The New York Times looks at the Itasca Project, a network of Minneapolis and St. Paul business and philanthropic leaders that over the past dozen years has a played a key behind-the-scenes role in shaping the Twin Cities' economic agenda.
Formed in in 2003, Itasca now encompasses about 60 executives and organizations, including the Twin Cities-based McKnight and Bush foundations, and has influenced legislative action on issues such as roads, public transit, and spending on the state university system. A "working team" of 14 members holds weekly breakfast meetings, often attended by elected officials and educators.
Unlike traditional chambers of commerce, the group's leaders say, Itasca eschews the typical tax- and regulation-focused business agenda to address topics like discrimination and income disparity. With the Twin Cities enjoying low unemployment and economic development, its approach is drawing interest from leaders in other metropolitan areas, the Times writes.