Humphrey School announces annual Local Government Innovation Awards

City hall sign.

The University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC), in collaboration with The Bush Foundation, announces its 12th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA) to recognize innovation, impact, sustainability, and potential for growth for cities, counties, townships, schools and Native nations in Minnesota.

Partners in the awards program include the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Association of Townships and the Minnesota School Boards Association. “Their involvement in the program ensures the integrity of review and serves as a way to gain ongoing feedback on the challenges local governments face,” says Jay Kiedrowski, Humphrey School senior fellow and LGIA program lead. “As we determined last year, the gaps in resources look vastly different among the categories, and it reconfirmed the need for LGIA as a means to track, understand and innovate to solve these challenges.”
In 2017, LGIA created a new category to recognize the innovative work and collaboration of Native nations and local government. Kiedrowski says, “We are pleased to enter into year two of our Native nation category award after receiving an impressive quality of 2017 entries detailing the significance of the Native nation work and partnerships at the local government level. We look forward to bringing more visibility to the work and its impact again this year.” 

The Bush Foundation continues to support the LGIA and this spring announced a similar Native nation award at the Minnesota state government level for the State Government Innovation Awards (SGIA). Eileen Briggs, who leads the Bush Foundation’s Native Nation Building Initiative, says, “We are excited to recognize Native nations at the local and state government levels through each award program. Through these efforts, we can forge new paths, projects and programs that support co-created solutions in Minnesota.”

LGIA submission and award process
The Local Government Innovation Awards evaluate how the submissions create greater accountability; use incentives, charges, and targeting to meet those in need; orchestrate competitive contracting; fund consumers; manage collaboration or consolidation; and deploy prevention strategies that eliminate the need for a service or divest current services to the community.

The judges, representing PNLC and the program’s partners, will consider innovation, impact and sustainability of projects. Up to 25 local government entities will be recognized. One project in each category will be recognized as a Leading Innovator and receive a professional video highlighting their work in addition to a $5,000 grant from the Bush Foundation. The Native nation category requires a collaborative submission between a Native nation and a city, county, township or school.

2017 LGIA winners included The City of Saint Paul, Equity Strategic Action Planning for Neighborhoods; Blue Earth County Human Services, Sheriff's Office, and Mankato Department of Public Safety, Yellow Line Project; Sunrise Township, Broadband Initiative; Pillager Public Schools, Metier; and Redwood Area School District with the Lower Sioux Indian Community, Creating Effective Culturally-Based Resources and Results for American Indian Students. 

The call for entries for the 2018 LGIA runs September 17 through October 5. Winners will be recognized at a public awards celebration on December 13. 


About LGIA
Since 2007, The Local Government Innovation Awards have been recognizing the creative ways counties, cities, townships and schools are making Minnesota better by pursuing innovation and service redesign. The awards are presented by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in partnership with the League of Minnesota Cities, Minnesota Association of Townships, the Association of Minnesota Counties and the Minnesota School Board Association. The Awards are made possible by support from the Bush Foundation. Learn more at and @PNLCHHH.

About The Humphrey School of Public Affairs
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is ranked as one of the country’s top 10 professional public policy and planning schools. The School is long noted for equipping students to play key roles in public life at the local, state, national, and global level and offers six distinctive master’s degrees, a doctoral degree, and six certificate programs. Learn more at

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