Thursday, June 30, 2011

Report Roll: Don't Call Them 'Post-Racial'

The Applied Research Center (ARC) released a report earlier this month entitled, "Don't Call Them 'Post-Racial': Millennials’ Attitudes on Race, Racism, and Key Systems in Our Society." The report finds three key things regarding race and the rising generation in Los Angeles, including:
  1. A large majority of millennials assert that race continues to matter.
  2. Millennials are not monolithic.
  3. Like most Americans, the majority of young people have difficulty defining present-day racism when initially asked and typically fall back upon generic terms of interpersonal racism.
For more on the report, see below for insights from Dom Apollon, Research Director at ARC, and download the executive summary or full report online.

Mainstream news media seems pretty certain that today’s young adults, sometimes referred to as Millennials, don’t see race. They date interracially, they identify as mixed-race, and they voted for Barack Obama; the only possible explanation is that they don’t care what color anyone is, right?

The problem, of course, is that nobody’s bothered to test this idea. That’s why Dom Apollon, research director of the Applied Research Center, decided to collect some real data and question the assumption. In this video, Dom discusses the need for the research and the methodology used, and lays out the three major findings about young people’s racial attitudes in the new report. He also interviews participants from the Los Angeles focus groups, asking their opinions on Barack Obama and the United States’ fast-changing demographic profile.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Putting Minnesota ahead of ourselves

As the end of Minnesota's fiscal year (June 30) approaches, a state government shutdown looms. Given the budget stalemate, this Friday may well mean that drivers license processing centers and state parks, among other "nonessential" state services (nevermind tens of thousands of government employees' jobs), could shut down until an agreement is reached. For more details and the latest updates, turn to MPR for its FAQ on the potential Minnesota government shutdown. Don't forget, also, to contact your legislators and ask that they come to a fair and balanced budget decision in order to avoid the myriad challenges a government shutdown would undoubtedly bring.

In the meantime, I wanted to re-post Lori Sturdevant's column from this Sunday's Star Tribune and draw attention to her quotes from Bob Frame, in particular, "The only way out of this polarization is to find the thing that both sides' constituents are part of, and build on that. In the case of the Legislature and the governor, that has to be Minnesota itself." Given that the work of Minnesota Rising is to leverage the unity that our lowest common denominators - geography and generation - provide us, this will truly be our task: to elevate the mission of a strong Minnesota in such a way that we are committed to it over and above our personal and partisan differences. We can strive after this work for our lifetimes, but should recognize that there is no reason to wait for building this type of collaborative ethic. Indeed, our state could benefit from it this week.

other views

Usher John had a bulletin and a frown waiting for me at the church door last Sunday.

"You should be a lot harder on those people," he said, gesturing in the general direction of the State Capitol. "They're the biggest bunch of egomaniacs we've ever had there."

"I wish I could agree with you," I sighed. If John's diagnosis were accurate, this year's budget stalemate wouldn't be so worrisome.

His comment implied that the impasse over the size of the 2012-13 budget (which persists at this writing, though talks continue) is the result of an unlucky draw from the candidate deck last fall.

If that were so, a redistricting shuffle and a new draw in 2012 and 2014 would be sufficient to set things right. The "state that works" order that was once a Minnesota trademark would return.

But the fight that threatens to shutter some government operations next Friday doesn't strike me as a character flaw.

I know DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers to be likable, well-meaning people possessed of ordinary egos, at least on the political scale. On that scale, Dayton might even register as humble.

The inability of these nice folks to bend enough in the other's direction to set a budget tells me that a bigger failing is at play.

It may even be bigger than what ails American politics. The extreme polarization of positions, the demonizing of the opposition, the loyalty to party first and country or state second -- these too could be manifestations of something in American culture that's out of sync with what democracy requires.

Democracy demands compromise. Yet today's culture disdains compromise as weakness. Instead, it glorifies the heroic individual, standing against the odds and holding fast to principle, even when that principle is not well-chosen.

The religious institutions that have been on the rise are those that emphasize personal salvation. Communitarianism is out of vogue.

Democracy requires a sense of "all for one" that, at a minimum, guarantees equality of opportunity.

As U.S. income inequality has soared to record proportion in the last two decades, the odds have increased that Americans born poor will live and die poor. Yet a culture that once celebrated the American Dream doesn't register much alarm as the dream fades for millions.

Democracy also requires a can-do optimism that holds that shared problems can be solved through shared action.

It's not clear that Americans still have that faith. Disillusionment with government and other collective institutions is a recurring theme in popular culture. That reinforces cynicism and makes it tough for elected leaders to rally citizens behind a shared cause, let alone ask for shared sacrifice.

Lately I've been running my "it's the culture" musings past people who know more about leadership than newspaper writers do. Former Augsburg College President William Frame caught my attention when I heard him say that too often what passes for leadership is really just "lobbying for the status quo."

Since retiring from the Minneapolis liberal arts college in 2006, Frame has become a leadership scholar and a national consultant to potential and incumbent college presidents.

He's found that leadership failure is likely when a leader and the group being led -- a state, say -- haven't arrived at a common understanding of "who we are and who we are trying to be."

He's not the first to observe that consensus is lacking at the Capitol on the kind of state Minnesota should become.

"Without that, leadership becomes a partisan battle. You try to get what you want while others around you try to get what they want. The result is increasing polarization."

Sound familiar?

"The only way out of this polarization is to find the thing that both sides' constituents are part of, and build on that," Frame said. "In the case of the Legislature and the governor, that has to be Minnesota itself. They have to be capable of institutional thinking, putting the institution that is Minnesota ahead of themselves and ahead of their constituencies. ... They have to be willing to buckle down together to answer the question, 'How might we all be better?'"

State loyalty isn't what it used to be in American culture, either.

But a week that might end with Minnesotans simultaneously observing the nation's birthday and state government's shutdown seems an excellent time for a little old-time revival of Minnesota boosterism.

This week, tell a legislator and a governor how much you love this state. Tell them that they will be heroes in your eyes if they put Minnesota first, and compromise.

Lori Sturdevant is a Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Minnesota Rising: The quest behind the question

I had the privilege of participating in an Art of Hosting training several months ago, thanks to the Bush Foundation's InCommons initiative, and got to put Minnesota Rising to the test as a Pro Action Cafe topic. Through three rounds of questioning and brainstorming (bulleted below) with my fellow AoH'ers, I was able to further suss through the the work and next steps of Minnesota Rising. I share them here, for any feedback and commentary, particularly as we move forward with planning and envisioning the Minnesota Rising 2011 Un/Conference. What are your thoughts? And would you be willing to help? Thanks for any feedback and support!

Pro Action Cafe Prompts:
  • Round 1: What is the quest behind the question?
  • Round 2: What is missing?
  • Round 3: What am I learning about myself? What am I learning about my project? What next steps will I take? What help do I still need?

The quest behind the question

What can we emerging leaders do now to build relationships, trust, and a shared vision for Minnesota so that we, today, and in 20 years time, can be more successful in implementing it? This question pushes me to continue pursuing the work of Minnesota Rising and I know it also stirs up a deep hope and calling for others, as well.

This work is being co-created, and while we have some general principles and parameters, the end remains to be seen. For the time being, it seems that the work is an attempting to shift society from back room dealings to relationship-based politics and culture of collaboration. The idea is for emerging leaders to learn new way of being now before arriving in positions of leadership to repopulate the old systems. This new way is of collaborative leadership.

Collaborative leadership for the common good of Minnesota:
  • Create a relationship-based politics, not a boys’ club politics. Use transparency, relevance, and emergence to move from the back room to the public forum.
  • Emerging leaders learn the new co-created system and bring it up with them into their power positions as opposed to repopulating and perpetuating the old system
  • What do our new relationships mean? The conversations are the work.
  • Conversations are creating a politics of abundance and relationships. Trust it. Collaborations and ideas arise that would have never otherwise existed.
  • How well do you collaborate? Measure the level of work of others around you and their success in order to measure your effectiveness at collaboration. Name non-traditional success. Did you see what you did there? “I gain power by giving it away.”
  • Come together without stakes or personal bias; talk about transfer of leadership
  • Create a powerful, idealistic, vivid vision of the future in Minnesota (organizations and systems move in the direction of their questions and how they talk) to generate the hope and energy to make something happen.
Over the coming year and more, we hope to create powerful, idealistic, vivid vision of the future in Minnesota through tour of state’s groups of emerging leaders, high schoolers, college students, and more. We'll strive to embed this intention in upcoming Un/Conference and disseminate through it cascading interviews and un/conversations. These conversations are the change. Through them, we will focus on what we have in common and that which we can strive after with shared purpose. Working collectively, we will be able to identify, nurture, and take with us the best values of our generation as we move up and on in life. Together.

The help Minnesota Rising still needs:
  • Bringing those not currently part of the conversation in
  • Harvesting knowledge and vision of multiple generations
  • Understanding implications of changes to society – demographics, technology, economy
  • How do you measure collaboration? How do you call out traditional success?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Q&A: MinnPost YPN5Q

MinnPost YPN is working to make it a little easier for us all to get to know each other. With the launch of their YPN5Q weekly Q&A series with talented emerging leaders in Minnesota, we'll be able to get to know the state's top young business and civic leaders and creative minds. I'm a firm believer that part of the work of leadership is to raise up and affirm other leaders, whether or not they see themselves in such a light. With that in mind, if you know someone who should make the list, check out the information below for how to nominate an emerging changemaker in Minnesota. We're all in this together, so let's get to know each other a little better!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Minnesota Idea Open II: Water Issues

These rainy days and rising waters put H2O on the mind. And what timing! Just two days ago, on the Summer Solstice, the Minnesota Idea Open II kicked off with a focus on water issues. Got an idea for how to use $15,000 to effectively educate and engage your community around water issues in Minnesota? While you're sitting inside waiting for the sun to break through, noodle on just that and submit your idea to the Minnesota Idea Open!
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What's Your Idea for Addressing Water Issues in Minnesota?

June 21, 2011

Minnesota Idea OpenIt's Time to Enter The Open

Water is the only drink for a wise man, said Henry David Thoreau. In Minnesota Idea Open vernacular, we call that liquid inspiration! So chug-a-lug, Minnesota, and tell us how you would use $15,000 to help your community become aware of and address water issues in Minnesota.

We are now open for ideas! Enter your idea starting today, June 21 through July 15, 2011, at

We encourage ideas of all sizes and shapes. Test them out on friends and family over coffee or dinner. Gather feedback from your 500 closest friends on Facebook. Share a link to your idea on Twitter to find out what your "tweeps" think, or send your peeps directly to your entry and let them comment on it. Whatever channel you use to gather feedback and support, be sure to use any feedback you receive to further refine your entry - even after it is published.

You heard right. New this year - you can publish your entry to the Idea Open website then go back and refine it as many times as you like throughout the entry period. Based on feedback from Challenge I, we heard from participants who spent hours working on their idea. Now you can bring some of that deep thinking and collaborative work into The Open.

Although one idea will earn the Challenge II Champion title, we think every community in Minnesota will benefit from working together on solutions - and being inspired to action!

Still need some inspiration? Watch our video. And don't forget to learn more about our Lead Partner, Pentair and its Foundation. They are experts in finding solutions to water issues around the globe - and look forward to seeing your great ideas!

Where the Cool People Fish After Hours: Science Museum of Minnesota

Join us at the Science Museum of Minnesota's ultra-cool event Social Science on Wednesday, June 22 from 7:00-11:00 p.m. We'll be set up for some Idea Open-style fishing so stop by our table. The event is open to anyone age 21 and older. Play some mini-golf, science trivia or Live Pictionary, or huddle in a corner with some drinks and friends to work on your idea for addressing water issues in Minnesota. For more information, go

Did You Know?

Did you know that Pentair and its Foundation helped improve the lives of 300,000 citizens in Honduras via the company's philanthropic investment in Project Safe Water? By installing hundreds of water filtration systems and improved latrines, as well as training local villagers about water quality and sanitation, the incidents of waterborne illnesses have plummeted. Learn more at

Want to Join Our Volunteer Crew?

We have a unique opportunity for anyone interested to participate in the Idea Open. This year we are looking for volunteers to be part of our community evaluator crew. You'll volunteer your time and talent to be part of the fun and activity of our review process. Please contact Catherine Beltmann at if you are interested.

Stay Connected

Spread the Idea Open word like butter on Twitter and Facebook.
Game On. Minnesota Idea Open
A venture of Minnesota Community Foundation

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Duluth On The Rise: Ness For Mayor

A proud graduate of The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN, I'm always pleased to hearken back to my time in the north woods and on the shore of the great Lake Superior. I've had the pleasure of connecting with several Duluth Mayors over the years, though I'm particularly excited about the current Mayor, Don Ness, and the good things I hear about his leadership and governance from residents. Want to learn more about how Duluth is on the rise? Save yourself a trip up construction-ridden I-35 and drop by next week to the Ness For Mayor fundraiser at the Midtown Global Market. As one of 70+ Event Co-hosts, I'd love to count you as a friend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You're Invited: Strategy for Good Workshop

A huge fan of collaboration and trading resources across the table, I'm excited to see the partnership between the philanthropy sector and the advertising industry in the Twin Cities. With distinct skill sets and a common goal to showcase and invest in our communities, these two forces coming together for good can only mean we'll be able to know and tell our stories better, together. The folks over at Thinkers & Makers, LLC have announced their 4th Strategy for Good Workshop next month and are recruiting strategists and organizations for the waiting list. Sign up now to be a part of the change you wish to see in the world!

Thinkers & Makers, LLC ( is proud to announce the 4th Strategy for Good Workshop for July 23rd, 2011, location TBD. Please register to be on the mailing list and receive info as we organize the event!

This workshop will pair non-profit and small business leaders with brand, media and marketing strategists from agencies around the Twin Cities. At this workshop, teams of planners and non-profit leaders will have time to address strategic issues in their organizations. Topics to tackle through the morning of strategic planning and brainstorming will range from social media initiatives to broader questions about brand awareness and marketing strategy.

We look forward to working with you!
Emilie Hitch, Paul Isakson and Team S4GMPLS

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not pretending

"There's something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk."

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Bridge: YNPN Twin Cities Monthly e-Newsletter

Have you heard about The Bridge: YNPN Twin Cities Monthly e-Newsletter? Chock full of the latest news for young nonprofiteers in the MSP, upcoming opportunities for learning and development, and some really great writing, you can see the June 2011 issue below. Better yet, you can sign up on the YNPN Twin Cities website to become a member and get the info delivered directly to your inbox! And if you've got time today, consider dropping by the Emerging Leaders Network lunch to talk about Boards of Directors 101. With such stellar two-way channels of communications, there's no reason you shouldn't be in the loop or building bridges with YNPN-TC!
June edition of The Bridge: YNPN Twin Cities Monthly e-Newsletter

Our Newest Board Member | Jenna Wade

YNPN is happy to welcome another new board member into the fold! Meet Jenna Wade, Communications Specialist for Fresh Energy. We want you to get to know her, and what better way than direct from the source? Hear from Jenna as she answers 7 questions from us about her professional and personal life:


#ynpchat: Real Talk| Diversity

Diversity and the nonprofit sector’s struggles with it are on the minds of many young nonprofit professionals these days. With that in mind, YNPN Twin Cities made it a priority this year to carve out space to have those conversations. We kicked it off a couple months back with a very in-demand event aboutRace and Privilege in the Nonprofit Sector. And on June 1, we moved it online—cohosting the monthly Twitter #ynpchat (young nonprofit professionals chat) on the subject of diversity.

From the Blog|
Take a Leap: Tips for Changing Your Career

Change is hard, but making a career change can be harder.

My dream job is to work in a rural African village doing community development and education alongside my wife, who is a nurse. At first, I really struggled making the leap to Africa in my mind and career, but now I’m slowly taking steps to my dream job.


  • Meet our New Board Member
  • #ynpchat on Diversity
  • Take a Leap
  • Nominations Needed for Classy Awards
  • How to Get from Networking to Netbuilding


Emerging Leaders Network Lunch

Friday, June 17, Noon-1pm
Topic: Board of Directors 101
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
2314 University Ave W. #20, St. Paul
FREE. Seats go fast, so arrive early!

Do-Gooder Games: Save the Date!

Monday, Aug 11, begins at 5pm
Minnehaha Falls Park Pavilion
Get reeady to compete in various events to see who's the Do-Goodiest!
Save-the-Date. Check thewebsite for more info!



Saturday, June 18th, 8:30am-4pm
CoCo - Coworking and collaborative space
213 4th Street East, #400, St. Paul

An alternative "unconference" held annually.
FREE. Registration required.

Saving Troubled Projects

Thursday, June 23, 7:30-9am
Continuing Education & Conference Center, U of M (St. Paul)
Topic: Learn more about project management skills you can apply immediately to your work!
FREE. Registration required.

MAP Techworks

Wednesday, July 13th, 8:30-11am
MAP for Nonprofits
2314 University Ave. W, Suite 28, St. Paul
Topic: How to Play Nice with Google: SEO Best Practices to Increase Your Web Traffic
FREE. Registration required.

Nominate a Young Nonprofit Professional for a Classy!

Have you heard about the Classy Awards? YNPN has formed a new partnership with The Classy Awards, which recognizes the top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses, fundraisers and volunteers from around the country. YNPN Twin Cities would like to encourage you to submit a nomination for a deserving local nonprofit, business or individual.

Q&As | How can I become a networking SUPERSTAR?

In this edition of Q&As, I caught up with Lars Leafblad—recently named the "most networked" man in the Twin Cities—to discuss the ins and outs of becoming a top-notch networker. Find out what skill Lars says is even more important than networking, and how you can learn to do it!
Copyright © 2011 Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - Twin Cities, All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

UnSummit 5 - Come Together

I believe it was UnSummit 2 or 3 that inspired the innovative format for the inaugural Minnesota Rising Un/Conference, thanks to the support of Don Ball and CoCo. To give thanks and highlight yet another amazing opportunity to connect with other Twin Citizens engaged in innovative thinking and changemaking, check out UnSummit 5, taking place this weekend!

UnSummit5 Teaser from UnSummit on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You're Invited: White House Community Leaders Briefing Series

Thanks to Kate Cimino of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance for passing along news about the upcoming White House Community Leaders Briefing Series! If you or your organization will be out in Washington, DC on a Friday this summer, consider registering for the opportunity to share about what's happening on the ground here in Minnesota. You can bring the message of the grassroots to the very top!

White House Community Leaders Briefing Series

Every Friday this summer, from June 17‐ August 26th, the White House will open its doors to community leaders from around the country to take part in our Community Leaders Briefing Series.

The briefing series is a unique opportunity for grassroots leaders to come to Washington to hear directly from White House officials on the issues that are affecting communities across the country and learn more about the President’s priorities and initiatives from the people that work on them every day. In return, Administration staff gets to hear what’s going on in cities and towns across the country directly from the experts – the grassroots leaders.

Participants are local leaders who are currently involved in their cities and towns at the grassroots level – in their neighborhoods, schools, churches, non‐profit organizations, environmental groups, activist and advocacy groups, etc. and who are continuously invested in improving their own communities. We’re looking for those that can bring their successes, challenges, and ideas directly to the White House to help us improve the conversation between the grassroots and Washington.
  • Participants must be active community leaders (Ex. Grassroots, constituency, and advocacy leaders).
  • Participants must be willing and able to make their own transportation arrangements to and from Washington DC.
  • Each briefing will be open to 150 people
What will the day look like?
  • Participants should anticipate that their day last from approximately 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. In addition to the briefing at the White House, participants will be able to choose to attend one of several issue‐based briefings with Agency staff.
How do participants sign up?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You're Invited: The Minnesota Caucus at Netroots Nation

I'm amped to be co-leading this open space session with Sarah Hassell this week! Will you be at Netroots Nation? Join us for a great Minnesota get-together where we can take stock of our political infrastructure and figure our (inter)net-worth. It's bound to be a great conversation and you're invited to kick it off!
Netroots Nation

As Minnesota natives, we’re eager to host the Netroots Nation conference and we’re looking forward to showing those coastal Netroots folks what the Midwest progressive movement is all about.

Everyone needs a little “me” time though, so grassroots solutions has decided to carve out an hour during the four-day conference to bring Minnesota progressives together to discuss a variety of topics that are affecting our state.

Join Sarah Hassell and Diane Tran from grassroots solutions on Friday, June 17, at 4:30 p.m. for the Minnesota Caucus – an open space discussion about Minnesota's progressive future. Converse and collaborate with fellow Minnesotans about how we can use technology to build community out-of-state and continue to grow the technology sector here in Minnesota; examine our state's existing progressive infrastructure and have a frank discussion about what's missing; reflect on the successful (and not so successful) use of technology during the 2011 legislative session; and talk about the constitutional amendments we'll see on the ballot in 2012.

There will be no PowerPoint presentations, no charts, no statistics, no panelists; just smart folks talking about cool stuff—bringing the national focus of Netroots Nation to our humble state. It will also provide a safe space for Minnesotans to get together and talk about how sick we are of people asking us if we’ve seen the movie Fargo and how our accent really isn’t an accent at all.

We hope to see you at Netroots Nation next week. If you haven’t already registered for the conference, there’s still time. Register today!

grassroots solutions

Monday, June 13, 2011

We have done it ourselves

Photo Credit: Clix via stock.xchng

"Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves."

Friday, June 10, 2011

You're Invited: The Toxies!

Minnesota Rising reader, Katie Rojas-Jahn, was kind enough to submit an announcement about an upcoming event that she and Healthy Legacy are organizing entitled, "The Toxies!" Playing off the acclaim of the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Grammys, The Toxies is a satirical awards show that recognizes "bad actor chemicals." Dress up to the nines, be considered a VIP, and paint the town red (using non-lead paint) because The Toxies are coming to town!


Blog banner copy
You've heard of the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys, but now there's a new, up-and-coming awards ceremony: The Toxies. Join us for this free event on Thursday, June 16th at Intermedia Arts (map) from 5:15-7:30 pm. From 5:15-6:00 there will be a reception with light appetizers and drinks. The awards show will begin following the reception. RSVP now!

The Toxies is a satirical awards show that recognizes “bad actor chemicals," referred to as such by researchers due to their harmful effects and prevalence in our lives. Formaldehyde, Bisphenol A (BPA), Lead and others will be in attendance. These chemicals—portayed at the show by actual, good actors—are known to contribute to certain types of cancer, development disorders, infertility and other health problems. They are in our homes, workplaces and schools, and it’s time they are recognized for their harmful effects.

Help raise awareness around the important issue of toxic chemicals in our every day products. RSVP now to this limited-seating event for free!

And don't forget to vote below for Minnesota's People's Choice Award for Worst Performance of the Year by a toxic chemical. The winning toxic chemical will receive a Minnesota Toxie Award live at the event.

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