April 2018
Griensewic Mickelson Elected to NADO Board
Region Nine's executive director, Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Development Organizations. She will serve a two-year term that begins May 1, 2018.

The National Association of Development Organizations provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s regional development organizations. The association and its members promote regional strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life across America’s local communities.
Connect Rural Broadband Summit: Recap
Region Nine hosted the Connect Rural Broadband Summit on April 5 at the South Central Service Cooperative. With 86 registered attendees and sponsors, the summit was a major success.
Ann Treacy of the Blandin Foundation posted the blog, "Connect Rural Broadband Summit in Region 9 - notes and archive". The blog post highlights the progression of the day and is linked below. You may also access the Broadband 101 PowerPoint that was shared during the event.
It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race - Montgomery
"The white population in Le Sueur County is projected to decrease in the years to come while other racial populations remain the same or increase," stated Jessica O'Brien, Region Nine's Community Engagement Manager.

Image from: LonsdaleNewsReview.com
To provide a platform to engage the broader community, Region Nine partnered with the YWCA of Mankato to bring the trademarked program model, It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race, to seven cities. The forums provide a platform for introductory, awareness-building conversations through an interactive model of personal and community reflection, and sharing of personal experiences around themes of race.
Region Nine welcomes Sam Smith to the team!
Sam Smith
Medical Device Supply Chain Planner
ssmith@rndc.org | 507-389-8864
Sam Smith joined Region Nine in March 2018 to help support medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the area and identify innovative ways to expand these high-growth, high-wage industries.

Smith has worked in rural business development and nonprofit leadership throughout southern Minnesota since 2010 after a five-year career as an award-winning newspaper reporter. He has supported growth at organizations as large as Mayo Clinic and as small as a corner grocery store. Throughout, his interests have focused on the intersection of entrepreneurship and sustainable development. He holds a B.A. in English, pre-medicine from University of Illinois and an M.S. in journalism from the same.
Region Nine's Legislative Priorities
To improve the economic climate, Region Nine has selected seven priorities for the 2018 legislative session.
We want to hear from our farmers!
Region Nine Development Commission is currently preparing a South Central Agriculture Resilience Plan. The plan will compile insights from stakeholders across the region and help prepare decision makers to address challenges in agriculture and increase resilience in the local economy. At the conclusion of the project, Region Nine will continue to bring expert workshops into the region to address the issues revealed during this outreach process.
Please forward this survey link to local farmers in your network:

You may also share the survey link in your upcoming newsletters, publications or on social media. Your help and support of this project is appreciated.
Waseca and St. Clair receive Safe Routes to School grants
The City of Waseca and St. Clair Public Schools were named recipients of Safe Routes to School planning assistance grants from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Each community will work with Region Nine to develop ideas of how to improve pedestrian and bicycle routes to schools and how to get young people on their feet or bicycles more often.

“We want to make sure the problems are identified before we start jumping for solutions,” Parker, Region Nine transportation planner said when asked about the planning process.
Janesville, Mankato and Trimont receive Transportation Alternatives funding
The MnDOT District 7 Area Transportation Partnership (ATP) recently awarded the cities of Janesville, Mankato and Trimont federal Transportation Alternatives funding for sidewalk and trail projects. 
  • Janesville will be completing various sidewalk projects, including adding curb ramps, while also adding a new trail. 
  • Mankato will install a school crossing with an overhead warning system on Timberwolf Drive adjacent Rosa Parks Elementary School. 
  • Trimont will build a trail along Highway 4 on the south end of the city to the Town Center shopping center and improve sidewalks and the highway crossing near the school. 
The funds for these projects will be distributed in 2022. Annually, the ATP distributes approximately $700,000 for Transportation Alternatives projects. 
FEAST! Smart Start Grants
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is accepting applications from organizations to receive up to $10,000 to implement FEAST! Smart Start in their community. Up to four applicants will receive a total of up to $10,000 each to support individual farm and food entrepreneurs through a defined, structured technical assistance and customized, transformational coaching process.

Application Due: May 15, 2018
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
AARP Community Challenge Grant Program

The Community Challenge grant program is an important part of AARP's work to promote livable communities, in which it supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties nationwide to become great places for people of all ages.

The program is open to nonprofit community organizations and government entities; other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Deadline: May 16, 2018
CURA's Community-Based Research Programs

Community-based groups often don't have the capacity or money to conduct extensive research projects. The University of Minnesota's Community Assistance Program (CAP) is available to meet the need and provide students with real-world research opportunities.

The CURA Community-Based Research Programs consider applications for applied research assistance three times a year.

Deadline: June 15, 2018 (Fall Semester Assistance)
Calendar of Events