People & Places – April 2015

Two win fellowship awards Two people with disabilities are among the 23 Bush Foundation’s 2015 Bush Fellows. Winners are chosen because […]

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Two win fellowship awards

Two people with disabilities are among the 23 Bush Foundation’s 2015 Bush Fellows. Winners are chosen because
they are seen as leaders with records of achievement and extraordinary potential to make significant contributions in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

This year’s fellows include Adam Perry and Alex Zeibot, both of Minneapolis. They were chosen from a field of more than 600 applicants.

The fellowship is unique because it provides a flexible opportunity for community leaders to say what they need to become a better leader. It also provides support to make that happen. Fellows receive up to $100,000 over one to two years to pursue learning experiences that help them develop leadership skills and attributes. The fellowship can be used for advanced education, extensive opportunities for networking, and access to leadership resources, workshops and trainings.

Even though Perry is living with a degenerative eye disease that has taken most of his usable sight, he believes he has never lost his vision. As a senior program director at Arts Midwest, overseeing complex international initiatives with musicians, authors and filmmakers, he knows that his disability doesn’t disqualify him as a leader.

But Perry also recognizes that much of the world does not necessarily have the same understanding about people with disabilities. With his Bush Fellowship, he will grow his competency in cross-cultural communications and nonprofit management to continue his transition from “operator” to “leader.”

Language is the key to Zeibot’s universe. Born deaf in Riga, Latvia, and initially only exposed to language through text, he attended a deaf school in Leningrad, Russia, where his life changed when he was introduced to a “manual” language. His journey brought him to the U.S. where he earned a bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University and a master’s in deaf education from the University of Minnesota.

Recognizing that deaf students who graduate from high school have a median reading level eight years below their hearing peers—and that deaf and hearing students learn literacy skills through entirely differences brain processes— Alex seeks to develop an effective curriculum that helps deaf children overcome the literacy gap. He will use his Bush Fellowship to earn his PhD.

More than 2,200 people have taken advantage of the fellowship to become better leaders through a self-designed learning experience, academic program or travel across the country to build connections with thought leaders on topics critical to their community. The Bush Fellowship counts among its alumni former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson and Fond Du Lac Tribal Chairwoman Karen Diver.

“We are thrilled to invest in this extraordinary group of leaders,” said Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy. “Bush Fellows have a unique opportunity to pursue the knowledge, connections and experiences that they believe are necessary to become more effective leaders. Investing in individual leadership is investing in the future well-being of our region. The extraordinary accomplishments of Fellows over the last 50 years are a testament to that.”




Robins, Hawks win state titles

The bird was the word as the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) crowned its 2015 champions
in adapted floor hockey, following a weekend of tournament play March 13-14 at Bloomington Jefferson High School. The Robins of Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka won a fifth straight title in the PI Division, for athletes with physical disabilities. The Hawks of Dakotas United are the 2015 CI Division champs, for athletes with cognitive disabilities.

The Hawks, with 12 seniors on the roster, upset a strong North Suburban team, 4-2, in the title game.
North Suburban had had an unbeaten season until facing the Hawks in the state final. Dakota United
defeated teams from St. Cloud Area and Anoka-Hennepin to advance the title game, while North Suburban
topped South Washington County and New Prague area schools. Anoka-Hennepin won the third
place game over New Prague. Maple Grove beat Owatonna for the consolation title. The New Prague/
Tri-City United (TCU)/LeSueur Henderson (LSH)/Belle Plain/Jordan came in as the defending champion.

The PI champion Robins defeated Anoka-Hennepin Mustangs 4-3, in a game that was tied after the first two periods. The Robins topped Dakota United and Rochester to advance to the title game. The Mustangs defeated South Suburban and Brainerd/Pillager en route to the title match. Brainerd/Pillar beat Rochester to take first place. Dakota United beat South Suburban for the consolation title. The eighth team in the tournament was St. Paul Highland Park.

Wells Fargo and the MSHSL honored all-tournament teams. Teams are selected by the coaches at the tournaments. The 2015 CI Division Adapted Floor Hockey All-Tournament Team includes Dakota United athletes Carl Fagre, Bryce Jahnke and Blake St. Mane; North Suburban athletes Anthony Bengtson, Josh Hamann and Nick Powers; Anoka-Hennepin’s Jaden Chamberlain and Cole Denny; New Prague/TCU/LSH/Belle Plain/Jordan’s Jacob Malecha and Matthew Schoenbauer; Maple Grove’s Mark Bazile and Owatonna’s Zach Sencer.

The 2015 PI Division Adapted Floor Hockey All-Tournament Team includes Robbinsdale/Hopkins/ Mound Westonka’s Andy Hanson, Chaun Johnson and Jeremy Jost; Anoka-Hennepin’s Kai France, Joey Manion and Ben Schmitz; Brainerd/Pillager’s Zachary Denny and Brock Saatzer; Rochester’s Calvin Gerdt and Sean Healy; Dakota United’s Nick Kuefler and South Suburban’s Alexei Dickinson.



Walker is new committee leader

The Metropolitan Council has appointed Kjensmo Walker to serve as chair of the Transportation Accessibility
Advisory Committee (TAAC). Created by the Minnesota Legislature, the committee advises the council on management policies for public transportation services in the region by providing the perspective of riders with disabilities.

Walker, of St. Paul, was appointed in May 2012 to serve on TAAC by the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. A daily transit user, Waller advocates for transportation solutions that work for all people. She works for the District Councils Collaborative of St. Paul and Minneapolis and also serves on the board of directors for St. Paul Smart Trips.

Walker will serve a two-year term, ending Jan. 1, 2017. Ron Biss, who served as the chair of the TAAC for many years, died in October 2014.

“This committee plays an important role in lifting up the voices in our communities and fulfilling the Council’s commitment to equity,” said Council Chair Adam Duininck. “The leadership Ms. Walker and this committee provide is essential to planning for a transportation system that works for all our region’s residents. I’m grateful to Ms. Walker and the other TAAC members for their work in advocating for accessibility in our transit and transportation system.”

The TAAC, which has 16 members, includes riders and advocates for senior citizens and the disability community, as well as representatives of service providers.

Seven of the members are chosen by disability and senior groups in the metropolitan area and eight others represent districts that are combinations of the Council’s 16 districts. At least half the members must be certified as paratransit eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act and be active users of public transportation.

The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning organization for the seven-county metro area. It runs the regional bus and light-rail system, collects and treats wastewater and coordinates water resources preservation, plans regional parks, and administers funds that provide housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.



Upstream Arts selected for group

Upstream Arts is among 16 organizations selected for Bush Foundation’s Community Creativity Cohort. The cohort is a one-time program designed to both recognize and learn from exemplary organizations that meaningfully engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life.

The organizations selected to participate in the Cohort will each receive an unrestricted grant of $100,000. In addition, the cohort will work with the foundation over the next six months to articulate the challenges and opportunities associated with their work, particularly around efforts to engage the community, build and support leadership, and advance racial and economic equity. The insights from this effort will help inform the foundation’s future work in the arts.

“The arts can inspire communities to think bigger and differently about how to address tough challenges. But organizations that work in the arts wrestle with tough challenges of their own,” said Bush Foundation Strategy and Learning Vice President Allison Barmann. “The Community Creativity Cohort will help us better understand both the challenges and opportunities these organizations face. This knowledge will strengthen our ability to support efforts to engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life.”

The Community Creativity Cohort, which includes organizations from Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, will meet twice over the next six months. Each meeting will feature guest presenters who will inspire and inform the Cohort on issues related to community engagement, leadership development and equity. The organizations that participate in the cohort will also share lessons learned from their experience working on these issues in their own communities.

“The Community Creativity Cohort will advance our legacy of support for the arts and align it with our work to inspire and support leadership and community innovation,” Barmann said.



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