The Great Melt begins — Spring soon to follow!

March 2014- Volume XII, Number 3  

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


Across the Field: Rewriting the Rural Narrative – this summer in Morris, MN!

We’re excited to help promote the Center for Small Towns (CST) in presenting their 2014 Symposium on Small Towns, June 4-5, on Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed. Hosted at the beautiful University of Minnesota, Morris, campus in western Minnesota, the symposium explores and confronts the changing truths of small towns and debunks current myths surrounding migration to and from small towns.

Goals for Symposium include:

  • Improving the dialogue surrounding migration research in rural areas.
  • Exemplifying the ways communities are connected through migration.
  • Informing the rural development industry of current strategies for recruitment and retention.
  • Bringing the macroeconomic perspective of migration theory to the rural development industry.
  • Exploring the role narrative language plays in recruitment strategies.
  • Delineating the strategy differences between youth and adult recruitment.
  • Developing a strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Exploring common recruitment strategies between states.
  • Describing the economic impact of newcomers.
  • Exploring opportunities the upcoming baby boomer housing relocation may hold for growth.
  • Gathering experiences with place-based strategies; i.e. Land incentives, internships, alumni.

SIGN UP FOR MORE INFORMATION AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE & check out more information on  Brain Gain and Rural Migration on the University of Minnesota Extension website.           

The Department of the Interior is offering funds to Indian Tribes, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations to protect and promote their unique cultural heritage and traditions. Deadline: 3/21/2014. Click here for an application package.

–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to community-based coalitions working to prevent youth substance abuse. Deadline: 3/24/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.

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.

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

–The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering funding to nonprofit and public agencies to expand the availability of comprehensive, high quality residential treatment services for pregnant and postpartum women who suffer from alcohol and other drug use problems, and for their minor children impacted by maternal substance abuse. Deadline: 3/31/2014. Click here for an application package.

–WELLS FARGO is offering Neighborhood Implementation Grants that support comprehensive community development projects that target specific neighborhoods. The community development project must be based on a current resident-driven neighborhood plan. Deadline: proposals for Phase I of the application process are due by 4/1/2014. Click here to review application guidelines and to apply.

–USDA has released applications for the third round of USDA’s Farm to School grants to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers. New in FY 2015, USDA funds will be made available to support meetings, trainings, and events intended to strengthen farm to school supply chains or provide technical assistance. Deadline: Letters of Intent are due 4/2/2014. To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a series of webinars related to the application process. To learn more about this program and to apply, click here.

–The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for the American Youth Leadership Program for public and private nonprofits to implement an exchange program for American high school students that will enable the participants to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. Deadline: 4/4/2014. Clickhere to review application requirements.

–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 on the Blandin Foundation website.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through the Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies (SEEDS) program to Indian Tribes, Native Alaskans, and nonprofit agencies serving Native Hawaiians, and others. Deadline: 4/15/2014. Click here for program guidelines and to apply.

–The Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor is offering grants to nonprofits for programs that ensure that prisoners re-entering society have job skills and recognized job credentials. Deadline: 4/18/2014. For an application package, click here.

–The Department of Labor is also offering funding to nonprofit and public agencies for vocational construction skills training and, for certain applicants, construction and alternative vocational skills training, for at-risk youth and/or young adults, aged 16 – 24. Deadline: 4/22/2014. Click here for an application package.

–NEWMAN’S OWN Awards Program recognizes volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting U.S. military families. Eligible applicants must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be nonprofit organizations, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve units and/or veterans. Deadline: 4/23/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to apply online.

–The MARY KAY Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits that aid female victims of domestic violence. Deadline: 4/30/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to apply.

–Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is inviting nonprofits to submit proposals for the Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges initiative. Deadline: 5/6/2014. This initiative brings together local leaders, nonprofits, and design specialists to address how rural communities can strengthen their economies, enhance their rural character, and design efficient housing and transportation systems. To review application guidelines, click here.

Centennial Legacy Grant Program.  The Toro Company’s Centennial Legacy Grant Program is currently accepting applications from non-profits that are located within 30 miles of a Toro community (in Minnesota: Shakopee, Windom, and the Twin Cities). Grants will support non-profit organizations in their efforts to beautify and preserve outdoor environments and enhance green spaces at home, work and play. The objective of the program is to provide funding for projects in these focus areas that will serve the community for many years to come.

Grants will be made to qualified organizations in the communities where Toro employees live and work. The project funded should:

*Enrich outdoor landscapes for environmental benefits & enjoyment through outdoor physical activities by improving and beautifying parks, playgrounds, landscapes and community gardens

*Encourage efficient use of water in outdoor and agricultural applications by ensuring productive and sustainable practices and protecting our natural resources

*Involve children and adults in education programs on managing your water resources.

For more information or to apply go to:

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

— 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.


–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.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to great water technology and know-how, but how can we position Minnesota to be a stronger global leader in the water industry? This event will address that topic.  Minnesota Water Technology Business Summit will be Tuesday, March 25, 2014 from9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ecolab Schuman Campus655 Lone Oak Drive, Eagan, MN.  The event will feature breakout sessions and speakers, including Ecolab Chairman and CEO Doug Baker, who will share his vision for the state’s water business sector.  Among other highlights of the summit:

  • *    Learn about new initiatives to gain better access to the state’s research and development resources and expertise.
  • *    Hear from the state’s premier industry cluster expert on why the water sector is poised to grow.
  • *    Network with fellow water professionals, ranging from the large firms to solo consultants.

Summit speakers will include: Ecolab, DEED, Greater MSP, 3M, University of Minnesota, Pentair and Aeration Industries.

The University of Minnesota Tourism Center is hosting a train-the-trainer session in conjunction with At Your Service: Working with Multicultural Customers on Friday, March 28. Your staff is the face of your brand; train them to provide great customer service.

You will receive comprehensive training materials to deliver an effective half-day workshop for your staff to boost their skills and better serve your customers. A one-time purchase allows you to use the program for multiple trainings.

Register online at

–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 on the gpTRAC website.

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 .  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!  Hosted by Red Wing Ignite. 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 teams, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond! Learn more:

–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.

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.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state. Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit. These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means that every three years they must attend a training session, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee to comply with Minnesota law.

Seventeen AIS training sessions are planned around the state. Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training. To register for training, find out if the business needs a permit, or for more information, visit the DNR website. A list of all 2014 training sessions is also available.


The Community Assistantship Program (CAP), administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, is accepting applications from community organizations and government agencies in rural Minnesota for student research assistance. CAP provides approximately 200 hours of student time to work on a project defined by the community. Applications due March 15.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits andThe International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Minnesota Chapterare pleased to hostA Gift of Communication, where six nonprofits (chosen by lottery) will receive an afternoon of free consultation from seasoned IABC MN communications professionals on March 20 from 1 – 4:30 p.m.  This event is geared towards nonprofits that are small enough to need help, but large enough to have some time and resources to devote to communications. Because of this we ask that participating organizations have an operating budget between $250,000 and $1 million. To enter your nonprofit, please fill out ashort survey.

PLEASE NOTE: These survey questions just determine eligibility, so short answers are fine. The six nonprofits chosen to participate will be asked to provide more details. If selected, it is suggested that one or two members of your organization attend from senior management and/or your board. Applications will be taken through Wednesday, March 12, and winners will be notified the next day.

IABC specializes in helping organizations achieve excellence in corporate communications, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other forms of business communication. This event is theirGift” to the nonprofit community.

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. READ MORE

2014 MCRSA/IMPLAN Conference Proposal Deadline April 1. The Mid-Continent Regional Science Association is teaming with the IMPLAN Group, the makers of the IMPLAN economic modeling system, to host their annual conferences June 3-5, 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin.  This is to announce the call for regular papers and sessions and to encourage students to participate in the M. Jarvin Emerson Student Paper Competition. All persons wishing to submit an abstract or session proposal for both the MCRSA and IMPLAN conference sessions are encouraged to do so electronically via e-mail to John Leatherman at by April 1, 2014.

Get more info at the MCRSA Website: <>  The conference remains a great buy among professional and academic association meetings.  Early registrants will enjoy a reduced conference registration fee of $270.  In addition, a special reduced fee for students will once again be in effect.  The full student registration fee is $110.

You can either download a conference registration form from the MCRSA Website, or register and pay online at IMPLAN’s Website <>.

The meeting will take place at The Madison Concourse Hotel in downtown Madison. Contact the hotel directly at1-800-356-8293 and indicate participation in the MCRSA/IMPLAN conference.


–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.

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.

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:


An article posted on the LISC Institute for Comprehensive Community Development website titled “How arts and culture can transform your community” discusses creative placemaking, a powerful, arts-based approach to community development. Read the article and visit the website

–Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide.  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published the 520-page, Rural Minnesota Community and Economic Development Resource Guide which lists local, state, and national agencies engaged in, or supporting, community and economic development in rural Minnesota.

Building Leadership for the Long Haul.  Milan Wall from the Heartland Center for Leadership Development shares qualities of effective community leaders and tips for recruiting new leaders in a changing world in this webinar recording.

Onshore Oil and Gas Development in the Lower 48 States: Introducing a County-Level Database of Production for 2000-2011.  Until now, there has been no publicly available nationwide data on oil and gas production at the county level. County-level data from oil and/or natural gas producing States were compiled on a State-by-State basis. Most States have production statistics available by field, county, or well, and these data were compiled at the county level to create a database of county-level production, 2000-11.

–The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis released a new Rural Care Coordination Toolkit to help rural communities and organizations identify and implement a care coordination program.

–The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has released the 2014 federal poverty guidelines.

–The Flex Monitoring Team has launched a new website at, offering access to their collection of resources aimed at improving the accessibility, viability and quality of health care for rural residents and communities.

–The website, produced by the National Indian Health Outreach and Education Initiative, provides training tools and consumer-oriented education materials to assist American Indians and Alaska Natives in understanding their rights and opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

Measuring Health Disparities is a free downloadable course on how to understand, define and measure health disparities. It is offered through the Michigan Public Training Center.

To contribute articles, notices, and random comments, please send such items to Jane Leonard.

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.