Nicholas Banovetz is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

The Minnesota Idea Open, a community problem-solving platform, believes that Minnesota is a better place when we work together in ways that push us beyond our usual comfort zones. This year, its Challenge III asks Minnesotans, “What is your best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in your community?”

For team MinnCAN, serving as a project partner for Challenge III was a no brainer. (MinnCAN’s Tim Lee is also serving as an idea evaluator.) Our state owns some of the most severe achievement gaps in the country. They are immoral and unsustainable, and too often translate to children of color not receiving an education that prepares them to be college- and career-ready. We’re hopeful that Minnesotans’ ideas will help whittle away at our state’s educational disparities.

The Idea Open encourages ideas of all sizes and shapes, and will grant three winning ideas $15,000 for implementation (the submitting individuals will each receive a $500 cash prize for their efforts).

Enter your best thinking between now and March 23, 2012, at or via email at

Although only three ideas will earn the Challenge III “Champion” title, working together on solutions and being inspired to action benefits all Minnesotans!

Want to learn more about Minnesota’s achievement gaps? Check out our 2012 State of Minnesota Public Education report.



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