Northfield, Minnesota


  • Community name: Northfield
  • Community or city website
  • Population: 2,011 people
  • Graduation rate: 98.3 percent
  • Youth poverty rate: 8.9 percent 


As a three-time 100 Best winner, Northfield offers a variety of programs and opportunities for its youth to be involved and serve as leaders in the community. A few of the reasons why Northfield is recognized among the 100 Best is because the community distributes food to families in need through its Food Shelf program; encourages success in school through the Evening Homework Help Zone; and offers students a variety of ways to receive an education through  the Alternative Learning Center. Northfield’s dedication to education is evident in its 98.3 percent overall graduation rate. Additionally, the Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes program has increased the graduation rates of Latino students in Northfield from 36 percent to over 95 percent.

Community Programs

  • Northfield’s Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) has secured nearly $4 million to support projects that aid youth in the community, helping them achieve their goals and finding solutions to community issues.
  • Northfield’s Food Shelf distributes 38,000 pounds of food per month to 475 families and supports 10 programs that help children of special populations, including Operation Backpack and Christmas Sharing.
  • The Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes (TORCH) program aims to increase the graduation and post-secondary attendance rates of Latino students in the Northfield community and builds connections between Northfield schools and the wider community.
  • The Evening Homework Help Zone operates at a local elementary school near the community’s low-income housing areas so students have a safe place to do their homework during evening hours; students have access to computers, the media centers, and tutors to help them.
  • Northfield School District offers the Alternative Learning Center for students who do not learn well in mainstream classes; the ALC offers smaller classes on a flexible schedule and students receive intensive academic support and mentoring.

Youth Voices

There is one cool thing about Northfield. It is that we're the only city in the whole world that celebrates Jesse James Day.


As I grew, I started to give back to the community that had already given so much to me. I’ve spent six years at a charter school where I served as a student rep to the school board, and worked hand in hand with a fellow student to build an educational greenhouse that I hope will be used by students well after I graduate.