October 2008 – Volume VI, Number 9
Editors: Deb Miller-Slipek and Jane Leonard

Dear Colleagues & Friends:

Minnesota Rural Partners is evolving again. We are becoming a virtual organization, still a non-profit, run by volunteers. We will continue writing this newsletter. This week we will turn our website into an interactive blog, providing a connecting and clearinghouse function for events, resources, news, and ideas on community, economic and rural development across the rural-urban spectrum. We will continue to share our survey and registration online tools with other non-profit organizations.

MRP has worked for nearly a decade to create tools that connect people with resources for community and economic development, including bizpathways.org and the Minnesota Entrepreneurial Gateway. We’ve tried to find them good homes here in Minnesota, but to no avail. Those tools will be on hiatus while we gather fresh insights and ideas. Their time will come again.

Jane Leonard, MRP’s president, who has been on leave to run the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission until January 2009, will continue to write for the blog and network for MRP. Denise Pfeifer, acting director, will continue helping with ongoing responsibilities until she heads to Kansas this summer. Deb Miller-Slipek will continue to gather all the great tips on funding, training, and resources, for the newsletter and blog. Ann Treacy, our webmaster, will continue to support the blog and other online tools.

Jane will be contributing to the MRP blog as our “foreign correspondent” writing dispatches from Australia, between February and May 2009, where she will be on a study sabbatical. The last time Jane was in Australia was in the late 1990s when she was representing the State of Minnesota as a partner in the United Nations Trade Point project, an international, secure electronic commerce gateway.

In 2009, she will be researching Australian community technology applications, and entrepreneurial and enterprise development. She will continue work on the community economic reinvention framework that she and others at MRP started (the initial work was funded by a W.K.Kellogg Foundation grant four years ago). The framework idea is a major reason why Jane is heading to Australia, to see how colleagues there are organizing community-based environments that support entrepreneurship and enterprise development — comprehensively tied together on regional, state and national levels.

Jane has placements organized in community and regional settings that include Sydney and Mildura, New South Wales, and in Melbourne and Hamilton, Victoria, and finally in the area around Perth in the state of Western Australia. “I’m grateful to colleagues at the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, Nebraska, and at the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, for their help in sharing names and projects in Australia with me. I hope I can repay that networking generosity with a great report on what’s working and what’s not in Australia, a country that is much less densely settled than the U.S. but faces the same challenges of rural-urban dichotomies and has a healthy respect for the investments needed, in social and economic infrastructures, to fuel creativity and innovation across the board.”

Jane will be reachable by email while she is in Australia, Feb-May 2009, at jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org  or minntwin@comcast.net.

–2008 MPCA Environmental Assistance Grants deadline is October 27th.
This yearly grant program funds the development of environmentally sustainable practices through voluntary partnerships and goal-oriented, economically-driven approaches to pollution prevention and resource conservation. Approximately $300,000 is available to fund projects. Maximum grants are $40,000 ($50,000 where noted below); a minimum 25% match of the total project cost is required. Preliminary applications, limited to a narrative of no more than three pages, are being accepted under the following three focus areas: climate change, emerging issues, and organizational and individual behavioral change. Detailed information is at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/grants/eagrants.html
Priority consideration will be given to proposals that implement one or more of the following programs/initiatives:
• Renewable Energy Assistance and Demonstrations
• Transportation Renewable Energy Demonstrations. Maximum grant is $50,000.
• Clean Technology/Best Practices Demonstration Sites
• Green Chemistry Alternatives Research
• Industrial Energy Efficiency
• Resource Management Contracting
• Sustainable Communities
• Burn Barrel Reduction Campaign
• Sustainable Industrial Development. Maximum grant is $50,000.

— The Target Field Trip Grants program provides funds for K-12 field trips in order to give students the opportunity to explore more of the world outside the classroom. Examples of eligible field trips include: art, science, and cultural museum visits; community service and civic projects; and career enrichment opportunities. In the current funding cycle, grants of up to $800 each will be awarded to 5,000 educators throughout the United States. Funds may be used to cover trip-related costs such as transportation, ticket fees, resource materials, and supplies. Education professionals who are employed by accredited U.S. K-12 public, private, or charter schools are eligible to apply. Applications must be submitted online through the website listed above by November 1, 2008. For more information go to: Target Field Trip Grants http://sites.target.com/site/en/corporate/page.jsp?contentId=PRD03-002537

— The Boat U.S. Foundation, established by the Boat Owners Association of the U.S., is dedicated to promoting safe and environmentally sensitive boating. The Foundation’s Boating Safety Grants program is designed to fund projects that educate the public about actions they can take to be safer while boating. Grants of up to $4,000 are provided to local volunteer organizations throughout the United States for projects that reflect a unique and replicable way to reach boaters with upbeat safe boating messages. Topics can range from literature on the effects of boating under the influence to signage promoting life jacket usage. The application deadline is November 1, 2008. Visit the Foundation’s website to download the application guidelines and forms. For more information go to: Boat U.S. Foundation: Boating Safety Grants http://www.boatus.com/foundation/Grants/index.htm

— The Rural Initiative component of the Laura Jane Musser Fund supports collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities in Minnesota. Grants are provided for programs that will help to strengthen rural towns and regions in the targeted states in a number of civic areas, including economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education. The applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or fewer and must be able to demonstrate the rural characteristics of its location. Planning grants of up to $5,000 and implementation grants of up to $25,000 are provided. The application deadline is November 5, 2008. Complete funding guidelines are available on the Laura Jane Musser Fund’s website. Laura Jane Musser Fund: Rural Initiative http://www.musserfund.org/rural.php

— Rural Pharmacy Planning and Transition Grant applications are invited from rural communities and health care providers (hospital clinics, pharmacies, long term care or other health care facilities) by November 7. The program is intended to preserve access to prescription medication and the skills of a pharmacist in rural areas. Applications are online http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/index.html#pharmacy or contact Doug Benson at (651) 201-3842 or doug.benson@state.mn.us.

–Safe Routes to School Funding – A minimum of $2.1 million will be available under this annual solicitation from the MN Dept. of Transportation to fund projects that improve the conditions and quality of bicycling and walking to schools. The goal of the program is to reverse the 30-year decline in the numbers of children walking to school and reintroduce opportunities for regular physical activity. Safe Routes funds are available for schools with any combination of K-8 enrollment to make infrastructure improvements, such as bike racks and sidewalks, and for non-infrastructure programs such as developing Safe Routes Plans, enforcement, and promoting biking and walking to and from school. Proposals are due November 21, 2008. For more information go to:

–Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon – This three-year initiative will give up to 100 Minnesota public high schools, colleges and universities financial and technical assistance to make their schools more energy efficient and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program is focused on helping schools reduce their carbon by supporting student-led projects and improvements to school building operations and maintenance. Apply by December 15, 2008 to be one of 100 school teams that will receive guidance and $250-$500 mini-grants to work on in-school student-led projects. During the second year of the initiative, these 100 school teams will be eligible for grants of up to $20,000 for innovative carbon-cutting projects. For more information go to: http://schoolscuttingcarbon.org

–FY 2009 CDFI Fund Deadlines. The CDFI Fund http://cdfifund.gov/index.asp has several important deadlines for FY 2009 funding opportunities. CDFI Program – The CDFI Program application deadline http://cdfifund.gov/news_events/CDFI-2008-30-FY2009CDFIProgramOpens.asp is 12:00 midnight Eastern Daylight Time on October 29, 2008.
BEA Program deadlines include:
• Request for Public Comment: http://tinyurl.com/4x9dfs Bank Enterprise Award Program FY 2009 Application by November 3, 2008
• BEA 2009 Notice of Funds Availability, http://tinyurl.com/4q4sng November 2008,
• BEA application deadline, December 2008
–The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will accept inquiries for grant funding through its Community Organizing and Economic Development programs from September 1 to November 1 . Community-based developers may be good candidates for funding. The maximum grant size is $50,000. Please visit http://www.usccb.org/cchd/grant.shtml to find out more.

–The Foundation Center website provides a list of RFPs that get updated every day. Make sure to check it frequently to stay on top of funding opportunities. For more information go to: http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/rfp/  


–The Partners Internship Program (PIP) provides internship grants to nonprofit organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota and northwestern Wisconsin. Each recipient organization hires an undergraduate student who manages a project designed by the agency. With this grant interns are paid to work full time for 400 hours (10 weeks) during the summer months. Twenty nonprofit organizations all over the region are awarded PIP grants each summer and twenty students from the region are hired to work on their projects. Organizations are invited to attend one of the upcoming PIP information sessions listed below to learn more about obtaining a grant-funded student intern for summer 2009. HECUA staff will be available to provide information, advise organizations on potential internship projects, and answer questions about the program. Eligible organizations must have a 501c(3) or (4) status. For more information, to RSVP, or to request an application, contact Michael Berhane at 651/287-3316 or pip@hecua.org  

Date Time City Session Location

Friday, October 17th 12:00pm Duluth, MN Ordean Building Room B/C 424 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (218)-726-4887

Monday, October 20th 9:30am Willmar, MN Bremer Bank (second floor Conf. Room) 500 Willmar Ave. SE, (507) 537-0273

Monday, October 20th 1:00am Marshall, MN Bremer Bank (downstairs conf. room)
208 East College Dr. (507) 537-0273

Monday, October 20th 3:30pm Redwood, MN Bremer Bank(downstairs conf. room), 101 East Fourth St. , (507) 537-0273

Wednesday, October 22nd 10:00am St. Cloud, MN Bremer Bank (lower Suit/Signs will be posted) 1100 West St. Germian Street, (320) 255-7184

Monday, October 27th 10:00am Alexandria, MN Alexandria Public Library, 720 Filmore Street (320) 762-3014

–The Community Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is pleased to invite you to a Community Development Forum, ‘Update on Lender-Nonprofit Collaboration against Foreclosures’ on October 20 at from 11-2:30 in St. Paul. For additional information about this event or to register, please click on the link below. http://www.minneapolisfed.org/news_events/events/community/cdforum.cfm

–The First Rural African Summit will convene at the Radisson Suite Hotel http://tinyurl.com/3gdyw4 in downtown St. Cloud the evening of Sunday, October 26, and will continue into the afternoon of October 27th. Africans living and working throughout the Midwest will discuss their experiences in the United States, with a focus on successes and opportunities. With over 20,000 Africans already living in rural areas of Minnesota, the first annual Summit will provide a forum for community leaders, officials, providers, religious leaders, educators, and business people to learn from each other about the economic and social benefits, and challenges of rural life for African immigrants. For more information contact: Garat Ibrahim at gibrahim@iatp.org or call 612-870-3442.

–The Minnesota Indian Business Conference will be held October 28-29 at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Welch, MN. The 2008 Minnesota Indian Business Conference is a “must” for Indian business owners and artists; tribal leaders; tribal policy and law makers; tribal judges and legal counsel; tribal economic, business and community developers and other tribal government staff; community development corporations; foundations and not-for-profits; Indian college students and tribal college faculty; federal, state and local elected leaders and agency staff; and lenders interested in tapping into the unlimited business potential in reservation communities. For more information go to: http://www.umdced.com/mnibc.html

–Art of Hosting Comes to Minnesota – Minnesota will hold its first Art of Hosting training November 6-8 at the Riverwood Conference Center. Art of Hosting (AoH) www.artofhosting.org  training is offered throughout the world for people seeking to discover new possibilities as leaders. AoH training is a practice retreat for all who aspire to learn and find new ways for working with others to create innovative and comprehensive solutions. AoH training provides the opportunity for learning how to host the conversations we need to have in our communities and organizations and how to hold the open space where new possibilities and solutions can emerge. During the training participants will gain experience in Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, World Café, Circle, Chaordic Stepping Stones and more. This is a very participatory learning experience. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Maggie Schmaltz at Northern Great Plains Maggie@ngplains.org or going to the following link http://www.artofhosting.org/events/?content[news][id]=41

–A Business Retention and Expansion Techniques workshop will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. including lunch Thursday, November 13, 2008 at Region 5 Headquarters, 403 Prairie Ave NE, in Staples. This is a workshop for economic development professionals, volunteers & other community leaders to learn how to conduct effective firm visits and learn about BR&E resources from University of Minnesota Extension. Cost: $25 per person or $50 per community team (2 to 4 people). In order to pre-schedule business visits, the registration deadline is Friday, November 7th. Call: 888-241-4591 or 320-203-6109 or register online at: http://www.extension.umn.edu/workshops/ (And search for item P030184)

— The Blandin Foundation is hosting their annual Broadband Conference – Connected Communities: Making the Net Work for Minnesota on December 3 – 4, 2008 in
Eden Prairie. This year the Blandin Foundation will also be hosting a Minnesota Intelligent Communities Award. The Blandin Foundation along with DEED will be partnering with the national Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) to recognize the top Intelligent Communities in Minnesota. Conference Highlights include:
• Pre-Conference Webinars: Fiber to the Home – Wireless Technology – Interactive Policy Session
• Minnesota Intelligent Communities Award Competition
• Pre-Conference Workshops Design Nine: Andrew Cohill, Intelligent Community Forum: Robert Bell
• Keynote Speaker: Robert Bell, Intelligent Community Forum

–Neighborworks America offers an Online E-Learning Foreclosures Basics Course from its website. This certificate course provides participants with the tools they will need to help their clients through the foreclosure process. To register, go to: http://nw.org/network/training/elearning.asp  


Below are two great opportunities from the University of Minnesota!

–The University of Minnesota Community Assistantship Program is pleased to announce a spring 2009 grant program. The grant will allow rural communities to hire a student to work on a project defined by those communities. The deadline for project proposals is October 30th, 2008. Approved projects will run from January 8th, 2009 to May 24th, 2009. Winning communities will review job applications and select the student who best meets their needs. For details on how to apply see the attachment or apply on line (preferred): http://www.cura.umn.edu/ Programs/ApplicationProcess.php Eligible organizations include community groups, organizations, and local governments outside the seven county metro area. Many different types of projects can be funded, but current priority is projects related to economic development. If you have questions or want a paper copy of the application, contact Jessica Beyer at the Center for Small Towns at 110 Community Services Building 600 East 4th Street Morris, MN 56267 (320) 589-6451.

— The “Connecting Students and Communities” (CSC) program provides a University of Minnesota, Morris undergraduate student to help local units of government, K-12 schools, or community-based organizations in the areas of research, project administration, or other support. Previously funded student projects have addressed issues of senior housing, storefront design, health care research, program evaluation, document design and newsletter creation, economic analysis, Internet and web training, analyzing data, downtown revitalization, and more.

The program is offered by the Center for Small Towns (CST) at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and the University of Minnesota West Central Partnership to 12 west central Minnesota counties — Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine — are encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply for this free assistance is November 7, 2008. Priority is given to projects that include:
• Community based renewable energy
• Local and healthy foods
• Healthy landscapes and water
• Natural and cultural base tourism
• Economic development
• other project areas will also be considered

CST staff can assist your organization in the development of the application. If the proposal is funded, staff will also help in the coordination of activities related to the student’s involvement and help provide technical assistance related to these projects. The student will be available for up to 10 hours a week during Spring semester from January 20, 2009 (or the time of student hiring) through May 8, 2009. To obtain a CSC application on-line; visit the Center for Small Towns web site at: http://www.centerforsmalltowns.org.  If you have questions, need assistance, or want a paper copy of the application contact Jessica Beyer at (320) 589-6451 or jbeyer@morris.umn.edu

–IDEA Competition – Northwest Minnesota’s first venture competition has $50,000 in cash awards that will be awarded to up to five winning ideas (annually). The first round of the competition closes November 15. Learn more at the website: www.ideacompetition.org or contact Michelle Landsverk at 218-435-2834 or www.michellelandsverk.com


–The National Low Income Housing Coalition has compiled an analysis of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac takeover and what it will mean for housing and community development. The analysis explains how the organizations will now be regulated and what their policies will be with regard to community development. To read the article, go to http://www.nlihc.org/detail/article.cfm?article_id=5494

–While farm incomes are expected to reach their highest levels in over three
decades and profits are soaring, energy prices continue to march higher. The
latest issue of The Main Street Economist by Omaha Branch Executive Jason
Henderson explores whether soaring energy prices threaten to slow the booming
farm economy. The full issue is available at: http://www.kansascityfed.org/regionalaffairs/mainstreet/mainstmain.htm?ealert=MSE1003

–Calvin Beale the renowned demographer, sage of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and lifelong student of rural America, died at age 85, September 1 in Washington, D.C. Beale’s statistical studies of U.S. populations, especially our migrations from country to city (and, sometimes, back again), helped Americans stand back from the flux of 20th century experience, the better to see how the nation was changing. “He produced the first comprehensive report on Black farmers, chronicling the circumstances that helped generate a massive rural exodus by Blacks from 1920 to 1960.” And in the 1970s, Beale disclosed “the rural rebound.” He charted U.S. communities along a sliding scale of urbanity-rurality, inventing a descriptive system — commonly known as the Beale codes – that the U.S. Census and other federal agencies adopted. He brought to light how prison construction in the 1990s had become an economic development strategy for small towns. And he managed to photograph some 2000 courthouses across the nation. Many of us, including the Rural Round-Up editors, counted on Mr. Beale’s research for help when we were students writing our master’s thesis and in our professional lives in rural and economic development. Mr. Beale, you will be sorely missed. We’re sure you are already at work organizing demographic statistics on heaven.