MN Rural Partners Rural Roundup September 2018: Info on grants, opportunities, events

SEPTEMBER 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 8
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard


ACROSS THE FIELD: Mast Year for Acorns. Bumper crop harbinger of other amazing occurrences?
by Jane Leonard

I just gotta say that it’s been a loud and busy summer out here in the Oak Savanna. Acorns started dropping mid-summer and are dropping again now, setting off unexpected & loud noises from roofs, gutters, metal-plated vehicles and happy squealing from squirrels and other creatures grateful to have a bumper crop for winter’s storehouse.

The trees somehow know every 3 to 5 to 7 years that they should/could overproduce (10,000 acorns from one mature tree — we have about a dozen such trees close to the house!). The overproduction allows for all the animals to have their food needs met, and for there to be enough seeds to survive and make it through germination to get the next generations of mighty oaks underway.

It makes me wonder if people came out like that in full force once in a regular while to invest in the precious but unseen future together. How might that set up a generation of progress for Minnesota’s humankind (and treekind, too!)?  You can find out this fall while the acorns drop. Find a Thriving by Design community meeting near you, or host one.  Several will soon be underway across the state later this month and into October. Check out for more information and then like a mast of acorns, drop by to plant seeds for our shared future.

And in the meantime, check out these web sites for more info on this acorn phenomena:


Applications Open Aug. 1 for $11 Million in Legacy Grants  Groups that want to restore, protect or enhance public land or land permanently protected by conservation easements can apply for Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grants that help pay for work on Minnesota prairies, forests, wetlands or other habitat for fish and wildlife. Nonprofit organizations and government entities are eligible to submit applications for traditional and metro grant cycles until 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at

Applicants may request up to $400,000 with a total project cost not exceeding $575,000. Projects also must have a 10 percent match from a source outside a state agency. Potential applicants are encouraged to review the request for proposal and the “how to apply” tab on the website, which guides users through the application process.  Questions can be directed to Jessica Lee, CPL grant program coordinator for the DNR, or 651-259-5233.

–AARP Foundation has issued the following Requests for Applications (RFAs): The Increasing Social Connectedness for Older Adults RFA will support nonprofit organizations with innovative solutions to bring to scale proven approaches that increase social support and connectedness among low-income older adults. The Tackling Senior Food Insecurity RFA will support nonprofit organizations with innovative solutions to bring to scale proven approaches that increase food security for low-income older adults. The application deadline for both is 9/28/2018. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about each grant opportunity.

–USDA seeks applicants for Rural Broadband Access Loans  Deadline is September 30th.

TARGET is accepting applications for a K-12 Field Trip Program. Grants of up to $700 will be awarded to educators interested in leading field trips for K-12 students. Deadline to apply: 10/1/2018. Click here to review application guidelines.

Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through The Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program for programs that support community-based services aimed at improving the health status of children, adolescents, and families in rural and other underserved communities by increasing their access to health services. Deadline: 10/1/2018. Click here for funding guidelines.

2019 Tourism Marketing Grant Guidelines The new 2019 Tourism Marketing Grant Guidelines & Request for Funding forms are available on the Explore Minnesota industry site under “Ways to Get Involved.”  Due October 1, 2018.

Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program tis o support community-based child health projects that improve the health status of mothers, infants, children, and adolescents in rural and other underserved communities by increasing their access to health services. Application deadline is October 1.

The Laura Jane Musser Fund is seeking applications for its Rural Initiative Program in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Wyoming, as well as the Rio Grande Valley, Deep East Texas, and the Brazos Valley regions of Texas. Through the Rural Initiative Program, the Fund supports efforts that will help to strengthen individual rural towns in the targeted states in a number of civic areas, including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education. The applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or fewer and must be able to demonstrate the rural characteristics of their location and support from a diverse cross-section of community members and institutions. Planning grants of up to $5,000 and implementation grants of up to $25,000 are provided. Deadline: 10/3/2018. Review specific grant guidelines and application procedures on the Fund’s website here.

Whole Kids Foundation is accepting applications for the School Garden Grant Program. Grants of $2,000 are available to help fund garden projects at public and private K-12 schools in the United States. Deadline: 10/15/2018. Click here to review funding guidelines and to apply.

The Laura Jane Musser Fund supports projects that promote mutual understanding and cooperation between groups of community members of different cultural backgrounds through the Intercultural Harmony Initiative. Project planning grants up to $5,000 or implementation grants up to $25,000 will be considered. New programs or projects in their first three years are eligible. Deadline: applications will be accepted online 9/17-10/17/2018. Projects in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Wyoming, and limited counties in Texas will be considered. Click here to visit the website for funding guidelines.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grants and Guaranteed Loans  Financing and grant funding for agriculture producers and rural small businesses to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems or complete energy efficiency improvements. An example of a potential project may be the installation of solar panels for hospitals or clinics to improve energy costs. Application Deadline: October 31, 2018.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project  Farmers enroll for a chance to direct $2,500 to local nonprofit organizations that are important to them and their communities. Geographic coverage: Available in selected counties in 41 states. Application deadline is November 1.

Annie’s Grants for Gardens are to develop edible garden projects that help connect kids to nutritious food. Application deadline is November 1.

Rural Health Network Development Planning Program  Grants to promote the planning and development of rural 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: Nov 30, 2018.

Home Depot Foundation is offering grants of up to $5,000 for projects that repair, modify, weatherize, or otherwise improve low-income and/or transitional housing or community facilities. Deadline to apply: 12/31/2018. Click here to review funding guidelines.

BNSF Railway Foundation Grants  to organizations that operate near a BNSF railway line. Priority areas include health and human service organizations, programs that address chemical dependency treatment and prevention, spouse and child abuse, women’s and children’s aid, transitional shelters, hospitals, medical programs, and youth development programs.

— The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) plans to award up to 75 grants to rural communities as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning (RCORP)initiative in FY 18. Successful awardees will receive up to $200,000 for one–year to develop plans to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations. The initiative will focus on the 220 counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being at risk, as well as other high risk rural communities. The lead applicant must be part of a group including at least three other partners that have committed to forming a consortium or are part of an established consortium. All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for–profit, will be eligible to apply and all services must be provided in rural communities. For more information please contact: Allison Hutchings.

–Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) created the Community Facilities Fund to provide capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC utilizes this fund to provide permanent and construction-to- permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. Deadline: ongoing. Click here for more information.

SEARCH – Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households provides funding to financially distressed rural communities of less than 2,500 people to assist with feasibility studies, design assistance, and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects.

Capital Funding for Rural Healthcare This guide has received its annual update. In addition to providing an overview of what capital funding is and how it can be useful for a rural organization, it also includes a number of grant and loan programs that support capital projects, discusses rules and eligibility for common funding programs, and touches on strategies for fundraising and finding funding opportunities.

— USDA’s Direct Home Loan Program offers financing to qualified very-low and low-income applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required, and the interest rate could be as low as one percent with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines and demonstrate repayment ability. The program is available in rural communities of 20,000 people or less. The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 at a one percent interest rate, repayable for a 20-year term and can be used to improve or modernize homes and do essential repairs. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing, or replacing a furnace. Time is limited to receive these funds. Qualified applicants have until the end of September 2018 to apply. Contact a USDA Rural Development Housing Specialist in your area today, to see if you qualify.


September 17-18: 2018 Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit  The 2018 Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit will be held at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center. Presentations will explore how data and community indicators can increase understanding of issues, influence practices, support informed decisions about policies and programs, and track progress toward sustainable and equitable communities.

September 20: Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit at Bemidji State University. Learn more and register.

NDC will offer a course, “Catalyze Main Street Development” October 2-4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Understanding how to finance mixed-use development as a way to catalyze Main Street, energizing it with shopping, dining, culture, and entertainment, is critical for communities. Older districts have special opportunities for adaptive reuse-with buildings that are ideally suited to multiple uses (retail/office, residential/retail, etc.) in one structure. This course explores debt, equity and public/private financing tools available for Main Street redevelopment. Learn more and register by clicking here. Save up to 25 percent on remaining 2018 courses with promo code: NDC2018-15.

Register for the Minnesota Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus Annual Meeting & Conference  The Minnesota Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus 2018 Annual Meeting & Conference will be held Oct. 2-3 in St. Louis Park.

— The Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2018 Minnesota Hospitality Conference & Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. For more information, visit

October 11: Annual Minnesota Policy Conference The Minnesota Policy Conference is the premiere opportunity for individuals from all sectors who are involved in policy work to gain insight into policy trends and solutions. Many current and former partners of Minnesota Compass will be presenting at the conference. This year’s program includes sessions about statewide approaches to affordable housing, philanthropy and public policy, fighting the opioid epidemic, mapping prejudice, and climate projections to aid local planning and implementation. Learn more and register.

–Oct. 22-24 – Eighth Annual Cyber Security Summit, Minneapolis Convention Center, More info and registration.   

Border to Border Broadband: Transforming Minnesota Oct 23-24. Join policymakers, economic and community development professionals and community broadband champions from across the state for this annual opportunity to learn, connect and engage.

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25-26 in Bloomington.

–Registration opens Wednesday for an upcoming conference about the financial, legal and planning challenges associated with redeveloping contaminated sites. DEED is sponsoring Brownfields and Beyond: 2018 MN Redevelopment Conference, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-2, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Visit the DEED website for more program details and registration information.

Save the date for Minnesota Venture Conference: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.  New format: The conference agenda will feature modules on hot technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cyber security.

  • Thought leaders and industry experts will lead off each module followed by an investor panel discussion, wrapping with pitches by top start-up companies in Minnesota and the upper Midwest.
  • Investor panels will include venture capitalists, angel investors, corporate/strategic investors, academic institutional investors and federal funding resources.
  • Featured content will shine a spotlight on Minnesota’s tech hubs–medical, financial, ag, food, sports and advanced manufacturing industries.

Look for more opportunities to connect entrepreneurs, investors and service providers throughout the day.  Stay tuned for registration information at

–MnSEIA Midwest Solar Conference dates change to Nov. 12-13!!  The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) will host the fifth-annual MnSEIA Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference on at the Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn. The conference will focus on the state of solar in Minnesota, the Midwest, and the nation. It will bring together solar industry practitioners from all over the country for education, networking, and MnSEIA’s plans to grow Minnesota’s solar market. To register and for more details, read more.

–November 14 and 15 at the St. Paul RiverCentre is the MCN’s Annual Conference: Choosing Hope in Times of Disruption.

Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference Location Announced Explore Minnesota is excited to announce the 2019 Tourism Conference will be held in Minnesota’s capital city, St. Paul, on Feb. 4-6, 2019.


–Principal Community Scholars Nominate a community-minded student seeking a business-related degree for a $1,000 civic leadership scholarship. Nominations due Sept. 28.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced the 2019 Culture of Health Prize. Up to ten grants of $25,000 each will be awarded in recognition of outstanding community efforts and partnerships that are helping people live healthier lives. Deadline: 11/1/2018 (Phase I applications). Click here to review guidelines and to apply.

Country Doctor of the Year Award  Award to a physician who best exemplifies the spirit, skill, and dedication of America’s rural medical practitioners. Application Deadline: Nov 15, 2018.

Bloomberg Fellows  is a fellowship for individuals who want to achieve a Master’s or PhD degree in Public Health, as well as on-the-ground training and experience. The program is looking for leaders working in the areas of addiction and overdose, environmental challenges, obesity and the food system, risks to adolescent health, and violence. Application deadline is December 30, 2018.

Native American Congressional Internship A summer internship for Native American and Alaska Native students who wish to learn more about the federal government and issues affecting Indian country. Application Deadline: January 31, 2019.

Udall Scholarship  Scholarships for Native Americans and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, self-governance, native health, or the environment. Application Deadline: March 7, 2019.

LifeSmarts Online Consumer Challenge  The National Consumers League hosts LifeSmarts, an online competition open to all students in grades 6-12. This September, LifeSmarts celebrates 25 years of empowering teens to become smart, savvy consumers. Each month, LifeSmarts focuses on a different category important to teen consumers: personal finance, health and safety, consumer rights, technology, and the environment. Students compete online and in-person throughout the year to win scholarships and prizes. Experts in LifeSmarts subject areas are also needed to serve as judges and officials at the state and national competitions. This year’s competition begins on September 10.

NGPF Nationwide Scholarship Contest Next Gen Personal Finance sponsors this scholarship contest for high school students. Ten $5,000 and numerous $500 Honorable Mention scholarships will be awarded nationwide.

Openings on Explore Minnesota Tourism Council  The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has posted several open positions on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council, including a statewide association representative for lodging/resorts.


Crop insurance: Helping farmers, but not without consequences.  Higher federal subsidies have increased participation but driven program costs significantly higher.

Human Trafficking: A Rural Perspective Recorded webinar discussing data on the prevalence of human trafficking of rural children in their communities and schools. Covers risk factors and indicators. Describes promising and evidence-based prevention and intervention programs for rural communities and schools. Additional links: Download Video Recording

Insuring Rural America: Health Insurance Challenges and Opportunities 
Details a study focusing on the challenges of designing an insurance market that works in rural America. Looks at the needs of rural people and current health insurance policy.

Rural AAAs Structure and Services: Information & Planning Issue Brief 
Examines differences between rural and non-rural Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), using data from the 2016 AAA National Survey. Features statistics on budgets, budget sources, staff, structure, services, and participation in integrated care initiatives, with breakdowns by rural and non-rural location.  This FTC website is the federal government’s one-stop resource to help people report and recover from identity theft. It is available in Spanish at

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!