June 2012

June 2012– Volume X, Number 6

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek & Ann Treacy


ACROSS THE FIELD – is on the road, heading to Mom’s birthplace, Morris, MN, for the Leadership Chautauqua & Symposium on Small Towns. Stay cool during this hot and humid stretch of pre-summer!


— Housing Preservation Grant Applications Due June 25.  USDA Rural Development has up to $4.1 million in competitive grants available nationally through the Housing Preservation Grant Program (HPG). http://tinyurl.com/6udy27j We expect to have about $51,000 available for projects in Minnesota. Applications are due June 25, 2012, to the state office in St. Paul. http://tinyurl.com/7jmxdwh More information can be found in the federal register.http://tinyurl.com/73xoncy

HPGs help limited-income rural homeowners make necessary repairs and improvements for safer, healthier and more energy-efficient homes. Examples of grant uses include installing or improving plumbing, accessibility, weatherization and repairing existing structures.

HPGs are awarded to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes and non-profit or faith-based organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low-income and very-low income residents.  Funding is not provided directly to homeowners under this program.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Stephanie Vergin. stephanie.vergin@mn.usda.gov

— DEED Is Accepting Applications for Capital Projects.  The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting applications for capital projects that are eligible for $47.5 million in bond funding approved during the 2012 legislative session. Local units of government can apply for funding for projects having a useful lifespan of at least 10 years. Eligible costs can include predesign, design, acquisition of land or buildings, construction, furnishing and equipping new or renovated buildings, and infrastructure.  Projects will be selected on such criteria as number of full-time jobs created or retained, increase in the local tax base, ability to attract private investment, health and safety benefits, and evidence of a strong return on investment and cost-benefit ratio. The deadline for submitting applications is 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26. Full details and application materials are available on the DEED website at: www.PositivelyMinnesota.com/capitalgrants.

The Tony Hawk Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits for public skateparks supporting youth in low-income communities.  Deadline:  7/2/2012.  To learn more about this foundation and the grant opportunity, clickhttp://tinyurl.com/yhmwqe9

— CERTs Seed Grants Available.  The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.  Project funding can support technical assistance services (i.e. labor costs only, such as for a consultant, design professional, installer, or student labor), for projects in all seven Minnesota CERT regions: Central, Metro, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West Central.

Proposals are due Monday, July 2, 2012.  The primary objectives of this funding are to:

* Encourage the implementation of community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota CERT regions

* Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits

Each CERTs region has its own pool of funding – in all regions this is $10,000 – available for technical assistance to catalyze community energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Each regional team’s Steering Committee will make its own selections and project funding levels will vary by region.  Projects can apply for up to the full $10,000 in their region, but historically regions have funded multiple projects in each region at smaller amounts. Projects approved for funding must be completed by August 15, 2013. Due to external constraints, no extensions will be given on deadlines. For full details and all materials, visit http://rfp.mncerts.org

Jerome Foundation Announces the 2012 Minnesota Film and Video Grant Program.  The 2012 Minnesota Film and Video Grant Program will award grants to emerging film and videomakers in the disciplines of experimental, narrative, documentary and animated film and video making. The deadline for applications to the Minnesota Film and Video Grant Program is July 20, 2012.

The Minnesota Film and Video Grant Program supports production and post-production and does not support pre-production activities such as screenwriting, location scouting, production planning, etc The program does not fund retroactively, so completed projects or projects near completion do not qualify for support.  Informational workshops will be conducted at the sites below to answer questions and assist applicants in the preparation of their proposals. Attendance at a workshop is strongly encouraged for applicants who wish to receive detailed information about the program or ask specific questions about their projects.  Application materials will be on the website at www.jeromefdn.org and in paper form upon request to the Jerome Foundation office, 400 Sibley Street, Suite 125, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-1928. Telephone:  651.224.9431 or 1-800-995-3766.

Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation are offering grants to nonprofits; state, tribal, and local governments; and educational institutions for grants that support sustainable communities through projects that link economic development and community well-being.  Deadline:  7/20/2012.  For an application, click http://tinyurl.com/cfvq27p

–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 http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html

— Grant applications for the 2012 Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program will be accepted from 5/15-8/2/2012. Winners receive a $25,000 award to help defray costs for certification of projects through LEED for Neighborhood Development. You can get an application http://tinyurl.com/34yz5tw A live online Q&A session by the staff of the U.S. Green Building Council is scheduled for Thursday, June 21 at 3 p.m. EDT.  You can register for the session http://tinyurl.com/7amy5bm

The Home Depot Foundation is accepting applications for its Community Impact Grants Program from nonprofit organizations, public schools and public service agencies that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Projects that help military veterans stay in their homes comfortably will be given priority. More competitive grant proposals will specifically identify projects for veterans and will include housing repairs, modifications and weatherization work. Deadline: 8/13/2012. For an application, click http://tinyurl.com/83vshpu

The Institute of Emerging Issues launched a new grant opportunity for rural advocacy organizations to apply digital tools. With resources from the Kellogg Foundation, the Institute for Emerging Issues is partnering with the Center for Rural Strategies, MDC, and the Network Impact, to create the Rural Digital Advocacy Grant Program.  The program will award a total of $100,000 in grants through a competitive mini-grant process in amounts up to $10,000, which must be used to enhance the work of rural policy networks in the United States. Watch the video to learn more about this opportunity or click here http://tinyurl.com/7gmc6a5 to access the RFP.


— Neighborhoods and Commercial Markets: Exploring Low-Income Neighborhoods in the Regional Context.   Co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Twin Cities LISC will be held June 20, 2012 at  9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. CDT at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 90 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.

This event will explore how different economic development strategies can be used to leverage neighborhood assets and strengthen the economic vitality of communities and the region. Attendees will hear from a national panel of experts, broadcast on live video from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and then participate in a discussion with regional panelists in the afternoon. Attendance is free and includes breakfast and lunch, but registration is required. Space is limited, so we suggest registering soon to ensure you’ll have a seat.  Click here for additional information and online registration.  http://tinyurl.com/878xdxa If you have any questions about this event or about registration, please contact Jackie Gausvik at jacqueline.gausvik@mpls.frb.org.

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 https://secure.ruralcenter.org/conference/ to register and find more conference details.

— Existing and emerging nonprofit leaders from across Minnesota will gather for the 2012 Nonprofit Leadership Conference, http://tinyurl.com/7dbgksr 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.

–Designing Surveys Webinar will be held Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 1 p.m.   Surveys can gather a lot of useful information in a reasonably quick and cost-effective manner. Data generated by surveys can help you take your community’s pulse, plan for new programs, develop meaningful policies, evaluate your program’s effectiveness, find out how satisfied your employees are, determine if program recipients are benefitting from services, and justify the need for new or additional funding to grantmakers. But, if surveys are not designed and administered properly, they can generate worthless information and waste your time and money. In this Grantstation webinar, Susan Eliot will teach participants when to use a survey (and when not to), how to write relevant questions, how to get good responses, and how to make results useful. Participants will also receive a ten-page survey development guide and several samples of well-designed surveys. This webinar is not arts specific and is designed for beginning and intermediate participants. All will be held at the East Central RAC office, 112 Main Street South in Braham. There is no charge for attending but

pre-registration is recommended.  To register for these sessions contact the East Central RAC office by calling 320-396-2337 or by emailing info@ecrac.org

The Community Development Society 2012 Conference will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 21-25, 2012. This year’s theme is Sustaining Community through Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For more information, click http://tinyurl.com/7fcqwnr

Midwest Community Development Institute will be held in Moline, Illinois on August 6-9, 2012. For more information, click http://www.midwestcdi.org/

–The 2012 Joint Annual Conference, Allied for Action: Bridging Differences for the Greater Good, http://alliedforaction.org/ will be held on November 1 and 2, at the St. Paul RiverCentre.  Join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits http://www.minnesotanonprofits.org/ and the Minnesota Council on Foundations http://www.mcf.org/ for this two-day event, bringing together nonprofit and philanthropic leaders who will work together on behalf of a new Minnesota. As a participant, you can join in on mold-breaking plenaries, interactive breakouts and productive dialogues, where we all will learn how to harness the power of our differences and truly work together toward a greater good.  Visit the new conference website, for a sneak peek.  http://alliedforaction.org/


–First Peoples Fund is seeking Native American Artist-Entrepreneurs for a business leadership program. One-year fellowships of up to $5,000 as well technical assistance will be awarded to professional Native American artists to help develop their small business skills.  Deadline:  9/1/2012.  For details and to apply, click http://tinyurl.com/3pdl6mc


— Frontier and Remote Area Codes.  To assist in providing policy-relevant information about conditions in sparsely-settled, remote areas of the U.S. to public officials, researchers, and the general public, ERS has developed ZIP-code-level frontier and remote area codes. Frontier and Remote (FAR) area codes provide a statistically-based, nationally-consistent, and adjustable definition of territory in the U.S. characterized by low population density and high geographic remoteness. This initial set, based on urban-rural data from the 2000 decennial census, provides four separate FAR definition levels, ranging from one that is relatively inclusive (18 million FAR residents) to one that is more restrictive (4.8 million FAR residents).  See: http://tinyurl.com/79gxrsn

Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers.  A useful new site from OSM/VISTA Rural Volunteers. http://www.ruralvolunteer.org/

Race and Ethnicity in Rural America 
Presents data and findings about race and ethnicity in rural areas and small towns from the 2010 Census and American Community Survey (ACS).

Community Commons 
An interactive mapping, networking, and learning utility for the broad-based healthy, sustainable, and livable communities’ movement.

–Yellow Wood Associates has announced a new report from the Rural Futures Lab at RUPRI (Rural Policy Research Institute) that uses the Wealth Creation in Rural Communities framework to analyze four economic case studies of rural-urban linkages. Each of the four case studies focuses on a different economic sector and region, and three of the four focus on a specific organization or company within that sector and region: Oregon’s forestry sector, with a focus on the activities of Sustainable Northwest; the regional food system around New Orleans, with a focus on the activities of Market Umbrella; bio-based products in Nebraska and the Midwest, with a focus on NatureWorks, LLC; and wind energy in West Texas. You can access the report http://tinyurl.com/6pr87od

The Economic Research Service has updated The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America, a mapping application, with data from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, including data on veterans, along with updated employment and unemployment estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Atlas 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. You can see the Atlas http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/ruralatlas/

 The Carsey Institute, under contract to NeighborWorks America and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, conducted a detailed analysis of a large sample of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) on issues of capitalization, liquidity and portfolio, and risk management by CDFIs from 2005 to 2010.  You can get the report http://tinyurl.com/87nd94e

–AMBER WAVES, VOLUME 10, ISSUE 2.  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 at:  http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves            /june12/

Immigration Policy and its Possible Effects on U.S. Agriculture.  Policymakers are considering changes to U.S. immigration law that would affect the market for hired farm labor–including mandatory use of an Internet-based employment eligibility verification system and an expanded guestworker program for nonimmigrant, foreign-born agricultural workers. Labor is an important input to U.S. agriculture–accounting for about 17 percent of the sector’s variable production expenses and roughly 40 percent of such expenses for farms specializing in fruit, vegetables, or nursery products.   See: http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/June12/Features/ImmigrationPolicy.htm

Just a reminder to our MRP Rural Round-Up friends and colleagues to sign up and to also spread the word to sign up for the 2012 Symposium on Small Towns at the University of Minnesota-Morris by Wednesday, June 6.

The event is a great opportunity to learn and share effective strategies for developing and supporting community leadership – which is the essential, foundational element to any community and economic development progress. Click here for more info: http://www.morris.umn.edu/cst/symposium/2012/index.php

Scholarships covering registration costs are still available!

Reigniting Community Leadership: Being Bold in the Face of Change The 2012 Symposium on Small Towns

Wednesday, June 13 evening – Thursday, June 14 all day

The 2012 Symposium on Small Towns focuses on community leaders coming together to share what’s been learned from actively developing new strategies; making changes to the traditional and status quo; and a renewed commitment to help each other learn and grow.

The Symposium on June 14 will feature invited talks by distinguished speakers, a public policy panel, and presentations by community members about their work. Don’t miss the pre-Symposium activities on June 13th, including a reception with music and good food.

We encourage you to review the proposed schedule for Symposium prior to registering. This will help you as you make choices in the registration.