June 2009

MCP_Anniv_logoEnter your community or community project in the 25th anniversary Minnesota Community Pride contest, brought to you by the Minnesota State Fair, MinnPost.com, and MRP, Inc.

All communities will be recognized at the State Fair on September 6; winners will be announced and cash awards given to the top projects in each category.

Enter at www.ReinventingMinnesota.org. Entry deadline is July 17.

Thought folks might be intersted…

Join us in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on August 10-11, 2009 for the Midwest Rural Assembly!

At the Midwest Rural Assembly you will:

§ Share resources and strategies for rural economic and community development opportunities.

§ Hear from and talk with local to national policymakers about your rural policy priorities.

§ Meet other rural leaders and welcome new voices.

§ Begin building a regional network to advance policies and initiatives that can help revitalize rural communities.

For more information about the Midwest Rural Assembly, including registration and speakers, visit www.midwestruralassembly.org or
email midwestruralassembly@iatp.org.

JUNE 2009 – Volume VII, Number 6
Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: 25th Anniversary Minnesota Community Pride Competition opens today; entry deadline July 17!

Please help us recruit communities and community projects to enter the contest.
All participants honored and winners announced at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.

Enter now at http://www.reinventingminnesota.org

ACROSS THE FIELD – Cancellation of Symposium on Small Towns is a big loss to our shared knowledge and spirit.
When I got the news last week that the 7th annual Center for Small Towns Symposium had been cancelled due to low registration numbers, it nearly felt like a death in the family. It was supposed to run June 2 & 3. Minnesota needed the Symposium this year. We needed to gather with our fellow Minnesotans on our western prairie, in Morris, to share the good ideas and build bonds to keep us through the tough days ahead.

This was something out of the planners’ control. The Symposium is one of the least expensive conferences, and one of the best in content, in Minnesota, but potential attendees voted with their pocketbooks to shut it down, to their own detriment.

Now is exactly the wrong time to stop meeting together. Now is the time we need to share ideas and experience, to bolster our know-how and collective spirits. I know someone will write me and say, we need to cut back our budgets; we need to reprioritize what little funds we have to keep basic survival intact.

And I would agree with you – we have to make sure people are getting the health care they need, the education they need, the food they need.

And, do to that now and for the long-term, we have to go the extra mile in the hard times. We must never forget that our ingenuity is what carries us through. And the best way to grow ingenuity is to gather a bunch of really good minds and hearts together to share the ways they are not only coping with this downturn, but starting to thrive again.

The theme of this year’s cancelled event was: “Communities 2050: Building a Livable, Renewable and Responsible Future!” How do they do it that energy project? How do they build a support system for small business development? How do they sustain leadership? Will it work in my community? Those questions were waiting to be answered in Morris. I miss it already.

(Be sure to make use of the Center for Small Town’s on-going resources. Find out more about them at http://www.centerforsmalltowns.org )


–The Foreclosure Prevention Workshop is being held on Thursday, June 4th, 2pm-8pm, at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. The parking fee for attendees will be at the reduced rate of $3.00. This workshop is for homeowners that are in jeopardy of losing their home. Homeowners will meet face-to-face with their lenders/servicers to discuss options for modifying their mortgage loan and remaining in their home. In the event their specific lender/servicer is not participating in the workshop, foreclosure prevention counselors and others will be available to assist the homeowner in identifying their options. In addition, there will also be a number of other resources (legal assistance, etc) that attendees might be interested in utilizing. A list of lenders, servicers, and additional resources that will be available during the workshop can be found on the Minnesota Homeownership Center’s website at http://www.hocmn.org/hopenow.cfm

–Access advocates from most of the fifty states will gather in Minneapolis to discuss the challenge of “protecting the public’s right to oversee its government.” The 2009 Summit of the National Freedom of Information Coalition is being hosted locally by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, June 5-6 at the Marriott City Center. For more information go to: http://www.mncogi.org/

–The 2009 Minnesota Critical Access Hospital and Rural Health Conference: Rethinking Rural Health Care: A Community Effort is June 15-16 in Duluth. The brochure and online registration is at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/conf/2009/index.html or contact Sally Trnka at (218) 727-9390 ext 233 or strnka@ruralcenter.org.

–Broadband Task Force & Broadband Policy Seminars. This summer the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force http://www.ultra-high-speed-mn.org will be on the road:
June 19 – Grand Rapids
July 17 – Mankato
August 21 – Fergus Falls
Blandin Foundation and regional partners including ARDC, Region 9 Development Commission, and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, are promoting informed public participation in the Task Force meetings by hosting free seminars prior to each Task Force visit. Each seminar will include regional panelists actively engaged in broadband deployment and use, and time for participants to organize their regional voice for the task force meeting the following day. http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/events/events-detail.php?intResourceID=870

–Grantseeking for Beginners Seminar will be held June 19th in Willmar. Learn the basics of effective grantseeking from the premier source of Minnesota grantmaking information and knowledge! The Minnesota Council on Foundations’ popular Grantseeking for Beginners seminar provides essential information for grantseekers interested in learning the basics of grantwriting.

At MCF’s seminars, you’ll learn from the experts and leaders in Minnesota’s grantmaking field. The Minnesota Council on Foundations is a well-known and highly regarded source of information and knowledge on the grantmaking field and the grantseeking process and has been offering grantseeking seminars for more than 15 years.

The Grantseeking for Beginners seminar will help you:
• Be more effective in researching potential sources for grant support
• Gain an understanding of good proposal development process, and pinpoint key elements and information to include in your grant proposals
• See the proposal review and decision-making process from a grantmaker’s point of view during a grantmaker panel discussion
This seminar will address foundation and corporate giving only. It will not cover government funding sources. Register by fax or mail at: http://www.mcf.org/MCF/grant/seminar_reg.htm
or for more information contact the Minnesota Council on Foundations at (612)338-1989 or by E-mail: info@mcf.org  

–Free July teachers institute on ecological school sites at Eagle Bluff. Apply now for this free five-day summer institute for teachers and community partners at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, Minnesota, July 27-31. Learn about the cultural and natural history of ecosystems through hands-on field activities and create meaningful experiences for students through the process of ecological site restoration.

The course – Outdoor Labs: Ecological Restoration of School Sites – is offered through the University of Minnesota in conjunction with the UM SE Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, LaCrescent Community Education, LaCrescent Middle School and UW-Madison Arboretum’s Earth Partnership for Schools Program.

To apply to the institute, visit www.eagle-bluff.org/educator-workshops.html.

–Save the Date – Cultural Heritage Tourism Workshops. Research shows that cultural heritage travelers make up a significant number of the travelers to Minnesota, and historically, this segment of the travel market has been on the rise. We also know that throughout Minnesota, there is a great deal to offer these travelers. Workshops are being planned this fall to bring together the many types of organizations that make up “Cultural Heritage Tourism” and help capitalize on this growing market. Included in the workshops will be presentations of partnership success stories already working in other communities.
Thief River Falls – Thursday, August 13, 2009, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (the Heartland meeting will begin the day)
North Shore – Thursday, October 1, 2009, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Metro – Monday, October 5, 2009, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
New Ulm – Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Central – Monday, November 9, 2009, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Watch for more details at http://industry.exploreminnesota.com.

–Announcing the 2009 MCN/MCF Joint Annual Conference. Transforming Our Work: From Challenging Times to Hopeful Futures will be November 5 & 6, 2009 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. To learn more and to register, visit the Transforming Our Work website at: http://www.transformingourwork.org/


–Minnpost.com has created a weekly news summary newsletter for Greater Minnesota news. Sign up and stay informed at http://www.minnpost.com/mn/

–The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) is inviting proposals for the fall 2009 semester for three of it’s Community Based research programs: Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization (NPCR), Community Assistantship Program (CAP) and Communiversity (CMV). Students are paid by the programs for the assistantships, making them a good potential source of funding for your students.

CURA Community Based Research Programs provide applied research assistance to community-based groups located outside of the Twin Cities area, neighborhood groups within the metro area, and other nonprofit agencies and groups. This research is administered by three separate programs: the Community Assistantship Program, which works with groups in greater Minnesota; Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization, which works with neighborhood organizations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and first-ring suburbs; and Communiversity, which works with nonprofit organizations, particularly those serving communities of color. These community research projects typically place students in part-time research assistantships for one semester or over the summer. Students are selected by and report to the community organization. Organizations define and direct their research projects.

The goals of these programs are to:

1) enhance the capacity of community-based groups in Minnesota to meet their goals by giving them an opportunity to accomplish relevant applied research;

2) provide students and faculty with useful community-based applied research and learning opportunities.

Applications should come directly from community organizations. The deadline for project proposals is June 30th, 2009. Approved projects will run from August 31st, 2009 to January 13th, 2010. Please follow the link below to find out more or to apply on-line or contact Jeff Corn, CURA Community Program Coordinator at (612) 625-0744.


–Applications are due June 22 for Office of Rural Health Policy Public Access Defibrillation Demonstration Projects. http://tinyurl.com/mzvxen  

–June 29 is the deadline for the Maternal Child Health Bureau- Epilepsy and Telehealth http://tinyurl.com/lhmbs9  project to demonstrate how existing telehealth programs and networks and sites can improve access to health care for children and youth with epilepsy, and their families, living in rural areas.

–Applications are due July 7 for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships http://www.lifp.org/ to address community health needs through matching grants for innovative projects.

–The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has received additional resources through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and will be offering more loan repayment opportunities for health care providers. If your site is located in a Health Professional Shortage Area, you may be eligible to apply for recruitment assistance from the NHSC. Physicians specializing in family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, and primary care nurse practitioners and physician assistants, dentists and dental hygienists, and mental or behavioral health providers are eligible to apply for NHSC loan repayment. Information on clinic and provider eligibility is online at NHSC or contact Deb Jahnke at debra.jahnke@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3845. Participating clinics and providers must be located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). HPSAs are federal designations to identify areas of greatest need, so that limited resources can be prioritized and directed to the people in those areas. The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care analyzes areas throughout Minnesota to determine shortage areas of primary care, dental or mental health providers. HPSA information is online http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/shortage/index.html or contact Lee Schutz at leona.schutz@state.mn.us  or (651) 201-3860.


–Recession has weighed heavily on the demand for agricultural products, leading to sharply lower agricultural commodity prices. In the latest Main Street Economist, Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive Jason Henderson explores when demand may bounce back for U.S. agricultural products, and if the bounce will be strong enough to spark another farm boom. You can find the full article on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Web site at: http://www.kansascityfed.org/RegionalAffairs/MainStreet/MainStMain.htm?ealert=MSE0511

–AMBER WAVES, June 2009 – Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS’s research and analysis. The magazine covers the economics of agriculture, food and nutrition, the food industry, trade, rural America, and farm-related environmental topics. Available on the internet and in print, Amber Waves is issued in print five times a year (February, April, June, September and November). The internet edition, or “eZine,” includes links to web –only resources, such as podcasts and additional articles. See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/June09/

–Beginning Farmers and Ranchers – USDA defines beginning farmers and ranchers as those who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less either as a sole operator or with others who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less. Beginning farmers tend to be younger than established farmers and to operate smaller farms or ranches, some of which may provide no annual production. Beginning farmers often face obstacles getting started, including high startup costs and limited availability of land. USDA—through the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service—provides loans and conservation assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. This report draws on data from annual surveys and the Census of Agriculture to provide policymakers with a better understanding of beginning farmers and ranchers, including how they contribute to U.S. agricultural production. See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB53

–Food Policy: Check the List of Ingredients – Policies designed to improve the diet quality and health of Americans are likely to have only marginal effects on consumers’ food choices. However, policies targeted directly at consumers such as nutrition information and education programs, along with labeling regulations, can spur the reformulation of products with healthier ingredients by stimulating competition among food manufacturers to offer products that appeal to health-conscious consumers. Manufacturers’ responsiveness to food policy provides policymakers with a lever to affect diet quality for large numbers of consumers. Effective use of this lever can help stimulate a chain reaction leading to healthy food reformulations and a more nutritious food supply. See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/June09/Features/FoodPolicy.htm

–MCF 2009 Giving Forecast by Minnesota Grantmakers. As part of MCF’s effort to provide nonprofits and the broader public with current information, they have launched a 2009 Giving Forecast by Minnesota Grantmakers http://www.mcf.org/MCF/resource/economy/forecast.htm web page. The page includes updates on giving guidelines, changes in funding focuses, and special initiatives.

–“Recession and Recovery across the Nation: Lessons from History” this article finds that the timing and depth of regional recessions typically vary widely, with several Fed districts regularly outperforming others. See: