JANUARY 2019 – Volume XVII — Number 1
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also find online at: https://wp.me/pkVGJ-8x


ACROSS THE FIELD:  Rural Round-Up: Seventeen Years & Counting

Here’s a shout-out to the best friends & colleagues in the world: the co-editors of this publication, Deb Miller-Slipek and Ann Treacy! They have volunteered since Day One in the life of this erstwhile, electronic, and monthly MN Rural Partners Rural RoundUp. They keep the tank full of stories and the web carrier deck primed to lift off yet another issue. Today begins our 17th year and approximately 193rd issue (not counting the months – a few – when we –usually me — just couldn’t get one out to you). The RoundUp is the proud remainder & reminder of a once robust state rural development partnership in Minnesota and in the nation.

For any new readers or those of you who may have missed the history….Minnesota was blessed to have one of the best State Rural Development Partnerships in the USA, started along about 1995 as a federal-state-tribal-private and non-profit sector rural resource and inter-agency coordinating council. About six years earlier, Federal government agencies that assisted Rural America, from Health & Human Services, Commerce, Veteran’s Affairs and more, actually donated some of their “extra” funds each budget year to create a shared fund administered by USDA Rural Development to pay for federal-state coordination of rural development planning and strategy. A “New Governance” model, it quite literally crossed traditional lines of funding and administrative authority. Minnesota’s Rural Partnership – about 22 agencies and organizations crossing sectors, disciplines, and political administrations – joined the National Partnership after the first round of pilot states, and operated with just over $100,000/year from the national office.

Unfortunately, over the next decade, federal funding dwindled, and state partnership councils, while authorized still by Congressional action, were strongly encouraged to become non-profit organizations and seek their own funding sources. Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. incorporated in 1999 (20 years ago!) and that’s when the model fell apart because the “partnership” was now competing with its partners for grant funds.

We closed shop around 2010, except for the MRP Rural RoundUp. It has remained intact because of Deb’s amazing ability to find incredibly helpful bits and pieces of rural news, updates, research (Deb was MRP’s founding partner from USDA in MN), and because of Ann’s wonderful ability to keep our web presence going on fumes (Ann is a certified web wizard, active since Day One of the Internet in MN). And you, dear readers, thank you for sending us enough encouraging notes over the years to keep us keeping on. I remain, too, as an often humbled and always persistent co-editor, keeping my day job in the Cities so the home farm taxes get paid.
–Jane Leonard


–The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced grant funding opportunities for park and trail projects across Minnesota. Applications are now being accepted for the following grant programs:

These grants help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund projects including local parks, regional trails and trail connections. Eligibility requirements, deadlines, and other details can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov.

–BIG READ is accepting grant applications for Community-Wide Reading Programs. Seventy-five grants of up to $15,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Deadline: 1/24/2019. Click here to review funding guidelines and to apply.

–CLIF BAR Family Foundation is accepting grant applications for the Foundation’s Small Grants Program.  General support grants of up to $7,000 as well as funding for specific projects will be awarded to nonprofits working in one or more of the foundation’s five focus areas — promoting Earth’s beauty and bounty; creating a robust, healthy food system; increasing opportunities for outdoor activity; reducing environmental health hazards; and building stronger communities.  Deadline:  2/1/2019.  For program guidelines and to apply, click here.

–The National Endowment for the Arts has released new guidelines for FY 2020 Art Works grants, including new deadlines and application information for each discipline. Deadline: 2/14/2019. This will be the only opportunity to apply for Art Works funding in the Design discipline in 2019. Applications in February are for funding starting on January 1, 2020. Click here to review the guidelines.

–The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), a public-private partnership administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development, is currently offering grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 as well as technical assistance to eligible healthy food retail projects across the country to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas. Funded projects must 1) plan to expand or preserve the availability of staple and perishable foods in underserved areas with low- and moderate-income populations by maintaining or increasing the number of retail outlets that offer an assortment of perishable and staple foods in those areas, and 2) accept benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, for-profit business enterprises, cooperatively-owned businesses, institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and tribal governmental agencies. Deadline: 2/14/2019. Visit the HFFI website here to learn more about the eligibility guidelines and application process.

Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Assistance Program  Grants for collaborative projects designed to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural communities.
Letter of Intent (Optional): Jan 29, 2019.  Application Deadline: February 14, 2019.

–The AMERISOURCEBERGEN Foundation is offering funding through the Opioid Resource Grant Program. The Program will provide nonprofit organizations in communities across the United States with grants ranging up to $100,000 to combat the epidemic of opioid misuse. Priority will be given to organizations addressing the following three key areas of focus: safe disposal, education around prevention, and innovative solutions. (Funding requests for treatment, recovery, or treatment-related research will not be considered.) 2019 Deadlines: Letters of intent will be accepted from January 1 through February 15 and July 1 through August 15. Visit the Foundation’s website here to download the Opioid Resource Grant Program guidelines.

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program Grants to support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. Application Deadline: February 15, 2019.

–Various grants from the Laura Jane Musser fund are upcoming:

  • Rural Arts Deadline: March 12, 2019 – Online proposals will be accepted starting February 12, 2019.
  • Environmental Initiative Deadline: March 19, 2019 – Online proposals will be accepted starting February 19, 2019.

For more information go to:  https://www.musserfund.org/index.asp?page_seq=1

–USDA is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers, and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service.  Deadlines:  USDA will make available approximately $200 million for grants (applications due to USDA by 4/29/2019), as well as $200 million for loan and grant combinations (applications due 5/29/2019), and $200 million for low-interest loans (applications due by 6/28/2019).  Click here to review program guidelines and application requirements.

–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.

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).


–January 15 Opportunities for Bipartisan Tech Policy in DC and Livestreamed in St Paul. A  half day event bringing together members of Congress, community leaders, and policy experts. Keynote conversations and panel discussions will work to determine key policy goals and action steps for the new Congress, with a specific focus on rural broadband, digital privacy and security, and spectrum legislation.

January 16: St. Croix Valley Foundation Conversations of the Valley

Minnesota Compass Research Scientist Ellen Wolter will present “What the Future Holds – How our region is changing and what does that mean?” with data trends from across the region, and how to access and use Minnesota Compass resources. Learn more and register.

January 24: Economic Development Association of Minnesota winter conference

Minnesota Compass Project Director Allison Liuzzi and James P. Shannon Leadership Institute Director Damon Shoholm will present on “Changing Demographics & the Future of Minnesota.” Learn more and register.

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 February 4-6, 2019.

–The 95th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF) will take place February 21-22, 2019 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The event will offer a platform for exchanging ideas, information and best practices among producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations, both domestic and foreign. Click here for more information and to register.

–The 2019 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference, happening on March 7 at the St. Paul RiverCentre, is the place to focus your lasers on the latest and greatest in all things nonprofit communications and tech. Join the conference to engage in conversations about digital design, cybersecurity, content strategy, social media, online fundraising, and so much more! Get ready to propel your nonprofit further and faster in 2019. Register today!

–AURI’s New Uses Forum will be held March 27-28 at the Minneapolis Marriott West.

–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: https://mncampuscompact.org/event/2017-state-summit-and-awards-luncheon/

–21st Annual Minnesota Rural Health Conference June 17 – 18, 2019 in
Duluth, MN   Conference Website

–Hold the Dates:

  • Nonprofit Leadership Conference, June 13, 2019, Minneapolis (co-hosted with the Humphrey School)
  • Nonprofit Fundraising Conference, July 25, 2019, Brooklyn Center (co-hosted with AFP-MN)
  • MCN Annual Conference, October 24 – 25, 2019, Rochester


–Women’s March Minnesota (WMM) is working to better serve/promote women throughout Minnesota. Please complete the survey to help them know how they can better reach everyone with our ideals, events and ongoing communication. Entries that include email addresses will be put in a hat for a chance to win one of three $50 Visa gift cards.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RMWKPM6

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.

–2019 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award Applications Open
NDIA is looking for nominations for the fourth annual Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award. This year, we are excited to announce that not only one award will be presented, but two. In addition to recognizing an outstanding person who has truly made a difference in the field of Digital Equity, we wish to recognize an up and coming Digital Inclusion Practitioner as well.
Eligibility for this award is limited to U.S. residents. The nomination form can be completed here: Nomination Form The deadline for nominations for this year’s award is midnight Eastern Daylight Time February 1, 2019. For more information and to see past awardees  –  Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program Loan repayment assistance for primary healthcare professionals who agree to serve in Health Professional Shortage Areas.  Application Deadline: Feb 21, 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. 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.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 31st Annual Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is asking students in its 31st annual essay contest to use economics to describe and defend an effective immigration policy. Compass could be a great resource for student writers, especially if they are looking for trends in immigration, the economy, or the workforce. The contest is open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District.  Essays due April 19, 2019.   Learn more.

2020 Minnesota Census Jobs, United States Census Bureau


Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018: Highlights and Implications  The United States addresses agricultural and food policy through a variety of programs, including commodity support, nutrition assistance, and conservation. The primary legal framework for agricultural policy is set through a legislative process that occurs approximately every 5 years.

America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2018 Edition Ninety-eight percent of U.S. farms are family farms, and they account for 87% of production.

–Minnesota’s aging population is increasing dramatically. According to Minnesota Compass, between 2010 and 2030, our state’s 65+ population is expected to nearly double. While that projection becomes a reality, according to the AARP, available caregivers are to decline dramatically as the Boomer Generation transitions from caregivers to care recipients. Meanwhile, according to a Pew survey, “nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child.”

This emerging group is referred to as the sandwich generation and there is little understanding surrounding the complexities and challenges of the caregiving they provide.> Click here to read more about this upcoming work.

–Energy Efficiency Potential Study: Minnesota utilities can continue to meet or exceed energy-savings goals over next decade.  Minnesota utilities should be able to continue to meet or exceed their annual energy-savings goals over the next decade, according to the “Minnesota Energy Efficiency Potential Study: 2020-2029,” a study prepared for the Minnesota Department of Commerce and released on Dec. 4. The study outlines how utilities can continue their success with both existing and new energy-saving measures that benefit Minnesota households and businesses. It estimates that by 2029 utility conservation programs could decrease demand for electricity by 14% and by 11% for natural gas. Read the full study (pdf).

–A new study commissioned by the Minnesota Commerce Department finds that Minnesota could achieve 10% solar energy by 2025 at costs comparable to natural gas generation. The study’s findings also suggest that expected cost reductions for solar, wind and storage could enable Minnesota to achieve 70% solar and wind by 2050.The Solar Potential Analysis Report was prepared by Clean Power Research on behalf of the MN Solar Pathways initiative, a three-year project funded by a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. The project focuses on strategies for meeting Minnesota’s solar energy goal of 10% by 2030.

Minnesota is on track to exceed its current Renewable Electricity Standard of 25% by 2025, and it is also close to meeting the current Solar Electricity Standard of 1.5% by the end of 2020. Read the full Solar Potential Analysis Report (pdf) or download a press release (pdf) about the report.

–Minnesota’s clean energy progress is continuing at a strong pace. Overall, renewable energy generated 24.9% of the state’s electricity in 2017 compared to 8.4% in 2007, an increase of about 300% in the past decade, according to the most recent Minnesota Renewable Energy Update from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Wind alone generated 18.2% of Minnesota’s electricity in 2017, and large increases in wind power are expected over the next three years from projects that are already approved and currently under construction or in development. Meanwhile, electricity produced in the state from coal dropped to 39% in 2017 from 59% in 2007. For the first time, renewables surpassed nuclear energy (23%) as the second largest source of electricity generated in Minnesota.

As a result of forward-looking state policies such as the Renewable Electricity Standard, along with technological advances and lower costs for renewables, Minnesota utilities are moving ahead with ambitious plans to expand their electricity generation from clean energy such as wind and solar. For specific updates on wind and solar and utility plans for expanded renewable energy, read the Minnesota Renewable Energy Update, November 2017.

America’s Health Rankings Annual Report 2018 provides a national and state-by-state overview of population health by analyzing 35 measures to describe health outcomes in the U.S. Provides rural specific information and statistics by residence, obesity, excessive alcohol use, physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes, health status, mental and physical distress. Additional links: Executive Summary

Roundup of 2018 Approved State Telehealth Legislation summarizes telehealth legislation enacted in 2018, including some rural specific initiatives. Covers a variety of legislative topics, such as cross-state licensing, Medicaid reimbursement, network adequacy, demonstration project, online prescribing, and more.

Rural Long-Term Care Facilities this topic guide has been updated with new information throughout, including two Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on quality initiatives and oral healthcare.

HHS, in Partnership with Industry, Releases Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices for the Health Industry announces the release of “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients,” a four volume publication providing voluntary cybersecurity practices to help healthcare organizations of all types and sizes reduce their cybersecurity risks.

Promoting Mental Health in Rural Areas discusses the importance of self-care to promote good mental health for farmers and ranchers and offers tips to help reduce stress.

–Couldn’t make it to the Minneapolis Fed’s Innovation in Early Childhood Development and K-12 Education event last October 23-24? Videos of the conference sessions are available for viewing here.

–Looking for more information on community development issues and best practices? Connect to hundreds of resources from the Federal Reserve System at FedCommunities.org, an online portal that can be browsed by region, resource type, or topic.

Broadband Subscription Rate for U.S. Counties Bar chart showing average broadband subscription rates for households with incomes under $50,000 and incomes of $50,000 or more, for mostly urban, mostly rural, and completely rural counties.

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!