December 2014- Volume XII, Number 8

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



–Minnesota Department of Health seeks proposals under two Learning Community grant programs – the General Learning Community Grant Program and the Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) Learning Community Grant Program – in support of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. A Learning Community is defined as learning teams who have common goals or interests, share best practice knowledge, and are actively engaged in implementing transformation in a focused, structured environment with the goal to advance patient-centered, coordinated and accountable care. Information about both programs is on the Learning Communities web page. Applications due December 30.

–Wal-Mart Community Grants Program provides grants from $250 to $2,500 to support Wal-Mart store communities. Funding areas include sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, and career opportunity. Deadline: 12/31/2014.

— Angel Tax Credit Program Now Accepting Applications. Minnesota DEED is now accepting certification applications for the 2015 Angel Tax Credit program.

New features include:

  • $15 million in tax credits per year
  • $7.5 million in tax credits reserved for investments in women-owned, minority-owned and Greater Minnesota located businesses until Sept. 30
  • ‘Insiders’ (officers, principals, 20% owners and family with ownership interests combined, and family of these insiders) are no longer eligible for the credit
  • Eligible business types have been expanded: businesses researching or developing a proprietary product, process or service in agriculture, tourism, forestry, mining, manufacturing, or transportation (no high-tech or technology requirement). Businesses that receive angel funding must be headquartered in Minnesota and certified to participate in the program. They must have fewer than 25 employees, with at least 51 percent of the workers and total payroll based in the state. They also must have been operating for no more than 10 years and cannot have received previous equity investments exceeding $4 million. Credit allocation applications for the 2015 program will be accepted beginning Jan. 1, 2015. For more details about the program go to     

U.S. EDA will be providing $15 million in funding for the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition. This includes 3 separate competitions:

Frontier Communications, DISH and other partners are sponsoring the revitalization of small communities with the AMERICA’s BEST COMMUNITIES Contest. More than $10 million will be provided to support innovation and growth to 50 rural communities over three years in this multi-stage contest. Communities with a population between 9,500 and 80,000 that are served by Frontier Communications may apply. Applications are due January 12, 2015. For more information go to:

Agricultural Safety Grants award funding to local- or regional-level agricultural health and safety intervention projects. Application deadline: Jan 7, 2015. Sponsored by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America.

–Gannett Foundation is offering Community Action Grants to nonprofit organizations, with funding priority given to programs that focus on education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment. Deadline: 2/28/2015. Geographic coverage is limited to certain areas of 35 states and U.S. territories. Click here to visit the Foundation’s Website for details.

–The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering AmeriCorps State and National Grants to public and private nonprofit groups for projects that will improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic participation through service and volunteering. Deadline: 1/21/2015. Click here for an application.

–The American Association of University Women is providing grants of up to $10,000 for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equality for women and girls, especially in STEM disciplines. Deadline: 1/15/2015. Click here for funding guidelines and an application.

Since 2010 the Angel Tax Credit Program has attracted more than $260 million for hundreds of high-tech startups in Minnesota. Under the program, qualified private investors receive a state tax credit of 25 percent for investing in qualified businesses.

Half of the $120 million in investments the Angel Tax Credit program hopes to attract over the next two years will be reserved for women-owned, minority-owned and Greater Minnesota located businesses. Any leftover tax credits not tapped for investments in those businesses by the September 30 deadline each year will be available for investments in businesses outside those groups.

i6 Challenge ($8 million)– “a national competition based on the most impactful national models for startup creation, innovation, and commercialization”

Science & Research Park Development Grants ($5 million)– “provides funding for feasibility and planning for the construction of new or expanded science or research parks, or the renovation of existing facilities”

Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds ($2 million)– “provide funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovation-based, growth-oriented start-up companies in exchange for equity”        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, and demonstrate an ability to repay the loan.The types of projects that qualify need to involve pre-approved capital equipment purchases that meet or exceed environmental rules and regulations, or pre-approved site investigations and cleanups. Projects begun or completed prior to MPCA approval are not eligible. Loans are awarded on a competitive basis year-round and are based on available funds. It typically takes a minimum of 45 days to complete the process once a loan is awarded.The general term

To qualify

MPCA small business loans help green up local business. Many businesses are eligible and can benefit from using a small business loan to change processes or equipment. Many auto body shops are switching from solvent to water-based coating systems. For fleet vehicles that are older than 2007, idling emissions can be reduced with idling technologies. For other companies, financial assistance can help with investigating or cleaning up contaminated sites.

–Solar thermal rebates still available from MiM Solar Incentive Program. Customers of electric investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Minnesota Power, and Otter Tail Power) can still apply for a 2014 Made in Minnesota solar thermal rebate. Applications for the solar thermal rebates remain open on a first-come, first-served basis until 2014 funds are fully subscribed. Learn more.

There were webinars with more information about these programs. The webinars were recorded and can be viewed at under the EDA Regional Innovation Grants heading. For the application package and more information, please go to

  • loan amount not less than $1,000 or more than $50,000,
  • an interest rate of four percent or one-half the prime rate, whichever is greater at the time of award,
  • repayment term of not more than seven years for environmental improvements, collateral is required,
  • and borrowers must complete an evaluation of the project’s realized environmental and economic benefits.  

–The Health Resources and Services Administration is offering grants to rural nonprofits and health care entities working in conjunction in planning a network. Grants are for programs that will expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services and enhance the delivery of health care in rural areas through planning activities. Deadline: 1/9/2015.

–Youth Service American and SODEXO Foundation are offering grants for youth-led projects that bring together young people, families, and other community members to address childhood hunger on Global Youth Service Days, April 17-19, 2015. Deadline to apply: 1/15/2015.

–The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants through The Big Read Program for nonprofit and public agencies in developing community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Funded programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, panel discussions, lectures, art exhibits, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, and other events and activities related to one of 37 available reading choices. Deadline: 1/28/2015.

–The Fund for Teachers will award fellowships to pre-K-12 classroom teachers throughout the United States so that they may participate in training and enriching activities that will improve their skills as teachers. Educators should propose a summer activity and explain how the endeavor will make the applicant a better teacher, how the applicant will implement his or her new improved skills in the classroom, and how these improved skills will benefit students, curricula, and the school. Eligible teachers may apply as individuals (funding limit of $5,000) or as a team (funding limit of $10,000). Deadline to apply: 1/29/2015.

–Mary Byron Foundation will honor programs that demonstrate promise in ending the cycle of domestic violence in underserved populations. Deadline to apply: 1/31/2015. Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene awards funding for predoctoral training programs that are designed to educate predoctoral dental students, dental hygiene students, and dental hygienists, preparing them to practice in new and emerging models of care that are designed to meet the needs of vulnerable, underserved, and rural populations. Sponsor: Bureau of Health Workforce. Application deadline: Feb 2, 2015.

–February 2nd is the Next Grant Deadline!  East Central Regional Arts Council reminds all local artists, art organizations and schools within Region 7E (the Minnesota Counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine) that the next deadline to apply for funding is Monday, February 2nd, 2015. ECRAC funding is available for the following grant programs:

– Art in Our Schools Grants: School districts may apply for arts-related funding up to $1,000.
– Small/Art Project Assistance Grants: Nonprofit organizations, school districts, and local units of government may apply for arts-related funding ranging from $500-$5,000
–  Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Organizations: Nonprofit organizations, school districts, and local units of government may apply for arts-related funding ranging from $5,000-$15,000.
– Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Individuals: Individual artists may apply for arts-related funding up to $2,500. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, or Mille Lacs County.
– McKnight Individual Artist Grants: Individual artists may apply for arts-related funding up to $1,000. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, or Mille Lacs County.Grant applicants requesting technical assistance or wanting more information regarding arts grant programs can contact the ECRAC office by phone at 320-396-2337, and by email at Staff members are also available to meet 1-1 with individual artists and arts groups wishing to discuss their ideas for potential proposals. Additional information regarding these funding opportunities and all application forms can be found and downloaded at the ECRAC website:, or by visiting the ECRAC office located at 112 Main Avenue South, Braham, MN. For more information, please call 320-396-2337, or visit the website at:

–HUD is offering up to four grants through the Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant Program. The program transforms neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into mixed-income neighborhoods of long-term viability by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing; improving access to economic opportunities; and investing and leveraging investments in well-functioning services, effective schools and education programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs. Deadline: 2/9/2015.

Advanced Nursing Education Grants . Grants for projects that support the enhancement of advanced nursing education and practice. Awardees will create or enhance partnerships between academic institutions and rural or underserved clinical practice sites to improve student readiness to enter those areas upon graduation. Sponsor: Bureau of Health Workforce. Application deadline: Feb 13, 2015.

–HARPO Foundation is accepting applications for Native American artist fellowships. One-month fellowships will be awarded to Native American artists who demonstrate strong artistic ability and a practice that engages a dialogue between the indigenous world and the surrounding culture. Deadline: 2/15/2015.

–The Lawrence Foundation is accepting proposals for program and operating grants from U.S. nonprofits working in the areas of the environmental, education, human services, disaster relief, and other issue areas. Deadline: 4/30/2015.

USDA Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program. Funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities for healthcare, public safety, education, and public services in rural areas. Sponsor: USDA Rural Development. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.  Registration is now open for the 2015 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Feb. 3-4 in St. Paul. THE DATE – INSPIRE the 58th annual invention expo, being held in Minneapolis Convention Center on April 30 – May 1, 2015!

Rural Arts and Culture Summit, June 2- 4, 2015, University of Minnesota Morris2015 National Rural Assembly will be held September 8-10, 2015 at the — The 11th Annual Minnesota e-Health Summit, Connecting Communities to Advance Population Health, will take place June 16-17, 2015 in St. Louis Park.–The 2015 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 29-30, 2015 in Duluth. Sign up to receive email updates.

–Free download: Rewriting the Rural Narrative.  If you missed Ben Winchester’s talk on population trends in rural communities, no worries. You can download a recording of the hour-long webinar that focuses on Ben’s research on rural migration trends and the impacts they have on social and economic opportunity. While brain drain, the loss of 18- to 29-year-olds, dominates the conversation about rural population change, Ben’s research shows a lesser known migration. A majority of rural counties are, in fact, experiencing brain gains as newcomers age 30-49 move in. Ben is a research fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality.               Energy and water are inseparable issues. See what clients and utilities across the United States are doing to squeeze more use out of every precious drop of water.

–According to the USDA, while the U.S. economy is now in its sixth year of recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09, many rural areas have struggled to recover the jobs lost during the downturn. While urban employment now exceeds pre-recession levels, rural employment remains well below its 2007 peak and has continued to fall over the last year in many areas. Notable clusters of employment decline can be found in the Deep South, Appalachia, the Mountain West, and the Pacific Northwest. Employment in rural America as a whole is less than two percent above the employment trough reached during the recession, and rose less than one percent between mid-2013 and mid-2014. Click to download the November 2014 edition of Rural America at a Glance.

Inflation and Higher Food Prices Kept Food Insecurity Rates Relatively High After the 2007-09 Recession (Amber Waves feature) If agricultural productivity growth slows in future years, how will global agricultural output, consumption, land use, and prices adjust? To address this question, ERS researchers recently used the agency’s global agricultural and energy economic model—the Future Agricultural Resources Model (FARM)—to simulate agricultural markets in 2050 under a range of different scenarios.

–The University of Washington has developed a series of training videos designed to assist American Indian and Alaska Native physicians, tribal health clinics, and tribal grant writers in applying for grant opportunities. Modules include writing statement of needs, writing goals and objectives, preparing budgets, planning and submitting for federal grants, and challenges that tribes may experience when applying for grant money. Access all the materials

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s “Plan. Prepare. Prevail.” program is available to individuals, families, and small business owners to learn about the financial documents and records they need to have available in case of an emergency situation. Several of the materials are now available in Spanish on the website. This includes the personal and small business financial inventory forms and the quick checklists to identify and organize key financial records.

–“Healthcare Access in Rural Communities” provides an overview of challenges to healthcare access in rural America and ways communities and policymakers can address community needs. The guide was developed by the Rural Assistance Center Information and the RUPRI Center for Rural Policy Analysis.

MNsure has published an online Assister Directory searchable by county, city, zip code and/or language.

–The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued two new topic guides: Health Care Access in Rural Communities and Conducting Rural Health Research, Needs Assessment, and Program Evaluation and updated its Rural Health Disparities guide.

2014 Update of the Rural-Urban Chartbook provides an update to information provided in Health, United States, 2001: With Urban and Rural Health Chartbook. Highlights current trends and disparities across different levels of metro- and nonmetropolitan counties including population characteristics; health-related behaviors and risk factors; mortality rates; healthcare access and use; and other health measures such as teen birth rates, tooth loss, and activity limitations due to chronic disease.

–“Trends and New Directions: Area Agencies on Aging Survey” presents survey results on the role of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and their operations and services in meeting the needs of their communities. Includes examples of AAA projects that are serving rural communities.

–Minnesota Compass has put more data at your fingertips on aging and immigration:Aging: Data about older adults on 16 key measures throughout the site can now be quickly accessed directly from the Aging topic. Check out our new Cross-topic section in the top and left navigation bars. We also have a new Group at a glance profile for a quick overview of Minnesota’s older adult population.Immigration: Similar to aging, all key measures with immigration information have been added under a new Cross-topic navigation heading within the Immigration topic. In addition, Groups at a glance profiles have been updated, and now appear in the navigation.

–A new study from the National Association of Counties (NACo) is a collection of case studies of rural counties that are using innovative/asset-based approaches to economic development. You can access the report

Impact Report: The Economic and Human Impact of Nonprofit Organizations on Rural America Includes success stories from rural housing organizations that provide affordable homes and rental housing opportunities in rural areas. Organization: National Rural Housing Coalition

–According to USDA Rural Veterans at a Glance, nearly 4 million veterans resided in rural (nonmetropolitan) America in 2012. They are a rapidly aging and increasingly diverse group of men and women who comprise over 10 percent of the rural adult population despite their persistently declining numbers; the number of veterans living in rural areas declined from 6.6 million in 1992 to 3.8 million in 2012. Read more

American Community Survey Narrative Profiles. Produces brief narrative reports for selected regions based on the most recent ACS 5-year estimates. Addresses health insurance coverage, disability status, age, poverty, and other topics. Reports can be generated for counties, towns, zip codes, census tracts, and more.

Minnesota Department of Health is accepting applications for two leadership positions: Assistant Commissioner for Health Protection and Director of the Center for Health Equity. Applications for the assistant commissioner position will be accepted until December 22, and those for the division director position until December 31.


With Adequate Productivity Growth, Global Agriculture Is Resilient to Future Population and Economic Growth (Amber Waves feature)

Despite falling unemployment rates, the prevalence of food insecurity among U.S. households remained relatively stable from the end of the Great Recession (2007-09) through 2013. Higher general inflation, combined with higher relative food prices, offset the effect of lower unemployment.

Featured Documentary – 
Water: The Lifeblood of Energy


2014 Kids Count Data Book. Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released the 2014 Kids Count Data Book – an annual snapshot of critical benchmarks that show how we’re doing in terms of economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. It has good information for practitioners and is a great starting point for measuring outcomes. MORE

–The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published its list of rural and underserved counties for 2015. View the lists here.

–According to Rural Family Economic Success Action Network (RuFES) one-in-Five New Rural Americans is foreign-born. Over 11 million new residents moved to rural and mixed-rural counties across the United States since 2000. Of the 11 million, 2.3 were foreign-born. That means that one-in-five new rural Americans are immigrants. To check the ratio in your state, click here. To read an article about how a rural Minnesota community found a way to help their foreign-born neighbors, click here.

The U.S. Census has released 2013 American Housing Survey tables. This survey includes characteristics and physical condition of the nation’s housing units, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, and home improvement activities. This year’s survey includes new topics: disaster planning and emergency preparedness, public transportation, household involvement in neighborhood and community activities and the prevalence of “doubled-up” households. Click here to view the tables.

USDA has released a new state-by-state “Made in Rural America” report showing the impact of USDA investments in rural communities. Each state factsheet highlights specific investments in rural businesses, manufacturing, energy, water and other infrastructure development. They also outline how USDA is helping rural communities attract businesses and families by investing in housing and broadband. Click here to access the state factsheets.

Homelessness in Rural America discusses the unique needs and characteristics of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in rural America. It covers issues of access and barriers to care for rural human service delivery for homeless populations as well as makes recommendation to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to address these issues. If is provided by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides access to results for this annual survey focused on substance abuse and mental health issues. Includes information on prevalence and services. Rural-specific data is available in detailed tables that list “geographic characteristics.” Data is also made available by state and for regions within states.

Minnesota’s growing Hispanic population: 5 trends of interest from Minnesota Compass. Read it now.

Updated state-level data for 10 key measures. Minnesota Compass has been busy compiling and posting newly released census data for 10 key measures, including: cost-burdened households, proportion of adults working, poverty, health insurance, median income, educational attainment, home ownership, disability. View highlights.

–The Orton Family Foundation Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide, available as a free download, spells out step-by-step how to inspire residents to shape the future of their communities, based on what matters most to them. Whether you are a city planner, elected official, or a resident concerned about your town’s future, I hope you will take a moment to download the Field Guide and start the conversation about strengthening the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of your town.

Amber Waves magazine presents the broad scope of ERS research and analysis on the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America. The October 2014 issue includes articles on crop insurance, use of nutrition labeling on menus, agritourism, climate change, rural employment in the latest recession and recovery, and food consumption and nutrient intake.

Rural Employment in Recession and Recovery (Amber Waves feature) Rural counties as a whole saw a higher rate of employment decline than urban areas in the recession, and rural employment growth has lagged well behind metro growth in the recovery.

The Center for Rural Policy & Development released its State of Rural Minnesota Report 2014, a presentation of demographic and economic statistics on rural Minnesota, including maps with county-level data.

Download now »

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. RSVP to the Facebook page.

Registration Now Open for 2015 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference


CHS Foundation Grants awards funding for projects and programs related to rural youth leadership, rural cooperative education, community leadership development, and farm and agriculture safety. Application deadline: ongoing.

Go here for more information or contact Hien Le at the MPCA at or 651-757-2519.