To help create a more peaceful world, the mission of PeaceMaker Minnesota is to help schools be safer places, free from bullying and harassment, and to help youth learn positive relational skills like empathy, respect, cooperation and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.


PeaceMaker’s Matching Funds Service provides resources for schools to implement violence prevention initiatives. Schools use funds to meet the needs and challenges that they determine to be the highest priority for their unique environments. PeaceMaker Minnesota recently paid:

$14,069 to Pinewood Elementary School in Monticello, matching funding that PeaceMaker received, to help them complete a district-wide implementation of a Social-Emotional Learning Program at Monticello Public Schools. Funds will make it possible for them to purchase 30 Second Step curriculum kits for teachers as well as teacher training and support from Committee for Children. Second Step is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective at reducing bullying.

Without the help of PeaceMaker’s matching funds, we would not have been able to implement district-wide this year. Thanks to the financial assistance of PeaceMaker, every student in the Monticello School District receives high quality instruction in Social-Emotional Learning, which will lead to improved self-image, social awareness, decision making, self-control, and relationship skills.”

               -Cindy Fasching, Curriculum Specialist/Math Teacher, Monticello Public Schools


$3,000 to S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School in Moorhead, matching funds from the school’s parent group. Funds will help them provide all students with a daily social skills lesson, via videos that teachers share during morning meetings in addition to having a “Day of Compassion” – a retreat for 4th grade students who will then teach younger students lessons in kindness.  


November 22, 2019


Last month, we received this email from Little Mountain Elementary principal, Gabe Hackett:

“I wanted to pass along this email to you to keep you in the loop of how our PeaceMaker partnership continues to make an impact on our students. Nichole has redesigned our Peer Mediation program to offer more immediate help on the playground…”

Nichole Rengel is the school social worker. The program she designed puts 4th and 5th grade students on the playground as Peer Mediators to help other kids problem-solve, give support, and mediate situations during recess.

The 16 student mediators use knowledge on the mediation process that they learned from Second Step lessons, an evidence-based, social-emotional learning program that they implemented with help from PeaceMaker.

Recess is a place where students report bullying and conflict concerns are occurring the most,” says Nichole. “The mediator's role at recess is to help support students that are having a conflict during a game or peer relationship. They are not solving their problem, but giving each student an opportunity to share their feelings, then work to solve the problem together.

The program is still new, and some kids aren’t quite sure how to react to peers as mentors. Even so, Nichole finds the model promising. “This model empowers the mediators to lead,” she says. It gives them an opportunity to lead without an adult telling them how to handle each step of the process and then step back to discuss what isn't going well and what we can do to make it better.”

And, the students’ stories give her hope: “Hearing the mediators disclose small victories in what they are doing to help students is a great start!” 


November 22, 2019


We were excited and honored to bring "Teaching Students to be Peacemakers" training to students and staff at Thomas Edison High School in Minneapolis last month. The evidence-based training developed by David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson, teaches conflict resolution skills, or how to manage conflicts through negotiation and mediation. 

The ultimate goal is that students not only teach their peers, but are personally equipped to resolve conflicts (fighting, etc.) that can lead to suspension and/or expulsions, and ultimately to involvement in the criminal justice system. It’s a goal that resonated with attendees. One noted, "I am a big believer in the outcomes/goals of the training and would love for it to become more widely used and prevalent in public schools." Another appreciated the student-to-student focus of resolving conflicts because “peers listen better to their peers.”

Karla Hill-Donish and Dan McNeil, PeaceMaker’s Executive Director, delivered the training.  

If you know of a school that may be interested in providing this kind of training and support for their students, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


November 22, 2019 


Students from Next Step Transition Program at Independent School District 622 North St. Paul - Maplewood - Oakdale kicked off their training with fourth grade students at Castle Elementary this month.

In partnership with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Ambassadors for Respect Program (A4R) brings individuals with developmental disabilities into elementary classrooms to help students learn the importance of including others, using kind, Person First language; and being an advocate for themselves and others.

In addition to Next Step Transition Program, PeaceMaker partners with and supports staff at Merrick, Inc., a community-based service provider, and Transition Plus, part of the Minneapolis Public Schools to prepare the ambassador teams.

The program received a State Government Innovation Award from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and The Bush Foundation this year. Watch this video to learn more.  


November 22, 2019


Thank you to everyone who made a contribution between November 1 – 14 to #beacandlelighter. Together, you generated 340 gifts, each representing a candle lit in support of strengthening violence prevention efforts across Minnesota.Your passion and commitment fueled the Candle Lighter Campaign, which generated $31,061.83 to help kids develop compassion, kindness and a commitment to one another. This couldn't have happened without you. For a complete list of donors, see the bottom of this post. 



You helped us to secure $3,000 in challenge funds from Kari and Dan Rominski, $3,000 from Coach Monica, $1,000 from Midland Information Systems, and $500 from Vivian Greeninger. For a complete list of donors, see the bottom of this post. 

We also secured $250 in matching funds from Bell Bank for our Lake Park Audubon School District endowment fund, and $250 in matching funds from Prime Design for gifts received through their online contribution pages.


In addition, we were honored set up a memorial fund for Burt Berlowe, who passed away in October. A journalist and award-winning author, Burt was an inspiration and mentor to many in the peacemaking community. Our condolences go out to his family and to all who knew him and were impacted by his life.

 A Celebration of Life Service will be held on December 7 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Open Book in Minneapolis. If you’d like to contribute to Burt’s memorial fund, write “Burt Berlowe Memorial” on the memo line of your check. 

Thank you to everyone on this list for giving one or multiple gifts to our campaign from November 1 through November 14:

Abby Matter, Agape Foundation, Ajia Collins, Alicia Willie, Amelia Fink. Amy & Pete Neuswanger, Andrew McDonald, Andrew Swenson, Angela Guerrero, Ann Boekhoff, Ann Counihan, Ann Jarrett, Ann Perkins, Anne Cowley, Anne Reid, Anne-Marie Combs, Anonymous (26 gifts),  April Knutson, BakkenWood Hair Studio, Barb Bergseth, Barbara Moorhead, Barbara Pierson, Bell Bank, Beth Chaplin, Beverly and Phillip Norris, Bill Habedank, Bill Pappin, Billie Conlon, Brian Drake, Brian Godspeed, Bridget Castaneda, Bruce Schwenck, Bruggeman Realty & Tax, Bryce Meyer, Carl & Deb Anderson, Carol Bidwell, Carol Johnson, Caroline Winslow, Carri Stuhr, Carrie Blandin, Cathy Hickman, Christina Roste, Christine Reynolds, Christine Shanahan, Cindy Carlson, Cindy Piersdorf, Claudia Wilson, Coach Monica, LLC, Colleen Armacan, Community Shares of Minnesota, Connie Jahnke, Courtney Colton, Craig Bahr, Cynthia Cath, Dakota County employees, Dan McNeil, Daryl Mortek, Dave Janke, Dave Webb,  David Krause, Deb Guthrie, Deb Wicks, Debbie Hemphill, Deborah Huseby, Deborah Jinza Thayer, Dennis Erno, Diane Haugesag, Diane Henry, Dolores Voorhees, Doug Forbes, Douglas Dittrich, Duane Olson, Dylan McAlpine, Elaine Lehmann, Elaine Santiago, Elaine Wynne, Elizabeth Kolbeck, Elsie Johnson, Emily Krause, Emily Laliberte, Eric & Julie Anderson, Eric Hammerberg, Eric Laage, Erica Pridy, Fran McDonald, Fran & Cathy Mcdonald, Frank Wood, Gary Hockert, Gayle Appelbaum, Geoff & Debra Hollimon, Girum Yigezu, Greg Kolbeck, Gwendolyn Gmeinder, Hayla Drake, Howard Lofkvist, Jacqueline Kilian, Jake Vermillion, James McDonald, James Temple & Jill Davis, Jane Hensen, Jane Wilken, Janet & Gary Johnson, Jean Mitby, Jeanne Buckeye, Jennifer Schubert, Jill Kielblock, Jim Delaney, Joan Jordan, JoAnn Ward, Jodelle Ista, John Conlin, John Conlon, John Francis, John Laliberte, John Nelson, John Snell, Jolene Pierson, Jon Busch, Josh Swenson, Joy Thao, Joyce Jose, Judy Jerde, Kaposia Education Center, Kaposia Education Center PTA, Karen Kaplan, Kari Rogers, Karin Margolis, Karla Hill-Donisch, Karna Berg, Katherine Dettmann, Kathleen Bona, Kathleen Vellenga,    Kathy Menne, Kathy Schakel – Carlson, Katy Koestler,   Kennlyn Robinson, Kevin Carlson, Kevin Schroeder, Kim Dahlen, Kirk Larson, Kyla Cromer, LaDonna Morrison, Lana Davis, Larry Johnson, Laurence Margolis, Leslie Krause, Lincoln Center Elementary, Lincoln Johnson, Linda Brody, Linda Long, Lindsey Krause, Liora Levi, Lisa McLeod, Lisa Roden, Lorene and Jim Roste, Lori Thompson, Lori Wixon, Lorne Rogers, Loveline Ndelle, Lynda Haemig, Mali Schroeder, Marcy Henrickson, Marcy Keefe, Mari Donaldson, Marian & Donald Biehn, Marina LeVan, Marion London, Mark Grimes, Mark Hiemenz, Mark Ziebarth, Mary Abellera, Mary Broderick, Mary Gallagher, Mary Glagaus, Mary Leisman. Mary Longtine, Mary Longtine, Mary Merchant, Mary Parker, Mary Stadick, Matthew McDonald, Megan Voorhees, Melissa Hart, Members of Plymouth Church Strobel Drop-in, Mercy Ekongi, Michael Kluznik, Mike, Mike McNeil, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, Missy Hamre, Monda Tapp, Monica Gallagher, Monticello Middle School Parent Involvement Group, Monticello School District Employees, Moorhead Area Public Schools employees, Nancy Arnold, Nancy & Jeff Fahrenkrug-Roatch, Nancy Nielsen, Naomi Villebrun, New Brighton Lions Club,            Nikki Laliberte, Oliver & Kristen Drake, Pam Schwantes, Patricia Cummings, Paul Amundson, Paul Cumings,      Paul Jacobsen, Paula Henry, Peter and Claudia LeNeau, Peter Lund, Rashid Bharucha, Ray & Carla Erpelding,   Rebecca Janke, Rebecca Surmont, Rene Benham, Rich Spencer, Rick and Deborah Clark, Rita Casey, Rita Lefebvre, Robert & Mary Schultz, Roger Sternberg, Roger Thompson, Ronald Margolis, Roxanne Abbas, Russell Drake, Ruth Jones, Ruth Nelson, Ruthena Fink, Ryan Sulheim, Sally Grans Korsh, Sara Barney,  Sarah and Nathan Wicks, Sarah Rathbone, Scott Glaser,  Scott Roster, Shane Campbell, Shari Drake, Sharon Anderson, Sharon Nolte, Sharon Schoenecker, Shawna Pearson, Sheila Nelson, Shelley and Michael Robshaw, Skye Campbell, St. John the Baptist Catholic School, St. Paul Public Schools employees, Stacey Powell, Stacy Elliott, State of Minnesota employees, Steven Roste, Steven Stoll, Sue & Harvey Anderson, Summer Fund, Susan Dunlop, Susan Furr, Susan Hoch, Susan Strauss, Teferi Fufa, Theresa Perkins. Tiana J Anderson, Tiffany Geis, Timothy Cook, Tom Campbell, Tom Fitzpatrick, Valerie Swenson,Verna Rowe, Vicki Connor, Vida Menne-Thorpe, Vincent King,Vivian Greeninger, Washington County employees, and Winifred Budde


November 22, 2019