March 2017- Volume XV, Number 3

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

This newsletter is also available online: http://wp.me/pkVGJ-7l

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

— THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION is offering grants to nonprofit groups and public agencies through the Upward Bound Math and Science Program. Grants will be awarded for a wide array of activities to encourage at-risk youth to complete high school and go on to college and, ultimately, careers in math and science. Deadline: 3/22/2017. Click here to review program guidelines and an application package.

–USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $8.8 million in funding to support agricultural science education at Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs). The Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grants Program promotes and strengthens HSI programs that attract, retain, and graduate outstanding students capable of enhancing the nation’s food, agricultural, natural resource, and human sciences work force. Deadline to apply: 3/22/2017. Click here to learn more about these grants.

–USDA has announced requests for applications for the Farmers Market Promotion Program, and the Local Food Promotion Program to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. Deadline for both programs: 3/27/2017. Click here for information on the Farmers Market Promotion Program, and here for the Local Food Promotion Program.

–Health Equity in Action Grants. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation will award a total of up to $1,000,000 to further health equity in communities across the state of Minnesota. Healthy Communities 2017: Health Equity in Action provides grants up to $100,000 per year, and applicants can apply for one- or two-year grants. An optional webinar and community workshops will be held throughout the state in February and early March. The deadline to submit applications through the online application system is March 30, 4 p.m., Central Time.

–Management Improvement Fund. Many nonprofits struggle to finance their day-to-day operations, let alone invest in long-term planning and management consultants. The Management Improvement Fund, a community initiative of The Saint Paul Foundation, is dedicated to strengthening the internal operations of organizations. Grants are now available statewide thanks to support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. Grants may be used to finance management consultants, training services and other programs that improve service to the greater community. Before applying, all interested applicants must contact Stephanie Battle, director of Community Impact, at 651-325-4236 to ensure that the Fund fits the requested need.

Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.  Application Deadline: March 31, 2017.

–Minnesota Festival Support is a grant program of the Minnesota State Arts Board designed to provide meaningful arts experiences to Minnesotans through festivals that celebrate the arts, build community, and expose communities to diverse art forms including folk and traditional arts. The program provides funding for sponsoring or presenting organizations to feature Minnesota individual artists and Minnesota arts groups in arts festivals, or in the arts component of broader, community festivals. The program is open to Minnesota 501(c)(3) organizations, unincorporated groups with at least one paid staff person and a Minnesota 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, and public agencies.

All applicants must have produced the proposed festival at least once before, prior to the March 31st deadline. Grants range from $5,000 to $75,000, with a 25% cash match requirement. Program guidelines, sample applications, webinar registration information, and contact information for the program officer can be found on the Arts Board website at http://www.arts.state.mn.us/grants/machf-mfs.htm.

–East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) wishes to remind to all local artists, art organizations, and schools within Region 7E (the Minnesota Counties of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs) that there is an April 1st grant deadline for all of these grant programs.

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

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

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

– Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Individuals: Individual artists may apply for arts-related project funding up to $2,500. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents in Region 7E.

– McKnight Individual Artist Grants: Individual artists may apply for arts-related project funding up to $1,000. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents in Region 7E.

The link to the online application processes can be found at the ECRAC website: www.ecrac.org/grants    For further information, please call 320-396-2337 extension 2 or email: grantinfo@ecrac.org.

— Blandin Foundation Broadband Grants: Broadband Innovation and Robust Network Feasibility Fund grant award amounts range from $1,000 to $25,000, and matching funds are required. Grant application deadlines for 2017 are April 7, June 23 and September 22. http://wp.me/p3if7-3M7

School Grants for Healthy Kids awards funding to support school breakfast and physical activity programs. Application Deadline: April 7, 2017.

— THE SPARKPLUG FOUNDATION is offering grants to start-up nonprofit organizations or new projects of established nonprofits that are addressing the fields of music, education, and community organizing. In the Music category, the Foundation supports emerging professional musicians or music-development programs. In Education and Teaching, the Foundation funds projects that deal with “the whole student” and with learning as a community activity. Through Grassroots Organizing, the Foundation encourages activist strategies for addressing institutional injustices and for building a reasoned, just society. The current focus is on ground-level community organizing at the intersection of utilities/energy infrastructure, housing/community resources, and racial justice. Deadlines: online questionnaires must be completed by 4/10/2017; letters of intent are due 4/17/2017; and the deadline for final applications is 5/5/2017. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review its mission and funding guidelines as well as the online application instructions.

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program  Grants to city, county, and state governments to expand opioid abuse prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. Application Deadline: Apr 25, 2017.

–The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

Developing Healthy Places.  The Kresge Foundation provides funding to improve the places that shape health, including programs that promote healthy housing and neighborhoods, food systems for low-income communities, and equitable transportation and land use. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

–The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a new funding opportunity announcement for up to $6 million to install energy efficiency measures and deploy clean energy systems on Indian lands. The Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian tribes and tribal energy resource development organizations to install energy efficiency measures and clean energy systems on tribal buildings and deploy clean energy systems on a community scale.

–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) FY17 solicitation of applications. REAP offers two types of funding assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants to state, tribal, or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; or public power entities. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance provides grants of $20,000 or less and guaranteed loans to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. For assistance with applications, interested parties in Minnesota should contact Ron Omann, Rural Development Energy Coordinator, at 651-602-7796 or ron.omann@mn.usda.gov.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–Free e-Learning Courses. Normandale Community College and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health are jointly offering free e-Learning courses designed for busy, working adults to upgrade their skills in the transforming healthcare industry. Short e-learning courses are available for Healthcare Data Analytics, Population Health, and Value-Based Care. Courses are appropriate for all roles and levels of work within healthcare. Training is provided by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Normandale Community College through a federal grant opportunity. To register, begin by viewing the Course page. Training is free and available until capacity is met or until May 2017.

— Broadband Day on the Hill March 15: Minnesota Broadband Coalition members have come together to organize Minnesota’s first ever Broadband Day on the Hill on March 15. The Coalition’s goal is to bring directly to legislators rural perspectives on the critical role that broadband plays in Minnesota rural communities’ economic vitality and quality of life. http://wp.me/p3if7-3T

–AURI Invites You to Register for its New Uses Forum Today!  The forum, scheduled for March 22 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN, is bringing together experts and entrepreneurs across the new uses arena, including university and industry R&D experts, Minnesota business and agbioeconomy partners, as well as the financial community. Together, they will participate in open discussions about the latest innovations and opportunities for developing new uses for Minnesota grown crops and agricultural processing byproducts. The day’s events include:

  • Industry panel discussions
  • Minnesota’s activities and resources,
  • Regional and global research efforts,
  • Networking opportunities, and
  • Keynote addresses tailored to the interests of MN agriculture.

AURI is inviting you to register today.  Learn More

— Starting a Business in MN workshop is being hosted by the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development at the Workforce Development Center in Duluth on March 28 from 2-4 PM. There is no charge, but you may register at http://z.umn.edu/1d2x.

–Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas. Join colleagues from across the state both to celebrate good work and to discuss opportunities for advancing our civic commitments even more powerfully together. Campus selections for the Presidents’ Awards for community partners, student leaders, and faculty/staff civic engagement stewards will be due February 24, 2017. Questions or to sponsor a team with a designated table at the awards luncheon, contact Julie or go to:http://mncampuscompact.org/event/2017-state-summit-and-awards-luncheon/

–13th Annual Worthington Bioscience Conference will be held April 6-7, 2017 in
Worthington, MN.  The Worthington Regional Bio Conference is an annual gathering of industry professionals, research scientists and business leaders. This annual event highlights the deep roots of bioscience in Minnesota as it relates to farming and animal health. What evolves out of one area of bio-tech often has implications in other areas of importance to overall quality of life.

Who should attend?  Farmers, farm and energy cooperatives, researchers, teachers and students, human and animal health professionals, veterinary medicine practitioners, financial institutions, policy makers, business and economic development professionals.  This year’s conference will focus on “Research and Development” and is full of quality speakers and presentations.  In addition to a full schedule of speakers, highlights of the event include a technology and entrepreneurs showcase and an exhibit hall.

Register Now!

— The 10th annual International Biomass Conference & Expo, North America’s largest and fastest growing biomass conference, taking place April 10-12 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 2017 agenda — featuring four comprehensive tracks — is tightly focused on leading edge developments in the biomass industry, from feedstock cultivation, harvest and storage to conversion technology, project finance and regulatory guidance.  For more information go to: http://www.biomassconference.com/ema/DisplayPage.aspx?pageId=Home

— The 13th annual Small Wind Conference will be held April 10-11 at the Crown Plaza AiRE in Bloomington, Minn., near the MSP airport. The Small Wind Conference connects installers, site assessors, manufacturers, supply chain stakeholders, national labs, and more. This gathering of distributed wind industry leaders is a source of continuing education and shared information to power homes, schools, farms, businesses, and transportation with clean, local wind energy. Visit the conference website to register.

— MCN and Nonprofits Assistance Fund will be hosting the sixth-annual Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference on Thursday, April 13 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. This year’s conference will feature a keynote addressing charitable endowments by Alan Cantor, consultant and frequent contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy; 20 timely breakout sessions and opportunities to network with sector peers.  Early Bird rates for MCN members are available until February 24. Scholarships and team registrations specials are also available. Learn more!

–SAVE THE DATE!  The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017” will be April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis.

— Registration is now open for the Minnesota High Tech Spring Conference on May 9th. Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, will be the Keynote Speaker. This year’s conference will be held at the Minneapolis Depot Renaissance and feature more than 15 breakout sessions and 40 exhibitors in addition to our keynote speakers. Conference tracks will focus on digital transformation, cybersecurity and Minnesota’s leadership in the next wave of innovation. LEARN MORE & REGISTER

— SAVE THE DATE May 16-17 the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the St. Paul Public Library welcome digital inclusion practitioners, advocates, academics, Internet service providers and policymakers to Net Inclusion 2017: The National Digital Inclusion Summit. St. Paul, Minnesota. https://digitalinclusion.org/netinclusion2017/

— SAVE THE DATE!  Springboard for the Arts, the Center for Small Towns, and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota will host the 2017 Rural Arts & Culture Summit, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

— SAVE THE DATE!  2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

— Economic Development Association of Minnesota is hosting the 2017 Summer Conference June 28-30 at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. Please go to http://z.umn.edu/1d2w for more information.

2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Conference  co-hosted by Association of Fundraising Professionals Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center

2017 MCN Annual Conference will be held Thursday – Friday, October 12 – 13, 2017 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, Saint Paul.

OPPORTUNITIES

— Hand Your Website Strategy to a Nerd!  Applications are now open for The Overnight Website Challenge, a volunteer-run program of The Nerdery Foundation. This event is aimed at maximizing the community impact of nonprofit organizations through digital strategy and custom software design and development—all pro bono. How could a group of nerds further your organization’s mission through better use of interactive technology? Between now and March 17, apply and let them know—your organization could be chosen to participate!

For more information on The Overnight Website Challenge and to apply, visit the event website. The Twin Cities Overnight Website Challenge is taking place on April 22 – 23, 2017.

— Event Scholarships from Bush Foundation.  The Bush Foundation is offering scholarships for individuals from Minnesota, the Dakotas, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography to attend national events and conferences. Deadlines: March 22, 2017. DETAILS

2016‒2017 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sponsors this contest for high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Students answer the question: “Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?” to win monetary prizes. Essays are due by March 31, 2017.

— MINNESOTA HOUSING PARTNERSHIP has opened a call for local organizations to take advantage of their Strengthening Rural Communities Program. This program provides technical assistance to rural communities to overcome impediments to successful planning, and implementation of affordable housing and community development projects. From innovative planning practices, to knowledge of complex federal housing programs, this program gives organizations the ability to build and preserve housing and community assets. Deadline: 3/31/2017. Click here to review program guidelines.

–This is the 30th year of IMAGE, an annual judged art show, sponsored by the East Central Regional Arts Council.  ECRAC will host the show at its office and gallery in downtown Braham, MN. The show opens Saturday evening, April 22, 2017, and will be open for viewing through Friday, April 28. There is no fee to attend or participate in IMAGE. However, artists wishing to exhibit a work of art at the IMAGE Art Show must read and complete this online entry form and submit it before or on the deadline date of Monday, April 3, 2017. For more information on IMAGE Art Show 2017 go to:   http://www.ecrac.org/news/image-art-show-2017

You can also call us at 320-396-2337 extension 1, or email info@ecrac.org

— Innovation acceleration: Midwest Cleantech Open is accepting applications.  Do you know a Cleantech entrepreneur who could benefit from mentoring by experienced investors and from competing for up to $200,000 in the Midwest Cleantech Open’s 2017 Accelerator? Encourage them to apply now. The Cleantech Open welcomes companies of all stages (from concept to commercialized) with a mission to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems through clean tech and sustainable solutions. See the Cleantech Open Midwest website for more opportunities. The Cleantech Open is the oldest and largest cleantech startup accelerator program, with the mission to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with ideas to solve the greatest environmental and energy challenges.

MISCELLANEOUS

Managing Agricultural Risk Under Different Scenarios: Selected 2014 Farm Act Programs (Amber Waves feature article)  The 2014 Farm Act introduced several new programs for crop and livestock producers. A recent ERS study analyzed how these programs provide options for risk management under different scenarios.

Growing Organic Demand Provides High-Value Opportunities for Many Types of Producers (Amber Waves feature article) In 2015, the Organic Trade Association estimated U.S. organic retail sales at $43.3 billion, showing double-digit growth during most years since 2000, when USDA set national organic standards. Since setting national organic standards, USDA has streamlined trade arrangements with multiple foreign governments to expand international markets for U.S. organic producers.

FAR Codes Added to Am I Rural? Tool by The Rural Health Information Hub.  These Frontier and Remote Area (FAR) codes have been added to the list of rural definitions provided in their popular Am I Rural? tool. Type an address into the tool to see if your location meets the FAR criteria.

–The Minnesota Department of Health has published a Dental Therapy Toolkit (PDF) for prospective employers of Dental Therapists (DT) and Advanced Dental Therapists (ADT). The purpose of the toolkit is to assist employers and organizations who are considering or planning to hire a Dental Therapist and integrate this emerging profession into their team.  The Dental Therapy role is a “mid-level” dental provider educated to provide evaluative, preventive and dental care within their scope of practice and to serve underserved populations. Dental Therapists can:

  • expand the population served by a clinic,
  • improve efficiency,
  • increase volume, and
  • allow supervising Dentists to provide more complex procedures.

The toolkit and background resources are available on our Toolkit webpage at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/toolkit.html

Rural Health Workforce Maps These new maps show county-by-county data on Health Professional Shortage Areas for Primary Care, Dental Care, and Mental Health Care. Nonmetropolitan and micropolitan shortage areas are identified with a separate color scale from metropolitan shortage areas.

— 2016 National Solar Jobs Census: Solar jobs increase by 44% in Minnesota.  Solar jobs in Minnesota increased 44% from November 2015 to November 2016, according to the 2016 National Solar Jobs Census conducted by The Solar Foundation. Minnesota now employs 2,872 people in the solar industry, up from 1,995 a year ago. Over the last three years, state solar jobs have increased by 253%, from 814 in 2013 to its 2016 total. Minnesota ranks 25th among all states. Nationally, solar jobs increased 25%, the fourth straight year in which solar employment grew by about 20% or greater. One out of every 50 new jobs in the United States over the 12-month period was created by the solar industry. The Jobs Census is available at The Solar Foundation’s website.

— USDA has released an Applicant Orientation Guide Video to assist Section 502 Direct Housing Loan program applicants with the process. The program helps low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Access the orientation video here.

Rural Poverty & Well-being  ERS research in this topic focuses on the economic, social, spatial, and demographic factors that affect the income and poverty status of rural residents. The poverty analysis has been updated to reflect the most recently available (2015) data.

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February 2017- Volume XV, Number 2

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

This newsletter is also available online: http://wp.me/pkVGJ-7h

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

FUNDING

–The MPCA Small Business Environmental Loan Program has low-interest loans for small businesses to upgrade old equipment that meets regulations or reduces environmental impact, and for costs related to site clean-up.  The program offers financial and technical help with your environmental project. Other common benefits are a healthier workplace, lower waste bills, and simpler permits and/or cost savings from reduced regulatory obligations.  Typical loan programs only offer 4 to 5-year payback options, while the MPCA small business loan offers up to a 7-year payback. With its competitive interest rates, easier application process, and flexible collateral options, it is a good choice for your next environmental project.

Many business types can apply. An applicant must have:

  • an existing small business corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership or association,
  • less than 50 full-time employees
  • an after-tax profit of less than $500,000
  • a net worth of less than $1 million

The terms:

  • loan amount between $1,000 and $50,000
  • current interest rate of 4 percent
  • repayment term up to seven years
  • flexible collateral options

The application process is now shorter and awarded throughout the year. Applicants are evaluated on their ability to secure and repay the loan, and the project’s expected environmental benefits. All projects costs must be pre-approved and cannot be made until the application process is complete. Borrowers must report on the project’s realized environmental and economic benefits. For more information and to apply contact Eric David: 651-757-2218 or eric.david@state.mn.us.

— The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is offering grants through Art Works 1 for FY 2018. An organization may submit only one application through one of the following two FY 2018 categories: Art Works 1 or Challenge America. An organization may submit one additional application under the FY 2018 Art Works category for a Creativity Connects project. Deadlines: Art Works 1; 2/16/2017; Challenge America; 4/13/2017. Click here to review application guidelines for an Art Works 1 grant. Click here for guidelines on Challenge America grants.

2017 Day of Service Grants  for day of service projects in observance of September 11th and/or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Projects may focus on child welfare, safety, and health; healthcare access; assistance to veterans and active duty military families; and human services such as the provision of housing and emergency food.
Application Deadline: Feb 22, 2017.

— DNR Park and Trail Grants. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced grant funding opportunities for park and trail projects across Minnesota.  Go to: http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/news/emt-express/emt-express-details/?nid=1379&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

–Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is offering $100,000 in Incentive Grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or units/agencies of local, state, or federal government. Grants up to $20,000 are available to support collaborative projects or programs in early childhood and economic development areas. Applications for this grant round are due February 28, 2017, with awards announced in May. Full guidelines and online application can be found at www.smifoundation.org. For more information email Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at jenniferh@smifoundation.org; or call 507-455-3215.

–Applications for the fourth year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program are open until Feb. 28, 2017. The 10-year, $150-million program helps fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems for Minnesota residents, businesses, and communities. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. During the first three years of the program, funding was awarded for 1,048 solar electric projects and 36 solar thermal installations. The solar electric projects equal about 15 megawatts (MW) of electric capacity. Read more (pdf) for information on how to apply, application guidelines, and more.

Community Connect Broadband Grant Program  grants for communities without broadband service to provide residential service and connect facilities, such as police and fire stations, healthcare, libraries, and schools. Priority will be given to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services. Application Deadline: March 13, 2017.

Charles A. Frueauff Foundation Grants awards grants in the areas of education, human services, health, and hospitals. Specific project initiatives include food and hunger; economic development; daycare programs; hospital and healthcare agencies; health screenings; health education; AIDS/HIV prevention and education; and equipment for healthcare facilities.  Application Deadline: March 15, 2017.

–USDA has announced requests for applications for the Farmers Market Promotion Program, and the Local Food Promotion Program to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. Deadline for both programs: 3/27/2017. Click here for information on the Farmers Market Promotion Program, and here for the Local Food Promotion Program.

Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.  Application Deadline: March 31, 2017.

–Minnesota Festival Support is a grant program of the Minnesota State Arts Board designed to provide meaningful arts experiences to Minnesotans through festivals that celebrate the arts, build community, and expose communities to diverse art forms including folk and traditional arts. The program provides funding for sponsoring or presenting organizations to feature Minnesota individual artists and Minnesota arts groups in arts festivals, or in the arts component of broader, community festivals. The program is open to Minnesota 501(c)(3) organizations, unincorporated groups with at least one paid staff person and a Minnesota 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, and public agencies.

All applicants must have produced the proposed festival at least once before, prior to the March 31st deadline. Grants range from $5,000 to $75,000, with a 25% cash match requirement. There will be a Webinar and conference call on February 28th at 3:00pm for anyone interested learning more about the program. Program guidelines, sample applications, webinar registration information, and contact information for the program officer can be found on the Arts Board website at http://www.arts.state.mn.us/grants/machf-mfs.htm.
–East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) wishes to remind to all local artists, art organizations, and schools within Region 7E (the Minnesota Counties of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs) that there is an April 1st grant deadline for all of these grant programs.

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

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

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

– Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants for Individuals: Individual artists may apply for arts-related project funding up to $2,500. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents in Region 7E.

– McKnight Individual Artist Grants: Individual artists may apply for arts-related project funding up to $1,000. Eligible applicants must be permanent residents in Region 7E.

The link to the online application processes can be found at the ECRAC website: www.ecrac.org/grants    For further information, please call 320-396-2337 extension 2 or email: grantinfo@ecrac.org.

— Blandin Foundation Broadband Grants: Broadband Innovation and Robust Network Feasibility Fund grant award amounts range from $1,000 to $25,000, and matching funds are required. Grant application deadlines for 2017 are April 7, June 23 and September 22. http://wp.me/p3if7-3M7

School Grants for Healthy Kids awards funding to support school breakfast and physical activity programs. Application Deadline: April 7, 2017.

–The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

Developing Healthy Places.  The Kresge Foundation provides funding to improve the places that shape health, including programs that promote healthy housing and neighborhoods, food systems for low-income communities, and equitable transportation and land use. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

–The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a new funding opportunity announcement for up to $6 million to install energy efficiency measures and deploy clean energy systems on Indian lands. The Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian tribes and tribal energy resource development organizations to install energy efficiency measures and clean energy systems on tribal buildings and deploy clean energy systems on a community scale.

–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) FY17 solicitation of applications. REAP offers two types of funding assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants to state, tribal, or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; or public power entities. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance provides grants of $20,000 or less and guaranteed loans to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. For assistance with applications, interested parties in Minnesota should contact Ron Omann, Rural Development Energy Coordinator, at 651-602-7796 or ron.omann@mn.usda.gov.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–The 27th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo being held Feb. 20-22, 2017, in Duluth, Minn.  For more information go to: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/eSites/206400/Login

— 2017 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference will be held on Tuesday, February 21st in Minneapolis! You’ll dive into nonprofit strategies for everything from branding to cloud computing, from podcasting to website redesigning and much, much more.  Learn more

–Save the Date! Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation’s 2017 Annual Meeting will be Monday, March 6, 2017 from 11:30am – 1:15pm at the Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, Baxter.

— Broadband Day on the Hill March 15: Minnesota Broadband Coalition members have come together to organize Minnesota’s first ever Broadband Day on the Hill on March 15. The Coalition’s goal is to bring directly to legislators rural perspectives on the critical role that broadband plays in Minnesota rural communities’ economic vitality and quality of life. http://wp.me/p3if7-3TO

–Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas. Join colleagues from across the state both to celebrate good work and to discuss opportunities for advancing our civic commitments even more powerfully together. Campus selections for the Presidents’ Awards for community partners, student leaders, and faculty/staff civic engagement stewards will be due February 24, 2017. Questions or to sponsor a team with a designated table at the awards luncheon, contact Julie or go to:

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

— MCN and Nonprofits Assistance Fund will be hosting the sixth-annual Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference on Thursday, April 13 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. This year’s conference will feature a keynote addressing charitable endowments by Alan Cantor, consultant and frequent contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy; 20 timely breakout sessions and opportunities to network with sector peers.  Early Bird rates for MCN members are available until February 24. Scholarships and team registrations specials are also available. Learn more!

–SAVE THE DATE!  The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017” will be April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis.

–AURI Invites You to Register for its New Uses Forum Today!  The forum, scheduled for March 22 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN, is bringing together experts and entrepreneurs across the new uses arena, including university and industry R&D experts, Minnesota business and agbioeconomy partners, as well as the financial community. Together, they will participate in open discussions about the latest innovations and opportunities for developing new uses for Minnesota grown crops and agricultural processing byproducts. The day’s events include:

  • Industry panel discussions
  • Minnesota’s activities and resources,
  • Regional and global research efforts,
  • Networking opportunities, and
  • Keynote addresses tailored to the interests of MN agriculture.

AURI is inviting you to register today.  Learn More

— SAVE THE DATE May 16-17 The National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the St. Paul Public Library welcome digital inclusion practitioners, advocates, academics, Internet service providers and policymakers to Net Inclusion 2017: The National Digital Inclusion Summit. St. Paul, Minnesota http://www.digitalinclusionalliance.org/netinclusion2017/

— SAVE THE DATE!  Springboard for the Arts, the Center for Small Towns, and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota will host the 2017 Rural Arts & Culture Summit, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

— SAVE THE DATE!  2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Conference  co-hosted by Association of Fundraising Professionals Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center

2017 MCN Annual Conference will be held Thursday – Friday, October 12 – 13, 2017 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, Saint Paul.

OPPORTUNITIES

–The National Rural Assembly needs YOUR input now!  We are working on a “big ideas” initiative with support from The Duke Endowment. We are convening a diverse group of 40 rural leaders, February 21-23, for some creative and intense brainstorming. We’ll ask them to put forward their best thinking around how we achieve a stronger, more just nation, and we hope to emerge with one or more “big ideas” that can be carried forward in rural America.

You can participate in this initiative and in the ensuing work from your desk! Please complete one or all of these steps:

  1. Fill out the initialparticipant questionnaire. Your responses will be shared on the Rural Assembly Big Ideas webpage and with those gathering in February.
  2. Give us your big idea: Just open with, “What If We…” andemail it to us. We’ll share your Big Ideas with meeting participants, and we may ask you to expand it as a blog post.
  3. Follow the Big Ideas Forum on our Facebookand Twitter platforms. Use #ruralbigideas

–Comment now on possible changes to MPCA air quality rules affecting small facilities. There is currently a comment period open on possible changes to air quality rules for exempt sources and insignificant activities. The request for comments was published in the State Register on January 9th, 2017. Stakeholders should provide comments by February 23, 2017.

Small facilities that may be impacted by these changes include auto body finishing shops, wood working manufacturers, coating operations, and others. This rule change may make it easier for small shops to know if they need an air permit and simpler to stay in compliance.  Read the proposed rule change ideas, review questions the MPCA has for stakeholders, find public comment opportunities, and watch the webcast at www.pca.state.mn.us/air/exempt-source-conditionally-insignificant-activities.

— MN companies: Green chemistry and engineering intern grant, $9,500 is available to support the placement of the intern at a Minnesota facility this summer.  Intern activities this type of grant has supported, beyond what “green chemistry & engineering” might suggest:

  • Compare life cycle impacts of candidate materials;
  • Support safety and/or performance testing of alternative materials or designs;
  • Work with design, manufacturing, and cross-functional teams to assess candidate materials and their supply and cost feasibility;
  • Catalog supplier safety data sheets and certifications as part of green/sustainable purchasing initiatives;
  • Update inventories of chemical regulations and support audits of internal and supply chain compliance;
  • Learn and perform hazard and alternatives assessment processes;
  • Support sales and marketing of new or improved products.

Product chemistry or design change is a complex process of many steps over time, and this internship can support one or more of those steps.  Please consider how an intern could help your company, and ask clarifying questions through p2.pca@state.mn.us.  Application materials are available here.

2016‒2017 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sponsors this contest for high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Students answer the question: “Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?” to win monetary prizes. Essays are due by March 31, 2017.

— The Energy Department released a request for proposal (RFP) for colleges interested in participating in the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2018. The organizers will select 10 to 12 teams of students to compete in the challenge, co-located with the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER Conference in Chicago on May 7–10, 2018. Interested students and faculty can learn more about the RFP and its requirements by visiting the FedBizOps listing and watching an informational webinar.

— Submit Your Location for Possible Film, Television or Commercials Do you have a one-of-a-kind Main Street in your town, a neighborhood of beautiful homes or picturesque parks, or even spooky abandoned buildings?

— Show Off Your Postcard-Worthy Destination or Attraction  Explore Minnesota is actively seeking postcards from tourism destinations and attractions to show off our picturesque state.

MISCELLANEOUS

HHS: Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines   The updated 2017 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) federal poverty guidelines for the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, and Hawaii, which took effect January 26, 2017. 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 a number of federal programs.

Rural HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Toolkit  this new toolkit, developed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, provides information, strategies, and resources to help rural communities implement HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. Browse program models and examples that span the HIV/AIDS care continuum. Learn how to implement, evaluate, and sustain a program in your community and disseminate program results.

Capital Funding for Rural Healthcare  this guide has been updated to include new information and frequently asked questions related to capital funding for rural facilities. Find resources to help you run a successful capital campaign, as well as funding sources that support capital projects.

Measuring our children’s well-being   Minnesota’s Risk and Reach, a new section within the Early Childhood topic of Minnesota Compass, takes a county by county look at potential risks to the healthy development of young children and the reach of public services to address areas of need. In this new Insight article, Risk and Reach project directors Elizabeth Carlson, University of Minnesota, and Richard Chase, Wilder Research, explain why it matters and suggest ways you might use this information. Read now

Veterans in Rural America: 2011-2015 reports detailed demographic, social, and economic characteristics of rural veterans, based primarily on 2011–2015 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates. Includes comparisons of rural veterans to both urban veterans and rural nonveterans. Topics addressed include health insurance coverage, disability status and service-connected disability, and use of VA healthcare.

Food Access Research Atlas The Food Access Research Atlas (formerly the Food Desert Locator) is a mapping tool that allows users to investigate multiple indicators of food store access. This tool expands upon previous estimates of food desert census tracts, incorporating alternative estimates of low income and low access census tracts, and by offering contextual information for all census tracts in the U.S.

–Solar capacity in Minnesota increased more than seven-fold in the past year, from 33 megawatts (MW) in 2015 to 250 MW at the end of 2016, according to preliminary findings compiled by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The majority of the new solar electric capacity came from two utility-scale projects for Xcel Energy: the 100-MW North Star solar project in Chisago County, which began operation in December, and the 100-MW Aurora solar project, with 14 of its 16 sites generating power in 2016. Community solar gardens and residential and commercial rooftop solar systems make up the remainder of solar growth in 2016. In a Dec. 25, 2016 Star Tribune article, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said it expects Minnesota to add more than 1,200 MW of solar in the next five years. Xcel Energy says 400 MW of that will come from its Community Solar Garden program in 2017 and a total of 668 MW of community solar from Xcel is expected by 2020.

–The MPCA recently released its biennial report on air quality, The Air We Breathe: The state of Minnesota’s air quality, 2017.  The report looks at the state’s air quality, and what the MPCA and its partners are doing to protect the health of all Minnesotans. Overall, Minnesota’s air quality is good.  Levels of outdoor air pollution have been going down for 30 years, even while the gross state product increases.  Nonetheless, air pollution still impacts people’s health, especially lower-income communities and communities of color, who are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.  The MPCA is working to reduce air pollution across the state, with particular emphasis on reducing exposures in overburdened communities.  To learn more, check out our report website.

–The International Downtown Association and Springboard for the Arts have launched a toolkit “Guide for Business Districts to Work with Local Artists” to support creative placemaking partnerships between artists and local business initiatives. This work is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts from its Our Town program. To access the toolkit, click here.

January 2017- Volume XV, Number 1

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

This newsletter is also available online:

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS
  • –CORRECTIONS

ACROSS THE FIELD – A milestone reached; learning from our past – by Jane Leonard

Wow! Fifteen years straight publishing the MRP Rural Round-Up e-newsletter, all thanks to the talent and dedication of volunteers Ann Treacy and Deb Miller Slipek, my co-editors/compilers since the beginning of this one-stop compendium for rural-related info that helps you help your community be and stay strong.

Agricultural and rural journalism have figured in my background since I was a little kid, in awe of my Dad’s collection of USDA yearbooks, which went back to the 1840s, before there was even an official USDA, when the function of reporting on agricultural improvements and collecting seeds fell somewhere between the U.S. Patent Office and the State Department.

Agricultural journals, books, experimental and showcase farms and fairs were the lifeblood of information exchange and knowledge development in those early years before the 1862 creation of USDA and even after. The first several Secretaries of Agriculture were farm journalists.

I wrote my master’s thesis comparing the USDA yearbooks and the ag journals as agenda-setters and/or reporters of agricultural and rural trends. The American Agriculturist stood out for me as an exemplar in the comprehensive exchange of both agricultural and rural life know-how for when I began my life’s work in rural journalism and eventually community, rural, and economic development.

Thirty-eight years since that start, I still come back to a quote I found in the March 1856 issue of the Agriculturist. It’s a timeless reminder of how to be a helpful person in a world sorely needing wisdom, grace and compassion:

“GENTILITY is neither in birth, wealth, manner nor fashion – but in the mind. A high sense of honor, a determination never to take a mean advantage of another, an adherence to truth, delicacy, and politeness towards those with whom we have dealings, are its essential characteristics.”

FUNDING

–The MISSION CONTINUES is seeking applications for Post-9/11 Veteran Nonprofit Fellowships. Service fellowships, which include a cost-of-living stipend, are awarded to post-9/11 veterans to enable them to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in their community as an extension of their service to the country. Deadline: 1/17/2017. Visit the website here to review program guidelines.

— The UNFI Foundation funds nonprofit organizations across the United States that support the development of healthy, organic foods and food practices, and promote the health of the planet. The focus is on organizations that work to increase organic agriculture, provide research and science to develop organic farming practices, protect the biodiversity of our seed supply and the stewardship of genetic resources of organic seed, teach organic farming practices that promote conservation of resources, and foster the next generation of organic farmers. The first two letter of intent deadlines in 2017 are 1/19 and 4/27. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and learn more about the application process.

–BIG READ is accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations for programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Grants of up to $20,000 each will be awarded to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs. Deadline: 1/26/2017. Click here to review program guidelines.

–U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. Grants will be awarded to programs that support activities designed to empower and educate affected communities to understand environmental and public health issues and to identify ways to address these issues at the local level. Approximately 40 one-year projects will be awarded $30,000 each. Deadline: 1/31/2017. Click here to review application guidelines.

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Program provides grants for school improvement projects, including school gardens, physical fitness areas, walking trails, and meeting the basic needs of students. Application Deadline: Feb 9, 2017.

— The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is offering grants through Art Works 1 for FY 2018. An organization may submit only one application through one of the following two FY 2018 categories: Art Works 1 or Challenge America. An organization may submit one additional application under the FY 2018 Art Works category for a Creativity Connects project. Deadlines: Art Works 1; 2/16/2017; Challenge America; 4/13/2017. Click here to review application guidelines for an Art Works 1 grant. Click here for guidelines on Challenge America grants.

2017 Day of Service Grants  for day of service projects in observance of September 11th and/or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Projects may focus on child welfare, safety, and health; healthcare access; assistance to veterans and active duty military families; and human services such as the provision of housing and emergency food.
Letter of Intent (Optional): Feb 8, 2017. Application Deadline: Feb 22, 2017.

— DNR Park and Trail Grants. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced grant funding opportunities for park and trail projects across Minnesota.  Go to: http://www.exploreminnesota.com/industry-minnesota/news/emt-express/emt-express-details/?nid=1379&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

–Applications for the fourth year of the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program are open until Feb. 28, 2017. The 10-year, $150-million program helps fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems for Minnesota residents, businesses, and communities. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. During the first three years of the program, funding was awarded for 1,048 solar electric projects and 36 solar thermal installations. The solar electric projects equal about 15 megawatts (MW) of electric capacity. Read more (pdf) for information on how to apply, application guidelines, and more.

— Blandin Foundation Broadband Grants: Broadband Innovation and Robust Network Feasibility Fund grant award amounts range from $1,000 to $25,000, and matching funds are required. Grant application deadlines for 2017 are April 7, June 23 and September 22. http://wp.me/p3if7-3M7

–The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

Developing Healthy Places.  The Kresge Foundation provides funding to improve the places that shape health, including programs that promote healthy housing and neighborhoods, food systems for low-income communities, and equitable transportation and land use. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

–The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a new funding opportunity announcement for up to $6 million to install energy efficiency measures and deploy clean energy systems on Indian lands. The Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian tribes and tribal energy resource development organizations to install energy efficiency measures and clean energy systems on tribal buildings and deploy clean energy systems on a community scale.

–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) FY17 solicitation of applications. REAP offers two types of funding assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants to state, tribal, or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; or public power entities. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance provides grants of $20,000 or less and guaranteed loans to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. For assistance with applications, interested parties in Minnesota should contact Ron Omann, Rural Development Energy Coordinator, at 651-602-7796 or ron.omann@mn.usda.gov.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

— Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) will host a webinar, “Broadband Opportunity Council (BOC): Accomplishments and Outlook,” Wednesday, January 18th, 2017, 2:00-3:00 PM ET. Click here to register.

— Lobbying? Yes! You Can!  Join this FREE webinar on Friday, January 20th from 10-11a.m. to learn the rules that govern advocacy and lobbying, how advocacy can further your organization’s mission, and the ingredients for a successful legislative lobby visit. Participants will learn important definitions, the federal and state laws related to lobbying, understand reporting requirements and engage with peers across the state. Learn more

Registration Now Open for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference  You are cordially invited to join us Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017, at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference: The Next Big Event!

–The 27th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo being held Feb. 20-22, 2017, in Duluth, Minn.  For more information go to: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/eSites/206400/Login

— 2017 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference will be held on Tuesday, February 21st in Minneapolis! You’ll dive into nonprofit strategies for everything from branding to cloud computing, from podcasting to website redesigning and much, much more.  Learn more

–Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas. Join colleagues from across the state both to celebrate good work and to discuss opportunities for advancing our civic commitments even more powerfully together. Campus selections for the Presidents’ Awards for community partners, student leaders, and faculty/staff civic engagement stewards will be due February 24, 2017. Questions or to sponsor a team with a designated table at the awards luncheon, contact Julie or go to:

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

— MCN and Nonprofits Assistance Fund will be hosting the sixth-annual Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference on Thursday, April 13 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. This year’s conference will feature a keynote addressing charitable endowments by Alan Cantor, consultant and frequent contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy; 20 timely breakout sessions and opportunities to network with sector peers.  Early Bird rates for MCN members are available until February 24. Scholarships and team registrations specials are also available. Learn more!

–SAVE THE DATE!  The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017” will be April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis.

— SAVE THE DATE!  Springboard for the Arts, the Center for Small Towns, and the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota will host the 2017 Rural Arts & Culture Summit, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

— SAVE THE DATE!  2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

OPPORTUNITIES

Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference Sponsorships Now Available for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference that will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017, at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront in downtown St. Paul.

— Morris K Udall and Steward L Udall Foundation is offering a 10-week fully funded summer internship for Native American and Alaska Native students who wish to learn more about the federal government and issues affecting Indian country. Deadline to apply: 1/31/2017. Visit the Foundation website here for guidelines and an application.

2016‒2017 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sponsors this contest for high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Students answer the question: “Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?” to win monetary prizes. Essays are due by March 31, 2017.

— The Energy Department released a request for proposal (RFP) for colleges interested in participating in the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2018. The organizers will select 10 to 12 teams of students to compete in the challenge, co-located with the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER Conference in Chicago on May 7–10, 2018. Interested students and faculty can learn more about the RFP and its requirements by visiting the FedBizOps listing and watching an informational webinar.

Submit Your Location for Possible Film, Television or Commercials Do you have a one-of-a-kind Main Street in your town, a neighborhood of beautiful homes or picturesque parks, or even spooky abandoned buildings?

Show Off Your Postcard-Worthy Destination or Attraction  Explore Minnesota is actively seeking postcards from tourism destinations and attractions to show off our picturesque state.

MISCELLANEOUS

— The U.S. Census Bureau released its five-year American Community Survey data with a major focus on rural America. The data shows that people who live in rural areas are more likely to own their own homes, live in their state of birth, and have served in the military than their urban counterparts, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Read the press release from the Census Bureau here, and access the data here.

–Minnesota City profiles now provide updated and more in-depth information

Geographic profiles across the state for cities with populations of 1000+ have been redesigned and updated. Now find more in-depth information on residents, housing, poverty, workforce, and how people get around. Check out your city of interest.

–The White House recently announced the creation of a network of 48 charging corridors on the nation’s highways. The network will cover 25,000 miles and include 55 different interstate highway systems, including I-94 in Minnesota, spanning 35 states. It is designed to place a charging station approximately every 50 miles. The Administration is partnering with 28 companies and organizations on the project, and the Federal Highway Administration will manage the devices. Read more.

–Report documents the benefits of renewable energy for Midwest states. The Center for Rural Affairs has released “Link to Rural Development and a Renewable Future,” a report authored by Rural Affairs Climate Program Associate Lucas Nelsen. The report looks at the benefits of wind energy for the Midwest and Great Plains regions and discusses the need to update the transmission system to accommodate the new wind capacity. Read the report (pdf).

A Quiet Crisis: Minnesota’s Child Care Shortage. The Center for Rural Policy and Development analyzes child care need and capacity by Minnesota region and discusses the implications of a child care shortage.

Access to Care for Rural People with Disabilities Toolkit This new toolkit, developed by the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, provides information, strategies, and resources to help rural communities improve access to care for people with disabilities. Browse program models and examples, and learn how to implement, evaluate, and sustain a program in your community and disseminate program results.

–The Minnesota Department of Health has published a Community Paramedic (CP) Toolkit (PDF) for prospective employers.

The purpose of the toolkit is to assist employers and organizations who are planning to hire Community Paramedics. The CP role leverages the medical and community expertise of paramedics and, through additional training, applies their skills to primary care settings. CPs are able to:

  • reduce overall health care costs by helping patients avoid more acute care such as hospital readmissions,
  • improve health outcomes for specific populations, and
  • improve patient experience.

The toolkit and background resources are available on our Toolkit webpage at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/toolkit.html

–Economic Impact Reports sponsored by the National Center for Rural Health Works   provide a broad overview of the impact the healthcare sector has on rural communities, along with two studies that examine specific aspects of the rural healthcare system:

Safely Aging in Place in Rural America discusses the health challenges faced by older Americans as they age in place in rural communities, including issues such as limited access to care, social isolation, and higher rates of chronic illness and poverty. Going forward, providing individually tailored support, connecting to local resources, and offering services via telehealth will be necessary to meet the healthcare needs of America’s aging rural population.

— New Minnesota Broadband Maps.  The Office of Broadband Development published a heat map of broadband availability in Minnesota. The map indicates that Statewide availability of broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up is 90.15%, while rural availability within the state is 78.04%. http://wp.me/p3if7-3Mb

— Broadband is Different Market in Urban than Rural Markets.  A recent report from the FCC indicates that cable is the dominant broadband in urban areas and DSL is dominant in rural areas. http://wp.me/p3if7-3M1 Optimistic predictions for wireless technologies, such as 5G, say faster speeds may be available as early as 2020 in urban areas but with increased cost and limited reach, 5G will not be a major player in rural areas. http://wp.me/p3if7-3LY

— HUD had released a new CDBG technical assistance product, “How to Use CDBG for Housing Activities.” In this six-module video, HUD explains the kinds of housing activities that can be funded with CDBG, how to use CDBG to meet the housing needs of the community, and the key elements to be considered in housing program design. Access the video modules here.

— The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has published “How to Do Creative Placemaking: An Action-Oriented Guide to Arts in Community Development.” The book features 28 essays from thought leaders active in arts-based community development as well as 13 case studies of projects funded through the NEA’s creative placemaking program, Our Town, and is intended as a primer for those interested in bringing the arts to the community development table as a tool – along with housing, transportation, public health and other sectors – to advance revitalization efforts in an authentic way. Download the pdf of the book from the NEA website here.

— The National Association of Development Organizations has published “Measuring Rural Wealth Creation: A Guide for Regional Development Organizations.” The paper presents concepts and samples to assist in the creation of a plan for measuring progress in rural wealth creation for rural development organizations (RDOs) involved in community and economic development. Get the paper here.

Corrections

Using the ERS County Economic Types To Explore Demographic and Economic Trends in Rural Areas (Amber Waves article) On December 15, 2016 a correction was made to a chart in the Amber Waves article “Using the ERS County Economic Types To Explore Demographic and Economic Trends in Rural Areas.” In the chart “Rural median household incomes were highest in recreation counties,” the correction fixes the colors for the lines corresponding to recreation counties and Government dependent counties, which were inadvertently reversed.

Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition on December 21, 2016, Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition was reposted to correct the classifications of some counties in the map.

December 2016- Volume XIV, Number 11

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS

Across the Field: Our nation, our destiny; a shared responsibility to “Do Good”

By Jane Leonard UMd ’79 & UM ‘85

Some of you know that I am a proud “Gopher” – a graduate of the University of Minnesota for my masters in mass communication. I am also a proud “Terp” – my undergraduate degree being in journalism and agriculture from another “UM” – the University of Maryland (let’s call it UMd for short). Back in October, I received an alumni update from UMd, letting us know that our alma mater was aiming to be the nation’s first “Do Good” campus, rooted in the Land Grant mission of putting knowledge into practice for social and economic betterment.

I love this idea as I’ve been pegged as a “Do Gooder” more than once in my life (proud of it, too!) and now “Do Good” is a bona fide, officially-sanctioned strategy of a leading public university. I couldn’t be more proud of UMd, expanding what was a trial run in the Center for Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership in the School of Public Policy, into system-wide values and actions aimed at ensuring every student will be informed and motivated to “do good” in their communities, both local and worldwide. And it’s not something “done unto” the students. Students want to do this. UMd is seeing a 50-year high in the percentage of students today who say that helping others is a “very important” priority.

According to its website, the new Do Good Institute “serves as the campus-wide hub of social innovation and as a center of research and thought leadership in philanthropy and social change. From orientation to graduation and beyond, the  institute builds on the tenet that learning is not a passive activity, but instead requires active participation and deep, practical application.”  http://dogood.umd.edu/

The Do Good initiative brings to my mind and heart the idealism of the 1960s, facing head-on the great upheavals in industry, society, and urban-rural tensions (sound familiar?). In May, 1968, then-USDA Secretary & former Governor of Minnesota Orville Freeman spoke to representatives of rural-oriented industries from across the country who were meeting in Washington D.C. I find good counsel for our times in his nearly 50-year-old message:

“We are met here today to discuss this portion of America [rural America] in a period when almost all of the national conscience is focused on yet another segment of land, the great cities.

“It is almost as if we were two Nations; one rural, one urban, with separate problems, separate solutions, separate destinies.

“But in fact – as well as in rhetoric – we are still one Nation, indivisible, with indivisible problems, indivisible solutions; with but one destiny.

And unless we recognize this, we shall never overcome the terrible strains that threaten to rend the social fabric of our land.

In 2016, we’ve all experienced a difficult, divisive election. And in just over one month, at the highest levels of government, we will witness not only a transfer of power, but a transfer of responsibility: a profound, solemn, and humbling responsibility.

And yet, ultimately, it is “We the People of the United States” who hold the highest power and responsibility, to bridge the divides we see at every level of community, state, region, and world, step by step, person by person, to Do Good wherever we can.

In this holiday season, it is my hope and prayer that we reach out to one another, to rural folk if you are urban folk, to urban folk if you are rural folk. Reach out to people everywhere to Do Good, for we are still one nation, indivisible, with but one destiny, according to the opening words of our United States Constitution, “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….

Let’s get to work. Help one another. Do Good in this season of giving, and for all time.

FUNDING

–The Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for either: 1) developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfields sites, or 2) cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites. Deadline: 12/20/2016. Click here for program guidelines and to apply.

–THE HOME DEPOT Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through 12/31/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.

— KATIE’S KROPS is accepting applications for youth garden grants. Gift cards of up to $500 and other support will be awarded for youth-planted vegetable gardens created in support of local community needs. Deadline: 12/31/2016. Click here to review application guidelines.

–Department of Health and Human Services is offering grants through the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program. This program supports the development of integrated healthcare networks, specifically for entities that do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts. DEADLINE: 1/3/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines.

— Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care coordinates a state application to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Rural Health Policy on behalf of Minnesota’s small rural hospitals (49 or fewer beds). The Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant funds may be used to purchase items from the SHIP Purchasing Menu in the following funding categories: value based purchasing, accountable care organization, payment bundling or care transitions. Applications are to be returned to judith.bergh@state.mn.us via email by January 8, 2017.

–The National Institutes of Health is offering grants to rural nonprofit and public agencies for programs that help control the opioid epidemic in the United States. Deadline: 01/10/2017. Click here for grant materials.

–THE MISSION CONTINUES is seeking applications for Post-9/11 Veteran Nonprofit Fellowships. Service fellowships, which include a cost-of-living stipend, are awarded to post-9/11 veterans to enable them to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in their community as an extension of their service to the country. Deadline: 1/17/2017. Visit the website here to review program guidelines.

— THE UNFI Foundation funds nonprofit organizations across the United States that support the development of healthy, organic foods and food practices, and promote the health of the planet. The focus is on organizations that work to increase organic agriculture, provide research and science to develop organic farming practices, protect the biodiversity of our seed supply and the stewardship of genetic resources of organic seed, teach organic farming practices that promote conservation of resources, and foster the next generation of organic farmers. The first two letter of intent deadlines in 2017 are 1/19 and 4/27. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review guidelines and learn more about the application process.

–BIG READ is accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations for programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Grants of up to $20,000 each will be awarded to nonprofit organizations for community-wide reading programs. Deadline: 1/26/2017. Click here to review program guidelines.

–U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. Grants will be awarded to programs that support activities designed to empower and educate affected communities to understand environmental and public health issues and to identify ways to address these issues at the local level. Approximately 40 one-year projects will be awarded $30,000 each. Deadline: 1/31/2017. Click here to review application guidelines.

–The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

— Community Transportation Association of America is accepting applications for technical assistance for tribes and rural communities of less than 50,000 people to plan system start-up, transit service improvements, facility development, marketing, transportation coordination, and staff training. Deadline: applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Click here for an application and guidelines.

–The Bush Foundation offers Community Innovation Grants in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Grant funds help communities use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions. Grants are provided for projects that use inclusive, collaborative, and resourceful processes; are thoughtful, realistic, and address the identified community need; and are likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future. Nonprofit organizations and government entities (including schools) may apply for grants ranging from $10,000 to $200,000. (Community Innovation Grants of $500 to $10,000 are available from the Foundation’s intermediary partner organizations.) Applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to review the selection criteria and to learn more about the application process.

–The Kresge Foundation is offering grants through its Arts and Culture Program to anchor institutions in any sector that have a stake in and are located in a low-income, disinvested community, and to nonprofit community partners, nonprofit artist collaboratives, and government entities. Support is provided for cross-sector/cross-disciplinary projects that embed arts and culture into local systems such as municipal departments, community financial networks, comprehensive planning efforts, human services networks, regional food hubs, etc. Deadline: online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Arts and Culture Program.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program offers grants to eligible organizations to cover all or part of the costs associated with purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

Registration Now Open for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference  You are cordially invited to join us Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017, at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference: The Next Big Event!

–The 27th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo being held Feb. 20-22, 2017, in Duluth, Minn.  For more information go to: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/eSites/206400/Login

–Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas. Join colleagues from across the state both to celebrate good work and to discuss opportunities for advancing our civic commitments even more powerfully together. Campus selections for the Presidents’ Awards for community partners, student leaders, and faculty/staff civic engagement stewards will be due February 24, 2017. Questions or to sponsor a team with a designated table at the awards luncheon, contact Julie or go to:

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

–SAVE THE DATE!  The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017” will be April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis.

— SAVE THE DATE!  2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

OPPORTUNITIES

— Call for Proposals for the 2017 MN Rural Health Conference, June 19-20 in Duluth.  If you are interested in presenting a 60-minute breakout session or facilitating a roundtable discussion at the 2017 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, Shaping Sustainable Solutions, please submit an online proposal. The deadline is December 21, 4:00 p.m. Central Time.  Remember to sign up to receive conference updates.

— Applications open for 3M TWIST (Teachers Working in Science and Technology) Program. The 3M TWIST program allows middle and high school math, science, and technology teachers to spend six weeks during the summer working closely with a 3M host on an actual 3M research project. The objective is to provide active and challenging technical experiences for teachers in an industrial setting. TWIST is based on the idea that the way to learn science is to do science – an axiom that applies as much to teachers as it does to their students. This program is a partnership of 3M and the MHTA Foundation. Applications are due January 17, 2017. LEARN MORE

Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference Sponsorships Now Available for the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference that will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2017, at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront in downtown St. Paul.

–Call for workshop proposals for the 2017 Nonprofit Leadership Conference to be held at the University of MN in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.  Proposals are due January 16, 2017.  For more information go to:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LeadConf2017

Submit Your Location for Possible Film, Television or Commercials Do you have a one-of-a-kind Main Street in your town, a neighborhood of beautiful homes or picturesque parks, or even spooky abandoned buildings?

— Morris K Udall and Steward L Udall Foundation is offering a 10-week fully funded summer internship for Native American and Alaska Native students who wish to learn more about the federal government and issues affecting Indian country. Deadline to apply: 1/31/2017. Visit the Foundation website here for guidelines and an application.

2016‒2017 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sponsors this contest for high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Students answer the question: “Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?” to win monetary prizes. Essays are due by March 31, 2017.

Tesla Offers Chargers to Hotels and Resorts across Minnesota hoping that owners of Minnesota hotels and resorts will want to attract drivers of Tesla vehicles to their properties by joining Tesla’s destination charging network.

Roadmaps to Health Coaching offers guidance and support from a community coach for communities who want to improve the health of their populations and work toward building a culture of health. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Rural Impact County Challenge: A National Effort to Combat Rural Child Poverty The Rural Impact County Challenge will recognize and support counties making strides in reducing child poverty in rural communities. The challenge will provide educational opportunities, networking forums, and resources to develop and implement evidenced-based approaches to reduce the number of children and families living in poverty in rural areas. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by the National Association of Counties.

–The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) to be Minnesota host of SBIR/STTR programs. MHTA has been named the host of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program for the state of Minnesota. FAST is designed to stimulate economic development with outreach and technical assistance to science and technology-driven small businesses, with a particular emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged firms, helping them to compete in federally-funded research and development through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. LEARN MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition after declining for several years, rural population stabilized. Median annual earnings rose in rural areas and poverty fell markedly in 2015, as in urban areas; the rise in earnings occurred across most major industry sectors.

Measuring Rural Wealth Creation: A Guide for Regional Development Organizations
Presents concepts and samples to create a development plan for measuring progress in rural wealth creation for rural development organizations (RDOs) involved in community and economic development. Specifically identifies 8 forms of capital measures useful to evaluate progress in rural wealth creation including the skills, understanding, physical health and mental wellness of the individuals within the community.

Rural Classifications ERS maintains key classifications that measure rurality and assess the economic and social diversity of rural America beyond the metro/nonmetro dichotomy. A recent addition to the suite of products for rural analysis includes data files for use with the American Community Survey’s Public Use Microdata Sample (ACS-PUMS) that identify each Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) in the ACS-PUMS as either metro, nonmetro, or mixed, based on the metro and nonmetro population shares in each PUMA; for mixed PUMAs, the share of the population residing in a metro area is reported.

Employment & Education recent updates to this topic provide information and research findings about the well-being of rural workers and the changing structure of rural labor markets, with a focus on the period 2007-2016. Highlights include the profound effects of the 2007-09 recession, and the rate at which employment has recovered since. The labor market measures discussed include the level of employment, the employment/population ratio, the unemployment rate, and the labor force participation rate.

— The Surdna Foundation has developed and published www.CommunityEngagedDesign.org, a new website that highlights written, audio, and video content regarding developments in the community engaged design field. Community engaged design (CED) is practiced when architects, designers, or urban planners work in solidarity with low-income communities and communities of color to ensure decisions made about the built environment are equitable and just. Visit the website here.

— The Carsey School of Public Policy has published a brief titled “Carsey Perspectives: Bridging Farm and Table: The ‘Harvest to Market’ Innovation: Highlights from a Social Venture Innovation Challenge Winner.” Harvest to Market is a new online platform that makes it easier for small farmers to sell their products directly to local consumers. Potential customers, which can be schools, restaurants, and institutions as well as individuals, can search for nearby markets and browse through the available produce as listed by the farmers. Download the brief here.

Two New Reports Portray the State of Sustainable Tourism in Minnesota  The University of Minnesota Tourism Center and Explore Minnesota have partnered four times since 2007 to survey Minnesota’s tourism industry about sustainable tourism practices.

— Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit. The Minnesota Department of Health has published a Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit (PDF) for prospective employers. The purpose of the toolkit is to assist employers and organizations as they plan to hire Community Health Workers who:

  • provide culturally-specific education, system navigation, advocacy and outreach services to diverse communities;
  • work to improve health outcomes for communities and individuals, reduce overall health care costs by helping patients avoid more acute care, and improve patient experience; and
  • help enhance relationships between communities and health systems, public health agencies, hospitals, clinics and community-based programs.

The toolkit and background resources are available on our Toolkit webpage. Funding for the creation of the toolkit was provided by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Improvement via the Minnesota State Innovation Model (SIM) grant. Please feel free to share the CHW Toolkit with others.

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

This newsletter is also available online:

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS
  • –EMPLOYMENT

FUNDING

–U.S. Bank Places to Play is a collaboration between U.S. Bank and the Minnesota Vikings that provides grant funding to nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations and schools in low- to moderate-income communities in Minnesota to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local play spaces. As part of U.S. Bank’s Community Possible platform, this grantmaking initiative focuses on creating or improving parks, playgrounds, indoor/outdoor athletic facilities and repairing existing trails over three years. Proposals are due November 17. For more information go to: https://www.usbank.com/splash/placestoplay/index.html

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) offers grants to fire departments and EMS organizations for equipment, training, personnel wellness programs, capital funding, and collaboration efforts.  Application Deadline: Nov 18, 2016.

–THE U.S. Department of Education is offering grants to nonprofits, LEAs, public agencies, and IHEs for a wide array of activities to encourage at-risk youth to complete high school and go on to college through the Upward Bound program. Deadline to apply: 11/28/2016. Click here for funding guidelines.

–USDA is offering funding through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program. The program provides support to meet the food needs of low-income individuals, increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their food needs, and promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues. Deadline: 11/30/2016. Click here to review program funding guidelines.

— HUD has released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program. Up to ten communities, including four rural, will be awarded funds to design and implement a community response focused on ending youth homelessness. $33 million is available for the program. Deadline: 11/30/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

Safer School Garden Grant provides funding to start a school garden. Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.

Phyllis and Milton Berg Family Respite Care Grant funding to help alleviate the cost of respite care for families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.  Sponsor: Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge provides funding to support the development and implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to support rural commerce, healthcare, public safety, economic development, education, energy, or other community-oriented initiatives.  Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.  Sponsor: NTCA: The Rural Broadband Association

AmeriCorps State and National Grants funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. Funds may be used for programs that utilize AmeriCorps member in the following areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, education, and veterans and military families. Letter of Intent (Required): Dec 7, 2016. Application Deadline: Jan 18, 2017.

–USDA is offering funding through the Farm to School Grant Program for efforts that improve access to local foods in schools. Grants are made for planning, implementation, support services, and training. Deadline: 12/8/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

–The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will begin accepting proposals for the Capacity Building Grant Program on November 10, 2016.  Proposals must be received by DEED no later than 4:30 pm. on December 9, 2016. Late proposals will not be considered. Request for Proposal

CT Scanner Replacement Initiative offers funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Health Program to qualifying hospitals in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming for the purchase of a new 32 slice or higher CT scanner. Letter of Intent (Required): Dec 9, 2016. Application Deadline: Jan 27, 2017.

–The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is offering funds to schools where a minimum of 85 percent of the student body qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program to enable them to extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections. Grants of up to $7,000 are available to pre-K-12 school libraries throughout the United States, the American territories, and Department of Defense schools in other countries. Funds are provided solely for books, e-books, or magazines and serials in print, Braille, or audio form. All grants are made to individual schools rather than to school districts, foundations, or other entities. Deadline: 12/12/2016. Online application information is available here.

–USDA has announced the availability of grant funding to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by families and households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The funding will be awarded to eligible nonprofits and governmental organizations through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. Applications may be submitted in three categories: pilot projects requesting less than $100,000 over one year, multi-year community-based projects requesting less than $500,000 over no more than four years, and multi-year large-scale projects requesting $500,000 or more over no more than four years. Deadline: 12/12/2016. For application materials and guidelines, click here.

–The Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies for either: 1) developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities, and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfields sites, or 2) cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites. Deadline: 12/20/2016. Click here for program guidelines and to apply.

–THE HOME DEPOT Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through 12/31/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.

–The National Institutes of Health is offering grants to rural nonprofit and public agencies for programs that help control the opioid epidemic in the United States. Deadline: 01/10/2017. Click here for grant materials.

–THE MISSION CONTINUES is seeking applications for Post-9/11 Veteran Nonprofit Fellowships. Service fellowships, which include a cost-of-living stipend, are awarded to post-9/11 veterans to enable them to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in their community as an extension of their service to the country. Deadline: 1/17/2017. Visit the website here to review program guidelines.

–The Department of Health and Human Services is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

–THE KRESGE FOUNDATION is offering grants through its Arts and Culture Program to anchor institutions in any sector that have a stake in and are located in a low-income, disinvested community, and to nonprofit community partners, nonprofit artist collaboratives, and government entities. Support is provided for cross-sector/cross-disciplinary projects that embed arts and culture into local systems such as municipal departments, community financial networks, comprehensive planning efforts, human services networks, regional food hubs, etc. Deadline: online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Arts and Culture Program.

— Rebate opportunities for solar thermal systems remain available to all Minnesota residents, businesses, nonprofits, and government entities as part of the 2016 Made in Minnesota (MiM) Solar Energy Incentive Program.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Grant Program offers grants to eligible organizations to cover all or part of the costs associated with purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) recently announced that its 2016 Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference will be held Nov. 15-16 at the Hilton Airport/Mall of America in Bloomington. Information on registration is available.

— The 2016 Tekne Awards will be held on November 16th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  You can learn more and find the full list of Tekne recipients at tekneawards.org.

–Save the Date:  2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul January 31- February 1, 2017.

–The 27th annual Energy Design Conference & Expo being held Feb. 20-22, 2017, in Duluth, Minn.  For more information go to: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/eSites/206400/Login

–Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas. Join colleagues from across the state both to celebrate good work and to discuss opportunities for advancing our civic commitments even more powerfully together. Campus selections for the Presidents’ Awards for community partners, student leaders, and faculty/staff civic engagement stewards will be due February 24, 2017. Questions or to sponsor a team with a designated table at the awards luncheon, contact Julie or go to: http://mncampuscompact.org/event/2017-state-summit-and-awards-luncheon/

–SAVE THE DATE!  The National Housing Conference will host “Solutions for Housing Communications 2017” will be April 27-28, 2017, in Minneapolis.

OPPORTUNITIES

— Morris K Udall and Steward L Udall Foundation is offering a 10-week fully funded summer internship for Native American and Alaska Native students who wish to learn more about the federal government and issues affecting Indian country. Deadline to apply: 1/31/2017. Visit the Foundation website here for guidelines and an application.

2016‒2017 Student Essay Contest  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis sponsors this contest for high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. Students answer the question: “Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?” to win monetary prizes. Essays are due by March 31, 2017.

Tesla Offers Chargers to Hotels and Resorts across Minnesota hoping that owners of Minnesota hotels and resorts will want to attract drivers of Tesla vehicles to their properties by joining Tesla’s destination charging network.

Roadmaps to Health Coaching offers guidance and support from a community coach for communities who want to improve the health of their populations and work toward building a culture of health. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Rural Impact County Challenge: A National Effort to Combat Rural Child Poverty The Rural Impact County Challenge will recognize and support counties making strides in reducing child poverty in rural communities. The challenge will provide educational opportunities, networking forums, and resources to develop and implement evidenced-based approaches to reduce the number of children and families living in poverty in rural areas. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by the National Association of Counties.

–The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) to be Minnesota host of SBIR/STTR programs. MHTA has been named the host of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program for the state of Minnesota. FAST is designed to stimulate economic development with outreach and technical assistance to science and technology-driven small businesses, with a particular emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged firms, helping them to compete in federally-funded research and development through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. LEARN MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

MN2050 State of the Infrastructure.  At the request of MN2050, the Minnesota Department of Transportation worked with Wilder Research to conduct a survey to gather information about the characteristics and management of Minnesota’s infrastructure.

–A “Housing Development Toolkit” has been developed by the White House. The document highlights actions that states and local jurisdictions have taken to promote healthy, responsive, affordable, high-opportunity housing markets. Get the toolkit here.

— USDA Rural Housing Service has introduced a new website, “PolicyMap”, which shows public investments in rural communities through interactive maps. With these maps, the federal government can make better analytical decisions about how investments should be made, and more effective reports to track the work as it is getting done. PolicyMap helps the public to see Multi-Family, Single Family, and Community Facility Program investments against the spectrum of PolicyMap indicators ranging from renter cost burdens, to HMDA home purchase prices, to critical care hospital locations. Visit the PolicyMap website here.  For more information about PolicyMap, click here.

–In an attempt to support the Open Government Initiative and build a more transparent government, USDA has developed a Rural Development Dataset website that offers datasets for public use. Datasets include: Multi-Family Housing Data, Single Family Housing Data, Community Facilities Data, RD Obligation and Disbursements, and many others. Access the website here.

Palliative Care in Rural Minnesota: Findings from Stratis Health’s Minnesota Rural Palliative Care Initiative describes a 6 year initiative directed by Stratis Health supporting palliative care in rural areas of Minnesota. Features a palliative care development initiative in the rural city of Mora, Minnesota, and describes the Rural Palliative Care Measurement Pilot Project testing standardized quality measures in 5 rural communities.

–NOVEMBER 17th is 2016 Annual National Rural Health Day

— Broadband Communities Conference: Tips for communities and providers

The Broadband Communities Magazine held their Midwest Regional Conference in Minnesota. They made the case for broadband in a community http://wp.me/p3if7-3IE, emphasized the impact of local support http://wp.me/p3if7-3IG, and offered advice for partnership. http://wp.me/p3if7-3IK At the event, the Institute for Local Self Reliance had suggestions for how Minnesota could smooth the road for community networks. http://wp.me/p3if7-3Ja

–The White House Rural Council released a memo with the subject line “Rural Strategies That Work: Lifting up Federal Policies That Are Responsive to the Assets and Challenges of Rural America.” The memorandum outlines strategies for the design and delivery of programs in rural America to meet the unique challenges faced by rural communities, and discusses how policies can address the issues of geographic isolation (including travel to healthcare), limited financial resources, low population density, and poverty. Read the document here.

–In the PEW Charitable Trusts’ newsletter, Stateline, an article titled “Can the Arts Help Save Rural America?” the author discusses how the arts are helping a handful of rural communities reverse a negative economic and cultural trajectory. To be successful, the article says, a rural community must figure out what makes it unique – a gorgeous natural landscape that can serve as the backdrop for a writers’ retreat, an old opera house, or a tradition of local storytelling – and capitalize on that. Read the article here.

–An essay by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack lays out the work being done by the White House Rural Council to support life in rural America. The essay includes examples of successful cross-community projects that have benefited from federal support, including the Farm/Art D’Tour in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, which has received Our Town funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Read the full essay here.

— “How Migration Impacts Rural America” is the title of a brief from the Applied Population Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The authors find that rural migration patterns reflect the social, economic, and environmental conditions across rural America, which have significant implications for population structure, service needs, and community and economic development potentials of rural communities. Understanding distinct migration patterns can help community leaders to develop strategies to improve the well-being of their communities. Get the brief here.

–The Democracy Collaborative has published “Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy,” designed as a guidebook to explain the financing of broad-based enterprises, and to show how these enterprises can be positioned for job-creating growth. Worker-owned companies, social enterprises, and related models with broad-based ownership are increasingly being seen as highly valuable tools for stemming and reversing rising economic inequality. Get the report here.

–WINDExchange offers new installed wind capacity maps.  WINDExchange recently announced the availability of new interactive wind energy installed capacity maps for the United States. Three capacity maps are available: installed capacity, potential wind capacity, and potential wind generation, which highlights the future of wind energy. To learn more about installed capacity from 1999 to 2016, users can scroll to any year using the slider below the maps.

EMPLOYMENT

Industry Position Openings  The Art Colony in Grand Marais is hiring two new full-time positions; a Marketing Manager and a Development Manager.

Visit Bemidji Seeks Group Sales Manager  The focus of this position is to increase group visits to Bemidji through conventions, meetings and events, group sport events, and group leisure travel.  Closing date: November 16th.

October 2016- Volume XIV, Number 9

Compiled & edited by Deb Miller Slipek, Ann Treacy, and Jane Leonard

This newsletter is also available online:

  • –FUNDING
  • –TRAINING/MEETINGS
  • –OPPORTUNITIES
  • –MISCELLANEOUS
  • –EMPLOYMENT

FUNDING

–THE KRESGE FOUNDATION is offering grants through its Arts and Culture Program to anchor institutions in any sector that have a stake in and are located in a low-income, disinvested community, and to nonprofit community partners, nonprofit artist collaboratives, and government entities. Support is provided for cross-sector/cross-disciplinary projects that embed arts and culture into local systems such as municipal departments, community financial networks, comprehensive planning efforts, human services networks, regional food hubs, etc. Deadline: online applications may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the Foundation’s website here to learn more about the Arts and Culture Program.

— Asthma Friendly Schools The Minnesota Department of Health’s Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, go to the Minnesota Asthma Program–Asthma Friendly Schools Mini-Grant Program to learn how to submit your application. You may also contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or asthma@health.state.mn.us

Service Area Competition Funding for Health Center Program (Areas Served with a Project Period Start Date of April 1, 2017) Funding to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services to an underserved area or population. Application Deadline: Oct 17, 2016.  Sponsored by the Bureau of Primary Health Care.

— The Mental Health Safety Net Grant program assists mental health centers and clinics that treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be Community Mental Health Centers or Clinics designated under Minnesota Statute 245.62, or nonprofit Mental Health Clinics designated as Essential Community Providers under Minnesota Statute 62Q.19. Eligible providers must also offer free or reduced-cost mental health care to low-income patients under the age of 21. Applications will be posted on September 12 and are due October 28. For more information, contact Shortage Designation Coordination and Grant Program Manager Keisha Shaw at 651-201-3860 or keisha.shaw@state.mn.us.

–WHOLE KIDS FOUNDATION is offering grants to develop school gardens anywhere in the United States. Deadline: 10/31/2016. Click here to review program guidelines.

–The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) grant program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Health, distributes grants annually to providers of clinical medical education. The next application cycle is expected to open in late August 2016 and will be due on October 31st. For more information, contact Diane Reger at 651-201-3566.

—  USDA Rural Development is soliciting applications through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides guaranteed loan and grant financing for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. USDA reminds eligible applicants that set-aside funding is available for grant requests less than $20,000 and may offer priority scoring for projects located in underserved areas and/or benefiting underserved populations. The next application deadline for grants under $20,000 is October 31, 2016. For details on how to apply, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn, contact USDA Rural Development State Energy Coordinator for Minnesota Ron Omann at ron.omann@mn.usda.gov or (651) 602-7796, or see page 78029 of the December 29 Federal Register.

— November 1, 2016, at midnight is the grant deadline for the East Central Regional Arts Council Individual Artists, Art in Our Schools, Small/Art Project Grants, and Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants.  For the grant application materials, information on past grants, and the link to the online grant portal go to: www.ecrac.org/grants

–THE NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL is offering “Fuel Up to Play 60: Jump Start Healthy Changes Grants” to schools anywhere in the United States to improve opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. Deadline: 11/2/2016. Click here for more information on this program and to apply.

— The Laura Jane Musser Fund is offering funding to encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities that will help to strengthen their towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements and education. Programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming may apply. The applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or fewer and must be able to demonstrate the rural characteristics of their location. Deadline: 11/2/2016. Click here to review further guidelines and to apply.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) offers grants to fire departments and EMS organizations for equipment, training, personnel wellness programs, capital funding, and collaboration efforts.  Application Deadline: Nov 18, 2016.

— HUD has released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program. Up to ten communities, including four rural, will be awarded funds to design and implement a community response focused on ending youth homelessness. $33 million is available for the program. Deadline: 11/30/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines.

Safer School Garden Grant provides funding to start a school garden. Application Deadline: Dec 1, 2016.

–USDA is offering grants to LEAs and nonprofits to bring seasonal, locally sourced and minimally processed foods to public schools. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 and there are 75 grants available. Deadline: 12/8/2016. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

AmeriCorps State and National Grants funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. Funds may be used for programs that utilize AmeriCorps member in the following areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, education, and veterans and military families. Letter of Intent (Required): Dec 7, 2016. Application Deadline: Jan 18, 2017.

–THE HOME DEPOT Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals for the following community improvement activities will be considered: repairs, refurbishments, and modifications to low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities (schools, community centers, senior centers, etc.); weatherizing or increasing energy efficiency of low-income or transitional veteran’s housing or community facilities; engaging veterans as volunteers to help other veterans in their community through service projects focusing on the renovation, repair, and improvement of homes and other properties serving veterans; and planting trees or community gardens or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans. Requests will be accepted through 12/31/2016. Visit the Foundation’s website here to submit an online application.

–THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is offering grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Department seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low incomes. Deadline: 4/28/2017. Click here to review funding guidelines and download an application package.

TRAINING/ MEETINGS

–Broadband Communities Conference http://wp.me/p3if7-3xR (Minneapolis) will be held October 18-20.

— How to Finance your Export Operations seminar hosted by the Minnesota Trade Office and the Central Region SBDC will be held at the SBDC offices at St. Cloud State University’s Welcome Center on October 19th from 8:30AM to 3PM. Registration fee is $35. For more information and to register, please go to http://z.umn.edu/18y4.

— East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) has scheduled its upcoming grant information sessions for all artists, arts organizations, schools, community organizations, and non-profit organizations in the Region 7E area. These sessions will include basic information about all ECRAC arts-related grant programs, as well as recent changes to the grant application process. Individual appointments with staff are available immediately after the group sessions.

Friday, October 21, 2016; 9:30-10:30 a.m.

30 minute individual meetings are available after the above sessions at 10:30, 11:00, and 11:30 upon request.

Thursday, December 1, 2016; 1:30-2:30 p.m.

30 minute individual meetings are available after the above sessions at 2:30, 3:00, and 2:30 upon request.

Advance registration is required.  To register, please call the East Central Regional Arts Council office at (320) 396-2337, or email info@ecrac.org.

These sessions will be held at the East Central Regional Arts Council office located at 112 Main Avenue South in Braham, MN.  Don’t want to come to Braham to attend the information session? You can now watch it online!  ECRAC GRANT INFO VIDEO

— Duluth-Starting a Business in Minnesota workshop will be hosted by the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development and the Northeast Region SBDC on October 25th from 2-4PM at the Work Force Development Center, Duluth Athletic Building. For more information and to register, please go to http://z.umn.edu/18y7.

–The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held November 3-4 in Bloomington.

–The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) recently announced that its 2016 Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference will be held Nov. 15-16 at the Hilton Airport/Mall of America in Bloomington. Information on registration and early bird rate is available.

— The 2016 Tekne Awards will be held on November 16th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  You can learn more and find the full list of Tekne recipients at tekneawards.org.  Applications and nominations are now open!

–Save the Date:  2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in St. Paul January 31- February 1, 2017.

–Save the Date:  Minnesota Campus Compact Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony will be April 5, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas.

OPPORTUNITIES

Tesla Offers Chargers to Hotels and Resorts across Minnesota

Tesla is hoping that owners of Minnesota hotels and resorts will want to attract drivers of Tesla vehicles to their properties by joining Tesla’s destination charging network.

— The Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) has an open appointment for a mid–level practitioner. The committee advises the Commissioner of Health and other state agencies on rural health issues. All members must reside outside the Twin Cities seven–county metropolitan area. The full announcement and application materials are available on the Secretary of State´s Current Vacancies web page. Applications are due to that office by October 24.

Culture of Health Prize  Awards that honor community efforts and partnerships that are helping people live healthier lives. Letter of Intent (Required): Nov 3, 2016.  Application Deadline: Jan 20, 2017.

Roadmaps to Health Coaching Offers guidance and support from a community coach for communities who want to improve the health of their populations and work toward building a culture of health. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Rural Impact County Challenge: A National Effort to Combat Rural Child Poverty The Rural Impact County Challenge will recognize and support counties making strides in reducing child poverty in rural communities. The challenge will provide educational opportunities, networking forums, and resources to develop and implement evidenced-based approaches to reduce the number of children and families living in poverty in rural areas. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Sponsored by the National Association of Counties.

–The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) to be Minnesota host of SBIR/STTR programs. MHTA has been named the host of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program for the state of Minnesota. FAST is designed to stimulate economic development with outreach and technical assistance to science and technology-driven small businesses, with a particular emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged firms, helping them to compete in federally-funded research and development through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. LEARN MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

— The U.S. Census Bureau its annual report, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015.” The report reveals that both metropolitan areas and the nation as a whole experienced has released statistically significant decreases in poverty, and increases in median household income, reflecting overall economic improvement. Rural areas, on the other hand, stand out from an otherwise positive report with lower levels of economic gain. Get the report here.

How Migration Impacts Rural America identifies five migration patterns that impact rural counties: youth migration, rural exodus, retirement, destination, and university influence. Discusses how different migration patterns impact the need for services, including healthcare. Part of the publication series Population Trends in Post-Recession Rural America.

–“Helping Rural America Catch Up” is a collection of opinion pieces in the The New York Times written by rural experts, and placed in “discussion” with one another concerning the challenges faced by rural America. Topics include access to health resources, poverty, economic development, and technological infrastructure. Access it here.

–The FrameWorks Institute has released two studies looking at the conversation about the link between housing and health, education, and economic outcomes. “A House, a Tent, a Box: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Healthy Housing” compares public and expert understandings of housing, and offers strategic guidance for how communicators can help ordinary Americans better appreciate the connections between affordability, quality, and health. The other study is titled “Not Telling the Whole Story: Media and Advocacy Discourse about Affordable Housing.” FrameWorks researchers conducted a systematic analysis of the frames used by the media and by influential housing reform organizations. The result is a carefully drawn map of the narratives in play—with directions for navigating it strategically. Download both studies here.

–The Democracy Collaborative has developed a toolkit series “Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities,” produced with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and designed to help hospitals and health systems build community wealth through inclusive hiring, investment, and purchasing. The first toolkit in this series, “Inclusive, Local Hiring,” can be accessed here.

–The White House has published a Housing Development Toolkit, discussing local land use strategies to increase supply like inclusionary zoning and by-right development, as well as barriers like lengthy approval processes, parking requirements, and limits on accessory dwellings. While the Toolkit focus is on urban/suburban areas, some policies could be applied to rural areas. Get the Toolkit here.

–“Opportunities for Promoting Credit for Affordable Housing in Rural America” is a report from the Center for American Progress that summarizes findings from a roundtable convened by the White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Housing Service and facilitated by the Center for American Progress. The issue brief provides an analysis of the areas of opportunity for improving access to credit in rural communities gleaned from discussions at the roundtable. Download the brief here.

–Housing Assistance Council published an overview of rural housing finance in its magazine Rural Voices. Read the issue here.

— An article in the Federal Bank of Minneapolis’ newsletter on preserving USDA-RD 515 units titled “Key housing organizations take coordinated approach to preserving rural Minnesota’s affordable rentals,” discusses the collaborative effort among government agencies and nonprofit organizations in Minnesota that aims to preserve rural affordable housing. Read the article here.

— In an update to the issue of maturing rural multifamily mortgages, USDA released a loan level database of all rural multifamily loans and their projected “exit” or maturity date. Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has links to the data and a summary on its website here.

–“Bridging Farm and Table: The ‘Harvest to Market’ Innovation” is the title of a brief from The Carsey School of Public Policy that highlights a Social Venture Innovation Challenge winner. In the brief authors Andrew Walters and Edie Allard describe their new online platform, Harvest to Market, which makes it easier for small farmers to sell their products directly to local consumers. Consumers visit the Harvest to Market website and find “markets” in their area. Download the brief here.

— USDA has published “Household Food Security in the United States in 2015.” Researchers report on household food security, food expenditures and use of federal food and nutrition assistance programs in 2015. The report includes food insecurity statistics for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. Get the report here.

— Minnesota currently imports 72 percent of the energy it consumes, mostly fossil fuels such as coal and oil. However, results of a two-year project called the “Minnesota 2025 Energy Action Plan” (pdf) show that the state has ample opportunity to decrease these imports and increase clean, affordable, reliable, and resilient energy while boosting the state economy. The 2025 Energy Action Plan was funded through a competitive grant awarded to the state by the U.S. Department of Energy and compiled by the Rocky Mountain Institute. It centers on consensus-driven, near-term strategies that add value to Minnesota’s dynamic energy landscape. Strategies are recommended under five categories:

  • Transportation
  • Energy supply and grid modernization
  • Efficient buildings and integrated energy systems
  • Industrial and agricultural processes
  • Local planning and action

The Action Plan was coordinated by a multisector team that included the Rocky Mountain Institute, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Legislative Energy Commission, Great Plains Institute, and LHB, Inc. The project team worked closely with a multidisciplinary group of more than 50 stakeholders across the state to collect input on energy technologies and strategies.

— A compendium of resources on community solar gardens has been compiled by the Central Region of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). The resources include Guides & Reports, Articles & Websites, Tools & Resources, and Videos from national sources like the National Renewable Energy Lab and Smart Electric Power Alliance. Read more.

— The Disability Resource Center (DRC) at the University of Minnesota recently released an informative resource for Creating Accessible & Inclusive Meetings or Events.  The tip sheet includes event-related guidelines your organization should be aware of when planning an event, including information on venue selection, marketing and communications, presenter consideration, food offerings and other considerations.

Read the DRC’s full tip sheet to discover ways to make your events more accessible and inclusive for all. If you have any questions, please contact the Disability Resource Center at 612-626-1333 or drc@umn.edu.

Grant Writing for Rural Healthcare Projects This newly updated topic guide provides tips on searching for rural-specific funding, grant proposal preparation, building successful funding relationships, and planning for program sustainability.

— This year’s National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 17. This sixth annual celebration allows the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and our partners to showcase rural America and highlight the unique health care needs of rural communities.

EMPLOYMENT

Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Seeks Executive Director

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is searching for a new Executive Director to lead the museum in achieving the established strategic goals and shaping the future of the organization.

Visit Cook County Administrative Manager Position Opening

Visit Cook County is searching for a new team member.

bbc-mainFiber for the New Economy: Helping Communities Take Control of their Broadband Futures

When: October 18-20, 2016
Where: Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown (35 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402)
Who: Broadband Communities Magazine
Learn more: http://www.bbcmag.com/minneapolis

Communities see the relationship between broadband, economic development and job creation. What’s not so clear is knowing how to make that happen; the formula will be different for each community. Smart communities are looking into making it happen. To help with the process, Community Broadband Magazine is bringing together experts to talk about how to realize better economic development and job creation by deploying and adopting broadband strategies.

The three-day event features national speakers, homegrown experts and local practitioners. Sessions will address the latest, hottest topics – including how to work with local legislators; funding options and financial models; finding the right partners for you; public-private fiber projects; developments in health care, education, energy, etc.; addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals and families and Native Americans; and much more.

It’s a chance to meet with colleagues from around the Midwest and Canada. There will be community leaders, IT experts, broadband providers, policymakers and folks from the frontlines, folks who have been successful and folks who have learned the hard way. You can learn from them all, tell your story and find some solutions together.