Throughout the years, the Center for Small Towns has received many prestigious grants. The grants described below have funded CST’s work.
This program is modeled after the nationally successful AmeriCorps program and is focused on important environmental goals of the state of Minnesota. The program partners include the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and ServeMinnesota. The University of Minnesota, Morris is currently looking for interested juniors and seniors at Morris to participate in this program. GreenCorps members will be working in several main areas related to: local government energy conservation, school waste prevention, local food systems, urban forestry and living green outreach. This is a one year commitment that will require 900 hours of service from September through August. GreenCorps members will receive a substantial living allowance and will also receive an educational award of $2300 at the end of their service term. The University of Minnesota, Morris is excited to offer this first-of-a-kind program in the nation.
Students in Service
Students In Service is an AmeriCorps program that encourages college students to enroll as part-time AmeriCorps members. Coordinated by Minnesota Campus Compact, an organization that promotes civic engagement on college campuses in Minnesota, the program allows interested college students to work in a variety of positions to help better their communities. Qualifying activities include academic and co-curricular service-learning, internships with non-profit organizations, certain kinds of practicum hours, Federal or State-funded community service work study, and most kinds of volunteer work. Students commit to 300 hours of service throughout the year.
The Center for Small Towns (CST) has been awarded $91, 877 through the Otto Bremer Foundation to help off-set general operating costs for one year. The grant, which is wonderfully flexible in terms of funding, will allow CST to sponsor more faculty research projects, strengthen the Center as a statistics and data resource, enhance the Center's student involvement initiatives, and in some cases help communities defray the costs of hiring a student through one of CST's numerous programs, such as the AmeriCorps Students In Service program. Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. In 2010, more than $24 million in charitable donations were given across the Bremer footprint. Organizations whose beneficiaries are residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, or Wisconsin are eligible to apply for Foundation grants, with priority given to communities served by Bremer Bank.
Students Using Natural Energy (SUN-E)
SUN-E's ultimate goal is to not only provide information to the Morris community, but to provide an example for all Minnesotan communities that using renewable energy in general, and solar-thermal energy in particular, is possible even in a state not particularly known for its warmth. "Solar Swim" events were held that targeted not only West Central Minnesota communities, but all participating members of the Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon program. Grant money was provided by Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon and Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) for the installation of the 32 flat-plate panels.
The University of Minnesota, Morris, in partnership with the Otto Bremer Foundation, offers the Small Town Faculty and Student Fellows Program. This program connects community-based problems and/or issues with the research interests of Morris campus faculty to enhance regional community development activities across western Minnesota. The Center for Small Towns, with its more than 15-year history of working on community-based, locally identified issues, utilizes its staff, methodology, and resources to provide needed assistance to communities in the region while at the same time encouraging outreach activities to be better woven into the fabric of academic life at Morris. A new grant term will be starting July 1, 2011 and running until June 30, 2012.
In July 2004, the University of Minnesota, Morris submitted a grant proposal to Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Outreach Partnership Centers (COPC) program. In developing this proposal, a partnership was created through the formation of a Community Advisory Committee with members representing the City of Morris and the University of Minnesota, Morris. The task for this committee was to co-investigate the most significant community revitalization issues for the City of Morris and then develop a detailed work plan for implementing activities to address them. A key feature of the plan was to create additional partnerships between community and University resources for addressing the issues identified. In all, there were 144 grant proposals submitted by institutions of higher education from across the country for 2004. Announcements of the 14 proposals receiving awards were made in October 2004, with the Morris campus proposal being one of them. After the proposal was awarded, projects in three key areas were further identified and implemented in the Morris community.
The project was funded in part by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Outreach Partnership Program.