Take up the challenge and enter your community or community project in the 25th Anniversary Minnesota Community Pride competition. Participants will be showcased and the winners will be announced at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.

“Minnesota’s strength lies in the vitality and can-do spirit of its communities and neighborhoods and the ingenuity of our people,” said Jane Leonard, president of contest organizer Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. “The State Fair has always been a place and time for Minnesotans to showcase, recognize and share creative ideas and innovations.”

Community Pride“It’s the perfect venue to spotlight communities that are helping our state be the best we can be,” she explained, “and one of the few places left where we all come together as Minnesotans.”

The competition, which begins June 2, will lift up and publicly recognize the energy and ingenuity of Minnesota’s communities in both overall community and economic development achievement, and innovations in specific disciplines, such as education, broadband deployment and application, health care, entrepreneurship support, arts & culture, and public finance and more.

Minnesota Community Pride is part of the Reinventing Minnesota initiative, to identify communities statewide for their efforts to move beyond the current economic crisis with creative and proactive community and economic development initiatives, and to share those best practices with their neighbors across the state. In 1984, during a similar economic crisis, the State of Minnesota with public and private partners began the Minnesota Community Pride program. This year’s 25th anniversary contest is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair, MinnPost.com, and Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc.

Reinventing Minnesota logo Supporting this effort will be the online Minnesota Community Exchange, a platform to connect to the updated Minnesota Community Resource Directory, and to enable communication between communities to share ideas and experience.

Contest details, including application forms, timelines and contest criteria, and the Minnesota Community Exchange, are available at http://www.ReinventingMinnesota.org. Entry deadline is July 17; cash awards will go to the top winners in each category. You can also email jleonard@minnesotaruralpartners.org or call 651-303-5263 if you have questions.