November 2012


November 2012– Volume X, Number 11

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek & Ann Treacy

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • — ACROSS THE FIELD
  • — FUNDING (LOTS OF LINKS!)
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • — OPPORTUNITIES
  • — MISCELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Border to Border Broadband – by Bernadine Joselyn

Today’s guest article is from Bernadine Joselyn of the Blandin Foundation on location at the 9th annual Minnesota broadband conference, Building our Connected Future: Minnesota’s Better with Broadband. http://tinyurl.com/bvheubr

Every time I attend a conference in Duluth I am reminded of the International Rural Summit hosted by Minnesota Rural Partners more than 10 years ago. The Internet was on the radar, but folks were still asking – what is broadband and why do we need it? Today I’m back in Duluth for a “Building our Connected Future” broadband conference that Blandin Foundation and Connected Nations are hosting to help move the needle on Governor Dayton’s dream of achieving “border to border broadband.” And I’m pleased to report, from the perspective of a ten-year look back, that we’re making progress.  The conversation has advanced to: “Broadband – why don’t we have it yet, and how can we get it?

At the conference Connect Minnesota released a report indicating that only 62 percent of households have access to broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload – the Minnesota state goal is to have 100 percent coverage by 2015. So while that percentage shows progress, clearly we still have work to do.

But we’re prepared to work. It was exciting to hear about what is happening in the state to get that work done with the Minnesota Broadband Task Force, with various community broadband adoption efforts, with broadband deployment planning and construction.

For our part, the Blandin Foundation remains committed to working with community broadband champions over the next few years through the Blandin Broadband Communities program. http://wp.me/p3if7-1ZA Our plan is to focus on “what more can we do with it?” – helping communities to build their connected future with better broadband.

FUNDING

The Minnesota Trade Office is accepting applications for financial awards for small businesses that want to sell products or services in foreign markets.  The funding is available under the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP), which was created to help small businesses export and is funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Qualifying small businesses may apply for up to $7,500 in reimbursement for approved export-development activities.  In addition, up to $500 in reimbursement is available for small businesses that want to participate in classes that will help them develop export plans.

Financial assistance will be available to eligible businesses until funding runs out. The application deadline is Thursday, Nov. 15, for a second round. However, additional rounds will be held each month until all funds are committed. Applications and other materials are available at Export Assistance. http://tinyurl.com/8pszcga  Eligible companies must certify that they meet the SBA definition of a small business, have been in business for one year, are profitable and understand the costs associated with exporting.

The Department of Agriculture is offering funding through The Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program to support projects designed to meet the food needs of low-income people; increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm and nutrition issues; and meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs. Deadline to apply: 11/28/2012. Click http://tinyurl.com/bsuye5k for more information about this program.

— The AgStar Fund for Rural America grants deadline is November 30, 2012.

AgStar concentrates its giving programs in geographic areas where AgStar has a significant business presence and on those programs that fit strategically with the intent of their clients and their communities in which they live.  The grants are discretionary and restricted to a specific purpose. The AgStar Fund does not allow awarded funds to be used for indirect costs. All awarded funds must be used for direct project or program costs. Funding is limited to $10,000 per organization per year.

AgStar Fund for Rural America grants are restricted to the following uses:

  • Project or program support
  • Technical assistance
  • General operating support
  • Equipment

In order to be considered for funding, requests for support must align with the Fund’s mission, as well as, one of the following focus areas:

  • Education – Educating young, beginning or future farmers.
  • Environment – Maintaining or improving the quality of the rural environment.
  • Technology – Supporting the advancement and utilization of technology for the benefit of farmers and rural communities.
  • Quality of Life – Programs or initiatives that enhance the quality of life for farmers and rural communities.

For more information and to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/3mepe54

Walmart Foundation Local Giving Program.  The Walmart Foundation supports programs and initiatives addressing education, workforce development, economic sustainability, and health and wellness.  Multiple awards ranging from $250-$5,000 are available for select applicants. Nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, church or faith based organizations, and government entities are eligible to apply.  The deadline for applying is December 1. For more information or to apply, visit http://tinyurl.com/8m8qowt.

East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) covers the five counties (Region 7E) of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine and has the following grants available:

  • -Art and Cultural Heritage Fund Grants (for organizations and individuals) due December 1, 2012, and February 1, 2013.
  • -Art Project Grants for Organizations due January 15, 2013.
  • -Art in Our Schools due February 1 or April 1, 2013.
  • -Individual Artist Grants due February 1 or April 1, 2013
  • -Small Grants for Organizations due February 1 and April 1, 2013.
  • For more information go to: http://www.ecrac.org/grants

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities is offering grants to support projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. The focus is on projects that promote a sustainable future for communities by supporting sustainable agricultural practices and private lands stewardship; conserving critical land and water resources and improving local water quality; restoring and managing natural habitat, species, and ecosystems that are important to community livelihoods; facilitating investments in green infrastructure, renewable energy, and energy efficiency; and encouraging broad-based citizen participation and targeted youth participation in project implementation. Preference will be given to projects in selected cities in 23 states, and projects in rural and coastal areas in the targeted states will also be considered. Deadline: 12/3/2012. Click http://tinyurl.com/9jn2ncl for more information and to submit an online proposal.

–The National Gardening Association is accepting applications for Youth Garden Grant Awards. Schools and community groups in the United States planning to garden with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18 are invited to apply for Home Depot gift cards of up to $1,000 to purchase gardening supplies. Deadline to apply: 12/3/2012. For more information visit the website by clicking http://tinyurl.com/c6lkuwc

Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation has announced its College Ready Grant opportunity to help more students arrive on campus academically prepared for success in higher education—whether at two-year, four-year or technical colleges. The College Ready grant opportunity is open to community-based organizations and nonprofit higher education institutions in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Deadline: 12/7/2012. For an application and to learn more about the program, click http://tinyurl.com/8oprzfo

–Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb seeks applications for Community Garden Grants and Makeovers to help communities achieve their neighborhood beautification goals and support healthy, sustainable food sources.  Nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada are invited to apply for ten grants of $5,000 and a complete garden makeover. Deadline to apply: 12/15/2012. For application requirements and more information, click http://tinyurl.com/d3dpb93

— Application materials for the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program are available on the ORHPC Grants and Loans page. http://tinyurl.com/5ruq5qx Pre-applications are due December 17 and final applications (if invited) will be due March 18, 2013.

–The Mary Byron Project is accepting applications for the Roth Award for Domestic Violence Programs Focused on Underserved Populations. A nonprofit or government program focused on reaching underserved victims of domestic violence will be honored with an award of $10,000. Deadline to apply: 12/21/2012.  For more information on this award, click http://marybyronproject.org/

The Department of Agriculture has issued a NOFA for guaranteed loans under Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing for FY 2012.  Eligible lenders are invited to submit responses for new construction and acquisition with rehabilitation of affordable rural rental housing. The agency will review responses submitted by eligible lenders, on the lender’s letterhead, and signed by both the prospective borrower and lender. Deadline to apply: 12/31/2012. For details on the program and an application, click http://tinyurl.com/d4kcd47

— Application materials for the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, which supports recruitment and retention of health care professionals in communities experiencing a shortage of primary health care providers, are now available on the ORHPC Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs page. http://tinyurl.com/m8ge2y Applications due by January 2, 2013.

— MDA 2013 Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture  (MDA) is now accepting applications for its Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program, which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas.  Grant applications and information are available on the MDA website at http://go.usa.gov/YBSj or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at 651-201-6012. Completed applications must be received by MDA no later than January 11, 2013.

Our Town Grantshttp://tinyurl.com/bjy2ggcThe National Endowment for the Arts encourages rural communities to apply for the latest round of Our Town creative placemaking grants. http://tinyurl.com/axxslwz Last year, 41 of the 80 grants went to communities with populations of less than 50,000 and five grants were made to communities with less than 1,000 residents (Teller, AK; Last Chance, CO; Star, NC; Uniontown, WA; Dufur, OR). For guidelines, http://tinyurl.com/49637y2The deadline is January 14, 2013.

–The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is accepting applications for Community Action Grants from individuals, AAUW branches, and AAUW state organizations as well as local community-based nonprofit organizations for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women. Deadline to apply: 1/15/2013. To learn more and for an application click http://tinyurl.com/4x8z6e9

–The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering funding to nonprofits and local and state governments to establish AmeriCorps programs that will offer AmeriCorps volunteers the opportunity to become involved in a range of community improvement activities. Deadline: 1/23/2013. For more information, click http://tinyurl.com/byneqp9

–The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering grants to nonprofits to provide supportive services to very low-income veteran families, especially those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. Both initial and renewal grants are available. Deadline: 2/1/2013. Click http://www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp for an application and funding guidelines.

–USDA is accepting applications from nonprofits for the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program: Agricultural Sciences Education. The funding aims to increase the number and diversity of students who will pursue and complete a postsecondary degree in the food and agricultural sciences. Deadline to apply: 2/8/2013. For application requirements, click http://www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp

–The Gannett Foundation’s Community Action Grants support nonprofit organizations with funding priority given to programs that focus on education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation and cultural enrichment. Deadline to apply: 2/16/2013. For more information on these grants, click http://tinyurl.com/amj2zqc

–The Institute for Rural America is offering Seize The Moment Grants to nonprofits for up to $250 designed to assist groups needing to take quick action on issues that arise, or to send staff to training programs in their respective fields. Deadline: rolling. For application guidelines, click http://www.ruralusa.org/html/grants.html

The SURDNA Foundation offers funding to nonprofit organizations that seek to help communities build wealth in a sustainable manner.  The Surdna Foundation’s Strong Local Economies program aims to help create communities of opportunity that offer good jobs within reach for low- and moderate-income residents, and provide sustainable development solutions that enable people to easily travel between their homes and jobs, schools, and day-to-day services. Deadline: Letters of Inquiry accepted year around. For more information on the application process, click http://tinyurl.com/4ln7xtx

— The 2012 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange (HIE) is accepting applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eligible applicants include community HIE Partners (two or more health organizations collaborating to implement HIE for meaningful use transactions) or pharmacies not able to accept electronic prescriptions. Visit the Minnesota e- Health Connectivity Grant for Health Information Exchange http://tinyurl.com/con4wy9 page for more information on this new funding opportunity. Contact Anne Schloegel at anne.schloegel@state.mn.us with questions.

SEARCH Grants Available for Planning Water and Wastewater Projects.  USDA has funding for SEARCH grants in fiscal year 2013. This is a new program that makes predevelopment planning grants to financially distressed communities in rural areas with a population of 2,500 or fewer.  Funds may be used for feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance related to water and wastewater projects that would normally be eligible for Rural Development funds.  Eligible applicants include public agencies, nonprofits and Indian tribes. Funds may be used to cover up to 100 percent of the eligible costs for a preliminary engineer report and engineer report not to exceed $30,000. The community must demonstrate that it cannot pay for the work from other readily available sources.  For more information, contact Terry Louwagie, terry.louwagie@mn.usda.gov Minnesota’s Rural Development’s Community Programs Director.

TRAINING/MEETINGS

 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will host seven listening sessions around the state to assess employers’ workforce needs in the financial services industries. The tour will be similar to an effort earlier this year that targeted information technology.  The sessions are being held until December 12 in Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Cloud, and St. Paul. Sessions will focus on occupations involving accounting and bookkeeping, finance, financial support services, financial planning, taxation and insurance.  Business and industry representatives from the financial services sector are encouraged to register for one of the upcoming Financial Services Workforce Assessment sessions by visiting http://mnworkforceneeds.eventbrite.com.  The website includes the dates, times and locations for each gathering along with other details. There is no cost to attend the meetings.

— Participate in a Community Dialogue:  How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want? Experience effective public deliberation. Make new connections.  Identify priorities for collaborative action. Together with the American Commonwealth Partnership and campuses, local organizations, and leaders around the state, Minnesota Campus Compact is holding a series of campus-community dialogues using the National Issues Forums guide, Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?.  More information and registration is available at www.mncampuscompact.org/dialogues.

Thursday, November 15, 6:30-9:00 p.m., University of Minnesota Duluth

Tuesday, November 27, 6:30-9:00 p.m., St. Cloud State University

— Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC)The next meeting of the Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) is November 27 from 10:00 to 2:00 at the Snelling Office Park. http://tinyurl.com/aqmffot The Committee will hear from a panel of advocates on rural issues to watch in the upcoming legislative session. The public is invited to attend; please RSVP to Kristen Tharaldson at kristen.tharaldson@state.mn.us. For more information about the meeting and RHAC’s role as a statewide forum for rural health interests, visit theRHAC portion of the ORHPC website. http://tinyurl.com/b6yvq5t

–SAVE THE DATE!  Minnesota Campus Compact’s 2013 summit and awards ceremony will be on Monday, April 1, at Hamline University’s new Anderson Center in St. Paul.

OPPORTUNITIES

President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll applications due Thursday, November 29.  Launched in 2006, annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. The Honor Roll’s Presidential Award is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community service. http://tinyurl.com/7lmsg4g

Regional Arts Council seeks Board Members. The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is accepting applications from individuals wishing to serve on the Board of Directors. There are currently openings for Chisago, and Pine County representatives. The deadline for submitting a nomination is December 1, 2012. Interested individuals may contact the ECRAC office at director@ecrac.org or  320-396-2337 for more information about responsibilities, the council and its grant programs, and to receive a self-nomination form.

Submit a session proposal for the 2013 Age & Disabilities Odyssey conference http://tinyurl.com/ajx4unn to be held June 17-18 in Duluth. The conference is sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging and the Minnesota Department of Human Services Aging and Adult Services and Disability Services divisions. Proposals due by December 17.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is celebrating the 80th birthday of the Federal Home Loan Bank System with the launch of a new public policy network – Strengthening Communities Together!  This non-partisan network is designed to bring together individuals and organizations with a shared belief in the importance of strong communities. Our goal is to encourage our supporters to join and become advocates with policymakers for the continuation of a safe and sound FHLBank System.  A key component is access to an exclusive website that will serve as a resource for information and stories that demonstrate how we work together to strengthen communities across the country. We invite you to check it out at www.fhlbforcommunity.com and visit often for updated news and events.  Sign up http://tinyurl.com/b7kfdud now and start receiving the benefits  http://tinyurl.com/aedo5zp  of your Strengthening Communities Together membership.

— LegalCORPS Inventor Assistance Program is looking for organizations or individuals with Minnesota connections (resident or business located in MN) and a patent application already pending to contact us to apply for free legal assistance.  LegalCORPS Inventor Assistance Program offers pro bono representation to low income inventors seeking to patent their inventions on their own. For more information and to apply for free help in seeking a patent, see www.legalcorps.org

MISCELLANEOUS

–“Creating Rural Wealth: A New Lens for Rural Development Efforts” features highlights from a review of research from the USDA Economic Research Service identifying how a wealth creation perspective can inform and improve the efforts of rural communities and others seeking to promote sustainable rural prosperity. Download a copy http://tinyurl.com/b3a3o9h

 John Niederman, recently wrote for The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development (ICCD) on stemming rural population loss. Read the article http://www.instituteccd.org/news/4543

The Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released a new issue of Community Dividend.  To read the issue, visit Current Issue.  One particular article of interest is:

“Agripreneur” program helps rural Latinos become small-scale farmershttp://tinyurl.com/b2psp4e  An initiative of Minneapolis-based Main Street Project teaches budding farmers, or “agripreneurs,” to raise and sell poultry and other agricultural products as part of an emerging local food network.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s 2012 Agricultural Symposium examined whether agriculture can escape its historical cycles of boom and bust. The

latest issue of the Main Street Economist provides a comprehensive summary of the symposium. Read the article at: http://tinyurl.com/ax4whdy Additional information about the Agricultural Symposium, including papers, remarks and presentations, is available at: http://tinyurl.com/a9wyaql

— PolicyLink just released a new report http://tinyurl.com/bgn9zdj that highlights urban farming as an innovative solution for low-income communities struggling with blight and abandonment, and lack of access to healthy foods.  Growing Urban Agriculture: Equitable Strategies and Policies for Improving Access to Healthy Food and Revitalizing Communities http://tinyurl.com/bgn9zdj lifts up models from all over the country, from Detroit, to Los Angeles, and New York. Based on interviews with urban farmers, advocates, and policymakers, Growing Urban Agriculture touches on the challenges that come with starting an urban farm, while highlighting the strategies for achieving success.  By embracing urban agriculture and its multitude of benefits, such as: increased access to healthy foods, job training, and a more beautiful environment, everyone will thrive.

Each month, Creighton University surveys community bank president and CEOs to obtain their opinion on current economic conditions in their communities as well as their forecast of the economic outlook. The Rural Main Street Index http://tinyurl.com/7h2jqdm covers 10 states and focuses on 200 communities with an average population of 1,300. In September, the index rose slightly, but remained growth-neutral for the third consecutive month.

U.S. Bioenergy Statistics http://tinyurl.com/9yj8yn8 are a source of information on biofuels intended to present a picture of the renewable energy industry and its relationship to agriculture. Where appropriate, data are presented in both a calendar year and the relevant marketing year timeframe to increase utility to feedstock-oriented users. The statistics highlight the factors that influence the demand for agricultural feedstocks for biofuels production; for instance, numerous tables emphasize the relationship between energy and commodity markets.

Housing Assistance Council published “A Brief History of Rural Mutual Self-Help Housing in the United States” that provides an overview of the USDA program, including a brief narrative summary and detailed tables, updated through Fiscal Year 2011. Get the report http://tinyurl.com/a4anxux

–A special issue of Housing Assistance Council’s Rural Voices highlights the innovative and proactive approaches to provide housing options for rural veterans. Get a copy http://tinyurl.com/axoz33j

–A report from The Carsey Institute finds that over sixteen million children live in poverty in 2011. The report uses American Community Survey data released on September 20, 2012 to address patterns of child poverty in rural and low-income households. Download a copy of the report http://tinyurl.com/abovamy

Economic impact of rural health care (National Center for Rural Health Works). http://tinyurl.com/ahhud9d

Multi-Enterprising Farm Households: The Importance of Their Alternative Business Ventures in the Rural Economy.  Almost a third of U.S. farm households generate income by engaging in business ventures independent of commodity production, with distinctly different community and household benefits. http://tinyurl.com/accoxb8

BestPrep
- this non-profit’s Financial Matters program gives Minnesota students business, career, and financial literacy skills. Classroom volunteers teach budgeting, credit, and other financial skills. BestPrep also distributes the Stock Market Game and subsidizes the entry fee for the first 3,000 teams to register. http://www.bestprep.org/

Transfer Payments Government transfer payments are important to both nonmetro and metro residents. Per capita, nonmetro residents received more government transfers than metro. The chapter of the Rural Poverty & Well-being topic was recently updated at USDA ERS. http://tinyurl.com/ag75g4j

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FUNDING

The 2012 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange (HIE) is accepting applications. The program provides funding to: a) assist health and health care providers in meeting requirements for federal incentives for meaningful use of an EHR; 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 health organizations collaborating to implement HIE 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. http://tinyurl.com/con4wy9 Contact Anne Schloegel at anne.schloegel@state.mn.us with questions.

–The Rural Health Network Development Planning Program is offering grant funds to rural nonprofits that represent a consortium/network of three or more health care providers. Deadline to apply: 10/15/2012. Eligible Applicants are Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized); Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments) and nonprofits.  For more information and to apply, http://tinyurl.com/8kzspqo

–USDA Rural Development is offering Value-Added Producer Grants to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Deadline to apply: 10/15/2012. For more information and to apply, http://tinyurl.com/bnjzbs3

Explore Minnesota Tourism Organizational Partnership and Scenic Byway Grant program is offered to assist communities and scenic byway organizations in attracting travelers to Minnesota. Get a copy of the Organizational Partnership and Scenic Byway Grant guidelines for 2013. http://tinyurl.com/9u6pnvp  Grants must be postmarked by November 1st!  Call Explore Minnesota Tourism at 800-657-3637; 651-757-1852 for assistance.

–The J.R. Albert Foundation, Inc. is accepting grant applications from nonprofits working in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri or Kansas to educate at-risk populations on nutritional practices and wellness, especially with education programs aimed at children and youth.  Decisions will be made in October. Deadline to apply: Letter of Intent by 10/15/2012; applications by 1/31/2013. To learn more about the Foundation and to apply, http://tinyurl.com/8gv7k4v

–The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Trust is offering grants to nonprofit organizations that provide long-term programs offering direct assistance to sick and injured Veterans and their families. The Trust’s priorities include: making sure these veterans have transportation to VA medical facilities for treatment; supporting physical and psychological rehabilitation projects aimed at the most profoundly injured Veterans; meeting the special needs of Veterans with specific disabilities such as amputation or brain injuries; providing food, shelter and medical aid to homeless and needy Veterans. Deadline: 10/20/2012. Application guidelines and forms may be downloaded from the Trust’s website http://tinyurl.com/cj5upvm

Application materials for the Community Clinic Grant Program are now available on the ORHPC Grants and Loans page. http://tinyurl.com/6kq9omw These grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications are due October 24. If invited, full applications will be due January 23.

Funding and Technical Assistance opportunities!  EPA Sustainable Growth Assistance for Communities – apply by October 26, 2012.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites communities to apply for technical assistance to foster sustainable growth in their area. EPA is offering assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, which offers tools that can be applied in rural, suburban, and urban areas, including:

  • Smart growth and economic development to help communities get better financial results from public and private investments;
  • Green street strategies for managing polluted stormwater;
  • Land use strategies to protect water quality;
  • Parking audits to make the best use of parking for existing and planned land uses;
  • Bikeshare system planning to create alternative commuting options;
  • Community design for aging populations to ensure residents can live at home as long as possible;
  • Green building toolkit to overcome common barriers; and
  • Strategies to help small cities and rural areas develop in ways that retain unique community characteristics.

Communities apply for assistance with one of the specific tools and, if selected, work with an EPA-supported team of experts on applying those tools during a two-day workshop. Along with the policies and practices highlighted in each tool, participants will learn more about smart growth development strategies.

EPA will select up to 44 communities through a competitive process for this latest round of assistance. The selections will be made in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  Applications will be accepted until October 26, 2012. More information and application instructions for the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program are available at http://tinyurl.com/66mzq3n

–Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flex Grant Program are now available on the ORHPC Grants and Loans page. Applications are due October 29. http://tinyurl.com/8u7z7no

The 2012 Subaru Healthy Sprouts Award is aimed at supporting schools or organizations that plan to garden with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship between the garden program and education related to environmental, nutrition and hunger issues in the United States.

Fifty awards are available to select schools or organizations. Each program will receive a $400 gift certificate to the Gardening With Kids catalog; National Gardening Association’s Eat a Rainbow Kit which includes nutrition lessons and education; and a curriculum package from the National Gardening Association.  The deadline for applying is October 31, 2012.  Contact the National Gardening Association for more information and to apply: http://tinyurl.com/8mflzrm

–The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Grant Program is accepting 2013 applications from sponsoring institutions on behalf of their eligible clinical medical education programs and clinical training facilities located in Minnesota during fiscal year 2011. Details are available on the MERC website. http://tinyurl.com/8u6zdfr  Applications are due by October 31.

As part of its Workforce Initiative, the RCHN Community Health Foundation is accepting applications from Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or FQHC look-alikes for programs focused on the recruitment, training and retention of entry-level staff. Applications are due October 31. http://tinyurl.com/6h7lmv7

–The Endangered Language Fund will distribute grants through the Native Voices Endowment: A Lewis & Clark Expedition Bicentennial Legacy for work on the documentation and revitalization of the languages of Indian tribes that came in contact with the Lewis and Clark Expedition between 1803-1806. Deadline to apply: 10/31/2012. To learn more about this opportunity, http://tinyurl.com/9cfk65m

–The Foundation for Rural Education and Development is offering grants to nonprofits through its Technology Grants for Rural Schools Program to promote activities that improve rural educational, social, and economic conditions. Grants of $1,000 to $5,000 help public schools in rural areas bring modern computers to every classroom, connect schools to the information superhighway, and assure that effective software and online resources are an integral part of the school curriculum. A letter of support from the local company must accompany all applications. Deadline to apply: 11/1/2012. For application guidelines and eligibility, click http://www.fred.org/tech.html

–The Department of Agriculture is offering grant support for the development of domestic and migrant farm labor housing projects. Supported organizations will provide technical assistance to groups who qualify for farm labor housing loans and grants. Deadline to apply: 11/5/2012. For an application, http://tinyurl.com/9y9kcbn

–The Tribeca Film Institute is offering funding to filmmakers from underrepresented communities for the Tribeca All Access grants. Five narrative filmmakers and five documentary filmmakers in the United States and Puerto Rico from communities underrepresented in the film industry will be awarded grants of $15,000 for a feature-length film project. Deadline to apply: 11/5/2012. To learn more about this funding opportunity, http://tinyurl.com/9mlovuc

–The Laura Jane Musser Fund is offering grants for programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wyoming for projects in rural communities that will help to strengthen towns and regions in a number of areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements and education. Deadline to apply: 11/7/2012. For an application and more information about this Fund, http://tinyurl.com/2a5vy27

–The Environmental Protection Agency is offering grant support to nonprofits to provide technical assistance to communities on brownfields issues. This assistance will help communities tackle the challenge of assessing, cleaning up, and preparing brownfields sites for redevelopment, especially underserved, rural, small and otherwise distressed communities. Deadline: 11/14/2012. To learn more about this opportunity, http://tinyurl.com/8hkvj5h

The AgStar Fund for Rural America grants deadline is November 30, 2012.

AgStar concentrates its giving programs in geographic areas where AgStar has a significant business presence and on those programs that fit strategically with the intent of their clients and their communities in which they live.  The grants are discretionary and restricted to a specific purpose. The AgStar Fund does not allow awarded funds to be used for indirect costs. All awarded funds must be used for direct project or program costs. Funding is limited to $10,000 per organization per year.

AgStar Fund for Rural America grants are restricted to the following uses:

  • Project or program support
  • Technical assistance
  • General operating support
  • Equipment

The AgStar Fund supports direct delivery of services and aligns the grants with the company’s broader business interests and community involvement programs.

In order to be considered for funding, requests for support must align with the Fund’s mission, as well as, one of the following focus areas:

  • Education – Educating young, beginning or future farmers.
  • Environment – Maintaining or improving the quality of the rural environment.
  • Technology – Supporting the advancement and utilization of technology for the benefit of farmers and rural communities.
  • Quality of Life – Programs or initiatives that enhance the quality of life for farmers and rural communities.

For more information and to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/3mepe54

Walmart Foundation Local Giving Program – apply by December 1, 2012.  The Walmart Foundation supports programs and initiatives addressing education, workforce development, economic sustainability, and health and wellness.  Multiple awards ranging from $250-$5,000 are available for select applicants. Nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, church or faith based organizations, and government entities are eligible to apply.  For more information or to apply, visit http://tinyurl.com/8m8qowt

–The National Gardening Association is accepting applications for Youth Garden Grant Awards. Schools and community groups in the United States planning to garden with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18 are invited to apply for Home Depot gift cards of up to $1,000 to purchase gardening supplies. Deadline to apply: 12/3/2012. For more information visit the website by clicking http://tinyurl.com/c6lkuwc

–Application materials for the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program will be available October 15 on the ORHPC Grants and Loans page. Pre-applications are due December 17 and final applications (if invited) will be due March 18, 2013. http://tinyurl.com/5ruq5qx

The Department of Agriculture has issued a NOFA for guaranteed loans under Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing for FY 2012.  Eligible lenders are invited to submit responses for new construction and acquisition with rehabilitation of affordable rural rental housing. The agency will review responses submitted by eligible lenders, on the lender’s letterhead, and signed by both the prospective borrower and lender. Deadline to apply: 12/31/2012. For details on the program and an application, http://tinyurl.com/d4kcd47

— Application materials for the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, which supports recruitment and retention of health care professionals in communities experiencing a shortage of primary health care providers, are now available on the ORHPC Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs page. Applications are due by January 2, 2013. http://tinyurl.com/m8ge2y

–The Institute for Rural America is offering Seize The Moment Grants to nonprofits for up to $250 designed to assist groups needing to take quick action on issues that arise, or to send staff to training programs in their respective fields. Deadline: rolling. For application guidelines, click here. http://tinyurl.com/8mgylzv

The Economic Development Administration has announced the availability of funding for nonprofit and public agencies, including local governments for grants to create regional economic development plans that will stimulate and guide the economic developments of a community. Deadline: rolling. Get more information http://tinyurl.com/9mkm7j2

Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance ProgramApplications accepted on an ongoing basis. 
The program provides grants to assist in the creation of regional economic development plans, designed to increase the economic development efforts of a community or region. http://tinyurl.com/9rr6q7v

Wells Fargo Homeownership Grant Program. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
 The grants provide funding to local nonprofit housing organizations to create sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate-income people. http://tinyurl.com/9l78ccw

TRAINING/MEETINGS

Community Dialogues:  How Can Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want? Experience effective public deliberation. Make new connections.  Identify priorities for collaborative action. Together with the American Commonwealth Partnership and campuses, local organizations, and leaders around the state, Minnesota Campus Compact will hold a series of campus-community dialogues using the National Issues Forums guide, Shaping Our Future: How Can Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Need?. We are also offering free deliberative dialogue trainings for people interested in moderating dialogues on this or other topics (see below).

Participate in a Dialogue Near You (more information and registration is available at www.mncampuscompact.org/dialogues)! http://tinyurl.com/9xcqh8d

  • Wednesday, October 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Rochester Public Library, co-hosted by University of Minnesota Rochester, Winona State University Rochester, Rochester Public Library, and the Rochester Issues Forum
  • Monday, October 22, 4:30-7:00 p.m., Fireside Room, Koch Commons, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul
  • Tuesday, October 23, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Buenger Education Center, Concordia University, St. Paul
  • Tuesday, October 30, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Centennial Student Union, Room 284, Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2:30-4:30 p.m., North Hennepin Community College, Brooklyn Park
  • Monday, November 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m., University of Minnesota, Morris
  • Tuesday, November 13, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Concordia College, Moorhead
  • Wednesday, November 14, (time TBD), Bemidji State University
  • Thursday, November 15, 6:30-9:00 p.m., University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Atwood Center, Glacier Room, St. Cloud State University

The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is offering training to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) through the Capacity Building Initiative training series “Innovations in Small Business Lending”.  CDFIs that are currently engaged in providing loans to small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to attend free trainings that are designed to support their continued growth and expanded capabilities. The series will be provided by Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte) from November 2012 to May 2013. To learn more about this training, click http://tinyurl.com/8s7jnu2

MCF/MCN Joint Annual Conference is November 1 & 2.  Allied for Action will be held at the St. Paul RiverCentre for two days jam-packed with opportunities to learn, share and connect with 1,400 others in Minnesota’s grantmaker and nonprofit communities, including:

Register by October 17 to avoid the late fee! http://tinyurl.com/8ur5d2w

 The Initiative Foundation, http://www.ifound.org/  in partnership with Nonprofits Assistance Fund, http://www.nonprofitsassistancefund.org is offering the Purpose & Prosperity Conferencehttp://tinyurl.com/9gs56d8 in St. Cloud on November 15. This day-long conference will explore areas of nonprofit resiliency such as program evaluation, financial health and board governance. At the same time, participants will discover some of the fundamental concepts ofsocial enterprise, including business planning, fostering entrepreneurship and securing financial capital.

Nonprofit leaders who are currently engaged in social enterprise activities, or may be hearing these words for the first time, are encouraged to attend. For an agenda, list of breakout sessions, and registration details http://tinyurl.com/9gs56d8

–HOLD THE DATE!  Minnesota Campus Compact’s 2013 summit and awards ceremony will be on Monday, April 1, at Hamline University’s new Anderson Center in St. Paul.

OPPORTUNITIES

The Resilient Communities Project is a direct response to the growing need to find sustainability solutions to issues facing Minnesota communities, by connecting the wide-ranging expertise of University of Minnesota faculty and students with cities, businesses, and organizations in Minnesota. RCP is an initiative of the Graduate Sustainability Education Network http://tinyurl.com/9dv3njj at the U of M, with funding and administrative support provided by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) http://www.cura.umn.edu and the Institute on the Environment. http://environment.umn.edu The program is modeled on the Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon. http://sci.uoregon.edu/scy/

Each academic year, RCP chooses a partner city through a competitive request-for-proposal process. Working with a wide range of city staff and stakeholders in the selected community, RCP helps to identify potential projects based on community-identified sustainability issues and needs. RCP then serves as a centralized “matchmaker,” connecting the city’s project needs with existing graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses at the U of M. RCP is currently partnering with the City of Minnetonka on eight projects that will engage more than 150 students in eleven courses across seven schools and colleges at the University of Minnesota.

For communities, RCP provides access to hundreds of students and faculty members across a range of academic disciplines – from architecture, planning, and engineering to business, environmental sciences, and the humanities. Expertise is available related to all aspects of sustainability, including analysis, planning, design, implementation, and evaluation.  RCP plans to release a new Request-for-Proposal and community application in October. For more information or to apply to be a community partner, visit http://rcp.umn.edu/home/communities/.

The Community Development Society has issued a Call for Papers for a special issue of their journal, Community Development. The deadline for submission is 11/1/2012. The Society is looking for contributions that describe the framework for and outcomes of economic development strategies that create multiple forms of wealth that stick in rural places and integrate rural places into larger economies. To read the notice and get more information, please click http://rcp.umn.edu/home/communities/

–The NBCC Foundation is accepting applications to its Rural Scholarships program, http://www.nbccf.org/rural which supports students enrolled in a master’s degree counseling program who commit to provide counseling services in a rural area for at least two years after graduation. Applications due November 1.

National Rural Health Day is November 15 and it will highlight the unique health care challenges in rural areas and showcase the many ways rural health providers and communities address those needs.  Learn how to share your story and discover more ways to celebrate National Rural Health Day in your community. http://tinyurl.com/9u9mmur

PRI 2013 Urban Farming Certification Program.  Would you like to work as an urban farmer? Are you interested in learning how to earn an income and produce high-quality, organic food for the expanding local foods market in the Twin Cities?  The Urban Farming Certification Program, a creation of the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) Cold Climate, is currently accepting applications for 2013.  The comprehensive 9-month training program weaves together in-class and outdoor practical farming and design courses needed to turn any urban lot into a certified, highly productive urban farm.

With customized learning opportunities alongside professional permaculture designers, urban farmers, and urban farming mentors in the Twin Cities region, 2013 trainees will have the rare opportunity of entering into a supportive community of peers and professionals as they learn from a range of local wisdom throughout the season. With over 40 workshops and classes to choose from, participants will have the opportunity to custom design a schedule that fits their lifestyles and needs.  The early bird application deadline is November 15, 2012. For more information or to apply for the 2013 program, visit http://tinyurl.com/934zkbk

–Interested in advancing your knowledge of rural health issues and gaining leadership skills? Consider applying to the Leadership Institute offered by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and the Heartland Center for Leadership Development. Scholarships are available. Applications due December 10. http://tinyurl.com/9qe2ubp

Be an MN Office of Rural Health and Primary Care grant reviewer! Please contact Cindy LaMere at cindy.lamere@state.mn.us or 651-201-3852 with your name, profession, place of employment and contact information.

MISCELLANEOUS

–The U.S. Economic Development Administration has developed a tool that can help optimize investments for economic, environmental, and social impact – the triple bottom line. The tool can be accessed http://tinyurl.com/9787l6r

Distribution of Federal Economic Development Grants to Communities with High Rates of Poverty and Unemployment
Provides data that show the distribution of community and economic development grant funds to cities and rural counties with high rates of poverty and unemployment. http://gao.gov/assets/650/648367.pdf

–Learn more about providing mental health services to veterans in community-based settings. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a new online Community Provider Toolkit to support the delivery and coordination of such services. http://tinyurl.com/9ly4qqu

MSP Housing + Transportation Cost Calculator.  The Urban Land Institute recently launched an online, customizable tool to help individuals, households, planners, and municipalities in the Twin Cities areaunderstand the true costs of housing and transportation, as well as how these costs can vary from place to place. Designed specifically for the 13-county region, the Housing + Transportation Calculator allows users to easily estimate their combined housing and transportation costs and compare details with the average cost in their neighborhood and the region.

Whether it’s a move to a new neighborhood, a move into the area, a new job, a change in income, the purchase or sale of an automobile, or just an effort to use transit more and drive less, the H+T Calculator will provide individuals and households the information they need to understand the true affordability of their location and choices.  For more information or to access the calculator, visit http://minnesota.uli.org/

Food Waste Prevention Resources.  A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council titled “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm” asserts that the equivalent of 20 lbs. per person per month of uneaten food is discarded in the US. In addition to the food loss itself, there are huge amounts of chemicals, energy, water, land, and money ($165 billion/year) used in the production, processing, and distribution of this food that are consequently lost if the food is not consumed. And while composting helps to reduce the final waste stream, it does not decrease these “upstream” resource inputs. http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf

With the help of an MPCA Environmental Assistance grant, Eureka Recycling  http://tinyurl.com/8ba6zp7 has developed informative new online tools to help consumers minimize or prevent food waste. The resources, available at www.makedirtnotwaste.org/prevent-wasted-food, http://tinyurl.com/9ujmpgs include food storage tips for a wide variety of food types (including produce, meat, oils, herbs, and nuts, among others). Practical and instructional meal planning information specifically designed to counteract food wastage (and indirectly save time and money!) is included as well.

Another tool developed by the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum, http://tinyurl.com/8dfcdj5 an EPA-led partnership of western cities and states, serves as a resource for state and local governments and/or community groups and is currently undergoing nationwide piloting. Designed as a community-based social marketing campaign, the Food: Too Good to Waste pilot toolkit includes an implementation guide, behavior change tools (including a workshop presentation, shopping template, and poster), measurement tools, and a research report. Plans are to revise the toolkit based on pilot results.

Local governments and community organizations in Minnesota with an interest in participating in the pilot phase of the toolkit can contact Madalyn Cioci, MPCA, Madalyn.Cioci@state.mn.us, for more information.

Household Food Security in the United States, 2011 
Presents statistics on households’ food security, food expenditures, and use of food and nutrition assistance programs throughout 2011. Food insecurity is more common in large cities and rural areas than in suburban areas. Access a summary and full report. http://tinyurl.com/ckocp4o

Census Bureau Releases 2011 American Community Survey Estimates 
 The U.S. Census Bureau has released findings from the 2011 American Community Survey that provides a wide range of important statistics about income, poverty, health insurance and more for all communities in the country. http://tinyurl.com/c6ncxjt

American Community Survey and Rural Data Analysis
Discusses the American Community Survey and the challenges of that data source to understand conditions and trends in rural America. http://tinyurl.com/9hpcns3