Local Governments Recognized for Innovative Ways to Improve Services
From streamlined dispatch of emergency responders and childcare licensing services, to breakthrough conversations about race and county-tribal collaborations, local governments in Minnesota are finding creative ways to deliver services to their residents with greater impact and at lower cost.
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota today named 19 such projects as recipients of its 12th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA).
The awards program is organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation and its Native Nation Building Initiative; and co-sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Association of Townships and the Minnesota School Boards Association.
“This year, like every other, we’re struck by the innovation that’s happening in Minnesota. It’s always evolving, which is inspiring for the judges to see,” says Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School’s Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center and LGIA program lead. “The exciting part is sharing all of this innovation with the broader community in hopes that they see opportunities in these innovative models to apply to their own communities.”
The awards recognize projects in up to five categories: cities; counties; schools; townships; and Native nations, which recognizes collaborations between tribes and a local government entity. One entry in each category is named Leading Innovator. This year, no awards were presented in the township category.
A panel of judges considered submissions for their creativity, sustainability, and collaboration. The four Leading Innovators for 2018 will receive a grant from the Bush Foundation to continue their work, and a professionally produced video to use for marketing and awareness. The winners in the city, county, and school categories will receive a $5,000 grant. The Local Government and Native Nations Collaboration Award winner will receive a $10,000 grant.
Leading Innovators of the 2018 Local Government Innovation Awards:
City Category: Ramsey County Fire Chiefs Association — Closest Unit Dispatching for Cities in Ramsey County
Fire Chiefs Association Closest Unit Dispatching (CUD) for Cities in Ramsey County brings 10 fire departments within a 170-square-mile area together to dispatch the closest agency for response within the county’s different combinations of highly trained full-time, part-time, volunteer and/or paid on-call firefighters. Ramsey County’s 12 cities entered into this CUD joint powers agreement in 2016 and have improved response times for critical calls, resulting in a higher survivability rate and less property loss.
County Category: Morrison County — Region V+ Family Child Care Licensing Collaboration
The Region V+ Family Child Care Licensing Collaboration created an innovative solution for family childcare licensing by combining the licensing roles of seven counties into three regional licensors. This collaborative effort addressed a workforce shortage, created consistency in the application of regulations across the counties, and eliminated the duplication of efforts within its counties at a crucial time when the availability of family childcare is hitting a crisis point.
School Category: Hopkins Public Schools, City of Hopkins, and Gethsemane Church — Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative
The Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative is a collaborative effort creating opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of race, equity, and diversity while promoting a sense of community that welcomes and values all residents. The initiative, which was formed in 2015, has offered five community conversations on race and equity topics to address and unravel social constructs specifically designed to promote and exclude particular racial groups.
Native Nations Category: Cass County & Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe — Memorandum of Understanding
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Cass County provides a framework for multi-level communication and cooperation between the county and the band for natural resource management, community development, economic development, and maintenance of Ojibwe cultural life-ways. The MOU, in its sixth year, has returned humanity to this demographically diverse community, and serves as a model that can be replicated in other Native nations across the country for widespread impact.
All 2018 Local Government Innovation Awardees:
- Closest Unit Dispatching for Cities in Ramsey County — Ramsey County Fire Chiefs Association (Leading Innovator)
- Big Lake High School Work-based Learning Program — City of Big Lake
- Farmers Markets of Minneapolis Collaborative — City of Minneapolis
- Strengthening Richfield Apartment Communities — City of Richfield
- Rochester Reading Champions — Rochester Public Library
- Region V+ Family Child Care Licensing Collaboration — Morrison County (Leading Innovator)
- Connected Kids Initiative — Anoka County Community Social Service and Behavioral Health
- VolunTeen Program — Anoka County Library
- Video Directly Observed Therapy (VDOT) for Tuberculosis Treatment — Dakota County Public Health
- 100 Day Challenge — Hennepin County
- Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative —Hopkins Public Schools, City of Hopkins, and Gethsemane Church (Leading Innovator)
- Passion, Purpose and Hope: Career Pathways for ALL Students — Burnsville High School
- Marshall County Central Schools Outdoor Prairie and Outdoor Classroom — Marshall County Central Schools
- Insurance Program Conversion — Northfield Public Schools
- Students Connecting Through International Service — Osseo Area Schools
Native Nations Category
- Cass County and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe MOU —Cass County and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Leading Innovator)
- Mahnomen County Economic Development Authority — Headwaters Regional Development Commission and White Earth Nation
- Education Day with the Mahkato Wacipi — Mahkato Mdewakanton Association, Mankato Area Public Schools, and Minnesota State University, Mankato
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Program — Mdewakanton Public Safety and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
All the awardees will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony and reception December 13 at 5 p.m. at the Humphrey School. To register for the event, visit lgia.umn.edu.