Staples, Minn.,
19:28 PM

Projects in Mental Health, Traffic Safety Education to Receive Boost from Sourcewell

Four regional projects are recommended to receive $500,000 in Innovation Funding

Comprehensive mental health intervention, experiential traffic safety education, projects to support and honor area veterans, and a feasibility study for a trail linking Staples to Pillager are the four regional projects recommended to receive Innovation Funding for the fiscal year 2018-19. These projects are thanks to the collaboration and work coordinated by local government and are recommended to receive $500,000 in Innovation Funding from Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance).

All project applicants and several leaders in local government gathered at Sourcewell on June 13 for the 2018 Innovation Funding Review Day. Six groups presented and fielded questions about their initiatives with a total request of $672,405 in funding.


Crow Wing County Region V+ Adult Mental Health Initiative – $287,000 to support and expand its Comprehensive Re-Entry Project throughout Region 5 (and beyond), an initiative that enhances the resources and tools available to law enforcement, crisis service providers, hospitals, and counties/tribes so that individuals with mental or chemical health problems get the care they need.

City of Brainerd Toward Zero Deaths Program – $100,000 for portable equipment and resources to provide experiential traffic safety education for Region 5 citizens, specifically in schools and at community events. One example is the seatbelt convincer, which is a trailer with a vehicle seat mounted to a downward track. A rider gets buckled into the seat and decelerates at 5-10 mph, coming to a sudden stop and experiencing the force generated from an actual collision.

Todd County on behalf of the Community Veterans Enhancement Project – $80,000 for projects in Morrison County (Veterans Memorial Park and parking area in Upsala), Todd County (Motley Cemetery Shoreline Restoration Project), and Cass County (provide a storage facility for adaptive equipment).

City of Staples – $33,000 (of $53,940 sought) to conduct a feasibility study for the expansion of the Legacy Trail from Staples, through Motley, and extending to Pillager.

Sourcewell Director of Regional Programs Paul Drange will present the recommendations to the Sourcewell board of directors at its June 19 meeting. Upon approval, the projects will come to contract after July 1, 2018.

At the Review Day, Drange thanked all attendees, acknowledging the collaboration among the region's public entities.

“It is an honor to work with you and to partner together to make these great ideas come to fruition and to make these things happen,” Drange said. “That's the biggest thing we get from this. I know our board is appreciative of your participation and your willingness to bring these ideas forward and really working together as one to make them happen.”

Tom Nixon, west-central regional coordinator for Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Program and a champion of Brainerd's project, says his team can't wait to get started.

“We're really excited,” Nixon said. “The experiential learning that we're going to be able to bring to the citizens of Region 5 will allow us to educate folks on their decisions – behind the wheel, alongside the road, and as a passenger, so they can arrive at their destination safely.”

Sourcewell's Innovation Funding program supports creative, collaborative, and lasting projects with widespread impact for schools and communities throughout Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties (Region 5). Proposed projects go through an extensive, multi-step application process to ensure they meet program criteria and will have widespread, lasting impact.

Selection and recommendation for funding is determined by representatives from local cities, counties, and other government associations – those who make up Sourcewell's regional membership. Sourcewell's board of directors provides final approval for all Innovation Funding projects. Since 2014, schools and communities in Region 5 have used over $7.45 million in Innovation Funding to positively impact central Minnesota. For more information, visit

About Sourcewell

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota's nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.