Four cities earn spots in economic growth program

The Free Press

MANKATO — Montgomery, Mapleton, Springfield and Wells will be the latest cities to participate in a program aimed at supporting economic growth in small towns.

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) announced it accepted the cities into its Rural Entrepreneurial Venture program Friday. Blue Earth and Le Sueur were among the area cities participating in the program over the last three years.

 

Stakeholders from each of the four chosen communities will work with SMIF, Region Nine Development Commission and the University of Minnesota extension to promote “sustainable entrepreneur-focused development,” according to a release.

“We are excited to work with these communities over the next three years as they explore different approaches to supporting entrepreneurs and economic growth through this program,” stated Pam Bishop, SMIF’s vice president of economic development, in the release.

 

“We know from our experience with the first cohort that the REV program will have a lasting impact on how these small towns approach economic development.”

The program’s tools include mapping out impacts over time. Stakeholders will also create an inventory of existing entrepreneurs in their communities.

Montgomery, Springfield and Wells will participate on their own. Mapleton’s inclusion will actually be a collaboration with Amboy, Good Thunder and Minnesota Lake, which are all part of the Maple River School District.

Cities with fewer than 5,000 people within SMIF’s 20-county region were eligible for the program. The program will begin in 2021 and run through 2023.

View the article online here.

10-21-20 DEI Episode 9-Marjorie Zoe Negron Munoz

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Public Hearing Notice

Region Nine Development Commission will hold its annual FY2021 budget hearing at 6:10p.m., Wednesday, June 17, 2020 via Zoom. Email Heather Bartelt, executive assistant, at heather@rndc.org for more information The proposed budget is $1,093,470.

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Region Nine Area, Inc. Utilizes Community Impact Grant From New York Life to Support Surge Youth Leadership Program

MINNESOTA- Region Nine Development Commission’s (RNDC) nonprofit Region Nine Area, Inc. was awarded a $10,000 Community Impact Grant from New York Life which will help support the online migration of the Surge Youth Leadership program. The program fosters self-awareness and leadership concepts in youth ages 12 to 18.

 

The funding has facilitated the development of the Surge Youth Leadership Program online training for social workers, school counselors, and other administration that will replace in-person train-the-trainer certification courses enabling districts to more easily adapt the program to their students’ needs.

 

“We are grateful for New York Life’s investment in Surge, which will change many lives for the better,” said Sara Sinnard, Surge program founder. “Without the support from New York Life, we wouldn’t be able to develop an online train-the-trainer program to expand regionally, especially during these challenging times.”

 

“I’m proud to work for a company that encourages its agents and employees to devote their time, energy and talents to support the needs and priorities of their local community,” said Judy Ringler-Mountain, an agent associated with New York Life’s Minnesota General Office “We are pleased that our partnership will have a long-lasting impact on Surge and the population they serve.”

 

Over the last nine years the program has primarily focused on female youth. However, with this new backing, the program is aiming to become more gender neutral. Surge is designed to help youth understand their own ability to control their future through their strengths, positive thinking, goal setting, and planning. Program modules include self-awareness, stress management, financial literacy, and other core leadership skills.

 

Phase one of the migration included producing the online training videos was recently completed. Phase two will focus on the online delivery system. Lastly, phase three will incorporate a new district to implement the program and benefit from the grant, free of cost, for one year. While the grant is now entering the phase two, the Surge Program is already looking to expand into a new district and encourages anyone interested in this program to reach out to Sara Sinnard at sara@fushionlifeandleadership.com for more information.

 

The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations, which are championed by New York Life agents and employees. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 600 grants totaling nearly $8 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the county.

 

 

 

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Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of community development, economic development, transportation, healthy communities, business development, and leveraging regional resources.

 

Region Nine Area Inc. (RNAI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to support Region Nine’s efforts to increase social and economic opportunities for local community groups, non-profits, and government entities in the nine-county region.

Floyd killing speaks to a moral imperative

The killing of George Floyd and ensuing unrest have ripped open the festering wound of racism that pervades our state and nation. This atrocity reminds us of both the deep inequities in our society and the privileged status many of us hold.

I write today because my heart aches for Mr. Floyd, his family, friends, and colleagues. My heart aches for the soul of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. My heart aches for the millions of black Minnesotans and Americans who so often live in fear and suspicion of the very institutions that are supposed to serve and protect them.

 

But this isn’t about me. This is about George Floyd and the millions of people who are denied the same rights and freedoms I enjoy. I write today because what happened to Mr. Floyd was not only horrifying and unjust, it was preventable.

He died because those police officers placed less value on his life as a black man than they would on mine as a white woman. Mr. Floyd’s death was preventable because our communities could have and should have been conducting the work necessary to dismantle institutional racism and challenge our own biases.

 

While we have a long way to go, Region Nine Development Commission has taken steps to address some of these issues through a program called Welcoming Communities, which aims to both restore economic justice by facilitating minority entrepreneurship and improve quality of life by encouraging communities to engage positively with residents of color.

We started this work several years ago, treating it as an economic development issue, just like the need for roads, bridges, and childcare providers. Over time, Welcoming Communities has evolved into a forum to confront biases and learn to cherish the contributions and humanity of all Minnesotans.

This week, we have yet again been reminded why we and our partners must work harder than ever. We must search ourselves, our families, and our communities with the renewed conviction that oppression is the status quo and we are the agents responsible for change.

Ultimately, the goal of this work is to sew justice, dignity and love. We must support our neighbors now more than ever. The Welcoming Communities’ work is no longer just a regional economic development need. It is, as last week’s events remind us, a moral imperative.

Nicole Griensewic is executive director of the Region Nine Development Commission.

 

-Mankato Free Press article.

RNDC’s Executive Director Makes Statement Regarding George Floyd

The killing of George Floyd on Tuesday and ensuing unrest have ripped open the festering wound of racism that pervades our state and nation. This atrocity reminds us of both the deep inequities in our society and the privileged status many of us hold.

I write today because my heart aches for Mr. Floyd, his family, friends, and colleagues. My heart aches for the soul of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota. My heart aches for the millions of Black Minnesotans and Americans who so often live in fear and suspicion of the very institutions that are supposed to serve and protect them.

But this isn’t about me. This is about George Floyd and the millions of people who are denied the same rights and freedoms I enjoy. I write today because what happened to Mr. Floyd was not only horrifying and unjust, it was preventable.

He died because those police officers placed less value on his life as a black man than they would on mine as a white woman. Mr. Floyd’s death was preventable because our communities could have and should have been conducting the work necessary to dismantle institutional racism and challenge our own biases.

While we have a long way to go, Region Nine Development Commission has taken steps to address some of these issues through a program called Welcoming Communities, which aims to both restore economic justice by facilitating minority entrepreneurship and improve quality of life by encouraging communities to engage positively with residents of color.

We started this work several years ago, treating it as an economic development issue, just like the need for roads, bridges, and childcare providers. Over time, Welcoming Communities has evolved into a forum to confront biases and learn to cherish the contributions and humanity of all Minnesotans.

This week, we have yet again been reminded why we and our partners must work harder than ever. We must search ourselves, our families, and our communities with the renewed conviction that oppression is the status quo and we are the agents responsible for change.

Ultimately, the goal of this work is to sew justice, dignity, and love. We must support our neighbors now more than ever. The Welcoming Communities’ work is no longer just a regional economic development need. It is, as this week’s events remind us, a moral imperative. 

Sincerely,

Nicole Griensewic

Shining Bright: Solar Power Continues Growth

Joel Hanif, community development planner for the Region Nine Development Commission, hopes to help spur even more interest in solar by getting the region qualified as a SolSmart designated region.

“There’s no guaranteed funding that comes with it, but it might make Region Nine competitive for other solar programs if there are grants down the line if we show we did the legwork.”

Hanif said the SolSmart designation also creates more public awareness and education about the benefits of solar power.

View the full Minnesota Valley Business June 2020 article.

Region 9 Issues Statement on George Floyd

The killing of George Floyd on Tuesday and ensuing unrest have ripped open the festering wound of racism that pervades our state and nation. This atrocity reminds us of both the deep inequities in our society and the privileged status many of us hold.

I write today because my heart aches for Mr. Floyd, his family, friends, and colleagues. My heart aches for the soul of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota. My heart aches for the millions of Black Minnesotans and Americans who so often live in fear and suspicion of the very institutions that are supposed to serve and protect them.

But this isn’t about me. This is about George Floyd and the millions of people who are denied the same rights and freedoms I enjoy. I write today because what happened to Mr. Floyd was not only horrifying and unjust, it was preventable.

He died because those police officers placed less value on his life as a black man than they would on mine as a white woman. Mr. Floyd’s death was preventable because our communities could have and should have been conducting the work necessary to dismantle institutional racism and challenge our own biases.

While we have a long way to go, Region Nine Development Commission has taken steps to address some of these issues through a program called Welcoming Communities, which aims to both restore economic justice by facilitating minority entrepreneurship and improve quality of life by encouraging communities to engage positively with residents of color.

We started this work several years ago, treating it as an economic development issue, just like the need for roads, bridges, and childcare providers. Over time, Welcoming Communities has evolved into a forum to confront biases and learn to cherish the contributions and humanity of all Minnesotans.

This week, we have yet again been reminded why we and our partners must work harder than ever. We must search ourselves, our families, and our communities with the renewed conviction that oppression is the status quo and we are the agents responsible for change.

Ultimately, the goal of this work is to sew justice, dignity, and love. We must support our neighbors now more than ever. The Welcoming Communities’ work is no longer just a regional economic development need. It is, as this week’s events remind us, a moral imperative.

 

-KTOE article.

BCBS of Minnesota Awards $20,000 for COVID-19 Response

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Foundation of Minnesota has awarded $20,000 in response to COVID-19. An additional $2,500 is being donated by SJP Consulting, to make a total of $22,500. The funds will be given to local food shelves in the communities where the Rural Equity Learning Community (RELC) and Welcoming Communities Project (WCP) programs have been held. Funds have already been distributed to Saint Peter Area Food Shelf, Springfield Food Shelf, Watonwan County Food Shelf, and the Salvation Army for Martin County and Montgomery.