Local Government Innovation Awards 2018

LGIA 10th Anniversary (1:15)

Awards Ceremony: December 13, 2018 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Registration 5:00pm (TBD)

Program: 5:30pm, Cowles Auditorium

Reception: 6:30pm, Atrium

The entry period for 2018 is now closed. 

Are you a school, city, township, county or Native nation that has been innovating to improve services, offer new services, create a more engaged community or reduce the cost of local government? Share your innovation for a chance to win $5,000 and a professional video highlighting your effort!

Minnesota faces the reality of an aging population, rising health care costs, and increasing demand for government services with reduced revenue. Yet many counties, cities, townships, and schools have refused to let the traditional approaches of either increasing taxes or cutting spending dictate their responses to these challenges. Instead, they are pursuing a third way: innovation and service redesign.

The Local Government Innovation Awards recognize the creative ways counties, cities, townships, schools and Native nations are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. All types of local government innovation are encouraged to enter.

Up to 20 local government entities will be recognized as award winners for their innovation. The winner in each of the four categories will also receive a professional video highlighting their work and a grant from the Bush Foundation to continue local government innovation and redesign!

This year the awards will also feature the Local Government and Native Nation Collaboration Award. This category will ask local governments and Native Nations to co-submit an application detailing a project they have collaborated on to create positive change in their communities. The Native Nation and local government entity will each receive a $5,000 grant from the Bush Foundation and a professional video highlighting their project. 


This year's awards will honor up to 20 local government entities (five cities, five counties, five townships and five schools).

One overall winner in each category of city, county, township and school will be awarded a $5,000 grant and The Local Government and Native Nation category will be awarded a $10,000 grant from the Bush Foundation.

Please note that these grants must be used exclusively for charitable, public purposes and cannot be used for direct or grassroots lobbying efforts.

Entries accepted: September 17 - October 5, 2018

LGIA 2017 Township Category Winner: Sunrise Township

Sunrise Township spearheaded an extensive effort consisting of community meetings, required notices and securing buy-in from 50% of property owners to bring broadband infrastructure to their residents. In a collaborative effort between residents and the township board, they created a Subordinate Service District (SSD) to help facilitate the installation and financing of high speed internet through Century Link. The township received a grant and began acquiring a bond while Century Link assists with funding and works to install fiber optics to SDD area residents by December 2018.

LGIA 2017 County Category Winner: Blue Earth County Human Services, Sheriff's Department, and Mankato DPS

The Yellow Line Project (YLP) provides the earliest response possible when individuals with acute or chronic mental/chemical health problems come in contact with law enforcement. Funded by the Department of Human Services, YLP supports law enforcement and human services negotiations that provide the right services at the right time, not after they’ve crossed “the yellow line” into jail as most national in-house jail services operate. Results include direct savings in hospitalization and detox costs, reduced reliance on corrections and court services and more.

LGIA 2017 City Category Winner: St. Paul

In 2017, The City of Saint Paul developed Equity Strategic Action Planning for Neighborhoods to support six of its 17 district councils whose role is to ensure inclusive representation of its residents. In recognition of the challenging racial equity work necessary to achieve this the city brought together a cohort of organizations, staff, community members and an outside advisor. The result is a disciplined approach now guides community work in inclusive ways that reach racial parity in civic decision-making.

LGIA 2017 Native Nations Category Winner: Lower Sioux Indian Community and Redwood Area School District

Lower Sioux and the Redwood Area School District’s partnership creates cultural resources and improves educational outcomes for Native students. Native students at Redwood have higher proficiencies in state math and reading assessments and their graduation rate is above the state’s rate. Recently, the tribal-district partnership in Redwood has led to the first American Indian Lower Sioux Tribal member elected to the Redwood Area School Board in over 20 years and the district’s adoption of an unprecedented credit-bearing Dakota language class.

LGIA 2017 Schools Category Winner: Pillager Public Schools

Metier, pronounced meteor, is a grades 5-8 experiential learning program that teaches students to build a life and a career around flow, the happiest state wherein you feel and perform your best. It achieves significant impact by bringing in community, colleges, organizations, and individuals to share education and career paths so students can sample 15 career fields over two years. Metier, supported by the National Joint Powers Alliance and 3M’s Bush Foundation, will meet with 15+ schools in November 2017 to encourage replication.