November 2015- Volume XIII, Number 9

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


Across the Field: Community Development Society’s 47th annual conference coming to Minnesota in 2016!

By Jane Leonard

Mark your calendars now for the Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society & International Association for Community Development, coming to Minnesota, July 24-27, 2016. Minnesota last hosted this international gathering in 2001 in Duluth.

The location in 2016 is the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA.

The 2016 theme is Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives

Too often, development initiatives fail to generate lasting, positive, change. The focus of this 2016 CDS & IACD gathering is for attendees to share and learn tips and techniques from across the globe to create sustained – and positive — community change.   The dynamic pairing of both the CDS and IACD organizations brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from multiple and diverse perspectives, from community members, practitioners, researchers, and academicians.

Organizers expect 500 people to attend, from across North America and worldwide, working on issues in community, economic, and rural development. Typically CDS & IACD conferences feature people, places, and models of interdisciplinary and comprehensive approaches to community development. So if you work primarily through a community health lens, for example, this is a great chance to connect with people working on community health through a resource economics perspective. Or if you are a local citizen working on broadband development, connect with people from South Africa at the conference doing the same things on a regional basis for community improvement. Or if you believe that community betterment requires a whole systems approach across disciplines and sectors, find like-minded colleagues and case studies at the 2016 conference.

Minnesota is also home to three past-presidents of CDS: Brent Hales, John Kuester, and Jane Leonard, and many other faithful members. Join us in 2016 to welcome national and international visitors to the Twin Cities and to the Upper Midwest. Check our local host Facebook site for ongoing updates and to start connecting with colleagues now for a great summer gathering: A Call for Papers will be announced soon, and online registration will begin later in 2016.

WE ARE SEEKING VOLUNTEERS to help welcome attendees and host at various conference activities throughout the 2016 CDS & IACD conference. Email Jane Leonard at if you are interested in short stints as Mobile Learning Workshop chaperones, conference greeters, and other hosting experiences.  It’s a great way to experience the conference and a great way to show our visitors Minnesota’s excellence in hospitality.

Conference venue & hotel:  The Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America hotel ( is located a short distance from both the MSP airport and Mall of America.  Rooms will be available at a rate of $149.00 per night, excluding tax.

For examples of previous Community Development Society conferences, link here to the CDS 46th Annual International Conference, held in Lexington, Kentucky this past July. For info on the International Association for Community Development, link here.


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Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs)  Awards funding for the establishment of a Benefits Enrollment Center, which will work to find and enroll eligible Medicare beneficiaries (seniors aged 65+ and adults living with disabilities) into benefit programs.

Application Deadline: Nov. 13, 2015.

–The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant program assists small rural hospitals in undertaking needed modernization projects to update, remodel or replace aging hospital facilities, record systems, and equipment necessary to maintain the operations of the hospital. Maximum awards will be $125,000. An eligible hospital is a general acute care hospital of 50 or fewer beds located in a community with a population of less than 15,000, according to United States Census Bureau statistics, outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Pre-applications are due November 13.  Go to:

— Whole Kids Foundation is accepting applications for a school garden grant program in public, private, and charter K-12 schools. 2015 Deadline: November 15. Click here to visit the website to review funding guidelines.

HUD is offering “Continuum of Care” funding to nonprofit and public agencies to promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, States, and local governments to quickly re-house homeless individuals, families, and persons fleeing domestic violence; promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless; and optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness. Application deadline: 11/20/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

USDA is offering grants to public food program service providers, tribal organizations, and private nonprofit entities through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program. The program seeks to encourage healthy eating and physical activity at the individual and community levels, focusing on high-risk groups, and promotes healthy diet and physical activity behaviors. Deadline to apply: 11/30/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The Agstar Fund for Rural America is offering grants to nonprofit organizations in the service area where AgStar has a significant business presence in Minnesota and  northwestern Wisconsin. The Fund focuses its giving program in the following four major areas: education, environment, technology, and quality of lifeDeadline: 11/30/2015. Visit the AgStar website here to review the funding guidelines and application instructions.

–USDA has issued a Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program. This program is available for existing Section 515 and Section 514/516 properties. A variety of restructuring tools are available including grants, no-interest loans, soft second loans, and debt deferral. Properties with existing USDA multifamily mortgages that are maturing on or before Dec. 31, 2018 can apply for debt deferral; this continues the affordability of the property and its Rental Assistance eligibility. Deadlines: applications for MPR are due 12/1/2015; applications for debt deferral for maturing mortgages are due 12/31/2015. Click here to review the guidelines for this program.

–The Corporation for National and Community Service is offering AmeriCorps grant funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems. Funds may be used for programs that utilize AmeriCorps members in the following areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, education, and veterans and military families. Deadline: Letter of Intent (required) 12/9/2015; application deadline 1/20/2016. Click here to visit the website for guidelines.

–Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are accepting applications for community grants. Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in support of projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Deadline: 12/10/2015. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is offering grants of up to $7,000 to update, extend, and diversify the book collections of pre-K-12 school libraries throughout the United States. Only schools where a minimum of 85 percent of the student body qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/14/2015. Online application information is available on the Foundation’s website here.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has released the Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA) for the calendar year (CY) 2015 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program). The NOAA makes up to $5 billion in tax credit allocation authority available for the CY 2015 round, pending Congressional authorization. Deadline to apply: 12/16/2015. Click here for application materials and funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering grants to support projects that increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the implementation of the project. Deadline: 12/16/2015. Click here for funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering funds to nonprofit and public organizations to provide technical assistance that will reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources in rural areas, and improve planning and management of solid waste sites in rural areas. Rural areas and towns with 10,000 or fewer people are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/31/2015. Click here to review program guidelines and access application materials.

Northwest Minnesota Entrepreneurs: Applications for the 2016 IDEA Competition are now being accepted until December 31, 2015. This competition gives ANYONE with a product or service idea the opportunity to turn the idea into a reality. The IDEA Competition gives participants access to business development tools, a chance to get your product mentioned in the media, pitch to potential investors, professional services, and finally a chance to win $10,000 in funding to get your idea moving. For more information please go to

— The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program is open and will close on Monday, January 4, 2016. Over $3.2 million is available in Fiscal Year 2017. In addition to the eligible professions of physicians, dentists, pharmacists, midlevel providers, nurses, and nurse/allied faculty, the program has been expanded to include three new professions—Rural Dental Therapists/Advanced Dental Therapists, Rural Public Health Nurses, and Mental Health Professionals as defined by Section 245.462, subdivision 18. For information on the professions covered in the program, and for instructions on applying, please see the Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs webpage, or contact Brenda Flattum at 651-201-3870 or Paia Vang at 651-201-3895.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities interested in applying for funding to host a community design workshop in either 2016 or 2017.  The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation. CIRD provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality.

CIRD offers annual competitive funding to six small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-ahalf day community development and design workshop. With assistance from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops are intended to bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government agencies to develop actionable solutions to the communities’ pressing development challenges. The communities will receive additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on

Design and development challenges include but are not limited to the following: Main Street revitalization, managing and shaping community growth, the design of community-supportive transportation systems, preservation of natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protecting working agricultural lands, and maximizing the role of arts and culture as an economic driver for local and regional economies. Since 1991 CIRD has convened more than 70 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets today in order to build better places to live, work, and play in the future.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 at 11 p.m. EST. Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 stipend (that must be matched one-to-one) in addition to in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website: Selected communities will be announced in March of 2016 and workshops will be held during the fall of 2016 through spring of 2017.

CIRD staff will also offer two pre-application assistance webinars to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, and the second will take place on Thursday, Dec. 10. Both calls will begin at 3 p.m. EST and last approximately one hour. Participation in each call is free but registration is required. To register visit:

The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced two new energy financing programs intended to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Minnesota: The Rev It Up Program for local government units that are seeking low-cost, long-term capital to finance community energy efficiency and renewable energy system projects, and the Public Entity Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Loan Program, which provides public entities with funds needed to pay for energy audits and renewable energy feasibility studies. Read more.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg is offering grants to nonprofit organizations for general operating, program, and capital project support to help lower income older adults to live dignified, meaningful, and engaged lives in the community and to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Deadline: letter of inquiry accepted any time. Click here for funding guidelines.

–The METLIFE Foundation is offering three kinds of financial inclusion grants to nonprofit organizations: Access to Knowledge grants support organizations with the ability to reach large numbers of underserved households around the world and work with them to develop financial strategies and capabilities to improve lives. Access to Services grants focus on organizations that deliver high-quality services like savings, microinsurance, and credit to individuals in need. Access to Insights grants partner with researchers, academics, and non-governmental organizations to better understand the problems and potential solutions within the financial inclusion field. Deadline:  financial inclusion grant requests are accepted and reviewed throughout the year. Visit the Metlife website here to download the grant application guidelines.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grants support programs that work in the areas of childhood education, healthy children, secure families, racial equity, and civic engagementApplications accepted on an ongoing basis.

USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities. Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Details about how to apply for this are found in the Federal Register here. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office.


–Registration is now available for the 14th Annual Scenic Byway Workshop to be held on November 17 – 18. The Lake Country Scenic Byway will host the Workshop at the Lodge on Detroit Lake  This year’s agenda includes topics that will provide information and direction for the continued Sustainability of the Scenic Byways Program under MAP-21.  Please be prepared to speak on your updated byway Corridor Management Plan.  Feel free to bring any brochures you want to share.

Registration for the Scenic Byway Workshop will be accepted until Noon on Monday, Nov. 9.  Registration checks should be made payable to: “UMVRDC SCENIC BYWAY WORKSHOP”.  Registrations will not be accepted at the door.  If you have questions please contact Holly Slagle, State Scenic Byway Coordinator at 651-366-3623 or For more information on Minnesota Scenic Byways visit their website.

Minnesota Broadband Conference November 18-20. The Blandin Foundation and the Office of Broadband Development are working on the fall broadband conference, Border to Border Broadband: Better Together, to be held in Minneapolis on November 18-20.

National Rural Health Day Webinars on November 19National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) will be holding a day of webinars on the topic of rural health. Check the National Rural Health Day website (right column) for more information.

From Options to Decisions: Phase 3 of Community Heart & Soul, Thursday, November, 19, 3-4 p.m. (Eastern).  Phase 3 of the Community Heart & Soul™ method is about discovering ways to protect and enhance your community’s heart and soul—what matters most—and building toward a future that honors it. After identifying community-wide character, attributes, and love of place during Phase 2, the next step is learning which ideas, decisions, and actions best support your town’s unique character.  Join Orton Programs Director Alece Montez-Griego and Senior Associate Leanne Tingay for this FREE webinar that includes audience Q & A.

Register for FREE webinar today! »

Minnesota Farm Bureau annual meeting, November 19-21.

Minnesota Farmer’s Union annual convention, November 21-22

— Allina Health, Abbott Northwestern and the University of Minnesota are presenting Climate Change and Public Health: An Interprofessional Review to be held November 21 in Minneapolis, MN.

The Robotics Alley™ Conference & Expo is bringing a diverse group of robotics and automation experts to Minneapolis. This year’s event on Dec. 1-2 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis will feature keynote speakers Martin Buehler, Executive R&D Imagineer at Walt Disney Imagineering; Nathan Harding, Co-Founder and CEO of Ekso Bionics; and Robert High, Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Watson Solutions.  Click here to learn more and register today!

Save the Date for MnDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Regional Workshops

The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites you to a regional bicycle and pedestrian workshop on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave, Winona.

Save the Date for the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference  Mark your calendar now to attend the 2016 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Feb. 2-3, 2016, at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.


The 5th annual National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 19. This celebration allows the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and our partners to showcase rural America and highlight the unique healthcare needs of rural communities. View the Celebrating the Power of Rural website to learn more.

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program (NAT)  Provides funding to support traineeships for licensed nurses who are enrolled in a nurse anesthesia program, with preference given to projects that will benefit rural and underserved populations.

Application Deadline: Nov. 20, 2015.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State released the November 2015 notice of vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees, including openings on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council. The full list of vacancies is listed online.

Application forms are available online and must be submitted by Nov. 24, 2015, to be assured of full consideration by the appointing authority. To apply, submit an application through the Secretary of State’s office and include the following documents:

  • Open Appointments Application Form (completed, signed and dated)
  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume or Biography

The Explore Minnesota Tourism Council is focused on areas critical to the development and growth of Minnesota tourism. Program development and public policy issues at both the state and federal level are also addressed. Click here for a list of current council members and the industry sectors they represent.

Nominations for the 2015 Tourism Marketing Awards presented by Explore Minnesota are due by Monday, Nov. 30. The awards are given annually at the Explore Minnesota Conference and will be presented on Feb. 2 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.  Copies of the new nomination forms and submission templates are now available for both the Competitive and Special Recognition Programs. These are distinct programs with different judging criteria. Please share this information with your community and encourage applications.  For more information, contact Dave Bergman at 888-563-7777 or view the Travel Marketing Award Guidelines.

Free energy assessments for small businesses and institutions. Are your furnace, door seals, recycling program, and lighting working at their best?  If you answered ‘I don’t know’, consider contacting RETAP. The Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) provides free energy efficiency and waste reduction assessments for small businesses and institutions in Minnesota. When you have an assessment done, an experienced team of retired professionals will:

  • Analyze your utility bills,
  • Visit your facility, and
  • Give you a written report with prioritized recommendations and estimated financial and environmental savings.

Recommendations may be behavior changes, maintenance improvements, or retrofits. While you are under no obligation to implement the recommendations, a high percentage of surveyed clients implement many of them. Average savings from RETAP recommendations implemented last year is over $2,000 per client.  Since RETAP’s start in 2001, over 200 businesses and institutions – including dry cleaners, coffee shops, and fire stations – have benefited from RETAP assessments. To find out more or to request a free assessment, visit or contact Mike Vennewitz, RETAP Coordinator, at 612-781-1307 or

MNTAP interns and training opportunity  – An extra set of eyes: MnTAP interns identify savings! The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is  seeking proposals from Minnesota businesses for its 2016 summer intern program. Businesses interested in reducing waste, conserving water, and improving energy efficiency are encouraged to apply for an intern in 2016. Proposed projects are evaluated for impact potential, project scope, and company interest and commitment. Interns are chosen based on outstanding educational background and leadership capabilities.

We anticipate supporting up to 15 projects this summer, with at least one project focused on paint efficiency and at least three projects on water conservation. Other projects will focus on source reduction, energy efficiency, and pollution prevention.  Applications are being accepted until February 1, 2016 and will be reviewed upon receipt. Apply online today!  If you work with Minnesota companies, please spread the word to those companies you think might be a good fit. Find out more at MnTAP’s intern page, or call MnTAP at 612-624-1300.

Scholarships, Loans, and Loan Repayment for Rural Health Professions – Provides an overview of scholarship, loan, and loan repayment programs available for healthcare students who intend to practice in rural areas. Visit the guide to find information and successful models for the development of programs designed to attract health professionals to rural areas.


HUD has published a summary report that covers needs, barriers, and experiences with aging in place, and feasibility of programs to support independence for rural seniors. It includes discussion of emerging trends and potential service models. Get the report here.

–HUD posted an article in Evidence Matters on how local initiatives, with the support of federal policies and national nonprofits, address unique barriers to homeownership in Indian Country. Residents of Indian Country face a diverse set of housing challenges, including overcrowding, high cost burdens, and a lack of affordable, high-quality housing options for both renters and homeowners. Initiatives seek to overcome these obstacles to homeownership by supporting infrastructure development and home construction and rehabilitation, increasing access to mortgage credit, cultivating financial literacy, and providing direct financial assistance to homebuyers. Read the article here.

–The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation has released “Planning for a More Resilient Future: A Guide to Regional Approaches”, a report that summarizes the rapidly-growing body of research on resilience, describing the main ideas that are driving policy and practice across the country and examining current thinking on regional and economic resilience. It is intended for regional development organizations as well as local governments, community foundations, voluntary organizations, and others who step forward as planners, conveners, organizers, fundraisers, mediators, coordinators, and advocates on behalf of communities impacted by, or at risk of being impacted by, disasters, natural and human-induced. To explore the publication and the companion website, click here.

–National Association of Development Organizations has published “Creating Opportunity and Prosperity Through Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections”. The brief highlights examples in which regional development organizations can benefit from linking rural regions with urban centers, and includes information on broadband development and its implication for improving access to healthcare services. Click here for a free copy.

The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship has put together an overview of the Center’s resources in support of community development philanthropy. “The Community Development Philanthropy Overview Guide” spotlights the growing set of resources that the Center offers and their new partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Community Strategy Group. Get the guide here.

An Interview with Ajit Pai  Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai discusses the critical need to expand broadband deployment in rural communities and the promise that broadband holds for rural healthcare.

The ACA’s Impact on Rural Areas  webinar slides showing the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on uninsured rates across the country. Highlights differences in enrollment and market characteristics between urban and rural areas by analyzing change in enrollment rates, payer mix, and number of insurance plans offered.  Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute

Minnesota Crisis Link Website Now Available.  Minnesota has launched a Crisis Link website to connect people in crisis, including mental health and substance abuse problems, homelessness, or other crisis health needs. Hospitals and clinics are encouraged to make the Crisis Link website, local crisis line numbers and Fast-Tracker information available to patients and their families. The information can be posted, available as a handout in the waiting room or offered in other ways.