Welcoming Communities Partner Logos 1

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the Welcoming Communities Project is to provide a platform for equity and inclusion learning through hands-on activities with stakeholders, subject matter experts, and community members. The monthly cohort will provide a framework for communities to build relationships, learn inclusive community practices, tools, and skills based on outcomes gathered through a community-wide assessment. Sessions will be facilitated in partnership with the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, the U of MN Extension Center for Community Vitality, and the Region Nine Development Commission. Potential themes include:

  • Leadership for Equity and Inclusion
  • Understanding Bias, Race, and Cultural Competency
  • Small Town Economics
  • Engaging the Community
  • Small Community Dynamics
  • Creating a Welcoming Community
  • Community Stewardship
  • Community Visioning: What’s Possible?

COST: It’s free! The program is brought to you through the Blue Cross Blue Shield – Healthy Connections grant.

PARTICIPATING COMMUNITIES:  Sleepy Eye, Springfield, New Ulm, and other communities in the Brown county. Interpreters available, on request.

LOCATION:     Sleepy Eye Event Center 110 12th Ave NE, Sleepy Eye, MN 56085

MEETING SCHEDULE:   5:30 – 9:00 p.m. 2nd or 4th Thursday of the month. (2nd Thursday alternate date in case of inclement weather). Cancellation – mirror school closings.

  • Thursday, February 27
  • Thursday, March 12 or 26
  • Thursday, April 9 or 23
  • Thursday, May 14 or 28 (summer break/community project)
  • Thursday, September 10 or 24


  • Individuals may submit an application form for themselves or someone else
  • Applicants should be residents or employees of Brown County
  • A limited seating for each community group – there will be a waiting listing


  • Participants will be expected to attend all sessions. Assignments outside of class sessions may be required
  • Participants must be motivated and committed to serve the community
  • Participants are committed to participating in and/or leading further equity and inclusion efforts in their local community upon completion of eight sessions



In person: Local Chamber of Commerce office in New Ulm, Sleepy Eye, and Springfield

By email: juliehawker@gmail.com (Subject: WC Application)

Questions: Contact Julie Hawker, Welcoming Communities Project coordinator, at 507.469.4552.