How could your community use $15,000 to help people be healthy?

Implicit in many news stories about local problems is the need for someone to address them, leaders of the Minnesota Community Foundation thought. So they create a way to encourage the public to do just that. With funding from the Knight Community Information Challenge, the foundation created a statewide contest to bring the state’s residents together to solve critical issues.

Launched in March, the Minnesota Idea Open asked its first question: How could your community use $15,000 to help people eat smart and be active? The topic ‘ the obesity epidemic ‘ struck a nerve. More than 400 people submitted ideas at, and close to 4,800 voted for one of three finalists.

The foundation announced its first winner this week: Kids Lead the Way, which enables kids to design and create their own field days and activities for their classmates, with the help of volunteer personal trainers and other partners. The key component is having the kids be the active decision makers in the program, winner Christine Tubbs says.

‘This generation has a shorter life expectancy than preceding generations,’ Tubbs said. ‘They need to know how to do this, how to lead healthy lives. It has to be instinctive, and they have to be given the opportunity to really make it their own.

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