impact tool. A financial impact tool to help utility customers decide if subscribing to a community solar garden is right for them has been developed by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). The tool, created by Doug Tiffany, a research fellow in Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, helps households and businesses conduct the financial analysis of community solar participation.

December 2015- Volume XIII, Number 10

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

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

–The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is offering grants of up to $7,000 to update, extend, and diversify the book collections of pre-K-12 school libraries throughout the United States. Only schools where a minimum of 85 percent of the student body qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/14/2015. Online application information is available on the Foundation’s website here.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has released the Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA) for the calendar year (CY) 2015 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program). The NOAA makes up to $5 billion in tax credit allocation authority available for the CY 2015 round, pending Congressional authorization. Deadline to apply: 12/16/2015. Click here for application materials and funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering grants to support projects that increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the implementation of the project. Deadline: 12/16/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering funds to nonprofit and public organizations to provide technical assistance that will reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources in rural areas, and improve planning and management of solid waste sites in rural areas. Rural areas and towns with 10,000 or fewer people are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/31/2015. Click here to review program guidelines and access application materials.

Northwest Minnesota Entrepreneurs: Applications for the 2016 IDEA Competition are now being accepted until December 31, 2015. This competition gives ANYONE with a product or service idea the opportunity to turn the idea into a reality. The IDEA Competition gives participants access to business development tools, a chance to get your product mentioned in the media, pitch to potential investors, professional services, and finally a chance to win $10,000 in funding to get your idea moving. For more information please go to www.ideacompetition.org

National Telecommunications Cooperative Association: Rural Broadband Association will provide up to $5,000 to support the development and implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to support rural healthcare, public safety, economic development, education, energy, or other community-oriented initiatives. The successful applicant(s) will demonstrate how the broadband-enabled technology will generate improvements to community strength and growth consistent with the goals of this program. Deadline: 12/31/2015. Click here to review program guidelines and to apply.

–HUD has announced the availability of $9,977,500 of FY2015 Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) grant funds. SHOP funding is intended to facilitate and encourage innovative homeownership opportunities on a national and geographically-diverse basis. The program supports self-help housing programs that require a significant amount of sweat equity by the homebuyer toward the construction or rehabilitation of his or her homeDeadline to apply: 1/4/2016. Click here to view the NOFA.

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is offering funding for needs related to planning and establishing integrated healthcare networks with the goal of strengthening or expanding access to essential healthcare services. Deadline: 1/8/2016. Click here for program guidelines.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities interested in applying for funding to host a community design workshop in either 2016 or 2017.  The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation. CIRD provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality.

CIRD offers annual competitive funding to six small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-a-half day community development and design workshop. With assistance from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops are intended to bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government agencies to develop actionable solutions to the communities’ pressing development challenges. The communities will receive additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on www.rural-design.org.  Design and development challenges include but are not limited to the following: Main Street revitalization, managing and shaping community growth, the design of community-supportive transportation systems, preservation of natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protecting working agricultural lands, and maximizing the role of arts and culture as an economic driver for local and regional economies. Since 1991 CIRD has convened more than 70 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets today in order to build better places to live, work, and play in the future.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 at 11 p.m. EST. Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 stipend (that must be matched one-to-one) in addition to in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website: www.rural-design.org/request-for-proposals. Selected communities will be announced in March of 2016 and workshops will be held during the fall of 2016 through spring of 2017.

The National Education Association (NEA) is offering grants up to $20,000 to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Deadline: 1/27/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

County Fair GrantsMinnesota Department of Agriculture administers the County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grantawarded to Minnesota’s county fairs to fund projects and programs to enhance arts access and education and to preserve and promote Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. Deadline for the non-competitive grants program is February 5, 2016.

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions – NEH’s Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. Deadline: May 3, 2016.

Wells Fargo and Opportunity Finance Network have launched Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program. The three-year Wells Fargo initiative will deliver $75 million in grants and lending capital in six biannual rounds to CDFIs that serve diverse-owned small businesses. In addition to lending and grant capital, the program will provide social capital programs to CDFIs to help increase their capacity to lend to diverse small businesses including mentorship programs, knowledge networks, consulting, and other collaborative efforts. To learn more about this program, click here.

–Economic Development Administration (EDA) is seeking applications from applicants in rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities. EDA provides strategic investments on a competitive- merit-basis to support economic development, foster job creation, and attract private investment in economically distressed areas of the United States. Deadline: applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to review funding guidelines.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced two new energy financing programs intended to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota: The Rev It Up Program for local government units that are seeking low-cost, long-term capital to finance community energy efficiency and renewable energy system projects, and the Public Entity Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Loan Program, which provides public entities with funds needed to pay for energy audits and renewable energy feasibility studies. https://mn.gov/commerce/industries/energy/financial-assistance/feasibility.jsp

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg is offering grants to nonprofit organizations for general operating, program, and capital project support to help lower income older adults to live dignified, meaningful, and engaged lives in the community and to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Deadline: letter of inquiry accepted any time. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The METLIFE Foundation is offering three kinds of financial inclusion grants to nonprofit organizations: Access to Knowledge grants support organizations with the ability to reach large numbers of underserved households around the world and work with them to develop financial strategies and capabilities to improve lives. Access to Services grants focus on organizations that deliver high-quality services like savings, microinsurance, and credit to individuals in need. Access to Insights grants partner with researchers, academics, and non-governmental organizations to better understand the problems and potential solutions within the financial inclusion field. Deadline:  financial inclusion grant requests are accepted and reviewed throughout the year. Visit the Metlife website here to download the grant application guidelines.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grants support programs that work in the areas of childhood education, healthy children, secure families, racial equity, and civic engagement.  Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities. Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Details about how to apply for this are found in the Federal Register here. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office.

— The Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program in Minnesota provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings. Examples of essential community facilities include: health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics, nursing homes or assisted living facilities; public safety services such as fire departments, police stations, prisons, police vehicles, fire trucks, public works vehicles or equipment; utility services such as telemedicine or distance learning equipment. For more information, contact the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development .

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

Smart Growth America will issue “(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization”, a new guide designed to be used by any community, no matter their size, to bring people and businesses back to downtown. As part of the release, they will hold a webinar on December 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM ET to discuss the strategies outlined in this new guide, and hear about cities that are in the midst of revitalization, with the opportunity to ask questions. Register for the webinar here.

2016 EDAM Winter Conference to be held on January 21-22 at the Minneapolis Marriott in Brooklyn Park. Registration is now open with discounted fees available until January 8. For more information and to register, please go to http://z.umn.edu/11lv

Research shows that nonprofits that invest in their volunteers can build capacity and increase community impact. To support this effort, the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) is partnering with and training organizations to assess their current volunteer engagement efforts. This model, called Service Enterprise, also helps organizations create a plan to foster a culture of volunteerism.  MAVA, along with HandsOn Twin Cities, is recruiting organizations to participate in two upcoming Service Enterprise training cohorts. St. Cloud cohort applications are due February 1, while Twin Cities cohort applications will be due in early May.  Visit MAVA’s website for more information or email Sara Wessling from MAVA or Zeeda Magnuson from HandsOn Twin Cities.

Save the Date for Minnesota Festival & Events Association Annual Meeting

Join MNFEA at the 2016 Annual Conference March 10-11, 2016 in New Ulm.

Save the Date for the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Feb. 2-3, 2016, at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.

–Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016.  The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives.  Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth.  The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Check our local host Facebook site for ongoing updates and to start connecting with colleagues now for a great summer gathering: https://www.facebook.com/cds2016. A Call for Papers will be announced soon, and online registration will begin later in 2016.

OPPORTUNITIES

The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program’s application cycle for next year is open through Sunday, January 3, 2016. Over $3.2 million is available in Fiscal Year 2017. In addition to the eligible professions of physicians, dentists, pharmacists, midlevel providers, nurses, and nurse/allied faculty, the program has been expanded to include three new professions—rural dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, rural public health nurses, and mental health professionals as defined by Minnesota Statute Section 245.462, subdivision 18. For information on the professions covered in the program, and for instructions on applying, please see the Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs webpage, or contact Brenda Flattum at 651-201-3870 or Paia Vang at 651-201-3895.

Apply to Be a College Health Corps VISTA Program Site.   Do you have (or want to start) a campus-community partnership that supports low-income Minnesotans in accessing healthcare, health and wellness knowledge, or food security? Would you like help expanding the scale, scope, efficiency, or effectiveness of your partnership? Consider applying to host a College Health Corps AmeriCorps*VISTA member in 2016-17. These full-time national service members provide a year of capacity-building service and receive a living allowance and education award. Deadline for full applications: January 14, 2016.   Learn more here. With questions, please contact Sinda.

Udall Scholarship offers scholarships to Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, native health, or the environmentDeadline March 2, 2016.

Seeking Volunteers to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016.  Email Jane Leonard at jane.leonard@state.mn.us if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Rural Health, is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee (VRHAC). The Committee advises the Secretary on ways to improve and enhance access to VA healthcare services for enrolled veterans residing in rural areas and the identification of barriers to providing services. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary regarding such activities. Nominations of qualified candidates are being sought to fill upcoming vacancies on the Committee.

DNR Seeking Applications for Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking applications from people interested in serving on the statewide Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Advisory Committee.

MISCELLANEOUS

Native One Stop  – American Indians and Alaska Natives seeking information on a variety of topics now have a new tool, Native One Stop. Whether you are a veteran looking for a home loan or a student looking for an educational grant, the site is a quick resource finder.

“Why Rural Matters 2011–12” from The Rural School and Community Trust is the sixth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states. Download a copy here.

— Faculty and students at St. Olaf College have launched the Rural Immigration Network to share research briefs, ‘good ideas and practical information about innovative events, programs and initiatives that build community among immigrants and longer-term residents in rural towns around the United States.’ MORE

Key housing organizations take coordinated approach to preserving rural Minnesota’s affordable rentals  A collaborative effort among government agencies and nonprofit organizations in Minnesota aims to keep the affordable in rural affordable housing.

Featuring video supplements:

In a series of brief interview clips, hear insights from Robyn Bipes, director of programs and lending at Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and chair of the Greater Minnesota Interagency Stabilization Group.

Improving Dental Care Access in Rural America explains the unique challenges to accessing dental health services in rural areas and how it’s leading to a disproportionately high rate of cavities and other dental problems in those areas. Highlights solutions that some states have implemented to address the challenges.

Teleneurology Helps Rural Patients describes how a rural community in Minnesota is using telehealth technology to extend services to recovering stroke patients to avoid long commutes to services.

Rural Enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplaces, by State compares rates of enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplaces by state between rural and urban settings. Provides figures in relation to potential market participants.

Disability and Poverty Rates among Rural Veterans Have Increased from 2008 to 2014 a chart showing the rates of disability and poverty for rural veterans compared to rural non-veterans, highlighting changes from 2008 to 2014.

Rationalizing Rural Area Classifications for the Economic Research Service: A Workshop summarizes an April 2015 workshop that explored the data, estimation, and policy issues related to rural classifications currently in use by the Economic Research Service (ERS): Rural Urban Continuum Codes (RUCCs), Urban Influence Codes (UICs), Rural Urban Community Area (RUCA) codes, and Frontier and Remote (FAR) codes.

Census Reporter a web-based tool for accessing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Search by location at various geographic levels. Provides a variety of charts and maps depicting demographics, socioeconomic factors, and other ACS data. A Knight News Challenge-funded project.

Smart Rural Community provides resources focused on broadband availability and implementation, designating towns as a “Smart Rural Community.” Includes white papers, videos, webcasts, and access to models that can be followed to create your own rural telecommunications hub.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy in partnership with Network For Good published an online giving database, which includes everything from big picture numbers to daily giving trends and an interactive map tracking giving by region in the last year.  The database shows Minnesota’s top three issues were Human Services ($573,934 given online), International and Foreign Affairs ($394,426 given online) and Education ($356,949 given online). This is similar to national trends, where online giving centered on Human Services, Education and Health Care.  Visit The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website to learn more.

–Orton Family Foundation’s new, free resource, Using Storytelling in Community Heart & Soul, offers a step-by-step approach to incorporating storytelling into your town’s Heart & Soul in a way that gets the information needed for meaningful results.

Storytelling within Community Heart & Soul™:

  1. Raises awareness and interest in Heart & Soul and brings community action to life;
  2. Draws in new, underrepresented or difficult-to-reach voices;
  3. Reveals what matters most to residents about the community;
  4. Builds greater understanding, trust and relationships;
  5. Heals divisions, bridges differences;
  6. Brings meaning to local data, numbers, and community trends.

Using Storytelling in Community Heart & Soul is a companion resource to the Community Heart & Soul Field Guide.

November 2015- Volume XIII, Number 9

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

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

Across the Field: Community Development Society’s 47th annual conference coming to Minnesota in 2016!

By Jane Leonard

Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth.

The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA.

The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives

Too often, development initiatives fail to generate lasting, positive, change. The focus of this 2016 CDS & IACD gathering is for attendees to share and learn tips and techniques from across the globe to create sustained – and positive — community change.   The dynamic pairing of both the CDS and IACD organizations brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from multiple and diverse perspectives, from community members, practitioners, researchers, and academicians.

Organizers expect 500 people to attend, from across North America and worldwide, working on issues in community, economic, and rural development. Typically CDS & IACD conferences feature people, places, and models of interdisciplinary and comprehensive approaches to community development. So if you work primarily through a community health lens, for example, this is a great chance to connect with people working on community health through a resource economics perspective. Or if you are a local citizen working on broadband development, connect with people from South Africa at the conference doing the same things on a regional basis for community improvement. Or if you believe that community betterment requires a whole systems approach across disciplines and sectors, find like-minded colleagues and case studies at the 2016 conference.

Minnesota is also home to three past-presidents of CDS: Brent Hales, John Kuester, and Jane Leonard, and many other faithful members. Join us in 2016 to welcome national and international visitors to the Twin Cities and to the Upper Midwest. Check our local host Facebook site for ongoing updates and to start connecting with colleagues now for a great summer gathering: https://www.facebook.com/cds2016. A Call for Papers will be announced soon, and online registration will begin later in 2016.

WE ARE SEEKING VOLUNTEERS to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the 2016 CDS & IACD conference. Email Jane Leonard at jane.leonard@state.mn.us if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

Conference venue & hotel:  The Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America hotel (http://bit.ly/hilton-msp) is located a short distance from both the MSP airport and Mall of America.  Rooms will be available at a rate of $149.00 per night, excluding tax.

For examples of previous Community Development Society conferences, link here to the CDS 46th Annual International Conference, held in Lexington, Kentucky this past July. For info on the International Association for Community Development, link here.

PLEASE NOTE…

As most readers know, the MRP Newsletter is a labor of love. What you might not know is that we’ve been paying for the newsletter to go out for years – but there’s a way that we can continue to send you the news and you can continue to get it for free – but it requires you to sign up through our website: www.minnesotaruralpartners.org. Simply add your email address to the “Follow Blog Via Email” option on the sidebar. (Just look to the right of this page!) Once you do that you will receive an email to confirm your address. Follow the instructions and you will continue to receive email updates when we post the newsletter.

FUNDING

Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs)  Awards funding for the establishment of a Benefits Enrollment Center, which will work to find and enroll eligible Medicare beneficiaries (seniors aged 65+ and adults living with disabilities) into benefit programs.

Application Deadline: Nov. 13, 2015.

–The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant program assists small rural hospitals in undertaking needed modernization projects to update, remodel or replace aging hospital facilities, record systems, and equipment necessary to maintain the operations of the hospital. Maximum awards will be $125,000. An eligible hospital is a general acute care hospital of 50 or fewer beds located in a community with a population of less than 15,000, according to United States Census Bureau statistics, outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Pre-applications are due November 13.  Go to: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/

— Whole Kids Foundation is accepting applications for a school garden grant program in public, private, and charter K-12 schools. 2015 Deadline: November 15. Click here to visit the website to review funding guidelines.

HUD is offering “Continuum of Care” funding to nonprofit and public agencies to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, States, and local governments to quickly re-house homeless individuals, families, and persons fleeing domestic violence; promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless; and optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness. Application deadline: 11/20/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

USDA is offering grants to public food program service providers, tribal organizations, and private nonprofit entities through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program. The program seeks to encourage healthy eating and physical activity at the individual and community levels, focusing on high-risk groups, and promotes healthy diet and physical activity behaviors. Deadline to apply: 11/30/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The Agstar Fund for Rural America is offering grants to nonprofit organizations in the service area where AgStar has a significant business presence in Minnesota and  northwestern Wisconsin. The Fund focuses its giving program in the following four major areas: education, environment, technology, and quality of lifeDeadline: 11/30/2015. Visit the AgStar website here to review the funding guidelines and application instructions.

–USDA has issued a Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program. This program is available for existing Section 515 and Section 514/516 properties. A variety of restructuring tools are available including grants, no-interest loans, soft second loans, and debt deferral. Properties with existing USDA multifamily mortgages that are maturing on or before Dec. 31, 2018 can apply for debt deferral; this continues the affordability of the property and its Rental Assistance eligibility. Deadlines: applications for MPR are due 12/1/2015; applications for debt deferral for maturing mortgages are due 12/31/2015. Click here to review the guidelines for this program.

–The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering AmeriCorps grant funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems. Funds may be used for programs that utilize AmeriCorps members in the following areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, education, and veterans and military families. Deadline: Letter of Intent (required) 12/9/2015; application deadline 1/20/2016. Click here to visit the website for guidelines.

–Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are accepting applications for community grants. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in support of projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Deadline: 12/10/2015. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is offering grants of up to $7,000 to update, extend, and diversify the book collections of pre-K-12 school libraries throughout the United States. Only schools where a minimum of 85 percent of the student body qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/14/2015. Online application information is available on the Foundation’s website here.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has released the Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA) for the calendar year (CY) 2015 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program). The NOAA makes up to $5 billion in tax credit allocation authority available for the CY 2015 round, pending Congressional authorization. Deadline to apply: 12/16/2015. Click here for application materials and funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering grants to support projects that increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the implementation of the project. Deadline: 12/16/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering funds to nonprofit and public organizations to provide technical assistance that will reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources in rural areas, and improve planning and management of solid waste sites in rural areas. Rural areas and towns with 10,000 or fewer people are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/31/2015. Click here to review program guidelines and access application materials.

Northwest Minnesota Entrepreneurs: Applications for the 2016 IDEA Competition are now being accepted until December 31, 2015. This competition gives ANYONE with a product or service idea the opportunity to turn the idea into a reality. The IDEA Competition gives participants access to business development tools, a chance to get your product mentioned in the media, pitch to potential investors, professional services, and finally a chance to win $10,000 in funding to get your idea moving. For more information please go to http://www.ideacompetition.org

— The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program is open and will close on Monday, January 4, 2016. Over $3.2 million is available in Fiscal Year 2017. In addition to the eligible professions of physicians, dentists, pharmacists, midlevel providers, nurses, and nurse/allied faculty, the program has been expanded to include three new professions—Rural Dental Therapists/Advanced Dental Therapists, Rural Public Health Nurses, and Mental Health Professionals as defined by Section 245.462, subdivision 18. For information on the professions covered in the program, and for instructions on applying, please see the Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs webpage, or contact Brenda Flattum at 651-201-3870 or Paia Vang at 651-201-3895.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities interested in applying for funding to host a community design workshop in either 2016 or 2017.  The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation. CIRD provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality.

CIRD offers annual competitive funding to six small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-ahalf day community development and design workshop. With assistance from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops are intended to bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government agencies to develop actionable solutions to the communities’ pressing development challenges. The communities will receive additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on www.rural-design.org.

Design and development challenges include but are not limited to the following: Main Street revitalization, managing and shaping community growth, the design of community-supportive transportation systems, preservation of natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protecting working agricultural lands, and maximizing the role of arts and culture as an economic driver for local and regional economies. Since 1991 CIRD has convened more than 70 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets today in order to build better places to live, work, and play in the future.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 at 11 p.m. EST. Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 stipend (that must be matched one-to-one) in addition to in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website: www.rural-design.org/request-for-proposals. Selected communities will be announced in March of 2016 and workshops will be held during the fall of 2016 through spring of 2017.

CIRD staff will also offer two pre-application assistance webinars to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, and the second will take place on Thursday, Dec. 10. Both calls will begin at 3 p.m. EST and last approximately one hour. Participation in each call is free but registration is required. To register visit: www.rural-design.org/application-assistance.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced two new energy financing programs intended to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota: The Rev It Up Program for local government units that are seeking low-cost, long-term capital to finance community energy efficiency and renewable energy system projects, and the Public Entity Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Loan Program, which provides public entities with funds needed to pay for energy audits and renewable energy feasibility studies. Read more.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg is offering grants to nonprofit organizations for general operating, program, and capital project support to help lower income older adults to live dignified, meaningful, and engaged lives in the community and to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Deadline: letter of inquiry accepted any time. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The METLIFE Foundation is offering three kinds of financial inclusion grants to nonprofit organizations: Access to Knowledge grants support organizations with the ability to reach large numbers of underserved households around the world and work with them to develop financial strategies and capabilities to improve lives. Access to Services grants focus on organizations that deliver high-quality services like savings, microinsurance, and credit to individuals in need. Access to Insights grants partner with researchers, academics, and non-governmental organizations to better understand the problems and potential solutions within the financial inclusion field. Deadline:  financial inclusion grant requests are accepted and reviewed throughout the year. Visit the Metlife website here to download the grant application guidelines.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grants support programs that work in the areas of childhood education, healthy children, secure families, racial equity, and civic engagementApplications accepted on an ongoing basis.

USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities. Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Details about how to apply for this are found in the Federal Register here. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–Registration is now available for the 14th Annual Scenic Byway Workshop to be held on November 17 – 18. The Lake Country Scenic Byway will host the Workshop at the Lodge on Detroit Lake  This year’s agenda includes topics that will provide information and direction for the continued Sustainability of the Scenic Byways Program under MAP-21.  Please be prepared to speak on your updated byway Corridor Management Plan.  Feel free to bring any brochures you want to share.

Registration for the Scenic Byway Workshop will be accepted until Noon on Monday, Nov. 9.  Registration checks should be made payable to: “UMVRDC SCENIC BYWAY WORKSHOP”.  Registrations will not be accepted at the door.  If you have questions please contact Holly Slagle, State Scenic Byway Coordinator at 651-366-3623 or holly.slagle@state.mn.us. For more information on Minnesota Scenic Byways visit their website.

Minnesota Broadband Conference November 18-20. The Blandin Foundation and the Office of Broadband Development are working on the fall broadband conference, Border to Border Broadband: Better Together, to be held in Minneapolis on November 18-20. http://wp.me/p3if7-3dk

National Rural Health Day Webinars on November 19National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) will be holding a day of webinars on the topic of rural health. Check the National Rural Health Day website (right column) for more information.

From Options to Decisions: Phase 3 of Community Heart & Soul, Thursday, November, 19, 3-4 p.m. (Eastern).  Phase 3 of the Community Heart & Soul™ method is about discovering ways to protect and enhance your community’s heart and soul—what matters most—and building toward a future that honors it. After identifying community-wide character, attributes, and love of place during Phase 2, the next step is learning which ideas, decisions, and actions best support your town’s unique character.  Join Orton Programs Director Alece Montez-Griego and Senior Associate Leanne Tingay for this FREE webinar that includes audience Q & A.

Register for FREE webinar today! »

Minnesota Farm Bureau annual meeting, November 19-21.

Minnesota Farmer’s Union annual convention, November 21-22

— Allina Health, Abbott Northwestern and the University of Minnesota are presenting Climate Change and Public Health: An Interprofessional Review to be held November 21 in Minneapolis, MN.

The Robotics Alley™ Conference & Expo is bringing a diverse group of robotics and automation experts to Minneapolis. This year’s event on Dec. 1-2 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis will feature keynote speakers Martin Buehler, Executive R&D Imagineer at Walt Disney Imagineering; Nathan Harding, Co-Founder and CEO of Ekso Bionics; and Robert High, Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Watson Solutions.  Click here to learn more and register today!

Save the Date for MnDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Regional Workshops

The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites you to a regional bicycle and pedestrian workshop on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave, Winona.

Save the Date for the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Feb. 2-3, 2016, at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.

OPPORTUNITIES

The 5th annual National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 19. This celebration allows the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and our partners to showcase rural America and highlight the unique healthcare needs of rural communities. View the Celebrating the Power of Rural website to learn more.

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program (NAT)  Provides funding to support traineeships for licensed nurses who are enrolled in a nurse anesthesia program, with preference given to projects that will benefit rural and underserved populations.

Application Deadline: Nov. 20, 2015.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State released the November 2015 notice of vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees, including openings on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council. The full list of vacancies is listed online.

Application forms are available online and must be submitted by Nov. 24, 2015, to be assured of full consideration by the appointing authority. To apply, submit an application through the Secretary of State’s office and include the following documents:

  • Open Appointments Application Form (completed, signed and dated)
  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume or Biography

The Explore Minnesota Tourism Council is focused on areas critical to the development and growth of Minnesota tourism. Program development and public policy issues at both the state and federal level are also addressed. Click here for a list of current council members and the industry sectors they represent.

Nominations for the 2015 Tourism Marketing Awards presented by Explore Minnesota are due by Monday, Nov. 30. The awards are given annually at the Explore Minnesota Conference and will be presented on Feb. 2 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.  Copies of the new nomination forms and submission templates are now available for both the Competitive and Special Recognition Programs. These are distinct programs with different judging criteria. Please share this information with your community and encourage applications.  For more information, contact Dave Bergman at 888-563-7777 or view the Travel Marketing Award Guidelines.

Free energy assessments for small businesses and institutions. Are your furnace, door seals, recycling program, and lighting working at their best?  If you answered ‘I don’t know’, consider contacting RETAP. The Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) provides free energy efficiency and waste reduction assessments for small businesses and institutions in Minnesota. When you have an assessment done, an experienced team of retired professionals will:

  • Analyze your utility bills,
  • Visit your facility, and
  • Give you a written report with prioritized recommendations and estimated financial and environmental savings.

Recommendations may be behavior changes, maintenance improvements, or retrofits. While you are under no obligation to implement the recommendations, a high percentage of surveyed clients implement many of them. Average savings from RETAP recommendations implemented last year is over $2,000 per client.  Since RETAP’s start in 2001, over 200 businesses and institutions – including dry cleaners, coffee shops, and fire stations – have benefited from RETAP assessments. To find out more or to request a free assessment, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/retap or contact Mike Vennewitz, RETAP Coordinator, at 612-781-1307 or mvennewitz@yahoo.com

MNTAP interns and training opportunity  – An extra set of eyes: MnTAP interns identify savings! The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is  seeking proposals from Minnesota businesses for its 2016 summer intern program. Businesses interested in reducing waste, conserving water, and improving energy efficiency are encouraged to apply for an intern in 2016. Proposed projects are evaluated for impact potential, project scope, and company interest and commitment. Interns are chosen based on outstanding educational background and leadership capabilities.

We anticipate supporting up to 15 projects this summer, with at least one project focused on paint efficiency and at least three projects on water conservation. Other projects will focus on source reduction, energy efficiency, and pollution prevention.  Applications are being accepted until February 1, 2016 and will be reviewed upon receipt. Apply online today!  If you work with Minnesota companies, please spread the word to those companies you think might be a good fit. Find out more at MnTAP’s intern page, or call MnTAP at 612-624-1300.

Scholarships, Loans, and Loan Repayment for Rural Health Professions – Provides an overview of scholarship, loan, and loan repayment programs available for healthcare students who intend to practice in rural areas. Visit the guide to find information and successful models for the development of programs designed to attract health professionals to rural areas.

MISCELLANEOUS

HUD has published a summary report that covers needs, barriers, and experiences with aging in place, and feasibility of programs to support independence for rural seniors. It includes discussion of emerging trends and potential service models. Get the report here.

–HUD posted an article in Evidence Matters on how local initiatives, with the support of federal policies and national nonprofits, address unique barriers to homeownership in Indian Country. Residents of Indian Country face a diverse set of housing challenges, including overcrowding, high cost burdens, and a lack of affordable, high-quality housing options for both renters and homeowners. Initiatives seek to overcome these obstacles to homeownership by supporting infrastructure development and home construction and rehabilitation, increasing access to mortgage credit, cultivating financial literacy, and providing direct financial assistance to homebuyers. Read the article here.

–The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation has released “Planning for a More Resilient Future: A Guide to Regional Approaches”, a report that summarizes the rapidly-growing body of research on resilience, describing the main ideas that are driving policy and practice across the country and examining current thinking on regional and economic resilience. It is intended for regional development organizations as well as local governments, community foundations, voluntary organizations, and others who step forward as planners, conveners, organizers, fundraisers, mediators, coordinators, and advocates on behalf of communities impacted by, or at risk of being impacted by, disasters, natural and human-induced. To explore the publication and the companion website, click here.

–National Association of Development Organizations has published “Creating Opportunity and Prosperity Through Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections”. The brief highlights examples in which regional development organizations can benefit from linking rural regions with urban centers, and includes information on broadband development and its implication for improving access to healthcare services. Click here for a free copy.

The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship has put together an overview of the Center’s resources in support of community development philanthropy. “The Community Development Philanthropy Overview Guide” spotlights the growing set of resources that the Center offers and their new partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Community Strategy Group. Get the guide here.

An Interview with Ajit Pai  Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai discusses the critical need to expand broadband deployment in rural communities and the promise that broadband holds for rural healthcare.

The ACA’s Impact on Rural Areas  webinar slides showing the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on uninsured rates across the country. Highlights differences in enrollment and market characteristics between urban and rural areas by analyzing change in enrollment rates, payer mix, and number of insurance plans offered.  Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute

Minnesota Crisis Link Website Now Available.  Minnesota has launched a Crisis Link website to connect people in crisis, including mental health and substance abuse problems, homelessness, or other crisis health needs. Hospitals and clinics are encouraged to make the Crisis Link website, local crisis line numbers and Fast-Tracker information available to patients and their families. The information can be posted, available as a handout in the waiting room or offered in other ways.

We wanted to make sure folks saw this in time for the webinar on Nov 10…

Funding and Design Assistance Available for Rural Communities

CITIZENS’ INSTITUTE ON RURAL DESIGN™ ISSUES REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

New York (October 27, 2015) — The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities interested in applying for funding to host a community design workshop in either 2016 or 2017.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation. CIRD provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality.
CIRD offers annual competitive funding to six small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-ahalf day community development and design workshop. With assistance from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops are intended to bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government agencies to develop actionable solutions to the communities’ pressing development challenges. The communities will receive additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on www.rural-design.org.

Design and development challenges include but are not limited to the following: Main Street revitalization, managing and shaping community growth, the design of community-supportive transportation systems, preservation of natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protecting working agricultural lands, and maximizing the role of arts and culture as an economic driver for local and regional economies. Since 1991 CIRD has convened more than 70 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets today in order to build better places to live, work, and play in the future.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 at 11 p.m. EST. Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 stipend (that must be matched one-to-one) in addition to in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website: www.rural-design.org/request-for-proposals. Selected communities will be announced in March of 2016 and workshops will be held during the fall of 2016 through spring of 2017.

CIRD staff will also offer two pre-application assistance webinars to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, and the second will take place on Thursday, Dec. 10. Both calls will begin at 3 p.m. EST and last approximately one hour. Participation in each call is free but registration is required. To register visit: www.rural-design.org/application-assistance.

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