Retired Federal Reserve chief economist Art Rolnick was the keynote and spoke about the importance of investing in early childhood education. He made the argument that the more well-educated your workforce, the healthier your economy will be. His belief is that building sports facilities or luring new businesses to a community are not true economic drivers – rather, it’s a well-educated workforce that will drive the economy.
Rolnick has helped launch a pilot project with the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation – a Bremer Bank client. The pilot targets specific high-risk neighborhoods and provides scholarships to families in need so that their kids can afford high-quality pre-school. A key learning from the pilot is that ‘mentoring’ has had the greatest impact on long-term success of the kids and families who participate in the program.
Nonprofits in attendance were advised to, “Develop a cost/benefit model to build support for investments in a program or project that may not deliver immediate benefits, but rather require a longer timeline to show results.” He also advised that to succeed at fundraising in a challenging economy you need to make the case that your cause is a priority – that funding it will have a positive impact on society as a whole.
Teresa Morrow, director of Corporate Communications, Bremer Bank