Friday, June 1, 2012

Building Healthy Communities Through Economic Participation

A rapidly changing community with a growing population in both ethnic diversity and aging demographics in the middle of economic challenges that impact job growth and educational attainment are just a few of the complex issues that are not only difficult to solve, but also difficult to define. The focus of Bremer St. Cloud’s Breakfast event centered around economic participation in a changing community and included nonprofit, business and community leaders. Participants engaged in a conversation on how we innovate, redesign, and invest in healthy communities. In addition, Bremer recognized the 2011 Otto Bremer Foundation grantees that serve the St. Cloud and surround area for which many are addressing economic participation in varying forms.

Following thought provoking data shared by Minnesota’s State Demographer, Susan Brower, the Otto Bremer Foundation shared its response to Brower’s request to think more strategically and innovatively by sharing its elevated learning and strategic alignment with responsive grantmaking across the Bremer footprint.
The discussions revealed more questions and the need to really understand the systems and programs that are currently in place, how to scale programs that are effective, and increase education/communication between sectors as it relates to the topic of integration and employability. What do you feel could make the most difference to the future as it pertains to economic participation and the changing communities? What would it take to create change on these issues?

Kathy Grochow, NRS, St. Cloud

Teresa Biss, Senior Vice President and Bremer’s Director of Training & Organization Development moderated a panel with Maureen Gaedy, Mission Services Director of Goodwill/Easter Seals of MN (left) and Kim Dettmer, Director of Refugee Services at Lutheran Social Services as they shared programs that are offered locally to help address integration and employability in this changing environment.

Table discussions.

Charlotte Johnson, Trustee of the Otto Bremer Foundation responded to these trends by sharing their exploration into specific learning areas to include economic participation and the desire for the Foundation to be responsive to communities and be strategic with larger issues that impact multiple communities.

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