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

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–U.S. Bank Places to Play is a collaboration between U.S. Bank and the Minnesota Vikings that provides grant funding to nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations and schools in low- to moderate-income communities in Minnesota to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local play spaces. As part of U.S. Bank’s Community Possible platform, this grantmaking initiative focuses on creating or improving parks, playgrounds, indoor/outdoor athletic facilities and repairing existing trails over three years. Proposals are due November 17. For more information go to:

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.

–THE U.S. Department of Education is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs, public agencies, and IHEs for a wide array of activities to encourage at-risk youth to complete high school and go on to college through the Upward Bound program. Deadline to apply: 11/28/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering funding through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program. The program provides support to meet the food needs of low-income individuals, increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their food needs, and promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues. Deadline: 11/30/2016. Click here to review program funding guidelines.

— 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.

Phyllis and Milton Berg Family Respite Care Grant funding to help alleviate the cost of respite care for families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.  Sponsor: Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge provides funding to support the development and implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to support rural commerce, healthcare, public safety, economic development, education, energy, or other community-oriented initiatives.  Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.  Sponsor: NTCA: The Rural Broadband Association

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.

–USDA is offering funding through the Farm to School Grant Program for efforts that improve access to local foods in schools. Grants are made for planning, implementation, support services, and training. Deadline: 12/8/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will begin accepting proposals for the Capacity Building Grant Program on November 10, 2016.  Proposals must be received by DEED no later than 4:30 pm. on December 9, 2016. Late proposals will not be considered. Request for Proposal

CT Scanner Replacement Initiative offers funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Health Program to qualifying hospitals in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming for the purchase of a new 32 slice or higher CT scanner. Letter of Intent (Required): Dec 9, 2016. Application Deadline: Jan 27, 2017.

–The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is offering funds to schools where a minimum of 85 percent of the student body qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program to enable them to extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections. Grants of up to $7,000 are available to pre-K-12 school libraries throughout the United States, the American territories, and Department of Defense schools in other countries. Funds are provided solely for books, e-books, or magazines and serials in print, Braille, or audio form. All grants are made to individual schools rather than to school districts, foundations, or other entities. Deadline: 12/12/2016. Online application information is available here.

–USDA has announced the availability of grant funding to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by families and households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The funding will be awarded to eligible nonprofits and governmental organizations through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. Applications may be submitted in three categories: pilot projects requesting less than $100,000 over one year, multi-year community-based projects requesting less than $500,000 over no more than four years, and multi-year large-scale projects requesting $500,000 or more over no more than four years. Deadline: 12/12/2016. For application materials and guidelines, click here.

–The Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for either: 1) developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfields sites, or 2) cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites. Deadline: 12/20/2016. Click here for program guidelines and to apply.

–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 National Institutes of Health is offering grants to rural nonprofit and public agencies for programs that help control the opioid epidemic in the United States. Deadline: 01/10/2017. Click here for grant materials.

–THE MISSION CONTINUES is seeking applications for Post-9/11 Veteran Nonprofit Fellowships. Service fellowships, which include a cost-of-living stipend, are awarded to post-9/11 veterans to enable them to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in their community as an extension of their service to the country. Deadline: 1/17/2017. Visit the website here to review program guidelines.

–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.

— 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

–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.

— Rebate opportunities for solar thermal systems remain available to all Minnesota residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government entities as part of the 2016 Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Energy Incentive Program.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program offers grants to eligible organizations to cover all or part of the costs associated with purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.


–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 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

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

–The 27th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo being held Feb. 20-22, 2017, in Duluth, Minn.  For more information go to:

–Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas. Join colleagues from across the state both to celebrate good work and to discuss opportunities for advancing our civic commitments even more powerfully together. Campus selections for the Presidents’ Awards for community partners, student leaders, and faculty/staff civic engagement stewards will be due February 24, 2017. Questions or to sponsor a team with a designated table at the awards luncheon, contact Julie or go to:

–SAVE THE DATE!  The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017” will be April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis.


— Morris K Udall and Steward L Udall Foundation is offering a 10-week fully funded summer internship for Native American and Alaska Native students who wish to learn more about the federal government and issues affecting Indian country. Deadline to apply: 1/31/2017. Visit the Foundation website here for guidelines and an application.

2016‒2017 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sponsors this contest for high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Students answer the question: “Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?” to win monetary prizes. Essays are due by March 31, 2017.

Tesla Offers Chargers to Hotels and Resorts across Minnesota 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.

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


MN2050 State of the Infrastructure.  At the request of MN2050, the Minnesota Department of Transportation worked with Wilder Research to conduct a survey to gather information about the characteristics and management of Minnesota’s infrastructure.

–A “Housing Development Toolkit” has been developed by the White House. The document highlights actions that states and local jurisdictions have taken to promote healthy, responsive, affordable, high-opportunity housing markets. Get the toolkit here.

— USDA Rural Housing Service has introduced a new website, “PolicyMap”, which shows public investments in rural communities through interactive maps. With these maps, the federal government can make better analytical decisions about how investments should be made, and more effective reports to track the work as it is getting done. PolicyMap helps the public to see Multi-Family, Single Family, and Community Facility Program investments against the spectrum of PolicyMap indicators ranging from renter cost burdens, to HMDA home purchase prices, to critical care hospital locations. Visit the PolicyMap website here.  For more information about PolicyMap, click here.

–In an attempt to support the Open Government Initiative and build a more transparent government, USDA has developed a Rural Development Dataset website that offers datasets for public use. Datasets include: Multi-Family Housing Data, Single Family Housing Data, Community Facilities Data, RD Obligation and Disbursements, and many others. Access the website here.

Palliative Care in Rural Minnesota: Findings from Stratis Health’s Minnesota Rural Palliative Care Initiative describes a 6 year initiative directed by Stratis Health supporting palliative care in rural areas of Minnesota. Features a palliative care development initiative in the rural city of Mora, Minnesota, and describes the Rural Palliative Care Measurement Pilot Project testing standardized quality measures in 5 rural communities.

–NOVEMBER 17th is 2016 Annual National Rural Health Day

— Broadband Communities Conference: Tips for communities and providers

The Broadband Communities Magazine held their Midwest Regional Conference in Minnesota. They made the case for broadband in a community, emphasized the impact of local support, and offered advice for partnership. At the event, the Institute for Local Self Reliance had suggestions for how Minnesota could smooth the road for community networks.

–The White House Rural Council released a memo with the subject line “Rural Strategies That Work: Lifting up Federal Policies That Are Responsive to the Assets and Challenges of Rural America.” The memorandum outlines strategies for the design and delivery of programs in rural America to meet the unique challenges faced by rural communities, and discusses how policies can address the issues of geographic isolation (including travel to healthcare), limited financial resources, low population density, and poverty. Read the document here.

–In the PEW Charitable Trusts’ newsletter, Stateline, an article titled “Can the Arts Help Save Rural America?” the author discusses how the arts are helping a handful of rural communities reverse a negative economic and cultural trajectory. To be successful, the article says, a rural community must figure out what makes it unique – a gorgeous natural landscape that can serve as the backdrop for a writers’ retreat, an old opera house, or a tradition of local storytelling – and capitalize on that. Read the article here.

–An essay by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack lays out the work being done by the White House Rural Council to support life in rural America. The essay includes examples of successful cross-community projects that have benefited from federal support, including the Farm/Art D’Tour in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, which has received Our Town funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Read the full essay here.

— “How Migration Impacts Rural America” is the title of a brief from the Applied Population Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The authors find that rural migration patterns reflect the social, economic, and environmental conditions across rural America, which have significant implications for population structure, service needs, and community and economic development potentials of rural communities. Understanding distinct migration patterns can help community leaders to develop strategies to improve the well-being of their communities. Get the brief here.

–The Democracy Collaborative has published “Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy,” designed as a guidebook to explain the financing of broad-based enterprises, and to show how these enterprises can be positioned for job-creating growth. Worker-owned companies, social enterprises, and related models with broad-based ownership are increasingly being seen as highly valuable tools for stemming and reversing rising economic inequality. Get the report here.

–WINDExchange offers new installed wind capacity maps.  WINDExchange recently announced the availability of new interactive wind energy installed capacity maps for the United States. Three capacity maps are available: installed capacity, potential wind capacity, and potential wind generation, which highlights the future of wind energy. To learn more about installed capacity from 1999 to 2016, users can scroll to any year using the slider below the maps.


Industry Position Openings  The Art Colony in Grand Marais is hiring two new full-time positions; a Marketing Manager and a Development Manager.

Visit Bemidji Seeks Group Sales Manager  The focus of this position is to increase group visits to Bemidji through conventions, meetings and events, group sport events, and group leisure travel.  Closing date: November 16th.