September 2011 – Volume IX, Number 8

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek and Ann Treacy

ACROSS THE FIELD — Minnesota Community Pride Day at the Minnesota State Fair on September 3rd was a GREAT SUCCESS! Take a look:  Congrats to all the Showcase Communities!


Indian Health Grant applications are due September 30.

Community Clinic Grant pre-applications are due October 7.

Minnesota’s Loan Forgiveness applications are due December 1.

–The Federal Transit Administration is offering funding to Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities for funding to support planning, capital and operating assistance for Tribal public transit services.  Deadline:  9/26/2011.  For more information,

–Youth Service America and United Healthcare are offering grants of $500 to $1,000 to schools, service-learning coordinators, and nonprofits for programs that demonstrate a clear understanding of the health risks associated with childhood obesity; propose creative solutions to fighting obesity; and can be easily implemented, scaled, and measured.  Deadline to apply:  10/17/2011.  For details and to apply,

The Otto Bremer Foundation Announces New Schedule for Grant Proposal Consideration. The Otto Bremer Foundation recently announced a new schedule for grant proposal consideration. Proposals from the Twin Cities metro area will be considered in two of the Foundation’s six grant rounds a year; requests from all other Bremer communities will be considered during the other four grant cycles. December 2, 2011, is the deadline for applications for the March 2012 Twin Cities grant round.  For more information go to:


Webinar: Using the Community Capitals Framework to Understand and Measure Community Impact will be Tuesday, September 27, 2011 from 2:00-3:00 PM.  Do you want to better understand and report the impact that your campus-community partnerships are having on the quality of life in your community?  Are you looking for a way to show how individual partnerships complement each other and contribute to plans to achieve greater overall community and institutional goals?

Community Capitals is a framework that facilitates planning for and measuring community or organizational change.  It is currently used around the world by community development practitioners and by researchers of asset-based development.  Cornelia B. Flora, one of the originators of this framework, will present the concepts of natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial and built capital and how they work together to sustain healthy ecosystems, economic security, and social well-being. To register,

Webinar: Innovations in Green Microenterprise Development in Rural Communities will be Wednesday, September 28th at 2:00 pm EDT.  Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Established by The Conservation Fund with a lead grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, ShadeFund enables individuals, companies and foundations to help green entrepreneurs across America grow their businesses and create jobs. Tax deductible contributions to ShadeFund are pooled and lent to qualified small green businesses nationwide. As entrepreneurs repay their loans, those same dollars are recycled to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

— Northern Regional Broadband Networks Forum: Driving Business Development and Innovation will be held Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Duluth Downtown Conference Center.

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Annual Conference Great Expectations: Our Community, Our Future, will be held October 6-7 in St. Paul. Registration is now open.

— Forecast Public Art Grant Workshop – Thursday, October 6, 2011, from 5 to 7 pm at the East Central RAC office. Forecast Public Art provides grants that give artists the chance to develop and create public art projects. In addition, the East Central Regional Arts Council, through Forecast Public Art, is supporting artists, and civic and community organizations in the planning and implementation of public art projects in the region.

The grant workshop for this program will provide an overview to the field of public art, facilitate brainstorming sessions, and will introduce the Forecast Public Art application process.  The workshop will be held at the new East Central Regional Arts Council office, 112 Main Street South in Braham.  This Forecast/East Central Regional Arts Council grant program supports public art projects located in Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs or Pine Counties.

This workshop is being held at no charge but please register in advance by calling 320.396.2337 – get more info at

For more information on Forecast Public Art and the annual grant program please visit the website at

–Annual Conference on Policy Analysis – Defining the Public Good: What is the Role of Government in Minnesota?, will be October 12 at the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education.

— The 25th Annual Minnesota Venture & Finance Conference will be held on October 12-13 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  For more information go to:

Rural Economic & Wellness Regional Symposium is a free virtual conference October 13.

  –Governor Dayton’s Job Summit 2011 will be held October 24-25 in St. Paul.  This will be the 16th Annual Development Conference.

Webinar: Supporting Rural Economic Vitality through Campus-Community Partnerships will be October 27, 2011 from1:00 – 2:30 PM.  For more information go to:


–Scholarship program benefiting Minnesota businesses returns.  Carlson Executive Education is awarding 10 scholarships, valued at up to $3,500 each, to Minnesota-based small businesses, nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs who best articulate how their organization could overcome challenges or capitalize on opportunities by acquiring new knowledge and skills.  The scholarships can be used to explore a variety of topics taught at the Carlson School including finance, marketing, operations, strategy, leadership and personal performance improvement.

Scholarship winners will be able to attend one of Carlson Executive Education’s open enrollment programs, which typically consist of two or three days of instruction. The scholarship is available for small companies or nonprofits that have fewer than 100 employees, as well as individual entrepreneurs.  Visit for more information or to apply online. The deadline for scholarship applications is Dec. 9.  Additional information is available from Steve Rudolph, Carlson School of Management, or call (612) 624-8770.

Be a MN Office of Rural Health and Primary Care grant reviewer. Please contact Doug Benson at or 651-201-3842 or Cindy LaMere at or 651-201-3852 with your name, profession, place of employment and contact information.


–Travel Widget Feature Can Add Explore Minnesota Info to your WebsiteExplore Minnesota Tourism’s new travel information widget builder, launched in June, it allows Minnesota tourism businesses and organizations to easily add to their websites custom-built Minnesota travel information features, leveraging the power of to serve their visitors. The information is pulled from the listings on, and can appear as a narrow sidebar on a website page, or as more detailed, full-width version on single or multiple pages within a website. Each widget can be customized to display lodging, attractions, or upcoming events, for any particular city or region in the state.

This free tool was developed so communities and tourism businesses can offer visitors to their own websites expanded information of interest to Minnesota travelers. It also broadens the audience for the listings on the Explore Minnesota website, and increases awareness of this detailed travel website. Though the feature was developed for the tourism industry, it’s available to anyone who wants to include selected Minnesota travel information on their website.  Instructions and tips are provided online at

NEW report!  Health Status of Rural Minnesotans is on the Rural Health Advisory Committee website.

–A new website, has been launched which is devoted to sharing the Wealth Creation in Rural Communities framework.  In addition, a new publication has also been released, Learning Journey Debriefing: Emerging ChangeMakers Network visits Coastal Enterprises, Inc.   Its focus is sharing perspectives on connecting with motivated investors, picking good investments, balancing running businesses as well as funding them, and strategies for targeting loans and nurturing investments with a triple-bottom line approach.  To read the report,

— Toolkit for Recruiting and Supporting Job-Seeking Volunteers. Check out the new toolkit on supporting job seekers as volunteers from the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA). The toolkit is packed full of ideas on how to maximize the benefits of job seekers as volunteers for both the volunteer and the organization. As volunteering becomes an increasingly important means for job seekers to gain skills for employability and as organizations are seeing a growth in job seekers volunteers, this toolkit, developed through a project funded by the Initiative Foundation shares successful strategies developed by organizations in Central Minnesota.

MN Angel Network Takes OffAfter two years of development, organizers are launching the Minnesota Angel Network.  MNAN is a non-profit designed to help accelerate business growth among knowledge-based companies in Minnesota.  It is not a fund and will not conduct due diligence, but rather become a first stop to help entrepreneurs become more effective in landing investments.  Read more about MNAN.

–Using GPS to Build Business.  One of the most fun and user-friendly features about today’s GPS devices is the ability to look up restaurants, hotels, attractions, and more that are near your location. It makes life easier for the GPS user and more profitable for listed destinations. But not every destination is listed.

That means while listed destinations can expect a stream of GPS-driven traffic, those who don’t show up on the increasingly ubiquitous devices are missing out. So what can you do to increase your odds of showing up on GPS devices? It’s easy . . . get a D-U-N-S number. It’s a free, simple way you can help ensure maximum traffic. For the process to secure a DUNS number go to

— Impacts of Higher Energy Prices on Agricultural and Rural Economies.  Agricultural production is sensitive to changes in energy prices, either through energy consumed directly or through energy-related inputs such as fertilizer. A number of factors can affect energy prices faced by U.S. farmers and ranchers, including developments in the oil and natural gas markets, and energy taxes or subsidies. Climate change policies could also affect energy prices as a result of taxes on emissions, regulated emission limits, or the institution of a market for emission reduction credits. Here we review the importance of energy in the agricultural sector and report the results of a case study on the economic implications for the farm sector of energy price increases that would arise from plausible, constructed greenhouse-gas-emission reduction scenarios. Higher energy-related production costs would generally lower agricultural output, raise prices of agricultural products, and reduce farm income, regardless of the reason for the energy price increase. Nonetheless, farm sector impacts were modest for the scenarios and time periods examined. We demonstrate the unique distribution of effects resulting from price (or cost) increases for different types of energy due to pricing their carbon content, as well as the relative use of energy in production of different agricultural commodities. See

–The Ethanol Decade: An Expansion of U.S. Corn Production, 2000-09.  The recent 9-billion-gallon increase in corn-based ethanol production, which resulted from a combination of rising gasoline prices and a suite of Federal bioenergy policies, provides evidence of how farmers altered their land-use decisions in response to increased demand for corn. As some forecasts had suggested, corn acreage increased mostly on farms that previously specialized in soybeans. Other farms, however, offset this shift by expanding soybean production. Farm-level data reveal that the simultaneous net expansion of corn and soybean acreage resulted from a reduction in cotton acreage, a shift from uncultivated hay to cropland, and the expansion of double cropping (consecutively producing two crops of either like or unlike commodities on the same land within the same year). See

–Food Spending Adjustments during Recessionary Times.  During the 2007-09 recession, inflation-adjusted food expenditures by U.S. households fell 5.0 percent—the largest decrease in at least 25 years. Spending patterns differed by income level, with middle-income households curbing expenditures the most. Households responded to the recession by cutting back on eating out and by economizing on grocery purchases. See:

Why Another Food Commodity Price Spike?  Large and rapid increases have occurred in many food commodity prices during 2010-2011. Many of the long-term trends and short-run shocks contributing to the current price surge also played a role in previous price spikes. The 2010-11 price surge followed the 2007-08 spike and raised concerns about food security and a possible shift in fundamental world agricultural supply and demand relationships.  See:

AMBER WAVES, SEPTEMBER 2011, VOL. 9, NO. 3   Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERSs 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 four times a year (March, June, September, and December). The Internet edition, or eZine, includes links to web-only resources, such as podcasts and additional articles. See:

How to Do It.  The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development has gathered templates, case studies, handbooks, training videos and other resources for people engaged in community development, and they are offering all of these resources on their website.

–The RUPRI Rural Futures Lab has published a paper called “Transitioning to Renewable Energy: Development Opportunities and Concerns for Rural America.”  The paper explores the benefits and drawbacks of the current energy system and renewable energy.

–The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book on America’s Children, America’s Challenge: Promoting Opportunity for the Next Generation.  The book examines the impact of recent economic hardship on children and demonstrates why it matters to have children reach their full potential.  You can download a free copy

–PolicyLink has published Healthy Food – Healthy Communities a report to help advocates, policymakers, community-based organizations, residents, and other stakeholders replicate and create successful models for ensuring that all communities have access to healthy food and the wide range of benefits it brings.  To get a copy,