Hinckley is a historic and lively town, home of the 1894 Fire Museum, giant cinnamon rolls at Toby’s, and the Grand Casino, where “Good Stories Start.” It’s also an accessible midpoint between southeastern and northeastern Minnesota. That’s why we picked it as a meeting place and we need your best thinking there on how to achieve a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota. So please join OneMN.org and Growth & Justice for our second statewide Thriving by Design convening this year, from noon Dec. 10 to noon Dec. 11, at Grand Casino. Attendees will consider scores of recommendations and help us develop policy priorities for the next governor and the 2019-20 legislative biennium, and for all our communities over the next decade. The Hinckley convening is a culmination of several months work with Minnesotans in more than a dozen statewide meetings, where participants advanced specific ideas and policy proposals that build a vibrant and welcoming state. Register through Eventbrite HERE.
Our case for a “One Minnesota Equity Blueprint’’ is made forcefully in an essay published recently in the anthology “Grasping and Reducing Poverty in Minnesota.’’ The four-part anthology was designed to bring different Minnesota perspectives to bear on an admirable recent anti-poverty collaboration, “Opportunity, Responsibility and Security,” by leading national liberal and conservative think tanks. Our essay, by Senior Fellow Dane Smith, praised that effort, but called for launching a much more expansive effort in Minnesota around “a new framework for equity’’ and attention to broader inequalities, disparities, regional divisions. From the essay: “Principles and policies from the Progressive Era through the New Deal and the Great Society can be renovated and reapplied more broadly to the vast majority of Minnesotans and Americans who are not officially poor, but who have gotten shorter shrift over the last half-century. We will have plenty of help and good will from every sector of our society, non-profit, public and private. Thousands of non-partisan groups nationally and scores in Minnesota are unifying around “equity” as a central theme and a policy imperative. And agreement is building fast among business leaders and economists that inequality, polarization and climate change have become topmost existential concerns, meaning a threat to our existence as we know it.”
Our “One Minnesota” policy brand -- with constructive focus on rural-metro interdependence, attacking racial and economic disparities, and climate action -- is in higher demand that ever. And your increased giving is needed now to supply that demand (and your policy ideas are just as important, see item above!) Few other groups in Minnesota ares more comprehensively involved in helping business leaders, justice advocates and policy-makers coalesce around equity as a primary principle for public policy. Our ambitious endeavor, in partnership with OneMN.org, the Thriving by Design project , and the One Minnesota Equity Blueprint, is focused on both the rural-metro dimension and how we can erase the disparities that plague all our communities. This is an audacious undertaking for a relatively small non-profit (our annual budget is less than $400,000). We are proud of “punching above our weight,” but our convenings and stepped-up efforts this year, and competition with campaign giving, have depleted our resources. We earnestly ask that you give to Growth & Justice, if you haven’t yet, and to give more if you’ve given in the past. It only takes a couple minutes to contribute on our website, and if you’ve given the in past, watch for our letter over the Thanksgiving weekend. Watch too for our annual “Progress Report,’’ an eight-page newsletter that provides more detail on our important work.
“So here’s a bold and sweeping proposition. Let’s renew and recast the War on Poverty into a much broader effort, one that captures more buy-in and commitment from the large and growing plurality who are losing their share of overall economic growth. Let’s develop a new framework for equity, one that addresses not just classic poverty, but inequality between top echelons and everyone else, with special attention to our unconscionable racial disparities, our regional divisions, and our middle-class insecurity.” -- Dane Smith, from Growth & Justice essay in Grasping and Reducing Poverty anthology, by Dane Smith, cited above.