Priority Focus Areas
A Focused Approach to Sustainable Progress
We’ve developed a laser-sharp approach to comprehensive community growth that reflects our emphasis on three priority focus areas to affect change. Northside Funders Group members are eager to lift up the natural assets that exist in North Minneapolis to strengthen the entire region and ensure that this community is not left out of economic prosperity and opportunity. The group’s work is centered on three priority focus areas: Building thriving learning communities, Building social capital and Building thriving economies.
Building Thriving Learning Communities
Investing in academic success gives students the support they need to achieve great things in school and community, at work and throughout life. We strive to ensure that every child is equipped to graduate from high school and pursue their life and career goals, by nurturing thriving learning communities. A thriving learning community can be attained by focusing on rigorous and relevant schools and learning beyond the classroom. Our approach is two–pronged: We’re committed to increasing quality educational and youth development options for all North Minneapolis youth and increasing the number of school-community partnerships that are producing results for Northside youth.
To advance this work, we’ve engaged more than 70 community-based organization leaders and educators to explore the needs and the greatest opportunities for collective impact. Providers with demonstrated results shared their struggles to serve additional youth. Northside Funders Group, partnered with the Minneapolis Public Schools Office of Community Partnerships to identify achievable first steps, and to develop a strategy to address common goals that will result in additional high quality learning options for northside youth.
Building Social Capital
To get something different, you’ve got to do something different, together. We’re investing our energy and resources in building social capital throughout the networks of providers, funders, and community advocates because we know that when we have strong and trusting relationships, and a common understanding of the landscape and context of North Minneapolis, we’re more empowered to explore opportunities that will accelerate impact. We embrace seven values to guide our work: Trust, Reciprocity, Humility, Authenticity, Conscious Goals, Transparency, and Appreciation.
To gain a common understanding of our social capital in North Minneapolis, we engaged more than 180 community-based organization leaders, funders, and community advocates in our Together in Learning convenings. These events encourage leaders to leave their titles at the door, dismantle the traditional funder-grantee power dynamic, and fully explore the possibilities for collaboration that will help us achieve our vision of a thriving neighborhood. Each convening resulted in actionable recommendations, and cross-sector networks of volunteers who have engaged in advancing those ideas. These networks have helped influence local government investment policies, funder investments, and program re-alignments.
Building Thriving Economies
We’re approaching this from both sides of the coin. Because development isn’t complete unless residents and business owners are seeing the benefits, our goal is to build thriving commercial corridors and make sure the local talent is there to operate these businesses successfully.
A vibrant economy supports conditions that allow businesses to succeed such as an educated and prepared workforce, access to capital, strong infrastructure, and an adequate customer base. North Minneapolis has all of the ingredients to thrive, but as a community, we haven’t gotten the right recipe. When we include job trainers, employment placement specialists, business owners and employers, and job seekers in creating the solution, we will establish a seamless system of workforce development and economic development that produces an economy that not only sustains North Minneapolis, but also contributes to the regional market. We are advocates of investments in transit, streetscape improvements, land acquisition and banking, parks and recreation, commercial corridor improvements and planning and zoning changes.
Since November 2013, over 50 Employment & Training workgroup members have partnered to further align job training systems with the needs of employers and to amplify the case for equitable and inclusive hiring practices that maximize the workforce talent in North Minneapolis. The Workgroup is currently advancing partnerships with Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and The Vikings, Northside Job Creation Team, City of Minneapolis Employment and Training Department, Twin Cities LISC, Hennepin County and others.
Northside Funders Group uses an innovative approach to making a difference >>