Weekly Update 7.8.19

Summer is well underway and now is a great time to visit the Chamber calendar to plan your networking opportunities for the next few months. We are excited to announce that we will be offering Chamber members access to multi-chamber programming with neighboring Edina and Eden Prairie Chambers for the remainder of the calendar year. We believe business has no bounds and are committed to providing Chamber members boundless business networking opportunities! To find opportunities that will work in your schedule, visit the online Chamber calendar. As the Chamber is excited to offer Richfield members this increased networking opportunities, please know that space is limited for each event and registration will close once these events have reached capacity. So please register early to secure your spot.

Pictured from left to right receiving the Non-profit of the Year award at the Circle of Excellence Ceremony: Richfield Councilmember Whalen, City Manager Katie Rodriguez, VEAP CEO, Joe McDonald (2018 winner and 2019 presenter), Molly Linbland, Arc Volunteer Development Manager, Greg LaRue, Arc Manager of Thrift Business, Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez, Richfield Councilmember Trautmann

In March, the Chamber hosted our annual Circle of Excellence Awards program at Best Buy Headquarters. Arc’s Value Village and Thrift Store was honored as the Non-profit of the Year for the great work they do in our community. Did you know, Arc’s Value Village is the Twin Cities best thrift store. Their goal is a great shopping experience. Every day when they open their doors, they give back. For more than 30 years, thanks to shoppers, donors and volunteers, Arc’s Value Village has helped make life better for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Last year, Arc stores generated more than $2 million for The Arc Greater Twin Cities programs that help adults and children with disabilities and our community.

As a Chamber community, we want to show our support for Arc’s Value Village as well. At any Chamber meeting through the end of the year, please feel free to bring your gently used donations for Arc. We will take care of getting them to Arc’s Value Village for you. In November, we will host a Chamber day of service to volunteer our time to helping in the store. We encourage each member to use that day to volunteer for an hour with their co-workers to show your support.

We would also like to take a moment to say thank you to Richfield’s Red White and Blue Days team for organizing another great 4th of July festival! It takes a caring and committed group of community members to make sure the festival is a success and they pull it off with an abundance of cheers every year! Visit their Facebook page to re-visit all the fun!


Pictured left to right: *Heather Lenke, Waiting on volunteers to start the day’s events. *Local kids showing their pride and participating in the kiddie parade. *Gorgeous cars on display at the car show. *Ceremonial wreath laying at Veteran’s Memorial.

Weekly Update 6.12.19

Richfield Red White & Blue Days, what to expect at this year’s festival!

Richfield’s finest leading the parade on July 4

Did you know that Richfield’s Red White and Blue Days is organized entirely by a group of community volunteers? Yes, just like St. Paul’s Grand Ole Day, Richfield’s Red White and Blue Days has been organized for the past 40 years by local residents. So, just what does it take to put on an event that attracts over 12,000 people to this city? It takes a group of amazing volunteers to secure donations from area businesses and sell tickets to fall beer tastings and winter wine sampler events at the American Legion to fund the entire festival. The Red White and Blue Days crew volunteer their time from September to July to make sure that our 3 day celebration goes off like clockwork. Pictured below is Heather Lenke, President of Richfield’s Red White and Blue Days. This is Ms. Lenke’s third year leading the team of amazing, Red White and Blue Days Community Volunteers.

Pictured left to right: *Heather Lenke, Waiting on volunteers to start the day’s events. *Local kids showing their pride and participating in the kiddie parade. *Gorgeous cars on display at the car show. *Ceremonial wreath laying at Veteran’s Memorial. 

The annual event kicks off on July 2nd with a kiddie parade and Family night. From there, it is non-stop action until the ultimate fireworks show, sponsored by Best Buy, on July 4. The 3 day festival has everything from a street dance, a car show, a ceremonial wreath laying and the ever impressive fly-over during the parade on July 4th. Daily events are posted on the Red White and Blue Days Facebook page. Follow along here.
NEW this year, the committee has added a very special Medallion Hunt. The medallion will be hidden somewhere in the City and the first clue will be posted on June 30. The winner of the medallion will earn a spot in the parade and $500! While this event is a time for community members from near and far to come together, it takes over 300 volunteers to make sure everything runs smoothly. What can you do to help? How about taking your company or family to volunteer. Shifts usually last 2 hours and it’s a great way to interact with your community. They made it easy for you by organizing all vlounteer shifts on sign-up genius. Just click the link to secure your spot to participate in this great event! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080e49aaa72ea1fe3-july 

Weekly Update 5.21.19

Exciting News for Richfield’s High Schools

Collaboration is key when creating a strong community, and your Richfield leaders have prioritized this! We are fortunate to have a diverse school choices within our community. From private schools, to charter

schools to public schools, families have options when it comes to their children’s learning. Did you know, the four-year graduation rates at Richfield High School (RHS) are climbing! The 2018 four-year graduation rate at RHS not only increased three percentage points compared to 2017 (from 80.9 percent in 2017 to 84.3 percent in 2018) but also surpassed the state graduation rate of 83 percent. The positive progress of RHS is even more apparent when looking at the improvement in graduation rates over the last five years. RHS has increased by 16 percentage points from 2012 to 2018 compared to the state’s increase of five percentage points during the same time span. “I’m really proud of the stamina and grit of our educators to continue this work over time in order to see this long-term sustained improvement,” said Superintendent Dr. Steven Unowsky.

Additionally, all RHS student groups (Asian, Latino, Black, White, English Learners, Special Education, Free/Reduced Price Lunch, Females) increased graduation rates when compared to last year and now have a higher graduation rate than their statewide peers with the exception of our Male population (behind the state by three percentage points). “All of our students are thriving and growing,” said Unowsky. The achievement gap between students of color and white students is significantly closing over time with RHS at a 33 percent gap in 2012 and an 11 percentage point gap in 2018. “We are consistently narrowing the gap and not leaving any group of our students behind in our success,” said Unowsky.

The group that saw the highest increase in graduation rates was Special Education which rose 15 percentage points from 2017 to 2018 (50 percent to 65 percent). Unowsky contributes the impressive growth to a “honed focus” on Special Education programs and supports.

Unowsky attributes the success of RHS to several factors including encouraged parent involvement and access, delayed start times, expanded instructional days, strengthened teacher-student relationships, and exceptional leadership and teachers. This work has not only been reflected in graduation data, but in test scores as well. Unowsky notes it’s “exciting that our student ACT scores, a national college entrance exam that all 11th grade students take are jumping at consistent increments.”

“We have created a climate and culture of expectation and success,” said Unowsky. “From the moment they (students) walk into our school system, to the moment they graduate, they know we are working together to build onto their future,” said Unowsky.

Check out all our great Richfield schools here and find out how you can be a part of their continued success!

Weekly Update 5.15.19


Vote Daily now through May 24 for Richfield’s Roosevelt Park!

Help Roosevelt Park win a new basketball court through the Timberwolves’ Our Courts. Our Future. program.

Richfield basketball players of all ages are big fans of the basketball court at Roosevelt Park, but the court’s heavy usage over the years has led to it needing a substantial facelift. Enter the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Our Courts. Our Future. program. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Our Courts. Our Future. program is a community basketball court refurbishment project. This summer, the program will see four outdoor basketball courts overhauled. The competition is broken down into four Minnesota regions: North, South, Central and Twin Cities. “The Our Courts. Our Future. program is a great opportunity for the Richfield community to come together and partner with the Timberwolves on a new beautiful basketball court that everyone in the city can be proud of,” remarked Recreation Services Director Amy Markle. “We need Richfield residents to vote, vote, vote, to make sure that we win a new basketball court for Roosevelt Park.” Richfield residents, their friends, family or anyone else they can convince, can vote once a day on the Timberwolves’ website through Friday, May 24 at 11:59 p.m. In the competition, Roosevelt Park is in the Twin Cities region. The park is pitted against the Battle Creek Rec Center in St. Paul and Madsen Park located in Fridley. The Roosevelt Park basketball court is a deserving candidate for the Our Courts. Our Future. program because it is centrally located, just 1.5 blocks off of Portland Avenue and Interstate 494, close to the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The court is one of five full-sized courts on the Richfield’s eastside, and the only court along Portland Avenue, a major transit corridor and future Metro Transit D-Line Bus Rapid Transit route with a stop at the park. “Other communities, such as Bloomington and Edina, have easy access to Roosevelt Park,” explained Markle. “Whether you want to walk, bike, drive or bus, it only takes a few minutes for residents of all three of these communities to get to Roosevelt Park to play a game of basketball.” Both Richfield High School and Holy Angels Academy are less than two miles from Roosevelt Park, which have a strong history of successful basketball programs. Additionally, the sport of basketball is very popular amongst adult and young residents. “When you drive by Richfield’s outdoor basketball courts in the summer, more often than not, you will see a pick-up game going on,” said  recreation Supervisor Nick Thompson. “We have a couple of basketball hot spots in Richfield, and Roosevelt Park is definitely one of them.”

Residents can vote for Roosevelt Park by visiting: https://www.nba.com/timberwolves/ourcourts. Remember, residents can vote once per day.

“Voting for the Roosevelt basketball court in the Our Courts. Our Future. competition is a simple way that Richfield residents can make a big impact in their community,” implored Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez. “Together we can win a new basketball court for Richfield!”

Seeing Your Career Prospects

As we head into Mother’s Day weekend, I thought it would be a great time to share an article by Gloria Martinez on advice for women as they navigate their place in the business world. This article is full of great resources for women looking to start, grow or find the right career path. As always, if you are exploring any career prospects, please reach out to the Chamber and utilize your local connections.

Ms. Martinez created WomenLed.org to educate people about the many women-led achievements that have shaped our world. One of her goals is to inspire young women to act boldly when it comes to their careers. Thank you Gloria for being a positive influence and inspiring women around the world!

Tips for Women to Overcome Hurdles and See Your Career Prospects


Now more than ever, women are active in the business world as entrepreneurs, and in the workforce in general. This means we have more opportunities. Yet, many of us reach a point in our careers where we feel stuck. When your career isn’t moving in the direction you’d like, it’s probably time to reevaluate.

Taking stock of your career and where you can it to go can help you get unstuck and start improving your prospects moving forward. Evaluate Your Options. When you feel like your career isn’t where you want it to be, the first thing to do is look at what opportunities are available to you. Asking yourself a few questions can help you get a feeling for what those options may be.
● Are there opportunities for advancement with your employer? How about in your field in general?
● If advancement opportunities exist, are they obtainable? Would those opportunities be rewarding?
● Do you feel as though you have potential that isn’t being reached?

Find Your Direction
If you have potential that is being wasted, or if you aren’t passionate about what you do, it may be time for you to work toward a promotion or make a career switch entirely. You may even decide  hat setting out as an entrepreneur is the best way to reach your full potential.

Starting a Business
Are you someone who is constantly curious? Are you independent and motivated? Have you dreamed of being your own boss? According to Entrepreneur, these are all qualities that are perfect for starting a business, and the good news is, you have all kinds of options. If you don’t have a big budget, or you need a side business before jumping in full-time, starting an e-commerce website using drop-shipping may be a good choice. Drop-shipping is a unique business model that allows you to ship products directly from the supplier to your customer. With this low threshold  of entry, it takes several key factors to set yourself apart. The most successful e-commerce businesses offer a unique product, provide excellent customer service, and have a website that’s easy to navigate and is mobile friendly. Of course, even with low-cost business startup options, most new entrepreneurs need a source of funding. One option is to take out a small business loan to get the capital you need. Spending a little time learning about your financing options can help you find the best choice that fits your individual needs. Some of these options include an SBA loan, a term loan, a business line of credit, and invoice financing. Getting the financing and the knowledge base is what it takes to launch your business. Once you’re up and running, don’t let hurdles that are common for women in business stand in the way of your success. If you worry about being taken seriously, remember that your expertise and leadership skills are what make a difference – not the opinions of others. Successful female entrepreneurs tell Business News Daily that they find women’s entrepreneur groups to be helpful in combating negative comments. To truly reach the next level in your business, you have to lead by example. That means leading your way, rather than trying to be someone you’re not, even if things are sometimes done differently in a male-dominated field.

Break Into a New Field
If starting a business isn’t the direction for you but you know it’s time for a change, don’t let fear keep you from branching out into a new career. One of the best things you can do is talk to others, especially women, who are already working in the field you’re considering. Making these  connections can help you discover what you really want, and it also lays the groundwork for taking the next step. Branching out as an entrepreneur or switching careers can be a scary undertaking, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it. The key is to find the right fit for you – and keep an open mind! Once you do, all it takes is one baby step to get started, and the growth you’re searching for will follow.

Authored by Gloria Martinez 
Creator of WomenLed.org

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