January-February 2015 – Volume XIII, Number 1

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



  • 2015 REAP funding is available for rural small businesses and farmers. Financial assistance for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements is available to rural small businesses and agricultural producers through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). A notice of solicitation of applications for REAP funding was recently issued for fiscal year 2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service, with deadlines posted. http://tinyurl.com/p2773rf
  • Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) announced it is now offering long- term loans for facility and real estate projects. The loans are available to nonprofits serving low-income or special needs populations in Minnesota. Learn more https://nonprofitsassistancefund.org/loans
  • –The Federal Transit Administration is offering grants to federally-recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, groups, and communities for public transportation programs on Indian reservations. Deadline: 2/18/2015. Click  http://tinyurl.com/ocbetl7 for grant guidelines.
  • –NEA is offering Art Works Grants to nonprofits, units of state or local government, and federally recognized tribal communities or tribes. Objectives: The creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Deadline: 2/19/2015. Click http://tinyurl.com/oaz6vn6 for application guidelines.
  • The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and libraries that offer literacy programs in communities served by Dollar General in 40 states. Following are descriptions of programs offering grants: adult literacy grants support nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to adults in need of literacy assistance; family literacy grants support family literacy service providers that combine parent and youth literacy instruction; and summer reading grants help nonprofit organizations and libraries with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs for students who are new readers, below grade level readers, or readers with learning disabilities. Deadline: 2/26/2015. In addition the Foundation offers youth literacy grants to support schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations that work to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. The application deadline for this program is 5/12/2015. Visit the Foundation’s website http://tinyurl.com/7q9ohzf to access guidelines for each grant program.
  • Applications for the second year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted until February 28, 2015. The program, entering its second year, helps fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems for Minnesota residents, businesses, and communities. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
    The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program has an annual budget of up to $15 million for 10 years, including $250,000 per year for solar thermal rebates. Approximately 50 percent of the incentives will go to residential systems and 50 percent to commercial for both the solar thermal and solar PV parts of the program. The program is funded by 5 percent of each electric investor-owned utility’s total annual Conservation Improvement Program budget, with remaining funds provided through the Xcel Renewable Development Fund. More information on the Made in Minnesota program. Questions can be directed to the Department of Commerce Energy Information Center at energy. Info@state.mn.us or 651-539-1886 or 1-800-657-3710.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofits and Indian Tribes for programs that ensure the successful transition of young fathers from secure confinement facilities and out-of-home placement back to their families and their communities. Deadline: 3/2/2015. http://tinyurl.com/ngw5fet
  • Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Assistance Program Funding for projects designed to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural jurisdictions. Letter of Intent (Optional): Feb 11, 2015. Application deadline: Mar 4, 2015 http://www.raconline.org/funding/1413
  • –The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through the Administration for Native Americans’ Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies program. The program supports community-based projects that will foster economic development through the creation of small businesses and sustainable job growth. Priorities include creation of sustainable employment opportunities, professional training and skill development that increase participants’ employability and earning potential; creation and development of small businesses and entrepreneurial activities; and a demonstrated strategy and commitment to keeping the jobs and revenues generated by project activities within the Native communities being served. The deadline is 3/4/2015. Click here for guidelines and an application. http://tinyurl.com/oh2y5od
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies that provide medical education and services for programs that improve medical knowledge about geriatric care. Deadline: 3/5/2015. For application guidelines, http://tinyurl.com/pxzmjhy
  • USDA is offering grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to encourage the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who will be integral to sustaining America’s agricultural future. Deadline to apply: 3/13/2015. Click http://tinyurl.com/qddhpqu
  • Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program Grants for training and services to address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, involving victims who are 50 years of age or older. Application deadline: Mar 18, 2015 http://www.raconline.org/funding/1416
  • –William J. & Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation provides capacity building, special projects, and general operations support for family-centered endeavors in the areas of education, health and wellness, self-sufficiency, economic development, housing, arts and culture, and environmental sustainability. Deadline: Letter of Intent by 3/25/2015. Click http://tinyurl.com/n46oo4y
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through the Native Asset Building Initiative to Native American organizations that support low-income Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Pacific Islander, and Guam Native individuals and families to acquire long-term assets and improve their economic status. Deadline: 3/25/2015. Click http://tinyurl.com/kk3xy9y
  • The NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) are offering grants to nonprofit community-based organizations for financial and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety, and accessibility of local football fields. The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program seeks to redress the shortage of clean, safe, and accessible football fields in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Deadline to apply: 3/30/2015. Click http://tinyurl.com/a3kxnle to learn more about the program and funding guidelines.
  • — The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) announced a new one-time funding opportunity: the Rural Outreach Benefits Counseling Program. The three-year program seeks to expand health insurance outreach, education and enrollment efforts to eligible uninsured and newly insured individuals and families in rural communities. Applications due March 30. http://tinyurl.com/pdabcey
  • The National Science Foundation is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs, and IHEs to provide superior STEM teacher preparation, along with better course materials and teaching methods. Deadline: 4/14/2015. For application guidelines, click http://tinyurl.com/p6y9zrx
  • Community Economic Development (CED) Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects awards funding to Community Development Corporations for projects designed to address food deserts and improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in a rural community. Application deadline: April 24, 2015. http://www.raconline.org/funding/3579
  • Community Economic Development (CED) Projects offers funds to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities, including expansion or construction of clinics and health centers. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in rural communities. Application deadline: April 24, 2015. http://www.raconline.org/funding/2098
  • –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. Click http://tinyurl.com/p2b5uxt to visit the website for more information.
  • –The Department of Labor is offering grants to partnerships of private and public sector entities through the American Apprenticeship Initiative for innovative work-based learning and post-secondary earn-and-learn models. Deadline: 4/30/2015. Click http://tinyurl.com/o3fgybc to review application information.



  • –Arts + Community Development in Rural Communities February 12 & 13. Are you interested in understanding how the arts can contribute to community development in rural communities of Minnesota? MCF’s Arts and Culture Funders Network is hosting two sessions in greater Minnesota to discuss this important topic and to introduce a new grant program available at ArtPlace America designed for place-based non-governmental organizations with a primary mission of community planning and development that are interested in incorporating arts and cultural strategies into their work. Register to attend in person or by videoconference: http://www.artplaceamerica.org/
  • –Heart & Soul Talk: Use Community Network Analysis to Improve Participation and Results. Identifying the multiple layers of community can be the difference between success or failure of a project. Orton’s Community Network Analysis (CNA) is a powerful way to understand who lives, works, and plays in your town and how best to reach them. Alece Montez-Greigo, director of programs, explains the tool. Heart & Soul practitioners join her to share on-the-ground experience using CNA. 4-5 p.m. EST, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. Free! http://tinyurl.com/pfalqlx
  • The Rural Assistance Center will be hosting a two part webinar series from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. Part one in the series will focus on the policy briefs the committee has issued on rural healthcare. Part two in the series will cover the briefs issued on rural human services. Please join RAC for these free webinars.
  • Part One of Two will be Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm Central Time.The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services has issued several recent Policy Briefs on rural healthcare. Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Committee has focused much of its work on how the ACA would be implemented in rural America. The webinar will address two briefs that cover enrollment in and pricing of insurance plans and premiums for rural populations on the 2014 Health Insurance Marketplaces. The third brief discusses the provision of hospice benefits to the rural population.
  • Title: Health Update from The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services http://tinyurl.com/n5p8bsz
  • Affordable Care Act Plans and Premiums in Rural America, July 2014Rural Implications of the Affordable Care Act Outreach, Education, and Enrollment, January 2014
  • Rural Implications of Changes to the Medicare Hospice Benefit, August 2013
  • Register Now – http://tinyurl.com/n5p8bsz
  • Part Two of Two will be Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm Central Time.The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services will discuss its recent Policy Briefs on Rural Humans Services. In its first Policy Brief, the Committee examined the intersection of federal human services programs and rural poverty and included two case studies about two different types of anchor organizations to coordinate rural Human Services. In the other Policy Brief they discuss the unique needs and characteristics of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in rural America.
  • Title: Human Services Update from The National Advisory Committee on Rural and Human Services http://tinyurl.com/kxvxvx4
  •  Homelessness in Rural America, July 2014
  • The Intersection of Rural Poverty and Federal Human Services Programs, January 2014 Register now: http://tinyurl.com/kxvxvx4
  • –The 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum, “Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century”, will be held February 19-20, 2015 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, in Arlington, Virginia. The forum will take a global, modern look at the complex aspects of today’s agriculture industry. Visit the website http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/ for details.
  • Energy Design Conference is Feb. 23-25 in Duluth. The 25th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo, hosted by Minnesota Power, will be held at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center on Feb. 23-25. This event will offer a diverse set of seminars and workshops about the latest in energy-efficient building and technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources is a sponsor, exhibitor, and presenter. http://www.duluthenergydesign.com/
  • –Heart & Soul Training: Intro to Building Better Communities. Alece Montez-Griego, director of programs, leads an interactive webinar that will give participants insight into what makes Community Heart & Soul a powerful, results-oriented, and successful approach to community development and planning. This hour-long overview is the first in a series of four online trainings to be offered this year by the Orton Family Foundation. 3-4 p.m., EST, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. Free! http://tinyurl.com/oyslap9
  • The Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) will host its the annual evaluation Spring Training event March 9-13, intended for new evaluators, professional evaluators, program directors and staff, community agency staff, students and others interested in conducting or using evaluations. MESI Spring Training provides a unique opportunity to learn and reflect on contemporary issues in evaluation with national experts and practitioners in a small setting at a fraction of the cost of larger trainings and conferences.  http://www.cehd.umn.edu/OLPD/MESI/One- and two-day pre-training workshops include both introductory and advanced concepts and skills, including the Minnesota premiere of Michael Quinn Patton’s Principles-Based Evaluation workshop, as well as workshops from other esteemed leaders in evaluation. For more information about training sessions and to register, visit evaluation.umn.edu.
  • The Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) 2015 Conference will be held March 10-11 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. The conference will showcase successful energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and will offer a great opportunity for people who are planning clean-energy activities in their communities. It will provide ideas for clean energy projects and a chance to network with peers, exhibitors, and others who can help projects move forward. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources is a conference sponsor and exhibitor and will provide a half-day poster session on several Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant projects. The Division’s lighting exhibit from the Minnesota State Fair will be displayed. To register and for more information, http://tinyurl.com/oyl4a9h
  • Rethinking Excellence in a Diverse Democracy: 2015 Minnesota Campus Compact Summit, Presidents’ Meeting, and Awards Ceremony will be held This annual convening focuses on key issues in our collaborative work and honors award recipients from across the state. A morning plenary will begin with powerful speakers, including Nekima Levy-Pounds, Professor of Law and Director of the Community Justice Project at the University of St. Thomas, and Andrew Seligsohn, the new president of national Campus Compact. Following the awards luncheon, afternoon breakout sessions will address:
  • April 16, 2015, St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
    • Developing Cultural Agility in Ourselves, Our Students, Institutions, and Partnerships
    • Higher Education, Community Engagement, and the Changing World of Work
    • Skills for Conflict Resolution in Collaborative Work
    • Student Perspectives on Community Engagement and the College/University Experience
    • Supporting Low-Income Students’ Success: Transformative Systems Change
  • The National Consumers League hosts LifeSmarts, an online competition for students in grades 6-12. Each month focuses on a different category important to teen consumers: personal finance, health and safety, consumer rights, technology, and the environment. Teams with the highest scores advance to state competitions in the early spring, and the winning teams advance to the National Championship (April 17-20 in Seattle, Wash.). Experts from these backgrounds are needed to serve as judges and officials at the state and national competitions. http://lifesmarts.org/
  • The Minnesota Department of Commerce was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy grant to decrease energy use at Minnesota municipal wastewater treatment facilities and scope opportunities for renewable energy generation. As part of the project’s objectives, Commerce and its core project partners (Minnesota Technical Assistance Program and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) will engage municipal wastewater treatment facilities to participate in training and assessment activities in order to identify significant energy efficiency projects. http://tinyurl.com/mlajhwt
  • –The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Minnesota Chapter are pleased to host A Gift of Communication, where six nonprofits (chosen by lottery) will receive an afternoon of free consultation from seasoned IABC MN communications professionals on March 12 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 a short application. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/15Gift
  • The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is making space available for meetings, art production, rehearsal, performance, exhibition, and more.  Contact Executive Director Mary Minnick-Daniels  at (320) 396-2337 or by email at director@ecrac.org for more information and to discuss your, or your organization’s, needs.


  • Minnesota on the move: Examining migration patterns. The state demographer’s office recently analyzed patterns of migration to better understand who is moving to Minnesota and who is moving away. State Demographer Susan Brower highlights some key findings, and gives her insight about what they mean. http://tinyurl.com/lqh4hv2
  • –The Pew Charitable Trusts has published a brief titled “Changing Patterns in U.S. Immigration and Population”. The analysis shows how the patterns are fueling population growth, and even reversing declines, in some surprising areas. Get a copy of the document http://tinyurl.com/kys669x
  • A New Majority: Low Income Students Now a Majority In the Nation’s Public Schools Provides data showing that a majority of students attending public schools come from low-income families and discusses implications of the findings.  http://tinyurl.com/kdqnj5cOlder adults soon to exceed school-age population. By 2020, Minnesota’s 65+ population is expected to exceed our state’s school-age population. Currently, at least 20 percent of residents are over age 65 in one-third of Minnesota’s counties. By 2030, this should be true for every county in Minnesota. http://tinyurl.com/lqh4hv2America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2014 Edition Most U.S. farms—97 percent in 2011—are family operations. Small family farms make up 90 percent of the count, though midsize and large-scale family farms produce 60 percent of value of production, per ERS’s latest Family Farm Report. http://tinyurl.com/omhxovx
  • –The National Rural Housing Coalition has released the results of a study called “Impact Report: The Economic and Human Impact of Nonprofit Organizations on Rural America”. The report includes success stories from rural housing organizations that provide affordable homes and rental housing opportunities in rural areas. Click http://tinyurl.com/p68wkqh to get a free copy.
  • Homeownership rates. The overall homeownership rate in Minnesota is about 72 percent, but that varies widely among major cities. A look at cities with populations of 20,000 or more shows Andover at #1 with a 94 percent homeownership rate, while Saint Paul and Minneapolis come in at the bottom with rates just below 50 percent. http://tinyurl.com/pf9csgd
  • –A new Housing Assistance Council report “Housing an Aging Rural America: Rural Seniors and Their Homes”, takes a look at rural elders and considers ways to provide them with quality, affordable housing. Get a copy http://tinyurl.com/ov69682
  • –The Center for Rural Affairs has released “Earned Income Tax Credit and Rural Households”, a report that looks at the Earned Income Tax Credit by place of residence. Authors discusses how this tax credit can be a safety-net effort and financial support to help rural families out of poverty. Download a copy.  http://files.cfra.org/pdf/EITC-final.pdf
  • –CFED has launched The Taxpayer Opportunity Network to support those who provide free tax preparation assistance for low-income communities. The Taxpayer Opportunity Network connects users with practitioners from across the country as well as tools and resources. The Network also facilitates advocacy for expanding resources for tax preparation services and creating a ‘right-side up’ tax code. To visit the site, click http://tinyurl.com/lnu4vtc
  • –The Housing Assistance Council’s publication Rural Voices analyzes the development and amelioration of poverty in rural America since the War on Poverty was declared 50 years ago. Download a copy http://tinyurl.com/pdk47hx
  • –CFED’s newest federal policy publication series, “Increasing Financial Well-Being through Integration”, chronicles policy changes that could increase the impact of social service programs by boosting families’ overall economic outcomes. The publication is available http://tinyurl.com/pp9ku27
  • –USDA Economic Research Service has released a report “Measuring Access to Healthful, Affordable Food in American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Areas”. The study compares the distances to food markets that provide healthful and affordable foods in tribal areas to those of the rest of the country, and the effect of distance and limited food availability on the health of tribal populations. Download the summary report http://tinyurl.com/pjahu5c The full report can be found http://tinyurl.com/noz42no            The University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs offers an array of services through its community-strengthening programs. http://tinyurl.com/onqwkst

JOB OPPORTUNITIESResearch center connects university resources with community groups

  • From preschool to high school, programs aim to close Minnesota’s STEM achievement gap Hands-on educational experiences are exposing low-income students in Minnesota to the concepts and opportunities found in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. http://tinyurl.com/otykm4z
  • State Export Data While a States actual agricultural export value cannot be measured directly, USDAs Economic Research Service (ERS) has developed a methodology that provides indirect estimates of exports using State export shares. Estimates of annual U.S. agricultural export values by State and commodity are provided using two methods: fiscal year (FY) (October-September) exports based on each States share of U.S. agricultural production and a new calendar year (CY) (January-December) series of export estimates based on U.S. farm cash receipts. ERS provided estimates based on both methods in 2011 but will update and maintain only the new calendar year farm receipts-based estimates for 2012 and forward. http://tinyurl.com/qzvyb6p
  • CFED has released the 2015 version of its Assets and Opportunity Scorecard. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 133 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states can do to help them build and protect assets. Access the data http://assetsandopportunity.org/
  • Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow Looks at the role immigrants play as neighborhood business owners. Includes strategies for assisting immigrant businesses as a way to impact neighborhood revitalization and economic development. http://tinyurl.com/mx26yj4
  • Mapping the Measure of America State and county-level maps showing key health indicators such as life expectancy, diabetes, and more. Also covers indicators that impact health, like educational attainment and income. Select a county by clicking on the map for a brief profile. http://www.measureofamerica.org/maps/
  • The National Center for Rural Health Works published their study on the economic impact of healthcare on rural communities. Types of impacts examined include hospital construction, critical access hospitals, primary care physicians, general surgeons, pharmacies, dentists and more. Get a copy http://tinyurl.com/q6cbpkz
  • Rural Schools and Health – visit this updated guide to learn about how rural schools can support the health of students and the community. Find school-based programs and strategies related to healthcare services, healthy eating, physical activity, health education, and more. http://www.raconline.org/topics/schools
  • Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has published a paper that identifies effective approaches to conduct health insurance outreach and enrollment activities in rural areas. The document describes challenges rural communities face when planning outreach and enrollment strategies and how to best overcome these challenges such as possible political resistance, limited access to internet, and geographic remoteness. Download a copy http://tinyurl.com/o3c4cvx
  • The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued a new topic guide: Community Health Workers in Rural Settings and updated its Rural Mental Health and Oral Health in Rural Communities guides.
  • In the most recent issue of NEA Arts, the authors look at some of the innovative ways organizations are helping to positively change individuals and communities through the arts. From easing symptoms of trauma to changing the dynamics of the aging process, art is shown to have powerful healing properties. Read the article here. http://arts.gov/NEARTS
  • Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress ERS details current economic information on local food producers, consumers, and policies, based on findings from several national surveys and a synthesis of recent literature. http://tinyurl.com/qbxp68a
  • Structure and Finances of U.S. Farms: Family Farm Report, 2014 Edition
  • Farming is still an industry of family businesses. Ninety-seven percent of farms are family farms, and they account for 85 percent of farm production. Small farms make up 90 percent of the farm count and operate half of the Nation’s farmland. Most farm production, however, occurs on midsize and large-scale family farms. http://tinyurl.com/ozb2vn9
  • LifeSmarts Online Consumer Challenge
January – February 2015 (Nationwide)


The University of Minnesota Crookston is Searching for a Director for the Center for Rural Economic Development. The University of Minnesota Crookston is hiring a Director for the Center for Rural Development. This person would work closely with the Center for Rural Economic Development Studies (CRES), EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and the Northwest Region’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as well as partners across the state in matters related to economic development. To view the full position description, please go to http://www3.crk.umn.edu/humanresources/Admin&staff-positions.htm.

–Job Opening for a Rural Health Planner in the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, $50,112-$73,853 annually. This position is the section and department expert on current and emerging rural health policy issues and analysis. Working with the Governor-appointed Rural Health Advisory Committee, the position leads these policy advisors in the identification of high-priority, wide-ranging rural health policy issues, and establishes goals and work plans for improving health status and health system performance in rural Minnesota. Find details and apply here: https://statejobs.doer.state.mn.us/JobPosting/View?_posting=14HEAL000535

Explore Minnesota Southern Region Coordinator Position Now Open

Explore Minnesota is accepting applications for the southern region coordinator position, located in Mankato. http://tinyurl.com/ntsgctd