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Stepps Up continues with mission

Stepps Up's purpose remains the same but the focus has shifted.

The program that was created to help non-profits grow became known for its multiple training sessions that anyone in the community was welcome to attend free of charge.

The real focus of the program is "capacity building," however.

"So it's more than just those training sessions, but we plan on doing at least three a year," said Maureen Nelson, executive director.

One of the programs Nelson said she hopes to see come to Red Wing is Ruby Paynes's Aha! Process, which focuses on inequality diversity training.

This program shows people "what it means to live in poverty, and how to look at things through our middle class eyes to see what's really happening to those people who are living in poverty and not judge," Nelson said.

This is an example of how Stepps Up has more to offer the non-profits that take part in it -- the classes plus a data library, a grant book and more tools available for capacity building.

The data library is a compilation of "all things Minnesota, all things Goodhue County," she said. "So that those agencies can go in and get the needed data to prove that there is need for their program and also to hopefully prove what they're doing is having some effect."

The grant book is a list funding available to non-profit groups. She said there is currently one available in the library and patrons can look at in the library, but the one Stepps Up purchased will be available for check out. This makes it more convenient for people, she said.

The United Way took over the Stepps Up in January 2012. The list of programs is pending as United Way looks for someone to fill the community impact manager position. Once that position has been filled, Nelson said she plans on working as a team with this individual to find out what the needs of the Red Wing non-profits are and to plan programs and resources accordingly.