| Program: || Appreciating Differences Among People and Things Project, St. Cloud, MN |
| Contact(s): || Steven Joul, President, Central Minnesota Community Foundation: (320) 253-4380 |
| Purpose: || To create the perception and the reality that racial harmony exist and that diversity is valued in the central Minnesota area |
As a result of perceived hostility toward persons of color, members of the minority communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul labeled the city of St. Cloud "White Cloud." In response to this, the Central Minnesota Community Foundation developed the Appreciating Differences Among People and Things Project (ADAPT) in 1992, designed to promote positive responses to issues of race and diversity. ADAPT provides leadership to individuals, organizations and agencies so they will develop and implement programs that promote diversity as a shared value in the community. This effort is based upon the assumption that the facilitation of long-term collaborative relationships among existing community agencies, institutions and persons of influence will lead to the recognition of St. Cloud as a place where people of all races and cultures are welcomed and can be successful.
ADAPT features 12 activities meant to either enhance existing programs or inspire new ones: 1.) leadership development: A diverse group of leaders are developed within the community to increase public awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity; 2.) community welcome: New residents are oriented to the community and welcomed into a friendly atmosphere; 3.) awareness of people of different races: Create an environment in which members of different cultures can interact with each other during routine community activities such as work, play and travel; 4.) educational resources: Facilitate collaborative efforts among leaders in the educational community, and strengthen minority recruitment and retention by local businesses and school districts; 5.) diversity education: Encourage education in the public and private sectors resulting in the larger population being exposed to diversity education; 6.) awards and recognition: Create awards and recognition of individuals and agencies for their contributions to cultural diversity; 7.) festivals and celebrations: Incorporate multicultural activities in community festivals and celebrations; 8.) cultural arts: Include cultural arts performances with multicultural themes and performers; 9.) mass media: Assist the mass media in presenting accurate representations of community activities related to diversity; 10.) religious community: Involve members of the religious communities in dialogue about cultural diversity within their services and religious education; 11.) resource development: Develop financial resources to promote cultural diversity from within the community; and, 12.) diversity directory: Produce a directory that details community activities that promote diversity and racial harmony.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Over a 5- to 20-year time period, four specific project outcomes are sought: 1.) awareness that the Central Minnesota area recognizes and appreciates cultural diversity; 2.) measurable change in the image held by people of color of the Central Minnesota and St. Cloud areas; 3.) creation of a feeling of welcome by everyone who comes into the community; and, 4.) evolution to an inclusive community.