OCTOBER 2009 – Volume VII, Number 10

 Complied and edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

 –Across the Field






Across the Field: Rural-Urban Partnering — a State of Mind, Hearts, and Action – We are All in This Together!  by Jane Leonard

We received word late last month that Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. (MRP, Inc.) will host a national pilot project with USDA Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service to document and leverage the power of rural-urban connections and resource sharing to improve wealth creation opportunities. The work builds on years of efforts that MRP, Inc. has organized in resource coordination and sharing, rural entrepreneurship development, and community informatics across Minnesota. 

The current project begins with engaging people and ideas to create a Minnesota Rural Urban Partnering framework (that framework being the people, places and organizations that care about and support rural – urban interdependence).

We will take those initial stories and do a more detailed online inventory and mapping of the partnering already occurring to show its strength, breadth and depth, and the economic, demographic and cultural factors at work, and spotlight opportunities for other helpful connections and partnering.

The initiative to intentionally support rural urban partnering would be an evolution from the original state rural development council function hosted by MRP starting in the mid 1990s. Our aim with more focused rural–urban coordination and resource sharing is to spur innovation and wealth creation in a host of development arenas. It would also build a solid foundation of urban allies for rural policy development and advocacy and vice-versa.

We need your help! We are collecting rural-urban partnering examples, stories, partners and interested people and organizations later this fall and winter through a series of online gatherings, culminating in a statewide face-to-face gathering, probably in June 2010. We’ll send out a schedule, invites and instructions on how to use the several methods of social media we’ll be using online in the early stages of the project. But if you have ideas right now that you are bursting to share – send them to me at jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org.

Parallel to the mapping track will be efforts to document and analyze the ways that Minnesotans currently coordinate education and workforce development pathways across rural-urban lines. And we’ll lift up for national viewing one of the more well-known ways rural and urban people connect in Minnesota, through local farm – local/regional food networks that help increase access to healthy food and balanced meals for children and adults alike, supporting healthful lifestyle choices.

The pilot project runs from this fall to April 2011.

In Minnesota in the early 21st century, as it is in many states across the nation, rural and urban lines continue to blur — spatially, culturally, and economically. Instead of continuing to treat these interdependent places, people, and economies as separate entities, we believe more can be gained – socially and economically – by intentionally building a rural-urban partnering framework that supports existing partnerships and spurs many more new connections, coordination, and collaboration for the benefit of all.

If you want to join and/or support this effort, please contact jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org or Jane at 651-303-5263.


–American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA): Communities Putting Prevention to Work.  Deadline:  10/30/09.  Grants are available for community-based prevention and wellness strategies that support specific, measurable health outcomes to reduce chronic disease rates.  For more information, go to: http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=9TphKzwSqSZSBdlLP9xQGJzplRnSGTR3Gmh4WNDQZzCnGW7b3T72!-1017983794?oppId=49571&mode=VIEW .

–For information on ARRA Funds, see http://www.recovery.gov/ and http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/arra/recovery-program.htm .

–Health Careers Promotion Grant – Applications will be available November 2 and due November 30. Contact Lorry Colaizy at lawrence.colaizy@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3851 for more information. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/index.html#health

–Assisted Living Conversion Program For Eligible Multifamily Housing Projects.  HUD has made $20 million available in grants to eligible multifamily housing developments specified in the RFP, for conversion to assisted living facilities.  The deadline is November 5, 2009.   For more information, go to: http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=cM91KpXQnvcPlqN9Z1Qyppmp9K7fLYmJgQK5XQjL0fhN34q01Gcg!361947375?oppId=49301&mode=VIEW 

— Applications are now being accepted for the new Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These grants help local governments acquire, develop, restore and maintain parks and trails of regional or statewide significance. Funding comes from the Parks and Trails Fund, created by the Minnesota Legislature from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The overall program is called the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program which consists of the Regional Park Legacy, Regional Trail Legacy and Solar Energy Legacy Grant Programs. More information and applications for these grant programs is available at:   http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/index.html . The application deadline is November 13, 2009.

–Regional Trauma Advisory Committee Planning/Implementation Grant applications are due November 30. Contact Tim Held at tim.held@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3868 for more information. http://www.health.state.mn.us/traumasystem/rtac/rtacfactsheet.html

Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Programs for health professionals applications are due December 1. Contact Amy Vallery at amy.vallery@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3870 for more information. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/loans/index.html

Rural Veterinarian Loan Forgiveness Program .  Contact Amy Vallery at amy.vallery@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3870 for more information. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/loans/vet.html


–Foreclosure Response Podcast Series by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.  Through interviews with experts on various facets of foreclosure—from neighborhood impacts, to loan modifications, to new response strategies—listeners will be engaged in understanding problems and advancing solutions. Each week, since September 24, 2009 and continuing for 10 weeks, a new interview will be released.   To listen to the interviews visit: http://www.frbatlanta.org/rss/ForeclosureResp.cfm.  

Podcast I:  Land Banking as a Foreclosure Mitigation Strategy with Frank Alexander, Professor of Law at Emory Law School.  The first interview in the series looks at land banking. The current economic and mortgage crisis has caused the number of foreclosures to swell, destabilizing neighborhoods by leaving them dotted with vacant and sometimes abandoned homes. Frank Alexander, Professor of Law at Emory Law School, discusses the issues and opportunities that land banking represents for stabilizing communities across the country.

Up next:  Visit the series Web site next week for the second podcast installment with Kristopher Gerardi, an economist in the Research Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, who will be talking about loan modifications. 

–The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Institute is an opportunity to grow your leadership skills and learn to create change. The Institute is designed by and for nonprofit leaders. The nine-month intensive experience will provide you the space and structure to step back and think about the issues facing nonprofits today. It will also enhance your skills to make you a better leader in your organization, the nonprofit sector and your community.   Want to know more? MCN will be offering free informational sessions around the state that will also highlight scholarship opportunities for the Leadership Institute. Please RSVP online by logging in and selecting “RSVP for Free Events, Briefings and Convenings”. http://www.mncn.org/leadershipinstitute/infosessions.htm 

Marshall, October 22, 11 a.m.-noon

Hutchinson, October 23, 2-3 p.m.

Rochester, October 27, 11 a.m.- noon

Brainerd, October 28, 11 a.m.- noon

St. Cloud, October 28, 3-4 p.m.

Duluth, November 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Grand Rapids, November 11, 3-4 p.m.

St. Paul, November 13, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Webinar, December 10, 3-4 p.m.

Webinar, January 13, 1-2 p.m.

For more information contact Bao Vang, Program Coordinator, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
at 651-757-3087 or bao@mncn.org  

–SW/WC Volunteer Connections will be hosting on December 7th: “A Time to be Bold: Engaging Volunteers in a Shifting Environment” presented by Mary Quirk. If you have any questions or would like to R.S.V.P., please contact Deb Mortenson at (320) 235-0850, ext. 1114 or at debm@heartlandcaa.org.

 –Telling a Story with Social Media webinar will be Tuesday, November 3, 8-9:30AM with presenter Ann Treacy of Treacy Information Services.  Everyone has a story to tell, whether you’re recruiting people or businesses to your region, selling a product or preparing a presentation on future of broadband in rural areas. Social media tools such as YouTube and podcasts can help you establish your story, social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn help you spread the word and ongoing blogs or Twitter can help maintain the story. We’ll talk about how to tell your story with social media.  For more information and to register, click here:  http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/events/events-detail.php?intResourceID=991

— Twin Cities Media Alliance Fall Forum: Networking And The New Media Landscape: Reporting News, Building Community, Making Money http://tinyurl.com/yfxo3uv. This participatory forum offers journalists, bloggers and news consumers the opportunity to make connections and share best practices for news reporting, building audiences, and raising revenue. It will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, Saturday November 7, Minneapolis Central Library. Check out the web site for Twitter hashtags and other ways to follow the conference from afar.

–Blandin Foundation’s 2009 Broadband Conference will be November 18-9, 2009 in Duluth.  The theme of this year’s conference is: “Realizing Our Broadband Future: Getting from Here to There.” Location: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Duluth MN (http://www.hiduluth.com/) Cost: $105. For more information and to register, click here.  http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/events/events-detail.php?intResourceID=988

 –Save the Date for the Minnesota Rural Health Conference June 28-29, 2010.  Help to plan the conference: Contact Karen Welle at karen.welle@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3865. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/conf/index.html


–The Initiative Foundation is currently looking for four communities to take part in their next Healthy Community Partnerships (HCP) program.  This program provides a community team with a combination of leadership training, grant funds, technical assistance and resource referral as they work to make their community a better place.  HCP is open to communities that have never participated or graduates whose core group went through the training at least five years ago.  To learn more about the program you can:

read the press release, http://www.ifound.org/docs/files/News_HCPRecruitment8.31.09.pdf

visit our website, http://www.ifound.org/community_health.php

download the fact sheet http://www.ifound.org/docs/files/HCP_FactSheet.pdf

Or contact Dan Frank, Program Manager for Community Development at 320-632-9255, dfrank@ifound.org

Health Policy Fellow applications due November 13. http://www.rwjf.org/applications/solicited/cfp.jsp?ID=20904

New Careers in Nursing scholarship applications due December 15. http://www.rwjf.org/applications/solicited/cfp.jsp?ID=20905

Minority Nurse Scholarship Program applications due February 1.  http://www.minoritynurse.com/scholarships/apply-2010-minority-nurse-scholarship-program


–USDA Launches ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ Initiative to Connect Consumers with Local Producers to Create New Economic Opportunities for Communities.  The initiative hopes to begin a national conversation to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity. Americans are invited to join the discussion and share their ideas for ways to support local agriculture. USDA will engage in this conversation which can be viewed at USDA’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/usda . Producers and consumers can comment on the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ YouTube playlist, as well as submit videos or provide comments on this initiative by e-mailing KnowYourFarmer@usda.gov.

–The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a waiver recently, revising their property flipping regulations for properties purchased with Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds.  FHA is waiving, for one year, Section 203.37a(b)(2) of the FHA regulations, 24 CFR, with regard to sales of foreclosed or abandoned properties acquired and resold by for-profit and non-profit entities using NSP funding and performed under NSP agreements.  This section provided that a mortgage secured by a property would not be eligible for insurance by FHA if the contract of sale was executed by the prospective borrower within 90 days of the previous acquisition of the property by the seller.  For a copy of the waiver, go to: http://www.treia.com/clubportal/images/clubimages/999/PROPERTY%20FLIPPING%20WAIVER%20REQUEST.pdf  .

–Strength Matters is a new collaborative that brings together three national networks of nonprofit owners and developers in the affordable housing field — Housing Partnership Network (HPN), NeighborWorks America and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) — to advance the strength, productivity and profitability of their member organizations and to communicate the best practices of these owners and developers to the private, public, and philanthropic sectors. On the website: (http://www.strengthmatters.net ) there is a recording of an introductory Webinar that was hosted by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).  The PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the Webinar can be downloaded from the website, as well as other documents like CFO Best Practice papers.

–CFED released the 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard – CFED’s research on wealth, poverty and the financial security of American families – in September.  The Scorecard uses the latest data to assess the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 92 outcome and policy measures which describe how well residents are faring and what states can do to help residents build and protect assets.  For more information, go to: http://www.cfed.org/focus.m?parentid=31&siteid=2471&id=2471 .

–The September 2009 issue of Leadership Guide features an article on The Four Elements of a Sustainable Organization by Don Tebbe, Executive Vice President, TransitionGuides.  The article is an excerpt from a paper entitled “Building a Sustainable Organization”.  To read the paper, go to: http://www.transitionguides.com/newsltr/Featured%20Articles.htm and click on the link for September 2009. 

–A Compass for Understanding and Using American Community Survey (ACS) Data: What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know is a guide for those who use rural social, economic, and housing data from the Census Bureau. ACS will provide updated data that will replace some of the information previously provided in the decennial Census. To get a copy, go to http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACSRuralAreaHandbook.pdf .

— Your Money Counts.com is a comprehensive online learning resource that helps people understand finances and make informed financial choices. This online guide to financial and credit education provides people with interactive calculators, information on current money issues, in-depth information on specific money topics, financial education booklets, and quizzes to test their financial knowledge.  Go to: http://www.yourmoneycounts.com/ymc/home?WT.svl=901 

 –Mayo Clinic offers perspective on health care reform in the New England Journal of Medicine. http://healthcarereform.nejm.org/?p=1890&query=home

Healthy Communities-Healthy People: A series examining care in rural America.  Go to: http://files.cfra.org/pdf/Healthy-Communities-Healthy-People.pdf

Shortage of Health Care Workforce Hits Rural America Hard in September Center for Rural Affairs newsletter.  Go to:  http://www.cfra.org/taxonomy/term/1533

Suicide Prevention online, one-to-one “chat service” for veterans. The veterans tab is on the left-hand side of the site.  Go to: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 

Tobacco Control in Rural America.  This July 2009 publication highlights tobacco-related disparities facing rural areas and examines the unique challenges to tobacco control and prevention efforts in these areas.  It also includes examples of promising interventions implemented by some of our grantees to demonstrate how organizations are addressing the issue of tobacco use in rural communities.  Go to:  http://www.americanlegacy.org/PDF/Tobacco_Control_in_Rural_America.pdf

Homegrown Responses to Economic Uncertainty in Rural America – Discusses how rural communities can approach economic development by looking inward to community strengths and existing resources.  Go to:  http://ruralsociology.org/StaticContent/Publications/Ruralrealities/pubs/RuralRealities3-2.pdf

Local Community Action Agency Directory  – A directory of local community action agencies (CAAs) developed by VirtualCAP.org that provides contact information by either state or agency name.   Go to:  http://www.virtualcap.org/caalisting.cfm

If you have items for inclusion in the next Rural Round-Up, please send them to jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org.