MN Rural Partners Rural Roundup January 2019: Info on grants, opportunities, events

February 2019 – Volume XVII — Number 2
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also find online at:




–The Blooming Prairie Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations nationwide that conduct any of the following activities: developmental, research, and educational efforts in the organic industry and the cooperative community; the development of organic and natural products; and cooperative development in the natural products industry. Deadline: 3/1/2019.  Visit the Foundation’s website here to review the grant guidelines.

Increasing Access to Healthy Foods Innovation Grants  Grants for working with local park and recreation agencies to implement at least one of three selected innovation strategies to increase access to healthy foods within underserved communities. Application Deadline: Mar 6, 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:

–U.S. Department of Justice is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies through the Fiscal Year 2019 Consolidated Grant Program to Address Children and Youth Experiencing Domestic and Sexual Assault and Engage Men and Boys as Allies program to prevent violence against women.  Deadline: 3/14/2019.  Click here to review program guidelines.

–U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies – “to develop and implement targeted strategies for substance use disorder treatment provision to address a specific population or area of focus identified by the community.” Maximum Amount: $375,000.  Deadline: 3/25/2019.  Click here for program guidelines and application materials.

–Indian Health Services is offering pre-graduate scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native students to enroll in courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-podiatry, or pre-optometry.  Deadline to apply:  3/28/2019.  Click here for more information and to apply.

–AARP Purpose Prize honors extraordinary individuals 50 years of age and older who use their life experience to make a better future for all. The Prize recognizes those with the passion and experience to create new ways to solve tough social problems. Five winners annually receive $60,000 each to celebrate their achievements and broaden the scope of their work. Nominees, who may be working for organizations in the nonprofit, public, or private sectors, must be legal residents of the U.S. or U.S. citizens living abroad who have started their work at the age of 40 or later. Nomination deadline: 3/31/2019. Visit the Purpose Prize website here to read the official rules and access the nomination form.

Alzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative – Grants to States and Communities  Grants to support the development and expansion of dementia-capable home and community-based service systems in states and communities. Application Deadline: April 1, 2019.

–U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants for tribal community-based organizations, tribes, and village governments for social and economic infrastructure development.  This program is focused on community-driven projects designed to grow local economies, strengthen Native American families, including the preservation of Native American cultures, and decrease the high rate of current challenges caused by the lack of community-based businesses, and social and economic infrastructure in Native American communities.  Native American communities include American Indian tribes (federally-recognized and non-federally recognized), Native Hawaiians, Alaskan Natives, and Native American Pacific Islanders.
Application deadline: 4/15/2019.  Click here to review program guidelines.

–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.

Mary Kay Domestic Violence Shelter Grant Program Grants to support domestic violence shelters. The Foundation will award a grant to at least one domestic violence shelter in every state that applies, and many grants have gone to rural areas. Application Deadline: April 30, 2019.

Rural Health Care Telecommunications Program Assistance to healthcare providers for eligible expenses related to broadband connectivity based on the urban-rural price difference in an area.
Application Deadline: May 31, 2019.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposals  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.  Application Deadline: October 15, 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.

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).


Minnesota Compass Build Your Own Data Workshop – February 20 on Wednesday, February 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud. During the event, Minnesota Compass Research Scientist Ellen Wolter will share what was learned in statewide listening sessions, demonstrate how you can use the BYO data tool to access data for the central region, and highlight current demographic trends. The event is free, but registration is required. Learn more and register.

–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 29th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo will be held Feb. 26-27 in Duluth to provide the latest in energy-efficient building and technologies, renewable energy, best practices, and responsible design. The conference, hosted by Minnesota Power, will feature more than 40 sessions from some of the best educators in the energy field and provides participants with opportunities to connect with peers and other energy-conscious attendees. Early-bird registration with discounted fees ends Feb. 1, 2019. To register and for details, read more.

–The Aspen Institute will host “All Together Now: Advancing 2Gen Strategies in Rural America” via live streaming and an in-person event Thursday, February 28, 2019, 12:00 to 1:30 pm EST in Washington, D.C.  How can local organizations, businesses and parents partner to help struggling and striving rural families get ahead – and stay there? Over the past decade, innovative “two-generation (2Gen)” or “whole family” approaches have emerged as a promising answer. The 2Gen approach aims to intentionally coordinate and align often-isolated programs for kids and their parents (or grandparents) in ways that help accelerate progress on three fronts: (1) parents with family-supporting jobs; (2) children meeting developmental milestones; and (3) families able to fully support and promote their children’s development.  To register to watch or attend in person by clicking here.

Economic Development in Indian Country: Challenges and Opportunities.  This free event will be held at the Minneapolis Fed on February 28 at 7:00 p.m. and is preceded by an optional tour.  Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Assistant Vice President and Director of the Center for Indian Country Development (CICD) Patrice Kunesh for a conversation focusing on Native communities, the Center’s strategies to impact socioeconomic outcomes, and its aim to close disparity gaps. The CICD is a nationally recognized thought leader and clearinghouse for resources and initiatives concerning Native economic development.

–Minnesota GreenStep Cities on March 6 at 9 a.m. will host “Shared Mobility & Electric Vehicles: What We’ve Learned,” a workshop dedicated to shared mobility (think bike share programs), electric vehicles, and autonomous vehicles. City and tribal government staff, elected officials, and appointed officials are invited to attend this free workshop to learn more about this local government sustainability topic. Attend in person at the League of Minnesota Cities building in St. Paul or attend remotely via GoTo Meeting. Learn more.

–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!

Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture: Increasing Your Joy and Happiness While Living a Farm Life March 8th from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Central Time sponsored by
American Agri-Women, University of Minnesota Extension, Upper Midwest Agriculture Safety and Health Center.

–AURI’s New Uses Forum will be held March 27-28 at the Minneapolis Marriott West.   The 2019 New Uses Forum is dedicated to the idea of accelerating innovation and investment. It brings together some of the most knowledgeable voices on topics related to new uses innovation, including development, investment and support. To register go to: <>

–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:

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

–Hold the Dates:

  • The SciMathMN and The Works Museum joint conference on STEM education will be held on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education Center.
  • 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


–The National Development Council, in partnership with Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) and the EPA Technical Assistance to Brownfield Communities (TAB), is seeking feedback to expand the National Economic Development Mentoring Network. The Network is a new program that will facilitate exchange and mentoring among economic development practitioners and their communities.  Fill out the brief survey linked here.

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: February 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.

–MPCA is seeking a Minnesota-based company to host one green chemistry & engineering intern this summer. The maximum grant funding is $10,000. The host company and intern gain experience advancing green chemistry and engineering practices to one or more of the company’s products or components in any way that supports improved product safety.  For more details, visit the MPCA Green and Safer Chemistry webpage. Submit questions to, with the subject line “Green Chemistry & Engineering Internship Q&A”.  Company applications are due March 13, 2019.

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.

Agricultural Safety and Health: The Core Course Scholarship Awards scholarships to attend the Agricultural Safety and Health Core Course to be held in Iowa in June, 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.

2020 Minnesota Census Jobs, United States Census Bureau


Rural Philanthropy Toolkit  This new toolkit, developed in collaboration with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, is designed to help rural organizations create and maintain partnerships with philanthropies. Includes guidance on conducting outreach, model programs, emerging strategies, and a wealth of resources.

2020 Census Needs Funder Support to Ensure Rural Inclusion  Discusses the importance of an accurate count in the upcoming census, especially in rural areas where it can be more difficult to arrive at an accurate count. Census numbers are used to determine federal funding distribution as well as things like hospital sites and where investments in infrastructure are made. Highlights one foundation in Minnesota that has been heavily invested in ensuring an accurate census count in their area and includes tips for how other foundations can do the same.

The Farm Bill Shows a Shift to a More Innovative Rural America  Details portions of the recently passed Farm Bill designed to encourage the work of innovators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in rural areas. This includes funding for technology infrastructure, digital job training centers, and other physical locations like makerspaces and co-working offices.

— How many Minnesotans lack broadband? Microsoft recently unveiled an interactive map that compares FCC broadband maps to their own research on what their customers seem able to access. The FCC reports that 409,000 people lack access in Minnesota; Microsoft reports 3 million.

–How does Minnesota rank? Minnesota is top ten in State Technology & Science Index, but slipped to number eight.

–Next Century Cities has released a toolkit that offers a step-by-step guide on how to assess and establish broadband options. Among the steps the toolkit recommends are having a dedicated staff member to oversee broadband access, building community support and prioritizing digital inclusion to bring in underserved residents.  Access the toolkit here.

It’s been a decade since the Great Recession ended. How has Minnesota recovered? At a high level, our state continues to see progress on several economic measures. But it would be inaccurate to conclude that the progress our state has made has delivered for all.

No change in poverty in most Minnesota counties  Most Minnesota counties saw no change in poverty between 2012 and 2017, but 11 counties saw statistically significant declines.

HHS: Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines Announces the updated 2019 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) federal poverty guidelines for the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, and Hawaii, which took effect January 11, 2019. The HHS poverty guidelines are a simplified version of the poverty thresholds issued by the U.S. Census Bureau and are used to determine eligibility for several federal programs.

–RHIHub has updated its “Rural Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide.” The guide shows how rural communities can prepare for and effectively respond to disasters and other large-scale emergencies. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has published “Rural Communities in Crisis: A Critical Count to Save Lives During the Opioid Epidemic.” The toolkit suggests a method that rural communities can use to estimate the size and characteristics of the population who inject drugs, and includes a toolkit describing the approach and an online calculation tool that can be used to estimate service needs in a community related to the opioid crisis. Access the toolkit here.

Telehealth Changes Will Increase Rural Broadband Demand  Discusses policy changes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which will likely lead to expanded use of telehealth. It it expected that telehealth expansion will similarly drive broadband development, especially because of the effectiveness of using telehealth to address opioid use disorder.

Rural Hospitals Retreat from Delivering Babies; Small Towns Pay the Price   Details rural obstetrics units closing in Minnesota and across the country and discusses the impact this can have on rural communities. Not only does it directly impact new mothers and their babies, but it can deter young families from moving to those rural areas entirely.

Rural Care Coordination Toolkit  This toolkit, created in partnership with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, has received updates throughout, including substantial revisions to the Implementation module. This module delves into considerations for workforce and staffing, different populations, quality improvement, and adopting a whole-person mindset.

–Culture of Health Blog at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation features an article “Data Maps the Impact of Where a Child Grows Up.”  The post details the Opportunity Atlas, a collaboration between researchers at the Census Bureau, Harvard University, and Brown University, which provides county-level data on children’s outcomes into adulthood. Data from each county can be analyzed by race, gender, income, and by location-specific details like access to good schools, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, and quality healthcare. The post includes some discussion of how this data can be used and the value of local solutions. Click here to access the data.

Rural Communities in Crisis: A Critical Count to Save Lives During the Opioid Epidemic  A method rural communities can use to estimate the size and characteristics of the population who inject drugs. Includes a toolkit describing the approach and an online calculation tool that can be used to estimate service needs in a community related to the opioid crisis. Additional links: Calculation ToolToolkit: Applying Population Estimation Methods in Rural America

Community Health Center Chartbook, 2019 Features graphs, figures, and maps to document services provided by health centers, characteristics of the patients served, and progress made in improving access to healthcare, including in rural areas. Reports on health centers’ financial health, workforce status, economic impact, challenges to meeting the demand for healthcare needs, and more. Includes statistics on telehealth service offerings with breakdowns by urban or rural status.

EMS Agenda 2050: A People-Centered Vision for the Future of Emergency Medical Services Serves as an update to the 1996 EMS Agenda for the Future. Reports the vision of emergency medical services (EMS) of the future and describes 6 guiding principles to help EMS and communities create a more people-centered EMS system. Discusses challenges specific to rural communities, such as EMS workforce issues.

— This is the final year residents can claim the full 30% federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. For residents considering a solar energy system (PV or hot water), small wind system, ground source heat pump, or other eligible systems, 2019 is a good time to install it. The current tax credit means a taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. The tax credit for all eligible systems will phase down over the next three years from 30% in 2019, 26% in 2020, and 22% in 2021, and it will end in 2022. There is a similar Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) available for businesses, with a similar phase down schedule. Read more (pdf) about the tax credit and other –incentives for renewables.

–How does a bill become a law in MN and who can you contact about it?

–Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) publishes an “Opportunity Zones Update Newsletter” featuring articles, resources and events.  See the latest issue by clicking here, and click here to subscribe.

–A field report by National 4-H Council and The Bridgespan Group, “Social Mobility in Rural America,” showcases rural communities that are surmounting obstacles and helping their young people build a brighter future.  Click here to read and download the report.

–Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are starting to feel squeezed by on-going threats to many of the funding sources that have helped make their work in affordable housing, health, and small businesses possible. To ensure that CDFIs can continue to serve communities, the industry must innovate and attract new sources of financing and investment.  In a Spotlight on the state of the industry, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) Institute has compiled resources to help practitioners understand how industry leaders are thinking about changes in the community development financing field, and what the industry needs to consider to keep up with the needs and demands of our communities, as well as to engage new investors.  Access all the resources by clicking here.

–An article in Shelterforce, “How to Fund Land Banks,” illustrates that the number of land banks grew dramatically in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, and so has our understanding of how to successfully fund them. Read the article by clicking here.

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!