May 2020
A Letter from the Executive Director
The killing of George Floyd on Tuesday and ensuing unrest have ripped open the festering wound of racism that pervades our state and nation. This atrocity reminds us of both the deep inequities in our society and the privileged status many of us hold.

I write today because my heart aches for Mr. Floyd, his family, friends, and colleagues. My heart aches for the soul of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota. My heart aches for the millions of Black Minnesotans and Americans who so often live in fear and suspicion of the very institutions that are supposed to serve and protect them.

But this isn’t about me. This is about George Floyd and the millions of people who are denied the same rights and freedoms I enjoy. I write today because what happened to Mr. Floyd was not only horrifying and unjust, it was preventable.

He died because those police officers placed less value on his life as a black man than they would on mine as a white woman. Mr. Floyd’s death was preventable because our communities could have and should have been conducting the work necessary to dismantle institutional racism and challenge our own biases.

While we have a long way to go, Region Nine Development Commission has taken steps to address some of these issues through a program called Welcoming Communities, which aims to both restore economic justice by facilitating minority entrepreneurship and improve quality of life by encouraging communities to engage positively with residents of color.
We started this work several years ago, treating it as an economic development issue, just like the need for roads, bridges, and childcare providers. Over time, Welcoming Communities has evolved into a forum to confront biases and learn to cherish the contributions and humanity of all Minnesotans.

This week, we have yet again been reminded why we and our partners must work harder than ever. We must search ourselves, our families, and our communities with the renewed conviction that oppression is the status quo and we are the agents responsible for change.
Ultimately, the goal of this work is to sew justice, dignity, and love. We must support our neighbors now more than ever. The Welcoming Communities' work is no longer just a regional economic development need. It is, as this week’s events remind us, a moral imperative. 

Nicole Griensewic
2020 Center for Rural Policy & Development Annual Research Survey
Help set their research agenda for the coming year.

The Center for Rural Policy & Development's mission is to provide unbiased, non-partisan information to legislators and decision makers across Minnesota with the goal of making Minnesota a better place. Help the Center for Rural Policy & Development set their research priorities by letting them know what you think is most important for the well being of Greater Minnesota and the entire state. Your individual answers will be kept confidential.
Region Nine Participated in R esearch Project on Collaboration and Rural-Urban Connection
Regional Solutions for Rural and Urban Challenges explores the possibility that regional collaboration and solution-seeking can be an effective way of improving social and economic opportunity and health for all people and places within a region. The question asked was: Under what conditions are regional collaboration and solution-seeking approaches most effective in improving social and economic outcomes? This became a counterpoint to the prevailing narrative of growing divisions between rural and urban populations along economic, social, cultural, and political lines.
The Economic Resiliency Coordinator will assist in the administration of the Revolving Loan Fund, as well as performing general economic development duties.
Work areas may include providing technical assistance to local units of government, businesses, and the general public on a variety of planning and development topics, such as Revolving Loan Funds, economic development, workforce development, and community development. Work area may also include securing funding for programs through grant writing and the coordination, development, and implementation of programs and projects of importance to the region.
Henderson Gets Creative Amidst Flooding Crisis
Community Impact Survey
Our team continues to serve you as we navigate this unprecedented event. We are here to listen. To advise. To take advice.

Together, as organizations and partners, we are strongest when we share ideas, collaborate on best practices, and create innovating solutions that best meet our communities’ needs. We pledge to continue these efforts on your behalf. However, in order to best serve our communities we are looking for feedback from key stakeholders within the region. This survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.
If you have any questions regarding the survey or would like to speak to a staff member at RNDC, please contact Corree Stamschror at .
Marketing for the New Normal
Friday, June 12th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Marketing for the New Normal - Enhanced, Interactive 360° Online Experiences

With the dynamics of face-to-face communication changing dramatically as a result of COVID-19, businesses of all types are searching for ways to safely and effectively interact with customers. This presentation will focus on the development of online content through a variety 360° photographic applications. These applications can be packaged and effectively used online for training, product demos, retail & service business experiences and more.

This webinar is FREE to attend by clicking here .
About the Speaker:

Brian Maciej is president of Lime Valley Advertising. He was a charter employee of Lime Valley when it was established in 1988, and he purchased and incorporated the firm in 1996. In 2017, Lime Valley acquired VoyaguerWeb and currently has ten full time staff in its historic William Irving Home in the Mankato City Center.

Lime Valley is known for its community service. Brian has received the Mankato Rotary Service Above Self award, Twin Valley Council Boy Scouts outstanding volunteer recognition and the Greater Mankato Area United Way Artistry of the Year. In 2009, he delivered the keynote address at the MnSCU Design for Technology conference and was selected as a runner-up for Connect Business Magazine Business Person of the Year in 2011. Brian chairs the Graphic Communications advisory board at South Central College and serves on the Technology, Art and Design board at Bemidji State University. Recently Brian was honored with the Outstanding Alumni award from Bemidji State University.
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, 2020, provides the Economic Development Administration (EDA) with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Deadline: Submissions will be accepted through mid-June.
Minnesota State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program

The Minnesota Trade Office (MTO), an agency within the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, is soliciting applications for funding for eligible small and medium-sized businesses to participate in export development activities that will assist the company to begin exporting or increase their exports from Minnesota. Proposals must be submitted electronically to  Aeli Wiebolt .

Deadline: Proposals are accepted until all funds are committed.
Calendar of Events
About Region Nine
Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit
Follow Region Nine on social media to stay up-to-date on events, news, and more!