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February 13, 2013 at 13:57 PM EST
The Saint Paul Foundation Announces $1 Million Forever Saint Paul Challenge

The Saint Paul Foundation and Minnesota Idea Open are asking all Minnesotans to answer the question: What would you do with $1 million to make Saint Paul great?

Today marks the official launch of The Saint Paul Foundation’s Forever Saint Paul Challenge. A first of its kind in Minnesota, the Challenge invites individuals to share their best and brightest ideas to help make Saint Paul forever strong at The winning idea will receive a $1 million grant to become a reality.

Why Saint Paul? When people love where they live, they invest time, energy and ideas to make it an even better place. The pride Minnesotans feel for their capital city surpasses most cities in the nation, according to a recent study by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Saint Paul Foundation wants to build on that energy and include all individuals—whether they have lived, worked or played in the state’s capital for three months or three generations—in thinking boldly about the future of Saint Paul.

“Our capital city, like so many other cities across the country, faces changes in demographics, the economy and local investment,” Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of The Saint Paul Foundation said. “As a community foundation, we see these changes as vital opportunities to think and do business differently to ensure a strong Saint Paul now and in the future.”

Forever Saint Paul Challenge supporters include the Bush Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Otto Bremer Foundation, 3M, Travelers, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund, Securian, McNeely Foundation and the Multicultural Endowment.

“This is such a unique and exciting opportunity for Saint Paul community leaders to gather at the same table as Minnesota residents who love Saint Paul and work together on making our capital city a great place for everyone,” Ann Mulholland, vice president of grants and program at The Saint Paul Foundation, said.

To celebrate the launch, The Saint Paul Foundation will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the "Largest Picture Made of Lite-Brite" on February 16, 2013, at the Union Depot, 214 East Fourth Street, Saint Paul. This giant art installation will be 12-feet tall by 24-feet long and filled with more than 520,000 Lite-Brite pegs. It will feature a mural created by award-winning Saint Paul artist Ta-coumba T. Aiken.

The celebration includes activities for the public beginning at 3:00 p.m., and the lighting ceremony starts at 7:00 p.m. with brief remarks from Mayor Chris Coleman, Rhodes and special guests, followed by illumination of the world record-breaking Lite-Brite installation. A Guinness World Record judge will be on hand to confirm the record.

Ideas for the Forever Saint Paul Challenge will be accepted through April 3, 2013. Check the website at for information about upcoming Idea Open Houses in March. These casual, neighborhood events will bring people together to work on their ideas and receive in-person information about how to enter.

This year marks the fourth annual statewide ideas competition through the Idea Open. Previous Challenges have addressed issues of obesity, water stewardship and working together across cultures and faiths. To date, the Idea Open has engaged thousands of Minnesotans in solving critical issues facing Minnesota.

Forever Saint Paul Challenge Key Dates

February 16: Challenge launch event, 3:00-9:00 p.m.

Idea submissions open at

April 3: Deadline for idea submissions
August 13: Public voting for winning idea begins
September 2: Voting ends
September 9: Winning idea announced

About The Saint Paul Foundation
Since 1940, thousands of generous individuals committed to the Saint Paul area have made charitable gifts to The Saint Paul Foundation. Today, the Foundation is the state’s largest community foundation. Guided by the legacy of its earliest donors, the Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable giving goals and have long-lasting impact in the community. The Foundation is an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Learn more at and

About Minnesota Idea Open
The Minnesota Idea Open is a venture of Minnesota Community Foundation, an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Through statewide idea Challenges, the Idea Open invites individuals to help solve critical issues and inspire communities to action. Launched in 2010, the Idea Open has operated four marquee Challenges to date. The platform was made by possible by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Idea Open website is powered by Ashoka Changemakers, which provides tools and resources that enable everyone to contribute to a better world. Learn more at


Padilla Speer Beardsley
Laudan Fenster, 612-455-1746 (o)
The Saint Paul Foundation
Kari Ruth, 651-325-4243 (o)
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