The Blandin Foundation just hosted a gathering of people interested in making sure Minnesota gets it share of the Obama Stimulus Package money devoted to getting people broadband Internet service.(More detail on the broadband portion of the package here)
Six major take-aways from the meeting:
- No one knows the exact process the federal governement will use to distribute the money but much of it (around $4 billion to $5 billion) will be by competitive grants.:
- These grant applications will be complex and will likely reward collaborations and partnerships.
- To write an effective applications, organizations need to get started now–especially get started forming the colaborations and partnerships
- Collaborations and partnerships take up-front resources. Because of the economy and state of Minnesota cuts in funding to cities, schools and health care, no one has the up-front money to devote to creating the partnerships.
- Ideally, Minnesota state government should step up and be a leader in creating the partnerships.
- With the current administration, don’t expect any leadership. Minnesota’s current governor really believes government can not do anything well and should do nothing. He has been actively making this true for the last six years.