2018 Award Winners


Leading Innovator: Fire Chiefs Association Closest Unit Dispatching for Cities in Ramsey County — Ramsey County Fire Chiefs Association

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 (JPA) in 2016 and have improved response times for critical calls, resulting in a higher survivability rate and less property loss.

The Big Lake High School Work-Based Learning Program — City of Big Lake

Rochester Reading Champions — Rochester Public Library

Strengthening Richfield Apartment Communities — City of Richfield

Farmers Markets of Minneapolis Collaborative — City of Minneapolis


Leading Innovator: Region V+ Family Child Care Licensing Collaboration — Morrison County

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 family childcare is hitting a crisis state.

Anoka County Library VolunTeen Program — Anoka County Library

Video Directly Observed Therapy  (VDOT) for Tuberculosis Treatment — Dakota County Public Health

Connected Kids Initiative — Anoka County Community Social Service and Behavioral Health

100-Day Challenge — Hennepin County

Native Nations Collaboration

Leading Innovator: Cass County and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe MOU — Cass County and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Cass County and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s (LLBO) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) provides a framework for multi-level communication and cooperation between the county and the Band for natural resource management, community development, economic development, and maintaining 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.

Mahnomen County Economic Development Authority (EDA) — Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) + White Earth Nation

Education Day with the Mahkato Wacipi — Mahkato Mdewakanton Association, Mankato Area Public Schools, and Minnesota State University, Mankato + Mahkato Mdewakanton Association

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community UAV Program — Mdewakanton Public Safety + The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community


Leading Innovator: 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 was formed in 2015 and has successfully offered five community conversations on race and equity topics to address and unravel social constructs specifically designed to promote and exclude particular racial groups.

Marshall County Central Schools - Outdoor Prairie and Outdoor Classroom — Marshall County Central Schools

Students Connecting Through International Service — Osseo Area Schools

Passion, Purpose and Hope: Career Pathways for ALL Students — Burnsville High School

Insurance Program Conversion — Northfield Public Schools