- Annual Conference
|Megan Langley Laudenschlager|
Strengthen ND is a dynamic, multi-faceted, and well-connected organization focused on elevating and expanding rural community viability across North Dakota and the Native Nations that share its geography. Created in 2015 in response to the growing disparities being faced by rural communities, Strengthen ND’s mission focuses on building nonprofit and rural community capacity, advancing regional issues, and facilitating community solutions to support and accelerate community development throughout rural North Dakota.
Strengthen ND’s Strategic Focus Areas
Nonprofit and Rural Community Capacity Building: Strengthen ND’s capacity building approach is implemented through three layers of technical assistance and support, including a formal certificate program, small group workshops, and one-on-one organizational engagements. Strengthen ND’s Nonprofit Certificate Program is a six-month endeavor that provides instruction on the foundational elements of nonprofit administration, which is now in its seventh year of implementation, impacting over 100 leaders. Informal workshops and webinars are provided on topics that supplement or elevate community and economic development efforts. Finally, one-on-one technical assistance is provided to organizations and groups based on their needs, including community planning, fundraising, project management, budgeting, succession planning, and grant writing.
Advancing Regional Issues: Strengthen ND’s work to advance regional issues has shown up in several ways, most notably through the work of organizing communities and stakeholders around a need and serving as an advocate for very rural and disadvantaged communities. A specific example of our work to advance regional issues includes supporting the organization and launch of the North Dakota Local Foods Development Alliance, which seeks to elevate the local foods economy (problem solving declining rural grocery stores and small family farms) with local foods stakeholders (farmers and ranchers, federal/state/nonprofit partners, and consumers).
Facilitating Community Solutions: Facilitating community solutions is Strengthen ND’s most diverse portfolio of work, showing up in a myriad of ways, including serving as an intermediary support for foundations, corporations, and family trusts so that they may invest in the most-deserving organizations - rather than those with the best grant writer; working with economic development agencies, municipalities, counties, and state departments to execute equitable and responsive planning processes to improve the quality of life in communities; diving deep within a community to support an emerging rural innovation center in Tuttle, North Dakota to support community resiliency, social stability, economic mobility, and collective identity; and taking on a bold initiative to launch a modern rural repopulation movement to support rural North Dakota.
Launching Leadership is a youth leadership program which coordinates several regional youth (9-12 grade) leadership institutes throughout the state of North Dakota. This newly developed program will host the first Youth leadership institute this fall in the North Central region of North Dakota and will roll out additional institutes across the state over the next two years.
This program will provide education specific to leadership development, as well as introduce the participants to local communities, businesses, organizations, and local leaders. Our hope is to provide a platform for young people to learn how to become leaders and make positive changes within the communities they live.
Strengthen ND has partnered with Minot State University and North Dakota Department of Commerce to host the first leadership institute in the North Central region of North Dakota October 19-23.