The Blandin Foundation is a strong partner and resource for rural Minnesota communities. When it started in 1941, the foundation centered its work on the area around its home base of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. It has since expanded its vision to include building “healthy, inclusive rural communities” throughout the state.

In addition to engaging in a wide variety of public policy issues, providing leadership training, and awarding grants, Blandin is a digital inclusion advocate. The focus of their activities is to ensure rural communities have access to broadband—affordable and robust broadband that supports economic vibrancy and quality of life. They help promote broadband in a variety of ways:

  • Building demand through research and documentation of return on investment, as well as communicating potential future benefits
  • Advocating for an inclusive, equitable statewide approach to broadband
  • Promoting ongoing education and discussion via a blog, webinars and a YouTube channel dedicated to broadband

I’ve learned a great deal by following Blandin’s various communications channels on broadband. They’re a rich source of information about what communities are doing, how the policy landscape is shifting, and how plans can be implemented effectively. They’re also a wonderful model for engaging communities and promoting thoughtful action.