January 2014– Volume XII, Number 1

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • –ACROSS THE FIELD
  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Knowing how and why community improvement investments do – or don’t — make a difference

by Jane Leonard

Lately I’ve spent some time in the basement going through old (paper) files from my first days in community improvement work back in the 1980s with the Minnesota Community Improvement Program.  I’ve been around long enough to see how, over time, past approaches to community improvement get recycled and re-marketed as something new, better, even ground-breaking.

A few years back a little voice started nagging me: how and why do the things we do to help our communities thrive really do, or don’t, help? I started asking colleagues if they knew how we know we make a difference. Beyond their instincts, they weren’t exactly sure.  We get money to try stuff and it works, or doesn’t, and we keep trying other stuff. And now, as the resources for trying stuff become more finite, the funders of improvement work are starting to ask more deeply, what are we getting in return for those investments?

Asking and answering those questions continues to be a work in progress. Some of us who have straddled all three worlds – community members, community improvement practitioners and evaluators, and community improvement funders – are slowly coming together to help figure it out.  We can’t afford to try the same approaches over and over again without knowing better the suitability of those approaches to the complex conditions present in a community and the likelihood of success.

Innovative Measurement & Evaluation of Community Development Practices is a December 2013 Special Issue of Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society that frames current thoughts and actions possible in answering the “what makes a difference” question. I had the privilege of co-editing this issue; here’s an excerpt:

Since the 1960s, community development organizations in the public and nonprofit sectors have become increasingly conscious of the impact of their work in light of finite financial resources and a growing range of policy concerns. This article briefly reviews the history of outcome measurement in community development organizations and describes innovative and emerging measurement practices used to improve public policy. It also outlines key ingredients in successful measurement systems, especially the importance of linking the measures to the strategic planning process. (Norman Walzer, Jane Leonard & Mary Emery (2013) Community Development, 44:5, 529-533, DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2013.852596 )

In addition to the ways to measure, with improved communications and information technologies, we finally have ways to sort through all the data/indicators that do get collected on community improvement work. However, it’s still not collected systematically or uniformly enough to make good comparisons and learning easier.

The very tangible Community Capitals Framework (CCF) does provide a comprehensive, systematic, and consistent way to organize thinking, doing, and measuring for community improvement. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we used it everywhere and compared the data? It’s easy to understand, and on the front end of improvement initiatives, also provides a great frame for strategy planning and development.

I’m mystified as to why many community leaders, state development agencies, and community improvement organizations and funders don’t know about CCF or use it. Developed by Cornelia Butler Flora and Jan Flora at Iowa State University over 10 years ago, CCF organizes key components of community vitality into recognizable characteristics fairly easy to measure via existing data sets (such as those available from Minnesota Compass) and new, observable ground data as well.

Because community development issues are multidimensional, it is vital to have a solid analytical framework as a base for measurement and evaluation of policy changes. The Community Capitals Framework (Flora et al., 2008) provides this structure, because it helps to describe the important components in community development. A single measure used to describe results or outcomes from policy interventions risks overlooking improvements in other arenas important to overall community wellbeing. (From Community Capitals: A Tool for Evaluating Strategic Interventions and Projects, by Cornelia Butler Flora, Mary Emery, Susan Fey and Corry Bregendahl)

And finally, if you want to network with folks who are probably asking and answering some of the same questions you have in knowing what makes a difference and why, check out the RuralXChange and its Community Change Resource Bank. Good stuff collected and shared around the country!

–Jane Leonard is a community vitality consultant. Her motto is “Doing Good Works Well to Help People & Places Thrive.” She can be reached at jane@janeleonard.net

FUNDING                 

–Minnesota’s Angel Tax Credit provides a 25-percent credit to investors or investment funds that put money into startup companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology. The maximum credit is $125,000 per person, per year ($250,000 if filing jointly). The credit is refundable and non-Minnesota residents (including residents of foreign countries) are eligible.  A total of $12 million in tax credits is available in calendar year 2014.  For more information go to: http://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/tax-credits/angel-tax-credit/

–The Coca-Cola Foundation is offering grants to nonprofit organizations that address community needs and priorities in a meaningful way. The Foundation supports programs that focus on one of the following four categories: water stewardship; healthy and active lifestyles that lead to physical activity and nutritional education programs; community recycling; and education. Online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and application procedures.  http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/the-coca-cola-foundation

–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for both assessment and cleanup work at a specific Brownfield site. Deadline: 1/22/2014. Click here for more information about these grants.  http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-13-07.pdf

–The Department of Labor is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs and others to provide high school students with education and training that combines rigorous academic and technical curricula focused on specific in-demand occupations and industries. Deadline: 1/27/2014. Click here for guidelines and an application. http://www.doleta.gov/ycc/pdf/Youth_Career_Connect_SGA_13-01.pdf

Grant Funds Now Available for Sustainable Farming Innovations. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award up to $250,000 in 2014 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects. Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature increased funding for the Sustainable Ag Grant Program by $150,000 during the 2013 legislative session.  The MDA is now accepting applications for the grant program which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas.

The grant application is available on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/demogrant.aspx or by contacting the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at 651-201-6012. Completed applications must be received by MDA no later than January 29, 2014.

Examples of eligible projects include fruit and vegetable production, conservation tillage and weed management, integrated pest management, livestock production, organic farming, alternative energy crop production, and specialty crops as an alternative market.  These and other grant projects are highlighted in the Greenbook, which is free and available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook.

Safe Routes to School grants.  Minnesota schools and their partners are invited to apply for Safe Routes to School grant funds for projects that will help more children safely walk and bicycle to school. Applications are due January 31, 2014, and are available at: www.mndot.gov/saferoutes/.

Schools in Minnesota may apply for grants in two categories:

Infrastructure implementation grants – K-12 schools, in partnership with cities or counties, will receive grants to support infrastructure identified in Safe Routes to School planning efforts that improve safety or access for children walking and bicycling to school.

Planning assistance – K-8 schools will receive expert assistance to complete a Safe Routes to School plan, which will analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions. Planning grants are best for schools just getting started or looking to expand Safe Routes to School programs in their communities.

MnDOT has $4 million available for infrastructure grants and $700,000 available for planning grants for 2015-16.  All grants use federal funds, but a change this year requires a 20 percent local match for the infrastructure implementation application. The planning assistance grants remain at 100 percent funding.  More information about the grants and an additional funding opportunity from the Metropolitan Council is located on the MnDOT website at: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/saferoutes/grants.html.  For more information, contact Mao Yang at 651-366-3827 or mao.yang@state.mn.us.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants to identify and evaluate solutions to water problems relating to source, storage, treatment, and distribution, and to waste disposal problems relating to collection, treatment, and disposal, and to provide training that will improve the management, operation, and maintenance of water and waste disposal facilities. Deadline: 1/31/2014. Click here for application guidelines.  http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=246494

–The Captain Planet Foundation is offering funding to nonprofits and public schools for innovative programs that inspire youth to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. An additional priority is to fund programs that encourage environment-based education in schools. Deadline: 1/31/2014. Click here to visit the Foundation’s website for application guidelines. http://captainplanetfoundation.org/apply-for-grants/

East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) FY 2014  grant application materials are now online at:  http://www.ecrac.org/grants  The next grant deadlines are February 1, 2014.  

–William G. and Marie Selby Foundation is accepting applications from nonprofits for capital grants for the construction, acquisition and/or renovation of facilities, as well as the purchase of equipment or software. Projects focusing on education, human services, arts and community projects including history, science, and/or the environment will be given top priority. Deadline: 2/1/2014. Click here to visit the website for guidelines and an application. http://www.selbyfdn.org/page/grant-application-guidelines.aspx

— The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs seeks applications for Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas. The program awards funding for organizations providing transportation to VA medical centers and other VA and non-VA facilities for medical care. Proposals should include innovative approaches to transportation, including community linkages and relationships, and how the applicant will work with state and local agencies. Applications due February 3. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=248305

HUD is offering grants through the Continuum of Care program that provides grants for programs that assist homeless individuals and families by providing supportive care services as they move into transitional and permanent housing. Deadline: 2/3/2014. Click here to visit HUD’s website.  http://tinyurl.com/n4hyu27

–The Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for prevention and intervention activities that maximize community-based efforts and evidence-informed practices to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Deadline: 2/4/2014. For application guidelines, click here.  http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/docs/fy14-solicitation-final-new-budget.pdf

The Kessler Foundation is offering Signature Employment Grants to nonprofit organizations for non-traditional initiatives or social ventures that increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 per year are awarded nationally to fund new pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that lead to the generation of new ideas to solve the high unemployment and underemployment among individuals with disabilities. Deadline: online grant concepts are due 2/7/2014. Visit the Kessler Foundation’s website here to review grant guidelines. http://kesslerfoundation.org/grantprograms/signatureemploymentgrants.php

–The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recognize excellence in after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs for underserved children and youth. Twelve winners will receive a $10,000 award and an invitation to accept their award at a White House ceremony. Programs initiated by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, schools and universities, arts centers, community service organizations, and government agencies are encouraged to apply. Deadline: 2/10/2014. Click here to learn more about these awards and to apply. http://www.nahyp.org/

–Lowes Charitable and Education Foundation is accepting applications for the 2014 Toolbox for Education Grant Program. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of facility improvement projects that have a permanent impact on a K-12 school community. Deadline: 2/14/2014. Click here to visit the website and review program guidelines.  http://tinyurl.com/krtxd7k

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has funding for nonprofit organizations that show unique approaches to helping veterans either secure jobs or start their own businesses. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is intended to identify organizations that focus on providing business assistance and entrepreneurial skills for veterans. Grants of $10,000 to $50,000 will be provided in two program areas: Promoting Job Skills Development, and Advancing Veteran Business Development and Support. Deadline: 2/14/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to download the Veterans Grant Program RFP.  http://tinyurl.com/oha9xcw

–The Kazanjian Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits for projects with national impact that address issues of economic education. The average grant is approximately $22,000, however grants as small as $3,500 and as large as $150,000 have been made. Occasionally, multi-year grants are made for larger projects. Deadline: 2/15/2014. Click here to go to the Foundation’s website for guidelines and an application. http://www.kazanjian.org/grants/apply

–The Open Meadows Foundation supports projects that are designed and implemented by women and girls; reflect the diversity of the community served by the project; promote building community power; and encourage racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. The Foundation provides grants of up to $2,000 to cover start-up expenses or to support ongoing projects and also administers a number of special funds that are targeted to specific groups or activities. The next application deadline is: 2/15/2014. Funding guidelines and application instructions are available on the Foundation’s website here. http://www.openmeadows.org/

— The U. S. Department of Education is offering grants to nonprofits for academic and financial support to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their children complete their first year of college. Deadline to apply: 2/19/2014. Click here to see the NOFA for this program. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-16/pdf/2013-29821.pdf

–The U.S. Department of Education is also offering grants to nonprofits for High School Equivalency Program (HEP) grants to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their children obtain a general education diploma (GED) that meets the guidelines for high school equivalency established by the State in which the HEP project is conducted. Deadline: 2/19/2014. To see the NOFA, click here. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-16/pdf/2013-29823.pdf

–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for developing inventories of Brownfield sites, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to Brownfield sites. Deadline: 2/21/2014. Click here for guidelines and to apply. http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-13-05.pdf

–USDA has announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Grants are available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000. Deadline: 2/24/2014. Click here to read the NOFA for more information.  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-11-25/pdf/2013-28175.pdf

Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program Now Accepting Applications! The Minnesota Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.  This 10-year, $15-million-a-year program will be taking applications until February 28 for Minnesota residents and businesses to apply for the incentive to help defray the cost to install a solar electric system.  Made in Minnesota is one component of last year’s solar energy bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor that is aimed to grow the solar energy sector in Minnesota.

Who can apply for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program?  The solar incentive program will be available to customers of the following investor-owned utilities: Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power.  Consumers and businesses that would like to participate in the Made in Minnesota Program will need to install solar electric systems (also known as solar photovoltaic or PV) using solar modules or collectors certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Currently, modules certified for the program are available from two Minnesota companies – tenKsolar and Silicon Energy.

Qualified solar electric systems must be less than 40 kilowatts (kW) to qualify for incentives. Applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted annually between January 1 and February 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery.  Applications are available on the Commerce’s Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program webpage .  The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is administered by the Department of Commerce with an annual budget of up to $15 million for 10 years, of which up to $250,000 per year is reserved for solar thermal rebates. Questions about the program can be directed to solar.help@state.mn.us or the Commerce Energy Information Line: 651-539-1886 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3710. http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/topics/resources/energy-legislation-initiatives/made-in-minnesota/

–Southeast CERT Round 2 RFP.  The Southeast Clean Energy Resource Team (SE CERT) seeks applications for limited financial assistance for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects requiring technical assistance.  The primary objectives of this funding are to:

  • Encourage the implementation of community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota.
  • Provide a forum for community education about energy efficiency and renewable

energy technologies and their economic, ecological, and community benefits.

Proposals are due by 4:00 PM on Monday, March 10th, 2014.  For more information, go to: http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/se-rfp

–The U.S. Department of Commerce is offering grants to support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, and strengthen America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. Deadline: 3/14/2014. Click here for application guidelines. http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=248297

–The Economic Development Administration is offering funding to public agencies, nonprofits, Institutions of Higher Education and Indian Tribes for a wide variety of planning, community development and economic development projects to improve economic conditions for low-income people in economically distressed communities. Deadline: 3/14/2014. Click here to review funding guidelines.  http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=248297

Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program. Offers grants to develop and enhance effective plans for the Tribal government to reduce violent crimes against Indian women and increase safety for Native women. Among other things, funds domestic violence prevention campaigns, direct victim services, and training programs for certain professionals who work with victims. 
 Application deadline is March 24, 2014. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.raconline.org/funding/3420

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has issued its 2015 Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund beginning July 1, 2015. The Trust Fund represents the money that, since its inception in 1991, has been generated by the Minnesota State Lottery to provide a constitutionally dedicated funding source for protection of the state’s unique natural resources. Approximately $44 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 are being requested in the following seven areas:

  • Foundational Natural Resource Data and Information
  • Water Resources
  • Environmental Education
  • Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species
  • Air Quality, Climate Change, and Renewable Energy
  • Methods to Protect, Restore, and Enhance Land, Water, and Habitat
  • Land Acquisition for Habitat and Recreation

Proposals responding to the 2015 RFP are due Friday, March 28, 2014. For more information on the LCCMR funding process or the 2015 RFP, visit http://www.lccmr.leg.mn.

EPA Announces Availability of $400,000 for Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance.  The U.S. EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management has announced the availability of $400,000 in technical assistance for communities interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality and build more sustainable communities. http://tinyurl.com/khav7kb

Communities across the country are interested in implementing green infrastructure to protect water quality, provide ecosystem services, increase resiliency to climate change, create economic opportunities, and support a high quality of life. Many communities, however, lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals. As part of EPA’s commitment to engaging with local communities, the Agency is offering direct assistance to communities interested in implementing green infrastructure. This technical assistance will serve both to advance the adoption of green infrastructure programs in selected communities and to develop knowledge and tools that can be transferred to other communities and to a national audience.

The value of the EPA assistance available in 2014 is approximately $400,000, and EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 to 7 communities. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to the Request for Letters of Interest at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/upload/RLI-2014-Version-4.pdf.

If additional funding becomes available, EPA may return to the applicant pool identified through this request to select additional recipient communities.

— The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it has set a goal of investing $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas over the next three years. The funding will be used for the construction, expansion or equipping of rural mental health facilities and will be provided through the USDA’s Community Facilities direct loan program. http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Loans.html

TRAINING/MEETINGS

The State Economic Competitiveness Summit will be held Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at the St. Paul RiverCentre.  At just $95 to attend, limited space will fill quickly.  https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1348585

Do you have a Facebook business page or a Twitter account but struggle to make good use of them? Attend a one-hour webinar on January 29th at 11 a.m. by the University of Minnesota Extension to learn strategies and tactics small businesses are using to engage with customers using social media. Register online at http://z.umn.edu/webinarseries.

Funding Rural AmericaRegister now for this webinar with Cynthia Adams of GrantStation on January 30th. Cindy will share trends and resources for small communities seeking funding for local projects. Space is limited, so register early!

Border to Border Broadband Conference: February 4th-5th!  Blandin Broadband Conferences are always a great place to learn what you need to know about community broadband initiatives – from new technologies to digital inclusion.  Blandin Foundation provides a range of opportunities to fit your style – straightforward content delivery from the front of the room to “open space” participant-centered interactive sessions to straight out networking.  Conference details:  Border to Border Broadband: A Call to Action
will be held February 4-5, 2014
at the St Paul RiverCentre. 
Cost: $120
 https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1360663 

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. http://tinyurl.com/qxowrlm

–The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business’ Forum on Workplace Inclusion is the largest diversity and inclusion conference in the country. Being held on March 18-20, 2014, the Forum will provide a compelling learning experience fostering business and thought leadership in workplace diversity and inclusion. http://www.stthomas.edu/mcf/about/default.html

At the Forum participants will find:

  • Active collaboration: participants will meet today’s organizational and business challenges head on with invigorating presentations, discussions and rich, interactive experiences.
  • Thought leadership: participants will be challenged by a unique, expertly curated gathering of the field’s most passionate thought leaders, fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to identify evolving trends and better prepare for what’s next.
  • Valuable tools: participants will leave with smart, real-world, transferrable tools they can put to work within their own organization to help grow diversity, inclusion and success.

“Welcome” is a word heard every day, but its power is often underestimated. Welcoming more people with more diverse backgrounds into all conversations, organizations and lives has never been more important than it is today. Register for the Forum now! http://www.stthomas.edu/mcf/registration/default.html

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Inventions and traditions will converge on Friday and Saturday, May 2 & 3, 2014, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, in Minneapolis, MN with the 57th annual Invention Expo, hosted by the Minnesota Inventors Congress (MIC).  This Minnesota tradition is the oldest annual invention convention in the nation.  The Minneapolis venue is a major change for this internationally recognized invention showcase. http://tinyurl.com/lfxox4k

The Expo is designed to help inventors test market their products. The inventors learn that by showcasing their latest product in a traditional trade show format. The general public is encouraged to attend because inventors need that public feedback to determine if there is a market for their product. Some inventors have market ready products that attendees can purchase. Product development experts from manufacturing, licensing, prototyping and others are also encouraged to attend the show to help inventors take their products to the next level in the product development process. Through our Inventing Success™ Workshops, aspiring inventors attend sessions that will help them learn the process of developing marketable products. Topics for these expert lead sessions may include intellectual property protection; writing a business plan; prototype development; sell sheets; licensing vs. going it alone; is your product right for direct response sales; and marketing. One of the most popular places on the show floor is the area for elementary school students who are showcasing solutions they invented to help solve a problem they have identified.

The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington.

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 23 and 24 in Duluth. http://www.health.state.mn.us/e-health/summit/summit2014.html

OPPORTUNITIES

–Call for programs opens for annual Spring Conference.  The Minnesota High Tech Association
(MHTA) is now accepting program proposals for our annual Spring Conference, scheduled for May 6th at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Conference organizers invite thought leaders to share industry expertise on technology trends in a variety of areas. LEARN MORE

Share Your Ideas to Reduce Poverty!  If you have ideas to reduce poverty, considering entering the Ideas for Action competition and win funding to make your ideas a reality.  Ideas for Action is a competition to develop and promote new thinking and policies to reduce poverty long term. It’s sponsored by the Northwest Area Foundation and is co-administered by the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.  Winners will receive awards ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. The submission deadline is January 24.

The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, “Weaving the Threads of Rural Health,” will take place June 23-24 in Duluth, Minnesota.  The Conference Committee is seeking proposals for conference breakout sessions.  

The first day of the Conference, June 23, is focused on critical access hospitals (CAHs) and their communities. The second day takes a broader look at rural health in Minnesota. https://secure.ruralcenter.org/conference/

The success of the conference depends on the excellent presentations people give about their work in rural Minnesota. Please consider applying to present a breakout session. View the Call for Proposals for more information. Proposals must be submitted electronically by February 7.

Call for Proposals

Online Submission Form

The deadline for submissions is February 7, 2014 at 5 p.m. CST.   If you have any questions please contact Kim Nordin at 218-737-9390 ext 237.

–Minnesota Council on Nonprofits is seeking presenters for its 2014 Nonprofit Leadership Conference, co-hosted by the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC) at the Humphrey School and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) and YNPN – Twin Cities.  The day-long conference is taking place on Thursday, June 26 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. We invite presenters knowledgeable in current leadership topics to submit a proposal by Friday, February 7 at 5 p.m. This year’s conference delves into the theme of Exploring Leadership Lenses. Through this theme, we hope to engage nonprofit leaders in discussions about the diverse lenses we bring to our leadership.  Learn more about submitting a proposal to present at the 2014 Nonprofit Leadership Conference. Also, whether or not you submit a proposal, we hope you’ll save the date to attend the conference.

Savings Innovation Cluster
CFED, in partnership with the MetLife Foundation, is soliciting applications from organizations serving low- and moderate-income households to join a yearlong learning cluster and receive extensive technical assistance to design and implement innovative savings products or strategies for their clients. http://cfed.org/assets/pdfs/MetLife_RFP_-_Final.pdf

MISCELLANEOUS

A new report out shows that Minnesota’s economic future may well be rooted in its historic leadership in agricultural production. Agbioscience as a Development Driver: Minnesota Agbioscience Strategy, undertaken by the world-renowned Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, includes an assessment of Minnesota’s key capacities and opportunities in agricultural research and a suggested strategy for the state.

http://www.auri.org/research-reports/new-report-projects-minnesota-could-be-global-leader-in-agbioscience/

Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes.  The rural-urban commuting area codes (RUCA) classify U.S. census tracts using measures of urbanization, population density, and daily commuting. The latest RUCA codes are based on data from the 2010 decennial census and the 2006-10 American Community Survey. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/rural-urban-commuting-area-codes.aspx#.UtHrep5dVAE

— The Minnesota Department of Health – Health Economics Program issued a new report, Minnesota Health Care Spending and Projections, 2011.  The analysis finds, consistent with previous years, that health care spending per person in Minnesota is below national levels. Spending over the last two years represents the lowest year-over-year rates of growth since MDH began conducting the analysis in the mid-1990s. The report also finds that without a change in the drivers of spending or reforms to curb spending growth, Minnesota spending for health care would be expected to more than double over the next decade. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/hep/publications/costs/healthspending2013.pdf

America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs  Reports that erosion in renter incomes has pushed the number of cost-burdened households to record levels, and aid has not kept pace. Compares data for nonmetro and rural areas with cities and suburbs.  Developed by the Joint Center for Housing Studies – Harvard University. http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/files/jchs_americas_rental_housing_2013_1_0.pdf

Medicaid Expansion as a Rural Issue: Rural and Urban States and the Expansion Decision 
Examines the differences between rural and urban states regarding the decision of whether or not they would expand the Medicaid program as provided for in the Affordable Care Act.  Provided by the Center for Rural Affairs. http://files.cfra.org/pdf/medicaid-expansion-a-rural-issue.pdf

–The Center for Rural Affairs has published “Seniors and the Affordable Care Act” that discusses how the Affordable Care Act will affect seniors in rural communities. Click here to get a copy of the report.  http://files.cfra.org/pdf/ACA-and-Seniors.pdf

Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth.  Research indicates that the expansion of emerging energy industries—such as shale gas, wind power, and ethanol production—during the last decade created jobs in rural economies, but the employment impacts varied widely based on the industry. http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2013-december/energy-development%E2%80%99s-impacts-on-rural-employment-growth.aspx

Sharpen Your Financial Focus
 The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is sponsoring a grassroots effort to help Americans identify and resolve immediate financial concerns, gain deeper understanding of critical issues related to their unique situations, and move forward toward long-term financial stability. The Web site lists steps consumers can take. The Web site is available in Spanish. http://www.sharpentoday.org/

MyMoney.Gov
 The U.S. Department of the Treasury has redesigned MyMoney.gov, a “one-stop shop” for Americans looking to find financial education information and resources from across the federal government. The Web site highlights MyMoney Five, a research clearinghouse with information and games focused on youth. http://www.mymoney.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Plan, Save, Succeed!’ Interactive Game. The Actuarial Foundation offers this interactive game to accompany its financial literacy curriculum resource, “Plan, Save, Succeed!” The game, which is aligned with the Jump$tart Coalition’s National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards, and Common Core state standards, is designed to help students understand key financial literacy topics—including budgeting, income, saving, and credit—and makes personal financial concepts memorable for middle school students through goal setting and real-world examples. http://www.actuarialfoundation.org/plansavesucceed2

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