April 2015 – Volume XIII, Number 3

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



— The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofits and public entities through the Assets for Independence program. The program supports innovative asset-building projects that enable low-income people to improve their economic status and become self-sufficient. Deadline: 4/20/2015. Click here to review funding guidelines. http://tinyurl.com/p8c2rko

–The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation has issued “Healthy Communities: Health Equity in Action Request for Proposals (RFP)” which supports the efforts of nonprofit organizations working to improve the health of their communities throughout the state. The Foundation will fund community solutions that help create the following: equitable systems, stable lives, social connections, and vibrant communities. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 for one to two years will be provided. Deadline: 4/20/2015. Visit the Foundation’s website here to download the RFP.  http://tinyurl.com/ontxzcc

Community Economic Development (CED) Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects award 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

Newman’s Own Awards Program offers grants to volunteer and nonprofit organizations supporting military families. Eligible applicants must be comprised primarily of volunteers or be a nonprofit organization, and be working with the families of Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve units and/or veterans. Deadline: 4/29/2015. Visit the program’s website here to submit an online application.

USDA is offering REAP grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs and loan guarantees for up to 75 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The REAP application window has been expanded. USDA will now accept and review loan and grant applications year-round. Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, small hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters). The maximum grant amount is $500,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant. Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant. 2015 application deadlines are April 30 and June 30. For more information go to: http://tinyurl.com/pvb77l8

–National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), with generous support from Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., invites applications from nonprofits for capacity-building grants to protect, improve, and support responsible use of public land and water sites in the United States. Deadline: 4/30/2015. Click here to visit the website to learn more about these grants and the application process.

–The Foundation for Financial Planning will award grants to nonprofit organizations nationwide for pro bono activities that utilize financial planning practitioners in the delivery of services. Support is provided to organizations that provide services to specific target audiences that are underserved by the market, in need of financial guidance, or in a financial crisis. Online applications must be submitted by 4/30/2015. Grant guidelines and application information are available on the Foundation’s website here.

–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 here 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 here to review application information.

The Presbyterian Church is offering grants to nonprofit organizations addressing hunger and its causes in the United States. Grants ranging from $500 to $20,000 are provided in the following five categories: Development Assistance grants focus on creating a multi-faceted approach to the empowerment of poor people. Public Policy Advocacy grants encourage activities that advocate for political and economic policy changes that provide food for the poor. Lifestyle Integrity grants target programs that help the church to move toward sustainable lifestyles sensitive to the reality of the Earth’s limited resources. Education and Interpretation grants promote activities to educate the church and the public at large about the root causes of hunger. Direct Food Relief grants support programs that provide food to poor people in either acute or chronic conditions of hunger, with a focus on long-range solutions. Nonprofit organizations and Presbyterian congregations are eligible to apply. Deadline: letters of inquiry must be submitted by 4/30/2015. Visit the program’s website here to review the eligibility and criteria information.

–USDA is offering grants to nonprofit and public entities to implement farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. Deadlines: Training Grant Letter of Intent: 4/30/2015; application: 5/20/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

FARM AID is offering grants of $3,000 to $10,000 in the three program areas described here: Growing the Good Food Movement supports programs that build local and regional food systems, connecting farmers directly to consumers and creating new value-added markets for family farmers. Helping Farmers Thrive focuses on projects that provide farmers with the resources needed to get started on the land, access new markets, transition to more sustainable farming practices, produce renewable fuels, and stay on the land in the face of financial crisis and natural disasters. Taking Action to Change the System funds organizations that promote fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns to defend family farm agriculture. Deadlines: Letters of inquiry 5/1/2015; full proposals must be submitted by 8/1/2015. Grant application guidelines are available on the Farm Aid website here.

Now is the Time Project AWARE – Community Grants support the implementation of the NITT-AWARE-C program, which will train teachers and a broad array of actors at the community level who interact with youth through their programs, including parents, law enforcement, faith-based leaders, and other adults, in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). Rural specific training modules are available. Application deadline: May 1, 2015.

The Department of Health and Human Services is offering funding through the Refugee Individual Development Accounts Program that supports projects to establish and manage individual development accounts for low-income refugee participants. Applicants must have a partnership with a financial institution. Deadline: 5/4/2015.  Click here for funding details.

–The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is offering grants for projects that focus on grassroots advocacy efforts that help achieve specific state and local public transportation goals. Funded activities could include initiatives to support public transportation in economically challenging times, programs in partnership with local Chambers of Commerce or other business organizations that support public transportation and community mobility, efforts to educate decision-makers about policies favorable to public transportation, etc. Deadline: 5/15/2015. Visit the APTA website here to review grant guidelines.

–The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies that are eligible adaptive sports entities to plan, develop, manage, and implement programs to provide adaptive sports activities for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. Deadline: 5/26/2015. Click here for grant guidelines.

–The HOME DEPOT Foundation’s Veteran Housing Grants Program is offering grants to nonprofit organizations nationwide that address the development and repair of veterans housing. Grants are provided for single family or multifamily housing, permanent supportive housing, and transitional housing projects. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 are awarded solely for the physical construction or repair of housing for veterans. Organizations that have previous experience developing, and either currently manage or own, veteran specific housing are eligible to apply. Deadline: 6/23/2015. Visit the Foundation’s website here for online application instructions.


Rethinking Excellence in a Diverse Democracy: 2015 Minnesota Campus Compact Summit, Presidents’ Meeting, and Awards Ceremony will be held

April 16, 2015 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. 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:

  • 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 full agenda is available here. With questions or to sign up as a sponsor, please contact Sinda.

Minneapolis to host International Biomass Conference & Expo April 20-22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event, the largest gathering for biomass professional in North America, unites current and future producers of biomass-derived power, fuels and chemicals with waste generators, energy crop growers, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. Read more.

Seminar: Public Benefit Corporation Structure – A New Option      Please review the conference brochure and registration form or visit www.mncarh.org for more information.

Rural Arts and Culture Summit – June 2-4, 2015, University of Minnesota Morris MORE–The 2015 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 29-30, 2015 in Duluth. Sign up to receive email updates.–Use Social Media to Promote Your Festivals and Events In this one-week online course from the University of Minnesota Tourism Center, students will learn about a variety of applications for social media usage before, during and after an event or festival.


The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, in partnership with The McKnight Foundation, is pleased to announce its first annual Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards. The Unsung Hero Awards recognize individuals who have had a significant impact on the state of Minnesota and its communities, and yet have not been widely recognized in the past.Two Minnesotans (one from the Twin Cities metro and one from greater Minnesota) will each receive $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state and will be publicly celebrated at MCN’s 2014 Annual Conference. Nominations are currently being accepted with an application deadline of April 20, 2015. Nominate today » Eligibility and criteria details are also available online. For questions about the Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards, please contact 651-642-1904 or info@minnesotanonprofits.org.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation seeks applicants to its Healthy Communities: Health Equity in Action program. Applications due April 20. Board Members and Grant Reviewers Needed! The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is currently accepting applications from individuals wishing to serve on the board or on grant review panels. ECRAC is the primary funding source for artists and arts organizations in east central Minnesota, awarding about $300,000 in grants each year. Serving on the board or on a grant review panel gives an individual the opportunity to learn about arts activities in the region; to increase their knowledge of grant writing and the review process; to network with other artists and arts professionals; and to have input into matters that affect arts funding in the region.ECRAC is looking for individuals with knowledge of various art forms and perspectives. Active artists working in all disciplines; artists from communities of color; arts supporters/collectors; or individuals with knowledge of the regional arts community and arts organizations are all encouraged to apply. ECRAC meets the third Tuesday evening of each month at its office in Braham. Board members and panelists serve as volunteers, but can be paid a small stipend and mileage reimbursement for attending meetings. The deadline for submitting an application is April 30, 2015. Interested individuals may contact the ECRAC office at info@ecrac.org or call 320.396.2337 to receive a nomination form. You can also find the application online at:   Applications are now available for the 2015-2016 Policy Fellows program, one of the country’s most respected leadership programs for emerging and mid-career professionals. Connect with a cohort of 35 people across the work and political spectrum who will broaden your perspectives and expand your network as you engage in a high-level professional experience. Gain practical skills and experience to take your own career and civic work to the next level. Applications are due June 1, 2015.       

Southern Minnesota CVB Job Opportunities CVBs and Chambers in Owatonna, Northfield and Lanesboro are seeking qualified candidates to fill open positions.


New Wind Vision Report charts a robust wind energy future. With more than 4.5% of the nation’s electricity supplied by wind energy today, the U.S. Department of Energy has collaborated with industry, environmental organizations, academic institutions, and national laboratories to develop “Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States.” The report documents the contributions of wind to date and envisions a future where wind continues to provide key contributions to the nation’s energy portfolio. Read the report.

The University of Minnesota has compiled an assortment of biomass assessment tools, fuel pricing and project databases, wood energy videos, and information about State Wood Energy Teams. The Community Biomass Handbook and Wood Energy Financial App can quickly calculate the financial viability of wood heating projects, help screen project ideas, and answer initial project development questions about proven technologies. Read more

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued a new topic guide: Education and Training of the Rural Health Care Workforce.


Click here for more information and application form.

Apply now for the Humphrey School 2015-2016 Policy Fellows program


MN CARH’s 24th Annual Conference and Meeting will be May 27-28 at Jackpot junction Casino in Morton, MN. Registration is now open.

The Midwest Solar Expo 2015 will be held May 13-14 in Minneapolis and will feature two days of educational and networking events that will provide solar companies with the tools to grow their businesses in the Midwest solar market. The Expo kicks off at the Solar Arts Building in downtown Minneapolis with a reception, dinner and keynote address on May 13 followed by a day of plenaries, breakout sessions, networking breaks, and North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP) and product trainings and exhibits at the Downtown Hilton Minneapolis. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is a sponsor. Read more.

Mark Your Calendars for the 2015 PedalMN Bicycle Conference The 2015 PedalMN Bicycle Conference will be May 4-5, 2015, in the third-most bicycle-friendly city in the nation, Minneapolis. http://www.smart-trips.org/event/2015-pedalmn-bicycle-conference/

Community Economic Development Symposium: Addressing the Income Gap Through Job CreationMay 1, 2015, Hamline University MORE

“Supporting the Desire to Age in Place: Important Considerations for the Aging Population,” a free statewide virtual conference, will take place May 1. The webinar will feature experts from the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University. Details and registration on the Minnesota Gerontological Society website.

Showcase Your Invention at the 
 Inspire™ 2015 Innovation Expo! Make Connections to Fuel Your Product Entry 
into the Marketplace. The event will be held April 30 – May 1 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. For more information see: www.inspireexpo.org

Could a public benefit corporation structure help you harness the power of your business to make a social impact? On April 21st a 1-hour free seminar co-hosted by Wilder Research and Gray Plant Moody law firm will explain a new structure for socially-minded for-profit businesses. 8:00 a.m. at Wilder Center, Saint Paul.