Winners announced in MN Idea Open Challenge III

The Minnesota Idea Open, a venture of Minnesota Community Foundation, is proud to announce the three champions of Challenge III:

Above: Image from Youtube video by winners Paul and Akiko Maeker.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Idea Open, a venture of Minnesota Community Foundation, is proud to announce the three champions of Challenge III: Working Together Across Cultures and Faiths.

Selected by public voting that generated nearly 2,000 votes statewide over a 10-day period, the champions were chosen from among five finalists that addressed the Challenge question: What is your best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths?

"We are excited about the winning ideas, which reflect so much passion for building connections across cultures and faiths," said Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of Minnesota Community Foundation, which created the Idea Open. "Minnesotans showed a real interest in this issue. We were delighted to receive more than 600 insightful and creative ideas that help more individuals work together across cultures and faiths. We're looking forward to seeing the three champions' ideas come to life in the coming months."

Following are the Idea Open Challenge III Champions. The winning ideas will receive $15,000 each for implementation:

Hidden Pearls 7-Step Summer Challenge | Fatuma Mohamed
See what a group of energetic young, Muslim Minnesota women can do to work to shatter stereotypes and empower others to lead across cultures and faiths in their own communities. Fatuma will be challenging Minnesotans to a fun summer of church/synagogue/mosque-hopping, a healthy community-wide walk, pink hijab week and much more! Read Fatuma's idea at http://bit.ly/Jxn9SL or watch her video.

Tents of Witness | Margo O'Dell and Ellen Kennedy

More Minnesotans will have a chance to learn more about our diverse refugee community through the Tents of Witness exhibit. Each tent represents an individual refugee's story as a way to connect others across cultures and faiths. The goal is to create compassionate communities that are welcoming and willing to stand up against violence and hate. Read Margo and Ellen's idea at http://bit.ly/IhH4Bt or watch their video.

Multicultural Barn Raisings | Jim Rettew
Minnesotans will have an opportunity to combine their hard work ethic and passion for giving back to the community - while also getting out of their comfort zones. Imagine working with a group of strangers to make a home wheelchair accessible for a Minnesota veteran. Through multicultural barn raisings that match individual skills with community needs, Jim's idea will be bringing people together across skills, cultures and faiths to work on a shared goal. Read Jim's idea at http://bit.ly/JLMztn or watch his video.

Following are the Idea Open Challenge III Runners-up. Each idea will receive $5,000:

Questions from the Future of Minnesota | Paul and Akiko Maeker
Kids often say the most insightful things, and Paul and Akiko's idea establishes a kid-friendly format for intercultural and interfaith dialogue about the future of our state. Read more at http://bit.ly/IF7iNM or watch their video.

United By History | Margaret Michaletz
Margaret's idea is to record a series of oral histories by immigrants who have come to Steele County over the past 75 years. Read more at http://bit.ly/Jxmcda or watch her video.

About Minnesota Idea Open
Minnesota Idea Open is a cutting-edge, community utility that brings people together to learn about critical issues facing the state, work together on creative solutions and inspire individuals to action. Minnesota Community Foundation, an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, partnered with Ashoka Changemakers to launch the Idea Open in 2010 with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Idea Open is able to host multiple challenges simultaneously and has made its platform available to other organizations that want to use the technology to engage their stakeholders on issues of importance. MNIdeaOpen.org.

The Idea Open is a venture of Minnesota Community Foundation with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Challenge III: Working Together Across Cultures and Faiths is made possible by One Nation and three affiliates of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners:Minnesota Community Foundation, the Multicultural Endowment and Facing Race. Learn more at onenationfoundation.org and mnpartners.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.