We are excited to have Chalonne join the Nexus family! She joined Nexus in July 2017 as the Program Coordinator of the Evaluation Fellows Program (EFP), which is part of the Community Engagement Institute in partnership with the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute at the University of MN. The EFP is designed for community engagement practitioners, evaluators, and funders to collaboratively explore the overlap of community engagement and program evaluation. Chalonne works closely with the EFP Advisory Group, the director of Nexus’s Community Engagement Institute, and the director of the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute to develop and support programming and serve as a key resource for Fellows in the program. Please help us welcome Chalonne!
Check out how Nexus’ partner, the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), is getting creative this Thanksgiving by adding Hmong arts and culture to their community supported agricultural (CSA) share. Read the full MPR story here.
Listen to HAFA’s executive director and Nexus board member, Pakou Hang, talk about how community wealth building is grounded in cultural practices.
“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!
Nexus Community Partners is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI)!
The BCLI is now targeting boards and commissions in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Saint Paul and Metropolitan Council committees. Click here to see all target seats.
Learn about equity issues and strategies in the areas of economic development, health, affordable housing, transit and workforce development.
Learn necessary skills to be an advocate commissioner such as Robert’s Rules of Order and interpreting municipal budgets.
Fine-tune your art of politics with applied learning activities in areas such as creating allies and negotiation and persuasion.
Build relationships with other equity advocates in the areas of labor, government, nonprofits and business.
All Nomination Packets are due Friday, June 26th by 12 midnight CST.
The fellowship runs from October 2015 – April 2016.
- Wednesday, May 13, 2015: 5:30-7pm
- Rondo Library Multipurpose Room: 461 Dale St. N., St Paul
- Wednesday, May 20, 2015: 9-10:30am
- Hope Community, Inc.: 611 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis
- Thursday, May 28, 2015: 5:30-7pm
- North Regional Library (North Half Room): 1315 Lowry Ave N., Minneapolis
- Wednesday, June 10, 2015: 5:30-7pm
- Brooklyn Park Library (Brooklyn Park Community Room):8600 Zane Ave N., Brooklyn Park
About the BCLI
The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a 7-month leadership program that supports, trains and places people of color and other underrepresented community members on publicly appointed boards and commissions that influence and impact equity in economic development, health, housing, transit and workforce development.
Contact one of the BCLI staff: Terri Thao, Program Director, at email@example.com; Angie Brown, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Us for Our Upcoming Webinar:
Building A National Network of Regional Leaders: Replicating the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute
Tuesday March 3, 2015| 11-12pm PST | 1-2 CST (Corrected Time)
Presenters: Uma Viswanathan, Urban Habitat and Terri Thao, Nexus Community
The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a six-month fellowship that trains and places advocates from low-income communities of color onto local and regional boards and commissions through the Bay Area. Preparing mid-career leaders to leverage and enhance their knowledge, skills, and networks to enter political life, the BCLI is not just an individual leadership development program. It is a strategy to change the face of politics, creating a network of diverse and representative leaders who move racially and economically just policies at all levels of government.
During this webinar, BCLI directors Uma Viswanathan (Urban Habitat) and Terri Thao (Nexus Community Partners) will provide an overview of this innovative program and share their discoveries about the replication process as partners from different regions and organizations. Participants will be engaged in dialogue about potential future replications, including individual leader, organizational, and regional readiness for this type of program.
About Our Presenters
Uma Viswanathan, Director of Leadership Development, Urban Habitat
Uma Viswanathan is a leadership development professional with nine years of experience in national and global strategy and innovation, program and curriculum design and management. As Director of Leadership Development for Urban Habitat, she designs and implements leadership and educational initiatives to further Urban Habitat’s mission of bringing race and class to the forefront of policy decisions in the Bay. Uma directs the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), In addition to directing the program’s design, curriculum content, recruitment and alumni engagement strategies, she is supporting its replication across the country.
Terri Thao, Program Director, Nexus Community Partners
Nexus Community Partners is a community building intermediary working to build more engaged and powerful communities across the Twin Cities region. At Nexus, Terri runs the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) which trains and places participants on publicly appointed boards or commissions with the goal to advance equity in the Twin Cities region. Terri is an active community volunteer, serving on the boards of the Asian Economic Development Association, the City of St. Paul’s Planning Commission, CommonBond Communities and the F.R. Bigelow Foundation.
“Investing in relationships for authentic community engagement.
Go ahead, Google it. “Community engagement” is there, and it’s attached to everything from sports teams to businesses to libraries to universities. With all those associations out there, it can be difficult to identify “authentic community engagement” and to understand its power and potential for meaningful and sustainable change. Through my work with Nexus Community Partners, a community building intermediary in the Twin Cities, we’re trying to change that.
In 2012, we, along with five partners, launched Building the Field of Community Engagement (BTF), a collaborative initiative designed to raise the visibility and demonstrate the value of authentic community engagement. We are often asked:
“What real difference does community engagement make?”
“What are the impacts?”
“How do you know it when you see it?”
BTF is producing knowledge and tools to answer those questions and to help foundations and other stakeholders make better investment decisions and achieve greater neighborhood impact…”
The Building the Field of Community Engagement collaborative has launched a new website!
The Building the Field of Community Engagement’s new website is meant to be a resource to community, where you can access key community engagement publications, presentations, tools and links, and learn more about the Building the Field initiative. You can also register to receive updates for upcoming Engaged Learning Series events.
Check out the website here: www.buildthefield.org
Building the Field of Community Engagement is a collaborative initiative that includes six core organizations: Casa de Esperanza, Cultural Wellness Center, Hope Community, Lyndale Neighborhood Association, Native American Community Development Institute, and Nexus Community Partners.
Visit the website for more information, or feel free to contact Janice Barbee at email@example.com or Theresa Gardella at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact one of the Building the Field partners.
Developing Leaders to Advance an Equity Agenda: Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute Announces its Second Cohort!
Nexus Community Partners is pleased to announce the second cohort of the 2014-2015 Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). The 15 cohort members come from various communities in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge working in community, non-profit and private sectors.
The BCLI will train and place these dynamic individuals onto publicly appointed boards and commissions in the Twin Cities. The fellows will have the capacity and community support to advance a regional equity agenda and serve as the next generation of leaders who are representative of, and accountable to, the region’s communities of color and other underrepresented populations. These fellows join a prestigious group of alumni, eight of whom serve on a current board or commission or at a high level policy position in government. Read more about our alumni here.
Nexus is proud to introduce this unique and powerful cohort and look forward to their futures as advocate commissioners and board members:
(Name, Nominating Organization)
Antrinita Wright, Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP), Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Carla Kohler, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES)
Chamath Perera, Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA)
David Martinez, Wells Fargo Community Development Department
David Milton, Mastery Charter Schools / Harvest Education Network
Donna Evans, BCLI Alum
Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, Navigate MN
Falmata Bedasso, Oromo Community of MN
Jamez Staples, Community Elder
Leila Paye-Baker, Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO), City of Saint Paul
Nasser Mussa, Oromo Community of MN
Sonya Lewis, AFSCME 3800
Suyapa Miranda, BCLI Alum
Tescil Mason-Kimmons, BCLI Alum
Yolonde Adams-Lee, MN Department of Human Services
Fellows were selected through a competitive nomination, interview and selection process led by a committee of six community members and BCLI alumni. The final cohort reflects a balance in race, gender identity, geography, issue area, experience and target boards and commissions. Read more about the fellows here.
We invite partners and community members to join us for the BCLI Launch Event on Thursday, October 9th from 5:30-8pm at the Dakota Lodge at the Division of Indian Work, 1001 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407. You’ll have a chance to meet our fellows and hear from a panel of long time local social justice leaders on the historical context and significance of people of color and other underrepresented communities joining boards and commissions. Panelists include State Representative Rena Moran, District 65A, and BCLI Alum Roxxanne O’Brien, Inaugural BCLI Cohort. Additional panelists to be announced.
For more information about the BCLI, the Launch Event, or ways to become involved, please contact the program associate, Ms. Angie Brown, at email@example.com, or program director, Ms. Terri Thao at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are now targeting seats in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Saint Paul.
“We need to be running our own folks for seats by building power that pursues true democracy…We need to be developing leaders to be bold at those decision-making tables and to never leave their community behind. This is how we tell our own story. This is a story that tells everybody they can belong, and this is how we build our movement.”
Kandace Montgomery, BCLI ‘14
- Join a network of racial equity and social justice advocates influencing policy decisions on local and regional commissions.
- Gain integrated perspectives on key local and regional racial equity and social justice issues: economic development, health equity, affordable housing, transit, and workforce development.
- Participate in a facilitated learning community of trainers, advocate commissioners and elected officials who share best practices, lessons learned, and key concepts.
- Learn commission skills like Parliamentary Procedure, media messaging, and municipal budgeting.
Please note a change in nominations this year: Each organization and each BCLI alum may nominate only one candidate each year (see Page 5 of the Nomination Packet for more information).
Come to an upcoming Information Session!
Please RSVP to Angie Brown at email@example.com – please indicate which info session you plan to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.
- Thursday, May 29th 5:30-7pm at UROC: 2001 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis 55411
- Thursday, June 5th 9-10:30am at Hope Community Inc., 3rd Floor Loft: 611 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis 55404
- Tuesday, June 17th 5:30-7pm at CLUES, McKnight Room: 797 7th St. E., St. Paul 55106
- Thursday, June 19th 6:30-8pm at Brookdale Library, Room AB: 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center 55430
Questions? Contact us:
Ms. Angie Brown
Ms. Terri Thao
About the BCLI
Nexus’ Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a 7-month leadership program that supports, trains and places people of color and other underrepresented community members on publicly appointed boards and commissions that influence and impact equity in the Twin Cities Metro Area. Click here for more information about the BCLI.