October 2014- Volume XII, Number 7

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

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

Across the Field: FALL HAS ARRIVED!!

We will let the photo of the Fall season fallserve as our Across the Field (or Across the Forest!) this month. We hope that in the midst of your busy days you find some time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors in our state!

FUNDING        

— The Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is offering grants to nonprofits for programs that support veterans and their families. Programs supported by the Trust typically provide the following: food, shelter, and other necessary items to homeless or at-risk veterans; mobility items or assistance specific to veterans with blindness or vision loss, hearing loss, or amputations; qualified therapeutic activities for veterans and/or their families; and physical and psychological rehabilitation projects. Priority is given to long-term service projects providing direct assistance to sick and injured veterans and their families. Deadline to apply: 10/20/2014. Click here to review application guidelines.

–The YMCA of the USA is accepting entries from individuals and groups for its third annual My Fresh Page Project competition. Through the competition, the Y will award a total of $20,000 in support of small ideas that impact communities in big ways. Community members from across the nation will be able to vote for their favorite idea once a day, now through October 24, 2014. Applicants may submit their projects in one of three prize categories: $5,000 prize, $1,000 prize, and $500 prize. The deadline to apply: 10/24/2014. Click here for further guidelines.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting applications to its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. Grants will be used to deploy broadband infrastructure and expand access of broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the state. Applications due October 28.

–The Griswold Cares Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the country that enhance the quality of life for low-income seniors and adults with disabilities who choose to age in place. The Foundation’s 2014 funding priorities focus on support for programs that provide respite care and short-term home care. The Foundation also supports local community and grassroots organizations that provide other programs and services with the intent of helping those of limited financial means to age in place. Deadline: 10/31/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.  

–Whole Kids Foundation is offering grants to schools and nonprofit organizations working at schools to support edible gardens at schools serving any grade K-12. These grants of $2,000 are awarded in the U.S. and Canada. Consideration is given to new or existing garden projects at any stage of development, whether planning, construction, or operation, that help children engage with fresh fruits and vegetables. Deadline: 10/31/2014. Visit the Foundation’s website here to complete the online application.

Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC) announces two new grant programs: the Dental Safety Net Grant Program and the Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program. Both provide support for treating the uninsured, with funds distributed based on the number of individual uninsured patients under the age of 21 served by the applicant. Learn more on the ORHPC Grants and Loan page. Step 1 applications due October 31.

–The Laura Jane Musser Fund is offering grants for programs that encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in communities in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wyoming. Through the Rural Initiative Program, the Fund supports efforts that will help to strengthen individual rural towns in the targeted states in a number of civic areas, including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education. Deadline: 11/1/2014. Specific grant guidelines and application procedures are available on the Fund’s website here.  

–The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is offering grants in the following two categories: 1) Community Development Grants supporting nonprofit organizations that nurture the participation of people living in poverty to change structures and policies that affect their lives. At least 50 percent of those benefiting from the applying organization’s efforts must be people experiencing poverty. 2) Economic Development Grants supporting Economic Development Institutions that include the voice of the poor and marginalized in developing new businesses that offer good jobs or develop assets that will be owned by local communities. Grants range between $25,000 and $75,000. Deadline: pre-applications for both programs are due by 11/1/2014. Visit the CCHD website here for more information.  

ArtPlace America is now accepting Letters of Inquiry for projects that strengthen community via art and culture. Grants range from $50K-$500K. Apply by November 3, 2014.

–The Federal Transit Administration announced approximately $20 million in funding for the Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development Planning. These funds are for local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning through a transit capital investment. Award amounts will vary from $250,000 to $2 million. Deadline: 11/3/2014. For guidelines, click here.  

–TRIBECA ALL ACCESS will award a $15,000 grant to five narrative filmmakers and five documentary filmmakers whose teams include a U.S.-based director or screenwriter from a community that is statistically underrepresented in the film industry for use in the development, production, post-production, or marketing of their film project. Deadline to apply: 11/5/2014. Click here for guidelines.  

The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is accepting applications to the FY15 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program to improve outreach and service delivery in local and regional rural communities. The lead applicant must be a rural non-profit or rural public entity representing a consortium of at least three health care providers. Applications due November 14.

–HUD has announced the second round of Promise Zones competition. To apply, communities must meet poverty rate and population requirements. HUD will designate six urban communities, one rural community and one tribal community through the competition. Deadline: 11/21/2014. Click here for application guidelines and to register for one of the webcasts.

–The AGSTAR Fund for Rural America supports nonprofit organizations in the service area where AgStar has a significant business presence in Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The Fund offers grants of up to $10,000 for direct project or program costs for programs in the following four major areas: education, environment, technology, and quality of life. Deadline: 11/30/2014. Visit the AgStar website here to review the funding guidelines and application instructions.  

–THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (NEA) is offering Our Town grants to support creative placemaking projects that contribute towards the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, equitable, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The Our Town program supports arts engagement, cultural planning, and design projects. The NEA is also offering a new project category this year, funding up to five projects carried out by arts or design service organizations, or other national or regional membership organizations, that provide technical assistance to those doing place-based work. The goal is to expand the knowledge base about creative placemaking to their members and the field. Deadline: 12/15/2014. Click here to learn more about this program and to register for one of the webinars.  

The Minnesota Angel Tax Credit Program is reaching out to a broader audience. The popular state program that has attracted more than $260 million for high-tech startups in Minnesota since 2010 will focus much of its efforts in the next two years on helping businesses located in Greater Minnesota and those owned by women or members of minority groups. READ MORE

The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced the incentive amounts for the second year (2015) of its 10-year, $15-million-a-year Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. The incentives are available to customers of investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) who install solar electric systems (PV) using solar modules certified as manufactured in Minnesota. Applications will be accepted annually between Jan. 1-Feb. 28 each year through 2023 and will be selected by lottery. Read more on the incentive amounts.

Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge Win $15,000.00 – enter today!

What is the Challenge?  Link to Website for more information  If you live in a nonmetro county this message is for you! Your business does not have to be ag related! http://www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge/eligibility/  

Bush Foundation offers opportunities to help your organization move toward innovation: https://www.bushfoundation.org/ — Community Creativity Cohort — a one-time program designed to both recognize and learn from exemplary organizations that meaningfully engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life. The Community Creativity Cohort will inform the Foundation’s future work in the arts. Applications accepted through October 16.

 BEN & JERRY’S FOUNDATION is offering grants of up to $20,000 to support nonprofit community-organizing groups in the United States working to further social and environmental justice and support sustainable and just food systems. Deadline: 10/15/2014 (pre-applications). Click here for application guidelines.  http://benandjerrysfoundation.org/the-grassroots-organizing-for-social-change-program/

The Explore Minnesota guidelines for 2015 grants are now available. The grant program is offered to assist communities and scenic byway organizations in attracting travelers to Minnesota. Information on the program and guidelines for grants are posted on the industry website at http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/ways-to-get-involved/grants/

The maximum grant amount is $8,000 and requires a match from the recipient. Organizations with total income of $100,000 or less qualify for a 1-to-1 match; those with total income over $100,000 are required to match at 2-to-1.  Very little was changed in the 2015 grant guidelines, however, prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review the guidelines as they consider projects that might be included in the grant application. Applications are due Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.  Minnesota non-profit tourism or scenic byway organizations who want further information on the grant program should contact their respective regional manager: Central or Northwest – Carol Altepeter, 888-629-6466, or David Bergman, 888-563-7777Metro – Gayle Junnila, 800-657-3637; 651-757-1852 Northeast – Tim Campbell, 888-876-6784Southern – Dave Vogel, 888-975-6766

Laura Jane Musser Fund: Intercultural Harmony Program  The Fund would like to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between groups and citizens of different cultural backgrounds within defined geographical areas through collaborative, cross-cultural exchange projects. Projects must be intercultural and demonstrate intercultural exchange, rather than focused on just one culture.  Deadline: October 17, 2014.  http://www.musserfund.org

The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund program is accepting grant applications from sponsoring institutions with accredited teaching programs providing clinical training in fiscal year 2013 for advanced practice nursing, clinical social workers, community health workers, community paramedics, dental students/residents, dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, chiropractic students, medical students/residents, pharmacy students/residents, physician assistants and psychologists. Programs must submit their application through their sponsoring institution. Find more details on the MERC Grant Application Information page. Applications due October 31. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/hep/merc/mcapinfo.html

USDA is offering grants to nonprofits through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) which provides financial and technical assistance to recipients in developing their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development. DEADLINE: 11/12/2014. Click here for application guidelines.  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/had-rcdi_grants.html

–MPCA Environmental Loan Program.  Consider applying if you’ve been thinking about a project in green chemistry, pollution prevention, source reduction, recycling, or source-separated composting. Eligible applicants for the EA Loan Program include Minnesota-based, small- to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Candidates that are contemplating smaller projects are particularly encouraged to apply this spring. Priority eligible applicants are Minnesota-based small to medium-sized businesses and political subdivisions of Minnesota. Applications are being accepted until June 30, 2015. Visit the MPCA Environmental Assistance Loan Program for more information. http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/assistance/financial-assistance/environmental-assistance-grants-and-loans/environmental-assistance-loan-program.html

FINRA INVESTOR EDUCATION FOUNDATION offers funding to nonprofits, and state and public colleges and universities for projects that advance understanding of the relationships among financial literacy, financial capability, and financial well-being. Deadline: A Project Concept Form may be submitted at any time. Grants of $50,000 to $100,000 are available. Visit the Foundation’s website here for application guidelines and more information. http://www.finrafoundation.org/grants/general/guidelines/

 –Blandin Foundation trustees voted to extend broadband work and allocate $1.5 million more for broadband grantsMore information here.   

MPCA Small Business Environmental Loan Program. To qualify, a borrower must:  be an existing small business corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or association and have less than 50 full-time employees, have an after-tax profit of less than $500,000 and a net worth of less than $1,000,000, demonstrate an ability to repay the loan. To receive an application, contact the MPCA’s Small Business Ombudsman, Mike Nelson at michael.nelson@state.mn.us or 651.757.2122.

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. For more information or to apply go to: http://tinyurl.com/oqv3r49

The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation is offering general support grants to nonprofit organizations for general support for religious, charitable, scientific, literary and education causes. Deadline: letters of inquiry may be submitted at any time. Click here to visit the website for application guidelines. 

— 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://tinyurl.com/bndtlo8

Competitive Grant To Establish a USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice ResearchUSDA ERS in partnership with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting proposals to establish the USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research. The USDA Center will apply behavioral economics to food choice behaviors, including consumer, food industry, and retailer behaviors, that are relevant to USDA policies, with special attention to the SNAP and WIC programs. http://tinyurl.com/pupeczx 

TRAINING/MEETINGS

— RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY FORUMS in TRACY AND BENSON. Join the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC) in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Interested citizens, hospital administrators and staff, emergency medical services personnel, health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to attend one of two upcoming regional forums: in Benson on October 20 at ACMC/Swift County Benson Hospital and in Tracy on October 21 at the Fitness Depot Wellness Center. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or judith.bergh@state.mn.us.

–Policy Link will offer a webinar titled “Financing Basics: Working with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)” on October 21, 2014, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET. This webinar will introduce the audience to CDFIs and will feature different financial products that CDFIs can use to finance healthy food projects and provide examples of successful projects. Click hereto register.  

Cyber Security Summit will be held in Minneapolis on October 21-22.

The first “Worker’s Compensation Seminar: What You Need to Know” will be held at Central Lakes College on Oct. 27 from 1- 4PM. There will be additional seminars held at different locations on Oct. 28 (Bemidji), Oct. 29 (Thief River Falls), and Oct. 30 (Perham). Fee for each one is $25. To register for any of the seminars and to see timing and location of the other seminars, please go to https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/ Default.aspx?EventID=1617620  

FEAST! the largest celebration of local foods in the tri-state area will premiere November 2-3, 2014 at the Rochester Civic Center in Rochester, MN.   For general information go to:  http:// www.local-feast.org/.  For exhibitor details and application form, visit http://local-feast.org/ exhibitor_app or contact Devon at devon@rtcinfo.org.  

The CDFI Fund, in partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network, is holding a series of webinars exploring the financial intricacies of community health centers and ways CDFIs can invest in them. The last webinar will be held October 22 at 2:00 PM ET. Learn more about the series by clicking here.  http://ofn.org/financing-community-health-centers#Technical-Assistance-Webinars

30th Annual Minnesota Policy Conference will be held October 15,  at the Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul. Keynote presentations from Susan Brower, state demographer and Laura Kalambokidis, state economist will highlight key trends that everyone involved in policy work needs to know. http://cce.umn.edu/annual-minnesota-policy-conference/

–The Art of Participatory Leadership, October 21-23 in Mankato, MN. Information and registration is available here:  http://issuu.com/katieboone/docs/aopl_mankato_invite There is an early bird registration discount.

–The 2014 Many Faces of Community Health Conference: Community Centered Care and the People We Serve, will be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka.   

The MINN IDEA Summit will be held on October 24 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs campus in Minneapolis bringing together hundreds of leaders from nonprofit organizations, foundations, donor groups, the private sector, and educational institutions with a professional or personal interest in international work and a passion for assisting others.  The theme of Innovation through Collaboration will be examined through speeches, panel discussions and breakout sessions. Summit attendees will gain knowledge of the latest development trends, be exposed to new programming approaches and acquire new ideas for more effective action. Learn more and register. http://tinyurl.com/k8kcsxz

Food Access Summit 2014.  October 28-30, 2014, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center http://www.foodaccesssummit.com/

— The Minnesota Council on Foundations 2014 Annual Conference, Today’s Realities | Tomorrow’s Opportunities, to be held on October 31, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul-Riverfront in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Watch for more information next month!
Nonprofits in Motion: Momentum for a New Minnesota will be held November 6-7, Saint Paul RiverCentre.   

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.  

Mark your calendar now to attend the 2015 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Feb. 3-4, 2015, at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.  

OPPORTUNITIES

–Calling All Finance Experts.  The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and the Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) are seeking your proposals for breakout sessions at the 2015 Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference. The conference will be held March 5, 2015 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN.  Are you able to talk about complicated finance subjects in simple and interesting ways? Do you have a strategy for long-term sustainability you’d like to share with other nonprofit leaders? Submit an online proposal now! 

MCN and NAF seek workshops that will focus on a range of skills and knowledge. Sessions will highlight everything from technical skills such as budgeting, audits and compliance to leadership skills around developing teams of staff or volunteers who understand their roles around organizational sustainability, internal controls and oversight. The deadline for proposal submission is 5 p.m. on Friday, October 17, 2014. 

–The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is soliciting comments regarding its Capacity Building Initiative (CBI). The Capacity Building Initiative provides direct training and technical assistance on issues impacting CDFIs. Written comments should be submitted by e-mail to cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, and should have the subject line “Comments on the Capacity Building Initiative”. To be considered, comments must be received on or before October 24, 2014. Please direct any questions to the CDFI Fund’s Help Desk at (202) 653-0421, Option 1. To read specific questions on which the CDFI Fund is seeking comments, click here.

Are you a school, city, township, or county that has been innovating to improve services or reduce the cost of local government? Share your innovation for a chance to win $5,000 and a professional video highlighting your effort! The Local Government Innovation Awards recognizes the creative ways counties, cities, townships, and schools are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. http://lgia.umn.edu/

The MPCA’s Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) recently helped the Salvation Army in Minneapolis save money by reducing its use of water and energy, leaving more money for its mission of helping those in need. RETAP works with businesses and institutions to reduce environmental impact and costs. RETAP conducts free energy, water, and waste audits, and provides prioritized recommended changes and estimated financial and environmental savings. Recommendations range from simple changes such as turning thermostats down a few degrees in the winter or installing occupancy sensors in meeting rooms, to larger, high-impact projects like lighting retrofits or upgrading inefficient boilers.  Small businesses, municipalities, churches, and schools in Minnesota can contact RETAP to request a free audit and get suggestions for reducing their environmental impact and costs. Contact RETAP at 612-781-1307, or visit www.pca.state.mn.us/retap

Blandin Broadband Communities: An Opportunity. Building on the successes of MIRC and BBC community broadband engagement projects, Blandin Foundation is seeking up to ten new communities for the 2015-16 cohort of Blandin Broadband Communities. Applications will be accepted through October 17, 2014.Click here for details, or learn more from an archive of a recent webinar on the topic:  http://wp.me/p3if7-2Na

Lights! Camera! Save! Video Contest for Teens October – November 2014 (Nationwide)The American Bankers Association (ABA) Community Engagement Foundation sponsors this video contest for banks to engage teenagers to educate themselves and their peers about the value of saving and using money wisely. Banks host the local level of the competition and select winners to compete on the national level. The top three winners receive cash prizes to help pay for their education. Winners will be announced in February 2015 during America Saves Week. http://www.aba.com/Engagement/Pages/financialed.aspx

–J-1 VISA WAIVER PROGRAM. Minnesota Department of Health has revised its guidelines for the J-1 Visa Waiver program, also sometimes known as the Conrad 30 program. Due to increased demand, the program has changed from a first-come, first-served approval process to a competitive review with a due date at the end of November. The J-1 visa allows International Medical Graduates to remain in the U.S. until their studies are completed. At the completion of their studies, they are expected to return to their home countries for two years. A J-1 Visa Waiver waives the two-year home residency requirement and allows a physician to stay in the U.S. to practice in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA). Find the updated guidelines on ORHPC’s J-1 web pagehttp://tinyurl.com/nywbftr

MISCELLANEOUS 

Ten projects, including one from the University of Minnesota, will receive funding aimed at accelerating genetic breeding programs to improve plant feedstocks for the production of biofuels, biopower, and bio-based products. The Minnesota project intends to genetically improve the agronomic traits of field pennycress for its use as a new winter annual oilseed/meal/cover crop in the Upper Midwest. The research grants are a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read more.

–USDA has published a guide that presents statistics on food security, food expenditures, and use of food and nutrition assistance programs. Food insecurity was more common in large cities and rural areas than in suburban areas and exurban areas around large cities. Download a free copy here.

The Census Bureau recently released income, poverty and health insurance data for 2013. The poverty rate declined from 2012; this is the first decline since 2006. The poverty rate for children under 18 declined as well, for the first time since 2000. Visit the Census Bureau website hereto review the data.

Rural Transit Fact Book 2014 Serves as a national resource for statistics and information on rural transit in America. Includes rural demographic and travel behavior data indicating that work, school, and medical trips comprise a higher percentage of rural transit trips. Includes state-by-state data.

Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS research and analysis on the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America. The August 2014 issue includes articles on the broiler production, food security in sub-Saharan Africa, the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, SNAP and time eating, natural gas extraction, fresh fruit and vegetable imports, and organic trade. http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves.aspx

Minnesota’s aging population: Prepare for lift-off  Our baby boomer population is like a jet airplane that has just lifted off. Minnesota Compass Project Manager Craig Helmstetter highlights 5 implications for Minnesota.

The White House Rural Council announces a $10 billion dollar investment fund to promote rural economic development. This fund will continue to grow the rural economy by increasing access to capital for rural infrastructure projects and speeding up the process of rural infrastructure improvements. http://wp.me/p3if7-2Lf

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has introduced “Plan. Prepare. Prevail: a Disaster Financial Readiness & Recovery Blueprint” to assist individuals, families and small business owners in learning about the financial documents and records they need to have available in case of an emergency. To review the Blueprint’s financial forms, checklists and other resources, click http://tinyurl.com/o7zbovn

–The Rural Policy Research Institute has published a report on high-poverty counties over a 50 year period, with a poverty rate of 20% or more, based on data from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey, compared to 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census data. The report includes comparison of rural (micropolitan and noncore) counties and metropolitan counties, and identifies counties with persistent and intermittent high poverty, as well as newly high poverty counties. Download the report http://tinyurl.com/q7kp4ae

A United States Department of Housing and Urban Development report examines trends in social, economic and housing circumstances of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. http://tinyurl.com/nvseegc

The National Rural Housing Coalition has published “Rural America’s Rental Housing Crisis: Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities” which documents the successes of USDA’s rental housing programs and the challenges facing them now. http://tinyurl.com/l6jtj75

Accountable Communities for Health. If you missed one of the recent regional meetings on the Minnesota Accountable Health Model – SIM Minnesota project, the presentation slides and handouts — including “Accountable Communities for Health: How to Get Started” and the SIM Glossary — are now available on the SIM Events web page. http://tinyurl.com/lglfxt4

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued a new topic guide on Community Paramedicine. The guide includes an overview of this emerging profession, how rural communities can use paramedics and EMTs in this expanded role; how to start a community paramedicine program; and models of existing programs. http://tinyurl.com/kpu25f9

Transportation to Support Rural Healthcare Topic Guide– RAC’s Transportation topic guide has received a major update and is now focused on how rural communities can address transportation issues to improve access to care. http://tinyurl.com/n7psrgc

2014 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-being Annie E. Casey Foundation provides national and state-by-state information on the conditions of America’s children and families. Includes data on overall child well-being and ranks states in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family & community. http://tinyurl.com/k6rbdsy

AARP Fraud Watch Network. AARP offers this Web site that provides alerts on the latest frauds and scams affecting adults 50 and over. The site also contains an interactive map for consumer stories and communication from attorneys general about fraud. http://tinyurl.com/nrmdfzs

AARP SBA Webinars.AARP and the U.S. Small Business Administration host new webinars and publish previous webinars to educate people who want to start businesses or expand existing ones. http://www.aarp.org/work/work-webinars/

Protecting Senior Residents From Financial Exploitation The CFPB offers this guide to help staff of long-term care facilities prevent, recognize, and report elder financial exploitation. http://tinyurl.com/q7etfxf

My Social SecurityThe Social Security Administration maintains a Web site that offers quick and secure access to consumers personal Social Security information. http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

The National Community Land Trust Network, in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, has released two working papers on inclusionary housing: “Resident and Community Engagement in Community Land Trusts” examines the practices of six well-established CLTs that have successfully engaged residents and communities in their operations. Download a copy here. “Achieving Lasting Affordability through Inclusionary Housing” analyzes 20 inclusionary housing programs to show how long affordability periods, strong legal mechanisms, carefully designed resale formulas, dedicated program stewardship, and strategic partnerships can help preserve affordable homes for multiple generations. Download a copy  http://tinyurl.com/mu5crzo

–Community development isn’t just about where low-income people live; it’s about how well they live. Zip code and health are intrinsically linked. In the first of a series of articles on this from the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, LISC’s Amy Gillman looks at how and why community development has become so critical to the question of better health in distressed areas, with everything from good housing and strong schools to local health centers, fresh food markets, and athletic programs helping sever the long-standing link between poor places and poor health. Read the full article http://tinyurl.com/pnubh7p

A report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee recognizes that keeping rural communities healthy is vital to the U.S. economy. The report provides an overview of rural populations, rural health statistics, barriers to healthcare in rural areas, economic implications of rural healthcare, and relevant policy actions to keep rural America healthy. Click herefor a free copy of the report.  http://tinyurl.com/q4sqyrq

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. The report expressed the concern that, “Multiple funding sources for community development projects may be leading to duplication of the federal New Markets Tax Credit.” The report also identified complexity of financial structures in NMTC projects as a challenge. Typically, communities combine multiple sources of funding in order to make these large projects financially feasible. The GAO report is available http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664717.pdf

–“Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland” is the title of a report prepared by TRIP, a national transportation research group. The report looks at the condition, use, and safety of the nation’s rural transportation system and discusses recommendations to improve connectivity in America’s small communities and rural areas to access jobs, education, and healthcare. Download a copy http://tinyurl.com/l2raoac

Data+Design: Free eBook for Evaluation Beginners.  More than 50 volunteers worked on Data+Design, a free ebook that explains visualizing and working with data to those with no specialized training. https://infoactive.co/data-design

Partnership Rubric.  This rubric from Rhode Island’s Partnerships for Success is designed to support institutional, organizational, and programmatic partnership development and assessment. It functions as a set of standards, a road map to developing a reciprocal partnership, and a self-assessment tool for existing partnerships. http://tinyurl.com/ktwjj3g  

Free Guide to Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums.  The Kettering Foundation has a new report on developing materials for deliberative forums. It’s a handbook for anyone interested in supporting deliberative conversations on difficult public issues. http://tinyurl.com/m47l6ex

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