Center for Value Inquiry

Mission Statement

The Center for Value Inquiry is dedicated to exploring the nature and function of values and determining their relation to specific individual, family, community, and social issues. This applied values concept lies at the heart of our mission and animates our daily activities.

Contact Information

408 Spring Street North
Northfield, MN 55107

General Information

Alternative Name
No other names in use
Principal Staff
Orlo Otteson
Number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTE)
none--no paid employees
Over the last year, CVI has engaged five volunteers who have provided, and continue to provide, legal advice, financial management assistance, fundraising guidance, and project support--their profiles will be carried on our website
Number of Clients
200 thus far but expected to significantly increase in year 2016 and beyond


Board Chair
Orlo Otteson
Number of Board Members
Board Meetings with Quorum
Average Member Attendance

Impact and Programs

We completed a one-volume history of Northfield, working with the middle school in a program called the Student Community Outreach Program Experience (SCOPE). ln this endeavor, we also collaborated with the local history society and a Carleton College intern program. Each year the school recognizes an individual or organization that has made an impact on education. Last year our president, Orlo Otteson, was recognized as a Friend of Education, and, representing the Center for Value Inquiry, was presented the award at a gathering of all 313 public school teacher. Certain prominent community members believe we have established a model for how certain community educational/cultural institutions can work together in ways that benefit the entire community. The publication of the completed book, expected within the first few months of 2016, is highly anticipated and is expected to serve various sectors of the community.
Current Goals
In the year 2016, CVI will continue to explore the nature and therapeutic uses of life story writing, and we will continue to test our methods and materials on various local and regional audiences. We also wish to develop tools for assessing the direct benefits the memoir writing experience provides. We are working on materials that will assist those who wish to establish writing groups in various settings and with various groups--military veterans, disabled individuals, senior citizens, young people. We have established a model for how a community can assemble a community history, working with a nonprofit like CVI, a school, and a local history society. We are writing a description of our experience in developing the Northfield history, and we will be exploring ways in which to effectively distribute that material. The Northfield history will be published in the fall of 2016.
Community or Constituency Served
The Center for Value Inquiry serves a wide constituency of citizens who are interested in further understanding the function of values in their individual, family, and community lives. In recent years, the Center has focused on the role of personal memoirs and life stories, and therapeutic ways in which they help individuals and groups gain a better understanding of their values--and the ways in which certain themes and events have shaped their lives--and continue to do so. This autobiographical writing also serves as a legacy, conveying to family members, friends, and associates the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that individuals hold dear--and often hold closely.
Geographic Area Served
The Center has not established any strict geographical boundaries, but has in recent years focused its activities on a Minnesota constituency.


3 Year Average Expenses
Program Services $1,800 72%
Management $700 28%
Fundraising $0 0%
Unrestricted Net Assets
2015 2014 2013
End of Year: $2,500 $0 $0
Beginning of Year: $0 $2,500 $2,500
Difference: $2,500 ($2,500) ($2,500)

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700 Raymond Avenue, Suite 160 • Saint Paul, MN 55114
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