It’s that time of year, for giving thanks, and for raising funds. We at Growth & Justice thank you, our supporters, so much for your participation and guidance in G & J’s work building equity across the state, and for your financial assistance, without which we could not operate. This year, one of our top donors offered to match up to $15,000 of gifts above 2018 totals of giving, making 2019 a fantastic opportunity to increase your support of Growth & Justice.
Two key partners in Growth & Justice’s framing of rural economic development strategies have been cited as exemplary voices by the prestigious Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group (CSG). The leaders are quoted in an Aspen report, Rural Development Hubs: Strengthening America’s Rural Innovation Infrastructure, which advances a more inclusive and local asset-building approach to rural development. Cited in the report was Diana Anderson, president of the Southwest Initiative Foundation and leader of its Grow Our Own project, focusing on improving outcomes for youth in the increasingly diverse southwestern corner of Minnesota. Also cited was Cheryal Lee Hills, executive director of the Region Five Development Commission (Central Lakes region), and which is listed as a model hub. The Aspen report aligns closely with Growth & Justice’s emphasis on improving inclusivity and attractiveness for immigrants and people of color, arts-and-culture amenities and placemaking, the need for more public and philanthropic investment, the interdependence of rural and urban economies, and the need for urbanites to build their cultural competence about rural realities.
Growth & Justice participated in this week’s 2019 Environmental Congress, hosted in Mankato by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, and attended by more than 200 non-profit, business and governmental leaders. Gov. Tim Walz, joined by a half-dozen cabinet officials, delivered an energetic appeal to redouble efforts on climate action, improvement of water quality and shifting toward more sustainable land-use practices. Key to that effort Walz said, will be a transition away from fossil fuel power generation and toward wind and solar, along with electrification of transportation, now the largest source of greenhouse gases in Minnesota. Walz expanded at length on the need for more charging stations throughout the state for the coming transition to electric vehicles. “Whether (critics) believe in climate change or not, it’s going to come for all of us. It’s just reckless of us not to plan accordingly,’’ Walz said, adding that his administration will focus on policy that “creates more jobs, and creates more home energy here at home.” The headline in the Mankato Free Press captured the essence: “Climate Change to Be a Top Focus for Walz and His Cabinet.’’
“Creative thinkers come from communities of different cultures and abilities — this diversity and engaging with underrepresented populations helps our placemaking be innovative.” Cheryal Lee Hills, executive director of Region Five Development Commission, cited in Aspen Report on Rural Development Hubs.