May 2009

Take up the challenge and enter your community or community project in the 25th Anniversary Minnesota Community Pride competition. Participants will be showcased and the winners will be announced at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.

“Minnesota’s strength lies in the vitality and can-do spirit of its communities and neighborhoods and the ingenuity of our people,” said Jane Leonard, president of contest organizer Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. “The State Fair has always been a place and time for Minnesotans to showcase, recognize and share creative ideas and innovations.”

Community Pride“It’s the perfect venue to spotlight communities that are helping our state be the best we can be,” she explained, “and one of the few places left where we all come together as Minnesotans.”

The competition, which begins June 2, will lift up and publicly recognize the energy and ingenuity of Minnesota’s communities in both overall community and economic development achievement, and innovations in specific disciplines, such as education, broadband deployment and application, health care, entrepreneurship support, arts & culture, and public finance and more.

Minnesota Community Pride is part of the Reinventing Minnesota initiative, to identify communities statewide for their efforts to move beyond the current economic crisis with creative and proactive community and economic development initiatives, and to share those best practices with their neighbors across the state. In 1984, during a similar economic crisis, the State of Minnesota with public and private partners began the Minnesota Community Pride program. This year’s 25th anniversary contest is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair,, and Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc.

Reinventing Minnesota logo Supporting this effort will be the online Minnesota Community Exchange, a platform to connect to the updated Minnesota Community Resource Directory, and to enable communication between communities to share ideas and experience.

Contest details, including application forms, timelines and contest criteria, and the Minnesota Community Exchange, are available at Entry deadline is July 17; cash awards will go to the top winners in each category. You can also email or call 651-303-5263 if you have questions.

MCP_Anniv_logo_smMAY 2009 – Volume VII, Number 5
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:

ACROSS THE FIELD – Heads Up on the Minnesota Community Pride 25th anniversary competition this summer!

Get ready to apply, starting on June 2, to enter your community or community project in the 25th Anniversary Minnesota Community Pride competition, with winners to be showcased and announced at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair. Watch this space and the MRP website at for more details beginning June 2.

The contest is part of the Reinventing Minnesota initiative, to recognize communities statewide for their efforts to move beyond the current economic crisis with creative and proactive community and economic development initiatives, and to share those best practices with their neighbors across the state.

Supporting this effort will be the online Minnesota Community Exchange, a platform to connect to the updated Rural Resource Directory, and to enable communication between communities to share ideas and experience.

Stay tuned in June!

–Now Accepting Applications! AgStar has grants available for Rural Feasibility Studies. AgStar Fund for Rural America is now offering grants up to $5,000 for feasibility studies resulting in economic development for rural areas. These funds are designed to provide funding to determine the feasibility of a project or to plan for a project located in rural areas of AgStar’s service area.

Projects eligible for funding will need to meet an economic development or sustainability objective and, if implemented, will create new permanent jobs that result in the economic development of a rural area. More details on the Rural Feasibility Study Grant Program For questions, contact Jody Bloemke via email at or call 507-345-5656.
–Application Period Now Open: Fiscal Year 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

The Department of Homeland Security has posted the FY2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program Guidance on the AFG Website. Applications for these grants must be received by Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Nationally, the AFG awards, which will be distributed in phases, will ultimately provide approximately $510 million to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations throughout the country. AFG awards aim to enhance response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public with respect to fire and other hazards. The grants enable local fire departments and emergency medical services organizations to purchase or receive training, conduct first responder health and safety programs, and buy equipment and response vehicles.

An applicant tutorial is now available. The tutorial provides you with valuable grant information and will walk you through the preparation and submittal of competitive applications. In addition, the applicant tutorial will provide an overview of the funding priorities and evaluation criteria. Applicants who have questions regarding the Assistance to Firefighters Grants opportunity should contact the help desk at 1-866-274-0960 or at During the application period, the help desk will operate Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (EDT) and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but is prepared to revise hours of operation based on volume and demand.

–Save America’s Treasures Grants, administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, are provided to preserve our country’s cultural heritage. Grants are available for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and collections, including documents, sculpture, and other works of art, and on nationally significant historic properties, including historic districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects. The grants require a dollar-for-dollar, non-federal match. The minimum grant request for historic collections projects is $25,000; for historic property projects the minimum grant request is $125,000. Applications must be submitted online by May 22, 2009. For program details visit: National Park Service: Save America’s Treasures Grants

–The Bowerman Track Renovation Program, administered by Nike’s Corporate Responsibility Department, provides matching cash grants to community-based, youth-oriented organizations that seek to refurbish or construct running tracks anywhere in the world. Matching grants of up to $50,000 are provided to nonprofit organizations, NGOs, government agencies, schools, and school districts. Requests are reviewed quarterly, and will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 31, 2009. For full application guidelines visit:

–The Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development is dedicated to promoting and maintaining the uniqueness of Native peoples throughout the Americas. The Fund’s primary grantmaking program areas include: Arts and Cultural Expression, Environmental Health and Justice, Human Rights, Sacred Earth, Sustainable Communities, Intergenerational Leadership, and Women’s Leadership. Grants from $500 to $5,000 are provided three times per year to Native communities that address one or more of the Fund’s program areas. The next application deadline is June 1, 2009. (Mini-grants of up to $500 are reviewed throughout the year.) Application guidelines and a cover sheet form are available on the Fund’s website Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development

–Local Funding Partnerships (LFP), a collaborative program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and local grantmakers, supports innovative, community-based projects throughout the United States. Through LFP, a local grantmaker proposes a funding partnership with RWJF to provide seed money for a new project that addresses the health or health care problems of people who are not reached by traditional health and social services or for whom existing services are insufficient. Projects are expected to create meaningful change by addressing health in the context of complex social factors that impede good health for society’s most vulnerable people. Programs that address access to medical care – such as the start-up of community health centers, mobile vans, dental services, or school-based health centers – also are not likely to be competitive. LFP provides grants of $200,000 to $500,000 per project, which must be matched dollar for dollar by local grantmakers such as community foundations, family foundations, corporate funders, etc. Brief proposals are due July 7, 2009. Visit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Local Funding Partnerships for program details and online application information.

— Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and low-income families. The majority of the Foundation’s grants are made through the Early Childhood Care and Education program. Priority is given to experienced, community-based programs serving children in low-income areas where many families struggle to find affordable, high-quality early education and care. Types of support include tuition subsidies; small renovations, supplies, and equipment upgrades; playground construction; and staff development opportunities. Grants typically range from $5,000 to $15,000. Letters of intent may be submitted throughout the year. Visit Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation to take the online eligibility quiz and submit an online application.

–Pioneer Hi-Bred International’s Community Investment Program supports efforts to improve the quality of life in the communities where the company’s customers and employees live and work. The company focuses its grantmaking in the following areas: education, with an emphasis on science; agriculture; and farm safety. Priority is given to nonprofit organizations located in Pioneer facility communities or rural agricultural regions. Organizations with active Pioneer management/employee participation receive priority consideration. Requests may be submitted at any time and are reviewed quarterly. Visit Pioneer Hi-Bred International: Community Investment Program to learn more about the program; click on U.S. Grant Guidelines to access the grant application.


–Minnesota Main Street Committee presents three workshops on revitalizing traditional downtowns:
May 12 May 14 May 15
9:00 – 12:00 1:00-4:00 1:00-4:00
Austin Brainerd Fergus Falls

Protecting and Enhancing Downtown – Creating a Local Main Street Organization.
How do downtown businesses work together to make investments that serve the entire downtown? How can a community protect the identity of its traditional downtown? Unlike the mall on the edge of town or the industrial park, the downtown has no common ownership and no entity marketing space and assisting entrepreneurs. Many downtowns struggle to compete with other unify appearance or operations, to jointly promote services and goods, or make investments to create a welcoming place for the heart of the community.

Local Main Street programs have a proven success for providing these and other benefits to communities seeking to protect and enhance their traditional downtown areas. Each workshop will highlight different Main Street communities, including the Austin Main Street Project, the Owatonna Main Street Program, the Brainerd Main Street Program, the Barnesville Main Street Program, and other local downtown revitalization efforts. Cost: $75.00 per workshop per community Workshops are free to Hometown member communities. Refreshments will be provided. For more information contact: Brian Ross, Hometown Minnesota at 612-588-4904 or

–“Basic Traffic Impacts of Land Use.” This would be especially useful to Planning and Zoning folks and Council members. It will be held Thursday May 14th at the Initiative Foundation office in Little Falls from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. For more information contact Carol at or 651-222-7409 ex 205.

–Making Solar Power Accessible to People of All Income Levels will be held Thursday, May 21, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the MN Pollution Control Agency in Baxter/Brainerd. Free!! As society moves toward a renewable economy, we are seeing the development of a renewable divide where affluent communities have access to renewable energy technologies and lower income communities do not. Yet, energy crises affect our low-income families most gravely, and renewable energy can help mitigate energy crises. The speaker is Jason Edens, Director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, (RREAL) a MN based nonprofit working to deliver solar energy to people of all income levels. RREAL’s solar assistance program provides solar heating systems to low-income families on energy assistance and RREAL provides solar design-build services to the whole community. If you have questions concerning this presentation, please contact Don Hickman at 320-631-2043 or

–Please join the State of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota for a special event, the annual Veteran’s Career Fair on: Wednesday, May 27th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Brooklyn Center, MN

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is looking for potential sponsors for this year’s Veteran’s Career Fair. If you are interested or have more questions please contact Laura Miller for more information. Thank you!

Laura R Miller
Business Services Specialist, VRS
MN Dept of Employment & Economic Development
Office: (763) 536-6036
Cell: (651) 276-6163

–PRACTICAL LEADERSHIP: A Balanced Approach will be held Thursday, June 4, 2009 at the McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota – Minneapolis from 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. As Minnesota’s nonprofit sector enters a time of transformation, leaders are increasingly required to be efficient and practical in their work, in order to maximize impact while resources are tight. Join the 2009 Nonprofit Leadership Conference for a thoughtful and practical day to explore what you, as a nonprofit leader, must consider during this time of societal transformation.

–Registration for the Symposium on Small Towns “Communities 2050: Building a Livable, Renewable, and Responsible Future!” Seventh Annual Symposium on Small Towns, June 2-3, 2009, at the University of Minnesota, Morris. is now open at The focus this year is to build on the foundation of information last year and move into ACTION. How do we go about Re-energizing Local Economies, Educating and Motivating Our Communities, and Capitalizing on Political Change? Please keep in mind the $65 Early Bird registration ends May 15th. This is an action-oriented Symposium focused on energizing local economies, educating and motivating our communities, capitalizing on political change, and celebrating rural living. For information contact: Jessica Beyer at (320) 589-6451 or

–The National Economic Gardening Conference will take place June 17th -19th, 2009 in Sisseton, SD. This conference will be beneficial for business owners and managers in any industry, universities, economic or community development professionals, anyone associated with creating or growing business development programs, and individuals interested in business/entrepreneurship. The conference differs from the usual economic development focus of recruiting/attracting large corporations into a community. International speakers will be presenting on cultivating and supporting local entrepreneurship. For more background on economic gardening visit:
To register go to:

— HOLD THE DATE – November 5-6, 2009 in St. Paul. Every three years, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Minnesota Council on Foundations come together to do a Joint Annual Conference, bringing nonprofits, grantmakers, businesses and government together. At this year’s conference, Transforming Our Work: From Challenging Times to Hopeful Futures, you’ll assemble practical tools to transform your organization.


— Call for Proposals. MN Council for Nonprofits and MCF are now accepting proposals for our 2009 Joint Annual Conference, Transforming Our Work: From Challenging Times to Hopeful Futures. The Conference will take place on Thursday and Friday, November 5 and 6, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Informational presentations that will provide resources and expertise to nonprofits and grantmakers of all kinds and sizes are being sought. The deadline to submit your proposal to present a session at the conference is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13. For detailed information on submitting a proposal visit

–Minnesota Latino Non-Profit Leadership Academy: Call for Applications.
The deadline is June 1, 2009! The Development Training Institute and Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research, invite Latino nonprofit leaders of new, emerging, and established organizations to apply for participation in a year-long Academy to develop their capacity to serve Minnesota’s rapidly growing Latino community. The purpose of the Academy is to foster, nurture, and support Latino nonprofit leaders as they move their organizations to the next levels of excellence, sustainability, and impact. Interested organizations can download the applications at Questions about the application process or participation may be submitted by email to Andreya Skarie at HACER:

–The Humphrey Institute is seeking applications for their 2009 – 2010 Policy Fellows The Policy Fellows program offers practical training in public affairs leadership for emerging leaders seeking new experiences and skills. The program equips participants with three core leadership competencies to inspire, organize, and work effectively with others to advance the public good. The application deadline for the 2009–2010 program is June 15, 2009.

–Potential Environmental AmeriCorps Jobs in Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has applied to initiate an environmental AmeriCorps program in Minnesota called the Minnesota GreenCorps. The Minnesota GreenCorps will provide its members with opportunities to contribute to improve Minnesota’s environment, while gaining experience and learning valuable job skills. A funding decision is expected on this proposal by June 4, 2009.

If funded, local governments and community organizations statewide will host GreenCorps members and provide day-to-day supervision to work on projects in the areas of: climate/energy change assistance to cities and counties; waste reduction, reuse and recycling assistance; and water quality improvement projects. Depending on community goals, GreenCorps members will focus on action or capacity building projects, including planning, implementation, coordination, and community education in these areas.

It is anticipated that applications would open for those interested in becoming GreenCorps members in mid-June 2009, with selections to be made by mid-August 2009. It is anticipated that GreenCorps members would work for 10 months from September 2009 through June 2010. It is anticipated that a stipend of $11,400 would be provided for full-time GreenCorps members, as well as an education-related award of $4,725 for those completing their term of full-time service. Health insurance would be offered. Preferred qualifications are: 4 year BA/BS degree or higher in environmental-related studies, urban planning/community development, engineering, architecture, social sciences, education or communications. Minimum qualifications are: 2 year AA degree or sustained progress toward 4-year degree.

Please contact if you would like to be notified when applications are invited for positions, probably in mid-June 2009. Local governments and community based nonprofits that are interested in potentially hosting GreenCorps members are also encouraged to contact us. For more details see


–New Online Resources Help Policymakers Improve Lives of Children and Families. Visit, website launched by the Center for the Study of Social Policy to showcase the most effective approaches states and localities can use to help families succeed. The site features data on the status of children and families in each state; successful examples of “what works” to improve the well-being of children and families, and more.

–House Agriculture Committee Reaches Out on Climate Change. The Committee is seeking comments on proposals to address global climate change through a print- and web-based questionnaire. The questionnaire is meant to ensure that as many viewpoints as possible are represented on how to incorporate the work America’s farmers, ranchers, and conservationists are already doing on climate change initiatives, and identify potential benefits for the future. To access the questionnaire go to: 

–NCAI Unveils Indian Stimulus Web Site. The National Congress of American Indians unveiled a website meant to provide tribes with up-to-date information and $3 billion target for tribes in the American Economic Recovery and reinvestment Act. To view the website to go:  

–A HealthLeaders article points out that as important as community and rural hospitals are to the well-being of the people they serve, these hospitals play a large part in business development. The MN Office of Rural Health and Primary Care helps communities assess the economic impact of health services, and preserve and strengthen those services, through Rural Health Works Contact Craig Baarson at  or (651) 201-3840 for assistance.

–Check out the new Minnesota Waste Wise Fact Sheets for information about recycling, waste reduction, purchasing, landscaping and more. Go to to view the Fact Sheets and other resources about environmentally sustainability business practices.

–The USDA ERS State Fact Sheets contain frequently requested data for each State and for the total United States. These include current data on population, per-capita income, earnings per job, poverty rates, employment, unemployment, farm characteristics, farm financial characteristics, top agricultural commodities, top export commodities, and the top counties in agricultural sales. The latest data on county and State unemployment (2008); number of jobs and earnings per job (2007); and per-capita income (2007) are now available. Go to:

–Ethanol Co-Product Use in U.S. Cattle Feeding: Lessons Learned and Considerations. The byproducts of making ethanol, sweeteners, syrups, and oils used to be considered less valuable than the primary products. But the increased livestock-feed market for such byproducts in the past few years has switched that perception to one of the ethanol industry making grain-based “co-products” that have market value separate from the primary products. Co-products such as dried distiller’s grains, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, corn oil, solubles, and brewer’s grains have become economically viable components, along with traditional ingredients (such as corn, soybean meal, and urea), in feed rations. Go to:

–The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2008 Annual Report – Federal expenditures for USDA’s food assistance programs totaled $60.7 billion in fiscal 2008, 11 percent more than in the previous fiscal year—the largest percentage increase in 16 years. Fiscal 2008 marked the eighth consecutive year in which food assistance expenditures exceeded the previous historical record amount. The five largest food assistance programs in fiscal 2008—the Food Stamp Program, the National School Lunch Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the School Breakfast Program—accounted for 95 percent of USDA’s expenditures for food assistance. Each of these five major programs expanded during fiscal 2008. This report uses preliminary data from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to examine trends in the food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2008. It also discusses a recent ERS report that examined some of the issues facing the National School Lunch Program. Go to:

–An Illustrated Guide to Research Findings from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). This book contains a sampling of recent ERS research illustrating the breadth of the Agency’s research on current policy issues: from biofuels to food consumption to land conservation to patterns of trade for agricultural products – New interactive chart book or go to:

–Economic Aspects of Revenue-Based Commodity Support. Interest in revenue-based commodity support is evident in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill), which gives eligible producers the option of participating in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program in return for reductions and eliminations of payments under more traditional programs. This report examines how the uncertainty in U.S. domestic commodity support payments for corn may differ between traditional-style approaches (defined as price-based payments plus yield-based disaster payments) to support and two revenue-based support scenarios. Variability around the total expected annual payment was found to be lower under revenue-based support, as was the probability of high payments. These results suggest potential advantages to this type of support, both in terms of lower budgetary uncertainty for the Federal Government and in better ensuring that agricultural support outlays stay below a certain ceiling. In addition, the volatility of corn revenue was found to be lower in almost all corn producing counties under the revenue-based alternatives than under the traditional price-based approaches. Go to:  

Jane Leonard
Minnesota Rural Partners
1533 Grantham St.
St. Paul, MN 55108
phone (651) -303-5263