Page 2 of 2 Previous
The replication strategy has been the same in all locations. First, there are initial conversations, gauging the community’s interest and its ability to find leaders to run with it. Next is the “exploration” stage, deciding whether the community itself is a good fit.
“We want to make sure there are good-paying jobs and a strong postsecondary education system that the women can participate in,” Perez said. “There also has to be a demonstrated history of philanthropy and volunteerism. In the Twin Cities alone, we had more than 1,200 volunteers last year.”
Then comes the “predevelopment” stage, during which organizers evaluate whether the city has the financial and other resources to get it off the ground. That leads to fundraising, “the most difficult part,” said Perez.
The move outside Minnesota is part of a strategic plan by the Jeremiah Program, which also has a St. Paul location. Several years ago, it created a national board of directors to focus on helping other communities build the Minnesota model. Next year, the nonprofit will launch a fundraising campaign to support expansion plans, Perez said.
Through it all, the project will need to maintain a balance between running Minnesota programs and growing a national presence, said Perez, noting “It will be really important not to overextend ourselves, our leadership or our financial resources.”
“But the time seems right.”
Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511