January 2013– Volume XI, Number 1

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek & Ann Treacy


Across the Field – Healthy Choices, Healthy Eating, Common Sense — by Melanie Nelson

(January’s guest writer is Melanie Nelson, owner of Learning ZoneXpress, a business that promotes healthy food choices, especially for youth.)

The number one New Year’s Resolution was “lose weight.” Coming in at number 5 was the more reasonable goal: stay fit and healthy. While we applaud the New Year’s resolve, one of our goals at Learning ZoneXpress is to improve the daily health and vitality of youth by providing creative learning tools to teach healthy behaviors and nutrition all year ‘round. We help educators, health care professionals and public health officials change lives. So how do we do it? Part of what we do builds upon the work of the USDA and decisions made about education and health care at local levels. Like many readers we have been watching the Farm Bill. We will continue to watch those decisions that will have an impact on our economy in rural areas but also on our children.

Here are some examples:

USDA Choose MyPlate http://www.choosemyplate.gov: In 2010, the USDA replaced My Pyramid with a new icon. MyPlate promotes making half your plate fruits and vegetable, one quarter grains and one quarter protein. The USDA created a series of free online tools to further help keep families healthy. http://tinyurl.com/cww79up Food-A-Pedia compiles and compares nutrition info on more than 8000 foods. Food Tracker and Physical Activity Trackers help you track your personal nutritional progress. (As USDA MyPlate partners, we maintain a website of free tools to promote good health too: http://www.freemyplate.com)

Nutrition Standards in National School Lunch & Breakfast programs http://1greattray.com/?p=12: Last September, schools were required to maintain the USDA nutrition standards. There has been some push back but many schools have embraced the opportunity to promote better eating. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation created a step-by-step process (Healthy Schools Program https://schools.healthiergeneration.org/) to help schools make the most of using the new USDA Dietary Standards to create a healthier generation.

Family & Consumer Science (FACS): FACS received a bad rap in 2011 after the NY Times ran an editorial http://MELANIESCORNER.COM/?p=2794 stating that so many of the lessons were common sense. We cheered the response that pointed out that many good health practices became common sense after generations learned it in school – and unfortunately, many lessons are getting lost as FACS classes become less prevalent. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years according to CDC statistics. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.

Good health and healthy eating may be common sense, but common sense must be learned over and over again. We need policies and practices to promote it. http://tinyurl.com/cc2g5kj

I wish good health habits for you in 2013!

Melanie Nelson
Learning ZoneXpress http://www.learningzonexpress.com
Owatonna, MN


— Angel investor credits return. A total of $12 million in tax credits will be available in 2013.  The Certification Application is available now.  The Credit Allocation application will be available in January. Minnesota’s Angel Tax Credit provides incentives to investors or investment funds that put money into startup and emerging companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology. The Angel Tax Credit:

  • Provides a 25-percent individual income tax credit for qualified investors
  • Is refundable. Non-Minnesota residents, including residents of foreign countries, are eligible for the credit
  • Allows a maximum credit of $125,000 per year per individual
  • Allows a maximum credit of $250,000 for those married and filing jointly.

For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/y3hfnt7

–Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is offering funding to nonprofit community organizations for its Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program.  The broad goals of the program are to further social justice, protect the environment and support sustainable food systems. Deadline: Letters of interest may be submitted from January 1 through March 31 for the third quarter grant cycle of 2013. Visit the Foundation’s website to review the funding priorities and submit an online letter of interest.  http://tinyurl.com/buv9qau

–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

–HUD has issued a NOFA for the Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants program for national nonprofits.  Funds are available to enhance the capacity and ability of local governments, Indian tribes, housing development organizations, rural CDCs and CHDOs to carry out community development and affordable housing activities that benefit low and moderate income families and people in rural areas. Deadline to apply: 1/23/2013.  For an application, click http://tinyurl.com/byneqp9

–HUD is offering grants for The Strong Cities, Strong Communities National Resource Network program that provides support for the development of a network that will help communities make more effective local investments to strengthen economic growth and resiliency. Deadline: 1/28/2013http://tinyurl.com/ce6j3aj

–The Health Resources and Services Administration is offering grants through the Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Program to rural public or nonprofit healthcare organizations. Deadline: 1/30/2013http://tinyurl.com/c2ce7lf

The Department of health and Human Services is offering grants through the Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance Program for projects that contribute to the social development and self-sufficiency of Native communities through the preservation and maintenance of Native American languages. Priority will be given to proposed activities that promote economic and social self-sufficiency for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native American Pacific Islanders from American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Deadline: 1/31/2013.  For an application and guidelines, http://tinyurl.com/czmtocu

Center for Native American youth is inviting Native American teens to submit their stories for Champions for Change Program. Native American youth between the ages of 14 and 24 are invited to submit their stories of leadership and service in tribal and urban Indian communities, schools and programs. Deadline: 1/31/2013.  To learn more about this program, http://tinyurl.com/ccdzf3a

— The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program is seeking applications from pediatricians and pediatric residents in the planning or initial implementation stage of a community-based child health initiative. The program is designed to help increase children’s access to a medical home or specific health services not otherwise available.  Applications due January 31. http://tinyurl.com/bv8lq9n

–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: 2/1/2013http://tinyurl.com/c6jxjss

The Department of Education is offering grants through the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program. The purpose of the program is to provide grants to Indian tribes, tribally sanctioned educational authorities and elementary or secondary schools that are operated or funded by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education, or a consortium of these entities.  The deadline to apply is 2/1/2013http://tinyurl.com/by3d3cz

–The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC), is an organization dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of arts in the region.  This is accomplished primarily through grant-making for organizations and individuals in Region 7E (Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties.) ECRAC is one of 11 Regional Arts Councils in Minnesota.  ECRAC Art Organization Project Grants of $5,000 and ECRAC Small Grants of $500 are competitive and designed to provide financial support to groups or organizations (non-profits, units of government, & schools) for arts and cultural projects.  Applications are encouraged from all artistic disciplines and are awarded on a matching funds basis.

The criteria for these grant programs are:  merit and artistic quality; ability of the organization to accomplish the project or program goals; and applicants must demonstrate demand/need for the project or program for the community it serves.  Funding is currently available for these grants.  The next 2 ECRAC Small Grant deadlines are February 1 and April 1, 2013.  The next 2 ECRAC Art Organization Project Grant deadlines is July 15, 2013.  For more information contact ECRAC by telephone (320) 396-2337; by email at info@ecrac.org; or online at www.ecrac.org   Grant applications are online.

–The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants through its Big Read program for community-wide reading programs. Seventy-five grants of up to $20,000 each will be awarded to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.  Deadline to apply: 2/5/2013. http://tinyurl.com/y6wbjj

–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, http://tinyurl.com/a4g4n5l

Youth Service America is accepting applications for Disney Friends for Change Grants. Grants of $1,000 will be awarded for youth-led projects in the United States that demonstrate youth leadership, creativity and a commitment to making a positive community impact.  Deadline: 2/10/2013http://tinyurl.com/77bfsqq

— The federal Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP) is soliciting applications for projects that demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural, frontier and underserved communities.  Grants activities must serve rural communities, though grantees may be located in either urban or rural areas.  Applications due February 13. http://tinyurl.com/bmt6z34

The Kazanjian Foundation is offering Economic Literacy Grants for projects that elevate the nation’s understanding of the need for economic education. It will support programs that increase public participation in economic education and/or create a demand for greater economic literacy. Programs that help otherwise disenfranchised youth and/or young adults with children learn to participate in the economic system will be considered. Deadline: 2/15/2013.  To learn more about this Foundation and review application guidelines, http://tinyurl.com/cu6n5kh

–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 Department of the Treasury has announced the availability of funds through its Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI) for certified CDFIs. The program offers financial assistance grants to fund a wide array of community development, affordable housing and economic development projects sponsored by CDFIs, which are nonprofits or credit unions certified to participate in the program that lend or invest in their communities.  Deadline to apply: 2/28/2013.  For more information on this program, click http://tinyurl.com/b5too7f

The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service has announced the availability of funds through the demonstration program to preserve and revitalize existing rural rental housing projects under Section 515, Section 514, and Section 516 of the Housing Act of 1949.  Deadline: Pre-applications are due 2/28/2013.  For application guidelines, click http://tinyurl.com/ab4lqtu

The Department of Justice is offering funding for programs that provide responses to child abuse victims and their families in Native American and Alaska Native communities.  Deadline: 3/5/2013http://tinyurl.com/a4yg7lo

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the availability of funding to improve public safety and victim services in Tribal communities. Federally-recognized Indian Tribal governments may apply for funds to develop a comprehensive and coordinated approach to public safety and victimization issues.  Deadline: 3/19/2013.  For more information, http://tinyurl.com/agzsxud

–The Surdna Foundaiton is accepting applications under its Sustainable Environments Program on a rolling basis. The Foundation’s grant making is focused on smart growth, climate and energy, and green economies through a lens of next generation infrastructure. Letters of Inquiry are accepted at any time, and successful applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal.  To learn more about Surdna, http://tinyurl.com/3x45wgo


Rochester Tax Reform Event. Wednesday Jan. 16, 7-8:30 p.m. Rochester Public Library Auditorium101 Second St. SE, Rochester.  The event is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.  Email jmeza@citizensleague.org to register. http://tinyurl.com/bd9j3yr

Tax reform is likely to be one of the dominant issues of the 2013 Minnesota Legislature, with both Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature likely to put forward significant proposals.  The Citizens League, along with the Bush Foundation, has been traveling around the state to get feedback and ideas from Minnesotans on what kind of reform they want to see. Join us for this Common Cents event to learn what we are hearing from Minnesotans and to have a conversation about possible tax reform ideas for Minnesota.

— The 2013 Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM) Winter Conference will be January 24–25 at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest.  Register online or download the registration form to pay by check!   http://tinyurl.com/bgqde9q

The University of Minnesota Tourism Center created At Your Service: Working with Multicultural Customers to help you build your staff customer service skills. Attend the train-the-trainer session on Friday, January 25 and get complete materials to deliver an effective half-day workshop in your business or community. The curriculum can be reused for new staff or refresher training.  Register online at http://z.umn.edu/AYStraining or call 612-624-7165.

–Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day is January 25th. This seventh annual event promotes public understanding of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Web site explains how to participate in EITC Awareness Day and about the availability of free tax preparation sites. http://www.eitc.irs.gov/ptoolkit/awarenessday/

The 2013 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference and its many pre-conference activities make the week of February 11, 2013 the week to be in Minneapolis – Saint Paul. The conference dates are February 12-13, but several optional events are planned before and after the conference this year.  A schedule of events and more information is at:  http://tinyurl.com/yaht67h

Register online for the tourism conference at: http://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?454982 or contact Tina Skala at 651-757-1848 or tina.skala@state.mn.us for a registration form.

 Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) 2013 Conference: Community-Driven Clean Energy will be held February 20-21, St. Cloud, MN at the River’s Edge Convention Center.

CERTs 2013 will be an exploration and celebration of successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and a coming together of hundreds of amazing people who are working to create a clean energy future in their communities and beyond.  CERTs 2013 will begin with in-depth workshops and an evening reception on February 20th, and continue with a daylong conference on the 21st. It will be a place for you to connect with friends and colleagues and develop new relationships that can help you advance your work.

You can see the agenda, learn more, and register to attend, sponsor, or exhibit at http://2013.mncerts.org

Join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Nonprofits Assistance Fund for the 2013 Nonprofit Finance and Sustainability Conference on February 22 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Park, MN. This second annual day-long conference will offer insights, strategies and tools for staff and board members looking at your organization’s financial sustainability from diverse perspectives – from strategy and oversight to implementation and evaluation. Join your nonprofit colleagues to learn about critical issues and best practices to help your organization remain sustainable into the future. Register now and save! http://tinyurl.com/897tun8

Reflect on Contemporary Issues in Evaluation.  The 18th Annual Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) Spring Training is an exciting and enriching interdisciplinary evaluation conference designed for professional evaluators, program directors and staff in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, students and others interested in conducting or using evaluations. MESI provides a unique opportunity to learn and reflect on contemporary issues in evaluation with national experts and practitioners in a small setting. http://tinyurl.com/aek86h8

This year’s conference will be held March 6 – 8 at the Continuing Education Conference Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Intensive pre-conference workshops will be offered March 4 – 5. New this year, MESI has added an additional networking opportunity. Speed networking will be available on Wednesday from 4:30 – 5:30pm. http://tinyurl.com/aek86h8

–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.

The 56th annual Minnesota Inventors Congress Invention Expo will be hosted in Redwood Falls MN on April 19 & 20, 2013. With change comes the opportunity for new ideas and ways of doing business. Stay tuned for updates about your opportunity to test market your products at the Invention & Idea Show hosted by the Minnesota Inventors Congress.

SAVE THE DATE!  The next gathering of the National Rural Assembly will be held in the D.C. Metro area, June 23-26, 2013.

— The 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 24-25, 2013 in Duluth. http://tinyurl.com/alnb9sn


Present a breakout session http://tinyurl.com/b3yygg3 at the 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Conference! The success of the conference depends on the excellent presentations people give about their work in rural Minnesota. Proposals are due by February 1. The conference will be held June 24-25 in Duluth.

— Attention Minnesota businesses interested in reducing waste, increasing energy efficiencies, and saving money.  Project proposals are now being accepted by MnTAP and are due by February 1, 2013.  Businesses interested in reducing waste and improving energy efficiency are encouraged to apply for an intern in 2013.

Each summer, six to nine highly qualified interns lead projects at Minnesota businesses that range from identifying hazardous waste reduction opportunities to investigating potential energy efficiency process improvements. The nine 2012 interns focused on researching energy, organic and solid waste, as well as water reduction solutions. Many of the interns were able to start implementing their recommendations. In total, the interns’ proposals for 2012 could save their companies over $331,000 and result in significant environmental reductions each year. Potential reductions include: 23,000 pounds hazardous waste, 371,000 pounds solid waste, 3.7 million pounds organic waste, 17.2 million gallons of water, 508, 000 kWh, and 106,000 therms.

Proposed projects should focus on identifying specific options and are evaluated for reduction potential, specific goals achievable in three months, relation to previous projects, application of results to other Minnesota businesses, and company interest and commitment.  For more information about the program or the application process, visit MnTAP’s Web site at http://www.mntap.umn.edu/intern or contact Linda Maleitzke at MnTAP at 612.624.4697 or lmaleitz@umn.edu.


The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) seeks nominations for its 2013 Rural Health Awards. These national awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of rural health who have dedicated their time and talents to improving the health and well being of others. Nominations due February 14. http://tinyurl.com/amv3voq


— Enter your successful business, community or school paper recycling program in the 2013 American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling Award competition! Along with bragging rights, each winning program earns $2,000, original framed artwork, and local and national recognition. Winners, runners-up and unique contributions will also be highlighted on paperrecycles.org.  New this year, schools have the opportunity to submit students’ artwork related to paper recycling, the best of which will be featured on future AF&PA promotions and educational materials.  Entry Deadline: Friday, February 15, 2013.  For more information visit http://www.paperrecyclingawards.com/

Less than 1,000 words can earn $1,000 for college-bound students in Minnesota, thanks to a scholarship aimed at raising awareness of the locally-made fuel.  The Clean Air Choice™ Biodiesel Scholarship  is open to any Minnesota high school senior and offers a $1,000 1st place and $500 2nd place award to the winners of an essay contest about biodiesel, a cleaner-burning alternative fuel produced and used in Minnesota.  Rules and an online entry form can be found at the web site above.

The scholarship is administered by the American Lung Association in Minnesota, which recognizes biodiesel as a “clean air choice” fuel that reduces emissions. The scholarship is sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.  All entries must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 2013.  http://tinyurl.com/aafoqvvhttp://tinyurl.com/b2g4l5o


Rural America At A Glance, 2012 Edition This update in the annual series focuses on U.S. recovery from the 2007-09 recession, with recovery slower in nonmetro than in metro areas. As of July 2012, nonmetro employment, e.g., remained more than 3 percent below its 2007 peak. http://tinyurl.com/a3fpqnd

In an effort to help rural communities better address the current obesity epidemic, the Rural Assistance Center has launched a Rural Obesity Prevention toolkit. This toolkit contains resources to help communities develop obesity prevention programs, building on best practices of successful obesity prevention programs. http://tinyurl.com/bhmzd7r

What will it take for Minnesota to meet its broadband goals? In a year-end report, the Governor’s Broadband Task Force says Minnesota is making progress, but not on track to meet the state’s current broadband goals. http://tinyurl.com/almskdy

–On December 13, the Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force endorsed the Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota. http://tinyurl.com/7u8t93u The Roadmap includes policy strategies for creating more patient-centered coordinated care, changing payment structures to incentivize keeping people healthy, engaging communities in designing healthier environments and encouraging increased personal responsibility. The recommendations are based on Task Force and Work Group discussion, expert testimony, Citizen Solutions’ feedback http://tinyurl.com/a9lkpr3 and public input. The Roadmap http://tinyurl.com/7u8t93u and Supplement http://tinyurl.com/a39hahh are available at these links.

The Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) http://tinyurl.com/b6yvq5t has developed its Work Plan Priorities for 2012-2013 http://tinyurl.com/azh63l8 and a framework for the year’s activities. http://tinyurl.com/ar4m668 Priorities include rural health systems change and reform; successful wellness models for rural communities; aging, dementia and long-term care; emergency medical services; and rural obstetrics. The RHAC Fact Sheet http://tinyurl.com/aw7mybx has also been updated.

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) will publish a three-part series on asset-based economic development and building sustainable rural communities. Click http://tinyurl.com/b8rldnc to read and download “Part 1: Industry and Industry Clusters”.

–Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts that help low-income people save money to acquire an appreciating asset, such as a home, pay for higher education or advanced training, or build a new or existing small business. Using a locally-assembled combination of federal and non-federal funds, community organizations provide a match of at least one dollar for every dollar the IDA accountholder saves each month. If you would like to learn more about IDA programs, click http://tinyurl.com/bd49dxy to watch “The Road Less Traveled: Innovative Solutions in Rural IDA Programs”, a webinar broadcast earlier this year by the Assets for Independence (AFI) Resource Center.

–Creating a Social Media Policy. In the latest article in a series of articles from the Philanthropy News Digest, tips for developing a social media policy are highlighted. Read the article http://tinyurl.com/av6bzzl

–New Markets Tax Credit Economic Impact Report 2003–2012 has been issued by a coalition of community development organizations and financial institutions.  It details how an expired federal tax credit has spurred private investment in economically distressed communities to create over 500,000 jobs, generate over $5.3 billion in federal income tax revenue and over $3 billion in state and local taxes – an amount which more than covers the cost of the program as measured in terms of revenue lost by the federal government. To get a free copy, click http://tinyurl.com/9waoqkq

–The Carsey Institute has published a brief showing that the share of tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increased between 2007 and 2010, as did the size of the average credit claimed and the number of EITC filers benefitting from the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC). The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that these expanded credits kept millions of children and families out of poverty and lowered the poverty rate by 2.8 percentage points overall, and by 6.3 percentage points for children in 2011. Click http://tinyurl.com/acjrzdg to download a copy of the brief.

–A Spanish edition of the PolicyLink report, “Why Place and Race Matter” (“La Importancia del Lugar de Residencia y la Raza”) has just been released.  Published in English last year, the report broadens the conversation about how to build healthy, opportunity-rich communities for all.  Get the report in Spanish or English http://tinyurl.com/3d5q444

–A survey conducted by PhilanTech and GrantStation, “The State of Grantseeking Report Fall 2012”, provides a snapshot of the state of seeking grant money. The 758 respondents represented a wide range of nonprofits from size to geographic location to mission focus. http://tinyurl.com/bablqjh

–RUPRI’s (Rural Policy Research Institute) Rural Futures Lab has introduced a new monthly blog post that will focus on “the rural differential”. Each month, it will focus on a particular social, economic or demographic indicator and examine what the data shows about rural America. The first post talks about data in general, and where do we get data for rural America? http://ruralfutureslab.blogspot.com/

–The US EPA’s WaterSense program has created WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities, a compilation of best management practices to help commercial and institutional facilities better manage their water use through efficient practices and products.  Building owners and managers can significantly reduce their water use, energy requirements, and operating costs by understanding how to use water more efficiently in their facilities. America’s commercial and institutional facilities use 17 percent of the water provided by the nation’s public water supplies, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

WaterSense at Work addresses water use in educational facilities, offices, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, laboratories, and other organizations and presents numerous tactics for businesses and organizations to achieve water, energy, and operational savings, as well as case studies on different types of facilities that have achieved savings by using water efficiently. http://tinyurl.com/7ss98rv