Across the Field – Guest writer, Ann Treacy

With some kind support from Minnesota Rural Partners, I was thrilled to attend TED Global in Edinburgh in June. The conference attracts a wide range of forward-thinking speakers; the videos of the talks are then posted on the website. Definitely worth a look if you haven’t seen them before. The theme was Radical Openness which seemed to manfiest in a couple of directions:

Open Source: There was a time when patents for inventions were carefully guarded secrets; today’s makers are sharing their secret recipes with other makers to turn inventions into iterative innovation. Everyone increases the utlity of the orignal when they create a new purpose. Massimo Banzi introduced Arduino, an easy-to-use open-source microcontroller other makers have used to spur a wide range of new inventions. Kirby Ferguson spoke about how consciously (or not) musicians have been building on tunes that preceded them – using Minnesota’s Bob Dylan as an example. And we saw the process in action as Preston Reed, founder of percussionist guitar, played with Usam Riaz, an emerging musical protégé.

Increased Access: Sometimes innovation isn’t as much about making something new as simply increasing affordability. Daphne Koller spoke about Coursera, which provides remote access to online classes from esteemed universities. Anyone may enroll for free. You won’t get credits towards graduation – but you get the opportunity to learn from the best. Lee Cronin spoke about we are moving towards being able to print our own medicine. This allows doctors customize based on our genetic makeup, but also wide spread access to medicine – as it’s easier to print medicine than ship and store medicine to some part of the world.

Globality: As the world flattens, we need to learn to work together. Part of working together is learning to communicate. Amy Cuddy gave some great non-verbal personal communication advice that I think should be required reading for all teens (especially girls). While Jason McClure spoke about how to combat terrorism by using better marketing to tell our stories, but also to tell the stories of the victims hurt by terrorism.

I have posted notes from the conference – and my experience as a TED University speaker on my personal blog – or you can wait to see everything in shining color at


2013 Grant Guidelines Ready.  Organizational Partnership and Scenic Byway Grant guidelines for 2013 grants are now available. The two programs have been combined into one set of guidelines. The grant program is offered to assist communities and scenic byway organizations in attracting travelers to Minnesota. Information on the program and guidelines for grants are posted on the industry website at:

The maximum grant amount for 2013 is $4,000, requiring a 1:1 or 2:1 match. Organizations with total income of $100,000 or less in 2012 qualify for a 1:1 match; those with total income over $100,000 are required to match at 2:1. The grant program will be supplemented with a more comprehensive co-operative advertising program to be announced shortly.

If you are a Minnesota nonprofit tourism or scenic byway organization and want further information, contact your regional manager:

Central – Carol Altepeter, 888-629-6466 or David Bergman, 888-563-7777

Metro – Gayle Junnila, 800-657-3637; 651-757-1852

Northwest – Carol Altepeter, 888-629-6466 or David Bergman, 888-563-7777

Northeast – Tim Campbell, 888-876-6784
Southern – Dave Vogel, 888-975-6766 OR call Explore Minnesota Tourism at 800-657-3637; 651-757-1848.

The Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service has issued a NOFA for Section 514 Farm Labor Housing Loans and Section 516 Farm Labor Housing Grants for Off-Farm Housing for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. Pre-application deadline: 9/17/2012. These loans and grants are for the construction of new off-farm housing units and related facilities for domestic farm laborers and for the purchase and rehabilitation of existing non-farm labor housing. To read the Federal Register notice,

–New 2012 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for HIE.  The 2012 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange (HIE) will provide grant funding to expand community-based collaborative HIE efforts by providing funding to: a) assist health and health care providers meet requirements for federal incentives for meaningful use of an EHR and/or b) expand health information exchange capability among health care providers and other trading partners to support care and/or public health, and/or c) increase the number of Minnesota pharmacies capable of accepting electronic prescriptions. – Eligible applicants include Community HIE Partners (two or more organizations coming together in a collaborative effort in their communities to implement health information exchange for meaningful use transactions) or pharmacies not able to accept electronic prescriptions.  Grant awards range up to $25,000 per HIE partner site or $10,000 per pharmacy.  Grant applications will be reviewed and evaluated on a first come, first serve basis. Visit the Minnesota e- Health Connectivity Grant for Health Information Exchange webpage for more information on this new funding opportunity.  Please contact Anne Schloegel ( with questions about this funding opportunity.

Blandin Community Broadband Program $1.5 million

As the ARRA-supported MIRC initiative winds down, Blandin Foundation plans to continue the momentum with the Blandin Community Broadband Program (BCBP). Through BCBP, the foundation extends its broadband focus in 2013 and 2014 with up to $1.5 million in grants and technical support available to rural Minnesota communities, including:

  • Blandin Broadband Communities program – an intensive two-year      partnership with 10 rural Minnesota communities
  • Community Project Grants – Matching grants      available to all rural Minnesota communities (application instructions      will be released in December 2012)
  • Community Broadband Resources – Non-grant      resources

Learn more


Immigration and U.S. Economic Competitiveness: A View from Minnesota

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs will host a regional forum on immigration and economic competitiveness on Wednesday, August 22, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Humphrey Forum. “Immigration and U.S. Economic Competitiveness: A View from Minnesota” will be convened by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and includes panelists Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of Immigration Works; John Keller, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center; Bill Blazar, senior vice president of public affairs and business development at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; and Sandy Vargas, president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. Professor Katherine Fennelly will moderate the discussion. For more information or to register, please e-mail Jill Ridderbos at by Monday, August 20. This event is sponsored by the Minneapolis Foundation.

–Connect for Health Forums: Building Social Connectedness in your Community. Research shows that strong social ties can have a direct and positive impact on a person’s health and community life.  Please join us to learn and share ideas about how to measure, build, and strengthen social connections in your community.

Locations and Dates: 

Events are free, but space is limited and registration is required.


Thursday, August 23

Rochester Public Library

11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.


Friday, September 14

Suites Hotel
11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Twin Cities

Wednesday, October 3

Wilder Center, Saint Paul
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Questions?  Email:

Equitable Strategies for Growing Urban Agriculture will be Tuesday, August 28, 2012
from 2 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific. The urban agriculture movement is gaining momentum, creating pathways to healthy food and improving the vitality of communities. PolicyLink continues its mini-series of webinars focusing on how low-income communities and communities of color are incorporating urban agriculture into their community development efforts and into policy infrastructures supporting this work.  This second webinar highlights the challenges and opportunities in building support within city government and effective strategies for advancing policy and fostering partnerships that promote urban agriculture. Featured speakers include Kimberley Hodgson the founder of Cultivating Healthy Places, Harry Rhodes from Growing Home in Chicago, and Jennifer Ly a Sustainability Associate with the City of Richmond. They will share their experiences with public/private partnerships and discuss the role of local policy advocacy in supporting urban agriculture.

–Green Business Development for Native American and Latino Entrepreneurs sponsored by the Academy for Green Microenterprise Development.  Join a webinar on Thursday August 30th at 2:00 pm EDT/1:00 pm CDT/11:00 am.  Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

How are small business CDFIs are helping Native Americans and Latinos capture opportunities in the Green Economy? We’ll visit with the Latino Economic Development Center in Minneapolis, M.N. and Four Bands Community Fund in Eagle Butte, S.D. Both organizations have developed innovative approaches for “green” entrepreneurial training, technical assistance and access to capital. Join us as we walk through how they designed and developed these programs; their challenges and initial results!  Host: Jason Friedman, Friedman Associates.  Guest Presenters:

Lakota Mowrer, Assistant Director, Four Bands Community Fund and  Matt Kazinka, Green Initiative Coordinator, Latino Economic Development Center.

This webinar is provided by Access to Capital/Georgia Green Loans and Friedman Associates and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration PRIME Program.

Title:    Green Business Development for Native Americans and Latinos

Date:    Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time:    2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements

PC-based attendees

Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees

Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer.

Rural Health Community Forums – Northeast Minnesota. -Join ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. – Interested citizens, hospital administrators and staff, rural emergency medical services personnel, rural health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to participate in one of three upcoming forums scheduled in Northeast Minnesota:

– Tuesday, September 11, at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, Ely.

– Wednesday, September 12, at Deer River HealthCare Center, Deer River.

– Thursday, September 13, at the 40 Club Inn and Convention Center, Aitkin.

To attend a forum, For more information, contact Judy Bergh at (651) 201-3843 or


–The University of Minnesota Regional Partnerships and U of M Extension are hiring five full-time Community Food Systems positions in Greater Minnesota. The positions, which require a Master’s degree, will lead civic-engaged, evidence-based work to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of community food systems. Application information is available for positions to be located in


St Cloud

Grand Rapids –


and Willmar –

–The Rural Health Fellows Program, a year-long, intensive leadership program of the National Rural Health Association, is accepting applications through August 31.

Bemidji Minnesota Design Team Weekend Visit Volunteer Opportunity: September 13 – 15.

The following is an invitation from the Minnesota Design Team (MDT), which helps Minnesota communities plan their future with grassroots involvement, volunteerism and quality design. MDT is an all-volunteer organization that was born of ideals and dreams in the early 1980s. Originally conceived by a small group of architecture and landscape architecture students interested in town planning and design, the MDT today is a well-established and respected group of over 300 volunteer professionals.

Feeling like you’re up for a real challenge and something rather unique? Bemidji, “First City on the Mississippi” beckons. Actually, the weekend (Thursday, September 13th – Saturday, September 15th, 2012), hosted by the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, would feature the City of Bemidji, (pop. 13,000) and two neighboring townships, Northern Township and Bemidji Township. The 3 LGU’s contain 72 sq. mi., with a total population of 21,222.

They are looking to the Minnesota Design Team to help them develop a vision toward the 2030 Comprehensive Plan as the City starts their planned annexation to the west and south. They also seek help in identifying and planning the future of various community assets, including numerous undeveloped or under-developed tracts of land as the area continues to grow into a regional center served by an airport and a crossroads for rail lines.

For more information about the upcoming visit to Bemidji, see the web site above, or contact Jon Sevald at  For more about the Minnesota Design Team in general, see

MyMoneyAppUp Challenge The U.S. Department of the Treasury is sponsoring this contest to motivate entrepreneurs, software developers, the public, and students to propose ideas and designs for mobile tools. The tools should be designed to help consumers make smart financial choices, access high-quality financial products and services, and control and shape their financial futures.

Preserve Minnesota Conference 2012

Mark your calendars now for Minnesota’s 32nd Annual Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, to be held September 13-14, 2012 at A Center for the Arts and the Kaddatz Galleries in historic downtown Fergus Falls. Details and registration information are available at the Preserve Minnesota Conference website:


–Minnesota Health Reform. 
In July, the Governor’s Health Reform Task Force gave preliminary approval to the Priority Recommendations presented by the Workforce Work Group. The workforce recommendations and the work group’s presentation are available online through the Health Reform in Minnesota website.

USDA has published “Federal Resource Guide to Assist Rural Communities.”  USDA produced the guide to provide information on federal programs that support rural communities promoting economic development and enhancing the quality of life for rural residents. To get the guide,

Report Shows Pre-Labor Day School Start Impacts.  A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota Tourism Center examined how travel patterns among households with school-aged children change when school starts before Labor Day. The results provide data for policy makers as they consider ending the mandate that school districts start after Labor Day in Minnesota. The study finds that:

  • Family trips of two or more nights away from home decreased by 50% in August or September when school starts were moved to before Labor Day.
  • Family overnight travel throughout the season from May through September decreased by 30% when school starts were moved to before Labor Day.

This suggests that when school starts before Labor Day, some families forgo summer trips, whereas others simply travel earlier in the season. Data for the study was drawn from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), a national study sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. For more details, go to:

–A Rural Guide to Health Professions Funding is now available through the U.S. Office of Rural Health Policy. The manual provides a road map for rural communities on how HRSA-based programs can assist in the recruitment and retention of health care professionals.

Frontier and Remote Area Codes: Data Sets– A preliminary set of ZIP-code-level frontier and remote (FAR) area codes to meet the need for delineation that is geographically detailed and adjustable for application in diverse research and policy contexts.

How To Apply For A GrantAn online technical assistance resource that contains webinars, application and submission guidance, as well as tips for writing successful HRSA proposals.

Workplace Financial Education– The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) workplace initiative provides resources to human resource professionals to help them promote financial education within their organizations.

Money As You Grow –  Money as You Grow, developed by the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, is a new interactive tool that helps kids learn the 20 things they need to know about money. The site was launched May 10, 2012, during the first White House Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment. The Youth Subcommittee of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability spent 16 months combing through dozens of the best studies, guidelines, and standards in order to present the most essential money milestones that children need to know as they grow.

The Minnesota Materials Exchange program lists one company’s unwanted material and makes it available for use by another company. The Materials Exchange is working to maintain the key exchange service of usable goods among the Minnesota business community with the creation of a new site. The new online system was developed, tested, and rolled out in 2011. The system, installed and implemented by iWasteNot, was chosen for its ability to streamline exchanges between businesses, reduce MnTAP staff time spent gathering data, and facilitate additional exchanges for partner organizations. In 2011, the Materials Exchange program was responsible for helping divert over 380,000 pounds from landfills in Minnesota.  While the site is brand new, the location remains the same at or call MnTAP at 612-624-1300 or 800-247-0015.

Sustainability: New Perspectives and Opportunities. 
After five decades of sustainability debates and policymaking, the world still lacks a comprehensive strategy that recognizes the complexity of the issues. This report, produced by the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, analyzes the main aspects of sustainability — from the environmental challenges facing cultures around the globe to the quest for a sustainable supply of water and food. Green business practices are seen through the lens of the tradeoffs involved and consumers’ attitudes towards the environment. The report also looks at what kinds of governance structures are needed to encourage sustainability worldwide and to improve collaboration among government officials, companies and nonprofit organizations.

Rural poverty resources. Housing Assistance Council has released a decennial rural poverty map (, and a Rural Research Note on “Poverty in Rural America” ( It has also posted a recording of a recent webinar on the subject, which you can listen to

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have released the 2012 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies, in which bank revitalization or stabilization activities will receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration as “community development”. The criteria for designating these areas, and the list of geographies are available on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) website

The Community Transportation Association of America has published “Putting Transit to Work in Main Street America: How Smaller Cities and Rural Places Are Using Transit and Mobility Investments to Strengthen Their Economies and Communities”. This paper describes how small and rural communities are using public transportation investments and partnerships to help address the challenges of limited resources, populations both shrinking and growing older, industrial decline and the loss of farmland. To get a copy,