Growth & Justice President Jane Leonard will be one of the keynote speakers, along with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, at the first Southern Minnesota Equity Summit, in St. Peter on Nov. 1. The summit is the latest event in a growing movement to elevate equity and inclusion in community development, business and philanthropy. Growth & Justice is emerging as one of the state’s strongest voices for that effort. The event is sponsored by the Region Nine Development Commission, in partnership with University of Minnesota Extension and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council. It will feature an Equity Innovation Panel with participation from the Bush Foundation, Mankato Public Safety, St. James - United Cultures, Northfield Health Communities Initiative (NHCI), and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). The afternoon breakout sessions will focus on strategies and tools for use in business and industry, education, community groups and nonprofits, and government. Registration is open until October 21.
The 15th annual Rural Broadband conference, hosted by the Blandin Foundation in Nisswa last week, focused strongly on putting broadband to work for healthy, vibrant communities. When Blandin launched their broadband initiatives in 2003, 77% of rural Minnesotans had only dial-up access and only 21% had broadband – the higher speed, higher capacity internet most of us take for granted today. Times and speeds have improved but broadband access and affordability still remain elusive for about 30% of rural Minnesotans. Our upcoming chapter in the MN Equity Blueprint on infrastructure highlights broadband development and “digital inclusion,” defined not only as access but the training to make use of the internet to improve life and livelihoods. Watch in early November for Growth & Justice to roll out the chapter of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint that addresses broadband and other aspects of public infrastructure.
Just a few blocks north of the divisive rally led by President Trump in Minneapolis last Thursday, the Citizen’s League annual Civic Celebration offered a healthy alternative and counterpoint. It gathered Minnesotans from diverse backgrounds, political parties, and ideologies for an evening to appreciate what makes Minnesota unique: an enduring civic culture, innovative leadership, and bi-partisan commitment to public service and practical solutions. Growth & Justice was there to cheer for two inspiring leaders, former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, a DFLer, and former U.S. Senator David Durenberger, a Republican. Both continue to promote civic action, to seek collaboration between diverse communities, and to dedicate their lives to the common good in Minnesota.
Mark your calendars for November 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at 56 Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis to raise a glass and financial support for Growth & Justice. It’s a kick-off to our end-of-year fundraising campaign and a special opportunity to get a sneak-peek at the latest updates on the soon-to-be-released comprehensive Minnesota Equity Blueprint. Watch this space in upcoming e-news for further details! You can send donations now, too, via www.growthandjustice.org/support.
“Left unchecked, the extreme division of our nation into the rich and the poor will lead to class warfare. Our high level of income inequality is a threat to our democracy. This is a nation blessed with extraordinary wealth, sufficient to provide for all. We have the capacity for and capability of addressing the issue. Now, we need to decide where we stand.”--Chuck Denny, prominent Minnesota business leader and philanthropist, and generous donor and adviser to Growth & Justice, who passed away Oct. 4. Quote is drawn from business columnist Neal St. Anthony’s moving tribute to Denny in the Star Tribune.