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October 22, 2018

2/6/2018 11:10:00 AM
Hackensack included in Thriving Communities Initiative; see where you fit in!

The Hackensack Lakes Area is on the move! The Hackensack Lakes Area initiative group is challenging area residents to "Be the Game Changer" and help identify projects and emerging leaders for the Hackensack Lakes Area of the future. The Game Changers kickoff meeting will be held Saturday, February 24, from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm at the Birchwood Charhouse in Hackensack. Appetizers will be served, and door prizes are available. Bring your friends and make your voice heard!

In the spring of 2017, Hackensack submitted a competitive grant to the Initiative Foundation to participate in the revised Thriving Communities Initiative. According to Foundation website, the program assists communities to "engage new and emerging leaders in leadership development, asset-based community development and local philanthropy." Hackensack was chosen as one of only five communities in the program, along with Eden Valley, Menahga, Milaca and Upsala

During Phase I of the program the Hackensack Lakes Area start-up group began meeting on June 22, 2017, to discuss community assets that could be promoted to attract more people and businesses to the area, and to enhance community livability. After several meetings, group members travelled three times to the Initiative Foundation offices in Little Falls for specialized training to identify, support and mentor new and emerging leaders.

The Hackensack Lakes Area group was then one of only three communities selected to advance to Phase II of the program. Communities advancing to Phase II were selected after demonstrating they are ready and willing to put their skills and training to use on community and economic development. In Phase II, Initiative Foundation staff will provide training, continued technical assistance and referrals to the Hackensack group as they work to engage underrepresented populations and civic leaders, identify key community assets, explore community-based solutions, and work to expand economic opportunities to attract residents, business owners and visitors. The Hackensack group will also be offered a customized consultation with the Foundation's Community Philanthropy Specialist to identify strategies for building, growing and managing local investments. Members of the Hackensack Lakes Area group participated in additional training at Foundation headquarters on February 1, 2018, and will attend again in March. At the conclusion of Phase II, up to three communities will be selected for Phase III, during which a challenge match of up to $20,000 will be available.  

According to the Foundation website: "The Thriving Communities Initiative program is funded in part, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI). Funds from RCDI help to cover Phase I costs. Additional funds for Phase II participation are raised locally, with assistance from the Initiative Foundation. Other program sponsors include Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power and Wells Fargo Foundation."

The Game Changers kickoff meeting is Saturday, February 24, 2018, from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm at the Birchwood Charhouse in Hackensack. Participants of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Bill Hansen Realty

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