March 2009 – Volume VII, Number 3

This Compendium of Reliable Information and Informed Opinion is compiled and edited with loving care by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

In this issue:

n  Across the Field

n  Funding – Time is of the Essence for the Federal Stimulus

n  Meetings & Trainings

n  Opportunities

n  Miscellaneous

 

ACROSS THE FIELD, by Jane Leonard

 

To help the Federal Stimulus work for the long-haul, a Reintroduction of Minnesota Community Pride for what would have been its 25th anniversary

 

To help our fellow Minnesotans navigate through the current economic crisis, Minnesota Rural Partners is proposing to re-introduce the community assessment, improvement, and competition program — Minnesota Community Pride — begun 25 years ago as a public-private partnership in what was then Minnesota’s state planning agency.

 

Pride and several other community engagement programs — Minnesota Main Street, Governor’s Design Team, Minnesota Beautiful and Picture-It-Painted — were a big hit and a big help to several hundred communities in the mid-1980s, during the last widespread economic crisis.  They channeled fragmented energy and ideas into shared, positive direction and tangible action. Perhaps once again they can help Minnesota thrive for the long-term.

 

I was fortunate to have begun my career working on all of those programs when they were supported by state agencies. They mirrored similar programs in other Midwestern states. The programs cost the state very little to run and they gave community leaders and citizen volunteers a strategic framework with which to leverage resources available in and outside of the communities.

 

In 1991, state government dropped its support. Volunteers picked up the slack as best they could but program demand faded when the economy gained steam in the 1990s. The Minnesota Design Team did remain intact, smaller but steady, thanks to continuing volunteer support. Minnesota Main Street is now getting a breath of fresh air from the Preservation Alliance.

 

So, in a Back to the Future moment, for what would have been its 25th anniversary, we are trying to bring back Minnesota Community Pride, except this time much of the assessment tools and community best practices ideas exchange can be available online.  

 

The economic crisis calls upon each of us to be responsible to see the bigger picture and implement a more intentional and integrated approach to our community and economic development, not only in infrastructure investments afforded by the federal stimulus, but in integrated thinking and doing in health care, education, finance, and community design (which includes environmental considerations). These key elements must be in place for a community to sustain and thrive over the long-haul.

 

The optimist would ask, if we have the chance to start over again (as I think we do now), how should we/could we rebuild (physically and mentally) to ensure a more sustainable economic, environmental, and social future in our community, state, and nation, especially given the know-how, technology, and opportunities for global cooperation and competition we have now?

 

Change is disruptive, but it is manageable and can be revitalizing if you have a good understanding of your situation and a way to bring multiple disciplines to the table to leverage resources and solve problems. The Minnesota Community Pride framework can help organize the tools and sort and apply the resources communities need for both informed self-determination and cooperation across the state.

 

We’re putting the pieces together that would include online assessment tools, info and idea exchange mechanisms, and an old-fashioned community improvement competition to raise the levels of civic engagement, aspiration, and shared accomplishment.

 

Despite the economic woes we face, Minnesota has no shortage of resources and organizations that can help. They are available locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally. The trick is to find the right resource at the right time for the challenges and opportunities you face.  That’s what Minnesota Rural Partners is pulling together – an online gateway and face-to-face community process that can help you sort thru and apply the wide range of ideas and assistance available.

 

The community competition would be organized by population category and could include neighborhoods in larger cities. Competitions always bring out best practices, to both admire and to share.

 

Sub categories for competition could include community-based projects in the following categories and a category for overall cross-disciplinary achievement.

 

        Arts & culture

        Broadband improvements & applications

        Community design

        Education – lifelong learning

        Entrepreneurship support and encouragement (youth and adult categories)

        Health care

        Finance for the long haul

        Natural resources/environment

 

Weaving through all categories would be evidence of innovation, creativity, imagination, problem solving, awareness, information sharing and content management. For example, a health care project could include assessing availability and affordability of health care for the community members at large. It could create a special program that ensured affordable insurance was available for citizens who were taking the risk to start, grow, and sustain small businesses that ultimately diversify the economic base of the community.

 

We’re in the process of organizing the program now and hope to have details and registration available by June. If you are interested in participating as a sponsoring organization please contact Jane Leonard at jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org or call 651-303-5263. Sponsorship can be monetary and/or your willingness to be included in the online directory of community resources or expert online panels.

 

If you are interested in participating as a community or neighborhood, please let us know that, too, at the same contact info as above. We will send you more detailed information as it becomes available.

 

FUNDING

 

— Time Is Of The Essence.  There are many, many program components in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, the final version of the Stimulus Bill).  The Obama Administration is forging full steam ahead.  Vice President Biden is charged with making sure the money is used wisely and well and is put to work ASAP.  He’s making every agency submit weekly progress reports.  Results are being posted on the internet at www.recovery.gov  

 

To maximize your organization’s participation in Stimulus delivery, you may want to: 

·         Find and scan through a summary of the legislation, e.g., NACO has one at http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Publications&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=30055 

·         Look most carefully at agencies and programs which have proven useful in the past and/or are relevant to your current plans and developments;

·         For programs covered in the legislation, determine whether your group has any application(s) planned or pending or has been turned down recently due to lack of funds;

·         Identify any other priority program prospects;

·         Write a brief summary of how your group proposes to use ARRA funds, including project purpose and location, amounts needed, when you can start, when you will finish and community benefits;

·         If you have a good working relationship with a specific program staffer, contact him or her and send along your summary, asking about whether it makes sense for your group to apply, and what the process and timetable for applications is;

·         If you don’t relate to a specific staffer, contact the nearest program supervisor (you may want to copy your US Senators and Representatives); and

·         Follow up, follow up, follow up, including regular visits to www.recovery.gov   and www.FederalRegister.gov to make sure you don’t miss any relevant NOFAs or RFPs.

 —Information and applications are online http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/index.html#ship for the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). Send applications by March 23 to the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, which coordinates a state application on behalf of Minnesota’s small rural hospitals.

The USDA Distance Learning Telemedicine Grant http://www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/dlt/dlt.htm deadline is March 24. The grant is primarily for connecting medical professionals and patients or students and teachers. It funds equipment that operates over telecommunications systems, the acquisition of instructional programming and technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment.

–ECAC has grant funds available for ARTISTS and ART projects!   Eligibility is for organizations and individuals in Region 7E (Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties.)  Art Project Grants for Communities, Schools, and Non-profits – April 1 grant deadline for communities, schools, and organizations:
1.        Art In Our Schools Grants- Schools may apply for up to $1,000 for special art projects sponsored by the School District that enhance the arts curriculum.  The grant funds can support artist residencies, arts related field trips, or any arts focused special project.  Each school district is allowed up to two Art In Our School grants per school year. 
2.        Small Grants – Matching grants of up to $500 are currently available for smaller arts projects for organizations.   Types of projects funded in the past under the Small Grant programs have been a visual art, theatrical, musical, dance, spoken word and literary art.  There is a required 1 to 1 dollar match for these grants. 

For more information contact ECAC by telephone (320) 679-4065 extension 30; by e-mail at ecac@ecrdc.org  ; or to immediately access the grant applications you can use the ECAC website http://home.ecrdc.org/ecac_applications.htm    Applicants need 3 files for any grant category:  the RAC Data Collection Form, the grant guidelines, and the grant application. 

THE COCA-COLA FIRST GENERATION SCHOLARSHIP is offered to American Indian students who are the first in their immediate family to pursue a higher education at a tribal college or university.  The deadline for applications is May 31, 2009.  Learn more at http://www.raconline.org/funding/funding_details.php?funding_id=1563  

 

MEETINGS /TRAININGS

 

Arts in Education Workshop will be Saturday, March 14, 2009 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the East Central Arts Council/East Central Regional Development Commission Office, 100 Park Street South, Mora.  – Calling all artists, teachers and teaching artists.  There will be an upcoming Arts in Education workshop in partnership with the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Perpich Center for Arts Education at the East Central Arts Council.  Representatives from all art forms are encouraged to participate!

This workshop is for:
– Those interested in offering arts residencies to schools;
– Teachers and school personnel interested in arts integration 

  and funding sources for arts residencies;
– Anyone interested in getting more arts education in schools.
To register (by March 12) or for more information contact: Mary Minnick-Daniels by phone 320-679-4065×30, or e-mail ecac@ecrdc.org    

–This year and next will test even the sturdiest organizations.   You will be making thousands of leadership and management decisions this year to navigate your organization through change and uncertainty. The process of developing, communicating and selecting financial projections and organizational choices is an enormous organizing and leadership challenge, and the focal point of a new MCN training happening  throughout the state – Recession-Year Financial Leadership.  This program will illuminate the key decisions, choices and strategies that you should consider in key areas such as recession-preparedness, budgeting approaches for uncertain times, fundraising expectations and priorities, communications and community, and more. Recession-Year Financial Leadership will provide you with analytical tools, templates and talking points to lead your organization, and join forces with partner organizations, in this most difficult year.

This workshop will be presented by Kate Barr (Executive Director, Nonprofits Assistance Fund) and Jon Pratt (Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits). For workshop details including content, pricing, and registration information, visit http://www.mncn.org/event_leadership.htm#recession 

Recession-Year Financial Leadership is coming to you on:

Wednesday, March 11, Brainerd
Thursday, March 19, Duluth
Tuesday, March 24, North Mankato
Tuesday, March 31, Webinar
Thursday, April 2, St. Paul
Thursday, September 10, St. Paul

–Earn Your Certificate in Leadership of Volunteers in St. Cloud, Fergus Falls, Rochester, Red Wing, Duluth and the Metro! Increase your Impact as a Leader of Volunteers


The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) is offering the Volunteer Leadership Training Series in the following locations:

  • St. Cloud on April 7, 14, 28 and May 5, 2009co-sponsored with the St. Cloud Area Volunteer Coordinators and the United Way of Central Minnesota
  • Fergus Falls on April 21 and 22, 2009co-sponsored with Bremer and West Central Initiative
  • Rochester on May 18-20, 2009as part of the 2009 Minnesota Conference on Volunteer Administration
  • Red Wing on June 10 and 17, 2009co-sponsored with United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties, Goodhue County Law Enforcement Center and Volunteers United
  • Twin Cities on July 14 and 16, 2009co-sponsored with the Greater Twin Cities United Way and Hands on Twin Cities
  • Duluth in October , 2009co-sponsored with True North Volunteer Center.  More information available by mid-Marc

This 8-topic series includes trainings on Managing Risk, Recruiting Volunteers, Positioning Your Volunteer Program for Success, Supervising Volunteers, Capturing Volunteer Motivation, Recognizing Volunteers and more!  For more details and to register, visit www.MAVANetwork.org/VRL.

 

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 out the web site at www.centerforsmalltowns.org for periodic updates and on-line registration information or give Barb a call at 320-589-6451. 
 

–The Minnesota Critical Access Hospital and Rural Health Conference “Rethinking Rural Health Care: A Community Effort” will be held June 15-16, 2009 in Duluth.  For more in formation go to: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/conf/2009/index.html

OPPORTUNITIES

 

–HECUA Partners Internship Program – HECUA is pleased to announce twenty paid summer internship opportunities in the nonprofit sector as a part of the Partners Internship Program. The Partners Internship Program provides grants to nonprofits to hire paid student interns for the summer.  Students make a significant contribution to the organization through a focused project at the internship site, while gaining valuable insight and work experience in the nonprofit sector. The deadline for students to apply is April 13th.  For more information see http://www.hecua.org/pip.php

Current information on the Summer Health Care Intern Program is on the Minnesota Hospital Association  site at: http://www.mnhospitals.org/index/Summer_Intern_Program/    This program brings students and health care employers together by giving students experience in a health care environment and employers the opportunity to become more involved in their community. Participating hospitals, medical clinics, nursing facilities, home health agencies, assisted living residences and physicians employ students for six to 12 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day for at least minimum wage.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), considers applications for community-based research assistance several times a year. Proposals are due by the following dates for assistance during the time periods indicated:

  • June 30
    (for Fall Semester assistance-early September to mid-January)
  • October 30
    (for Spring Semester assistance-mid-January through May)

The programs provide graduate or undergraduate student assistance for applied research projects, program planning and development, program evaluation, and other short-term projects. Student assistantships are generally 10-20 hours per week for three to four months. Eligible organizations include community groups, organizations, and local governments outside the seven county metro area. For more information go to: http://www.cura.umn.edu/Programs/ApplicationProcess.php

Nominate a Minnesota Rural Health Hero or Minnesota Rural Health Team http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/conf/2009/award.html  by May 4. Award winners will be recognized at the annual Minnesota Critical Access Hospital and Rural Health Conference June 15-16 in Duluth.

–eFolio MinnesotaA multimedia electronic portfolio designed to help you create a living showcase of your education, career and personal achievements. All Minnesota residents, including students enrolled in Minnesota schools, educators and others can use eFolio Minnesota to reach their career and education goals.  www.efoliominnesota.com

Social Venture Partners Minnesota is now accepting applications for the 2009 Social Entrepreneur’s Cup competition, to seek out, support, and celebrate Minnesota’s most innovative and effective social entrepreneurs and the nonprofit organizations they lead.

Winners of the 2009 Social Entrepreneur’s Cup will receive:

First place winner – $20,000 general operating support grant (increased from last year’s prize of $15,000) plus 40 hours of technical assistance from Social Venture Partners.

First runner-up – $5,000 general operating support grant plus 42 hours of technical assistance from Social Venture Partners.

Honorable mention – $1,500 general operating support grant.

Because the Social Entrepreneur’s Cup is now a division of the Minnesota Cup innovation competition the first place winner of the Social Entrepreneur’s Cup will go on to compete for an additional $10,000 Minnesota Cup Grand Prize.

Four finalists will make a live presentation at the June 18, 2009 Engaged Philanthropy Conference at the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis to a panel of judges made up of business entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and social entrepreneurs.

You are invited to submit an application for the competition, or to pass this announcement on to a social entrepreneur you think should enter.

We hope you will participate in this celebration of Minnesota’s social entrepreneurs by submitting an application. Click the following link to obtain Guidelines and Application. Guidelines and Application

Complete the application as instructed on the form and submit to Social Venture Partners by April 24, 2009.

If you have questions about the application process or Social Venture Partners Minnesota, please call Brad Brown, Executive Director, Social Venture Partners Minnesota, (612) 676-2630

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

The Governor’s Minnesota Ultra-High Speed Broadband Task Force http://www.ultra-high-speed-mn.org/ now has interactive maps of coverage and availability on its Web site, produced by Connect Minnesota http://connectmn.org/.  Also posted is a recently presented Broadband Basics presentation http://www.ultra-high-speed-mn.org/CM/Custom/Broadband%20101%20v10.pdf (PDF:2MB/19pgs), which provides an excellent primer on broadband and its implications.

Rural Broadband at a Glance, 2009 Edition.  Three-quarters of U.S. residents used the Internet to access information, education, and services in 2007. Broadband Internet access is becoming essential for both businesses and households; many compare its evolution to other technologies now considered common necessities—such as cars, electricity, televisions, microwave ovens, and cell phones. Although rural residents enjoy widespread access to the Internet, they are less likely to have high-speed, or broadband, Internet access than their urban counterparts. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the difference in access may lie in the higher cost and limited availability of broadband Internet in rural areas. As a result, rural residents depend more on Internet use outside of the home, in places like the library, school, and work, where broadband Internet access is available. See http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB47/

Population, Housing Data Updated For Midsized Places. For the first time since the 2000 Census these data are available for counties, cities, and towns with populations of 20,000-64,999, through the American Community Survey. Visit http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2004/NewsMediaKit.html.  

Growing Crops for Biofuels has Spillover Effects.  Federal mandates for biofuel production promote expanded crop acreage which can shift cropping patterns and affect livestock production due to higher prices for corn and other grain crops. An increase in the extent and intensity of input use and agricultural land in production increases the potential for environmental degradation. Research on crop productivity and conversion efficiency, as well as conservation practices like no-till and buffer strips, could lessen the environmental impacts of biofuels. See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/March09/Features/Biofuels.htm

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Briefing Room highlights ERS research on SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program). The new name reflects the program’s recent modernization and greater focus on nutrition. SNAP is the Nation’s largest domestic food and nutrition assistance program for low-income Americans. See http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/SNAP/

"Can Markets Improve Water Allocation in Rural America?" This fourth quarter Economic Review article by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank examines how water markets affect both water right holders and their rural communities. http://www.kansascityfed.org/Publicat/Econrev/ermain.htm?ealert=0211

--"The Affordability of Homeownership to Middle-Income Americans."  This fourth quarter Economic Review article by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank explores whether homeownership has become less affordable to middle-income Americans--and why perceptions of affordability may have decreased. 
http://www.kansascityfed.org/Publicat/Econrev/ermain.htm?ealert=ER0211
 
--Farmland values declined in the fourth quarter of 2008 amid weaker farm incomes and softer non-farm demand according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions. Even though farmland values have declined, the survey of 254 bankers found that they remain above 2007 levels. You can find a summary of the results and selected statistics at 
http://www.kansascityfed.org/agcrsurv/Agcrmain.htm?ealert=AGCR0212

 

The Federal Reserve Banks of Boston and San Francisco are pleased to announce the release of a new publication Revisiting the CRA: Perspectives on the Future of the Community Reinvestment Act.  This timely publication offers a range of perspectives on the past and future of the CRA, provides facts, and highlights possible reforms in an effort to foster a healthy debate.  The authors include academic researchers, current and former regulators, community development practitioners, and financial services representatives. The publication is now available for download from both the Boston and San Francisco websites:

Boston weblink: http://www.bos.frb.org/commdev/cra/index.htm  

San Francisco weblink:  http://www.sf.frb.org/publications/community/cra/index.html  

–White House Agenda for Service Includes Service-Learning.  Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation’s Schools: Set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year. Develop national guidelines for service learning and give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience.

  • Expand Youth Programs: Create an energy-focused youth jobs program to provide disadvantaged youth with service opportunities weatherizing buildings and getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields. Expand the YouthBuild program to give 50,000 disadvantaged young people the chance to complete their high school education, learn valuable skills and build affordable housing in their communities.
  • Require 100 Hours of Service in College: Establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.
  • Promote College Serve-Study: Ensure that at least 25 percent of College Work-Study funds are used to support public service opportunities instead of jobs in dining halls and libraries.

For more information visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/service/

–The Minnesota Department of Health’s Spoken Language Health Care Interpreter Roster http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/pqc/hci/index.html lists spoken languages and persons available to interpret health care subjects, and specialty settings in which the interpreter may have experience.

The National Rural Health Association  http://www.ruralhealthweb.org/go/rural-health-news/historic-rural-spending-in-stimulus-nears-final-passage explores the anticipated impact of the stimulus package on rural America.

 

IF YOU HAVE NEWS OR NOTES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE, PLEASE SEND THEM TO Jane Leonard at jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org.  We try to publish the RoundUp every second Tuesday of each month, so stories should be submitted before that deadline.

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