Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys

Publication cover: Ordinance People, Extraordinary Journeys

Release Date: 10/1/2013

From 1987 to 2002, The St. Paul Companies (now St. Paul Travelers) sponsored a unique leadership program, Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods (LIN). Over the course of 16 years, more than 180 local activists and artists received a combined $4.5 million in funding to pursue opportunities to augment their skills in a variety of meaningful ways. 

Now, a decade after the last grant was provided, this revolutionary program has come to life once more in an inspiring book Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys: How St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods Program Changed Lives and Communities, by writer, educator and life-long arts advocate Carolyn Holbrook.

Following nearly five years of interviews and research, Holbrook’s new book highlights 20 inspirational figures from the LIN program and explores how their innovative ideas—and the unprecedented  financial support behind them—made an indelible mark on communities in the Twin Cities and beyond. The end result is a passion project in every sense of the term—one the author hopes will inspire the next generation of great minds and ideas, as well as those who believe in and support them.  

“I was so deeply moved by each person’s journey and their testaments to the life-changing experiences they had through the LIN grant,” recounts Holbrook. “Over and over I heard comments like Shen Pei’s when she said, ‘This grant was not just about the money. They didn’t just tell me to do this or that. It was so meaningful because it allowed me to do something really good for people.’”