A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

MinnCAP Best Practices Awards

Minnesota Community Action Partnership

Community Action Recognizes Innovative Programs

Responding to Skyrocketing Community Needs

Excerpts from Press Release

Minnesota’s Community Action Agencies are responding to budget cuts by developing new and innovative ways to assist the state’s burgeoning population of low-income people. Eight agencies were recognized for those innovations at Minnesota Community Action Partnership’s eighth annual Best Practices Awards Event.

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, Senate Assistant Majority Leader, and Representative Erin Murphy, Assistant Minority Leader, gave keynote speeches to celebrate this year’s honorees. Representative Paul Marquart offered his appreciation to the honorees for their innovative, efficient and collaborative work in communities throughout the state.

The Minnesota Community Action Partnership (MinnCAP) collaborates with the University of Minnesota, College of Human Education and Human Development and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to design and administer the Best Practices Awards event. This event honors Community Action Agencies for programs that are uniquely innovative and effective in ending poverty within their communities.

This year’s award-winning programs highlight issues facing communities around Minnesota, including job training, financial planning, food support, and energy efficiency. The 2012 winners, identified as exemplary in meeting one out of six goals, are: Anoka Community Action Program, Inc., Community Action Duluth, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership, Mahube Community Council, Inc., Minnesota Valley Action Council, Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council, West Central Minnesota Communities Action, and Western Community Action, Inc.

This Minnesota-based competition is a model for other states seeking to coordinate community-based anti-poverty efforts and university systems. Catherine A. Solheim, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota College of Human Education and Human Development, stated,

“The hallmark of these programs are the tangible outcomes that demonstrate how people living in poverty are improving their lives. These awards recognize the extremely effective family-strengthening work of Community Action Agencies statewide. I am excited to use these programs as examples in my classroom to train the next generation of professionals in social work, family science, and policy.”

The judges for this year’s awards reviewed nominations based on documented outcomes, innovation, and replicability. With special emphasis paid to partnerships, bonus points were awarded to projects involving community collaborations.

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