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Archive for March, 2011

Rochester High School Group Honored with International Youth Philanthropy Award

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011





DATE:                   March 10, 2011


FOR RELEASE: Immediate


CONTACT:          Michael Nilsen                                                     John Skendall      

Vice President, Public Affairs                            Assistant, Public Affairs

(425) 890-6628                                                    (800) 666-3863, ext. 445


Rochester High School Group Honored with

International Youth Philanthropy Award  


(ARLINGTON, Va.) –The Minnesota Student Energy Project, a group created by students to raise awareness of energy conservation and reduce energy consumption at their high school, is the recipient of the 2011 Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Ages 5-17, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).


The award, named after AFP co-founder William R. Simms and sponsored by Changing Our World, recognizes service by an individual who demonstrates outstanding commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering and leadership in philanthropy. The Minnesota Student Energy Project (MNSEP) will receive the honor on March 21, 2011, at the Awards for Philanthropy Banquet during AFP’s 48th International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago.


“We are truly excited about this recognition and promise to continue to strive to be the next generation taking the first step,” said Michael Allen, CEO of MNSEP and a senior at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minn. “We owe that to our future.”

In 2008, three students from Mayo High School—Patrick Allen, Ian Cameron and Tom Currier—came together to discuss how to reduce electrical consumption and ultimately decided to raise money to install solar panels for their school. They started by asking for spare change in coffee cans and evolved to holding fundraisers, participating in arts programs and talking with community groups, including the board of directors for Rochester Public Utilities (RPU). RPU offered to support the young men and helped the project receive a $75,000 grant from the American Public Power Association.


The work of the students involved in the project resulted in a 5.88 kilowatt solar energy system installed in their school. With less energy needed from traditional power sources, more than 55,000 pounds of carbon have been saved to date, and the project has been praised by former Governor Tim Pawlenty.


“The commitment and dedication of these young men and women to both their school and the environment is extraordinary and is an example of the difference we can all make through the power of philanthropy,” said Chris Watson, vice chairman of Changing Our World.


To continue their work, the students formed a nonprofit corporation, the Minnesota Student Energy Project (MNSEP) and a succession plan that will ensure it will have a lasting impact. Numerous students are now involving in raising money and increasing awareness of energy consumption and alternative resources, with more than $136,000 having been raised so far towards a goal of $1 million.


In addition, several other schools are now involved with MNSEP and raising money for the installation of solar panels at their own facilities. MNSEP is also actively engaged in developing cross-curriculum educational opportunities related to the production of energy from the sun as well as other topics associated with various forms of renewable energy.


“If anyone is concerned about the generosity, dedication and awareness of young Americans about important social issues, they need look no further than the Minnesota Student Energy Project,” said Paulette Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “What started as a simple idea from three students has turned into a major fundraising and philanthropic project that rivals what some nonprofits do.  They are great examples for all students, and AFP is honored to be able to recognize them for their outstanding efforts.”


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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 213 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to


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Changing Our World is a leading international fundraising and philanthropy consulting services firm. With a staff of more than 100professionals in three areas of practice – Fundraising, Corporate Social Engagement, and Interactive Services – Changing Our World is the trusted adviser to the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, corporations, private foundations, and philanthropic individuals. Changing Our World develops and executes effective strategies for its clients based on an understanding of their unique challenges and opportunities; the expectations of donors, consumers, and stakeholders; and the dynamics of the marketplace. Headquartered in New York, Changing Our World also has offices in London, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Boston. As a member of Omnicom Group [NYSE: OMC], the world’s most diversified communications company, Changing Our World can also deliver world class marketing, public relations, and branding expertise to assist its clients in making their fundraising and philanthropic initiatives an integral part of a powerful and sustained brand presence.


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RPU website upgrade coming!

Friday, March 11th, 2011

We are working on redesigning our website to improve the usability and functionailty of the site. We welcome any feedback and suggestions that you may have as we go through the redesign process. Some ideas could be what you want to see more or less of on our site. What forms or information you’d like to see more prominently.

What can we do to improve your website interaction with us?

We hope to gather all suggested ideas and launch the new site by this summer. Thank you for your input!

SIncerely, The RPU Website Team