Google expands support for nonprofits

Google announced Wednesday that it will award $1 million through what it calls the " Impact Challenge Minnesota," which seeks proposals from Minnesota nonprofits "for bold ideas to grow economic opportunity in their local communities."

The announcement at the Rondo Library in St. Paul came as Google employees and volunteers spent the day at the library at University and Dale avenues working on online digital skills with small-business owners, nonprofit employees, job seekers and others.

The Impact Challenge has launched previously in several other states and is part of the "Grow with Google" initiative, which aims to create economic opportunity throughout the country by providing the tools to help advance careers, expand businesses and assist the nonprofit community.

"On the heels of 'Grow with Google' Minnesota, we are excited to continue partnering with local communities to help grow economic opportunities with the Minnesota Impact Challenge," said Dan Harbeke, Google's regional head of external affairs. "The state is home to a vibrant nonprofit community with exciting visions for the future."

Together with a panel of local judges, Google will review the applications and choose five winners who will receive $175,000 in grant funding and training. After the winners are announced, Minnesotans will be invited to vote on which project they believe will have the greatest economic impact. The winner of that vote will receive an additional $125,000 in funding.

Minnesota nonprofit organizations can find more information on the Impact Challenge and submit their applications by visiting The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 15.

In 2018, 20,000 Minnesota businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits generated $6.41 billion in "economic activity" using Google search and advertising tools, according to Google's 2018 Economic Impact Report.

Neal St. Anthony

electronics recycling

1 billion pounds that helped environment

MRM said it has overseen recycling of 1 billion pounds of electronics.

MRM, which stands for Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management, was founded in 2007 by electronics manufacturers Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba, after reaching an agreement with Minnesota and other states to conform with electronics-retrieval law.

It now serves more than 50 global companies in their search for reputable recyclers and convenient e-reporting of compliance requirements. MRM coordinates the needs of manufacturers with a network of certified recyclers, which also refurbish some of the products.

"We're proud of our role in keeping the consumer electronics industry as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible," said Tricia Conroy, executive director of St. Louis Park-based MRM. "Whether we are serving the consumer looking to dispose of an old laptop, the manufacturer searching for a responsible recycler, or a company seeking compliance guidance, our efforts always add up to less waste disposed.

"We help manufacturers identify state-specific responsibilities, engage in responsible recycling and communicate crucial information to regulatory bodies. And our auditors continue to make site visits to ensure recycler compliance. MRM looks for recyclers on the cutting edge of innovation, to keep the electronics ecosystem as healthy and sustainable as possible."

MRM monitors state recycling regulations, vets and audits recyclers, connects them with manufacturers, and manages the paperwork necessary to prove manufacturer compliance with applicable laws.

It also provides consumers with local drop-off sites, which can be found at

Neal St. Anthony

commercial real estate

DEED launches office search for 600 workers

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is hunting for about 190,000 square feet of office space in the Twin Cities.

DEED, which is housed in the First National Bank building in downtown St. Paul, recently released a request for proposals for office space for its 600 employees. In the request, the department said it is looking for contiguous space that provides windows and natural light within a 10-mile radius of the State Capitol. That radius would include downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as numerous suburbs. It is possible that DEED could also renew its lease at First National Bank.

"It is the intent of the State of Minnesota to enter into a lease for space in an existing or newly constructed building that will best serve the Department of Employment and Economic Development," according to documents.

In the request, the department said it would prefer a space where it could expand as much as 70,000 square feet. It would also prefer parking nearby. Proposals are due Nov. 22, with DEED wanting to occupy a space no later than March 2021.

Nicole Norfleet