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


OCTOBER 2018 – Volume XVI — Number 9
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also find online at:


ACROSS THE FIELD: Community Development Turns 50!  Call for Presentations closes November 15

If you’ve been doing community development that involves civic engagement and interconnections between sectors and across disciplines, or community leadership development, or community entrepreneurship development, or community change, community improvement, and/or community innovation work, or community, economic, urban, rural and/or international development work in general, you will want to join your colleagues and head to Columbia, Missouri, next summer  (July 14-17, 2019) for the 50th anniversary of the Community Development Society (CDS) and annual international conference, Coming Home to Cultivate the Future.   (By the way, Minnesota boasts three past-presidents of this august organization: Brent Hales, John Kuester, and Jane Leonard, and a slew of past board members and past and current members.)

You can be a part of presenting that community development history and can help cultivate the future, too, if you get your presentation proposal in by November 15, 2018!  Please read more about the 2019 anniversary theme and submit  your presentation, paper, roundtable, poster, Impact of CDS session, and preconference workshop proposals at: 

And, PLEASE FORWARD this message far and wide to others to SAVE THE DATE and plan to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Community Development Society & Annual International Conference,July 14-17, 2019, Columbia, Missouri, USA.

Born in Missouri on the Mizzou campus, and now spread worldwide, the founding of CDS brought together many disciplines 50 years ago and started a movement making clear that  community development is “a radical profession….based on the belief that people can give purposeful direction to their collective future. How this occurs is based on the community, the issues, the current capacity of people and the resource base that is present…Community development is gaining knowledge and empowerment through a process of collaboration and action.” (Practicing Community Development, Donald W. and Doris P. Littrell, University of Missouri Extension, 2006).

The 50th anniversary year is a golden opportunity to express and explore the extreme relevance and responsibility of the community development field and CDS to be proactive change agents, to help create conditions for and help foster shared and welcoming communities. It’s a chance to remember and re-embrace the ideals with which our founders also struggled, to articulate what was happening and what they could do to help amidst the chaotic changes of the 1960s. Much is the same as 50 years ago: waves of radical action and radical grace in the face of community and world-wide disruptions. Much has changed. We are more fragmented even as we are more widely and thinly connected. Community is fragile, beloved, and yearned. How can we help cultivate a future seeking and needing community to thrive?

Questions?  Please contact Jane Leonard, CDS VP of Programs and 2019 Program Chair at


–MPCA offers $1.1 million in grants to upgrade non-road diesel equipment.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) encourages private and public owners of older non-road diesel equipment to apply for MPCA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act Grant (DERA). The $1.1 million grant funding will focus on non-road diesel equipment such as forklifts, cranes, excavators, barge towboats and locomotive engines that operate in Minnesota. The grant money will dramatically help cut pollution by replacing old, dirty, diesel engines with new, far-cleaner engines. In some cases, funds can help to replace the entire machine. Visit the DERA webpage for all application materials and details. The application period ends October 23, 2018.

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.

Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants are to nonprofit organizations that provide services to improve the daily lives of people with paralysis and their families. Application Deadline: Oct 31, 2018.

–The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) wishes to announce to all local artists, organizations providing arts programming, and schools within Region 7E (the Minnesota Counties of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs) that there are five November 1 art grant deadlines! There will also be two additional grant deadlines for fiscal year 2019 which are February 1, and April 1.

November 1, 2018, 11:59 p.m., is the East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) grant application deadline for:

* Art in Our Schools Grants: School districts may apply for special arts-related funding up to $3,000.

* Small/Art Project Assistance Grants: Nonprofit organizations, art groups, school districts, and local units of government may apply for arts-related funding ranging from $500-$5,000.

* Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Organizations: Nonprofit organizations, art groups, school districts, and local units of government may apply for arts-related funding ranging from $5,000-$15,000.

* Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Individuals: Individual artists may apply for arts-related funding up to $2,500. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents of Region 7E and need to have an open to the public event.

* ECRAC Individual Artist Grants: Individual artists may apply for arts project funding up to $1,000. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents of Region 7E.

For the grant application materials, information on past grants, and the link to the online grant application portal go to: ECRAC Grants Page!

The online grant application processes for November 1 are open now. For further information, please call 320-396-2337 extension 2 or email:

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.

Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Funding to develop and support Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) projects for volunteers 55 years and older in serving specific local and community needs in areas that currently do not have an RSVP grant. Application Deadline: Nov 7, 2018.

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.

–SAFER BRAND is offering funding to start a school garden with the goals of encouraging children to be active outside and to engage students in learning about nutrition and the environment. Deadline: 12/1/2018. Click here to visit the website for more information about this grant.

Farm to School Grant Program are to plan, establish, and/or sustain a Farm to School program that improves access to local foods in schools. Application Deadline: Dec 4, 2018.

–Corporation for National and Community Service is offering funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. Funding priorities in 2019 include prescription drug and opioid abuse, education, and public safety. Deadline: Letter of Intent 12/12/2018 (optional); application 1/30/2019. Click here to review program guidelines.

Youth Garden Grant awards funding and gardening supplies to schools and community organizations with youth-centered garden programs. Application Deadline: Dec 17, 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.

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)  provides funding to small rural hospitals, through their State Office of Rural Health, to help them do any or all of the following: purchase equipment or training to attain value-based payment and care goals; join or become an accountable care organization; and purchase health information technology, equipment, or training. Application Deadline: Jan 3, 2019.

–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.


–BroadbandUSA is offering a webinar, “Federal Broadband Funding: Policies and Programs to Connect America” on October 17, 2018 at 02:00 PM EDT. Speakers will provide an overview of federal funding options to support increased broadband access in communities across the United States, and recent program and policy updates from officials representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). Click here to register.

Attend the Annual Minnesota Heartland Meeting in Thief River Falls, Oct. 18 The annual meeting of the Minnesota Heartland Association, the regional tourism association for Northwest and Central Minnesota, will take place in Thief River Falls on Thursday, Oct. 18.

–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.

–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.  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.

Register for the 2018 Minnesota Scenic Byway Workshop  The 2018 Scenic Byway Workshop will be held Nov.14-15 in Fergus Falls, hosted by the Otter Trail Scenic Byway.

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

–Rural Health and Safety Education webinar series, “Combating Opioids,” is hosted by Purdue University Extension and the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD). “Dreamland: America’s Opiate Epidemic and How We Got Here” will be held December 7, 2018 at 2:00 PM ET. To join the webinar, click here.

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.

–MN Campus Compact Summit and Presidents’ Awards Luncheon will be held April 10, 2019 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.  For more information go to:


–Rural Health Listening Sessions, 2018.  The purpose for our upcoming October rural health listening sessions—in Alexandria, , , Marshall and Waseca—is to gather information to inform our Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) and other state Office of Rural Health and Primary Care projects. The Flex Program was created to improve access and quality, and focuses on Minnesota’s Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) as the hub of rural systems of care.

The target audience for these rural health listening sessions is anyone who works in, works with or uses rural health care. If you would like to attend or get more information, please contact: Emma Distel at 651-201-3528.

  • Wednesday, October 10 (11:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.)
    MN Agricultural Interpretive Center (MAIC) 7367—360th Avenue Waseca, MN 56093
  • Wednesday, October 24 (11:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m.)
    Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center 300 South Bruce Street Marshall, MN 56258
  • Tuesday, October 30 (4:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.)
    Alomere Health (KFA Douglas County Hospital)111–17th Avenue East Alexandria, MN 56308

If you would like to attend or have further questions, please contact: Emma Distel at 651-201-3528.

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

Proposals Sought for 2020 Governor’s Fishing Opener  Now in its 72nd year, the Governor’s Fishing Opener is an event established to promote our natural resources, uphold our fishing heritage and shine an intense media spotlight on our communities.

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.

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.


–Different Approaches to Rural Broadband in MN.  The City Pages features RS Fiber, Windomnet, Paul Bunyan and Lake Connections as rural broadband providers that have come up with innovative ways to get local residents the bandwidth they need.

Poverty declines in Twin Cities, stagnates in greater Minnesota

Poverty rates across the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota have been diverging in recent years. While the Twin Cities has seen sustained declines in poverty since 2014, greater Minnesota’s poverty rate has largely stagnated. See more data on poverty.

–Health insurance coverage drops slightly in 2017.  The latest Census data show a drop in the number of Minnesotans covered by health insurance in 2017. This comes at a time when various policy changes threaten Minnesotans’ ability to see a doctor or get their medication when they need it. In 2017, 4.4 percent of Minnesotans went without health insurance at some point during the year, compared to 4.1 percent last year. Minnesota has long worked towards all of us having affordable health care; we shouldn’t retreat from those goals.

–Minnesotans of color are left out of top-line economic gains shown in Census data.  The latest state-level Census data on Minnesota’s economy show the state continues to perform better than the nation in terms of economic well-being. In 2017, the income of the median Minnesota household increased to $68,388, more than $8,000 above the national level. The share of Minnesotans living in poverty, 9.5 percent, is also well below the national figure of 13.4 percent.

–A report from Pew Charitable Trusts, “About a Quarter of Rural Americans Say Access to High-Speed Internet Is a Major Problem,” shares the views of rural residents describing their access to high speed internet and the scope of the problem. Includes information on internet use, smartphone ownership, and home broadband by rurality. Click here to get the report.

–USDA Economic Research Service has published a collection of charts showing data on food insecurity in the pre-recession period of 2001-2007, the 2008-2009 recession, and the 2010-2017 post-recession period. It includes data for metropolitan and nonmetro areas. Click here to review the data. USDA has also published a report on household food security; click here to get the report.

–“Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Preservation,” a report from Housing Assistance Council, indicates that significant numbers of Section 515 properties will no longer be affordable as the loans mature in the next few decades. Over 13,000 rental properties and 415,000 affordable units throughout rural America are financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Rural Rental Housing Loans program, Section 515. Many maturing Section 515 properties are located in markets, mostly in the South and Midwest that are either declining or growing rapidly, putting their affordability at risk.

The Opportunity Atlas  Interactive mapping tool that provides estimates for children’s future earnings, incarceration rates, and other outcomes in adulthood by parental income, race, and gender by census tract. For some low population census tracts, there may be insufficient data to allow for all features.

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!