Northfield Healthy Community Initiative

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Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

Youthprise Announces $579,000 Grant to Regional Youth-Serving Coalition in Southeast Minnesota

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 11:08am

Social Innovation Fund Grant Supports Career Pathways for Minnesota Youth

Youthprise announced a 3-year grant totaling $579,000 to “Tri-City Bridges to the Future”, a new collaborative in Northfield, Faribault, and Red Wing, including the MN Correctional Facility-Red Wing. The initiative will offer career pathways approaches for 85 youth ages 14-24 in the three cities who are in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, homeless, or are disconnected from school and work. The primary focus is high school completion with dual enrollment options through partnerships with area higher education institutions and postsecondary training in career clusters that have clear pathways to higher degrees.

The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) will serve as the convener and backbone organization for the coalition.  Lead partners in the project include Workforce Development, Inc., Faribault Public Schools, Northfield Public Schools, Minnesota Department of Corrections–Red Wing Juvenile Facility, Riverland Community College, South Central Community College, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, the Rice County Family Services Collaborative, and more than 20 local businesses and community organizations.

The Tri-City grant is part of a larger announcement of $3.75 million in grants to six Minnesota organizations to connect Minnesota’s opportunity youth with services and support that will lead to careers in high demand, like IT, health care, construction and manufacturing. The project, Opportunity Reboot, targets youth ages 14-24 who are either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system or disconnected from school and work. An additional focus is on building social-emotional skills to strengthen education and career outcomes.

This funding opportunity was made possible through a 3-year $3 million Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to Youthprise for Opportunity Reboot. SIF is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service that is focused on improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. Youthprise was one of eight intermediaries across the country to receive a SIF grant in 2015. SIF funds must be matched dollar for dollar and Opportunity Reboot sub-grantees must also provide a dollar for dollar match, resulting in an additional $5.4 million in funding being leveraged.

Youthprise received requests of more than $71 million from 23 organizations statewide. Using a peer review panel process, Youthprise engaged individuals from the community, youth workers, youth, and foundation partners to recommend projects. Key partners in the project – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) – Office of Youth Development, Search Institute and the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (MPM) also participated in the review.

In addition to the Tri-City project, five other organizations from Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth and Sauk Rapids were selected in total to receive 3-year grants ranging from $193,000 to $234,000 annually. Funded organizations are implementing evidence-based models and utilizing a career pathways approach. The goal is to build the evidence on which models are most successful in reaching disconnected youth so they can be brought to scale so more youth can benefit.

“We are very pleased to support the Tri-City innovative approach to creating career pathways for Minnesota youth,” commented Marcus Pope, Youthprise Director of Partnerships and External Relations. “We are excited to see how this collaboration can open up new career pathways for youth in southeast Minnesota. In the face of a 40% reduction in federal funding for youth workforce development, these Opportunity Reboot grants are greatly needed to help reduce economic disparities in our state.”

“The organizations selected by Youthprise are an extremely great fit for the Social Innovation Fund. We’re especially impressed by how young people were engaged in the decision-making process right from the start working alongside local philanthropic leaders to select these sub-grantees. Certainly, when young people can be hired for high-demand careers in IT, healthcare, construction and manufacturing, the entire state of Minnesota benefits.  All of this training potentially creates financial independence and lays the foundation for future life success,” said Damian Thorman, Director of the Social Innovation Fund.

About Youthprise

Founded in 2010 by the McKnight Foundation, Youthprise is a nonprofit intermediary that invests in the future of Minnesota by investing in youth. The organization works on multiple levels: supporting nonprofit organizations that serve youth; aligning efforts through citywide and statewide initiatives; and providing opportunities directly to young people. Grounded in a commitment to addressing racial disparities, Youthprise works to increase young people’s opportunities for learning and social emotional development, economic prosperity, and health and safety.

About the Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) unites public and private resources to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions with evidence of results. The SIF and its private-sector partners have invested more than half a billion dollars in compelling community solutions. As a result, the SIF has awarded grants to more than 35 community-based organizations and over 180 nonprofits working in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in April of 2009, the Social Innovation Fund is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency focused on improving lives, strengthening communities, and fostering civic engagement through service and volunteering. CNCS engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Since 1994, more than 830,000 Americans have provided more than 1 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps. Together, service and innovation provide a vehicle to harness the power of ordinary people and unleash the potential of innovative ideas to help address our communities’ toughest social problems and transform lives.

Categories: Organizations

May is Bike Month! Affordable bike locks now available in Northfield.

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 8:32am

May is Bike Month. Be prepared with safety gear at an affordable price. Kryptonite bike locks are now available for $8 at two locations in Northfield. They can be purchased at Northfield Public Schools Community Services, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Mondays through Fridays, and also at Northfield EMS (ambulance garage), 1600 Riverview Lane. For pick-up at the ambulance garage, please call 646-1414 to arrange an appointment.

The locks are made available at cost through a partnership between the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, Tom’s Downtown Bicycles and the Rice County SHIP initiative.

As in the past, bike helmets are also available at those same two locations. Cost of a helmet is $10.

For more information, please contact Cheryl Strike at 507-664-3532.

Categories: Organizations

Connie Nelson is Making a Difference

Wed, 04/13/2016 - 8:30am

Connie Nelson (center) receives her HCI “Making a Difference” Award from HCI Board members Erin Bailey (left) and Kris Estenson (right)


Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) recently recognized Connie Nelson, former elementary teacher and current chair of the Northfield Promise Reading Team, with the March 2016 “Making a Difference” Award.

The award is given out monthly to community members or organizations that help to make Northfield an even better place for young people.

“Connie cares deeply about the people she works with,” said Becky Gainey, Sibley Elementary Response to Intervention Coach and Reading Specialist. “She is calm and caring, and always puts students’ needs first.”

Connie was an elementary teacher or reading coach for 25 years in Northfield. She understands that classroom teachers can’t do the monumental task of educating all children without additional resources. That is why she is so passionate about her role with Northfield Promise – this gives her the opportunity to continue to support Northfield youth and impact their literacy at different times in their journey. Connie has specifically been working toward the Northfield Promise benchmark of “Every Northfield child is reading at grade level by the end of 3rd Grade.”

“Connie has been the driving force behind Northfield Promise’s Reading Team,” noted Fritz Bogott, Reading Team member and Northfield School Board member. “Even before I joined the team, I had heard about Connie’s energy, passion and commitment to help all Northfield’s kids learn to read.”

The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative and the Northfield News present the Making a Difference Award cooperatively. If you know an individual or group that you would like to nominate for this award, visit for nomination guidelines and the easy-to-complete application, or find HCI on Facebook. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and are selected by a review team of HCI board members and local youth.

By Cheryl Strike, Northfield Healthy Community Initiative

Categories: Organizations

Two Northfield youth-led projects are 2016 “Serve a Smile” grant recipients

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 10:55am

Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, in collaboration with the Minnesota Alliance With Youth and Minnesota FCCLA, has awarded $30,000 in annual youth service grants and in-kind dental hygiene supplies to 36 sites in 31 communities. These competitive grants are awarded through Delta Dental’s Serve a Smile grant program to support youth-led service projects that address important oral health and overall health issues. The program provides young people with funds to create healthier schools and communities.  Locally, two grants (totaling $1,875) were awarded to youth-led projects.

Girl’s Group meets weekly at the Greenvale Park Community School

An $875 grant was awarded to Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes (TORCH) to support a Girls’ Group that focuses on topics of health and nutrition. Members of the TORCH Youth Advisory Board initiated this Delta Dental Serve a Smile project after seeing that there was a need for young women to have a safe space to discuss issues of health and wellbeing. Girls’ Group meets weekly at the Greenvale Park Community School to prepare healthy recipes together and to discuss issues of physical, mental, and socioemotional health relevant to high schoolers. Thanks to Delta Dental, Girls’ Group has been able to access much-needed food prep equipment and fresh, healthy ingredients, as well as journals for participants to record recipes and reflect on each week’s discussion topic. Girls’ Group welcomes all high school girls in grades 9-12 and meets each Thursday evening at the Greenvale Park Community School.

The second Delta Dental Serve a Smile grant adds $1,000 in financial support to the Viking Terrace Park playground project. Viking Terrace is a low-income mobile home park. The biggest observation made by youth in the neighborhood is the number of kids in the streets playing due to poor playground structures. With the support of Delta Dental, the young people living in the neighborhood will be able to purchase one additional piece of equipment to add to the park.

“Youth in Minnesota have some of the best ideas to change the world,” said Joseph Lally, Interim Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and Community Benefits. “As we have for 13 years, we are proud to support their creativity and initiative through the Serve a Smile mini grant program.”

“The Serve a Smile program gives young people in our state the opportunity to engage in their communities through creative and impactful health-related service and leadership projects.” said Sarah Dixon, CEO of Minnesota Alliance With Youth. “The opportunity to give back and become involved in the community is critical to the academic and lifelong success of youth. We are thankful for our 13-year partnership with Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, an incredible supporter of youth in Minnesota.” Dixon said.

Please join the Serve a Smile grant recipients at Global Youth Service Day, the largest youth service event in the world. The Minnesota celebration will be held on April 16th at Southdale Mall. 

Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is designed to support Delta Dental of Minnesota’s mission of improving the oral health of the people in Minnesota and advancing the science and art of oral health in Minnesota. The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation supports initiatives that promote access to oral health and, in turn, improve the overall health and vitality of our community. To learn more, visit

Minnesota Alliance With Youth is a leading convener, collaborator, and capacity-builder for youth development. The Alliance seeks to strengthen youth success in school and learning, increase youth engagement in communities, develop and magnify youth voice, and advance collaboration and innovation with entities that share its vision. For more information about Minnesota Alliance With Youth or Global Youth Service Day, visit

Categories: Organizations

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