October 2016- Volume XIV, Number 9

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

This newsletter is also available online:



–THE KRESGE FOUNDATION is offering grants through its Arts and Culture Program to anchor institutions in any sector that have a stake in and are located in a low-income, disinvested community, and to nonprofit community partners, nonprofit artist collaboratives, and government entities. Support is provided for cross-sector/cross-disciplinary projects that embed arts and culture into local systems such as municipal departments, community financial networks, comprehensive planning efforts, human services networks, regional food hubs, etc. Deadline: online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Arts and Culture Program.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

Service Area Competition Funding for Health Center Program (Areas Served with a Project Period Start Date of April 1, 2017) Funding to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services to an underserved area or population. Application Deadline: Oct 17, 2016.  Sponsored by the Bureau of Primary Health Care.

— The Mental Health Safety Net Grant program assists mental health centers and clinics that treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be Community Mental Health Centers or Clinics designated under Minnesota Statute 245.62, or nonprofit Mental Health Clinics designated as Essential Community Providers under Minnesota Statute 62Q.19. Eligible providers must also offer free or reduced-cost mental health care to low-income patients under the age of 21. Applications will be posted on September 12 and are due October 28. For more information, contact Shortage Designation Coordination and Grant Program Manager Keisha Shaw at 651-201-3860 or keisha.shaw@state.mn.us.

–WHOLE KIDS FOUNDATION is offering grants to develop school gardens anywhere in the United States. Deadline: 10/31/2016. Click here to review program guidelines.

–The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) grant program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, distributes grants annually to providers of clinical medical education. The next application cycle is expected to open in late August 2016 and will be due on October 31st. For more information, contact Diane Reger at 651-201-3566.

—  USDA Rural Development is soliciting applications through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides guaranteed loan and grant financing for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. USDA reminds eligible applicants that set-aside funding is available for grant requests less than $20,000 and may offer priority scoring for projects located in underserved areas and/or benefiting underserved populations. The next application deadline for grants under $20,000 is October 31, 2016. For details on how to apply, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn, contact USDA Rural Development State Energy Coordinator for Minnesota Ron Omann at ron.omann@mn.usda.gov or (651) 602-7796, or see page 78029 of the December 29 Federal Register.

— November 1, 2016, at midnight is the grant deadline for the East Central Regional Arts Council Individual Artists, Art in Our Schools, Small/Art Project Grants, and Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants.  For the grant application materials, information on past grants, and the link to the online grant portal go to: www.ecrac.org/grants

–THE NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL is offering “Fuel Up to Play 60: Jump Start Healthy Changes Grants” to schools anywhere in the United States to improve opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. Deadline: 11/2/2016. Click here for more information on this program and to apply.

— The Laura Jane Musser Fund is offering funding to encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities that will help to strengthen their towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements and education. Programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming may apply. The applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or fewer and must be able to demonstrate the rural characteristics of their location. Deadline: 11/2/2016. Click here to review further guidelines and to apply.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) offers grants to fire departments and EMS organizations for equipment, training, personnel wellness programs, capital funding, and collaboration efforts.  Application Deadline: Nov 18, 2016.

— HUD has released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program. Up to ten communities, including four rural, will be awarded funds to design and implement a community response focused on ending youth homelessness. $33 million is available for the program. Deadline: 11/30/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

Safer School Garden Grant provides funding to start a school garden. Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.

–USDA is offering grants to LEAs and nonprofits to bring seasonal, locally sourced and minimally processed foods to public schools. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 and there are 75 grants available. Deadline: 12/8/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

AmeriCorps State and National Grants funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. Funds may be used for programs that utilize AmeriCorps member in the following areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, education, and veterans and military families. Letter of Intent (Required): Dec 7, 2016. Application Deadline: Jan 18, 2017.

–THE HOME DEPOT Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through 12/31/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.

–THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.


–Broadband Communities Conference http://wp.me/p3if7-3xR (Minneapolis) will be held October 18-20.

— How to Finance your Export Operations seminar hosted by the Minnesota Trade Office and the Central Region SBDC will be held at the SBDC offices at St. Cloud State University’s Welcome Center on October 19th from 8:30AM to 3PM. Registration fee is $35. For more information and to register, please go to http://z.umn.edu/18y4.

— East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) has scheduled its upcoming grant information sessions for all artists, arts organizations, schools, community organizations, and non-profit organizations in the Region 7E area. These sessions will include basic information about all ECRAC arts-related grant programs, as well as recent changes to the grant application process. Individual appointments with staff are available immediately after the group sessions.

Friday, October 21, 2016; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

30 minute individual meetings are available after the above sessions at 10:30, 11:00, and 11:30 upon request.

Thursday, December 1, 2016; 1:30-2:30 p.m.

30 minute individual meetings are available after the above sessions at 2:30, 3:00, and 2:30 upon request.

Advance registration is required.  To register, please call the East Central Regional Arts Council office at (320) 396-2337, or email info@ecrac.org.

These sessions will be held at the East Central Regional Arts Council office located at 112 Main Avenue South in Braham, MN.  Don’t want to come to Braham to attend the information session? You can now watch it online!  ECRAC GRANT INFO VIDEO

— Duluth-Starting a Business in Minnesota workshop will be hosted by the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development and the Northeast Region SBDC on October 25th from 2-4PM at the Work Force Development Center, Duluth Athletic Building. For more information and to register, please go to http://z.umn.edu/18y7.

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held November 3-4 in Bloomington.

–The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) recently announced that its 2016 Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference will be held Nov. 15-16 at the Hilton Airport/Mall of America in Bloomington. Information on registration and early bird rate is available.

— The 2016 Tekne Awards will be held on November 16th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  You can learn more and find the full list of Tekne recipients at tekneawards.org.  Applications and nominations are now open!

–Save the Date:  2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul January 31- February 1, 2017.

–Save the Date:  Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas.


Tesla Offers Chargers to Hotels and Resorts across Minnesota

Tesla is hoping that owners of Minnesota hotels and resorts will want to attract drivers of Tesla vehicles to their properties by joining Tesla’s destination charging network.

— The Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) has an open appointment for a mid–level practitioner. The committee advises the Commissioner of Health and other state agencies on rural health issues. All members must reside outside the Twin Cities seven–county metropolitan area. The full announcement and application materials are available on the Secretary of State´s Current Vacancies web page. Applications are due to that office by October 24.

Culture of Health Prize  Awards that honor community efforts and partnerships that are helping people live healthier lives. Letter of Intent (Required): Nov 3, 2016.  Application Deadline: Jan 20, 2017.

Roadmaps to Health Coaching Offers guidance and support from a community coach for communities who want to improve the health of their populations and work toward building a culture of health. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Rural Impact County Challenge: A National Effort to Combat Rural Child Poverty The Rural Impact County Challenge will recognize and support counties making strides in reducing child poverty in rural communities. The challenge will provide educational opportunities, networking forums, and resources to develop and implement evidenced-based approaches to reduce the number of children and families living in poverty in rural areas. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by the National Association of Counties.

–The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) to be Minnesota host of SBIR/STTR programs. MHTA has been named the host of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program for the state of Minnesota. FAST is designed to stimulate economic development with outreach and technical assistance to science and technology-driven small businesses, with a particular emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged firms, helping them to compete in federally-funded research and development through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. LEARN MORE


— The U.S. Census Bureau its annual report, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015.” The report reveals that both metropolitan areas and the nation as a whole experienced has released statistically significant decreases in poverty, and increases in median household income, reflecting overall economic improvement. Rural areas, on the other hand, stand out from an otherwise positive report with lower levels of economic gain. Get the report here.

How Migration Impacts Rural America identifies five migration patterns that impact rural counties: youth migration, rural exodus, retirement, destination, and university influence. Discusses how different migration patterns impact the need for services, including healthcare. Part of the publication series Population Trends in Post-Recession Rural America.

–“Helping Rural America Catch Up” is a collection of opinion pieces in the The New York Times written by rural experts, and placed in “discussion” with one another concerning the challenges faced by rural America. Topics include access to health resources, poverty, economic development, and technological infrastructure. Access it here.

–The FrameWorks Institute has released two studies looking at the conversation about the link between housing and health, education, and economic outcomes. “A House, a Tent, a Box: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Healthy Housing” compares public and expert understandings of housing, and offers strategic guidance for how communicators can help ordinary Americans better appreciate the connections between affordability, quality, and health. The other study is titled “Not Telling the Whole Story: Media and Advocacy Discourse about Affordable Housing.” FrameWorks researchers conducted a systematic analysis of the frames used by the media and by influential housing reform organizations. The result is a carefully drawn map of the narratives in play—with directions for navigating it strategically. Download both studies here.

–The Democracy Collaborative has developed a toolkit series “Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities,” produced with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and designed to help hospitals and health systems build community wealth through inclusive hiring, investment, and purchasing. The first toolkit in this series, “Inclusive, Local Hiring,” can be accessed here.

–The White House has published a Housing Development Toolkit, discussing local land use strategies to increase supply like inclusionary zoning and by-right development, as well as barriers like lengthy approval processes, parking requirements, and limits on accessory dwellings. While the Toolkit focus is on urban/suburban areas, some policies could be applied to rural areas. Get the Toolkit here.

–“Opportunities for Promoting Credit for Affordable Housing in Rural America” is a report from the Center for American Progress that summarizes findings from a roundtable convened by the White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Housing Service and facilitated by the Center for American Progress. The issue brief provides an analysis of the areas of opportunity for improving access to credit in rural communities gleaned from discussions at the roundtable. Download the brief here.

–Housing Assistance Council published an overview of rural housing finance in its magazine Rural Voices. Read the issue here.

— An article in the Federal Bank of Minneapolis’ newsletter on preserving USDA-RD 515 units titled “Key housing organizations take coordinated approach to preserving rural Minnesota’s affordable rentals,” discusses the collaborative effort among government agencies and nonprofit organizations in Minnesota that aims to preserve rural affordable housing. Read the article here.

— In an update to the issue of maturing rural multifamily mortgages, USDA released a loan level database of all rural multifamily loans and their projected “exit” or maturity date. Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has links to the data and a summary on its website here.

–“Bridging Farm and Table: The ‘Harvest to Market’ Innovation” is the title of a brief from The Carsey School of Public Policy that highlights a Social Venture Innovation Challenge winner. In the brief authors Andrew Walters and Edie Allard describe their new online platform, Harvest to Market, which makes it easier for small farmers to sell their products directly to local consumers. Consumers visit the Harvest to Market website and find “markets” in their area. Download the brief here.

— USDA has published “Household Food Security in the United States in 2015.” Researchers report on household food security, food expenditures and use of federal food and nutrition assistance programs in 2015. The report includes food insecurity statistics for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. Get the report here.

— Minnesota currently imports 72 percent of the energy it consumes, mostly fossil fuels such as coal and oil. However, results of a two-year project called the “Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan” (pdf) show that the state has ample opportunity to decrease these imports and increase clean, affordable, reliable, and resilient energy while boosting the state economy. The 2025 Energy Action Plan was funded through a competitive grant awarded to the state by the U.S. Department of Energy and compiled by the Rocky Mountain Institute. It centers on consensus-driven, near-term strategies that add value to Minnesota’s dynamic energy landscape. Strategies are recommended under five categories:

  • Transportation
  • Energy supply and grid modernization
  • Efficient buildings and integrated energy systems
  • Industrial and agricultural processes
  • Local planning and action

The Action Plan was coordinated by a multisector team that included the Rocky Mountain Institute, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Legislative Energy Commission, Great Plains Institute, and LHB, Inc. The project team worked closely with a multidisciplinary group of more than 50 stakeholders across the state to collect input on energy technologies and strategies.

— A compendium of resources on community solar gardens has been compiled by the Central Region of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). The resources include Guides & Reports, Articles & Websites, Tools & Resources, and Videos from national sources like the National Renewable Energy Lab and Smart Electric Power Alliance. Read more.

— The Disability Resource Center (DRC) at the University of Minnesota recently released an informative resource for Creating Accessible & Inclusive Meetings or Events.  The tip sheet includes event-related guidelines your organization should be aware of when planning an event, including information on venue selection, marketing and communications, presenter consideration, food offerings and other considerations.

Read the DRC’s full tip sheet to discover ways to make your events more accessible and inclusive for all. If you have any questions, please contact the Disability Resource Center at 612-626-1333 or drc@umn.edu.

Grant Writing for Rural Healthcare Projects This newly updated topic guide provides tips on searching for rural-specific funding, grant proposal preparation, building successful funding relationships, and planning for program sustainability.

— This year’s National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 17. This sixth annual 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 health care needs of rural communities.


Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Seeks Executive Director

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is searching for a new Executive Director to lead the museum in achieving the established strategic goals and shaping the future of the organization.

Visit Cook County Administrative Manager Position Opening

Visit Cook County is searching for a new team member.