Know How to Solve MN’s Water Issues? Here’s $15K

The Minnesota Idea Open is partnering with Pentair to offer $15,000 to help implement a solution for addressing the state's water issues.

Do you have a great idea for addressing the pressing issues surrounding Minnesota's water supply? If so, the Minnesota Idea Open has $15,000 to help you make that idea a reality.

The Idea Open-which was launched by the Minnesota Community Foundation last year and is funded by the Knight Foundation-poses “challenges,” through which it asks Minnesotans to submit solutions to important problems. The program grants the winning idea a $15,000 prize to help bring that solution to fruition.

The program on Tuesday began accepting ideas for how to address Minnesota's water issues-like waste, contamination, pollution, the introduction of invasive species, and other challenges facing the state's water supply.

Minneapolis-based Pentair, Inc., is sponsoring the Idea Open's water challenge. Todd Gleason, Pentair's vice president of strategy and marketing, said that the company recognizes the Idea Open as “an effective platform to engage Minnesotans in civic matters.”

Pentair provided the bulk of funding for the initiative and will help drive public awareness, according to Gleason. If the winning idea is related to Pentair's areas of expertise, the company would also consider providing services to help implement the solution, he added.

Ideas can be submitted here, and the competition closes on July 15. A panel of judges will then review the entries and narrow the field to three finalists, which will be announced on August 6. All Minnesotans will be invited to vote for their favorite idea between August 23 and September 5-either online or at a booth at the State Fair-and the winner will be revealed on September 6.

The water challenge is the second presented by the Minnesota Idea Open. For its first challenge, which sought ideas for addressing obesity in Minnesota, Christine Tubbs' “Kids Lead the Way” solution netted the $15,000 prize. The program is described as “youth-led,” allowing students to create healthy activities for their classmates and community.

The Minnesota Community Foundation's Jennifer Ford Reedy on Wednesday said that there were more than 400 entries from throughout the state for the first challenge.

“It confirmed that, if asked, Minnesotans can and will bring energy and creativity to solving our critical state issues,” she said.