February 2020 – Volume XVIII — Number 2
Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard
Also find online at: https://wp.me/pkVGJ-9u



Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program Funding for tribes and tribal organizations to create, maintain, and expand sustainable sexual assault services within Indian country and Alaska Native villages. Letter of Intent Application Deadline: Feb 12, 2020.

Sexual Assault Services Culturally Specific Grant Program Grants to establish, maintain, and expand sustainable, culturally appropriate services that address the unique needs and challenges of victims of sexual assault from culturally specific communities. Application Deadline: Feb 12, 2020.

–All-American/National Scenic Byway Designation. The FHWA National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) website is now available to support upcoming nominations.The updated website features a revised scenic byways nomination guide, PDF of the FY20 nomination application questions, a listing of division office POCs and state scenic byways coordinators, and other important information to assist with the nomination process. The web-based portal to submit applications will open on the NSBP website starting Feb. 13. More information can be found on the nominations page of FHWA’s website.

If you have questions about nominating a road for possible designation as a National Scenic Byway or an All-American Road, please contact either Danielle Blackshear at 202-366-2064 or danielle.blackshear@dot.gov, or Wesley Blount at 202-366-0799 or wesley.blount@dot.gov.

–DNR Solicits Park and Trail Grant Applications for 2020. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is accepting applications to improve outdoor recreation facilities, natural and scenic areas, regional trails, local trail connections, and motorized, nonmotorized and multi-use recreational trails.

The application due dates are Friday, Feb. 28, for the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program, and Friday, March 30, for the other programs. Although funding has not yet been appropriated, the DNR anticipates that both federal and state funding will be available during 2020 for these programs. The DNR will announce preliminary awards in the summer, with final awards made upon receipt of federal and state appropriations. For information about eligible projects and how to apply for a grant, visit the Recreation Grants page of the DNR website. For more information, prospective applicants may contact the grants staff listed online, or the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367.

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: March 3, 2020.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Grants for fire departments, EMS organizations, and fire academies for equipment, training, personnel wellness programs, capital funding, and collaboration/regional communication efforts. Application Deadline: Mar 13, 2020.

Rural eConnectivity Broadband Loan and Grant Pilot Program (ReConnect) Loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to expand broadband service to rural areas without sufficient broadband access. Application Deadline: March 16, 2020.

— USDA Rural Development is offering grants to establish and operate Agricultural Innovation Centers that will provide technical assistance to help rural businesses market value-added agricultural products. Application Deadline: 3/20/2020.  Click here to review application guidelines.

Grants to Implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Grants to support states and communities in advancing efforts to prevent suicide and suicide attempts among adults age 25 and older. Application Deadline: Mar 23, 2020.

Day of Service Grants Grants to engage volunteers to help meet community and national challenges on September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance and/or Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Activities may include volunteer service around food and nutrition, health, housing, emergency preparedness, and the environment. Rural communities are a funding priority. Application Deadline: Mar 25, 2020.

— USDA is offering grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  Funding supports agricultural producers and rural small businesses to reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations. Deadline: 3/31/2020.  Click here to review program guidelines.

Water and Waste Disposal Revolving Loan Funds U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Utilities Service grants to help nonprofit organizations establish revolving loan funds that will finance water and wastewater projects in rural communities. Application Deadline: Mar 31, 2020.

–Art Grant Deadlines April 1, 2020.

Who is eligible in the ECRAC 5 county region? Individual artists of any artistic discipline; all non profit arts or other organizations (501c3 status); all public entities such as K-12 schools, community eds, colleges, and government branches.

What to prepare for an application? Project director’s resume (organizations and public entities); Artist’s resume (all grants); A detailed budget for the project: expenses and income (all grants); Resumes for all paid personnel; artists, musicians, performers, etc. (all grants); and Artistic work samples (all grants).

When is it due and other details? Grant Deadlines: April 1, 2020, 11:59 pm.  Multiple applications are accepted from organizations, one project per grant program.

What kind of funding is available? $1,000 with the ACHF Individual Artist Grant; $2,500 with the Mid-Career Artist Grant (brand new this year); $500 to $5,000 with the Small/Art Project Grant (organizations and public entities) $3,000 with the Art In Our Schools Grant (schools only); and $5,000 to $15,000 with the ACHF Organization Art Project Grant (organizations and public entities). For more information call: (320) 591-7031 Email: info@ecrac.org


–MPCA grants for emission reductions from solvents and coatings – due April 22.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from common solvent and coating products contribute to poor air quality where we live and work. These emissions can be reduced through the use of improved finishes such as:

  • Wet-coat, low-VOC, low-HAP, high solids, and water-based products;
  • Dry, powder coating;
  • Ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) cured products;
  • Liquid plastic coating products;
  • Other non-wet coat finishes; and
  • High efficiency equipment

MPCA grants are now open for organizations, government entities, educational institutions, tribes, and small businesses across Minnesota to switch to alternative solvent and coating products and/or equipment that improves the efficiency of application. The maximum award is $3,000 with a 50% minimum match. The most cost-effective projects will score highest, with additional preference given to projects located in areas of concern for environmental justice, small businesses and organizations, and small organizations that are veteran-owned, economically disadvantaged, or a targeted group business based on ownership.

Eligible applicants include:

  • A for-profit business located in Minnesota with under 500 employees
  • A governmental entity, educational institution, tribe, or non-profit organization within Minnesota with any number of employees

Apply now! Deadline: April 22, 2020.  Review grant materials, application, and Q&A on the MPCA grants for solvent and coating emission reductions webpage.

Indian Highway Safety Occupant Protection Grant Grants to federally recognized tribes for implementing traffic safety programs and projects which are designed to reduce the number of traffic crashes, deaths, injuries, and property damage. Application Deadline: May 1, 2020.

–The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) provides zero-interest loans to small businesses for capital equipment purchases that meet or exceed environmental regulations, and costs related to the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites. Some eligible projects include purchasing a solvent recycler, installing a new paint booth to switch to water-borne paint, and installing updated equipment that reduces emissions from refrigerants. Many small business loan projects lead to fewer regulatory requirements, lower waste disposal bills and less exposure to harmful chemicals for your employees, your customers and your neighbors.

Eligibility and conditions – Many business sectors are eligible. Projects that reduce regulatory obligations are highly encouraged. To quality, a borrower must be an existing small business corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or association with:

  • Fewer than 100 full-time employees
  • An after-tax profit of less than $500,000
  • A demonstrated ability to repay the loan

Loan terms and conditions:

  • Loan amount between $1,000 and $75,000
  • 0% interest rate
  • Repayment term up to seven years
  • Flexibility in the types of collateral accepted
  • Awarded throughout the year


–2020 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference Each year, tourism professionals from throughout Minnesota assemble in one of the state’s dynamic regions, excited to network and learn about what is new in tourism. The 2020 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference is the state’s premier industry event and provides relevant breakout sessions, inspiring speakers and many networking opportunities. Gather with tourism colleagues to learn about the latest insights, research and trends in the industry. For additional conference questions, contact Lori Peterson at 651-757-1876 or lori.a.peterson@state.mn.us. Details: Feb. 24-26, 2020 at the Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center

–The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is pleased to announce its second Rural Energy Conference, on February 25, 2020 in Chicago IL. The conference will offer opportunities to delve into clean energy solutions for rural communities that will spur economic growth and energy affordability.

Discussion topics will include energy efficiency program design and financing, renewable and distributed energy resources, economic development, electrification of buildings and transportation, resilience and disaster recovery, energy affordability for low-income households, 2018 Farm Bill and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, and broadband access. More information and registration can be found here

–Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit coming to Marshall in March! On March 10, MCN is pleased to bring the Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit to Marshall for the first time! This day-long summit is designed to bring together staff, board members, and volunteers from across southwest Minnesota to tackle some of the most important perennial themes for nonprofits in Greater Minnesota, including leadership, fundraising, communications, and engaging diverse communities. Throughout each discussion, we’ll look at the ways that these issues play out in our Greater Minnesota communities and we’ll highlight opportunities for building a revitalized landscape for all.

–Registration Open for the MNFEA Annual Conference in Duluth.  The Minnesota Festivals and Events Association (MNFEA) will host its annual conference at the Holiday Inn & Suites in downtown Duluth, March 11-13. The 2020 conference will be packed with valuable information for event and festival professionals, vendors and service providers.

— AURI, with partners Compeer Financial and Georgetown University’s Rural Opportunity Initiative, is convening the fourth annual New Uses Forum on April 8th & 9th 2020. The event brings together knowledgeable experts on topics related to innovation, development and investment. Their presentations will share indispensable information and experiences, foster meaningful discussion and ultimately produce actionable impact. The event features keynote speakers, panels, and networking opportunities, which will explore innovative solutions benefiting the agricultural industry. The New Uses Forum will take place at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.  Visit the event website: https://www.eventsquid.com/event.cfm?event_id=6870

–The Upper Midwest Basic Economic Development Course provides intensive training in the concepts, methods and strategies of local economic development. The course is designed for those new to the field, as well as those seeking to deepen their knowledge and skills.

WHEN: April 27-May 1, 2020
WHERE: Great River Energy, 12300 Elm Creek Boulevard, Maple Grove, MN 55369
COST: $500

Participants will study the core building blocks of economic developments, including:

  • Business retention and expansion
  • Finance for economic development
  • Marketing and business attraction
  • Community and neighborhood revitalization
  • Real estate redevelopment and reuse
  • Workforce development
  • Infrastructure and utilities

The course, accredited by the International Economic Development Council, is limited to 45 participants – register here early! A limited number of scholarship are available. For more information, contact Shelby Couch, shelby@edam.org or call 952-928-4640. Register here

–Collective Impact Forum coming to Minneapolis in 2020! The Collective Impact Forum, an initiative of FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, is bringing its annual collective impact convening to Minneapolis on May 6-8, 2020. The 2020 Collective Impact Convening builds on the success of the 2019 convening in Chicago that sold out in advance and attracted more than 800 funders, backbone leaders, and other collective impact community partners. MCN members interested in attending this year’s forum can receive $50 off regular “practitioner” rates by entering promo code MCN50 at the end of the registration process.

–Minnesota High Tech Association Annual Spring Conference will be May 7! Hold the date!  We are pleased to announce the 2020 Annual Spring Conference will take place at the RiverCentre in St. Paul on Thursday, May 7. Stay tuned for more details including a new conference name!

–Hold the Date! 2020 Minnesota Rural Health Conference. June 15-16, 2020
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) in Duluth. Conference Website


–The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Commerce (COMM) seeks proposals from qualified organizations to be an exhibitor in the 2020 Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair (MSF). The Fair opens August 27 and runs through Labor Day, September 7, 2020.

Since 2006 the Eco Experience (housed in the Progress Center on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds) has been a venue that has provided engaging environmental messaging through a variety of exhibitors. Approximately 270,000 people visit the Eco Experience building over the 12 days of the fair.

The goals of the 2020 Eco Experience are to provide:

  • An opportunity for agencies, organizations, and communities to showcase Minnesota carbon reduction and climate mitigation/resiliency/adaptation stories and to celebrate related successes.
  • A venue for multiple voices, including indigenous, underserved, and overburdened communities that represent geographic, economic, and cultural diversity from throughout the state.
  • Interaction with fair attendees through high-quality, interactive exhibits and displays that are focused on fact-based messaging as well as achievable actions.
  • Inspiration and resources for visitors and participants to continue their individual and community efforts to address climate change.

Prospective Exhibitors must apply to the Call for Exhibitors (CFE) through an online application for consideration to be an Exhibitor at the 2020 Eco Experience. A limited number of Exhibitors will be selected, based on the selection criteria and available space and resources. Exhibitors may apply as either Full Exhibitors (all 12 days) or Pop-Up Exhibitors (1+ days). Applications are open to qualified organizations including Minnesota state agencies, nonprofits, local units of government or other communities as well as tribal nations that share the same geographic boundaries of Minnesota. This CFE is only seeking self-funded Exhibitors; there is no associated funding with this application. To learn more about this Call for Exhibitors, go to: https://mn.gov/commerce/industries/rfp/  Also, Sustainability Stage Presenters agree to provide a minimum of one 45-minute presentation. Go to Survey Monkey for more information and to apply for the Sustainability Stage.

DEED Begins New Community Certification Program: Telecommuter Forward! We’re pleased to roll out a new economic development tool to promote the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities – Telecommuter Forward! We know that fast, reliable broadband access improves quality of life, makes businesses more competitive, and provides career opportunities for our Greater Minnesota workforce.

DEED’s Office of Broadband Development is now accepting applications for Telecommuter Forward! Community certification. To become certified in the Telecommuter Forward! Program, Minnesota cities, villages, towns, or counties must adopt a resolution that includes a statement of support and commitment to promote telecommuting. The Office of Broadband Development has created a model resolution to help get you started.  Learn all about the Telecommuter Forward! Program on the DEED Developments Blog.

–Submit an Idea to Your Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) advance the environmental, economic and social sustainability of Greater Minnesota through authentic community-University partnerships that co-create innovative solutions and fulfill the University’s land-grant mission.

The RSDP encourages you to submit your sustainability ideas. Please contact the executive director in your region with your local project idea, or the statewide food or energy staff with questions about their work to advance food systems and clean energy across the state. Please see the regional pages listed below for lists of the counties served by each RSDP region.

Submit an idea brief today.

NRHA Rural Health Awards  Honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to rural health. Application Deadline: Feb 24, 2020.

— Udall Scholarship Scholarships for Native American and Alaska Native students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, self-governance, native health, and the environment. Application Deadline: Mar 5, 2020.

The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarships for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous Canadian students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees at Tribal colleges and universities and nonprofit, accredited schools in the United States. Application Deadline: May 31, 2020.

Agricultural Safety and Health: Core Course Registration Fee Waivers
Awards course registration fee waivers to attend the Agricultural Safety and Health Core Course to be held in Iowa in June, 2020. Application Deadline: June 7, 2020.


U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2020 Census Response Rate Challenge Toolkit  The U.S. Census Bureau announces the release of the Response Rate Challenge toolkit to encourage communities to improve upon their 2010 Census response rate in the upcoming census. Includes promotional and progress-tracking materials, inspiration for friendly competition, and general information on the 2020 Census.

The detail in the data: Introducing profiles for 26 of Minnesota’s largest cultural communities. Minnesota Compass just launched new data profiles for 26 of the largest cultural communities in Minnesota! In this article, Compass shares more about the new profiles and how we created them to ensure they come closer to identifying cultural communities as they define themselves. Read the article.

Educational attainment among Minnesota’s adults continues to rise. Thirty-seven percent of adults in Minnesota have a bachelor’s degree or higher, an increase of almost 10 points since 2000. Learn more in this month’s Featured Trend.

–Real ID: Pre-Apply Online With the deadline to be Real ID ready less than a year away, state officials are encouraging Minnesotans who apply for a Real ID to use the online pre-application tool before they visit their local driver’s license office to ensure they have the required documents.

Every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a Real ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID, passport or passport card or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States or enter federal facilities beginning Oct. 1, 2020. A standard Minnesota driver’s license will not be accepted for federal use as of that date, but it will still be a valid form of identification and valid for lawful driving privileges. Find Minnesota Real ID information and resources ago to realid.dps.mn.gov.

Alternative Drinking Water Systems: Use by Very Small Communities, Related Cost Savings, and Technical Assistance Provided by EPA and USDA
Provides an overview of 5 alternative drinking water systems used by communities with fewer than 500 people and the barriers to implementing new systems and technologies in small communities. Describes factors that influence the costs and cost-savings of alternative drinking water systems. Identifies 4 federal funding programs that support technical assistance and training for small drinking water systems serving communities of fewer than 10,000 people. Additional links: Full Report

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!