Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
ACROSS THE FIELD – Democracy on January 20 — by Jane Leonard

Tomorrow we see democracy in action with the peaceful and celebratory changeover in power from the Bush administration to the Obama team. Whatever your political persuasion, we have shown the world once again that the citizens of the United States of America place their trust in one another, to create a government of, by and for the people.

As I write this on January 19, the day we honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, I am humbled by my own childhood memories, witnessing the civil rights struggles in the 1960s, especially those in Washington, D.C. as I grew up there when my parents came from Minnesota to Washington to serve in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

And here we are over 40 years later, celebrating the election of the 44th President of the United States, a talented person who among many other things is the first president who is a person of color. That Barack Obama’s inauguration also falls on the 200th anniversary year of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln and that his presidency will intersect with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War fills me with a profound and hopeful spirit. The sacrifices, prayers and dreams of so many people who came before us over many generations are beginning to be realized.

We will continue to honor their memory and meet the formidable obligations we have ahead through our service to one another and to our country, with our hearts, minds, and hands fully engaged.


–FUND FOR TEACHERS GRANT APPLICATIONS – 2009. The application process for grants from the Fund for Teachers is now open. Rural teachers who wish to receive support to study and/or travel are encouraged to apply. Application deadline is January 30, 2009. For more information, go to

–NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grants. The NEA Foundation supports a variety of efforts by teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty and staff to improve student learning in the nation’s public schools, colleges, and universities. All professional development projects must improve practice, curriculum, and student achievement. Grant funds may be used for fees, travel expenses, books, or other materials that enable applicants to learn subject matter, instructional approaches, and skills. Recipients are expected to exercise professional leadership by sharing their new learning with their colleagues. Learning & Leadership Grants provide opportunities for teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty and staff to engage in high-quality professional development and lead their colleagues in professional growth. The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study. Deadline: February 1, 2009

–Norman Foundation: Economic Justice Grants. The Norman Foundation supports efforts that strengthen the ability of communities to determine their own economic, environmental, and social well-being, and that help people control those forces that affect their lives. The Foundation’s Economic Justice grants provide funding to social change organizations throughout the United States that promote economic development through community organizing. Priority is given to projects that arise from the hopes and efforts of those whose survival, well-being, and liberation are directly at stake. In addition, organizations with annual budgets of under $1 million are preferred. Deadline: March 2, 2009

— USDA Distance Learning Telemedicine Grants. Primarily for user equipment that functions via telecommunications systems for the purposes of connecting students and teachers or medical professionals and patients at separate sites. Examples are video-conferencing or teleradiology equipment. The Grant Program funds equipment that operates over telecommunications systems, but does not fund the telecommunications links themselves. In addition, it funds such things as the acquisition of instructional programming and technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment. See the current Application Guide for more complete information, eligibility information and program contacts at  Minimum of 15% Matching Funds with grant minimum of $50,000 and maximum of $500,000. Deadline is March 24, 2009.

–USDA Rural Development offers Household Water Well Grants. Nonprofits must apply by May 31, 2009 for Household Water Well System Grants to establish lending programs. See Federal Register, 11/20/08, pp. 70315-21 or  

–The Electronic Health Record Loan Program provides no-interest six-year loans to help finance the installation or support of interoperable health record systems. Funding is available to community clinics, rural hospitals, physician clinics in towns under 50,000, nursing facilities, and other health care providers. Applications are online or contact Anne Schloegel at (651) 201-3850 or


–The Lost Decade: Briefing scheduled Jan 20. In December, the Minnesota Budget Project released The Lost Decade: Taking a Closer Look at Minnesota’s Public Investments in the 2000s, which found that state investments in E-12 education, higher education, child care assistance and affordable housing will all be at lower levels by the end of this decade than in Fiscal Year 2003. As Minnesota policymakers will be taking action to address a large state budget deficit, these findings demonstrate that they will be making cuts from a budget that has already been eroded. You are invited to a briefing on Tuesday, January 20 from 1:30 to 3:00 at the Neighborhood House, 179 Robie Street East, Saint Paul to explore this research and ramifications for Minnesota and the nonprofit sector. The Minnesota Budget Project will present major findings of the research and a panel of nonprofit staff will shed additional light on the consequences of these decisions. Time for comments and questions will follow.
Speakers include:
• Katherine Blauvelt, Minnesota Budget Project
• Mary Cecconi, Parents United for Public Schools
• Chip Halbach, Minnesota Housing Partnership
• Carole Specktor, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota

–Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government – January 22, 2009, St. Cloud. Looking for opportunities to cut costs? Reducing energy expenditures can lead to serious savings for local governments. This all-day conference at the St. Cloud Civic Center includes 38 expert presenters, 16 special breakout sessions, 18 energy assistance provider exhibitors – and offers information and case studies on a wide range of topics such as: moving to a four day work week, improving your buildings for energy cost savings, reducing fuel use in vehicle fleets, using energy performance contracting and much more!
Registration is $40 until January 15, 2009 and $50 afterwards. Includes refreshments and lunch. See energyconference for conference details and to register!

–Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference will be held January 27-29, 2009 at the Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park. In this time of economic uncertainty we are all wondering about how our destinations and businesses will be affected. We’ve been able to gather some of the most knowledgeable speakers in tourism and economics to help us answer this question during this year’s Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference

Our keynote speaker Peter Yesawich is an expert in consumer buying and travel trends. Other presenters include: state experts in these fields of Minnesota’s economy, economic development and current demographic information; Executive Director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission Jeff Hamiel with cover air transportation to Minnesota. Registration is available online at:

–MCN’s 2009 Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference is Friday, February 20 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and MAP for Nonprofits invite you to New Times – New Tech to learn from the best and brightest in Minnesota about:
• Analytics: Understanding Your Core Users
• Using Web 2.0 Tools: Lessons from the Trenches
• Going Green with Technology
• Integrating On- and Off-Line Strategies in Fundraising Campaigns
• And much, much more!

You, your staff and board members will also hear from Gavin Clabaugh, vice president of information services at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, as he gives the keynote address on Nonprofits in the Connected Age. Fees are $149 for members/$199 for nonmembers through January 30. Be part of Minnesota’s premier nonprofit technology and communications gathering and register today at

–21st Annual Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity “Diversity’s Challenge: Achieving True Inclusion” will be held March 3 and 4, 2009 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. This event is designed for professionals who are responsible for diversity within organizations of all sizes. It is also recommended for anyone working in a multicultural climate and those dealing with a diverse clientele. Keynote Speakers

• Day 1 Opening Keynote – Nat Irvin, diversity and inclusion futurist, University of Louisville
• Day 2 Opening Keynote – Luke Visconti, partner and cofounder, DiversityInc
• Day 2 Lunch Keynote – Ken Powell, chairman and CEO, General Mills
Registration and more info at

–The 7th Annual Symposium on Small Towns “Communities 2050: Building a Livable, Renewable and Responsible Future!” will be June 2-3 at the University of Minnesota in Morris. Please check the web site at for periodic updates and on-line registration information or give Barb a call at 320-589-6451.

–SBA Online Courses. Free online courses to help prospective entrepreneurs better understand the basics about starting a small business. These self-paced courses take about 30 minutes to complete, and you can exit a course at any time. Most courses have audio components. Covered areas include: Starting a Business; Business Planning; Business Management; Financing & Accounting; Risk Management; E-Commerce; International Trade; Federal Tax Training; Marketing & Advertising; Government Contracting; and Small Business Retirement/Exit Planning. Free registration is required. Go to:

–The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a new, comprehensive website to assist Americans with improving financial literacy, sustaining healthy homeownership and achieving financial security. The My Money, My Home, My Future website provides a range of interactive resources to inform users about the importance of financial literacy, including a Self-Assessment Tool, online games and informative classes.
The new site provides a wide-range of information about all avenues needed to be successful on the road to greater financial education, including:
• Building a Financial Foundation;
• Sustaining Healthy Homeownership; and
• Achieving Financial Security.

One of the most unique features of this website is the Self-Assessment Tool. The Self-Assessment Tool provides an extensive guide to help users learn more about personalized options for purchasing and/or refinancing their home. Users will be prompted to answer a few questions. Based on the answers given, the Self-Assessment Tool lists numerous links to visit on-line to learn more about the necessary and correct steps to own a home, refinance a home, enhance their financial skills, and much more.

Some of the other links on My Money, My Home, My Future give detailed information about:
• 9 Steps to Buying a Home
• Housing Counselors and Lenders
• Banking, Credit and Building Wealth
• Foreclosure Process and Alternatives
• Refinancing Loans and FHA Insured Loans
This new site is also located on and both in easy to find locations on the main web pages or go directly to:,7620944&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL 


–Minnesota Campus Energy Challenge. In the past several Februaries, Minnesota elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges and universities have waged a youth-led campaign to address climate change. These “Campus Wars” or “energy challenges” engage Minnesota youth in a friendly competition where the winner is the campus that reduces its total February energy use the most, based on a percentage relative to previous Februaries for that school.

–ORHPC is recruiting volunteers who have experience in health care and/or grant making to objectively review grants proposals. If you are interested, please contact Doug Benson at (651) 201-3842 or or Cindy LaMere at (651) 201-3852 or

–Minnesota’s Future Doctors recruits and prepares highly qualified, minority, immigrant, rural, first-in-the-family to attend college, and economically disadvantaged college freshman and sophomores for medical school in Minnesota. The program includes three paid summer internships and is supported by the University of Minnesota Medical Schools and the Mayo Medical School. Applications are due February 1. Information is on the University of Minnesota site and the unofficial student-managed site

–The Summer Health Care Internship Program provided 84,425 hours of health care internship experience to 303 high school and post secondary students in hospitals, clinics and long term care facilities during the summer of 2008. The program is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care and is administered by the Minnesota Hospital Association For more information contact the Association or contact Lorry Colaizy at (651) 201-3851 or

–Apply by April 1 for the Health Careers Foundation loans or scholarships,  which encourage education in the fields of dietetics, medical records, medical technology, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, radiological sciences, respiratory therapy, speech pathology and transcription/coding.

–2009 Sister Pat Kowalski Leadership Award. Minnesota Campus Compact invites nominations for the 2009 Sister Pat Kowalski Leadership Award. Every two years this award is presented to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to high-quality service-learning and campus-community collaboration, success at building strategic, long-term partnerships with communities, and positive impact on both the community and the educational institution, including development of relevant policies and infrastructure. Nominations are due April 3, 2009. Any student, faculty member, administrator, or staff person at a Minnesota Campus Compact member college or university is eligible. See: for details.


–How rural America’s housing prices are faring in the midst of a national home price bust. The article investigates the reasons behind the better recent performance of rural home prices compared to urban areas and whether rural areas will ultimately follow metro areas with falling prices. Go to:

–The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation), a leader in the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) movement, has just released its Outlook for Community Investing in 2009, highlighting the positive and negative trends facing CDFIs (which include credit unions, banks, loan funds, venture capital funds, and microenterprise funds focused on community development) in the coming year.

Among the positive trends are:

* Broad favorable media coverage of CDFIs in the current crisis, including articles and segments in Newsweek, Reuters, and NPR.
* Efforts to obtain as much as $2 billion in new investment for CDFIs through the TARP and other economic stimulus funds.
* The generally strong financial position of CDFIs, enabling them to loan and invest where many banks have not
* Positive results reported for program- and mission-related investing.

Adverse trends include recent attacks on the Community Reinvestment Act
(CRA) and a retreat by major banks from community investment and
funding. To read the full 2009 Outlook, please visit:

–The Lost Decade: Executive Summary In December, the Minnesota Budget Project released The Lost Decade: Taking a Closer Look at Minnesota’s Public Investments in the 2000s,  which found that state investments in E-12 education, higher education, child care assistance and affordable housing will all be at lower levels by the end of this decade than in Fiscal Year 2003. As Minnesota policymakers will be taking action to address a large state budget deficit, these findings demonstrate that they will be making cuts from a budget that has already been eroded. The primary findings of The Lost Decade are available as a four-page Executive Summary. This is available online, or you can request printed copies by emailing Katherine Blauvelt.

–Measuring Up 2008. Measuring Up is a series of biennial report cards that provide information to assess and improve higher education in each state.

The report card grades states in six overall performance categories:

Preparation: How adequately does the state prepare students for education and training beyond high school?
Participation: Do state residents have sufficient opportunities to enroll in education and training
beyond high school?

Affordability: How affordable is higher education for students and their families?
Completion: Do students make progress toward and complete their certificates or degrees in a timely manner?
Benefits: What benefits does the state receive from having a highly educated population?
Learning: What is known about student learning as a result of education and training beyond high school?

To see how Minnesota did go to: