Our Approach

What we Believe

Nexus supports strong, equitable and just communities in which all residents are engaged, are recognized as leaders and have pathways to opportunities. The key to building more engaged and powerful communities of color lies in the connections between authorship, leadership and ownership.

Authorship: Engaging Community

In a strong, equitable and just community, all members are engaged in and have authorship of their lives and their future. Nexus builds infrastructure for stronger community engagement learning and practice.

Leadership: Cultivating Power

In a strong, equitable and just community, all members are seen as leaders, are given ample opportunities to grow in their leadership, and are able to represent their communities in multiple spaces. Nexus invests in and cultivates leaders of color who are working to advance a broader agenda for equity.

Ownership: Building Community Wealth

In a strong, equitable and just community, all members are afforded ample access points to generate wealth and to own the wealth they have helped to generate. Nexus challenges practitioners, community leaders and investors to use a community wealth building framework to think and act differently about community revitalization in ways that are culturally relevant and promote economic justice.

How we Work

Utilizing this framework, Nexus engages in 3 primary activities:

Strengthen Organizations. Through funding and capacity-building support, Nexus builds the capacity of community-based organizations to promote equitable and sustainable community change.

Develop Innovative Initiatives. Nexus leads creative initiatives, such as the Twin Cities Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute and the Community Engagement Institute, that advance equity, build community leadership and create the infrastructure for community wealth-building.

Align and amplify resources. Nexus intentionally connects local wealth-building and community engagement efforts to broader regional and national initiatives. This amplifies investments and creates leadership and economic opportunities in historically disinvested communities.

Nexus’ Primary Stakeholders

Community based organizations. Each year, Nexus supports approximately 20-30 organizations and leaders (grantees and non-grantees) whose primary constituencies are low-income communities and communities of color, providing financial resources and an array of capacity building support. A unique feature of our work is our commitment to identifying and supporting innovation. Often times, Nexus will serve as a first funder, supporting the organization in its development and acting as an advocate to other funders.

Philanthropy. Nexus works with its funders, providing critical information about the community and identifying opportunities for collaboration. Our on-the-ground knowledge provides a deeper understanding of the local landscape and it increases their effectiveness at the local level. Nexus sits at both the Northside Funders Group and the East Side Funders Group tables.

Government and Institutions. Nexus sees governments and institutions as partners with tremendous resources to bring to this work (not just monetary). Nexus works with these entities, helping them better understand and incorporate equity into their institutions, building bridges to communities, and at times creating spaces for difficult but critical conversations to be had.