Minnesota

The Bold North

These Minnesota changemakers are part of the problem-solving capital of the new economy. They define what it means to forge north.

116, Tom Streitz, Twin Cities RISE | Ending Poverty through Personal Empowerment

Twin Cities RISE transforms lives through personal empowerment and meaningful work. In the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, why does poverty persist across generations? The path out of poverty is complex, but it almost always involves meaningful work. And, while it often takes technical skills to find a job, more often the barrier to work involves power skills – emotional intelligence, social intelligence, confidence, belief, a sense of self-worth. Through their Personal Empowerment program, Twin Cities RISE creates transformative change, self-confidence and self-reliance. Twin Cities RISE helps individuals in poverty to find long-term, meaningful and stable employment. When someone joins Twin Cities RISE, they are…

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A Company Powered by Purpose, with Krista Carroll, Latitude

Latitude is a for-profit creative agency, powered by purpose. In November 2009, Krista and her husband were in their 30s and, as she told me, “chasing the American dream really hard.” They were being financially successful but lacked a level of meaning and purpose. It was during a trip to Haiti that they witnessed extreme poverty for the first time. In response to this life-changing experience, they decided to form a social enterprise. In order to avoid debt, Krista, her husband, and two small children moved into her parents’ basement. Their company, Latitude is a for-profit, full-service creative agency. They do amazingly great work in brand design and experience design. What…

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Social Impact Without Being a Startup Founder, with Amanda LaGrange, TechDump

TechDump provides job training and practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment. Social impact does not necessarily require you to be the founder of a social enterprise. Amanda LaGrange is living proof of that idea. Amanda spent more than seven years at General Mills, including time as a Senior Financial Analyst. Today, Amanda is the CEO of TechDump. TechDump refurbishes and recycles electronics, and in the process they create jobs for adults facing barriers to employment, especially those who have spent time in the justice system. TechDump accepts anything with a cable, cord or battery that is not a home appliance. Amanda brings her background in corporate finance to…

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Social Impact Without Being a Startup Founder, with Amanda LaGrange, TechDump

058, Jennifer Ford Reedy, Bush Foundation | Inspire, Equip, Connect

Jen Ford Reedy grew up in Lawrence, KS, a college town. She knew from a young age that she wanted to do something meaningful with her life. As an adult, she spent 9 years as a consultant with McKinsey & Company where she honed her strategic business skills. In 2008 she moved into philanthropic work first as VP of Strategy with Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. In 2012 she moved into the role of President of the Bush Foundation. It’s a role that seems to suit her blend of keen strategic insights and a heart for good. The Bush Foundation is an independent, private philanthropic foundation. It was created in 1953 by…

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058, Jennifer Ford Reedy, Bush Foundation | Inspire, Equip, Connect

041, Joy McBrien, Fair Anita | Beautiful Products with a Powerful Purpose

After experiencing sexual violence in high school, Joy McBrien decided that she wanted to prevent this tragedy from happening to other women. When she read about the high incidence of violence against women in Peru, she decided to travel there. As an 18 year-old, she started a non-profit. Working with local women, she raised funds and built a women’s shelter. Over the next six years, Joy visited 18 countries, listening closely to the needs of women. Through these conversations, Joy began to deeply understand the relationship between poverty and violence against women. She understood that the best path to empowerment was through economic development. In other words, jobs. Today, Joy…

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041, Joy McBrien, Fair Anita | Beautiful Products with a Powerful Purpose

038, Elise Maxwell, Ova Woman | A Talk With Your Lady Friend About Women’s Intimate Health

If you hang around the startup community long enough, you’re going to run into some founders that make you think “I don’t know what business they’re starting, but I want to back their play.” Elise Maxwell is one of those people. She is authentic, transparent and relentlessly helpful. She’s just someone you want to cheer for. Elise spends her days talking about women’s intimate health. What is women’s intimate health? Elise Maxwell told me, “It’s all the things that you might not be comfortable talking about. That’s a good indicator. Is this intimate health? Are you really comfortable talking about this right now? No? Then it’s probably intimate health.” Who…

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038, Elise Maxwell, Ova Woman | A Talk With Your Lady Friend About Women’s Intimate Health

020, Fred Rose, Acara | Helping Solve Hard and Complicated Problems Across Boundaries

Fred Rose grew up on a family farm a few miles from the Canadian border. It was there that Fred learned several life lessons that make him a good entrepreneur: self-sufficiency, a lack of need for permission, perseverance. He was also a bit of an odd man out. Imagine the audacity of a kid in a one-room school house who dared to dream of growing up to be a scientist. Fred told me that he’s always had a bit of chip on his shoulder: a need to prove that he could do what others did not believe he could do. Fred went to work in Silicon Valley in 1979, just…

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020, Fred Rose, Acara | Helping Solve Hard and Complicated Problems Across Boundaries

014, Steele Lorenz, MyRain | Saving Water Resources through Business Innovation

MyRain distributes efficient irrigation equipment to smallholder farmers in India. It is not an innovation of technology; drip irrigation has existed and been a proven technology for many years. By using drip irrigation, you can increase crop yield by 50% to 100% and decrease water consumed between 20% and 50% when compared with flood irrigation. Increasing yields can drastically improve the quality of life for smallholder farmers. Globally, 70% of freshwater is used for agricultural purposes. It has been estimated that by 2050 the world population will be around 9 billion. With the emerging global middle class, the demand for food will double. This places tremendous pressure on our freshwater…

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014, Steele Lorenz, MyRain | Saving Water Resources through Business Innovation