May 2012– Volume X, Number 5

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller-Slipek and Ann Treacy

–Across the Field

Across the Field – Community Leadership Revisited, Re-engaged & Reignitedby Jane Leonard

I have found over my lifetime that leadership learning never ends.  I have also come to accept that change – positive and negative — remains a constant in our lives and in the life of our communities. Though we might think we’ve had enough leadership experience at one time or another to manage or even to thrive through change, change continues to challenge each generation. Managing or better yet, thriving through change, depends increasingly on our ability to share leadership responsibility, working effectively together to improve our quality of life in the spirit of good neighbors across generations who are part of the community family.

It is with this understanding I encourage you to think about participating in the 2012 Symposium on Small Towns and Leadership Chautauqua June 12-14 at the University of Minnesota-Morris. 

The theme — “Reigniting Community Leadership: Being Bold in the Face of Change” — challenges each of us to look within ourselves to find and re-commit the citizen leadership we need to navigate the complex, sometimes ambiguous and choppy waters of community life today.

The Symposium & Chautauqua hold out the radical idea that community leadership in the 21st century means everyone and anyone who steps up in small and big ways to help improve the quality of life across their community. What’s really radical about this event, hosted on the edge of the Great Plains in west central Minnesota, is that plenty of scholarships are available to help you get there and participate.

There are actually TWO important & related events taking place:

  1. June 12 & 13 is the Leadership Chautauqua intended for people who run, fund, or study leadership development programs across Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota;
  2. June 13 & 14 (bridging with the Chautauqua on the evening of June 13) is the Symposium on Small Towns aimed at people who actually do and/or support community leadership in their communities.

Both events strive to be practical, affordable, and a convenient way to maximize face-to-face interactions to share and learn about tools, resources and what’s working to improve lives and livelihoods across neighborhoods, small towns, and rural areas. I hope to see you in Morris next month. We can’t wait to learn about what you know and do!

You can review the proposed schedule for the Leadership Chautauqua AND the proposed schedule for Symposium prior to registering. This will help you as you make choices in the registration.

Click here for Registration Information for both the Leadership Chautauqua and Symposium. Registration deadline: June 6, 2012


–USDA is offering grants of up to $100,000 to Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and nonprofits for grants to bring seasonal, locally sourced, and minimally processed foods to public schools. Deadlines: Letter of Intent by 5/18/2012; final by 6/15/2012.

–USDA has announced funding for The Farmers Market Promotion Program. The program provides support for activities designed to promote the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities. The application deadline is 5/21/2012. Proposed projects will encourage the development, promotion, and expansion of direct marketing of agricultural commodities from farmers to consumers. To get an application,

–THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE is offering grants to nonprofit and profit institutions, universities, community groups and governmental agencies for The Community Policing Development Program. This program provides support for the development of community oriented policing strategies that significantly advance the field of community policing, and demonstrate an understanding of community policing as it pertains to the following topic areas: community policing enhancement, ethics and integrity, policing in a new economy, child and youth safety, police operations, officer safety and wellness, veterans support, and an open topic area focused on community policing-related topics. The application deadline is May 21, 2012. To learn more about this opportunity,

–THE METLIFE FOUNDATION AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING recognize nonprofit organizations and Tribes/Tribally Designated Housing Entities that show exemplary leadership, innovation, and quality service delivery in green, affordable senior housing. Four grants of $50,000 will be awarded. Eligible properties must have a minimum of 25 units and have been in operation at least two years. Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria: green features, innovation in health and supportive services and approach to aging in place, design responsiveness to resident and community needs, effectiveness of property and asset management, documented resident outcomes, use of technology, and integration of universal design. Application deadline is 5/23/2012. To get an application, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR is offering funding through The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program. This program provides support for education and career training programs designed to be completed in two years or less and for workers who are eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers Program (TAA-eligible workers), as well as other adults. The application deadline is May 24, 2012. To apply, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering funds to nonprofit and public agencies to provide financial awards and other support to help low-income families build assets to continue their education, buy homes, etc. Deadline to apply: 5/25/2012. To learn more about this opportunity and to apply, click

–THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION has funds available through its Intermediary Lending Pilot Program for Community Development Corporations (CDCs) to loan to small businesses. There are 20 grants available for up to $200,000 each. Deadline:  5/25/2012.  To apply, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for grants to provide substance abuse treatment services and related recovery support services to youth with substance abuse and/or treatment needs involved in a teen court program. Deadline: 5/30/2012. To see the application requirements and apply, click

–L’OREAL PARIS is offering $10,000 awards to women who make a difference in their communities. People can nominate a woman they admire for her dedication to volunteerism and charitable efforts.  The program will honor 10 women whose affiliated charities will each receive $10,000. Deadline to apply: 5/31/2012. For an application, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Community and Economic Development (CED) program will provide approximately $27 million in grants ($800,000 maximum per project) to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities. Deadline to apply: 6/5/2012.  To learn more about this program and to apply, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has funding available to nonprofit and public agencies to implement projects to improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children in America’s most distressed communities and to transform those communities. Deadlines: Letter of intent 6/8/2012; final 7/27/2012. To read the notice of this NOFA, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE is offering grants to nonprofits, for-profits, and public agencies to provide financial and technical assistance to states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and Indian tribal governments to develop and implement drug courts that effectively integrate evidenced-based substance abuse treatment and other non-prison-based solutions for non-violent drug offenders. Deadline: 6/14/2012. To learn more about this opportunity, click

–THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering funds to nonprofit and public agencies for grants to assist refugees in opening and contributing systematically to IDAs for savings goals including home ownership business capitalization, vehicles for education or work purposes, professional recertification, and post secondary education. Deadline: 6/18/2012. For an application, click

–USDA is accepting grant applications to assist small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and cooperatives in rural areas.   The primary objective of the Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producers Grant program is to provide technical assistance to small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers through eligible cooperatives and associations of cooperatives.  Deadline to apply:  7/24/2012.  For an application, click


–CFED is offering a Manufactured Housing Webinar Series aimed at providing practical information on the opportunities for manufactured housing as an affordable housing strategy. The next webinars in the series will include: May 2012: Manufactured Housing & Local Land Use Policy; and June 2012: Titling Manufactured Housing as Real Estate. To get details, visit the website

–ARTS ORGANIZATIONS  AND ARTISTS AS ENTREPRENEURS!  As part of the Pine Area Networking and Entrepreneurship Luncheon (PANEL), an economic development partnership serving the Pine City Area and East Central Minnesota, ECRAC is sponsoring a session by John Davis on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Advance Registration for each session is requested. Cost per session is $15 and includes a boxed lunch.   Scholarships from ECRAC are available, contact ECRAC at the phone number or email below to apply for a scholarship.

John Davis has dedicated his career to working in small town arts and community development, and is a consultant and speaker on rural art issues. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, The New York Times and on the NBC Today Show. Davis is the Executive Director of the Lanesboro Arts Center and the National Kids Philosophy Slam Program. He is also the founder of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center and the Great American Think-Off. His work in New York Mills has been recognized as a national model for rural economic development in the arts. To register for this May 16 PANEL session contact the Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce at (320) 322-4040.

— FORECAST PUBLIC ART WORKSHOP!   Are you interested in having public art in your community? Are you wondering how to involve artists in placemaking and public improvement projects? The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) in partnership with Forecast Public Art invite you to learn about the exciting field of public art and how to get started with public art projects. Forecast presenters will review recent national and international public art projects, and provide a step-by-step guided tour through the process of developing a public art project. Participants will also engage in a discussion on the benefits that public art can bring to your communities. This workshop will provide you with opportunities to meet with others in our region that are interested in public art, connect you with resources as you explore public art possibilities, and provide inspiration to get your planning started!  To attend the workshop from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 18, 2012, at the ECRAC office, 112 Main Street South, in Braham call 320-396-2337 or email  There is no charge.

–Build It Green will host a webinar on May 23, 2012, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm PDT on Universal Design. Speakers will review the basic principles of Universal Design and how it ties into green building principles. To register, click

–The next Bank of America Nonprofit Impact Series webinar is scheduled for Thursday, May 31st at 2 p.m. EDT. Don Greene (Bank of America Philanthropic Solutions) will present a program entitled, Philanthropic Behaviors and Beliefs of Women’s Philanthropy. The session will provide participants with insight into the demographic and psychographic factors driving women’s philanthropy, volunteerism and charitable giving. To register, click

–The Grassroots & Groundwork 2012 Conference: Working Together to Reduce Poverty and Build Prosperity, sponsored by the Northwest Area Foundation, will take place on June 6-8, 2012 in Prior Lake, Minnesota at the Mystic Lake Hotel. The conference offers sessions on affordable housing, green enterprises, job training, financial literacy, public policy and more. To register, click

Minnesota Inventors Congress’s Invention & Idea Show.  You never know who you might meet at an invention show…. Register today to test market your products June 8 & 9, 2012, at the Redwood Area Community Center. Download registration brochure here:

Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2012 Symposium on Small Towns (June 13-14) AND the Leadership Chautauqua (June 12-13).   You have 3 registration options (choose the one that applies to you)

—-Symposium–hosted by the Center for Small Towns

—-Leadership Chautauqua*–hosted by the Bush Foundation

—-Both the Symposium and the Leadership Chautauqua

(*Note: the Leadership Chautauqua is for program providers, funders, and researchers of leadership programs. If you work in these areas, we hope you will consider being a part of this unique convening.) Register at the following link!

The Bush Foundation is generously providing a limited number of scholarships to help make the Chautauqua & Symposium more accessible to everyone. Please, register soon to take advantage of this offer.  If you are unable to register via the registration website above, please call: 612-624-2345 and you will be assisted.

–Participant and exhibitor registration is now open for the 2012 Rural Health Conference, “Bringing It All Together,” taking place June 25-26 in Duluth.  Visit the Rural Health Conference website to register and find more conference details.

— Existing and emerging nonprofit leaders from across Minnesota will gather for the 2012 Nonprofit Leadership Conference, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. It will be held Tuesday, June 26 from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN.  This conference will share strategies and solutions about how nonprofit organizations, including yours, excel at engaging people, improving systems and strengthening communities.


–HUD is seeking comments on a new rule that would amend HUD’s regulations governing the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program (Section 202) and the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program (Section 811), by streamlining the requirements for mixed-finance Section 202 and Section 811 developments. To read the Federal Register notice, click HUD strongly encourages interested persons to submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at

— The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and MAP for Nonprofits welcome nominations for the 2012 Nonprofit Mission & Excellence Awards. Nonprofit organizations make outstanding contributions to Minnesota’s high quality of life and we ask that you help us honor these contributions!

2012 Nonprofit Mission Awards:  Since 1987, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has been showcasing the work of Minnesota’s outstanding nonprofits through the Nonprofit Mission Awards in the categories of:

  • Innovation
  • Advocacy
  • Anti-Racism Initiative
  • Responsive Philanthropy

MCN encourages you to nominate a nonprofit that you know has achieved tremendous results in one of these four areas. A full list of past recipients and their award videos are available online. Nominations must be submitted by May 31, 2012.  

2012 Nonprofit Excellence Awards:  Minnesota Nonprofit Excellence Awards began in 2003. Since then, many of Minnesota’s best nonprofit organizations have proudly accepted and displayed their Nonprofit Excellence Awards.

Two Nonprofit Excellence Awards are presented each year, one to an organization with less than $1.5 million in annual operating expense, and one to a large organization with $1.5 million or more in annual operating expense. These awards are based upon how closely organizations align with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

Applications for Excellence Awards must be self-submitted by the organization and require advance planning and board involvement. A full list of past recipients and their award vidoes are available online. Please submit your application materials to MAP for Nonprofits, 2314 University Avenue West, Suite 28, St. Paul, MN 55114 by May 31, 2012 at 4 p.m.

— The Policy Fellows program at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs is accepting applications for 2012-2013. The Policy Fellows program brings together rising leaders from business, government and nonprofit sectors to hone their leadership skills, build their professional networks, and learn how to tackle the “common good” challenges facing our state and nation. As part of a 35-person cohort, Fellows meet monthly between September and June for full-day workshops and seminars; design and implement group projects on topics of their choosing; and participate in a three-day study trip to Washington, D.C. Emerging and mid-career leaders throughout the state of Minnesota are welcome to apply. The application and two recommendation letters are due June 1, 2012. Scholarships are available. 

–CALL for PROPOSALS!!  A Leadership Chautauqua (hosted by Bush Foundation & the Leadership Learning Network) and the 2012 Symposium on Small Towns are coming up on June 12, 13 and 14th.  Here is the link to the webpage for these events:

We are looking for your participation in the Symposium this year as a presenter, storyteller, convener, or showcase presenter.  To learn more about the CALL FOR PROPOSALS, including presentation topic areas and formats, click on the link below (or just click on “CALL FOR PROPOSAL” which is on the top right of the Symposium page)

You can submit your presentation idea by clicking below: (or just click on “SUBMIT A PROPOSAL ONLINE” which is on the top right of the Symposium page link above)   Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Contact us at the above email or call 320-589-6451.


The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America is a mapping application that provides a spatial interpretation of county-level, economic and social conditions along four broad categories of socioeconomic factors: people (using population size, race and ethnicity, and immigration data from the 2010 Decennial Census and other demographic data from the American Community Survey, including age, race and ethnicity, migration and immigration, education, household size and family composition), jobs (using economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, including information on employment trends, unemployment, industrial composition, and household income), agriculture (using indicators from the 2007 Census of Agriculture, including number and size of farms, operator characteristics, off-farm income, and government payments), and county classifications (using typologies such as the rural-urban continuum, economic dependence, persistent poverty, population loss, and other ERS county codes). Maps are interactive and also provided for download; raw data are provided for download. Data from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey have been recently added.  See

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is offering a new guide for businesses and other organizations that are planning to buy or sell technology.  “A Legal Guide to Technology Transactions” is written for entities that are in the process of buying new systems to run their financials, supply chain management, inventory control, human resources or other critical business functions. The book will help them identify and minimize the risks of contracting for information technology and will review the appropriate contracts and agreements for completing technology transactions.  “A Legal Guide to Technology Transactions” is a collaborative effort of DEED and the Minneapolis-based law firm of Gray Plant Mooty.  The free publication is available in hard copy or CD-ROM from DEED’s Small Business Assistance Office, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota St., Suite E-200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351, telephone: 651-259-7476 or 800-310-8323, email: .

— The Spring 2012 issue of Community Connections describes new research from the Kansas City Fed on how housing investments by community development corporations significantly increase the appreciation of nearby homes, thus helping to stabilize declining neighborhoods. To access the current issue, go to:

A new website dedicated to living well in rural America was launched recently. is targeted to people who choose to live in smaller towns.  The site offers big-city shopping for men, women and children, with discounted stores offering everything from Art and Books to Weddings and Wireless. The site also offers a community conversation forum that currently includes Rural Rants and Raves by town and state, an advice column, and a General Forum and Blog on Small Town Life. Visit the website

–“Next Generation Community Revitalization: A Work in Progress,” a report by The Bridgespan Group, looks at the experiences of six prominent networks—LISC’s Building Sustainable Communities program, Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, Strive, Purpose Built Communities, and Living Cities’ Integration Initiative— that operate programs in more than 100 communities at 50 sites across the country. To read more about this report and to download a copy, click

–“Restocking Rural Communities” is the subject of a blog at The Center for Rural Affairs. The article features a Kansas State University initiative that is helping rural communities across the nation restock their town with a disappearing business: grocery stores. Although most of the focus remains in Kansas, the initiative’s efforts have been featured on NPR, USA Today, Fox News and other media outlets. The initiative has also generated interest in small towns throughout the U.S., with rural communities in more than 25 states contacting the group for help. To read more, click

–Community Development Financial Institutions Fund released a report that examines the state of the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) industry and its performance during the difficult recent economic recession. The “CDFI Industry Analysis: Summary Report,” produced by the Center on Social Innovation and Finance at the Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire, looks at the performance of the CDFI industry from 2005 to 2010. The report was developed under contract with NeighborWorks® America as part of the CDFI Fund’s Capacity Building Initiative. To read a summary of key findings of the report, click

–The National Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization Task Force called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency to focus more clearly on stabilizing neighborhoods in its new pilot program for facilitating investment in foreclosed homes as rental properties. The Task Force, led by National Housing Coalition, NeighborWorks America, LISC, and Enterprise Community Partners, sent a letter signed by more than 25 organizations from around the country that highlights specific areas of focus including complementing existing neighborhood stabilization efforts, green renovations, long-term affordability, nonprofit participation, monitoring and enforcing long-term commitments, and more. Read the letter

–USDA has released the “Regional Food Hub Resource Guide,” a tool to help promote local and regional efforts to support small and medium sized producers. Food hubs play a critical role in developing stronger supply chains and addressing the infrastructure challenges while supporting food access, regional economic development and job creation. To get the Guide, click

–The Center for Housing Policy has released a new report called “Housing an Aging Population: Are We Prepared?” The report addresses the questions, “What housing challenges do older adults face today, and what additional challenges will they face as their ranks swell?” To get a copy, click

–USDA’s Economic Research Service has published “Rural Wealth Creation: Concepts, Strategies and Measures.” The report emphasizes the importance of multiple types of assets: financial, social, political, and other types of assets, and the economic, institutional, and policy context in which rural wealth strategies are devised. The report discusses the role of wealth creation in the rural development process, how wealth can be created in rural communities, and how its accumulation and effects can be measured. To get a copy, click

–“Why Small Towns Really Matter” is the subject of a blog by Rich Harwood on the website for the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. He says that “The reason small communities are so important is that these places tend to be more nimble, the scale is a doable, and demonstrating results relatively easier. Imagine if scores of smaller towns and communities dedicated themselves to become beacons of such change; they could help lead the way in America.” To read the blog, visit the website by clicking

–GuideStar has released key findings from its 2012 eNonprofits Benchmarking Study. Online contributions, social media presence, and advocacy response all grew last year for most of the nonprofits in this study. To read more of the key findings and download the full study, click

AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator
 AARP offers this free calculator to estimate Social Security benefits and to help determine the best time to claim Social Security benefits. The calculator is also available in Spanish.

Credit Score Quiz, en Español
 The Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore offer the Credit Score Quiz in Spanish so consumers can test their knowledge of credit scores. The site also offers useful information about credit reports.

Financial Workshop Kits
created by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), the Financial Workshop Kits contain information needed to create engaging and meaningful financial education programs.

 is the U.S. governments Web site dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education.

My Classroom Economy
Vanguard Groups curriculum enables educators to teach financial responsibility through fun, experiential learning.

–The ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each State in the United States. Links to county-level data are included when available. The State Fact Sheets have been updated with 2011 State and county unemployment estimates.  See: