Going Local workshops set for May 16 in Perham

To bolster civic participation and leadership in rural areas of Minnesota, West Central Initiative is seeking individuals to join the 2024 Run4Rural cohort and Going Local workshops, components of the organization’s wider Rural Democracy program.  

The Run4Rural program equips participants with all the tools and knowledge needed to carry out a campaign for local office for themselves or another candidate. Going Local workshops offer a refreshing approach to civic engagement and a guide to our local elections. 

“Rural areas are facing a leadership crisis,” said West Central Initiative Rural Initiatives Strategist Celeste Koppe. “We have a similar number of elected offices as larger cities with fewer people to fill them. We’re committed to eliminating any barriers to public leadership by providing education and support through our Rural Democracy program.” 


Run4Rural is a dynamic 1 ½ day public leadership training aimed at empowering individuals interested in contributing to their communities through elected office and other public leadership roles. This nonpartisan training will be useful for existing and emerging rural leaders and people active in their community—whether or not they have decided to run for office. West Central Initiative is offering three training sessions this spring to accommodate participants from across the region. 

Alexandria: April 19-20 at Alexandria Technical & Community College 

Moorhead: May 3-4 at the Hjemkomst Center 

Fergus Falls: May 17-18 at West Central Initiative  

Key topics include understanding the stakes in local elections, finding personal motivation and the right position to serve, communicating through storytelling, implementing community engagement strategies, and adopting fundraising techniques for those who don’t consider themselves financially affluent. 

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible, as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots are filled. The training is free for anyone who hasn’t filed to run for office. A $160 fee is required for those who have filed to run for office, are actively running for election, or are running for reelection.   

Going Local 

Going Local offers free two-hour workshops to learn about community and civic engagement opportunities and build relationships with others who care about their community and strengthening democracy.  

Workshops will include a complimentary dinner and take place across the region this spring. 

Moorhead: In partnership with the League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley on April 18 from 6-8 p.m. at the Hjemkomst Center 

Detroit Lakes: In partnership with the League of Women Voters Detroit Lakes Area on May 2 from 6-8 p.m. at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Detroit Lakes Campus 

Perham: May 16 from 6-8 p.m. at Perham High School 

For more information and to apply to participate in the programs, visit www.wcif.org/rural-democracy. 

About West Central Initiative 

West Central Initiative (WCI) is a regional community foundation and an economic development organization serving the nine west central Minnesota counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, and Wilkin and a portion of White Earth Nation. 

Through philanthropy and planning, WCI fuels insight and action for the benefit of our region and our world. 

Since 1986, WCI has provided more than $59 million in loans and approximately $78 million in grants to businesses and organizations. Learn more at www.wcif.org.