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F-M Coalition for Homeless Persons named Bush Prize winner

Members of the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons, from left, are Beth Olson, Dara Lee, Cody Schuler, Dan Mahli and Carla Solem. Special to The Forum

FARGO — The Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons was named this week as one of seven winners of the 2017 Bush Prize for Community Innovation.

Executive Director Cody Schuler said the $68,762 grant that comes with the prize will help the organization get more creative in how it brings groups together on the Minnesota and North Dakota sides of the Red River to provide more seamless services for the Fargo-Moorhead metro area's homeless population.

"We have just started to dream about what we'd like to do with that" prize Schuler said Monday, before the award was made public. "We'll be able to do some things that we might not be able to do" otherwise.

The F-M Coalition for Homeless Persons provides advocacy for the homeless and education services for the public and its partner agencies, Schuler said.

Schuler said the agency has helped create a more dynamic system of care that crosses borders and various government jurisdictions.

"We have worked to create a more unified" system to serve the homeless, he said. "To function as one community, despite all those borders and boundaries."

Vision West ND, based in Dickinson, N.D, was awarded $500,000. That consortium serves 19 counties and a range of state and federal agencies and public and private groups to address growth challenges in the western Oil Patch.

The Bush Foundation received 127 applications for this year's prizes. Winners receive unrestricted grants equal to 25 percent of the organization's prior fiscal-year budget, up to $500,000.

This is the fifth year of the prizes, which are awarded annually in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native American nations.

"The Bush Prize recognizes Organizations that are creative, fierce and dogged in the way they work and in what they accomplish," said Bush President Jennifer Ford Reedy. "As models for problem-solving, they consistently pick a path of innovation that drives profound results for their communities."

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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