The Network


The Idea Open operates at least one marquee Challenge each year. We work with a variety of supporters to bring each Challenge to Minnesotans across the state. We also work with an operating network of organizations that enable us to make Challenges a reality.

Our operating network consists of organizations that help us run each Challenge. To see the supporters of our past and current Challenges, visit the individual Challenge page.


Operating Partners

The Citizens League

Grassroots Solutions

Padilla Speer Beardsley


Created by

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Ashoka's Changemakers

Minnesota Community Foundation


About Our Regular Supporters

Ashoka's Changemakers ( is an initiative of Ashoka, an organization with over three decades of finding, funding, and expanding the work of social entrepreneurs across the globe. It is a global online community of action that connects people to share ideas, inspire and mentor each other, and find and support the best ideas in social innovation. The Changemakers online community builds on this history and expands the Ashoka vision by creating an "Everyone a Changemaker" world through networking, relationship-building, and the sourcing of funding opportunities.

Through its collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers has created one of the world's most robust spaces for launching, refining, and scaling ideas for solving the world's most pressing social problems.

The Citizens League ( builds common ground for the common good. We believe that all Minnesotans should have a role in defining public issues, developing solutions, and influencing future policy recommendations. Based on this belief, we create opportunities for active citizens to work through ideas of what is good for Minnesota.

Grassroots Solutions ( provides consulting services in the areas of organizing, strategy, training, and evaluation. We start with the belief that people matter. In today's networked society, grassroots organizing is central to understanding the way people engage with their world. We focus exclusively on organizing, engaging, and mobilizing people.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ( promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that create transformational change.

Founded in 1949, Minnesota Community Foundation ( is an innovative leader in philanthropy. Our recent creative ventures include and the Minnesota Idea Open. The Foundation helps Minnesota donors support the causes and communities that matter most to them. The Foundation is an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.

Padilla Speer Beardsley ( is an employee-owned, multi-specialty communications firm with headquarters in Minneapolis and an office in New York City. It is a founding partner of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, a consortium of 100 independently owned partner offices in 133 cities on six continents. Clients include BASF, Cub Foods, Ernst & Young, General Mills, HB Fuller, Pentair, Rockwell Automation, Transamerica, UnitedHealthcare and Vital Images.