Thursday, February 14, 2013

Calling All Idea People: St. Paul Wants You!

Our staff, from interns to Executive Director, is united on the issue: we love Saint Paul. We love our capital’s neighborly feeling, the walkability of its blocks, the delicious croissants from Trung Nam French Bakery, the quirky finds at Ax-man, and the red leather booths at Mancini’s Char house. We wax poetic: for Golden Thyme CafĂ©, for Irish Fest and for the Riverfront. Our capital city is pretty great already, and we want to help create a vision for an even more exciting future.

It’s not surprising, then, that we’re thrilled to support the Saint Paul Foundation’s Forever Saint Paul Challenge, a million dollar idea challenge to make our capital city forever strong. The Saint Paul Foundation invites individuals, groups, and organizations who love Saint Paul as much as we do to propose million dollar ways to make this great city even better than it already is. The winning idea will receive a $1 million grant to put their plan into action.

We’re putting our thinking caps on, and the lightbulbs are already illuminating, both figuratively and literally. Last week our team helped artist Ta-coumba Aiken place Lite-Brite pegs into what we hope will be a record breaking installation. We added just 21 small sections to what has now grown into an astounding community built art project, in anticipation of the Forever Saint Paul kick-off event this Saturday. If you’re reading this, we’d like you to consider entering the Forever Saint Paul Challenge. We believe that putting our heads together is the best way to grow great ideas.

Here’s how you can join us in supporting the Forever Saint Paul Challenge:

Attend the launch event: If you love Saint Paul, we ask that you join the St. Paul Foundation and Mayor Chris Coleman at the public launch event on Saturday, February 16th at the Union Depot, where Forever St. Paul supporters, along with local artist Ta-coumba Aiken, will attempt to set a Guinness World Record, "Largest Picture Made of Lite-Brite." The Lite-Brite mural will be 12 feet by 24 feet and filled with more than 520,000 Lite-Brite pegs. Family-friendly activities start at 3:00 p.m. and the official lighting ceremony will be at 7:00 p.m. There will also be live music, food and super-sized games. The event is free and open to the public, so bring an entourage!

Volunteer as a community reviewer: Community reviewers are needed to review the million dollar ideas and help narrow them to 25 semifinalists from April 6-24. You can sign up online at For questions about being a community reviewer, contact Cat Beltmann at Citizens League, or 651.289.1075.

Submit an idea: Tell us what you would do with $1 million to make St. Paul an even better place to live at

The Charities Review Council invites our friends, our allies and favorite nonprofits to join us in supporting this exciting project and in entering great ideas. Game on!

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