SHIP, other agencies team up to offer mini-grants.

    In order to carry out the statewide health improvement goals to increase physical activity, nutrition and tobacco prevention in Minnesota, mini-grant opportunities are available for Polk County schools, clubs/groups, committees and organizations.

    These grants are made possible through a working partnership between Polk County Public Health's Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Chemical Free Polk County and numerous Polk County Wellness Coalition member organizations.

    SHIP works on the areas of community, school, workplace and health care toward sustainable, systemic changes that create widespread, lasting results. Instead of focusing on individual behavior change that may be hard to maintain over time, SHIP makes sustainable changes that support individual choices about health.

    For example, rather than only trying to convince people to walk more, with SHIP, local communities may see the need for more sidewalks so that people can walk more. Rather than asking people to eat healthier, with SHIP a school may decide to work with local farmers to bring in fresh produce for the students. Instead of asking people to quit smoking, with SHIP more owners of multi-unit housing may make their buildings smoke-free.

    There are however a few guidelines that come with the mini-grants for Polk County. The grants must directly focus on physical activity, nutrition or tobacco prevention. With the grant, organizations must expand or create a new effort, which may include worksite wellness policy and environmental support, community food environment-community/schoolchildcare garden or a tobacco-free multi-unit housing/worksite/sports complex.

    At least one policy, system or environmental change must be stated in the grant application in order to receive up to $1,000 per prevention project. The mini-grants must not duplicate current SHIP funding efforts.

    Friday, Nov. 20, 2012 is the application deadline for the mini-grants, and all applications must be returned to Kirsten Fagerlund at Polk County Public Health in Crookston or through email at   

    Successful applicants will be notified by Dec. 31, and once notified, projects are required to begin implementation no later than June 15, 2013. This deadline includes utilization of mini-grant funds, brief report of accomplishment, budget summary and at least 5 pictures of the prevention project.

    For more information about SHIP policy, system or environmental change resources, visit or contact Fagerlund at 281-3385 or by email.