OPPORTUNITY: Job opening Research Officer at the Blandin Foundation

From the Blandin Foundation

The Research Officer is responsible for designing & conducting research studies using qualitative and quantitative analysis to support and advance the foundation’s strategic work. This position presents research findings via written reports that include highly professional data visualizations for internal and external audiences. The Research Officer will monitor research developments and community trends related to specific issue areas and is responsible for maintaining an in-house library and library of digital research assets.

More information and application available here.

Deadline to apply: May 22, 2022 or until position is filled.

Nominate your MN Unsung Nonprofit Hero to win $10,000

The MN Nonprofit Council reports on a great way to reward an unsung hero. I can think of a few local rural broadband champions who might fit the description….

2022 award nominations now open!

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is pleased to announce the annual Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards. In partnership with the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive, four Minnesotans, two from the Twin Cities metro and two from Greater Minnesota, will each receive $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state of Minnesota and its communities. 

Award Criteria

A Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero is an individual who has had a significant impact on the state of Minnesota and its communities. This individual:

  • Has played a significant role on creating a positive impact on Minnesota and its communities.
  • Has not been widely recognized for their work in the past.

Award Eligibility

  • Nominees do not have to be employed at an organization to be eligible, but may be volunteers, board members, or service staff of nonprofits.
  • Nominees must be Minnesota residents.
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Nominees may not be past Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award or Human Services Award recipients.

Recipients will receive:

  • $10,000 cash award.
  • Recognition at the 2022 MCN Annual Conference, October 13 & 14.

Nominations are open Monday, May 2, 2022 – Monday, May 30, 2022, 11:30pm CST.

Many Minnesotans thankful for broadband – many still need it

As you may recall I posted a series of videos from folks talking about why they were thankful for broadband. Those videos have been condensed and compiled just in time to remind policy maker of the importance of broadband as they are looking at budgets and investments in the state. Many people are thankful for broadband – many still need it. The danger these days is not of the digital divide widening but of it getting deeper.

MN Broadband Coalition looking for new lobbyist at end of session

Nathan Zacharias, the lobbyist for the MN Broadband Coalition, is leaving early May to join the Association of Minnesota Counties. Sounds like a move that may help spread the good word on broadband in Minnesota.

The Coalition will be looking for a new lobbyist after or at the end of session. That’s a heads up for anyone who might be interested.

OPPORTUNITY: MN Cup – competition for entrepreneurs deadline April 15

From the Secretary of State’s office…

The Secretary of State’s office wanted to let you know about a great opportunity for Minnesota entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors and small business owners. It’s called MN Cup, it’s organized by the University of Minnesota, and it’s available to any early-stage founder in the state.
MN Cup has become a great first step for launching a new business, offering free education, mentorship, promotional opportunities and seed funding for those that advance. The competition is free to enter and participants have until Friday, April 15, 2022 to submit their application.
Click here to start your application
Click here to sign up for a live overview of the application
Click here to learn more about MN Cup and their resources

Senator Smith now accepting applications for Congressionally-Directed Spending in MN

Senator Smith’s website reports that she is now accepting applications for Congressionally-Directed Spending, previously known as earmarks…

The Senate Appropriations Committee announced the return of Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS), previously known as Earmarks, in the Fiscal Year 2023 federal appropriations process. Any request for support must be submitted via electronic application by 5:00 p.m. C.T., Friday, April 15, 2022. Any CDS request must comply with Senate Rule XLIV.

Congressionally Directed Spending is capped at one percent of all discretionary spending. For-profit entities are not eligible for Congressionally Directed Spending. A specific list of accounts that will be open for CDS requests can be found here. Only these accounts are available for CDS requests.

The link to the Congressionally Directed Spending request application can be found here

And here’s a helpful list of Eligible Accounts and Requirements. Some are clearly aimed at broadband projects and some could creatively fit.

OPPORTUNITY: Dakota County looking for fiber contractors

Here are a couple of opportunities to build broadband in Dakota County. There is a mandatory pre-bid meeting is April 5. As always I share this for folks who might want to apply but also for communities that may need to post a similar RFP in the future.

  • Dakota County is seeking bids from qualified contractors to complete a fiber optic network project along County Road 5 from William Drive and McAndrews Road.
  • Dakota County is seeking bids from qualified contractors to complete a fiber optic network project along Cliff Road from Lexington Avenue to Dodd Road.

Good luck!

Land O’Lakes gets nice recognition for American Connection Project from Fast Company

Congrats to Land O’Lakes for the nice recognition for their important broadband work…

The American Connection Project nabbed quite the recognition today, as the program efforts were recognized on Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022. The program landed a top five spot in the Corporate Social Responsibility category, which specifically honors efforts that relentlessly innovate to solve health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.
More than 40 million Americans lack broadband access. As our everyday lives have become increasingly dependent on technology and the internet connectivity that powers it, too many people and communities, both in rural and urban areas, lack access to adequate and critical broadband connectivity.
To help address this urgent problem, a large group of diverse and dedicated partners have come together supporting efforts of the American Connection Project to close this digital divide.

East Central Minnesota’s road to Smart21

Last month, East Central Minnesota was named a Smart21 community. Hometown Source reports more on the award and the community…

The East Central region of Minnesota has been named one of the Smart21 Communities of 2022 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a global movement that seeks to build prosperous and inclusive futures for communities. This prestigious honor recognizes the advances made by the region in recent years.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a Smart21 Community,” said GPS President Sandy Voigt. “This honor shows the importance of collaborative efforts across the region and would not have been possible without the support of so many people and organizations across East Central Minnesota.”

The award is the culmination of a lengthy process. East Central Minnesota’s participation in the Intelligent Communities process began in 2019, when a connection through the region’s broadband advocacy efforts led the region to complete a questionnaire. Under the leadership of GPS then-President Heidi Steinmetz, Broadband Committee Chair Nancy Hoffman, and Workforce Committee Co-Chair Rebecca Perrotti, GPS convened a group that included Bill Coleman of Community Technology Advisors, through his role as a consultant to the Blandin foundation; the East Central Regional Library; East Central Minnesota Education Cable Cooperative (ECMECC); and GPS’s contracted consultants with the Northspan Group, Inc. to document the region’s assets and efforts to strengthen the region’s economic, social, and cultural foundations.

Next, GPS will complete further detailed questionnaires on the region, which will serve as the basis for the selection of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2022 in June. At the ICF Global Conference in October, the organization will name one of the 21 finalists the Intelligent Community of the Year.

I’m thankful for broadband for…“opportunities in rural area” #MNthanks2broadband

Thanks to Tamara Lowney at Itasca Economic Development Corporation for sharing her gratitude today…

Soon, more money than ever will be available to rural communities looking to build better broadband. We are sharing stories from the frontlines to help motivate and inspire decisionmakers as they do the important work of planning for a tech-connected future in rural Minnesota. Let’s remind them that broadband is important to those who have it and those who don’t. We invite you to share this post on your social channels; tag someone you think needs to hear it. Or – share your own story!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record a short video – I’m thankful for broadband because…
  2. Post to social media with #MNthanks2broadband
  3. Tag a friend or favorite community-based organization and encourage them to share why they’re thankful for broadband.
  4. Get more instructions or contact me to help

Check out more videos as they get posted: #MNthanks2broadband.

I’m thankful for broadband for…“helping rural economies compete” #MNthanks2broadband

Thanks to Rob Sjostrand at Itasca Economic Development Corporation for sharing his gratitude today…

Soon, more money than ever will be available to rural communities looking to build better broadband. We are sharing stories from the frontlines to help motivate and inspire decisionmakers as they do the important work of planning for a tech-connected future in rural Minnesota. Let’s remind them that broadband is important to those who have it and those who don’t. We invite you to share this post on your social channels; tag someone you think needs to hear it. Or – share your own story!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record a short video – I’m thankful for broadband because…
  2. Post to social media with #MNthanks2broadband
  3. Tag a friend or favorite community-based organization and encourage them to share why they’re thankful for broadband.
  4. Get more instructions or contact me to help

Check out more videos as they get posted: #MNthanks2broadband.

I’m thankful for broadband for…“flourishing innovation” #MNthanks2broadband

Thanks to Austin Miller at Itasca Economic Development Corporation for sharing his gratitude today…

Soon, more money than ever will be available to rural communities looking to build better broadband. We are sharing stories from the frontlines to help motivate and inspire decisionmakers as they do the important work of planning for a tech-connected future in rural Minnesota. Let’s remind them that broadband is important to those who have it and those who don’t. We invite you to share this post on your social channels; tag someone you think needs to hear it. Or – share your own story!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record a short video – I’m thankful for broadband because…
  2. Post to social media with #MNthanks2broadband
  3. Tag a friend or favorite community-based organization and encourage them to share why they’re thankful for broadband.
  4. Get more instructions or contact me to help

Check out more videos as they get posted: #MNthanks2broadband.

I’m thankful for broadband for…“connections outside our community” #MNthanks2broadband

Thanks to Kayla Swanson at Itasca Economic Development Corporation for sharing her gratitude today…

Soon, more money than ever will be available to rural communities looking to build better broadband. We are sharing stories from the frontlines to help motivate and inspire decisionmakers as they do the important work of planning for a tech-connected future in rural Minnesota. Let’s remind them that broadband is important to those who have it and those who don’t. We invite you to share this post on your social channels; tag someone you think needs to hear it. Or – share your own story!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record a short video – I’m thankful for broadband because…
  2. Post to social media with #MNthanks2broadband
  3. Tag a friend or favorite community-based organization and encourage them to share why they’re thankful for broadband.
  4. Get more instructions or contact me to help

Check out more videos as they get posted: #MNthanks2broadband.

I’m thankful for broadband to…“hard work and play hard” #MNthanks2broadband

Thanks to Sue Rynda in Le Sueur County for sharing her gratitude today…

Soon, more money than ever will be available to rural communities looking to build better broadband. We are sharing stories from the frontlines to help motivate and inspire decisionmakers as they do the important work of planning for a tech-connected future in rural Minnesota. Let’s remind them that broadband is important to those who have it and those who don’t. We invite you to share this post on your social channels; tag someone you think needs to hear it. Or – share your own story!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record a short video – I’m thankful for broadband because…
  2. Post to social media with #MNthanks2broadband
  3. Tag a friend or favorite community-based organization and encourage them to share why they’re thankful for broadband.
  4. Get more instructions or contact me to help

Check out more videos as they get posted: #MNthanks2broadband.

I’m thankful for broadband for…“connecting us when we can’t be together” #MNthanks2broadband

Thanks to Brenda Nyberg for sharing her gratitude today…

Soon, more money than ever will be available to rural communities looking to build better broadband. We are sharing stories from the frontlines to help motivate and inspire decisionmakers as they do the important work of planning for a tech-connected future in rural Minnesota. Let’s remind them that broadband is important to those who have it and those who don’t. We invite you to share this post on your social channels; tag someone you think needs to hear it. Or – share your own story!

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record a short video – I’m thankful for broadband because…
  2. Post to social media with #MNthanks2broadband
  3. Tag a friend or favorite community-based organization and encourage them to share why they’re thankful for broadband.
  4. Get more instructions or contact me to help

Check out more videos as they get posted: #MNthanks2broadband.