September 2020
Region Nine RLF Helps Tackle Child Care Shortage
After working tirelessly for over two years and receiving help from financial partners, including RNDC's Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program, Stay & Play Child Care opened their doors on August 3.

On September 17 Stay & Play Child Care held their ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Center is owned by Samantha Perala with her husband, Matt, assisting with daily operations.

Despite encountering financing challenges, health issues, the premature birth of their child, and waiting for the state to begin inspections again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stay & Play Child Care is now open and licensed for up to 64 children with 56 enrolled.

Stay & Play Child Care are unique in that they operate from 5:30 in the morning until 11:30 at night, as well as have a program for school-age children.
Now Taking Applications For 0% Business Loans
If your business is struggling because of COVID-19, a low-interest loan program may be able to help. $1,109,000 is available for business loans to support companies that are based and operating in the nine-county area of Region Nine. Loan amounts can range from $10,000 to $100,000 with interest rates as low as 0% for the first two years. More details will be available soon, but applications are currently being accepted for loan issuance in the coming weeks. Please direct questions to We hope to hear from you and welcome your application for these COVID-relief loans.
Please download and save before submitting the application.
Register for Minnesota's Annual Broadband Conference
The fall Broadband 2020 conference Digital Showcase will kick-off the morning of October 6 with brief (10 min) demonstrations, stories or presentations from folks on the front lines of helping people make better use of broadband. Some have ideas you might be able to implement tomorrow – some are intentionally stretch goals, but all are great examples of how broadband is changing lives.

During the conference you will hear from:

  1. PCs for People refurbish donated computers to distribute to low income households. They also offer affordable tech support and Internet access (where available). 
  2. Winona Friendship Center offers remote elder exercise online. Participants can see each other and the instructor for this one of a kind exercise program. 
  3. Kairos Alive! transforms lives through dance and creative involvement and has regular online events to encourage participation with folks who might have difficulty attending on site.
  4. Minnesota Libraries & Libraries Without Borders bring literacy, digital literacy and library services to folks in and outside of a library. Learn about pilot projects happening in Minnesota – especially with laundromats and manufactured housing parks.
  5. Boreal Corps is a program that is using technology to help kids help others to tell stories. They have been working on COVID communication in their community.
  6. Wolf Creek Online is an innovative Online Public School Option for all Minnesota students grades 9-12 and up to age 21. They have been teaching successfully teaching students online for years.
  7. Online Gaming contest with Paul Bunyan; they have hosted several annual GigaZone Gaming Championships. Participants compete in online tournaments for real money.
  8. Precision Ag with Land o’Lakes; they talk about how their work with their members to use technology to streamline and improve agri-businesses in the field.
  9. Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center (gpTRAC) helps healthcare providers develop and implement telehealth programs. Their mandate is to promote telehealth through training, technical assistance (consultation), and outreach activities.

Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand is a free virtual conference hosted by Blandin Foundation with support from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, and will take place October 6-29 via Zoom. 
Support Emerging Farmers in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is committed to establishing this working group in a way that is responsive to the communities it hopes to serve. The goal of the group is to be a collaborative and inclusive space for Emerging Farmers that is created by Emerging Farmers and led by Emerging Farmers.

APPLY NOW to serve on the inaugural Emerging Farmer Working Group.
Please submit your information by October 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
NADO 2020 Photo Contest
The National Association of Development Organizations's 2020 NADO Photo Contest is an opportunity for member organizations to tell the story of their regions through images that capture the people and places that make their communities wonderful places to live, work, and play. In addition, this year a special category was added to feature work in supporting with COVID-19 response and recovery.
Photos submitted by staff from member organizations will be judged in the following categories: Building Vibrant Places, Strengthening the Built and Natural Environments, Investing in our Regional Economy, and Sustaining our Communities, and COVID-19 Response & Recovery.  

Winners and runners-up will be decided in these five categories, as well as a “People’s Choice” winner that will be selected by public votes through NADO's Facebook page.
Seeking applications for Inclusive and Equitable Communities Grant
"No matter where you are from, we're glad you're our neighbor" sign in front of the St. James Community Building.
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with SE MN Together and Region Nine Development Commission, seeks to support the creation of systems which will increase inclusivity and equity, decrease the racial wealth gap and enable people of all backgrounds to thrive in communities throughout SMIF’s 20-county region. We seek applications which build inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial support systems or develop initiatives that increase equity and inclusion within a community. Applications will create or advance innovative approaches to increase access of resources in diverse communities and reduce the barriers of racial inequity.

Examples of initiatives may include the creation of an entrepreneurial education program for communities of diverse backgrounds; supporting community dialogue to build inclusivity; expanding access to business resources to entrepreneurs in communities of a diverse background; developing systems to advance equity in a community and reduce the racial wealth gap.
In the Media
SMIF seeking applications for communities grant-

Struggling farmers, ailing businesses, failing internet: Klobuchar hears from rural MN- Read more

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation seeking applications for Inclusive and Equitable Communities Grant- Read more

Waseca's COVID testing drew more than 600 people- Read more

Waseca locals turn out for free COVID-19 testing- Read more
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Rural Child Care Innovation Program

Child care is an economic driver for rural communities across the United States but many communities are facing shortages of high quality child care. First Children’s Finance’s Rural Child Care Innovation Program is a community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in rural America.
First Children's Finance is seeking rural Minnesota communities to apply for this innovative program. Preference will be given to communities that demonstrate commitment to the community engagement process over an 18-24 month period.  

Deadline: October 6
Workforce Housing Development Grant Program

Minnesota Housing is now accepting applications for this competitive funding program, which targets small to mid-size cities in Greater Minnesota with rental workforce housing needs. Anticipated funding of approximately $1.5 million will be available to build market-rate residential rental properties in communities with proven job growth and demand for workforce rental housing. Communities are required to secure matching funds that match one dollar for every two dollars in funding offered through the program.

Deadline: December 17
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
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