Rush City working for a brighter future

City leaders are turning to Initiative Foundation, community members to help identify vision, plan for Rush City

People in the Rush City community have started coming up with a vision and a plan for a brighter tomorrow.

For quite some time, Rush City has been looking into the Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation and its Thriving Communities Initiative, a program that has been successful to several communities in the region. Already, foundation member Dan Frank explained the program to city economic development leaders and city staff during an informational meeting.

Following that meeting, the city proceeded with forming a team of 26 members from the Rush City area and completed an application. The program will last about a year.

“The process required forming a team of people from different interests in the community such as local government, education, commercial and health,” said Jamie Scheffer, planning and economic development assistant for the city. “The goal was to get a diverse group of people interested in coming together and doing something for the community.”

The team has been meeting once a month since October. After the last of these trainings is held, likely in January, the goal is to have more than 100 people gather for a communitywide event where free food will be provided and the team will present a plan for residents to review.

Scheffer noted the foundation gives out a $20,000 grant, which the team would need to match with $10,000. So at the trainings, she noted, the team will generate some ideas and then revise them after presenting it to the community.

“At the meeting, we will also ask for volunteers from the community to be on task forces to help out with the projects,” Scheffer said.

The task force groups will meet once a month to do their work, and after a year, the community can receive another $10,000 grant with another $10,000 match to continue working on the projects.

“What is great about this program is that the foundation facilitates the whole process, so you don’t start a project and not complete it,” Scheffer explained.

The Initiative Foundation offers leadership training, financial investments, staff assistance and more to central Minnesota communities for improving their quality of life.

The foundation’s Thriving Communities Initiative program empowers those communities to focus on the positive assets of their community; develop a shared vision of a brighter future; create a strategic plan to achieve their shared vision; fund the implementation of projects; provide service opportunities for their citizens by matching individual passions and talents with volunteer opportunities; and cultivate new servant leaders.

For questions or if anyone would like to get involved, Scheffer can be reached at 320-358-4743 or scja0805@stcloudstate.edu.

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