If you are reading this, thank you, and you’ve noticed that something has happened to the simple e-newsletter we’ve published for the past 11 years. Last month the free listserv we had been using bit the dust. She was reliable, easy to use, and we lament the loss. However, we hope you will stick with us with this slightly fancier Constant Contact version. It costs us (Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc.) $35 per month to have a Constant Contact e-newsletter service.
And yes, MRP, Inc. is still alive as a volunteer-led non-profit organization. We kept going because people wanted us to keep the newsletter going. The MRP Rural Round-Up is the only one of it’s kind we can find — a true compendium of brief, useful information, much like what inspired it 11 years ago — good old printed agricultural journals from the 1800s.
Your subscription is free. Volunteers continue to make this monthly newsletter possible to the existing 2540 readers across Minnesota and the U.S. Please send any comments, ideas, additional subscribers, etc. to Jane Leonard at email@example.com. Donations are always welcome. If you would like to make one, send a check to Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc., 1533 Grantham Street, St. Paul, MN 55108.
One more note: this is a big issue — April & May combined.
Thanks again! — Deb, Ann, and Jane
Across the Field
Leveraging Arts & Culture to Build Thriving Communities
by guest contributor Arne Kildegaard
Director, The Center for Small Towns
The Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM), along with its partner Springboard for the Arts (Fergus Falls), plays host to the 2013 Rural Arts and Culture Summit, “Leveraging Arts and Culture to Build Thriving Communities,” June 5-6th on the University of Minnesota Morris campus.
(Editors’ note: The conference is so popular, there is now a waiting list.
The Summit will highlight the practical power of arts-based development strategies in rural towns, focusing on the experience of towns that have forged successful partnerships with local artists and arts organization to address some of the perennial problems in community development.
The conference features three community-based keynote speakers: John Davis, June Holley, and Michael Strand.
John Davis lives in Lanesboro, a small town in southeastern Minnesota, where he has been instrumental in transforming the community into a regional center for the arts. His work has included founding the New York Mills Cultural Center, The Great American Think-Off, and an International Kids Philosophy Slam.
June Holley, author of The Network Weaving Handbook, provides consulting, training, and coaching to organizations and communities around the world who are interested in creating healthier networks through a better understanding of self-organization, collaboration, innovation, and learning.
Michael Strand, a potter whose mission is to build community through art, craft and design, is the head of the Art Department at North Dakota State University. He has traveled around the world combining art with social practice and community development as he investigates the potential of craft as a catalyst for social change in communities of all sizes.
In addition, the Summit will feature a wide variety of presentations, panels, networking opportunities, and hands-on workshops. Attendees will have the chance to hear about models from leaders across the country, including Chris Beck from the USDA (Washington, D.C.), Matthew Fluharty from the Art of the Rural (Missouri), Gwynn Rukenbrod from Handmade in America (North Carolina) and Donna Neuwirth from the Wormfarm Institute (Wisconsin).
Sessions will explore topics such as creative place-making, building audiences through cross-sector partnerships, planning, design and economic development, the intersection of art and agriculture, funding challenges and opportunities, and case studies of innovative models which foster community interaction or enhance a region’s identity.
Editors’ note: The Center for Small Towns is an amazing gem in our state, a resource for rural areas and small towns, and urban people and places who want to learn more about their rural, small town neighbors. Even if you can’t attend the conference, check out the websites to learn more about the power of arts to build and sustain community and economic development in our state and nation.
QUICK STUDY – a new feature on STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
- 3D PRINTING and what it can mean for us in all walks of life: http://tinyurl.com/cds3c6l
- Understanding New Trends in Educational Technology. If you don’t have a child in K-12 right now you need to read this! If you do have a child in K-12 right now you need to read this even more. FINALLY, if you are going to continue to exist in this 21st century click and read on (and don’t let that word infographic scare you. It’s just a fancy word for a poster that teaches you something!): http://tinyurl.com/bojba5f
— Minnesota’s new health care portal, MNsure, has released final rules and updated funding information http://tinyurl.com/cmjh6or for organizations interested in providing community-based education and/or in-person application and enrollment assistance to individuals using the MNsure marketplace. The “navigator” and “in-person assister” roles were created to inform consumers about their options-including individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities-as the outreach function for federal health care reform implementation. MNsure is launching a competitive grants program http://tinyurl.com/cmjh6or this month to fund organizations to serve as certified navigators, certified in-person assisters, and certified application counselors.
To ensure the quality of services, and to minimize conflicts of interest and ensure integrity, the MNsure program will screen for potential conflicts of interest during the navigator, in-person assister and certified application counselor selection process and will require (and provide) initial and ongoing training that includes instruction on providing impartial education and in-person assistance with consumer selection of a qualified health plan. Funding decisions will start in July 2013, with an RFP to be released in May. For more information on MNsure, or to receive updates, visit www.mnsure.org. Stay tuned to the MCN events calendar –http://tinyurl.com/73tb3ef — for information on free briefings sponsored by MCN with MNsure staff as presenters.
–The Department of Health and Human Services is offering funds to expand substance abuse treatment and HIV services for African American, Hispanic/Latina, and other racial/ethnic minority women who have substance use or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders and are living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. Deadline: 5/14/2013. Learn more about the program and to apply. http://tinyurl.com/bphqybc
— The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, seeks proposals for health impact assessment (HIA) projects in Minnesota. Each grant will fund an HIA that informs an upcoming decision on a proposed local, tribal or state policy, plan or project. The Request for Proposals is available on online http://tinyurl.com/c5mtwvk Initial applications are due May 15th.
–Libri Foundation’s Books for Children Program donates new, quality, hardcover children’s books to small, rural public libraries in the United States. Application deadline is May 15, 2013. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/7z2ek
—The NCR-SARE Professional Development Grant Program call for pre-proposals is now available. Pre-proposals must be submitted by 4pm CDT on May 16, 2013. The North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Grant Program supports state professional development programs and competitive grants for training agricultural professionals. Professional Development Program (PDP) competitive grants emphasize training agricultural educators in extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, private and not-for-profit sectors, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community. Generally:
* Professional Development Program awards range from $30,000 to $75,000
* Projects may last up to 36 months.
* About 5-10 projects are funded each year.
Applicants are educators who often represent, but are not limited to, Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and non-profit groups. PDP competitive grants are awarded for state and multi-state PDP projects that emphasize cross-agency training, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/cs46dwo
–The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is accepting applications for youth literacy grants of up to $4,000 from schools, public libraries and nonprofits located within twenty miles of a Dollar General store that are working to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. Deadline: 5/23/2013. http://tinyurl.com/7q9ohzf
–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Children and Families has grant money available through its Assets for Independence program, a community-based approach for giving low-income families a means for stepping up out of poverty through IDA programs. Deadline: 5/24/2013.
—-To promote technology and early learning, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) and IBM Corporation’s KidSmart Early Learning Program is again offering to award Young Explorer computer systems to local early childhood learning programs or organizations. SMIF is seeking applications for 20 Young Explorers now through May 24, 2013.
In addition to awarding the Young Explorers, SMIF will provide training so staff and teachers will know how to integrate this new technology into existing curriculum to reap the full benefits for the children. To apply for a Young Explorer, visit www.smifoundation.org and click on “Applications” or contact Lynn Smith at
firstname.lastname@example.org 507-455-3215. Applications are due May 24, 2013.
–Bikes Belong Coalition is offering Community Partnership Grants which are designed to support partnerships between city or county governments, nonprofit organizations and local businesses that aim to improve the environment for bicycling in the community. Grants range from $2,000 to $10,000 and are primarily provided for the construction or expansion of bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, trails, and paths as well as advocacy projects that promote bicycling as a safe and accessible mode of transportation. Deadline: 5/24/2013.
–-HUD has released the NOFA for the 2013 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grants. Applications must propose a plan for the revitalization of a severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multifamily housing project located in a distressed neighborhood into a viable, mixed-income community. Deadline to apply: 5/28/2013. The NOFA can be viewed http://tinyurl.com/ccm9zex
— HUD is also offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for research under the broad subject area of sustainability. Deadline: 5/29/2013. Click http://tinyurl.com/cp6lq9s to learn more about these research grants.
— Looking for resources to support discussion around a community health assessment or other issue? In partnership with the Meadowlark Institute, InCommons is offering small grants for facilitated conversations around an issue, opportunity or project. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but all funds are expected to be allocated by May 31. http://tinyurl.com/cgarfet
–-The U.S. Department of Education has funding available to eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) to address the unique needs of small, rural school districts. The program provides financial assistance to rural districts to assist them in meeting their state’s definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP). Applicants do not compete but rather are entitled to funds if they meet basic eligibility requirements. Deadline: 5/31/2013. For more information and an application, http://tinyurl.com/cyhqczy
–Gladys Brooks Foundation will consider major grant applications in the fields of libraries, education, hospitals and clinics. Deadline: 5/31/2013. For more information, click http://tinyurl.com/9l8xrkg
— Annie’s Grants for Gardens offers funding to K-12 school gardens nationwide that connect children directly to real food. Two types of grants are provided. “Getting Started: Funds for Your New Program” offers grants of $500 to start brand-new school garden programs. “Digging Deeper: Funds for Your Existing Program” offers grants of $1,500 to enhance current school garden programs. Deadline: 5/31/2013. Visit the hthttp://tinyurl.com/coyn5fv to learn more about the program.
–Farm Aid will provide grants of $3,000 to $10,000 to organizations that work to maintain a family farm system of agriculture and that promote solutions to the challenges facing rural communities. Letters of inquiry are due by June 1, 2013. Grant application guidelines are available on the Farm Aid website http://tinyurl.com/6twmvlt
–The Department of Health and Human Services has announced the availability of funding for community-based projects for the Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) program. The purpose of the funding is to support Native American communities in their efforts to be self-determining, healthy, culturally and linguistically vibrant and economically self-sufficient. Deadline to apply: 6/6/2013. Click http://tinyurl.com/cmh654t for an application and to learn more.
— The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2014 Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund beginning July 1, 2014. Approximately $29.6 million is expected to be available for projects being sought in environment and natural resource areas that will provide multiple ecological and other public benefits. Proposals responding to the 2014 RFP are due Friday, June 7, 2013. Proposals are being requested in the following seven areas:
1. Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
2. Water Resources
3. Environmental Education
4. Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
5. Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
6. Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat
7. Land Acquisition for Habitat and Recreation
LCCMR staff are available to review proposal drafts and assist in proposal development. Funded projects can begin July 1, 2014. For more information on the LCCMR funding process or the 2014 RFP, please visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn
–The Administration for Children and Families is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to help refugees develop microenterprises and to help mainstream organizations serve refugees. Deadline to apply: 6/10/2013. Click http://tinyurl.com/dxbgd9p to learn more about this program.
–HUD is offering grants to nonprofits and Fair Housing Organizations (FHOs) for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to build capacity, conduct outreach, establish new fair housing enforcement organizations and/or provide fair lending enforcement in underserved areas. Deadline: 6/11/2013. For additional information and an application, click http://tinyurl.com/bvlhe8h
–The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is offering grants to nonprofits and public agencies to provide strategic investments that foster job creation and attract private investment to support development in economically distressed areas of the United States. EDA solicits applications from both rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs. Next deadline: 6/13/2013. To learn more about this program, click http://tinyurl.com/bopmcf2
— Medica Foundation has two funding opportunities open. The foundation’s Early Childhood Health priority seeks programs that focus on healthy families. The Organizational Core Mission Support priority provides small grants to regional and rural organizations to support health-related programming. Letters of Inquiry for both will be accepted until June 14. http://tinyurl.com/ck49x4e
–The Minnesota Housing Partnership’s Sustainable Community Engagement Fund (SCEF) helps communities develop sustainably by linking affordable housing to transportation, jobs, and services. SCEF encourages collaboration and a comprehensive planning approach to address local affordable housing needs. SCEF awardees have access to direct technical assistance, thereby helping them to become strong, successful affordable housing providers. To be eligible, projects must be located outside the seven-county Twin Cities metro area and Duluth. The maximum grant amount is $10,000 and requires, at minimum, a 1:1 match. Remaining application due dates in 2013 are June 24, and August 26. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/cmvayud
–The McKnight Foundation is seeking proposals for community improvement initiatives. Through its Region & Communities program, the foundation will award grants totaling $750,000 to scale up market-based public/private initiatives that benefit low-income people and communities in Minnesota. Deadline: 6/28/2013. To learn more about the foundation and this initiative, click http://tinyurl.com/bmca6gz
–The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation is seeking applications for the Homeownership Grant Program that supports local nonprofit housing organizations nationwide that help create sustainable homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income families. The program focuses on construction/rehab, homebuyer education and counseling, foreclosure counseling and prevention, subsidies, and home repairs. Deadline: 7/13/2013. Visit the Wells Fargo website http://tinyurl.com/bmca6gz to submit an online application.
–Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation is inviting applications for its Keeping Music Alive program. The foundation will donate musical instruments to music programs that serve low-income communities and have little or no budget for musical instruments. Applications are made available by invitation only. If your school music program meets the foundation’s criteria, you may submit the pre-qualification form to be considered to submit a full application. Deadline for pre-qualification: 8/1/2013. For more information, click http://www.mhopus.org/Apply
–The Home Depot Community Impacts Grant Program is offering grants to nonprofit organizations, public schools and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Priority is given to projects for veterans that include housing repairs, modifications and weatherization work. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials or services. Applications will be accepted from 2/1/13 through 8/13/13. Visit the Home Depot website to submit an online application. http://tinyurl.com/b3atwuk
MEETINGS – TRAINING
— Minnesota’s nonprofit sector has a local resource to learn more about the social enterprise field. The national organization, Social Enterprise Alliance, based in Minnesota, will host its national conference May 19 – 22 in Minneapolis. The Social Enterprise Summit 2013 http://summit2013.se-alliance.org will convene hundreds of social enterprise practitioners, scholars, and thinkers for focused networking, practical breakthrough sessions, behind-the-scenes enterprise tours and inspirational speakers. Of special interest is the Social Enterprise Marketplace http://tinyurl.com/bufwvcs on May 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the City Center Marriott in Minneapolis. The Marketplace is free and open to the public.
For the past decade, the idea of “social enterprise” has gained considerable steam as a way of defining organizations that use for-profit business methods to work toward the common good. The array of social enterprise models ranges from for-profits supporting the community (think Minneapolis’ Finnegans Beer) or nonprofits following market forces (think Goodwill’s employment programs). Nonprofits can benefit from the social enterprise enthusiasm by exploring new business models for generating revenue. This access to the market economy may provide new revenue streams during a time when many traditional forms of nonprofit funding, including foundation grants and government contracts, have stagnated in growth potential.
— PUBLIC ART: Sculptures, Murals, and so much more!!
- Who: Artists, County Administrators, Township Clerks, City Managers, Parks & Rec Departments, Chambers of Commerce, Schools, Art Administrators, and Library Directors
- What: Public Art 101 Workshop
- When: Friday May 24th, 2013, 9:00am – 11:30am
- Where: East Central Regional Arts Council, 112 Main St S, Braham, MN
- How: Register for this workshop by emailing your name and contact information to email@example.com
- Why: Are you interested in having more public art in your community? Are you wondering how to involve artists in placemaking and public improvement projects? The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) in partnership with Forecast Public Art invite you to learn about the exciting field of public art and how you can get started with your own public art projects. You can also share your own successful Public Art projects with the group! Forecast presenters will review recent national and international public art projects, and provide a step-by-step guided tour through the process of developing a public art project. They will also review the Public Art Toolkit. Participants will also engage in a discussion on the benefits that public art can bring to your communities. This introductory workshop will provide you with opportunities to meet with others in the region that are interested in public art, will help connect you with resources as you explore public art possibilities, and will provide inspiration to get your planning started.
— Thursday, May 30- Webinar on Resources to Create or Expand Healthy Food Retail: Public and Private Grant and Loan Programs – http://tinyurl.com/d7wqlm6 – 1 p.m. Central Time. This webinar will provide an overview of the “Find Money” section of the Healthy Food Retail Portal and provide examples of specific federal, state, and local resources that can be tapped to create or expand healthy food retail opportunities in underserved communities.
–SAVE THE DATE! The next gathering of the National Rural Assembly will be held in Bethesda, Maryland, June 23-26, 2013.
— Registration is now open http://tinyurl.com/bojj9ev for the annual Minnesota Rural Health Conference. The conference will be held June 24-25, 2013 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). This year’s conference will take an in-depth look at workforce issues, delivery models, patient and community engagement, value and access. Visit the conference website http://tinyurl.com/c3qvx4j for more information and to sign up for conference updates.
— On June 25, existing and emerging nonprofit leaders from across Minnesota will gather for the 2013 Nonprofit Leadership Conference http://tinyurl.com/7dbgksr at the University of Minnesota, McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis. This conference will share strategies and solutions about how nonprofit organizations, including yours, excel at engaging people, improving systems and strengthening communities. Register no whttp://tinyurl.com/cb4whf4 to ensure your space.
–The Community Development Society will hold its 2013 Conference “Beyond the Boundaries: Creating Innovation Through Regional Collaboration” at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina July 20-24, 2013. Click http://www.comm-dev.org for more information and to register. Several teams from the Upper Midwest, including MN and SD, will be presenting workshops
–The Department of Agriculture, Rural Housing Service, has announced a series of Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program 2013 Industry Forums-Open Teleconference and/or Web Conference Meetings to take place in July and November this year. To receive notices of the meetings and to register, please contact Monica Cole, Financial and Loan Analyst, Multi-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Division, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, phone: (202) 720-1251, fax: (202) 205-5066, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To read the full notice in the Federal Register, http://tinyurl.com/coc534r
–Community Economic Development (CED), Office of Community Services, is offering webinars to Community Development Corporations that address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of sustainable business development and employment opportunities (grant deadline TBA). Two tracks are available: Track 1 for any interested applicants, and Track 2 for Healthy Food initiatives. CED’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative grants support projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that currently lack these options (grant deadline TBA). For a full listing of webinars, http://tinyurl.com/coh2q2c
OPPORTUNITIES & MISCELLANEOUS
— CLIO (Civic Leadership Institute Online) is an exciting new project under development at Minnesota Campus Compact with support from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Humanities Commission. This free, open resource will provide original content and curate existing resources that can be used to enhance civic education and engagement–including interviews with diverse civic leaders and young people, stories of civic engagement efforts that demonstrated positive results, reflective exercises, and other materials to develop students’ ability to act on issues that matter to them. If you are interested in learning more and/or sharing your suggestions (e.g., the outcomes you’d like this resource to support, people you’d suggest be interviewed, stories to highlight, resources to share), please join one of two conference calls: Fri. May 10, from 10:00-11:00 a.m., or Mon. May 13, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. To register, please visit: www.mncampuscompact.org.
— The University of Minnesota is seeking non-metro communities and townships of fewer than 1,500 residents for a special project over the next 18 months aimed at boosting a community’s long-term destination appeal. This project will help small communities across Minnesota discover opportunities to develop community assets for sustainable tourism. Why? Expanding regional assets can attract more visitors or keep them longer in your region. The Minnesota Sustainable Tourism Assessment for Small Communities project is sponsored by the University’s Tourism Center and Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. Applications are due by noon on May 15, 2013. More information and to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/cf3dwpr.
–Have the next great business idea? The ninth annual Minnesota Cup competition – the largest statewide new venture competition in the country is now open! The Minnesota Cup supports and accelerates the development of breakthrough business ideas from across the state to build the vibrancy of Minnesota’s business community. Minnesota residents have until May 17 to submit entries on the Minnesota Cup website to compete for $200,000 in prize money.
The competition is free to enter and encourages entries from a wide range of businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors in six divisions – Energy/Clean Tech, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Social Entrepreneur and Student. Entrepreneurs advancing in the competition will have the opportunity to advance business ideas, gain exposure, learn about resources available to entrepreneurs, be paired with mentors, meet members of the Cup’s review board – and win cash prizes if their idea is judged to be among the best entries. Submissions must contain a description of the product or service, explanation of the market size or opportunity, a sales and marketing overview, brief operating plan and high level financial projections and assumptions.
MCN encourages you to nominate a nonprofit that you know has achieved tremendous results in one of these four areas. Nominations must be submitted by May 30, 2013. http://tinyurl.com/a8nnw9u
–2013 Nonprofit Excellence Awards: Minnesota Nonprofit Excellence Awards began in 2003. Two Nonprofit Excellence Awards are presented each year, one to an organization with less than $1.5 million in annual operating expense, and one to a large organization with $1.5 million or more in annual operating expense. These awards are based upon how closely organizations align with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence. Applications for Excellence Awards must be self-submitted by the organization and require advance planning and board involvement. Please submit your application materials to MAP for Nonprofits, 2314 University Avenue West, Suite 28, St. Paul, MN 55114 by May 30, 2013 at 4 p.m. http://tinyurl.com/ayn29qw
–Applications are being accepted until May 31st for the 2013-2014 Policy Fellows program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Join a 35-person cohort to focus on enhancing leadership skills, understanding their role in public policy, and developing a diverse personal and professional network. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/8yn6w9b
— 2013 Rachel Carson Poetry, Essay, Photography, Dance and Music Contest. The 7th Annual Sense of Wonder Contest invites entries by Monday, June 10, 2013. The U.S. EPA, Generations United, the Dance Exchange, Rachel Carson Council, Inc., the Legacy Project and the National Center for Creative Aging announce a poetry, essay, photo, dance and songwriting contest. Entries must be from an intergenerational team of two or more persons that are not the same age– a young person and an older person. For more details about the contest and to download entry forms, go to: http://tinyurl.com/dgp4pp
— The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is launching a project to assist hospitality businesses with the switch to paperless receipt systems. The goal is to reduce paper waste and generation of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in thermal receipt papers as a color developer that emerges when heated. The program is currently open to Minnesota businesses and organizations in the hospitality sector, such as restaurants, resorts, and hotel groups. To learn more about the project, or to enroll your business as a participant, visit the MPCA’s BPA in Thermal Paper Project http://tinyurl.com/bve9n25 webpage or send an email to Mark Apfelbacher ( email@example.com).
— The Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) provides no-cost, non-regulatory energy efficiency and waste reduction assessments for small businesses and institutions in Minnesota. When you have an assessment done, an experienced team of retired professionals will:
· Analyze your utility bills
· Visit your facility
· Send you a report with high-priority changes and estimated financial and environmental savings
Recommendations may be simple behavior changes, maintenance improvements, or retrofits. While you are under no obligation to implement the recommendations, a high percentage of clients surveyed do implement many of them. Average savings from RETAP recommendations implemented last year is over $2,000 per client. Since RETAP’s start in 2001, over 200 businesses and institutions – including dry cleaners, coffee shops, and fire stations – have benefited from RETAP assessments. To find out more or to request a free assessment, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/retap or contact Mike Vennewitz, RETAP Coordinator, at 612-781-1307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
–USDA Rural Development has released a report on the definition of “Rural.” (Finally! Now we will all really know what it is…;) Download a copy here: http://tinyurl.com/cfn5yy6
— The Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released a new issue of Community Dividend that features articles on contracts for deed, the federal government’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative, the Federal Reserve Consumer Help department, and the revival of the Native Financial Education Coalition. http://tinyurl.com/blukog5
–USDA ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each State in the United States. The State Fact Sheets have been updated with 2007-11 education levels from the American Community Survey; 2011 poverty rates; and 2011 per capita income, earning per job, and number of jobs. Links to county-level data are included when available. Go to: State Fact Sheets. http://tinyurl.com/6qljg6x
— The Spring 2013 issue of Community Connections highlights new research by the Kansas City Fed on how the low- and moderate-income (LMI) community is still struggling in the recovery to find affordable housing, jobs and credit. The issue also explores workforce development and how nonprofits can enhance their banking relationships with a better understanding of the Community Reinvestment Act. In addition, readers are invited to take an online survey on ways to continue to improve the three-year-old Community Connections. To access the current issue, go to:
–The Carsey Institute has released a brief on migration trends in the United States among four age groups: emerging adults, young adults, family age and older adults. The authors discuss how migration patterns have important implications for people, institutions and communities of both rural and urban America, as well as for the design of policies and practices that foster the development of sustainable communities. http://tinyurl.com/bmnq7nf
–-Population & Migration Nonmetro areas in some parts of the country have experienced population loss for decades. However, the 2010-12 period marks the first years with estimated population loss for nonmetro America as a whole. Opportunities for population growth and economic expansion vary widely from one nonmetro county to the next, and new regional patterns of growth and decline have emerged in recent years. http://tinyurl.com/clhanue
— Deaths and Births in Rural Counties Uses a map and chart to show that 46% of rural counties had more deaths than births from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. http://www.dailyyonder.com/print/5721
–Updated data from Minnesota Compass:
- Fifty-four percent of Minnesota’s total population is concentrated in the Twin Cities 7-county region, and that proportion is projected to remain about the same through 2040. http://tinyurl.com/d9zkt6w
- Outside of the Twin Cities, Minnesota’s Central and Southern regions are home to the most residents and are the fastest-growing. http://tinyurl.com/cdp4bhd
- At nearly $57,000, median household income in Minnesota is higher than the national median income, but is about $6,600 less than it was in 1999 (an 11% decline). http://tinyurl.com/d7tc87j
- Recent article on article on “Is bigger better? A look at the new Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan statistical area.” Todd Graham, Metropolitan Council’s principal demographer, explains the MSA and shares his view of the recent expansion of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MSA from 13 counties to 16 counties. http://tinyurl.com/bnctwcx
— The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published the 2013 edition of Out of Reach. The Housing Wage in Out of Reach captures the gap between wages and rents across the country, and is the estimate of the full-time hourly wage that a household must earn to afford a decent apartment at the HUD estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR), while spending no more than 30% of income on housing costs. Access Out of Reach http://nlihc.org/oor/2013
–-The National American Indian Housing Coalition released the 2013 revised edition of the Indian Housing Development Handbook, which is a guide for tribal housing programs, federal and state government agencies, lenders, contractors, investors, attorneys and other housing professionals. Get a free copy http://tinyurl.com/cwn8k4k
— Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission released a report that recommends change in many areas: rental housing, homeownership, rural housing, mortgage finance and the housing and medical needs of an aging population. Get a copy of the report http://tinyurl.com/b3vuzl9
—-The National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy have launched a suite of materials exploring lifecycle underwriting — a new way of thinking about the costs of affordable multifamily rental housing. All of the materials can be accessed http://www.nhc.org/lcycle.html
–Housing Assistance Council’s Winter issue of Rural Voices magazine highlights data for rural housing. Articles provide resources, insights and tips for ways to access and use data to improve local rural housing conditions. Get a copy http://tinyurl.com/c7kgc6e
— A Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies working paper cites the critical role nonprofits play in the home improvement and repair industry. The nonprofits listed were: NeighborWorks America, Enterprise Community Partners, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity. Get the paper by clicking
–NeighborWorks America has published new research on the effectiveness of NeighborWorks pre-purchase housing counseling and education. Using data from a national credit reporting agency, and analyzing more than 75,000 homeowners, the research found that homeowners who received pre-purchase housing counseling and education were one-third less likely to become seriously delinquent on their mortgages within two years of origination, compared to homeowners who didn’t receive such assistance. The full report can be downloaded http://tinyurl.com/c7uh8k9
–The National Alliance to End Homelessness released its third annual assessment, “The State of Homelessness in America 2013.” http://tinyurl.com/cx9ats7
— A new report that may be used to advance health equity in communities is available from Policy Link. The report, “Promoting Equity through the Practice of Health Impact Assessment” aims to broaden the understanding of Health Impact Assessment as a tool for improving health and advancing equity in communities of color and in other vulnerable communities across the country. Get a copy of the report http://tinyurl.com/bsyje8m
–The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is expanding the Capacity Building Initiative to critically needed community development financing. The new “Financing Community Health Centers” series will focus on building the capacity of CDFIs to finance and support community health centers in underserved communities. Opportunity Finance Network has been selected as the training provider. Check the website for more information on this initiative. http://tinyurl.com/ca655uj
— Healthcare.gov explains how the Affordable Care Act affects each state. From the new Health Insurance Marketplace to benefits for seniors to preventive services for women and programs for families and children in need, the website displays information that explains how the Affordable Care Act is helping people. http://tinyurl.com/78mr34q
–Suicide Prevention Online Training Listing of free online courses for training service providers, educators, health professionals, public officials, and community-based coalitions to develop effective suicide prevention programs and policies. http://training.sprc.org
–– Since 2009, wealth in the U.S. farm sector has surged along with booming farmland values. In 2013, historically high farm incomes are projected to keep U.S. farm debt and leverage low. Yet, longer-term projections suggest that farm incomes could fall dramatically in 2014. This issue of the Main Street Economist from the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank explores the historical wealth effect in agriculture and what it could mean for farm debt and leverage if farm incomes fall dramatically.http://tinyurl.com/d6ugxcz
–USDA has released a report on the growing importance of food hubs in rural America. The new report is titled “The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing” and finds that the success of food hubs is rapidly expanding, with well over 200 hubs now operating in the United States. Download a free copy http://tinyurl.com/a7zn7fb
–The University of Vermont has published “The Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm”. The guide details options and considerations for crafting unconventional financial arrangements that have been used in other sectors of the economy, but might be new to the agricultural sector. The 62-page guide addresses legal, accounting, environmental and social considerations relevant to pursuing customized financial agreements, and contains examples of farms that have used alternative financing. Download a free copy http://tinyurl.com/7vqqp7c
— Food Access Research Atlas provides access to downloadable county-level data and an interactive map presenting information on food access indicators for low-income and other subpopulations. http://tinyurl.com/crv9bch
— If you operate a commercial kitchen, you probably use a pre-rinse spray valve to manually remove food waste using a high-pressure water spray before the dishes go into a dishwashing machine. Here is a simple test that could save you big money: If you can fill a one-gallon container in thirty seconds or less, you should probably invest in a new pre-rinse spray valve. Older units typically use three gallons of water a minute, while new, efficient models use just 1.28 gallons per minute (or less). Depending on how often and how long you are using the sprayer, this difference can result in big energy and water savings.
The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) is now offering reduced-price spray valves for $28 (typically $68 retail). There are over 20 utility rebates available throughout the state that could bring the cost closer to $15 in some areas. It has been estimated that a commercial kitchen switching to an efficient sprayer that uses it one hour a day for 350 days could save around $475 a year. The spray valves also couldn’t be easier to install – simply turn off the water to the spray unit, unscrew the old unit, screw on the new unit, and turn the water back on! To order a unit or learn more, visit www.splash.mncerts.org.
— 2013 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Directory Available Free Online. At their most fundamental level, Community Supported Agriculture farms provide a weekly delivery of sustainably grown produce to consumers during the growing season (approximately June to October). Those consumers, in turn, pay a subscription fee. But CSA consumers don’t so much “buy” food from particular farms as become “members” of those farms. CSA operations provide more than just food; they offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological and human community that supports the farm. To download a free PDF copy of the approximately 88-page 2013 Edition of the Twin Cities, Minnesota & Western Wisconsin Region Community Supported Agriculture Farm Directory – which lists dozens of CSA farms, go to: http://tinyurl.com/dx775o7
–“Receiving Communities Toolkit,” developed by Welcoming America with the assistance of the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, provides detailed examples and resources on how to go about helping integrate immigrants into a community. The toolkit can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/cagznau Welcoming America is a national, grassroots-driven collaborative that works to promote mutual respect and cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans. The ultimate goal of Welcoming America is to create a welcoming atmosphere – community by community – in which immigrants are more likely to integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns. Read more about the initiative http://www.welcomingamerica.org
—An article in the Berkeley Planning Journal, a student publication of the University of California, discusses the racial wealth gap for people that live in rural and small town America. “The Color of Elsewhere: Identity and Wealth in Rural America” can be downloaded http://tinyurl.com/c6w552y
— The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) recently completed its 5th annual State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey and has now made it available to nonprofits across the nation for review. The largest survey of its kind in NFF’s history, this year’s report digs deeper than ever into the financial trends and issues that will matter in the nonprofit sector in 2013. In this year’s survey, nearly 6,000 respondents from nonprofits across the country shared the details of how they are adapting their organizations and finances to economic conditions. Topics explored in this year’s survey include: Demand for Services, Financial Health, Funder and Board Engagement, Government Funding, Data Management and much more. http://tinyurl.com/7crn7a4
The survey, which was supported for the third year in a row by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, reveals that 2012 was a year in which organizations either made or planned to make significant changes in order to cope with mounting economic stress. The survey report now includes a new online survey analyzer http://tinyurl.com/bnd3jhy designed to help nonprofits dig more deeply into the survey data most relevant to their work.
–AARP Public Policy Institute has released a report called “Weaving it Together: A Tapestry of Transportation Funding for Older Adults.” The report identifies major sources of federal funding that providers can tap to fund transportation projects geared toward older adults and adults with physical disabilities. It includes seven case studies (including four from small and rural communities) showing how they combine federal, state and local funding to support their projects. Download a copy of the report http://tinyurl.com/cfrwb77
–“Charging While You Work: A Guide for Expanding Electric Vehicle Infrastructure at the Workplace” is a free guide designed to help Minnesota employers and employees navigate the process of developing electric vehicle charging spots at businesses. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency guide presents findings on best practices for establishing a workplace EV charging program and case studies of existing programs in Minnesota. http://tinyurl.com/bgf672e
— Children’s Defense Fund Factsheets for each state provide basic stats and rankings regarding poverty, health, hunger, child welfare, early childhood development, education and youth at risk. To view the factsheets go to: http://tinyurl.com/c866rgk
–Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development results of a survey of employers focusing on hiring difficulties in nine nursing, engineering, and production occupations. Go to: http://tinyurl.com/cmnyu2d
— Minnesota Office of Higher Education Annual Report provides facts about higher education in Minnesota including data on preparing for and entering college, during college, and outcomes of college. Go to: http://tinyurl.com/cb8pma7
— Hamline University and Opportunity International recently presented reSOLUTION ’13, a Community Economic Development Symposium. Some materials from that event are available online. http://www.hamline.edu/resolution
IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR, we thank you for sticking with it! Deb, Ann & I try to find the timely info that we think will be most helpful to you, our readers who work daily to improve quality of life in communities. Deb filters gems from the rock pile of info bombarding all of us, Ann is the community informatics whiz who keeps us sane, and I write and edit pieces to bring context to the seemingly random thoughts that fly by.
Please, send us your comments, your announcements, and consider being a guest columnist for the Across the Field section. Share this newsletter with colleagues and friends. We firmly believe in multi-disciplinary learning, multi-sector collaboration, and working across geography. No matter if we live in rural, urban, exurban, or suburban places, we are all neighbors who can and should work together to help each other and help our communities, state, and country thrive.
Jane Leonard, chair of MRP, Inc.