HAPPY VALENTINE’s DAY!

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

February 2014- Volume XII, Number 2  (Ya-we can’t believe we’ve been publishing continuously this long, either!)

–ACROSS THE FIELD
–FUNDING
–TRAININGS/MEETINGS
–OPPORTUNITIES
–MISCELLANEOUS
–EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES – New section!

Across the Field: What If?

–by Jane Leonard

I woke up this morning with this crazy idea in my head (after watching the Winter Olympics, where we all unite as the USA for a few weeks – not individual towns or states), and thought, What if?

What if we didn’t separate ourselves into rural, urban, suburban, exurban identities, but saw ourselves as part of a larger interconnected place, where we understood and supported each other, no matter what.

After years of individual competition, even Olympic figure skaters do team events now. It’s inspiring to see them cheer for each other, work together to achieve a common goal, and rally around their team member when his or her scores are announced – for the team.

What if we had more of that attitude across our state and across our country? Think of the things we could accomplish, together. What if, indeed!

–Jane Leonard is a community development consultant. She can be reached at jane@janeleonard.net

FUNDING                 

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. NOFA for more information http://tinyurl.com/mc3ncwc

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 online http://tinyurl.com/m2g9vjh 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.

Small towns in west central MN are invited to apply for Capital Improvement Plan grant. West Central Initiative’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) grant program provides funds for cities with populations less than 5,000 in the counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, and Wilkin. The 2014 CIP grant round is open until March 3, 2014. http://www.wcif.org/page/cip

–ACT on Alzheimer’s is accepting applications from Minnesota communities interested in becoming dementia capable. Eligible communities will use the ACT on Alzheimer’s Dementia Capable Communities Toolkit, undertake the processes defined by the toolkit, and implement at least one (1) major priority goal area identified through the process. Applications due March 4. Learn more on the http://www.actonalz.org/

–The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for 2014 Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Improve the Mental Health and Wellness of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities (short title: Circles of Care VI) grants. The grants are intended to increase the capacity and effectiveness of mental health systems serving tribal and urban AI/AN communities. Applications due March 7. http://tinyurl.com/muutfe8

–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 Bush Foundation is once again accepting applications for Community Innovation Grants to support organizations working to create or implement a breakthrough in addressing a community need. Grants will range from $10,000-$200,000 for problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. Applications due March 13th. http://tinyurl.com/qxv4yyd 

–The 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://tinyurl.com/publ55b

–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. http://tinyurl.com/pkhoeb5

–West Central Initiative’s 2014 grant round for its Competitive Workforce Grant program is open through March 14, 2014. WCI will provide one-year grants to qualified organizations and partnerships that want to try out innovative ideas and pilot new ways to address skill shortages in west central Minnesota. For more information visit http://www.wcif.org, or contact Wendy Merrick at 800-735-2239, wendy@wcif.org.

 —The Community Assistantship Program (CAP), a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, is pleased to announce a summer 2014 grant program. The grant will allow rural communities to hire a student to work on a project defined by those communities. The deadline for project proposals is March 15th, 2014. Approved projects will run from May 25th to August 24th 2014. Eligible organizations include community groups, organizations, and local governments outside the seven county metro. See: http://www.cura.umn.edu/CAP 
What is CAP?  The Community Assistantship Program provides applied research assistance to community-based groups outside the Twin Cities Metro Area. The research needs of community organizations are matched with the support of talented students. The idea is simple: get the resources of the University working with communities to address the significant issues facing the people of Minnesota. CAP projects typically place students in a community defined and directed part time research assistantship for one semester or over the summer. Students are selected by and report to the community organization. Throughout the project students are supported by a community supervisor, faculty and community mentors.

This year CAP has an Expanded Rural Opportunity grant from the Blandin Foundation.  This grant emphasizes three areas:

  • Community Economic Vitality.       Obvious topic areas include increasing the number of jobs and      increasing the income of holding those jobs.
  • Intentional Inclusion. Focus on      marginalized people of different race, ethnicity, gender, income level,      age, or ability.
  • Education Success.  The      traditional focus is preK-12 education, but education and training for      young adults is also valid.

CAP is particularly looking for projects that would be a fit for one or more of these guidelines. For more information and how apply: http://www.cura.umn.edu/CBR/how-to-apply   Contact: Jeff Corn, CURA,  jcorn@umn.edu, (612) 625-0744.

–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 

–The Blandin Foundation invites applications from rural communities interested in pursuing better broadband. Funding is available through several programs, all of which have a deadline of April 4. Learn more http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/programs/ 

And, ….if you are into community and economic vitality like most of us are, read this latest report on ROI on broadband posted by the Blandin Foundationand also consider the ROI value of an older, but still exceedingly relevant information technology: small town – rural newspapers. They can be key builders of social capital — which is the foundation for any community capital creation to follow (Jane started her career on one –the Ada, MN-based Norman County Index).

–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.  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://tinyurl.com/m4joxqd 

— 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

–Register today for the 4th annual MN Entrepreneur KickOff Event. Wednesday, February 19th at the Base Camp in Fort Snelling MN. Crowdfunding and Start Up Finance are the highlighted topics for this very well attended networking event! www.mnentrepreneurs.org 

–Greater St. Cloud Community Priorities Forum.  The Initiative Foundation and the Central Minnesota Community Foundation have joined forces for a community visioning project to identify ways to increase the St. Cloud area’s vitality. The forum is part of the visioning project. It will be held from 7:30-10:30 a.m., February 20, at the River’s Edge Convention Center. http://tinyurl.com/n78vuva 

–Capitol Code: An Open Data Jam is coming Saturday, February 22 to CoCo in Uptown Minneapolis.   An event for techies and civic-minded folks to come together to CREATE great civic applications. Hosted by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, Capitol Code will give passionate and  engaged citizens the opportunity to explore and drive solutions using public data from the Secretary of State, including (but not limited to) data and election results, as well as information from the office’s Business Services Division. This will be a fun and enriching event where teams of community leaders, developers, public servants, designers and government officials will turn ideas into action, for the good of the citizens of Minnesota. This will be an extremely active day focused on doing, not just talking. Register for Capitol Code today and be a part of realizing the future of open data in Minnesota: capitolcode.mn.gov and follow on Twitter for updates at @MNSecofState, @CapitolCode, and #CapitolCode.

–The 24th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo, hosted by Minnesota Power, will be held at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on Feb. 25-26. This event will once again offer a diverse set of seminars and workshops about the latest in energy-efficient building and technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design. Each year the Expo attracts about 1,000 participants and 75 exhibitors. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources is a partnering sponsor and exhibitor. Visit www.duluthenergydesign.com to register and for conference details.

–A Solar Powering Minnesota Conference is planned on March 7 to help grow solar power in Minnesota. Utilities, policy makers, lenders, developers and contractors, local governments, and training and workforce development professionals will come together at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul to learn and connect about solar programs, incentives, and resources to help solar power shine. The conference features a keynote address by Minh Le, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Program manager, breakout sessions, and time to network. http://tinyurl.com/o24vr9b 

–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.

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!

–The 2014 Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center’s Forum, “Telehealth and HIT: Partners in Patient Care” is now open for registration. This year’s event will focus on how telehealth and other Health Information Technologies (HIT), including mHealth, can help provide coordinated patient care. It takes place April 3-4 in Minneapolis. Learn more and register http://tinyurl.com/pslh8ct

–Minnesota Campus Compact’s 20th Anniversary Summit & Awards Luncheon will be held on April 16, 2014, at the University of St. Thomas.  Registration is now open at http://mncc20thsummit.eventbrite.com  – early bird deadline March 14th.  Plan to join campus, community, and student leaders from across the state in this day not only celebrating excellent civic work to date but also addressing strategic issues for our collective work moving forward. A morning plenary featuring keynotes by Trista Harris, President of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, and John McKnight, Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, will be followed by an awards luncheon and breakouts on key issues.

–Red Hot Hack April 26 – Make it a Weekend Getaway!  A hackathon hosted by Red Wing Ignite, where techies gather to create apps that everyone can use.

  • Create applications that make      use of Gig connectivity (YES – a Gig in Red Wing!!)
  • Come ready to jump in no matter      what stage you’re at fresh idea or nearly finished project
  • Can’t code? That’s OK — all      skills are needed
  • Expand your relationships and      networks.

We’re working with team, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond! Learn more: http://www.redwingignite.org/ 

–The Minnesota Inventors Congress will be held May 2 & 3, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Mark your calendars and register online, to showcase your product or promote your business that supports inventors. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call the office at 507.627.2344.   There are just 3 easy steps to register:

1. Review the Registration Information

2. Download  and complete the fill-in-able Registration Form http://tinyurl.com/kxfl929

3. Submit Payment through ticket-e-split. http://tinyurl.com/ptlbg9t

— “Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed” – Symposium on Small Towns, June 4th & 5th, 2014, University of Minnesota, Morris,

http://www.morris.umn.edu/cst/symposium/

— The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington. http://tinyurl.com/p4delkb

–The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 23 and 24 in Duluth.

—-The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) offers a free monthly videocast providing news and public policy updates on the use and deployment of telemedicine, including remote clinical services, mHealth and online consultations. To see upcoming videocast dates and/or to listen to past videocasts, visit the This Month in Telemedicine Videocast page. http://tinyurl.com/opwb5du

OPPORTUNITIES

–Opportunity to benchmark Minnesota schools against high-performing countries. The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) is partnering with a national non-profit to benchmark local schools against those in other high-performing countries. The Innovate + Educate partnership is aimed at closing the skills gap by using internationally recognized test results to refine curriculum within individual schools. Limited opportunities for schools to participate remain – the deadline to apply is February 28th.  http://tinyurl.com/m69nc4x

–Thank Volunteers! The nonprofit sector relies heavily on amazing volunteers who give hours of time to support our communities. Now organizations can give back to those volunteers by nominating them to receive a free tank of gas. Cenex®, the CHS energy brand, has announced that it will continue the Tanks of Thanks® program for a third year. Since its launch in 2012, the Minnesota-based cooperative has collected and shared more than 10,000 inspiring stories of people who go above and beyond to make a difference in their communities. To date, Tanks of Thanks has awarded nearly $280,000 in free fuel to people doing good deeds for their communities. http://withyou.cenex.com/

–Solid Waste Trainings and On-Site Assessments.  The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota is providing solid waste trainings and on-site assessments http://tinyurl.com/kb2b7wp  free to attendees in 53 Minnesota counties through partnerships with counties, cities, tribal entities, Chambers, Rotaries, and other civic organizations.

Trainings are flexible and customizable. They may be provided as a stand-alone event, as part of an existing event, or before or after a site assessment. Assessments involve a facility walk-through to look at areas where waste is generated and current waste management practices. The assessment includes a report with tailored recommendations on how an organization can improve waste reduction and diversion.

MnTAP’s objective is to conduct trainings and assessments in ten communities with populations under 10,000. To date, MnTAP has conducted five events through partnerships with Becker, Cass, Otter Tail, and St. Louis Counties and the Perham and Pelican Rapids Rotaries.

Call or email Anna Arkin, MnTAP Solid Waste Specialist, at 612-624-0808 or  aiarkin@umn.edu for additional details and to reserve trainings and assessments tailored to fit your government, community, or association needs and interests.

–Call for Programs – Proposals due February 28th for the Minnesota High Tech Association(MHTA) annual Spring Conference to be held May 6th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  They are seeking proposals for one hour educational sessions that should address central questions associated with one or more of the areas listed below:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information Technology
  • Innovation
  • Leadership Development
  • Workforce Development
  • Doing Business

Read full details about topics and program proposals here.  Programs will be reviewed and selected by the conference advisory committee. All applicants will be notified of their status by April 1. Selected presenters will receive complimentary admission to the conference as well as promotion on the conference website and materials. http://tinyurl.com/ktwjy25

–STEM Scholarship applications now open.  The entry period for the Minnesota High Tech Association Foundation 2014 STEM scholarships is now open. Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies.  http://tinyurl.com/kh466cb

–Savings Innovation ClusterCFED, 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://tinyurl.com/nghqkhl

–Youth Voices of Change: The Climate Change Youth Video Contest.  The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Young people in Grades 4-12 are invited during the 2013-2014 school year to share their solutions and/or help raise awareness about climate change issues in the form of a video.  Ten finalist videos will be chosen and the competition winners will be announced the evening of August 22, 2014 on the Sustainability Stage at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Videos must fall into one of two categories: Action or Awareness:

  • Action videos      show a real or proposed project that you are working on and are eligible      for a seed grant to help accomplish it. These videos should educate your      peers, families, or the public about the project and its impact.
  • Awareness      videos should be educational and intentionally leave the viewer with      helpful information, and/or a compelling story. These videos should      educate your peers, families, or the public about climate change impacts      and solutions.

Entries must be received or postmarked by May 16th, 2014.  For more information on the contest go to: http://tinyurl.com/pm64ysm

MISCELLANEOUS

 

–A new study that finds increasing the federal minimum wage would produce widespread benefits in Minnesota.  National study confirms: minimum wage increase good for our economy and communitieslooks at areportfrom the Economic Policy Institute that concludes increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would directly and indirectly increase wages for about 462,000 Minnesotans. http://tinyurl.com/okbme89 

–A report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) on financial security finds over a quarter of Minnesotans don’t have enough liquid assets to cover an emergency in the face of job loss.  Minnesota’s policies promote financial security, but communities of color often left behind. For more information about the Assets & Opportunity Scorecardand Minnesota’s ranking. http://tinyurl.com/ode3srv 

–The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture released an update to the rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes that classify U.S. census tracts using measures of population density, urbanization and daily commuting. The update uses both the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates to create two levels of classification. ORHPC will be updating its Minnesota maps with the new codes in early 2014, but in the meantime, more information and the new codes are available on the http://tinyurl.com/pk4fuzs 

–Farm to school movement connects kids and healthy foods.  More and more schools are using their local purchasing power to change the relationship students have with food.  Featuring a video supplement: What Is Farm to School? http://tinyurl.com/mjedv63 

–Minnesota Department of Commerce posts three new energy reports.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) has posted three reports as required by state legislation passed in 2013. The three reports, commissioned by DOC, include:

The Scoping an Energy Future Study for Minnesota develops scope for a study of how Minnesota can achieve a sustainable energy system that does not rely on fossil fuels. The report identifies potential approaches and considerations to assess cross-sector opportunities in electrical, transportation, thermal, industrial, and agricultural sectors.

The Value of Solar Heating and Cooling in Minnesota report analyzes the potential costs and benefits of expanding the installation of solar thermal projects in residential and commercial buildings in Minnesota. The report identifies the most promising opportunities for deployment.

The White Paper Analysis of Utility-Managed, On-Site Energy Storage in Minnesota examines the potential costs and benefits of grid-connected electrical energy storage technology located at the utility customer in the State of Minnesota. The investigation included standalone storage and storage integrated with solar photovoltaic (PV), and it considered both residential and commercial customer sites.

The three reports are available as PDFs on the Energy Reports section of the Division of Energy Resources website. http://tinyurl.com/m86nwsl

–It pays for Minnesota manufacturers to buy materials, components and products from each other instead of from out-of-state or foreign suppliers.  Now a new directory of products and supplies manufactured in the state makes it easy for Minnesota companies to find — and be found by — home-state suppliers that are a perfect fit.  The Made in Minnesota directory is a free online database you can use to find nearly 800 Minnesota manufacturers who make everything from food products to textiles, fabricated metals, machinery, and computers and electronics. Search by product, company name, county and NAICS codes.

There’s more: The Made in Minnesota Directory contains the names and addresses of participating companies, year the businesses were established, corporate contact information, number of employees, products they make and products they are interested in buying from Minnesota suppliers.  The directory also contains information on renewable energy products and suppliers to key Minnesota industries like medical devices.  If you’d like to list your company information in the database, just go to the Made in Minnesota website at www.tinyurl.com/MadeinMinnesotaDirectory and provide your businesses information – and you’re done. It’s that easy.

–IRS Proposed Regulations on 501(c)(4) political activity.  In November 2013, the IRS proposed new 501c4 regulations intended to clarify the definition of political activity, remedying the problems related to the currently vague “facts and circumstances” test, and provide new standards around what is allowed. The proposed regulations define that all voter registration, get out the vote, voter guides and candidate events are considered “political activity.”

While the regulations are not designed to affect 501c3 organizations, the nonprofit sector is concerned about the spillover impact that is likely to occur as the activities newly defined as “political” have long been core 501c3 non-partisan, non-political activities used to increase civic participation and voter engagement among under-represented populations. To learn more about this issue, consider watching a recent Independent Sector webinar on the proposed 501c4 regulations. http://tinyurl.com/oeyj2gx

–Did you know that the Department of Human Services (DHS) operates five community dental clinics for individuals with developmental disabilities, severe/persistent mental illness or traumatic brain injury who are unable to obtain care from other community providers? Clinics are located in Brainerd, Cambridge, Faribault, Fergus Falls and Willmar. The Faribault office also provides out-patient psychiatric services. Download a Dental Clinic brochure or visit the State Operated Services website to learn more. http://tinyurl.com/pg5hcyw

–What Are the Top Five Risks the World Faces in 2014?  Wharton’s Howard Kunreuther and Erwann Michel-Kerjan, contributors to the World Economic Forum’s newly released “Global Risks 2014” report, comment on global interdependence and what it means for risk management. http://knlg.net/1advriZ 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

-Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce Seeks Executive Director  The Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) is seeking a new executive director. http://tinyurl.com/pva3y33 

–West Central Initiative Seeking Active Transportation Planner  West Central Initiative in Fergus Falls is seeking an Active Living/Transportation Planner for regional planning activities, including active living, active transportation, and Safe Routes to School planning work. http://tinyurl.com/pva3y33 

–The Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), a nonprofit organization designed to help new and expanding businesses find the resources they need to succeed, is seeking an Office Administrator.  The ideal candidate will have knowledge and experience with SharePoint, Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and social media. Must have accounting/bookkeeping experience. Must be able to prioritize workload and accept interruptions in workflow and adjust accordingly. Excellent organizational skills, communications skills, time management, critical thinking, detail oriented, and soft skills are a MUST.  For more information, and application instructions, visit our webpage at BLAEDC Employment. http://tinyurl.com/nym5xh8 

–RETAP Hiring New Members.  The MPCA’s Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) is hiring new members to conduct energy efficiency and waste reduction assessments.  Members are retired environmental professionals, are comfortable working independently, and are compensated at $14/hr.   RETAP employs skilled, retired professionals to provide facility assessments and community sustainability assistance to small businesses, institutions, and communities in Minnesota.  Check out www.pca.state.mn.us/retap  for more information about RETAP and the member positions. http://tinyurl.com/446tm86 

–Vice President for External Relations at the Initiative Foundation.  

The Initiative Foundation is searching for a proven leader for its External Relations team. The Vice President for External Relations is responsible for leading a five-person donor services and marketing/communications team while managing the Initiative Foundation’s development strategy to meet annual goals for its endowment fund, donor-advised funds and grant funding sources. This position requires a comprehensive knowledge of fundraising, planned giving and external relations.  For additional information or to apply, contact:  Richard Thompson Associates, Inc.222 South 9th St., Suite 1600Minneapolis, MN 55402 Phone: (612) 339-6060 Email: rpt@rthompassoc.com

To contribute articles, notices, and random comments, please send such items to Jane Leonard at jane@janeleonard.net

The MRP Rural Round-Up is published once per month around the second Tuesday of each month (or when we can get to it!). Items for posting in the newsletter should arrive in our box by the second Monday of the month to be included in that month’s edition.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!