June 2017- Volume XV, Number 6
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard


ACROSS the FIELD: Help spread the word — Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Application Informational Webinars to be held in June & July — $20 million available

A special shout out to those of you interested in broadband infrastructure investments — the State of Minnesota’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program is up and running for a fourth round, with $20 million allocated by the state legislature and an application deadline of September 11, 2017.  Check out these upcoming informational webinars offered by the staff at the MN Office of Broadband Development:.

The first webinar will be held on Monday, June 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Central Time). There are three more scheduled, all repeats of the first:

  • Friday, July 7 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Monday, July 10 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 12 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The first hour of each webinar will cover the grant program and application process details. The second hour will be available for any additional questions attendees may have.

To register to attend the webinars, please go to the registration links below for the date/time you wish to select, click on the URL, fill out the form, and then click on “Register Now.” Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the meeting.

To register for the Monday, June 26, 2017 meeting, go to: https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/j.php?RGID=r0d9c21dd3d7de63f4fd6ed318844adda

To register for the Friday, July 7, 2017 meeting, go to: https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/j.php?RGID=reac3f726ca1a5f828fbeec23be8530c2

To register for the Monday, July 10, 2017 meeting, go to:

To register for the Wednesday, July 12, 2017, go to: https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/j.php?RGID=r60d39322f2fdba92781b563601eeda79

If you have difficulty with the registration process via the registration links above, please send an email with your contact information to deed.broadband@state.mn.us and OBD staff will assist you in registering for the webinars, or call 651-259-7610 to reach the office by phone.

The grant application is available for review now (click here for grant info and access to the application). The grant application filing period opens on July 3, 2017.

The deadline for submitting applications is September 11, 2017 at 4 p.m.  However, please note, if you are considering submitting a broadband grant application, you must contact wireline broadband providers in your proposed project area by July 31 to comply with the pre-application notification portion of the application process (or six weeks before you file your application, if you file before September 11).

–Community Development Financial Institutions Fund has announced the availability of funding through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. This program provides tax incentives for investments in business or economic projects in distressed rural or urban counties, including capital investments in healthcare facilities. Investors give to Community Development Entities who then offer low-interest financing to businesses. Deadline: 6/21/2017. Visit the website here for details.

–State Farm is offering grants through the “State Farm Neighborhood Assist,” a program which provides grants of $25,000 for projects related to safety, community development or education. The program awards grants to 40 nonprofit organizations to help fund neighborhood projects involved in education, safety and community development. Deadline: 6/21/2017, or until 2,000 applications are received, whichever comes first. For more information on this opportunity, click here.

Strategic Economic and Community Development Program  A program that allows USDA to give priority for projects that support the implementation of regional economic development plans through several USDA Rural Development funding programs. Application Deadline: June 30, 2017.

–Wells Fargo is providing financial resources to local nonprofit housing organizations to create affordable and sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate income (LMI) people through its Homeownership Counseling Grant Program (HCGP). This is a small grants program with an average size of approximately $7,500. The grants are provided for costs directly associated with programs or projects focused on homebuyer counseling, homebuyer education, and foreclosure prevention activities. Deadline: 6/30/2017. To learn more and apply, click here.

–The Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation is offering grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners grant program to nonprofit organizations and local municipalities undertaking high-need projects such as building renovations and upgrades, grounds improvements, technology upgrades and safety improvements. Grants range from $2,001 to $100,000. Applications for the fall funding cycle will be accepted from 7/3/2017 to 8/25/2017. Visit the company’s website here to review the giving guidelines and to take the eligibility quiz.

–USDA is offering grants through the Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant Program. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and Federally recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for this funding. The maximum grant is $150,000. Deadline: 7/24/2017. Click here for application guidelines.

–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is inviting applications for grants to support economic development in rural communities through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI). These grants support partnerships between community development groups and rural communities to develop essential facilities and create jobs and business opportunities. Deadline: 7/25/2017. Click here to visit the RCDI website for more information on applying.

Empowered Communities for a Healthier Nation Initiative Grants to reduce significant health disparities impacting racial and ethnic minorities and/or disadvantaged populations through implementing evidence-based strategies with the greatest potential for impact, especially in communities disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic, childhood obesity, and serious mental illness.
Application Deadline: Aug 1, 2017

–Foundation for Rural Service is offering grants to nonprofits seeking to create programs that promote business development, community development, education or telecommunications in rural communities served by National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) members. Awards range from $250 to $5,000. Preference will be given to proposals that foster collaboration among and community engagement, and that can be fully funded by the grant or have 75 percent or more of the project currently funded. Deadline: 9/15/2017. To learn more and apply, click here.

–The U.S. Department of Education is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies through the Veterans Upward Bound Program to prepare, motivate and assist military veterans in the development of academic and other skills necessary for acceptance into and success in a program of postsecondary education. Deadline 6/21/2017. Click here to review application guidelines posted in the Federal Register.

–The U.S. Department of Education is also offering grants through the Small, Rural School Achievement Program that provides support to local educational agencies to address the unique needs of rural school districts. Deadline: 6/30/2017. Click here to review application guidelines.

–The Transportation Economic Development Infrastructure Program (TEDI) is a competitive grant program available to communities for road and public infrastructure projects that create jobs and support economic development. DEED’s program is combined with the Transportation Economic Development Program (TED) administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for highway projects. A total of approximately $22.6 million is available through the 2017 programs. This includes approximately $18.4 million in MnDOT trunk highway funds and approximately $4.2 million of DEED general obligation bond funding. The programs may provide a portion of the costs for trunk highway improvements and other road and infrastructure improvements.  Application Deadline – September 15, 2017. For full eligibility guidelines and application instructions, please see DEED’s website.

For detailed information on how to apply, please join us for one of the informational sessions below.

Date City Location Time
June 13 Rochester MnDOT District 6 Office
Mississippi River East Room
2900 48th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
June 15 Brainerd/Baxter MnDOT District 3 Office
7694 Industrial Park Rd.
Baxter, MN 56425
10:00 AM – Noon
June 16 Roseville MnDOT Waters Edge Building
Conference Rooms A-C
1500 W. County Road B-2
Roseville, MN 55113
10:30 AM – Noon
June 19 Mankato MnDOT District 7 Office
Northwoods Conf. Room
2151 Bassett Drive
Mankato, MN 56001
10:00 AM – Noon
June 20 Willmar MnDOT District 8 Office
Green Lake Conference Room
2505 Transportation Rd.
Willmar, MN 56201
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
June 21 Thief River Falls Pennington County Joint Operations Facility (also MNDOT –Office)
248 125th Ave
Thief River Falls, MN 56701
10:00 AM – Noon
June 22 Detroit Lakes MnDOT District 4 Office
Conf. Rooms B109-B110
1000 Highway 10 West
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
10:00 AM – Noon
June 28th Duluth MnDOT District 1 Office
1123 Mesaba Ave.
Duluth, MN 55811
10:00 AM – Noon

–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. http://wp.me/p3if7-3M7

— 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

–The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples is offering funding in the following program areas: Arts and Creativity, Health and Well-Being, Rights of Mother Earth, Sustainable Communities and Economies, Leadership Development, and Rights, Equity, and Justice. Grants from $250 to $10,000, with an average of $5,000, are provided to Native communities that address one or more of the Fund’s program areas. The remaining postmark deadlines for 2017 are 8/4/2017 and 12/1/2017. (Mini-grants of up to $500 are reviewed throughout the year.) Application guidelines and forms are available on the Fund’s website http://www.7genfund.org/apply-grant

–The Walmart Foundation State Giving Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico for programs that give individuals access to a better life. There are three funding cycles per year; the first two funding cycles are targeted to specific states. For the final funding cycle of the year, requests are accepted from organizations nationwide in the following two categories: Hunger Relief supporting programs such as food pantries, backpack programs, and SNAP outreach; and Community Engagement supporting other programs that focus on the unmet needs of underserved low-income populations. Examples of eligible programs include career opportunity, disaster preparedness, education programs, healthcare access, shelters, etc. Grants range from $25,000 to $250,000; the average grant size is $40,000. Deadline: applications for the final funding cycle will be accepted from 8/7/2017 through 8/11/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the State Giving Program.

–Border to Border Broadband Grant opportunity opens July 3! Office of Broadband Development is soliciting proposals for Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grants. The grant application period opens on July 3, 2017. The application deadline is September 11, 2017. http://wp.me/p3if7-48f

–The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies through the Our Town Program. Grants will support arts engagement, cultural planning and design projects. Deadline: 9/11/2017. Click here for more information and to review funding guidelines.

–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


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

–The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Mental Health Promotion Branch, Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) are offering a Rural Behavioral Health Webinar Series. The last two events in the series are: Responding to Natural Disasters in Rural Communities, June 21, 2017, 3:00-4:30 PMEDT; and A Focus on Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities, August 16, 2017, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT. Click here to register.

— Economic Development Association of Minnesota is hosting the 2017 Summer Conference June 28-30 at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. Please go to http://z.umn.edu/1d2w 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

–DEED is pleased to be partnering with the Council of Development Finance Agencies to offer the Development Finance Certified Professional Program.  The CDFA Summer School will be held August 7-11, 2017 Minneapolis. Complete Half of the DFCP Program in One Week! Early Bird Rates Expire July 14, 2017

CDFA Summer School is a week long series of courses presented by the CDFA Training Institute held in Minneapolis, MN from August 7-11. These courses qualify for the CDFA Training Institute’s Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Complete three courses, and you will have fulfilled half of the requirements for the DFCP Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today. Participants may register for one, two, or three courses during CDFA Summer School. Click on the course names below to learn more about the specific topics and agendas:

Monday August 7, 2017 – Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance Course

Tuesday & Wednesday August 8-9, 2017 – Intro Bond Finance Course Intro Brownfields Finance Course

Thursday & Friday August 10-11, 2017 – Intro Revolving Loan Fund Course Intro Energy & Water Finance Course

When you register for three courses during CDFA Summer School, you will receive a $200 discount off the total registration fee.  For complete information, including lodging details, scholarship options and registration, visit the CDFA website.

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

–2017 Border to Border Broadband Conference.  Mark your calendar for the fall broadband conference October 25-26 at Madden’s on Gull Lake. The theme this year is Bridging the Gaps – Expanding the Impact. http://wp.me/p3if7-48o

–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.

–Save the Date!  Minnesota Campus Compact 2018 Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 19, 2018 at Hamline University.


–The application and nomination period for the 2017 Tekne Awards is open! The awards celebrate the individuals and organizations that play a significant role in discovering new technologies that educate and improve the lives of Minnesotans and people around the world. Now in its 18th year, the Teknes have honored hundreds of companies and leaders who continue to make Minnesota a home to cutting-edge innovation.

The 2017 Tekne Awards have 15 categories, and applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges with experience and expertise in each of the categories. Applications are due by Friday, July 28th. Finalists will be announced at a reception in September.

The 2017 Teknes will recognize the growing importance of STEM education and our future workforce with an award honoring innovation in a Minnesota science or technology classroom.  New categories will also celebrate the rapid development in communications technology as well as building design and infrastructure that is driven by emerging technologies.

2017 Tekne Award Categories

HEALTHCARE (Established Companies and Small & Growing Companies)
SOFTWARE (Established Companies and Small & Growing Companies)

For nominations and applications go to: http://www.tekneawards.org/


–The current issue of the Housing Assistance Council’s Rural Voices presents some of the highlights of their 2016 Rural Housing Conference: Building Rural Communities. Held in Washington, DC, November 29 through December 2, 2016, the conference offered educational and networking opportunities for rural housing practitioners to advance their efforts to provide decent and affordable housing for our nation’s rural poor. The issue includes several articles adapted from speeches given, a set of maps taken from a conference presentation by HAC’s Research Director providing a dramatic view of some current “ruralities” (the ways rural America’s demographics and housing are changing), and a series of five articles addressing a rapidly changing rural America on topics ranging from persistent poverty to creative placemaking. http://www.ruralhome.org/calendar/nrhconf

–As part of its Policy Brief series, the Centers for Disease Control has released a brief on rural health policy, specifically addressing mental health services for children in rural areas. This brief presents a selection of potential policies and practices that may help rural children with mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders (MBDDs) to access behavioral health services, including telemedicine, integration of behavioral health and primary care, and school-based care. Across the country, people with mental health issues may struggle to get care due to a shortage of providers, and this problem is magnified in rural areas. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 61 percent of areas with a mental health professional shortage are rural or partially rural. Read the full brief here.

–“Raising the Children of the Opioid Epidemic: Solutions and Support for Grandfamilies” is a report from Generations United that highlights the opioid epidemic and its impact on grandparents raising grandchildren. The report also offers recommendations to help guide the development of supportive federal and state policies and services for grandfamilies. Get the report here.

–The Census Bureau has a new tool called My Tribal Area that gives quick and easy access to detailed demographic, social, economic, and housing statistics for the nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population from the American Community Survey (ACS). My Tribal Area is powered by the Census Application Programming Interface (API), and includes data from the 2011-2015 ACS. Check out the tool here.

–A National Public Radio article “In Some Rural Counties, Hunger Is Rising, But Food Donations Aren’t” highlights partnerships that have developed to address some of the underlying problems, including poverty, unemployment, poor health and a lack of health insurance. Read the article here.

–Feeding America has produced a map providing county-level data on food insecurity and child food insecurity. Data includes estimates of eligibility for nutrition programs among food insecure people, and identifies the annual food budget shortfall. Click here to view the interactive map.

–“Rural Community Violence: An Untold Public Health Epidemic” is a policy brief from the National Rural Health Association that examines the prevalence and nature of violent crime in rural communities across the U.S. The report examines the problem in a public health context, seeking to draw attention to an often overlooked and misunderstood issue, and provides a series of policy recommendations aimed at reducing violence in rural areas. Get the report here.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease — United States, 1999–2014 Provides data on age-adjusted rates of Alzheimer’s mortality. Compares rates in 1999 and 2014 by urban-rural classification as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and state. Also includes a map showing county-level average annual age-adjusted death rates from Alzheimer’s disease for 2005-2014.

Prevalence of Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation by Urban-Rural County Classification — United States, 2015  Provides detailed data on prevalence of arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation for six urban-rural categories. Includes urban-rural data by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, employment, body mass index, smoking status, physical activity, self-rated health, and functionally disabled status.

Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse in Rural Communities Webinar recording discusses the challenges and strategies in stemming the rate of substance abuse in rural communities. Introduces the Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Toolkit, designed to help communities implement substance abuse programs. Presents several examples of state level programs focused on increasing access to naloxone and training for first responders to recognize and prevent overdoses. Additional links: Audio RecordingPowerPoint HandoutWebinar Transcript

–Three new briefs are now available from the Office of Rural Health & Primary Care, all looking at changes in rural Minnesota since implementation of the Affordable Care Act.


From Health care access in rural Minnesota: Results from the MN Health Access Survey, produced in partnership with the Health Economics program:

  • The uninsurance rate dropped dramatically in rural Minnesota between 2013 and 2015.
  • Dental uninsurance rates were higher in rural than in urban areas.
  • Despite higher rates of health insurance, affordability and access issues remained in rural parts of the state, and disparities within rural Minnesota based on income and education persisted.

From Public and individual health insurance trends in rural Minnesota: Enrollment during implementation of the ACA:

  • Both before and after ACA implementation, rural Minnesota had a greater share of its nonelderly population enrolled in both Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare than urban areas did (27 percent compared to roughly 20 percent).
  • In the individual market between 2015 and 2016, entirely rural counties had a much higher proportion of enrollees than other county types, with 14 percent of their population covered by individual policies compared to 6 percent of the state overall.
  • While individual enrollment via MNsure increased across county types, it did so most substantially in entirely rural counties (where enrollment via MNsure tripled) and in small town/rural mix counties (where enrollment increased by 70 percent).

From Finance in rural and urban hospitals:

  • From 2011 to 2015, the percent of total charges billed to public insurance programs (both Medicare and Minnesota state programs) increased among all Minnesota hospitals.
  • Compared to urban hospitals, rural hospitals continued to receive a larger percent of their revenue from self-pay charges.
  • Both CAHs and urban hospitals saw an increase in operating margins between 2011 and 2015, but non-urban hospitals had a lower median operating margin than urban hospitals.
  • More CAHs had a negative operating margin than other types of hospitals, and the number of CAHs with negative margins increased from 2011 to 2015.

The full briefs are available at Rural Health and Primary Care Reports & Briefs

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