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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund

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Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund

Mary J. Page

Mary J. Page (1934-2013) was a voice for rural Minnesota. As a commissioner for Renville County and Mayor of Olivia in southwest Minnesota, as a Regent for the University of Minnesota, and in many dozens of other leadership roles in the community and in the state, she carried the concerns of outside-the-metro Minnesota to important policy-making circles.

Mary helped to create, and then served on, the founding board of the West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (WCRSDP) from 1999-2007, and gave statewide leadership to the Partnerships until 2009. Mary provided foundational ideals that formed the citizen-driven aspects of the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) and left a lasting imprint on the program.

Members of the Page family have founded this endowment and have pledged additional matching support for gifts to honor Mary's commitment to rural communities and RSDP.

The fund supports University of Minnesota students working on community-based sustainability projects in Greater Minnesota. Funding for students is administered through the U of M's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) Community Assistantship Program (CAP). Greater Minnesota communities and organizations can apply to have a student work on their project. Deadlines are March 15 for summer semester assistance, June 30 for fall semester assistance, and October 30 for spring semester assistance. U of M students apply for CAP projects through the U of M Employment website.

In the Spring of 2015, the fund's first grant was used for research in commercializing hazelnuts, an environmentally friendly and potentially high-value crop for Minnesota farmers. In summer 2015, the fund supported Greater Minnesota Rising, a project to help attract and retain young professionals in 14 Central and Western counties. More recent projects have included a research project with the Minnesota Fiber Alliance identifying the interest of manufacturers in developing new products and markets for local wool, and business planning for a community garden in Olivia that will benefit the regional economy by creating jobs and providing fresh, healthy foods.

On May 21, 2014, RSDP, Extension and the Page family held a kickoff for the fund. View a video from the event.

RSDP successfully reached a challenge grant provided by Mary's daughter, Marcia Page, and continues to raise money for the fund. Your contribution can help us support University of Minnesota students in continuing Mary's legacy of promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and the sustainability of our rural communities.

Donate to the Mary J. Page Fund

RSDP connects communities with the resources of the University of Minnesota to drive sustainability in Greater Minnesota, and is part of University of Minnesota Extension.

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