MAY 2019 – Volume XVII — Number 6
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also find online at:



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering funding through The Transforming Lives Through Supported Employment Program that funds efforts to refine, implement, and sustain supported employment programs for transition-aged youth and young adults with serious emotional disturbance, and adults with serious mental illness or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.  Deadline: 5/17/2019.  Click here to learn more about this program and to apply.

The Federal Highway Administration is offering Tribal Transportation Program Safety Funds to tribal governments for the purposes of transportation projects related to safety, safety planning, and safety/infrastructure.  Deadline to apply:  5/20/2019.  Click here to review program guidelines.

Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program  Grants to rehabilitate and modify the primary residence of veterans who are low-income and living with disabilities, with a focus on helping them regain and/or maintain their independence to alleviate critical health, life, and safety issues. Applicants from rural and frontier areas that lack reliable internet access may request a waiver from the electronic submission requirement through HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development. Application Deadline: May 22, 2019.

Household Water Well System Grants USDA RUS grants for qualified nonprofit organizations and tribes to create a revolving loan fund to increase access to clean, reliable water for households in eligible rural areas. Application Deadline: May 27, 2019.

Water and Waste Disposal Revolving Loan Funds USDA RUS grants to help nonprofit organizations establish revolving loan funds that will finance water and wastewater projects in rural communities. Application Deadline: May 27, 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.

MultiPlan Rural Health Grant  Grants to help healthcare providers in rural areas introduce or expand services, education, screenings and other programs aimed at improving the health of people in their communities. Application Deadline: May 31, 2019.

Best Buy Foundation is offering Community Grants of up to $15,000 in support of equitable, innovative, and impact-driven programs focused on enhancing the lives of youth between the ages of 13 and 18 through technology-enabled curricula.  Deadline:  5/31/2019.  Click here to review program guidelines.

The Environmental Protection Agency is inviting communities to apply for planning assistance through the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities initiative. Partner communities will work with a planning team to foster environmentally friendly community development and Main Street revitalization through the sustainable use of forests or other natural resources. Deadline:  5/31/2019. Click here for the call for applications and the application form.

Community Economic Development (CED) Projects Grants to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities, including expansion or construction of clinics and health centers. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in rural communities and counties of persistent poverty. Application Deadline: June 3, 2019.

Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program  Grants to plan or implement food projects designed to meet the needs of low-income individuals and increase community self-reliance concerning food and nutrition. Application Deadline: June 3, 2019.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)  USDA RD funding to help nonprofit housing and community development intermediary organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Priority will be given to applications that address USDA’s goal to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with Substance Use Disorder (including opioid misuse) in high-risk rural communities. Application Deadline: June 5, 2019.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is offering Strong Communities Awards to deserving projects within their district.  The award demonstrates the value that communities throughout the FHLB Des Moines district derive from small business and economic development projects. The award recognizes projects that created stronger communities by measuring impact, results, and collaboration.  One urban and one rural project will receive $15,000.  Deadline:  6/7/2019.  To apply, click here.

HUD is offering Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to Public Housing Authorities, local governments, tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations.  This U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program helps communities transform neighborhoods by redeveloping severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing.  Deadline:  6/10/2019.  Click here to review program guidelines.

HUD is offering Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants that provide Financial Assistance or Technical Assistance grants to build the capacity of rural housing development organizations, Community Development Corporations, Community Housing Development Organizations, local governments, and Indian tribes to carry out affordable housing and community development activities in rural areas for the benefit of low- and moderate-income families and persons.  Deadline:  6/11/2019.  Click here to review program guidelines.

Relatives as Parents Program  Grants to support the creation or expansion of healthcare, mental health services, and other supportive services for grandparents and other relatives who have taken on the responsibility of surrogate parenting due to the absence of the parents. Application Deadline: June 12, 2019.

Local Food Promotion Program Grants to support the development, coordination, and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to help increase access and availability to locally and regionally produced agricultural products. Application Deadline: June 18, 2019.

STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program  Grants to train school personnel and educate students to prevent student violence, develop and operate anonymous reporting systems concerning threats of school violence, and develop and operate school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams. Application Deadline: June 18, 2019.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Group Respite and Early Memory Loss Grants  for community-based, social model day programs that provide dementia-specific group activities for participants and respite for family caregivers and care partners. Application Deadline: June 26, 2019.

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program Secured, direct loans and loan guarantees for eligible water infrastructure projects, with 15% of funds set aside for small, rural, and tribal communities. Application Deadline: July 5, 2019.

Foundation for Rural Service Community Grant Program Grants to support a variety of local efforts to build and sustain a high quality of life in rural communities across America. Focus areas include business development, community development, education, and telecommunications. Application Deadline: Sept. 13, 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.

The Home Depot Foundation’s Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve their communities. The program focuses on support for organizations that serve veterans in local communities, as well as organizations that serve diverse and underserved communities. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Deadline: requests will be accepted on a rolling basis through 12/31/2019. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.


–Minnesota Compass is holding a series of free workshops around the state to share what they learned in listening sessions, highlight current demographic trends, and demonstrate how you can use the Minnesota Compass Build Your Own data tool to access data for your city, county, school district, legislative district and more. Space is limited, so register soon!

  • Worthington Wednesday, May 15, 9-11 a.m. Register.
  • Fergus Falls Wednesday, May 29, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Register.
  • Austin Wednesday, June 19, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Register.

–Explore Minnesota is beginning the process of developing our 2020/2021 Strategic Plan, and it’s extremely important for us to hear your views. We want to know what is working, what is not, and how we can work together to better grow tourism in the entire state. We will be conducting face-to-face Listening Sessions throughout the state in May. Specific dates and locations are available on the tourism industry website.

Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit, Wednesday, May 15, Duluth. This day-long summit is designed to bring together staff, board members, and volunteers from across northern Minnesota to learn, network, and strategize.

CDFA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program is offering a webinar “New Community Strategies for Brownfields: Opportunity Zones,” May 21, 2019, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM EDT.   There are numerous and diverse types of financing tools and incentives available to communities for tackling the challenges of financing brownfields redevelopment. Webcast panelists will explore how communities are preparing themselves for Opportunity Zone investments and with the release of new proposed regulations, how this emerging industry is beginning to mold its first deals. Speakers will also examine how communities across the U.S. are integrating these new strategies with current and future redevelopment plans, with a specific focus on brownfields sites.  Click here to register.

— Minnesota NAHRO Spring 2019 Conference – May 22-24, Brainerd. “Retool, Recharge, Rebuild.” More information is available at

–The Campus Compacts of the Great Plains, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin invite you to join us for the 2019 Midwest Campus Compact Conference, which will take place May 29 – 31, 2019, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Whether you are new to community-engaged learning and scholarship, curious about learning the basics of community-campus partnerships, or a seasoned engaged scholar or community engagement professional seeking innovative approaches and discussion of important issues, this conference will provide opportunities to learn, explore, connect, and prepare for bold and thoughtful action. For more information go to:

June 10: Using Minnesota Compass to Make Data-Informed Decisions Explore the “Why” and “How” of using data to make decisions that will guide strategic planning, program development, and fundraising. Minnesota Compass Research Scientist Ellen Wolter will highlight the latest data and tools available on to use to inform organizational strategy and decision-making, and data best practices and key issues to consider when interpreting and making decisions with data. Learn more and register.

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

ASES National Solar Conference is Aug. 5-9 in Bloomington, Minn. The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) will hold its 48th annual National Solar Conference on Aug. 5-9 at the Crowne Plaza AiRE in Bloomington, Minn. The conference is unique in its delivery of cutting-edge research, trends, and analysis and provides a venue for the exchange of ideas, information, business insights, and perspectives on progress toward greater sustainability. Participants generally represent a broad base of solar and renewable energy professionals and thought leaders. The conference will feature technical sessions, forum discussions, plenary panels, presentations, public solar displays, and networking events. Early bird registration offers a $100 discount and ends June 15. Read more to register and for details. 

Oct 8-10 – MN Fall Broadband Conference  This three-day conference at the beautiful Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN offers learning and engagement on many aspects of the challenges and benefits of broadband access and use, from “Pursuing Broadband 101,” to digital inclusion tools and strategies for diverse audiences.

–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).
  • The 2019 Rural Arts & Culture Summit will take place October 3-5 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. This year they are particularly interested in session ideas that address the idea of “Creative People Power” in rural place.
  • 21-22 are the dates for the 2019 Gateway to Solar Conference, the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) has announced. The annual conference is Minnesota’s largest industry-led solar trade group conference and will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis. Read more.
  • MCN Annual Conference, October 24 – 25, 2019, Rochester.


Do you know an entrepreneur with a social enterprise idea? Explore the Initiators Fellowship program to see if it’s a fit for you or someone you know. By becoming a Fellow, you can transform your vision into a scalable, sustainable venture that diversifies and enriches Greater Minnesota. Applications will be accepted May 15 to July 15.

  • What is the Fellowship? Through a friendly yet competitive selection process, the program awards up to seven fellowships and provides wrap-around training, mentoring and guidance—plus $30,000 annually for two years—to support Fellows and their social enterprise ideas
  • Am I Eligible? Applications are encouraged from up-and-coming leaders served by the Initiative Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative. Strong character and a passionate drive for social enterprise are qualities that will lead to success
  • How Do I Apply? The application process has three stages: the search stage, the selection stage and the finalist stage. Our goal is to make the process beneficial to all applicants by providing guidance, insights and valuable feedback to fuel individual growth and development
  • Go to:   For additional questions or additional information, complete our Contact Us form or send an email to Chris Fastner, Initiators Fellowship program manager. Inquiries may also be made by calling (877) 632-9255. The Initiators Fellowship is a program of the Initiative Foundation based in Little Falls.

Apply to be on the next MN Broadband Task Force. Applications are now being accepted for 15 open member seats of the newest iteration of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband.

The Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) is seeking proposals for their next Resident Artist. They are looking for artists who will work with staff to identify and design projects across departments that integrate the arts into SWMHP organizational practices. Ashley Hanson, co-founder of PlaceBase Productions and current Bush Fellow, is the current resident artist and can be contacted at 952-486-0533 or at to answer questions about the Residency.  More information can be obtained by clicking here.

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program  Scholarships for nursing students in exchange for a 2-year, full-time service commitment (or part-time equivalent), at an eligible healthcare facility with a critical shortage of nurses. Application Deadline: May 21, 2019.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is pleased to announce its fourth annual Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards. In partnership with the McKnight Foundation, a family foundation based in Minnesota that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive, four Minnesotans, two from the Twin Cities metro and two from Greater Minnesota, will each receive $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state of Minnesota and its communities. Nominations are open until May 27 – nominate someone today! More information can be found on our website.

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.

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program Loan repayment for undergraduate and graduate health professional educational loans in return for full-time clinical service in Indian Health Service programs. Application Deadline: Aug 15, 2019.

2020 Minnesota Census Jobs, United States Census Bureau


Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline The Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline is a free, confidential helpline available 24/7 for farmers and farm families to connect with counselors, help with daily living (like childcare or food assistance), and financial/legal advice.

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America’s counties. View indicators about people, jobs, income, veterans, and county types. The atlas has been updated to include American Community Survey data for 2013-17 and poverty rates from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for 2017.

 We Count Campaign: the 2020 census Governor Walz has launched a year long awareness drive for the upcoming 2020 census. Since 1790, the U.S. Constitution mandates that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years. After each decade’s census, state officials redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts in their states to account for population shifts. Andrew Virden, director of census operations and engagement for the Minnesota State Demographer’s office, notes that the 2020 census could result in the loss of Minnesota’s eighth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is one of the reasons it will be so very important to get an accurate and total count of our citizens. It will take all of us coming together to ensure every Minnesotan counts! Census 101: What you need to know.

Thriving by Design Minnesota Equity Blueprint First Release. Growth & Justice releases their first Blueprint Report on Human Capital; it reveals challenges and opportunities, along with dozens of practical solutions that will help realize Minnesota’s full human potential.

Blandin Foundation Rural Pulse – how do Minnesotans feel? Every three years, the Blandin Foundation does a scan of how Minnesotans are feeling about the economy, their future and more. This year they surveyed 1,560 people the results are mixed based on where you live and who you are.

Rural America Growing Again Due to Migration Gains  Provides data on nonmetropolitan population change, natural population change, and net migration for the periods 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018.

The 10-20-30 Provision: Defining Persistent Poverty Counties Defines persistent poverty counties. Discusses how differences in definitions and data used can affect which counties are considered persistently poor and includes a map highlighting the impact of different definitions. Briefly addresses legislation targeting persistent poverty counties using the “10-20-30 provision,” including rural development funding.

The 2019 County Health Rankings measure the health of nearly every county in the country have been released.  County Health Rankings and Roadmaps is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program. The County Health Rankings look at more than 30 factors – education, jobs, transportation, access to medical care, and more – that influence how long and well people live. The annual release provides an opportunity to share the important work you are doing to expand opportunities in the range of health factors that Rankings spotlight.  Click here to access the rankings.

Finding and Using Health Statistics Tutorial describing different types of health statistics, how they are collected, and how to find them. Includes an overview of health statistics, common terms and equations, and a list of data sources. Also provides a set of exercises.

Health Insurance in Rural America A set of interactive graphics providing urban and rural uninsured rates for people under age 65, based on data from the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates. Includes county-level data for 2017 and the change since 2013.

An Age-Friendly Rural America  Highlights an AARP study discussed at the Aging in American Conference this week showing that older adults in rural areas face more challenges than in urban areas and need more supports to help them age in place. Includes program examples from around the country that are addressing the needs in their communities.

Housing and Hunger: An Intersectional Approach to Address Food Insecurity – Childhood Hunger in Rural America  Examines food insecurity among children in rural areas and describes strategies used by Rural Housing Services and Food and Nutrition Services for addressing gaps in service, including use of Summer Meals programs.

Implementation Plan for the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council 
Details the implementation plan for Opportunity Zones in economically distressed communities in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Details the roles of various federal agencies in the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and the goals for each agency within the Opportunity Zones program.

Last year the Center for Indian Country Development launched the Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership, a comprehensive guide to creating diverse housing options for Native communities across the country. The Center has just launched the Native Housing and Homeownership Resource Clearinghouse, a supplemental resource that gives Indian Country real tools to advance real change.  Access both tools by clicking here.

The National Governors Association (NGA) released a new action guide: “Rural Prosperity through the Arts and Creative Sector: A Rural Action Guide for Governors and States.” The guide draws on quantitative data and community examples to show how the creative sector complements other industries and boosts the efficacy of rural economic development policies, partnerships and plans. It offers 27 specific policy solutions that draw on home-grown cultural assets to create jobs, stimulate business development, retain younger populations and boost quality of life. The guide was produced in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Access the guide and related resources here.

Rural Assembly is creating a program for rural leaders called The Rural Squad that connects leaders to each other, helps urban-based institutions engage with rural communities effectively, and offers the country a reliable network of rural problem solvers. The Rural Assembly will be intentional about placement of Rural Squad members at conferences, meetings, policy briefings, and will carry learnings and connections back to the constituencies they represent. Rural Leaders can contribute to the design of this program by responding to occasional questions in the Rural Assembly’s newsletter. The first question is:  “How could a national rural leader’s program best support the work you’re doing in rural America?”  Click here to answer this question.

Rural Education Education is a key driver of economic prosperity for people and places and is associated with higher earnings and lower unemployment rates. Improving education may also be an effective economic development strategy for rural communities and regions. Counties with higher levels of educational attainment among the working-age population are less likely to be persistently poor or experience low employment rates. Much of rural America struggles to find effective ways to raise education and skill levels in places where low-wage labor markets have been persistent features of the economic landscape.

A Better Wireless has a Solution for Rural MN The Benton Foundation posts a column from A Better Wireless, about the need in rural areas (specifically rural Minnesota) for better broadband to create a level playing field for students.

CN QuickStart Introducing CN QuickStart, a pre-feasibility study tool to help you understand your community broadband options. 

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!