January 2012– Volume X, Number 1

Edited and complied by Deb Miller Slipek and Ann Treacy.

In this month’s issue:

  •  — Across the Field
  • — Funding
  • — Meetings & Trainings
  • — Opportunities
  • — Miscellaneous
  • — Job Openings

ACROSS the FIELD: Rural development lost a good friend this past week. By Jane Leonard

Don Koverman, our former colleague and former chair at Minnesota Rural Partners, died Friday night less than a month after being diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Don was serving as Senior Associate for the Purdue Center for Regional ‎Development, Purdue University, Indiana.

Between a wave of retirements and way-too-early deaths, we have lost so much heart and soul and institutional memory among the baby boomers who literally, over the past 40 years, created the field of community and economic development we practice and study today. My sadness over such loss is allayed somewhat by seeing the many young professionals now coming through the ranks who share the same passion for learning and community building that Don shared with us throughout his deep and wide career.

Don served our state and the country for over 30 years in governmental, educational, ‎and nonprofit organizations in both rural and urban environments. His career experience included working for the ‎City of Indianapolis (14 years), as a city manager in rural Minnesota (11 years), on ‎faculty with the University of Minnesota (2 years), Director of Community Development ‎for the Southeast/South Central Minnesota Initiative Fund, as a county plan director (2 years) for Morgan County, Indiana, and as the ‎Executive Director for the Indiana Rural Development Council (2 years). ‎

I met Don when we were both serving on the Minnesota Rural Partners board in the 1990s. He was the city manager for Plainview and I was working in state government. I had seen him most recently at the 2011 Community Development Society conference in July in Boise, ID. We had been corresponding since then about the Community Change Collaborative that he was coordinating – a loose but determined group of community and economic development researchers and practitioners working on creating a matrix of all the different approaches to managing, measuring and thriving through community change. The work Don helped begin continues, the friendships he fostered will endure, and his memory will inspire us forward. Rest in peace, Don.

FUNDING

–The AgStar Fund for Rural America, a corporate giving program of AgStar Financial Services, is offering $20,000 in scholarships to help students in rural areas continue their education. High school seniors throughout AgStar’s 69 county service area in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin are encouraged to apply.

Seniors who plan to continue their education and pursue careers in agricultural fields are encouraged to apply for one of the 15 – $1,000 scholarships available. In addition, the fund is awarding five – $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who have an agricultural background and plan to continue their education in any field of study. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 1, 2012 through April 1, 2012.

Students will be awarded scholarships based on their academic record, vocational promise, community service and leadership qualities. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or better. There will be four students chosen from each of AgStar’s five regions in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Applicants must be residents of one of the 69 counties within AgStar’s territory:

Minnesota Counties: Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chisago, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Itasca, Isanti, Jackson, Kanabec, Lake, LeSueur, McLeod, Martin, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pine, Pipestone, Ramsey, Rice, Rock, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Winona and Wright.

Wisconsin Counties: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer and Washburn.

Scholarships may be applied toward tuition at colleges, universities, technical or vocational schools. Students can get scholarship application forms online at http://agstar.com/enhancingamerica/fundforruralamerica/Pages/HighSchoolScholarships.aspx.

–HUD is seeking applications for the Healthy Homes Technical Studies Program.  The goals of the program are to mobilize public and private resources, involving cooperation among all levels of government, the private sector, grassroots community-based organizations and other nonprofits, to develop and implement methods for identifying and controlling housing-related hazards; and to build local capacity to operate sustainable programs that will continue to prevent, minimize, and control housing-related hazards in low- and very low-income residences when HUD funding is exhausted.  Deadline:  1/31/2012.  To learn more about this opportunity and to apply, http://tinyurl.com/7s44b5t

Minority Nurse Scholarship Program applications are due February 1. http://tinyurl.com/7eon4gx

–DNR Conservation Partners Legacy GrantsOrganizations and governments now can apply for fish and wildlife habitat improvement grants. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant applications for projects ranging from $5,000 to $400,000.

Funds must be used to enhance, restore or protect the forests, wetlands, prairies and habitat for fish, game or wildlife in Minnesota. A total of $3.48 million is available. The application deadline is Wednesday, February 8, 2012.  For more details go to: http://tinyurl.com/7ed4wsm

— 2012 American Forest & Paper Association Recycling Awards.  Each year the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling Awards recognize outstanding paper recycling efforts. Enter your business, community, or school program today for the chance to win a $2,000 cash prize, original framed artwork, and recognition in local and national media. The entry deadline is Friday, February 10, 2012.  For more details go to: http://www.paperrecyclingawards.com/

–The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering grants to nonprofits to provide supportive services to very low-income veteran families, chiefly those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.  Both initial and renewal grants are available.  Deadline:  2/15/2012.  To learn more about this opportunity, http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp

–Jenzabar Foundation is inviting nominations for University Student Leadership Awards in Community Service.  Grants of $5,000 will be awarded to ten student-led campus groups or projects that have made a significant impact beyond their own institution.  Deadline:  2/20/2012.  To learn more about these awards, http://tinyurl.com/8xzxepn

US EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants.  The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) Environmental Justice Small Grants Program supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships to help them understand and address environmental and public health issues in their communities. Successful collaborative partnerships involve not only well-designed strategic plans to build, maintain and sustain the partnerships, but also working towards addressing the local environmental and public health issues.

Grant applications are being accepted through February 29, 2012 for $1 million in funding to support projects designed to research, educate, empower and enable communities to understand and address local environmental and public health issues. Funding is available for grants up to $25,000 each.  For more details go to: http://tinyurl.com/6q7awcr

–The National Endowment for the Arts has announced funding for the 2012 Our Town grants.  The funding supports creative placemaking projects that contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places.  Grants will range from $25,000 to $150,000.  Deadline to apply:  3/1/2012.  For guidelines and more information, click http://tinyurl.com/73ydc84

–The Tech Museum of Innovation has announced the Tech Awards, which are designed to inspire global engagement in applying technology to humanity’s most pressing problems.  The awards recognize individuals, organizations and companies that are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address urgent issues in the areas of education, equality, environment, health and economic development.  Each year, candidates are nominated and then, if judged eligible, invited to submit applications for funding.  Deadline for nominations:  4/1/2012.  For more information and to apply, click http://tinyurl.com/86kmewa

Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) Grants.  The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2012 – 2013 Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund beginning July 1, 2013. Approximately $31 million is expected to be available for projects being sought in environment and natural resource areas that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits. Proposals responding to the 2012-2013 RFP are due Friday, April 6, 2012.

Proposals are being requested in the following six areas:

1. The Reinvest in Minnesota program as provided in M.S. 84.95, Subd. 2.

2. Research that contributes to increasing the effectiveness of protecting or managing the state’s environment or natural resources.

3. Collection and analysis of information that assists in developing the state’s environmental and natural resources policies.

4. Enhancement of public education, awareness, and understanding necessary for the protection, conservation, restoration, and enhancement of air, land, water, forests, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.

5. Capital projects for the preservation and protection of unique natural resources.

6. Activities that preserve or enhance fish, wildlife, land, air, water, and other natural resources that otherwise may be substantially impaired or destroyed in any area of the state.

For more details and to access the RFP, go to: http://www.lccmr.leg.mn/

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program applications are being accepted until May 15. http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/

— The FCC has announced the Connect America Fund to help extend Broadband services to underserved Americans.  The FCC estimates that expanding high-speed Internet access to rural America over the next six years will increase economic growth by $50 billion over that period.  To read the press release, click http://tinyurl.com/7jx5jfn

Community Based Care Transition Program applications are being accepted for pilot projects to reduce hospital readmissions, test sustainable funding streams for care transition services, maintain or improve quality of care, and document savings to Medicare. http://tinyurl.com/42ntbsh

TRAINING/MEETINGS

Explore Minnesota 2012 Tourism Conference is January 24-25, 2012 in Rochester, MN.  Download a copy of the tourism conference brochure, http://tinyurl.com/7nmdbqz or get more details http://tinyurl.com/85hmljs

— Points of interest – Compass Annual Meeting!  Please mark your calendar for Thursday, February 2, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Wilder Center.  The theme, “Positioning Ourselves for Prosperity,” will delve into the interconnected topics of education, health, and economy and workforce.  An exciting lineup of speakers includes a keynote by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor and Compass Governance Committee Member, Steven J. Rosenstone, on what a prosperous Minnesota will look like – and how we can work collectively to achieve it. The event is free but space is limited. http://tinyurl.com/87xhon9

The 28th Annual MRWA Water & Wastewater Technical Conference – March 6-8, 2012 – River’s Edge Convention Center (Civic Center) in St. Cloud, MN.  For more information go to: http://www.mrwa.com/TechConf2012.htm

Evaluation in a Complex World: Changing Expectations, Changing Realities will be held March 28 – 30, 2012 at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus Continuing Education and Conference Center.  The Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) http://evaluation.umn.edu/ will be hosting the interdisciplinary evaluation conference http://tinyurl.com/7bbgfza designed for professional evaluators, program directors and staff in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, students and others interested in conducting or using evaluations. MESI provides a unique opportunity to learn and reflect on contemporary issues in evaluation with national experts and practitioners in a small setting. The institute brings together faculty expertise from the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Public Health, the Humphrey School for Public Affairs, the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and Extension. Additional conference and registration information can be found on the conference website. http://evaluation.umn.edu/mesi-conference/

Save the dates for the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) Spring Conference on April 25 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and November 1, 2012 for the Tekne Awards also at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

–Save the Date! Grassroots & Groundwork 2012 Conference will be held June 6-8, 2012 at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, MN.

Coffee Break Webinarshttp://www.nonprofitsassistancefund.org/ Nonprofits Assistance Fund explains important financial management topics in easy-to-digest, 15-minute webinars http://tinyurl.com/72pb5as available on demand! It’s perfect for board members, executive directors and nonprofit staff.

Balance Sheet Basics: What We Have, What We Owe, What We’re Worth http://tinyurl.com/7bgyxab

Cash vs. Accrual Accounting: See the Future and Not Just the Past http://tinyurl.com/7asmu2l

Income Statement Basics: What’s Behind the Bottom Line http://tinyurl.com/8xkqpct

Managing Restricted Funds: Catch, then Release http://tinyurl.com/c368odu

Off the Shelf and into Practice: Using Your Annual Audit http://tinyurl.com/7gts9o7

OPPORTUNITIES

2012 Work for Water Art and Design Contest.  Freshwater Society presents 2012 Work for Water Art and Design Contest. This year’s contest is a call to action. The contest seeks high school students to inspire Minnesotans to take action to protect our waters. High school students have two opportunities to graphically and creatively convey the issue of Urban Runoff and motivate others to respond through simple behavior change, while understanding why their actions are so important.

The Work for WaterArt and Design Contest will not only highlight the importance of water in our lives, but also educate and provoke citizens to take simple everyday steps to protect our waters. 2012 Work for Water Design Contest asks students to create graphic design, short videos, photos, paintings, drawings, etc. to be used as messaging tools for Freshwater Society’s Work for Water Campaign, a multi-year campaign to engage Minnesotans in protecting water. Winning entries will be featured on billboards, in PSAs, websites, yard signs, t-shirts, etc. throughout the state. They will become tools inspiring change.

The design contest is open to all public, private and home schooled 9th – 12thgrade students in Minnesota.   All entries must be submitted to http://freshwater.org/ArtDesignContest/  by midnight on:

2nd Contest: April 30, 2012.

$500, $300 and $200 prizes will be awarded to the three top state competition winners in each contest.   For more details, see http://www.freshwater.org/index.php/art-contest

–MINNESOTA RURAL HEALTH CONFERENCE is June 25-26 in Duluth. Presentation proposals are due February 3. http://tinyurl.com/6qw5883

– HUD is seeking comments by February 14, 2012 on a proposed rule to amend its HOME Investment Partnerships program regulations.  The proposal would update property standards for housing assisted by HOME funds.  To read the Federal Register notice, http://tinyurl.com/6oufp93

–2012 Reuben Youngerberg Memorial Biodiesel Essay Scholarship Contest.  This scholarship contest is open to all Minnesota high school seniors.  All high school seniors in Minnesota with plans to attend postsecondary education are eligible to submit entries to the Reuben Youngerberg Memorial Biodiesel Essay Scholarship. Essays entered must be about topics related to biodiesel.

Two scholarships will be awarded. The first place essay writer will receive a $1,600 scholarship; the second place essay writer will receive a $500 scholarship.

All entries must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30, 2012 to the American Lung Association in Minnesota. For more details, see http://www.cleanairchoice.org/fuels/scholarship2012.cfm or http://tinyurl.com/7xachll

Rural health professionals deserve recognition for going “above and beyond.” Nominations for the 2012 Minnesota Rural Health Awards are due April 20. One individual and one team will be honored at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference June 25-26 in Duluth. http://tinyurl.com/8xvnxrv

MISCELLANEOUS

 The Home Depot Foundation (THDF) has created the Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI), which is grounded in the belief that a sustainable community effort consists of a long-term, integrated and systematic approach to developing and achieving a healthy community by jointly addressing economic, environmental, and social issues.  SCI is a tool that individuals and cities can utilize for a holistic, long-term approach to sustainability planning and implementation of healthy communities. The very comprehensive SCI website is a dynamic online toolbox that was initially built by THDF, but is shaped by its users, who post, comment and contribute to the website. It was developed based upon input from sustainability directors, city leaders and technical experts.

From its homepage, you can navigate through topic areas including Economic Development, Water, Materials Management, Land Use and Transportation; as well as through classrooms, communication labs, a planning center and a library. In addition, there are forums, webinars, a calendar, City Profiles and an interactive “Sustainable City” mapMemberships to SCI are free, and include a useful e-newsletter. Visit: http://tinyurl.com/75ey8vm

–The Aspen Institute, in collaboration with the Democracy Collaborative, convened practitioners, investors, foundation donors, elected officials, scholars and reporters to generate ideas on how to advance community wealth building efforts.  To get a copy of the report that provides highlights of the discussion, http://tinyurl.com/7pwo8db

–Designing for Healthy Communities: Active Living and Comprehensive Community Development is a paper from the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development.  It offers a summary of empirical evidence that can be used by community developers to add a public health component to their work.  To read the paper, http://www.instituteccd.org/library/3258

–Aging in Place: A State Survey of Livability Policies and Practices is a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures and AARP, that suggests State policies, such as land use, housing and transportation, home services, etc. that are needed to help seniors age in place.  To get a free copy, http://tinyurl.com/7jv49a8

–Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities is a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that identifies how the federal government can help rural areas be economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable.  To download a free copy, http://tinyurl.com/782p9mf

–Novogradac & Company LLP has released the final version of the Rent & Income Limit Calculator that uses HUD 2012 rent and income limit data.  This tool can calculate IRC Section 42(i)(3)(A) low-income housing tax credit rent and income limits for every county in the United States.  You can access the calculator http://tinyurl.com/cvwhrpx

–The Center for Housing Policy has released an update of its Paycheck to Paycheck database, and a report that finds that many workers in five common jobs related to the holiday retail season cannot afford to rent or own a home.  To see the database and the report, http://tinyurl.com/8yw29gc

–The impact of healthy food access on rural and urban communities is discussed in Policy Link’s Healthy Food, Healthy Communities: Promising Strategies to Improve Access to Fresh, Healthy Food and Transform Communities.  For a free copy, http://tinyurl.com/7p8a6s4

–The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development has published the third issue of its Journal featuring a series of articles that explore how community development can have the best impact in a complex world.  To download a copy, http://tinyurl.com/7k6cx47

United States agriculture is notorious for its “golden eras.” In the 1910s and the 1970s, strong global demand and rising exports boosted agricultural commodity prices and farm incomes. These golden eras, however, were soon tarnished as economic and financial market conditions changed. Today, U.S. agriculture appears to be in the midst of another golden era. Robust export activity, strong bio-fuels demand and low interest rates have spurred another farm income and farmland value boom. Despite the vast similarities to past booms, subtle differences suggest that this time could be different.  The latest issue of the “Main Street Economist” explores the foundations of the current and past farm booms. Read the complete article at: http://tinyurl.com/7rgayrw.

2011 Bicycle Tourism Summit Presentations Posted.  Presentations by several of the speakers at the Bicycle Tourism Summit held in Mankato on November 3, 2011 have now been posted on the website. In addition, the entire resource manual and the Mississippi River Trail Marketing Tool Box can also be downloaded. Go to http://tinyurl.com/7zjhk25 to access these great resources.

–CDFI Fund Announces Capacity Building Initiative’s First Resource Bank.  The Financing Healthy Food Options Resource Bank makes the training and resource materials used for the Financing Healthy Food Options training series available to the general public and members of the community development industry.  To learn more about the bank, click http://tinyurl.com/89fpvam

The Farm Program Atlas is an online interactive mapping tool that displays payment and participation data by county for seven key Federal farm programs. The tool enables users to view maps, see how data vary across counties, and download the data.  See http://tinyurl.com/74d83to

— Rural America has a role to play as the nation addresses challenges around how we sustainably feed, fuel, and connect with one another.  This year’s gathering of the National Rural Assembly in St. Paul focused on building a more inclusive nation where all the people and all the places can make a difference.   http://tinyurl.com/6o2t2qf

A 128-page Renewable Energy in Schools guide was prepared by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society in June 2011. Available for free download from the web site above, this is a step-by-step guide for evaluating, acquiring, installing, promoting and using renewable energy systems in K-12 schools.  This guide describes a process that will help schools learn from the experiences of other schools, identify clear goals and provide tools to achieve those goals. It provides an approach to help navigate the sometimes obscure process of creating a successful renewable energy project that meets the school’s educational, sustainability, fiscal and environmental goals.

The guide lays out a general process, but also provides examples of details and technical information, as well as educational, financial, and technical resources available to schools. Readers need to be aware, however, that the renewable energy landscape is evolving rapidly and the resources noted in this guide will also change. The guide’s emphasis, therefore, is on helping identify types of resources rather than specific programs, curricula or grants. This guide specifically focuses on wind and solar systems.

For more details or to download the guide, go to: http://bit.ly/vdN5EO

–The new Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force website is a clearinghouse for health reform efforts. http://tinyurl.com/7zr5aab

FederalGrants.com is dedicated to helping you find information on United States Federal Grants. We aim to provide accurate information on how to qualify for these government grants, the processes related to applying for a grant, and what to do once you are approved.  Go to: http://www.federalgrants.com/

Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuels Industries Worldwide.  Meeting growing global demand for food, fiber, and biofuel requires robust investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) from both public and private sectors. This study examines global R&D spending by private industry in seven agricultural input sectors, food manufacturing, and biofuel and describes the changing structure of these industries. In 2007 (the latest year for which comprehensive estimates are available), the private sector spent $19.7 billion on food and agricultural research (56 percent in food manufacturing and 44 percent in agricultural input sectors) and accounted for about half of total public and private spending on food and agricultural R&D in high-income countries. In R&D related to biofuel, annual private-sector investments are estimated to have reached $1.47 billion worldwide by 2009. Incentives to invest in R&D are influenced by market structure and other factors Agricultural input industries have undergone significant structural change over the past two decades, with industry concentration on the rise. A relatively small number of large, multinational firms with global R&D and marketing networks account for most R&D in each input industry. Rising market concentration has not generally been associated with increased R&D investment as a percentage of industry sales.  See:  http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err130/

JOB OPENINGS

— Executive Director for the West Central/Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. In Minnesota, we have a set of Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, which focus on sustainable development in agriculture, natural resources and tourism.  Each of the partnerships has a strong board of very engaged people representing community and university stakeholders.  These partnerships are part of Extension and there is an opening for the Executive Director for the West Central/Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

This is an excellent position for making an impact on sustainable development in Greater Minnesota.  Please see the job posting at the link below and feel free to forward
Direct link to job posting http://employment.umn.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=100211

Director of Grants, Blandin Foundation.  Copies of the position description can be found at http://www.blandinfoundation.org/who-we-are/careers.php

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