Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Charity: Generation Next
Medical Condition: Cardiac disease
Medical Therapy: Stent
While cross-country skiing in January 2014, R.T. suffered a heart attack after feeling ill and short of breath. He was transported to the hospital, where three drug-eluting stents were placed to open critical arteries and restore heart function. Three more stents were placed two days later. A three-term mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. is now president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation and a member of the leadership council of Generation Next — a coalition of civic, business, and education leaders in Minneapolis and Saint Paul dedicated to closing achievement and opportunity gaps. R.T.'s Bakken Invitation Award to Generation Next will support literacy and math efforts currently underway.
"At first, I didn’t know I was having a heart attack. I thought the cold was getting to me after cross-country skiing, so I went to my car to warm up. When friends stopped by to see if I was okay, I had become short of breath, and I asked them to call 911. Because physicians at the hospital acted quickly, my heart did not experience long-term damage. I was feeling great again within days and back at my job, which at the time was executive director of Generation Next — a nonprofit with a vision of ensuring every child has the academic, social, and emotional skills to thrive in a globally fluent world.
"When I was with Generation Next (where I continue to volunteer as a member of the leadership council) and now as CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, I am able to directly impact access to education and provision of early childhood support, and opportunities for career exploration for diverse youth in Minneapolis. I am grateful for the chance to live and continue my life’s mission of creating racial equality in our community. Three terms as mayor of Minneapolis opened my eyes to the tragedy that results from inequality.
"Because of my extra life, I was also able to lead STEP-UP, a summer jobs program that has put more than 18,000 Minneapolis youth to work and equipped children of color with better care, improved academic help and new opportunities for post-secondary degree attainment and employment. My extra life has also enabled me to continue serving on the board of the Northside Achievement Zone, an organization whose aim is to permanently close the achievement gap and end generational poverty in North Minneapolis."
“By harnessing the power of diversity and giving all people an equal chance to succeed, we will thrive and live life to its fullest, just like I have been able to do because of the therapy and new technology I received following my heart attack.”
Generation Next is a coalition of civic, business, and education leaders from across Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minn. dedicated to closing achievement and opportunity gaps. It uses rigorous data analysis and community engagement to identify what works and to replicate the most promising practices. The mission of Generation Next is to harness the community's knowledge, expertise and actions to ensure every child can thrive.
The organization's vision is that every child has the academic, social, and emotional skills to thrive in a globally fluent world. This grant will support literacy and math efforts currently underway.
*Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you.