The "Bridging the Gap" award for 2000 was presented to the entire Winona County Project FINE (Focus on Integrating Newcomers through Education). Project FINE's membership consists of a cross-section of Winona's culture and population. The organization's mission is to address issues of Diversity in the Winona area. FINE is geared to help transition new County residents in Southeast Minnesota, especially those of Hmong and Asian descent as they have become the area's largest minority population.
Representatives of the Diversity Foundation Inc. are shown here with members of Winona's Project FINE at the Winona Co. Historical Society. Pictured from left are Edward Lohnes, chair of Diversity Foundation Inc, Lola Lehnman Faber, representative from the Cultural Diversity Task Force, FINE board member Lee Luebbe, Chau Kim Ngo, FINE Director, along with Lyle Rustad, Diversity Foundation Ex. Director and Dr. Bill Crozier, WCHS & St.Marys Univ Historian and DF Wapasha Prairie consultant.
Project FINE was instrumental in helping to raise Winona Community awareness and helped Diversity Foundation with initial fundraising efforts to begin the Research and initial Documentary Production of the Wapasha Prairie Story (Pre-European/Dakota History of Winona, Minnesota) in 1998. It is intended that the proposed extended Multimedia educational production will be utilized in Winona County Public and Private schools as well as the Winona County Historical Society. Both FINE and WCHS are helping Diversity Co-sponsor this Wapasha Prairie educational project.
WINONA POST: July 28, 1999 -- Documentary being planned: History of Chief Wapasha and his people in Winona