FEBRUARY 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 2
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard


ACROSS THE FIELD:  Happy Valentine’s Day!

We have a short Across the Field today to give a hearty shout-out to all of our steady readers who’ve been with us over these past 16 years! And welcome to new readers, too! We appreciate your interest and we’ll keep supplying practical info on these pages for as long as possible.

Thanks as well to my co-editors, Deb Miller Slipek — who gathers all this amazing info from her many sources across the countryside, and Ann Treacy — who gets us online every month on the MN Rural Partners website and beyond.

To all of our readers, keep doing good work out there. You are appreciated each and every day!

–Jane Leonard



Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program  promotes the planning and development of healthcare networks in order to achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential healthcare services; and strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole. Application deadline is February 23, 2018. 

Native Youth and Culture Fund provides grants for projects that focus on youth and incorporate culture and tradition to address social and health issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, and mental health. Letter of Intent (Required by March 8, 2018. Application deadline is May 1, 2018.

–AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by expanding markets. Grant opportunity for individuals (farmers) or businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and local government entities. Grants are for equipment purchases or physical improvements and are intended to support businesses. Application deadline is March 9th.  For more information go to:  https://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/valueaddedgrant.aspx

— Good Food Access Program (GFAP) Technical Assistance Grant assists in increasing the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low and moderate-income areas. Grants are intended to assist technical assistance providers in working with new or existing for-profit, not-for-profit, and cooperative self-service retail food establishments with needs-based assistance. Application deadline is March 14th.  For more information go to: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/gfaptechassistance

— The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is accepting applications for the following grant programs: outdoor recreation, natural and scenic areas, regional trails, local trail connections and federal recreational trails. These grants help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects such as local parks, regional trails and trail connections. The application deadlines are Wednesday, Feb. 28, for the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program and Friday, March 30, for the other programs. The DNR anticipates that both federal and state funding will be available during 2018 for these programs. For information about eligible projects and how to apply for a grant, visit the recreation grants page of the DNR website at mndnr.gov.

–The FY19 Minnesota Festival Support grant program is now open for application. The

FY19 Minnesota Festival Support Program overview and application instructions are available on the Arts Board website.  Minnesota Festival Support is a grant program designed to provide meaningful arts experiences to Minnesotans through festivals that celebrate the arts, build community, and expose communities to diverse art forms including folk and traditional arts. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 23.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering funding to coalitions working to reduce substance abuse among youth and to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, organizations, and governmental entities. Deadline: 3/29/2018. Click here for funding guidelines.

Applications are open for Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) 2018 Scholarship!  Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies. LEARN MORE AND APPLY 

Newman’s Own Award offers grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life for military members and their families, including programs for job training, housing, caregiver support, and mental health. Application deadline is April 25, 2018.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program  provides grants to support domestic violence shelters.  Application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Smart Rural Community Showcase Award honors rural communities that have achieved high levels of broadband activity and have used it to support innovative practices in industry sectors, such as healthcare, safety and security, and economic development. Application deadline is July 1, 2018.

Grants Available to Help Employers Develop Apprenticeships. Employers are invited to apply for the Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative grant to help them create or expand registered apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care, information technology and transportation. Employers can receive up to $5,000 for each registered apprentice.

U.S. Department of Labor is offering funding for events that offer homeless veteran populations a variety of social services such as housing, healthcare, and employment opportunities to help them to reintegrate into their communities. Deadline: applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is offering grants for innovative projects that are working to build a culture of health, ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need and all families have the opportunity to make healthier choices. Deadline: applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here to visit the website to review funding guidelines.

—-Community Food Projects Technical Assistance provides 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  provide 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.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program  provides 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 Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) Grants for Overcoming Racism Events in Greater Minnesota.  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS


–28th Annual Energy Design Conference & Expo, is to be held February 19-21 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The conference features 44 sessions, highlighted by Peter Yost’s February 20 keynote address titled “The Art, Science, and Business of High Performance Homes.” Read more to register and view the agenda.

— Register to Attend 2018 Aquatic Invaders Summit III  scheduled for February 28 and March 1, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Minneapolis, the Aquatic Invaders Summit III is hosted by Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates.

–Mark your calendar now to attend the 2018 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, March 6-7, 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 lisa.havelka@state.mn.us.  For additional conference questions, contact Lori Peterson at 651-757-1876 or lori.a.peterson@state.mn.us

–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!

The CERTs Community Driven Clean Energy Conference is on March 28-29 at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.  Read more for registration information and the agenda.

AURI’s New Uses Forum 2018: Adding Value at the Speed of Innovation will be held April 11 and 12 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN.  For more information go to: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eezeyr8wfe403e0f&llr=btf8y8cab

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

–National Rural Assembly “Building Civic Courage” will be held May 21-23, in Durham, North Carolina.  For more information go to:  http://ruralassembly.org/2018-rural-assembly/


Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships — Accepting Idea Briefs for project proposals and Board member applications. DETAILS

— Public Hearing and Comment Period: Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing, Action Plan and Consolidated Plan. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Housing, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services are accepting comments on the following documents until March 2, 2018:

  • Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing
    • This study is part of HUD’s requirement in the Federal Fair Housing Act to affirmatively further fair housing choice and create economic opportunities, and will cover 2018-2021.
  • State of Minnesota 2018 Housing and Community Development Annual Action Plan (Action Plan)
    • Directs how the state will meet needs and priorities in 2018 and will be submitted to HUD to receive federal housing and community development funding.
  • Substantial Amendment to the 2017-2021 Consolidated Plan
    • Examines the housing and community development needs of the state and sets priorities for allocating HUD funds.

How to Participate

  • Read the Plans: Visit our website to read the draft plans and see full instructions for commenting.
  • Attend a Public Hearing: Tuesday, February 20 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at Rondo Library, 461 N. Dale Street in St. Paul.
  • Submit Comments: By mail to Minnesota Housing, Attn: Action Plan/AI, 400 Wabasha Street N., Suite 400, St. Paul, MN 55102. By email to mn.housing@state.mn.us with “Action Plan/AI” in the subject line. Comments will be accepted until close of business on March 2.
  • Questions? Contact Jessica Deegan.

Xcel Energy opened applications for Solar*Rewards Program; other incentive options still available to install solar in Minnesota.  While the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program is no longer available, Xcel Energy and other utilities continue to offer incentive or rebate programs to incentivize solar energy systems for their customers. Xcel Energy  Solar*Rewards Program is open for residential and commercial customers. Two other investor-owned utilities —Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power—also offer solar incentives. Minnesota Power offers solar incentives to qualified customers through its SolarSense program. Otter Tail Power offers a Publicly Owned Property Solar program that provides cash incentives to publicly owned facilities that install non-residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

With the 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit still in place through 2019 and other utility incentive programs in force, support for Minnesota residences and businesses to install their own solar energy system remains strong. Several electric utilities in Minnesota voluntarily offer incentives for customers who install solar energy systems. Check with your utility to see if it offers incentives for new solar energy systems. See the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which offers a comprehensive list of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

Scholarships Available to Foodservice, Lodging & Hospitality Students. The Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation annually awards scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education for careers in the restaurant industry or in lodging management. Last year, 29 students received scholarships totaling $99,000.

— 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 is March 8.

— 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 are due April 20.

The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Application deadline is May 31.

–Educational Research Center of America is calling on high school students to present original ideas which address a pressing need in their communityFirst place will receive $5,000, two runners up will receive $2,500, and 15 students will receive $1,000 to be used for higher education expenses. Deadline: 7/25/2018. Submit your idea here.

Rural Hospital Leadership Award provides an educational stipend to a small or rural hospital administrator or chief executive officer to attend an AHA Annual Meeting or Health Forum Leadership Conference. Application deadline is August 31.

–WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award  Deadline: Ongoing DETAILS


Updated DEED Business Guide Now Available  The 2018 edition of “A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota” is now available from the Small Business Assistance Office at DEED. This popular guide, which is now in its 36th edition and free of charge, provides a concise summary of the major issues faced by anyone starting a business in Minnesota. –Minnesota benefits from the many ways immigrants from across the globe help build the vibrant communities we live in and love today. Here is a compilation of  a variety of demographic data in easy-to-use infographics that illustrate how Minnesota’s immigrants contribute to our economy and communities. The data is available for the state as a whole, and for each of Minnesota’s eight Congressional Districts.

About Half of Rural Counties Now Experiencing More Deaths than Births  is a map showing natural decrease in population in rural counties, before and after 2010. Identifies rural counties that had a natural increase, that had a natural decrease in 2006-2009, and those with a natural decrease that was new since 2010. Based on population data from 2000 through 2016.

Reinventing Rural Health Care: A Case Study of Seven Upper Midwest States  examines the current state of rural healthcare in seven states – Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming – and uses the findings to determine the impact of existing federal policies, understand ongoing healthcare challenges, and identify opportunities for improvement in rural healthcare access and delivery. It recommends the following actions to improve rural healthcare: rightsizing healthcare services to fit community need, creating rural funding mechanisms, building and supporting the primary care physician workforce, and expanding telemedicine services. Analysis is based on interviews with over 90 national thought leaders and key stakeholders.  Additional links: InfographicSummary – Rural Health Care: Lessons Learned

Taking Stock: Policy Opportunities for Advancing Rural Health  examines the progress of health system transformation and discusses the challenges that remain for rural people, places, and providers. Organized around seven main topics: Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, insurance coverage and affordability, quality, healthcare finance and system transformation, workforce, and population health. Provides background information on each topic and shares policy suggestions for addressing each topic’s most pressing issues.

Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health  topic guide was updated with new resources and information.

2016 American Community Survey (ACS) State and County Dashboard is a map-based interactive tool for accessing selected 2012-2016 American Community Survey data at the state and county level. Includes data on population, poverty, unemployment, and more.

Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The MLU series contains acreage estimates of major uses for the U.S., regions, and States, beginning in 1945 and published about every 5 years since (through 2012). The annual cropland summary table has been consistently maintained since 1910 and now includes data through 2017.

–The Broadband Task Force released their latest annual report. They recommend $35.7 million a year for ongoing broadband grants. https://wp.me/p3if7-4qx Word is spreading in local media.  https://wp.me/p3if7-4qT

The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s newest interactive tool, the Opportunity Occupations Monitor, identifies well-paying jobs across various educational requirement levels in states and metro areas. The monitor separates occupations into labor market groups based on entry-level educational requirements by employers. It also provides geographic-specific information on occupations, including total employment, median salary, and percent of monthly income needed for median regional housing costs. Access the tool here.


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