BestPrep is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that provides educational programs to students in grades 4-12, with the mission of preparing students with business, career, and financial literacy skills through hands-on experiences that inspire success in work and life. BestPrep works with companies to bridge the gap between classroom learning and skills utilized in the workplace. Since its inception in 1976, BestPrep has served more than 1.6 million Minnesota students and teachers with the education and resources to ensure students are college-prepared, work-ready, and career-bound.
BestPrep offers seven different programs including Classroom Plus, Cloud Coach, eMentors, Financial Matters, Minnesota Business Venture, The Stock Market Game, and Technology Integration Workshop.
3M was the original company to partner with Bob Kaitz, an economics teacher at Breck School, in the development of a three-year pilot project to develop best practices for teaching business and economics. In 1976, 3M played a pivotal role in the launching of BestPrep to create experiential learning opportunities for students and teachers. Today, hundreds of 3M volunteers participate in mentoring BestPrep students and the BestPrep/3M collaboration has been nationally recognized.
Ecolab has been a longtime advocate for BestPrep’s mission and partner in our programs. In 1979, Ecolab’s former Chairman and President, Fred Lanners, served as the inaugural keynote speaker at our first Annual Luncheon in 1979. Throughout our history, three volunteers from Ecolab have provided leadership serving as Board Chair. CEO of Ecolab, Doug Baker, has been very supportive of the company’s continued involvement by participating in the BestPrep Educational Forum and Birdies for BestPrep events.
Since the early days of BestPrep, Cargill’s leadership, guidance, and participation has been a pivotal part of our development. Cargill provides hundreds of volunteers annually for BestPrep’s eMentors program and hosts a career day for Twin Cities AVID students, aligning with their focus on improving the lives of youth in our community. Cargill was also a key partner in the creation of BestPrep’s newest program, Cloud Coach. CEO Dave McClanahan has provided the keynote address at BestPrep’s Annual Luncheon event.
General Mills kicked off BestPrep’s longstanding effort to provide Minnesota classrooms with dynamic classroom speakers. In 1976, Phil Gustafson, VP of Consumer Affairs, was BestPrep’s first volunteer speaker, presenting to a school assembly at South St. Paul High School. Along the way, many General Mills’ leaders left their mark on the organization as volunteers, event keynote speakers, and Board Members. CEOs Bruce Atwater and Ken Powell have personally volunteered and more than 400 volunteers are active in BestPrep’s eMentors and Cloud Coach programs.
Thanks to the help of many companies and organizations for helping us achieve our mission to help students prepare for their futures. We are grateful for the volunteer time and money these partners have provided.
BestPrep By The Numbers
After over 40 years, BestPrep has made a significant impact on the lives of teachers, students and the communities we serve.