December 2016- Volume XIV, Number 11

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


Across the Field: Our nation, our destiny; a shared responsibility to “Do Good”

By Jane Leonard UMd ’79 & UM ‘85

Some of you know that I am a proud “Gopher” – a graduate of the University of Minnesota for my masters in mass communication. I am also a proud “Terp” – my undergraduate degree being in journalism and agriculture from another “UM” – the University of Maryland (let’s call it UMd for short). Back in October, I received an alumni update from UMd, letting us know that our alma mater was aiming to be the nation’s first “Do Good” campus, rooted in the Land Grant mission of putting knowledge into practice for social and economic betterment.

I love this idea as I’ve been pegged as a “Do Gooder” more than once in my life (proud of it, too!) and now “Do Good” is a bona fide, officially-sanctioned strategy of a leading public university. I couldn’t be more proud of UMd, expanding what was a trial run in the Center for Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership in the School of Public Policy, into system-wide values and actions aimed at ensuring every student will be informed and motivated to “do good” in their communities, both local and worldwide. And it’s not something “done unto” the students. Students want to do this. UMd is seeing a 50-year high in the percentage of students today who say that helping others is a “very important” priority.

According to its website, the new Do Good Institute “serves as the campus-wide hub of social innovation and as a center of research and thought leadership in philanthropy and social change. From orientation to graduation and beyond, the  institute builds on the tenet that learning is not a passive activity, but instead requires active participation and deep, practical application.”

The Do Good initiative brings to my mind and heart the idealism of the 1960s, facing head-on the great upheavals in industry, society, and urban-rural tensions (sound familiar?). In May, 1968, then-USDA Secretary & former Governor of Minnesota Orville Freeman spoke to representatives of rural-oriented industries from across the country who were meeting in Washington D.C. I find good counsel for our times in his nearly 50-year-old message:

“We are met here today to discuss this portion of America [rural America] in a period when almost all of the national conscience is focused on yet another segment of land, the great cities.

“It is almost as if we were two Nations; one rural, one urban, with separate problems, separate solutions, separate destinies.

“But in fact – as well as in rhetoric – we are still one Nation, indivisible, with indivisible problems, indivisible solutions; with but one destiny.

And unless we recognize this, we shall never overcome the terrible strains that threaten to rend the social fabric of our land.

In 2016, we’ve all experienced a difficult, divisive election. And in just over one month, at the highest levels of government, we will witness not only a transfer of power, but a transfer of responsibility: a profound, solemn, and humbling responsibility.

And yet, ultimately, it is “We the People of the United States” who hold the highest power and responsibility, to bridge the divides we see at every level of community, state, region, and world, step by step, person by person, to Do Good wherever we can.

In this holiday season, it is my hope and prayer that we reach out to one another, to rural folk if you are urban folk, to urban folk if you are rural folk. Reach out to people everywhere to Do Good, for we are still one nation, indivisible, with but one destiny, according to the opening words of our United States Constitution, “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….

Let’s get to work. Help one another. Do Good in this season of giving, and for all time.


–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.

— KATIE’S KROPS is accepting applications for youth garden grants. Gift cards of up to $500 and other support will be awarded for youth-planted vegetable gardens created in support of local community needs. Deadline: 12/31/2016. Click here to review application guidelines.

–Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program. This program supports the development of integrated healthcare networks, specifically for entities that do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts. DEADLINE: 1/3/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.

— Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care coordinates a state application to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Rural Health Policy on behalf of Minnesota’s small rural hospitals (49 or fewer beds). The Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant funds may be used to purchase items from the SHIP Purchasing Menu in the following funding categories: value based purchasing, accountable care organization, payment bundling or care transitions. Applications are to be returned to via email by January 8, 2017.

–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 UNFI Foundation funds nonprofit organizations across the United States that support the development of healthy, organic foods and food practices, and promote the health of the planet. The focus is on organizations that work to increase organic agriculture, provide research and science to develop organic farming practices, protect the biodiversity of our seed supply and the stewardship of genetic resources of organic seed, teach organic farming practices that promote conservation of resources, and foster the next generation of organic farmers. The first two letter of intent deadlines in 2017 are 1/19 and 4/27. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and learn more about the application process.

–BIG READ is accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations for programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Grants of up to $20,000 each will be awarded to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs. Deadline: 1/26/2017. Click here to review program guidelines.

–U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. Grants will be awarded to programs that support activities designed to empower and educate affected communities to understand environmental and public health issues and to identify ways to address these issues at the local level. Approximately 40 one-year projects will be awarded $30,000 each. Deadline: 1/31/2017. Click here to review application 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

— Community Transportation Association of America is accepting applications for technical assistance for tribes and rural communities of less than 50,000 people to plan system start-up, transit service improvements, facility development, marketing, transportation coordination, and staff training. Deadline: applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here for an application and guidelines.

–The Bush Foundation offers Community Innovation Grants in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Grant funds help communities use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions. Grants are provided for projects that use inclusive, collaborative, and resourceful processes; are thoughtful, realistic, and address the identified community need; and are likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future. Nonprofit organizations and government entities (including schools) may apply for grants ranging from $10,000 to $200,000. (Community Innovation Grants of $500 to $10,000 are available from the Foundation’s intermediary partner organizations.) Applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review the selection criteria and to learn more about the application process.

–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.

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.


Registration Now Open for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference  You are cordially invited to join us Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017, at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference: The Next Big Event!

–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.

— SAVE THE DATE!  2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.


— Call for Proposals for the 2017 MN Rural Health Conference, June 19-20 in Duluth.  If you are interested in presenting a 60-minute breakout session or facilitating a roundtable discussion at the 2017 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, Shaping Sustainable Solutions, please submit an online proposal. The deadline is December 21, 4:00 p.m. Central Time.  Remember to sign up to receive conference updates.

— Applications open for 3M TWIST (Teachers Working in Science and Technology) Program. The 3M TWIST program allows middle and high school math, science, and technology teachers to spend six weeks during the summer working closely with a 3M host on an actual 3M research project. The objective is to provide active and challenging technical experiences for teachers in an industrial setting. TWIST is based on the idea that the way to learn science is to do science – an axiom that applies as much to teachers as it does to their students. This program is a partnership of 3M and the MHTA Foundation. Applications are due January 17, 2017. LEARN MORE

Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference Sponsorships Now Available for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference that will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017, at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront in downtown St. Paul.

–Call for workshop proposals for the 2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.  Proposals are due January 16, 2017.  For more information go to:

Submit Your Location for Possible Film, Television or Commercials Do you have a one-of-a-kind Main Street in your town, a neighborhood of beautiful homes or picturesque parks, or even spooky abandoned buildings?

— 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


Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition after declining for several years, rural population stabilized. Median annual earnings rose in rural areas and poverty fell markedly in 2015, as in urban areas; the rise in earnings occurred across most major industry sectors.

Measuring Rural Wealth Creation: A Guide for Regional Development Organizations
Presents concepts and samples to create a development plan for measuring progress in rural wealth creation for rural development organizations (RDOs) involved in community and economic development. Specifically identifies 8 forms of capital measures useful to evaluate progress in rural wealth creation including the skills, understanding, physical health and mental wellness of the individuals within the community.

Rural Classifications ERS maintains key classifications that measure rurality and assess the economic and social diversity of rural America beyond the metro/nonmetro dichotomy. A recent addition to the suite of products for rural analysis includes data files for use with the American Community Survey’s Public Use Microdata Sample (ACS-PUMS) that identify each Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) in the ACS-PUMS as either metro, nonmetro, or mixed, based on the metro and nonmetro population shares in each PUMA; for mixed PUMAs, the share of the population residing in a metro area is reported.

Employment & Education recent updates to this topic provide information and research findings about the well-being of rural workers and the changing structure of rural labor markets, with a focus on the period 2007-2016. Highlights include the profound effects of the 2007-09 recession, and the rate at which employment has recovered since. The labor market measures discussed include the level of employment, the employment/population ratio, the unemployment rate, and the labor force participation rate.

— The Surdna Foundation has developed and published, a new website that highlights written, audio, and video content regarding developments in the community engaged design field. Community engaged design (CED) is practiced when architects, designers, or urban planners work in solidarity with low-income communities and communities of color to ensure decisions made about the built environment are equitable and just. Visit the website here.

— The Carsey School of Public Policy has published a brief titled “Carsey Perspectives: Bridging Farm and Table: The ‘Harvest to Market’ Innovation: Highlights from a Social Venture Innovation Challenge Winner.” Harvest to Market is a new online platform that makes it easier for small farmers to sell their products directly to local consumers. Potential customers, which can be schools, restaurants, and institutions as well as individuals, can search for nearby markets and browse through the available produce as listed by the farmers. Download the brief here.

Two New Reports Portray the State of Sustainable Tourism in Minnesota  The University of Minnesota Tourism Center and Explore Minnesota have partnered four times since 2007 to survey Minnesota’s tourism industry about sustainable tourism practices.

— Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit. The Minnesota Department of Health has published a Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit (PDF) for prospective employers. The purpose of the toolkit is to assist employers and organizations as they plan to hire Community Health Workers who:

  • provide culturally-specific education, system navigation, advocacy and outreach services to diverse communities;
  • work to improve health outcomes for communities and individuals, reduce overall health care costs by helping patients avoid more acute care, and improve patient experience; and
  • help enhance relationships between communities and health systems, public health agencies, hospitals, clinics and community-based programs.

The toolkit and background resources are available on our Toolkit webpage. Funding for the creation of the toolkit was provided by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Improvement via the Minnesota State Innovation Model (SIM) grant. Please feel free to share the CHW Toolkit with others.