November 2013– Volume XI, Number 10

Compiled and edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, & Jane Leonard

In this issue:

  • –Across the Field
  • –Funding
  • –Quick Study
  • –Training/Meetings
  • –Opportunities
  • –Miscellaneous

Across the Field: Come visit the frozen tundra!

By Paula Woessner, Community Development Publications Editor, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

As an editor, I work with words all day, but I’ve always secretly preferred pictures. Especially pictures in the form of maps that show striking and thought-provoking things, like this map measuring the natural amenities of the lower 48 states. Some MRP Rural Roundup readers might already be familiar with it, but it was new to me when it recently appeared on a coworker’s PowerPoint slide.

The map is a visual representation of “six measures of climate, topography, and water area that reflect environmental qualities most people prefer.” Four of the six measures fall in the “climate” category and include factors like warm winters, low-humidity summers, and winter sunshine. Shades of green on the map show the desirable places to live and shades of yellow to red show the less-than-desirable places.

Even if you haven’t glanced at the map yet, you can probably see where this is going. The Midwestern and Northern Plains states appear as one giant swath of less-than-desirable. Aside from isolated pockets like the Arrowhead region of Minnesota, everything east of the Continental Divide, north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and west of the Appalachians is a sea of red, orange, and yellow.

I probably shouldn’t place too much importance on the map. Its measures are arbitrary, after all. How is “warm winter” defined, for example? An Upper Midwesterner’s warm winter might feel unbearably cold to someone from the Deep South. Still, the map reflects an inescapable truth: Most people like warm temperatures, year-round sunshine, and mountains, and the places that offer those things mostly aren’t found in the north-central part of the country. Which begs the question, if you live in one of the map’s less-than-desirable places and you’re a development-minded person who’s committed to making your community thrive, how do you attract investment, industry, and tourism?

Many readers of this newsletter are engaged with that question, in one form or another, in their daily work. I haven’t polled them to confirm this, but I suspect their answer lies in focusing on the countless good measures of the yellow, orange, and red places, most of which have nothing to do with the climate. Things like civic engagement, educational attainment, and volunteerism. We might not have soaring mountain peaks and mild winters, but we’re amenity-rich in the sense of having an impressive network of professionals who are dedicated to helping others see that red can be the new green.


Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program are now available. The Flex program provides grant support to promote regionalization of health care services, improve access to quality health care services, and provide for the development and enhancement of rural health networks, including emergency medical service networks. Applications are due November 15.

–The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund program is accepting grant application from sponsoring institutions with accredited programs providing training in fiscal year 2012 for advanced practice nursing, clinical social workers, community health workers, community paramedics, dental students/residents, dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, chiropractic students, medical students/residents, pharmacy students/residents, physician assistants and psychologists. Programs wishing to apply for a grant from MERC must submit their application through their sponsoring institution. Applications due to MDH December 15. Applications have also been re-opened for specific types of clinic training provided in fiscal year 2011; these applications are due November 15. Find more details on the MERC Grant Application Information page.

–HUD has extended the deadline for Service Coordinators in Multifamily Housing grants to 11/16/2013. Funding is to enable independent living for people with disabilities and the elderly. Click here for more information.

–The National Community Land Trust (CLT) Network is seeking proposals from eligible CLTs or other organizations with long-term affordable housing programs that are advocating for the inclusion of long-term housing affordability in transit oriented development or inclusionary zoning initiatives, policies, and/or programs. Deadline: 11/18/2013. Click here for more information and to apply.

–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants for the Native Americans Programs and the Native American Caregiver Support Program. Deadline to apply: 11/21/2013. Grants will be awarded to Indian tribal organizations representing federally recognized Tribes and public or nonprofit private organizations that have the capacity to provide services to Native Hawaiians for providing nutritional and supportive services to at least 50 Indian and Native Hawaiian elders age 60 and older under Parts A and B and family caregiver support services under Part C. Click here to learn more about this program.

–The American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program is accepting applications for technical assistance grants from communities. Since 1967, the American Institute of Architects has made a commitment to the creation of healthy, livable communities through the Design Assistance Team program (DAT) that provides technical assistance and process expertise to help communities develop a vision and framework for a sustainable future. Deadline: 11/22/2013. Click here to learn more about this program.

–The AGSTAR Fund for Rural America supports nonprofit organizations in the service area where AgStar has a significant business presence in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The Fund focuses its giving program in the following four major areas: education, environment, technology, and quality of life. Grants of up to $10,000 are provided for direct project or program costs. Deadline: 11/30/2013. Visit the AgStar website here to review the funding guidelines and application instructions.

–ANNIE’S Homegrown is accepting applications for grants to develop school garden projects. Deadline: 12/1/2013. Click here to learn more about these grants and to apply.

–The LAND O’LAKES Foundation will award funding to Future Farmers of America chapters to plant, grow, and harvest fresh produce, which will then be given to rural food pantries. Deadline to apply:  12/1/2013. For more information, click here.

–Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is accepting school library grant applications for grants of up to $5,000 to help school libraries in disadvantaged communities expand, update, and diversify their book collections. Deadline: 12/2/2013. Click here for more information and to apply.

–The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization that supports American Indian nations and people working to recover and control heir homelands. ILTF is accepting Letters of Inquiry to support various aspects of Native land recovery, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to support Native land recovery efforts, with a focus on reacquiring alienated federal lands. Deadline is 12/2/13 to submit a Letter of Inquiry. For more information on these grants, click here.

–The Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration, is offering technical assistance grants to existing Section 330 grantees and other nonprofits in specified areas to provide comprehensive primary health care services to an underserved area or population. Deadline to apply: rolling deadlines starting 12/4/2013. For more information, click here.

–The Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration, is seeking applications for the Rural Health Network Development (RHND) Program. The purpose of this program is to support rural integrated health care networks that have combined the functions of the entities participating in the network. Deadline to apply: 12/6/2013. For more information, click here.

–The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is accepting applications for its FY2014 Rural Health Network Development Program. This year ORHP has taken a new approach, requiring applicants to select at least one activity from among three primary charges: achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. The application can be downloaded via Application deadline extended to December 6th.

–Application materials are now available for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Loan Program. Funds are intended primarily for EHR software, hardware, training and support expenses. Priority applicants are critical access hospitals; federally qualified health centers; entities that serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved individuals (urban or rural); individual or small group practices focused on primary care; nursing facilities and elderly waiver facilities. Loans are six-year, no-interest with the first year’s repayment deferred. Applications due December 19th.

–The CDFI Fund has opened the FY 2014 Funding Round for the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program to Support Community Development in Low-Income Communities. The funds available to make awards are subject to final appropriations. Deadline to apply for CDFI Program and the NACA Program: 12/23/2013. For information both programs, click here.

–FISKARS is offering Community Garden Grants to provide funding for tools, materials, and other support to help communities reach their goals for neighborhood beautification, community collaboration, and healthy, sustainable food sources. Deadline: 12/31/2013. Click here to visit the website and to apply.

—-The Susan G. Komen Minnesota is accepting applications to its 2014 Community Grants Program for innovative programs in the areas of breast health and breast cancer education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, treatment support, survivorship and health care delivery/systems change. A funding priority area this year is northwest Minnesota, including applications from Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Beltrami, Polk, Pennington, Clearwater, Red Lake, Norman, Mahnomen and Hubbard counties. Applications due January 10, 2014.

–National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2014 Our Town Grant guidelines. Depending on the availability of funding, grants will range from $25,000 to $200,000. Deadline to apply: 1/13/2014. Click here for an application.

–The Administration for Children and Families is offering grants to provide services through transitional living programs or maternity group homes for runaway and homeless youth, including youth from rural areas. Application deadline: 1/15/2014. Click here to visit the website.  

–The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is accepting applications for Community Action Grants of up to $10,000. Grants are available to 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: 1/15/2014. Click here to learn more about the AAUW.

East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) FY 2014  grant application materials are now online at:  The next grant deadlines are February 1, 2014.   ECRAC will offer various information sessions:

  • Thursday, November 21, 2013, at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at 5 p.m.

on the FY 2014 ECRAC grant funding, grant applications, grant reviews, and grant funding procedures. This is in preparation for the upcoming art grant application deadlines. The application forms and information will be available at the workshops. The location will be the East Central Regional Arts Council office located at 112 Main Street South in Braham. There is no charge for the following sessions but pre-registration is necessary. To register for any of these sessions contact the ECRAC office at 320-396-2337 or email


–Minnesota Compass’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) section offering a cradle-to-career framework for monitoring and supporting STEM in Minnesota. Find data, benchmarks, and best practices. Take a look


On November 12-13, 2013, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, more than 500 global leaders in robotics research, design, business development, investment, law, and policy will share their insights into the worldwide explosion of robotics and autonomous systems at the Third Annual Robotics Alley Conference and Expo.  For more information go to:

Broadband Conversations across MN Mid-November
To help move Minnesota forward to reach its broadband goal, the Blandin Foundation is helping to organize series of conversations on broadband in Minnesota with Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing. The public is invited to help set this legislative agenda by joining in on the broadband discussion at one of several scheduled meetings with Senator Schmit. The public is also urged to contact their own legislators to attend the local meetings and become more informed on this important rural Minnesota issue. (If you want to schedule a session, please contact Bill Coleman 651-491-2551

Here are draft dates and details for upcoming meetings… 

  • Nov 11 from 1-3:00 pm at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 201 3rd St. NW, downtown Bemidji.
  • Nov 12 from 2-4:00 pm at Grand Rapids County Courthouse
  • Nov 13 starting at 8:00 am in Staples
  • Nov 13 starting at 1:00 pm at Mora  Life Enrichment Center
  • Nov 14 starting at 8:30 am in Willmar
  • Nov 14 starting at 2:00 pm in Winthrop
  • Nov 15 starting at 10:00 am in Austin

Youth Summits.  Minnesota Campus Compact (MNCC) is co-sponsoring–and several MNCC member campuses are hosting–summits bringing together youth and adults interested in increasing educational success and addressing the issues of concern to Minnesota youth. Convened by congressional district with the Minnesota Youth Council and Grad Minnesota initiative, summits will take place at Minnesota State University Mankato on Nov. 18, Lake Superior College on Nov. 23, St. Cloud State University on Dec. 3, Hamline University on Dec. 10, and Chanhassen High School on Jan. 22. For more information or to register, visit the Minnesota Alliance With Youth website.

–Connect Minnesota is excited to host the inaugural Connect Minnesota Summit: The State of Broadband on December 4, 2013 in Roseville, MN. The 2013 summit will provide an overview of the state of broadband in Minnesota and highlight the role of Connect Minnesota in the state.

Highlights from the agenda include:

  • The Blandin Foundation: Community-led approaches to increasing Broadband Adoption:  Success Stories from Minnesota Main Streets
  • Overview and Update from the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
  • How Federal and State Policy Will Impact Minnesota’s Broadband Landscape.
  • Keynote Speaker, Thomas Cohen, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, and Counsel to the Fiber to the Home Council Americas

Are you a panelist or public sector official? If so, contact Bill Hoffman, Connect Minnesota state program manager, at, for a promotional code prior to registering.  To register go to:

Save the Date for “Minnesota Tourism: A Bright Future”.  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2014 Explore Minnesota Tourism conference February 4-5, 2014 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center on Canal Park in Duluth.


The National Civic League’s All-America City Award recognizes 10 communities annually for outstanding civic impact and action planning. The theme for 2014 is “healthy communities.” Monthly conference calls will take place from September of this year through February 2014. A letter of intent to apply is due November 15, and the final application deadline is March 18, 2014.  LEARN MORE >

–Mary Byron Project has announced 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 for nominations: 11/22/2013. Click here to learn more about this award.

IDEA Competition is Open for Applications.  In the last five years of the competition, nearly $300,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs.  The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture.  The competition will have three $10,000 cash prizes up for grabs this year.  The deadline is Nov 30th.  Go to:

SciTechsperience launches with 100 matching grants. The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) is now accepting student and company applications for the SciTechsperience Internship 2013-2014 program year. SciTechsperience connects college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines to internships in small Minnesota companies.  READ MORE


5 key reasons people are homeless in Minnesota. 
A new comprehensive report based on the 2012 study has just been released. Wilder Research Homeless Study Directors Greg Owen and Michelle Decker Gerrard share key findings. Read more

–The Housing Assistance Council (HAC), a national nonprofit organization that supports rural affordable housing efforts, has updated and enhanced its Rural Data Portal, located at The portal is a simple but powerful online resource that provides information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the U.S. Although its emphasis is on rural communities, information on urban and suburban areas is included as well. Key features of the portal include an interactive, roll-over map that provides at-a-glance data profiles of the 50 states and District of Columbia, down to the county level, and a tool that can generate reports on 36 different data indicators and automatically export them to a printer, Excel spreadsheet, or PDF file. The information the portal provides is largely based on HAC tabulations of public-use data sets, including U.S. Census Bureau releases and data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

U.S. Bioenergy Statistics 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.

–The University of Minnesota Extension has created a short video on the health impacts of airborne emissions from animal feeding operations. The extension service encourages health professionals and community members interested in issues of air quality and rural health to watch the video and share it with others.