May 2017- Volume XV, Number 5
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard



–The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is accepting applications for its Youth Literacy Grant Program. Grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded to schools, public libraries and nonprofit organizations in support of efforts to help students who are reading below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. Deadline: 5/18/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–Kendal Charitable Funds is offering Promising Innovations grants to nonprofit organizations that work to meet the needs of a burgeoning population of elders. In 2017, the program is seeking proposals that support aging in place and combat isolation of older adults through engagement in purposeful and meaningful ways within the greater community, designed to affirm their value and connectedness. The program hopes to identify factors that lead to isolation and to address them before and/or after they occur, especially utilizing new, replicable models. Grants will range up to $50,000 for a two-year period. Deadlines: letters of intent must be submitted by 5/19/2017; invited proposals will be due 8/4/2017. Visit the Kendal website here to learn more about the application process.

–USDA is offering funding through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. The Program provides support to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. The application deadline is: electronic applications 5/26/2017; paper applications 6/2/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–Minnesota Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grants
Deadline: June 1, 2017  DETAILS

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: June 1, 2017.

–USDA is offering funding through the Food Safety Outreach Program. This Program will build upon the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program national infrastructure, with a sustained focus on delivery of customized training to members of the target audiences. Awardees will develop and implement food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Grant applications will be solicited directly from those in local communities – to include those from community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, food hubs, farm cooperatives, extension, and other local groups. Deadline: 6/6/2017. Click here for more information and to apply.

–The Tony Hawk Foundation is dedicated to promoting the construction of new, quality skateparks located in low-income communities throughout the United States. The Foundation primarily supports projects that can demonstrate a strong grassroots commitment, particularly in the form of planning and fundraising by local skateboarders and other community groups. Priority is given to projects that are designed and built from concrete by experienced skatepark contractors and include local skaters in the planning, fundraising and design process. Grants of $1,000 to $25,000 are provided to nonprofit organizations and state or local agencies, including public school systems and public projects. Deadline: 6/14/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review the grant criteria and to submit an online application.

–Blandin Foundation Broadband Grants: Broadband Innovation and Robust Network Feasibility Fund grant award amounts range from $1,000 to $25,000, and matching funds are required. Grant application deadlines for 2017 are June 23 and September 22.

— 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 Ford Family Foundation is offering small grants to organizations working in rural communities with populations of less than 35,000 in response to unexpected needs or simple projects. These grants are highly competitive and limited; priority is given to short-term grant requests for simple projects, unforeseen emergencies that interrupt programming or services, and one-off events or activities. Grants can range from $1,000 to $10,000 and funds are released within 60 days. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. To learn more and to apply, click here.

— The Ford Family Foundation is providing grants that support the development of physical places that are open to the public and have multiple uses in order to encourage civic participation, community collaboration and other ways of bringing residents together for the well-being of the community. Community Building Spaces grants may be used toward land acquisition, purchase of buildings, new construction and renovation, fixtures, furnishings and equipment, and architecture, engineering and planning fees in rural communities with populations of less than 35,000. Typical grant sizes range from $50,000 to $250,000, and funds requested may not exceed one-third of the project’s total budget. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. For more information on eligibility, criteria and how to apply, click here.

— The Ford Family Foundation (TFFF) supports educational projects, programs and out-of-school time facilities in rural communities that encourage the development of skills, confidence and support needed for school-aged youth (5-18 years) to connect with quality mentors, excel in school, develop leadership skills, graduate with a plan for the future and become successful citizens. Typical grant sizes range from $25,000 to $150,000 per year. While there are exceptions, TFFF prefers to fund no more than one-third of the proposed budget. The fund types include programs, operating requests and capital projects. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to learn more and to apply.

–W.K. Kellogg Foundation provides grants to support programs that focus on developing a healthy start and quality learning experiences for all children, helping families get stable, high-quality jobs and connecting employers with talented candidates, and/or advancing racial equity, developing leaders, and fostering community engagement. Award amounts have ranged from $5,000 to $1,500,000. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. To learn more and to apply, click here


— On May 16-17 the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the St. Paul Public Library welcome digital inclusion practitioners, advocates, academics, Internet service providers and policymakers to Net Inclusion 2017: The National Digital Inclusion Summit. St. Paul, Minnesota.

–The 2017 Midwest Solar Expo returns to Minneapolis for its 4th annual conference, exhibition and Smart Energy Symposium on May 22-24 at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot in Minneapolis. Participants will gain insights from solar industry experts, receive hands-on product training, and network with over 450 solar industry leaders from across the country. Read more.

— Early Bird Registration Open for the 2017 Rural Arts & Culture Summit  The 2017 Rural Arts and Culture Summit will take place June 6-8 at the University of Minnesota – Morris.

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

–The Minnesota Rural Health Conference Shaping Sustainable Solutions will be held June 19-20 in Duluth.

— Economic Development Association of Minnesota is hosting the 2017 Summer Conference June 28-30 at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. Please go to for more information. EDAM celebrates i’s 50th year of operation this year.

2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Conference  co-hosted by Association of Fundraising Professionals Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center

2017 MCN Annual Conference will be held Thursday – Friday, October 12 – 13, 2017 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, Saint Paul.

–The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) announced recently that it will hold the fourth-annual “MnSEIA – Midwest Gateway to Solar” Conference in Bloomington, Minn., on Nov. 14-15. This year’s conference will provide educational opportunities, networking, and exhibits. Read more to register and for more information.


–The 2017 Nurse Corps Scholarship Program Application cycle is now open. Applicants may view the 2017 Application and Program Guidance and the on-demand 2017 NURSE Corps Scholarship Technical Assistance Webinar. The webinar provides you with more information on the application process and the service requirements. The application deadline is May 11, 7:30 pm ET.

–Scholarships are available for individuals from the East Central region to participate in the 2017 Rural Arts and Culture Summit, which will be held in Morris, MN on June 6 ­ 8, 2017.   Scholarships are being awarded on a first come, first served basis for artists, arts enthusiasts, community and economic developers, and other community leaders. Carpooling is encouraged to allow as many people as possible to participate.  Participants will be reimbursed by the East Central Regional Arts Council for the attendance fee, $40 per night for lodging, and travel expenses ($0.53 per mile) with a maximum total reimbursement of $400.

Organized by Springboard for the Arts and the Center for Small Towns, the Summit gathers rural artists, arts organizations and community leaders to highlight arts ­based strategies to rural community and economic development. People from across the state and country will gather to celebrate the imaginative and creative thinking that has helped to create vibrant small town cultures.

For more information about the Summit and to register please go to their website:  For information on these scholarships call 320­-396­-2337 extension 1 or email: before May 15, 2017.

— Nominations are now open for some amazing awards: The Nonprofit Mission and Excellence Awards and the Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards!  MCN and MAP for Nonprofits award six organizations Mission and Excellence Awards each year in the areas of Innovation, Anti-Racism Initiative, Advocacy, Responsive Philanthropy and Excellence (for large and small organizations).  Nomination Deadline: May 15 (Innovation, Anti-Racism, Advocacy, Responsive Philanthropy) and May 26 (Excellence).

Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero is an individual who has had a significant impact on the state of Minnesota and its communities. This individual:

  • Has played a significant role on creating a positive impact on Minnesota and its communities.
  • Has not been widely recognized for his/her work in the past.

Nomination Deadline: May 19.  For more information on the awards and to nominate, head to the MCN website!

National Native American Youth Initiative (NNAYI)  Offers a summer program designed to prepare American Indian/Alaska Native high school students to pursue careers in the health professions and/or biomedical research.  Application Deadline: May 31, 2017.

–The American Indian College Fund, through its Full Circle Scholarships program, is providing a number of scholarship opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives who are pursing undergraduate degrees at a Tribal College. Eligibility and amounts vary by scholarship. Deadline: May 31, 2017. To learn more and to apply, click here.

–Meyer Foundation is accepting applications for nonprofit leader sabbaticals. Up to three organizations will be awarded grants of $50,000 each to allow their executives to take a three- to four-month sabbatical. Deadline to apply: 6/1/2017. Click here for an application.

–Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellows Deadline: June 1, 2017  DETAILS

Apply to Host the 2018 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener  Explore Minnesota is seeking proposals to host the 2018 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

EOP: Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America  Executive order revoking the establishment of the White House Rural Council, and directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. Chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture, the USDA will provide funding and administrative support to maintain the Task Force. The Task Force will identify legislative, regulatory, and policy priorities to promote rural prosperity in the following areas: agriculture, economic development, jobgrowth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security, and quality of life.

Rural Education at a Glance, 2017 Edition Educational attainment is growing in rural America, but gains vary across demographic groups. Low education in some rural areas is closely related to high poverty and unemployment rates.

Employment & Education ERS research in this area focuses on labor market conditions and educational attainment in rural (nonmetropolitan) America. Indicators of labor market conditions include the unemployment rate, employment growth, and earnings levels. Educational attainment is closely linked to labor market outcomes. While rural areas are closing the gap with urban areas in high school completion, there is a large and growing gap in college and postgraduate educational attainment, even among young adults.

The Role of Medicaid in Rural America  Uses data from the 2013-2015 American Community Survey to examine the role of Medicaid in rural areas, and discuss how potential expansions or cuts could affect rural healthcare. Highlights the importance of Medicaid for many rural residents who are often faced with limited access to insurance and providers, longer travel times, and greater health needs when compared to their urban counterparts. Includes several charts and graphs to illustrate important statistics and demographic comparisons.

–The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program released their 2016 Key Findings Report, which demonstrates that rural counties have had the highest rates of premature death for many years, lagging far behind other counties. While urban counties continue to show improvement, premature death rates are worsening in rural counties. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is keeping people healthy or making people sick. The Roadmaps show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play. Download the full report here.

–National Endowment for the Arts has created a Creative Placemaking Artistic Field landing page on its website. Listed are creative placemaking-related news, features, videos, podcasts, resources, partnerships, funding guidelines and initiatives all in one place. Visit the page here.


Position Opening at Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism  The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism is seeking applications for President/CEO.

EDITORS’ NOTE: As always — please send us items to post, comments, ideas, etc. You can send them to And thanks for getting to the end of this month’s issue!