2017 produced impressive early returns for the Minnesota Rural Equity Project. The effort has been received warmly by audiences throughout the state, and we’re poised to turn the encouraging talk – and ideas that underlie it – into continued momentum for the project, new partnership opportunities for our organization, and real results for Minnesotans.
We’ve worked with project partners to advance smart policies and investments in human capital, infrastructure, and tax policy. We’ve spoken with credibility on the real and perceived aspects of Minnesota’s ‘rural-metro divide.’ And we’re planning to contribute significantly to constructive dialogue bridging gaps in political culture, regional differences, and attitudes toward currently divisive issues – such as immigration, climate change, and role of government.
We’ve logged many miles meeting with Minnesotans in every corner of the state, and we’ve made important connections along the way. For instance, heightened appreciation for the role Minnesota’s regional economic development organizations play has contributed to a proposal for a more regional-focused approach to community and economic development throughout the state. We’re driving this effort, and plan to contribute to creation of a ‘regional competitiveness dashboard’ tracking region-specific progress and investment over time.
Despite clear progress, our work on this and other projects is only beginning. Growth & Justice seeks to fill an important void in Minnesota’s rich domain of progressive policy and the public good – a ‘policy shop’ think tank that balances the interests of economic growth and social justice. Given the increasing effort and investment toward narrower and oftentimes competing ends from other organizations, the need for robust and respected progressive policy expertise – and action! – has never been greater.
Growth & Justice publications, ENEWS, and blogs related to the Minnesota Rural Equity Project are below.
Philando Castile Legacy Upsides Several Minnesota newspapers picked up a Washington Post story recently that chronicled efforts by Minnesota racial justice advocates and other concerned citizens to improve policing, in the wake of the tragic shooting of Philando Castile two years ago. The article described a “Lights On” program, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, and sponsored by Microgrants, a no... Read More
MinnPost on “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint” We are getting interest and inquiries from many quarters this week in response to our recent MinnPost commentary, which summarizes our Thriving by Design convening and our One Minnesota Equity Blueprint project. From the article: “All these imperatives emerged during the unique three-day conference: inclusiveness and embracing our diversity, welcoming newcomer... Read More
On Our Way to a One Minnesota Equity Blueprint! Our entire team at Growth & Justice is energized and deeply grateful for the wisdom and strong commitment to racial and economic justice that we witnessed among about 150 participants at our conference last week, held June 27-29 at the Upper Sioux Community’s Prairie’s Edge Conference Center, near Granite Falls. The event, “Thriving by Design: Rural & Urban To... Read More
STILL TIME TO REGISTER! “Thriving by Design” Event in Granite Falls This Week It’s just three days away but there’s still time to register for a crucially important event in western Minnesota that will help create a more equitable prosperity for Minnesota. Our convening -- “Thriving by Design – Rural & Urban Together” -- is generating buzz and keen interest from many q... Read More
STILL TIME TO REGISTER! Star Tribune Commentary Points Way to “Thriving by Design” Event in Granite Falls Growth & Justice Senior Fellow Dane Smith teamed up with central Minnesota economic development leader Cheryal Lee Hills to produce a powerful Star Tribune commentary Sunday, outlining a host of constructive public policy strategies for more equitable growth in Greater Minnesota. The article noted that these in... Read More
A dominant narrative in mainstream and social media suggests our nation and state has lost its sense of community, that partisan and ideological rancor hopelessly divides us, from Congress to our holiday dinner tables, and that we have little interest in helping each other. A notion that a spirit of meanness pervades our rural regions is particularly prevalent, and indeed there are enough examples of bigotry and xenophobia and disregard for... Read More
Minnesota has been ahead of most other states in recognizing the importance of early childhood education, and investing up front in this priceless human capital. Currently, thanks to bi-partisan support and strong consensus among business leaders and childhood experts, Minnesota is putting hundreds of millions of dollars more into quality child-care than we were just a decade ago, through a variety of systems. Yet for all this... Read More
Justin Stofferahn is a policy specialist for the State of Minnesota and is a new Policy Fellow for Growth & Justice. His work focuses on fiscal and economic issues. He also has policy experience from his work in the offices of the Illinois Governor and Lt. Governor. Economic Concentration in Minnesota The biggest story in economic development right now is the bid to secure Amazon’s second headquarters and the estimat... Read More
Putting Things Back Together A Youth Social Entrepreneurship Case Study By Jeanne Walz, Matt Howard and Dane Smith A little more than a year ago, Ethan (last name withheld at his request) was headed in no particular direction, except perhaps toward trouble. He lacked motivation, was not doing particularly well in high school, and his scrapes with authorities worried his mother and teachers. His mom -- before signing him up for a specia... Read More
Tom Legg is a Growth & Justice Policy Fellow who has produced some of our most important research and analysis on inequality, providing global, national and local perspective. His latest commentary, reprinted here from the Ely Timberjay newspaper, offers sobering insights on worsening inequality within St. Louis County and northern Minnesota. Legg grew up in northern Minnesota and after a distinguished career at the University of Minnesota&rs... Read More