November-December 2017- Volume XV, Number 11
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard



–USDA has announced the availability of High Energy Cost Grants for public and private entities to assist energy providers and other eligible entities in lowering energy costs for families and individuals in areas with extremely high per-household energy costs (275 percent of the national average or higher.) Grant funds may be used to finance the acquisition, construction, or improvement of facilities serving eligible communities, and for the implementation of initiatives aimed at energy efficiency improvements and conservation measures, energy-saving appliances and devices, and improving the quality and cost of energy service. Deadline: 12/11/2017. Read the grant announcement here. High Energy Cost Grant forms are available here.

–THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA) Foundation is offering grants through The Community Health Grants program to community-based organizations such as free health clinics that offer services to vulnerable and underserved populations, including residents of inner cities and rural areas. The initiative supports innovative programs targeting the prevention and reduction of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $60,000 and are renewable for up to three years. Nonprofit organizations in the continental U.S. that have been in existence for at least three years are eligible to apply. Deadline: 12/20/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the program’s guidelines and to register for a pre-submission webinar.

–KATIE’S KROPS is accepting applications for youth garden grants. Gift cards of up to $500 will be awarded in support of youth-planted vegetable gardens that address local community needs. Deadline: 12/31/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.

Improving Health in Rural America: Addressing the Leading Causes of Death
A technical assistance opportunity for states to develop and implement strategies to address the leading causes of death in rural areas. Application Deadline: Jan 5, 2018
Sponsor: National Governors Association

–The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is taking applications for its Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant program. The grant encourages owners of older, heavy-duty diesel engines to apply for funding to upgrade or replace old diesel engines. Since 2008, MPCA clean diesel grants have kept about 14.5 tons of soot out of the air, which is equivalent to taking 263,000 cars off the road. This summer, MPCA grants helped owners replace two beverage delivery trucks, two moving trucks, eight garbage and recycling trucks, several marine engines, and a crane engine. Deadline January 5, 2018.  Applications are now available.

–The U.S. Department of Energy has announced topics for the next round of funding in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) funding program. For the 2018 fiscal year, DOE plans to fund feasibility demonstration SBIR/STTR projects in four solar topics:

  • Devices and Methods for De-Energizing a Photovoltaic System.
  • Cybersecurity for Solar Energy Devices.
  • Peer-to-Peer Energy Transactions.
  • Research in Autonomous and Augmented Systems to Reduce Solar Costs.

Letter of Intent due January 8, 2018.  Learn more about the solar topics.

— USDA Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) Program is taking applications.  The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products. The grant covers 50 percent of the total project costs. Applications are due January 31, 2018.  Additional details are available at:

Community Food Projects Technical Assistance One-on-one technical assistance, educational resources, and professional development opportunities for current grantees and potential applicants of the USDA Community Food Projects grant program.
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Affordable Housing Loans for Low-Income Rural Communities  Short-term loans at below market interest rates to local nonprofits, for-profits, and government entities developing affordable housing for low-income, rural communities.
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis  Sponsor: Housing Assistance Council

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program  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  Sponsor: CPR Savers and First Aid Supply

–THE SURDNA FOUNDATION is offering grants to nonprofit organizations with its Thriving Cultures program.  Through the program’s Artists and Economic Development funding area, the Foundation supports efforts that provide artists with business training and financial resources enabling them to be, and create, valuable economic assets for their communities. The focus is on nonprofit organizations that operate business and entrepreneurship training programs for artists and cultural organizations, provide financing to artists and artist-centered enterprises, and offer arts and culture-based programs and services that directly engage and support the people who live and work in the area as a strategy for equitable economic development. Letters of inquiry are accepted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Artists and Economic Development funding area.


–Minnesota Foundations 2018 – will be held Wednesday, December 13 from 1 – 4:30p.m. in 7 locations.  Join MCN for this annual analysis of the trends, staffing, program shifts and financial outlooks of more than 50 of the most important Minnesota foundations. The session will begin, 1 – 2:30 p.m., with a focus on foundations with statewide giving priorities (live in St. Paul, broadcast statewide). This portion of the session will take place live in St. Paul and will be broadcast statewide to our locations in BemidjiDuluthFergus FallsMankatoRochester and Sartell. The session will continue live in each location from 2:45 – 4:30 p.m., with a focus on foundations that give primarily in those regions.

Free Blandin Webinar Dec 14: Emerging trends in Minnesota Tele-Health – The Online Health Care Experience – Thursday, December 14 from 3-4 pm – Register Online

Understanding Health Disparities in Rural America – Insights from the CDC MMWR Rural Health Series Join us on December 18, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. Central for the next webinar in our series highlighting the findings from CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports. Featured speakers from the CMS Office of Minority Health and the CDC Office of Minority Health and Health Equity will discuss racial and ethnic health disparities in rural areas and will be joined by two FORHP Outreach grantees who are working to address health disparities in their communities.

— LqP County Frozen Farm Forum on Hemp Industry and Clean Energy
2018 Kick Off: Frozen Farm Forum Jan 11-12, 2018
Looking at the future of Lac qui Parle County is a good time to investigate new opportunities for farmers and emerging ag businesses. Two topics that are hot right now are Hemp and Clean Energy. So we at the LqP Economic Development Authority (EDA) have organized a 2-day conference to bring you the nuts, bolts and economic drivers for hemp and clean energy.
Days: January 11-12
Time: 8:30-4:30
Location: Madison Armory 504 3rd St, Madison, MN 56256
Cost: $25/day or $40/2 days (before Dec 8) OR $30/day or $50/2 days (after Dec 8)
Register Now!

–Mark your calendar now to attend the 2018 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, March 6-7, 2018, at the Verizon Wireless Center in downtown Mankato. If you are interested in being a sponsor or having a booth in the Marketplace, contact Lisa Havelka at 888-975-6766 or  For additional conference questions, contact Lori Peterson at 651-757-1876 or

–Save the Date! The 2018 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference is the place to go to consider the ways your nonprofit is balancing the art of communication in a world of high-speed technology.  It will be held Wednesday, March 21 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.  Learn more and register today!

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


–Hmong Women Leadership Institute  Deadline: December 15, 2017 DETAILS

— MnTAP is currently accepting applications for microbrewers and distillers interest in getting a complete environmental assessment done at their facility before February 2018. Eligible companies would be brewers producing under 20,000 bbl/yr and distillers producing less than 40,000 bbl/yr.

  • Complimentary assessment for 8-10 eligible microbreweries or micro distilleries.
  • Sustain and Maintain – Learn to set up a checklist approach to sustainable practices
  • Up to $500 in equipment to implement reduction ideas – you will help determine what your company might need

This project is funded by a MPCA grant. MNTAP is a free, non-regulatory program that can facility information confidential upon request. More current and past project information with brewers and distillers in Minnesota found on the MNTAP Brewing and Distilling webpage. Apply today!

–Tribes can get technical assistance for energy planning, renewables. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy provides federally recognized Indian tribes, including Alaska Native villages, tribal energy resource development organizations, and other organized tribal groups and communities with technical assistance to advance tribal energy projects at no cost. On-Request Technical Assistance provides energy planning, housing and building energy efficiency, and much more. The Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) assists in the development of tribal renewable energy projects. Learn more.

— Udall Scholarship offers scholarships to Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, self-governance, native health, or the environment.  Application Deadline: Mar 8, 2018

— 2017-2018 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announces the 30th Annual Student Essay Contest open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Essays due April 20, 2018.

–Grant Reviewers Needed ECRAC (East Central Regional Arts Council) is a Minnesota Regional Arts Council serves Region 7E the counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine) will be using more grant review panels this year.  If you are interested in assisting in the grant review process please contact us to volunteer! The time commitment is usually less then 10 hours and the learning opportunity is priceless.  Contact us at or 320.396.2337.

–The Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) Grants for Overcoming Racism Events in Greater Minnesota.  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS

Help Wanted! Full Time Economic Development Project Manager at LqP EDA – The Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority in Madison, MN has an opening for a full time Economic Development Project Manager.


Rural America at a Glance, 2017 Edition  The rural population is shrinking due to outmigration of young adults, fewer births, increased mortality among working-age adults, and an aging population. Rural job growth since 2011 has been well below the urban growth rate.

–The Minnesota Solar Guide has been published by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and copies are now available. The guide is a listing of solar businesses in the state, from solar manufacturers and system developers and installers to the agencies that help finance solar projects. It helps solar businesses connect with one another and helps consumers find the solar products and services they need to plan and install solar on their homes and businesses. Printed copies can be obtained by contacting The guide is also available for downloading as a pdf on the Commerce website.

Rural Transit Fact Book 2017  Provides national, state-level, and county-level statistics and information on rural transit in America. Includes data regarding transit trips for medical purposes with an urban/rural comparison. Also, covers financial and operating statistics for agencies receiving section 5311 funding. Includes a section on tribal transit.

Rural Transportation: Challenges and Opportunities  Policy brief discusses a study on the challenges of implementing rural transportation services and their implication on transportation policy. Analyzes infrastructure, geography, funding, accessibility, support and public awareness, and socio-demographics as barriers to rural transportation systems.

–“Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns: A Vital Mobility Link,” a report by the American Public Transportation Association, looks at specific groups of non-drivers that require some form of public transportation, as well as the different types of transit available and the advantages they present to small, rural communities. Several case studies are presented, and myths about rural public transportation are addressed. Get the report here.

–The MPCA Small Business Program has created a new webpage for MN microbreweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries that covers environmental regulation and sustainability resources. MPCA is assisting these facilities and their consultants to become more aware they may need to comply with certain environmental regulations, including:

  • Air emissions
  • Construction stormwater
  • Hazardous waste
  • Industrial stormwater
  • Industrial wastewater
  • Recycling
  • Refrigerants
  • Community right-to-know reporting

It also offers information about environmental sustainability including greening your business, facility/building conservation for energy, water, and waste, and funding opportunities for all small businesses including grants and loans. Though some of the content is brewery/distillery-specific, there are practical tips and suggestions that are applicable to many emerging small business sectors.

–“Tackling the Opioid Crisis in a Rural Community,” a report by the American Hospital Association, highlights a partnership between a rural hospital physician and the director of a community counseling center to establish a medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction in rural Maine. The report presents the program’s support structure, as well as the advantages of having an integrated treatment approach. Get the report here.

–The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released, “2017 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report: Chartbook on Rural Health Care.” The report summarizes trends in healthcare quality and disparities for rural populations, and includes quality measures for access to healthcare, patient safety, person- and family-centered care, care coordination, affordability, healthy living, and effective treatment. Click here to get the report.

Diabetes Mortality in Rural America: 1999-2015 Examines diabetes-related mortality, with a particular focus on the roles of rurality and race, during a 16-year period from 1999-2015.

Chronic Disease in Rural America This new guide provides an overview of chronic disease generally as well as specific conditions, including heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory conditions, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS.

National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network  Provides access to national, state, and county-level data on environmental health topics, including air quality, heat stress, exposure to pesticides, and other factors. Also includes data on health concerns impacted by the environment, including asthma, COPD, cancer, and heart disease.
Additional links: Data Query Tool,  Info by Location (County)

–Enterprise Community Partners has developed Opportunity360 Toolkit, a comprehensive approach to better understanding and addressing the challenges facing communities, and to improving outcomes for all residents in areas such as housing stability, quality education, health and well-being, economic security, and mobility. Through a user-friendly web interface, Opportunity360 features cross-sector data, community engagement, and measurement tools to help community development partners make smart investments, build more inclusive communities, and create collaborative solutions that transform communities across the country. Access the toolkit here.

–HUD’s Office of Recapitalization published two documents that guide owners through the process of developing a preservation strategy for their HUD-insured or -assisted multifamily affordable rental properties. The “HUD Preservation Workbook: Successful Stewardship of Multifamily Housing Recapitalization” is designed to support the exploration and decision-making that owners will undertake to preserve their properties. The workbook is meant to be used in tandem with the Recapitalization Excel Tool. The tool contains numerous spreadsheets for owners to enter baseline information about the property, its current Section 8 contracts and financing structure, financial performance, and physical condition. Get the Workbook here, and the Tool here

–The Carsey School of Public Policy has released “Employment, Poverty, and Public Assistance in the Rural United States.” The report reveals that despite the abundance of farmland in rural America, just six percent of rural workers depend on agriculture. Twenty-two percent depend on manufacturing, and the rest work in retail, sales, health care, construction, transportation, banking, services, tourist industries, and government – similar to their counterparts in cities and suburbs. Download the brief here.

Rural Poverty & Well-being ERS research in this topic focuses on the economic, social, spatial, and demographic factors that affect the income and poverty status of rural residents.

State Fact Sheets The ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and agricultural exports. Data are available for all States, and for metro/nonmetro breakouts within States. Links to county-level data are provided where available. This release provides the latest available (2016) U.S. and State-Level poverty estimates.

ERS County-level Data Sets  Provides access to county-level data on poverty rates, population change, unemployment rates, and education levels. Includes state maps illustrating the county data.

–NOTICE OF POSSIBLE CHANGES to Eligible Area Maps for USDA Rural Development Housing Programs. USDA Rural Development is conducting a review of all areas under its jurisdiction to identify areas that no longer qualify as rural for housing programs.  The last rural area reviews were performed in 2012-2013 using the 2010 census data. This review, which is done every five years, will utilize the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) data.  Based on the 2015 ACS data and rural area guidance located in Handbook HB-1-3550, Chapter 5, the rural eligibility designation is under review for the following areas (please reference the corresponding map when reviewing the list below):
The following cities may be considered ineligible for Rural Development housing programs beginning in June 2018:

  1. Big Lake
  2. Buffalo
  3. Faribault
  4. Monticello
  5. Otsego
  6. Owatonna
  7. Waconia

The following city may be considered eligible for Rural Development housing programs beginning in June 2018:

  1. East Grand Forks

The public shall have 90 days from December 1, 2017 to submit comments regarding possible changes in eligible areas for Rural Development housing programs.  Comments are encouraged and should be sent to or Housing Program Director, USDA Rural Development, 375 Jackson St., Suite 401, St. Paul, MN 55101. For questions or more information, stakeholders in affected communities are advised to contact the Area Director at the local Rural Development office responsible for serving the community.


–The University of Minnesota is seeking a College Health Corps VISTA to work with local, regional, state, and national opioid intervention and prevention partners through a new Duluth-based project. Do you know someone who wants to enhance opioid prevention efforts, build systems to reduce overdoses, and expand options for treatment? Interviews occur on a rolling basis. Apply now. Position starts Jan. 29, 2018. Contact Sinda with interest or questions or go to:

–Urban 4-H Program Coordinator, St. Louis Co. – Duluth, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development
Deadline: Open until filled DETAILS

–4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator, Otter Tail County, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development
Deadline: Open until filled DETAILS

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