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Elder Voice Advocates Receives the 2023 Finnegan Freedom of Information Award

“This is an honor to receive this award in recognition of our work to develop Elder Care IQ,” states Kristine Sundberg, Executive Director of Elder Voice Advocates and Elder Care IQ. “A special thank you goes to Scott Zerby, who donated his time to lead this project, the Steven’s Square Foundation for granting us the funding to make it possible and our Board of Directors who supported this work from the start.”

St. Paul, Minnesota - The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) is pleased to announce that Elder Voice Family Advocates is the winner of the 2023 Finnegan Freedom Information Award, and librarian Helen Burke is the winner of the 2023 John Borger Lifetime Achievement Award. An award ceremony will be held in the Minnesota State Capitol’s Cass Gilbert Library, room 317A at noon on March 16, 2023 (Freedom of Information Day).

2023 Finnegan Award winner Elder Voice Family Advocates (EVFA) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for senior citizens. To assist seniors and their families with monitoring care facility quality, EVFA worked with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to create an online database of care facility information. Users of the “Elder Care IQ” database can search elder care facilities by zip code, and then examine MDH complaint data, state inspection survey forms, and related correspondence. The project is a positive example of how the Data Practices Act can be utilized to provide critical information to the public. MNCOGI also wishes to highlight the role that MDH played in helping to transfer its data to EVFA for the Elder Care IQ project.

2023 Borger Award Winner Helen Burke is a retired librarian who spent her professional career in the government records departments of the Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library System. She spent two decades serving on the Minnesota Library Association’s Government Documents Roundtable, and twice served as its chair. In her avocational career, Helen has been a tireless champion for the free-flow of information and thought. Helen served on the Minnesota Library Association’s Committee for Intellectual Freedom from 2004-2014. She also served on the board of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) for over two decades, and was its chair for over ten years. During that time, Helen helped to transform MNCOGI from a largely library-focused organization to a broader coalition of open- record advocates engaged in public education and civic policy development around government transparency.

Every year since 1989, MNCOGI has issued a Freedom of Information Award in the name of John R Finnegan, the former Pioneer Press editor who advocated for the establishment of the Minnesota Data Practices Act. The Borger Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of First Amendment attorney John Borger. The Awards are presented each year on March 16th - the birthday of James Madison, and the national “Freedom of Information Day.”

Further information:

Don Gemberling, MNCOGI spokesperson, 651-699-6553


Sent on behalf of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI). Board members are Kevin Featherly (Chair), Nick Borger (Secretary), Sharon Schmickle (Treasurer), Hal Davis, Pat Doyle, Matt Ehling, Don Gemberling, Nancy Herther, Isabella Nascimento, Paul Bosman, Kristine Tietz, Chris Weiland, MaryJo Webster


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