Two top Midwest networks receive a $3 million grant from the Bush Foundation to merge. OTA, a Sioux Falls organization that connects creative and civic-minded people, is teaming up with a similar group Minnesota-based group, Pollen.
Over the past five years OTA, named for the last three letters in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota, has formed a movement dedicated to 'connecting the disconnected' throughout North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Led by South Dakota native Hugh Weber, the OTA series of events brings together the region's best and brightest along with world thought leaders to share insights and expertise, develop relationships and create limitless possibility.
Pollen, over the past five years, has grown to become the Twin Cities' largest digital network of civic-minded connectors. The content is crowdsourced and created by a cross-sector community focused on elevating the personal and professional growth of its members.
Earlier this summer, each organization was extended its own $1.5 million grant from the Bush Foundation to further develop their unique platforms and form a partnership.
"Isolated leaders are a barrier to effective community problem-solving," Jennifer Ford Reedy, president of the Bush Foundation, said in a news release. "Our region has a number of leadership hubs and networks that struggle to build and maintain connections among their members. Very little has been done to build connections across these groups. That's where OTA and Pollen can think bigger, think differently, and spark regional transformation-by becoming the leading digital and physical network of networks."
"We recognized a clear sense of shared values and a deep sense of commitment to investing in the dreams and stories of the people of the region," Hugh Weber, chief executive officer, OTA-Pollen, said. "Simply, together we felt we could accomplish even more."