Nexus is excited to welcome Rebeka Ndosi, our new Program Director leading the Building the Field of Community Engagement Institute! Rebeka comes to us from Twin Cities Public Television having recently completed TPT’s Believe in Black Youth campaign. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Northwestern Health Sciences University and holds a master’s degree in Chinese Medicine.
On Thursday, November 12, 2015, the BCLI 2015 Cohort kicked off with their very first Issue Series. At the helms were the wonderful Diane Tran and Kristell Caballero Saucedo, both of LOCUS (of MN Rising). The topic of this first Issue Series was Intersectionality, or the critical theory of institutional oppression of individuals across all demarcations of their identities (gender, race, sex, class, etc.). The facilitators did a great job directing small group discussions after the “Who are you?” ice breaker. Ground rules were set for community expectations, and everyone seemed to enjoy engaging in the types of conversations they would not otherwise have at home or work, thanks to the safe space of this evening’s BCLI issue series. Thanks to Diane and Kristell for their leadership and insights. Below you will find some resources that the trainers shared at the Issue Series as well as some pictures.
Key & Peele code switch sketch
- November 2, 2015
- By: Chai Lee
- In: General
The Twin Cities’ Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) had a very successful launch of its third cohort for the 2015-2016 year. Over 60 attendees packed the house at Heritage Park Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis on Thursday, October 8, 2015 to welcome the incoming 15 cohort members to the BCLI and broader community.
The theme of the launch centered around the African proverb of “many people in many small places undertaking many modest actions can transform the world.” BCLI staff and the program speakers acknowledged the local efforts that these fellows were engaged in and how their actions on local boards and commissions can “transform the world.” Local spoken word artists and community activists Tish Jones and Tou Saiko Lee performed and participated on a panel moderated by Adriana Rimpel, another local artist. The panel covered issues ranging from the arts as an effective tool that brings people together, the increasing role of social media in the arts, and broader commentary about the current state of the national racial and social justice movement.
The BCLI also received a special recognition on behalf of Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar in the form of a letter read by Senator Klobuchar’s Outreach Director Garrison McMurtrey. Senator Klobuchar commended the program’s purpose of helping “fellows dedicated to improving their communities and promoting equity in local government.”
Traditional community development work focuses on the built environment. Nexus Community Partners believes that community development should also be mindful of the people who live in and interact with
the built environment every day. Nexus also believes that neighborhood- based development activities will only be successful in the long term if they are paired with strong community engagement efforts. To that end, Nexus supports community-based organizations in low-wealth neighborhoods to engage with and to reflect the vision and creativity of the people who live
and work there. Nexus also supports organizations that wish to integrate community engagement into their organizations and into their programming. Read more here; NEXUScase study 8 PAGE WEB
On October 13, 2015, Nexus Community Partners hosted a “Strengthening Economic Opportunities” convening on the East Side of St. Paul . The event included a presentation on Nexus’ recently released “Briefing on Promising Workforce and Job Creation Models” and a panel discussion featuring Ted Howard, The Democracy Collaborative, Pakou Hang, Hmong American Farmers Association, Karla Miller, Northwest Area Foundation and Thomas Adams, Better Futures Minnesota. The discussion focused on how using a Community Wealth Building Framework could help to address deeply rooted racial and economic disparities and create opportunities for local and equitable ownership and control of wealth. You can find the entire briefing here. Briefing on Promising Workforce and Job Creation Models
Evaluation & Community Engagement: Everyone is an Evaluator Written by: Building the Field of Community Engagement partners and Tracy Babler
- October 12, 2015
- By: Danielle Mkali
- In: General
Explore the crucial role that evaluation plays in supporting the work of community engagement.
Building the Equity Movement from the Inside: Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute Announces its Third Cohort!
- September 14, 2015
- By: Lynette LaFontaine
- In: General
Nexus Community Partners is thrilled to announce the selection of 15 fellows for the 2015-2016 Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI).
The BCLI is a seven-month leadership program designed to identify, train, and support placement of dynamic leaders of color and underrepresented communities onto publicly appointed boards and commissions in the Twin Cities. BCLI fellows help advance an equity agenda across several sectors and issue areas.
Nexus is proud to introduce our third cohort and welcome them into the BCLI community:
Cacje Henderson, nominated by the Office of Senator Klobuchar
Deqa Sayid, nominated by the Student, Family & Community Engagement Department, Minneapolis Public Schools
Hanna Getachew-Kreusser, nominated by Avenues for Homeless Youth
Harrison Bullard, nominated by a BCLI Alum
Jeanette Jones, nominated by District 6 Planning Council and Ramsey County Community Human Services Citizen’s Advisory Council
Joane’ McAfee, nominated by a BCLI Alum
LaCora Bradford Kesti, nominated by Hope Community, Inc.
Luis Rangel Morales, nominated by the Neighborhood Justice Center
Mustafa Jumale, nominated by a BCLI Alum
Nichol Ellis-McGregor, nominated by Project for Pride in Living
Tiphanie (PH) Copeland, nominated by the Bush Foundation
Ron Harris, Jr., nominated by Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Thorne Bordeaux, nominated by American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center
Tonya Draughn, nominated by Frogtown Rondo Home Fund
Wakinyan LaPointe, nominated by the Native Youth Alliance of Minnesota
The BCLI is building momentum within local governing bodies, as decision makers become not only representative of, but accountable to, our communities of color and other marginalized communities in the Twin Cities. The incoming BCLI fellows join 26 alumni, 17 of which have been successfully appointed on a board or commission or hold a high level policy position, and all of whom are building and pushing racial, social and economic equity in the community. Collectively we look forward to ensuring equitable outcomes in local and regional public policies. Biographies of each fellow can be found on Nexus’ website, http://nexuscp.org/our-work/boards-and-commissions-leadership-institute/current-fellows/.
Please help us welcome and celebrate the incoming cohort at the BCLI Launch Event on Thursday, October 8th from 5:30-8pm at Heritage Park Senior Services Center, 1015 N. 4th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411. The theme of this year’s launch is an African proverb, “Many people in many small places undertaking many modest actions can transform the world.” Come meet our fellows, mingle with BCLI alum, and hear from local leaders about the equity movement. The event is free and register online: http://2015tcbclilaunch.eventbrite.com.
For more information about the BCLI, or ways to become involved, please contact the program director, Ms. Terri Thao at email@example.com. For more information about the BCLI Launch Event, please contact the event planner, BCLI Alum Leila Paye-Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Boards and commissions are important bodies for impacting communities at the regional and local levels. They are instrumental in shaping key policy decisions, as well as designing and providing input on administration of city services. A unique partnership between the City of Minneapolis and Nexus Community Partners works to improve racial equity in board and commission membership, which in turn influences major policy decisions toward more equitable outcomes.
“The City of Minneapolis has over 50 volunteer-based boards, commissions and advisory committees, whose input and advice constitutes a major component of the City’s community engagement work. Approximately 600 volunteers serve on these boards and commissions. As such, the City has seen board and commission service as an important leverage point for advancing racial equity. Currently, people of color represent 25 percent of the population, but only 16% of the membership of boards and commissions. It is projected that by 2040, people of color will be 40 percent of the population. The City of Minneapolis recognizes that in order to be effective in their work and to truly represent the interests of all of the city residents, membership of the City’s boards and commissions must reflect the diversity of the community.” Read the full article here.
It’s been amazing two years here at Nexus Community Partners – and it is with a bittersweet and humble heart that I am announcing that I’ll be transitioning out of my role as program coordinator for the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute by the end of August, 2015. I’ve accepted a new position with another nonprofit in the Twin Cities doing leadership development in the community that I’m excited to announce – soon!
I want to thank all of you who have been a part of this journey – from the fierce BCLI alumni, to the incredible partners I’ve gotten to work with – to the AMAZING staff at Nexus whom I will miss terribly, but will find every excuse to continue working with and dropping by to interrupt and distract… 🙂
And in the spirit of new journeys and chapters: Nexus is now seeking a Program Coordinator for the Boards and Commissions Leadership!
Please forward the above job description to your networks – and have them send their cover letter and resume to Felicia Ring by Friday, August 21, 2015 at 5pm.
Thank you again and again to everyone who has supported me, and who continues to push for a more equitable region – I greatly look forward to our continued work together in the future – albeit in a different capacity!
- July 29, 2015
- By: Lynette LaFontaine
- In: General
“NAF can help you prevent crises for your organization—not just help you through them. I think more people need to understand that! My advice to any organization would be—don’t wait. Be proactive and reach out to NAF. It’s about being a strong organization and being proactive, and thinking about your sustainability into the future.”
Theresa Gardella, Director of Strategic Development, Nexus Community Partners
“Nexus Community Partners is a Community Building intermediary working to strengthen and engage communities of color and immigrant communities to create positive change in their neighborhoods. The organization was founded in 2004 as Payne-Lake Community Partners, to support entrepreneurship, home ownership, and workforce initiatives around the Payne Ave. and Lake Street communities in St. Paul and Minneapolis. In early 2007, with new leadership in place, the organization underwent a strategic planning initiative to better understand the outcomes of their work in the communities they served. What they learned was that the neighborhoods in which they worked were doing better, but the people were not. They decided to shift their focus to thepeople in the community: strengthening the social, cultural and human capital of residents so they could engage more fully in their neighborhoods and to take advantage of all of their economic potential.
Over the years, Nexus continued to grow in both the scope of their work and their reputation.In 2009, the organization was invited to expand into North Minneapolis and in 2011 they became a 501c3, and went through a rebrand. To keep up with the growing demand for their work, they knew their staff of four would need to expand.
Felicia Ring, Nexus’ Controller, joined the organization in 2012 to help build a financial infrastructure to support their growth. Felicia brought a wealth of experience to Nexus, including having led another nonprofit as executive director, and 15+ years of experience in the sector. She had been to a number of workshops and trainings that NAF [Nonprofit Assistance Fund] offered over the years, but hadn’t yet worked with them for financial assistance. “In 2014, we started to explore various lines of credit and banking options,” Felicia said, “but traditional banks weren’t interested in us—they perceived us as risky, and we didn’t have much of a financial history because we were just starting to grow significantly.” That’s when she and the Nexus team began talking with NAF about a line of credit to support their growth.”
Read the full article here.