For immediate release

Contact: Teresa McFarland
[email protected]


 Moderated By MPR’s Kerri Miller Return for Four Town Halls in Rural MN & WI

Four-Day Series to include:

New Ulm (Sept. 12) – Entrepreneurism
Two Harbors (Sept. 19) – Affordable Housing
River Falls (Sept. 26) – Educating the New Workforce
Little Falls (Oct. 4) – Mental Health & Social Isolation

Owatonna, MN (August 24, 2023)—The Rural Voice series, developed by several Minnesota Initiative Foundations that serve Greater Minnesota along with the Otto Bremer Trust and Compeer Financial, will take place in September and October with four town halls moderated by Minnesota Public Radio’s Kerri Miller.

This year’s conversations will focus on how rural communities are lifting up entrepreneurism and addressing looming challenges such as the shortage of affordable housing, educating the next workforce, and raising awareness about mental health and social isolation.

Additional partners to this year’s Rural Voice series include Minnesota Public Radio, Cherry Road Media, and the Center for Rural Policy and Development.

“We are excited to expand this year’s Rural Voice series with new partners, communities, and sponsors committed to hearing from true rural voices who face these challenges with innovative solutions every day,” said Tim Penny, president, and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

The events, which will be held in unique venues in New Ulm, Two Harbors, Little Falls, and River Falls, WI, are free to attend. The events will also be live-streamed and recorded for broader distribution. To register go to

“As we discovered with our first round of town hall discussions, there are dynamic, creative, and engaging voices to be heard in our rural areas and we look forward to amplifying those voices this fall,” said event moderator Kerri Miller. “These town halls will be lively, informative, and compelling.”

Minnesota Public Radio will feature content from the discussions in segments later this fall.

The events details are as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 12:

What it takes to build a business in Greater Minnesota

Schell’s Brewery
24 College Ave. N. St. Joseph, MN
1860 Schell’s Rd, New Ulm, MN
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Discussion from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. followed by a reception.

Tuesday, Sept. 19:

Creating Good, Affordable Housing in Rural Minnesota

Castle Danger Brewery
17 7th Street, Two Harbors, MN
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Discussion from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. followed by a reception.

Tuesday, Sept. 26:

Educating a Nimble & Knowledgeable Rural Workforce

The University Center
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls, WI
Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
Discussion from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception.

Wednesday, Oct. 4:

Addressing Mental Health & Social Isolation in
Rural Communities

A.T. the Black & White
116 1st St SE, Little Falls, MN
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Discussion from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. followed by a reception.

The Otto Bremer Trust, St. Paul, and Compeer Financial, Mankato, are presenting sponsors of this year’s Rural Voice series. Supporting sponsors and hosts include the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Owatonna; the Southwest Initiative Foundation, Hutchinson; the Initiative Foundation, Central Minnesota; and the Northland Foundation, Duluth. For more information on the Rural Voice series or to register for the in-person events or live-streaming of the event go to