Please join us on Wednesday, September 14th for our third conversation in our Community Wealth Building Learning Series: “Infusing Investments to Expand Community Wealth Building Initiatives.” In this session, we will explore the Community Wealth Building framework and “lift up” financial models that contribute to local and broad based ownership. Presentations and discussion will focus on cooperative financing, community sourced capital and the role of philanthropy in supporting for and non-profit business enterprises. We hope you can join us!

When: September 14th from 9:00am to 12:00pm (light breakfast & networking from 9-9:30)

Where: UROC, 2001 Plymouth Ave N. Minneapolis

Guest speakers include:
  Ricardo Levins Morales/RLM Studios, Artist, Author and Activist
Kim Arnone/Vice President, Cutting Edge Capital (Oakland, CA)
Joe Riemann/Associate Director, Shared Capital Cooperative
John Fetzer, Program Officer, Northwest Area Foundation


Engaging Community for Better Bus Stops!

  • August 15, 2016
  • By: Lynette LaFontaine
  • In: General

In 2015, the Community Engagement Team (a partnership between Nexus Community Partners, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs) awarded contracts to 11 community-based organizations to engage transit riders in their communities as part of Metro Transit’s Better Bus Stops program. The program is investing $4M in bus stop improvements to enhance access to employment and educational opportunities for communities of color and low-wealth communities in the Twin Cities. To learn more about the great engagement work that the Harrison Neighborhood Association is doing for the Better Bus Stops program to advance transit equity, read this exciting article:

The BCLI application is now closed

  • July 21, 2016
  • By: Chai Lee
  • In: General

Thank you for all who considered, applied, and helped suggest or nominate others to apply for our 2016-2017 BCLI cohort. The application is now closed as of July 2, 2016.

We encourage you to attend our Issue Series which begin later this fall.

Please check back at the link below for topics and locations (tbd) for the upcoming Issue Series.

See list of Issue Series dates here:

Until then, if you are interested in applying for a future round of BCLI, please check back next May (2017) when we release the next year’s application (nomination packet). Thank You

Check out the BCLI Power Point!

  • June 27, 2016
  • By: Chai Lee
  • In: General

Please view our Power Point about the BCLI here. A friendly reminder that applications are due Friday, July 1, at Midnight.

BCLI 2016 Info Session PPT

Nexus is now accepting BCLI applications!

We are now targeting seats in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Saint Paul, the Metropolitan Council and the State of Minnesota.


Just as soon as the BCLI wrapped up year three cohort with a graduation on April 14, we are already recruiting for the next class! How exciting!

The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 1st by 12 midnight CST


The BCLI fellowship runs from October 2016 – April 2017.

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

Why Apply?

  • 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.

Download the application HERE

Come to an upcoming Information Session!
Please RSVP to Chai Lee at and please indicate which information session you plan to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

  • Wednesday, May 11th, 5:30 pm -7 pm at Rondo Library, 461 N. Dale St, St. Paul, 55104
  • Thursday, May 26th, 9 am -10:30 am at Hope Community Inc., 3rd Floor Loft: 611 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, 55404
  • Wednesday, June 8th, 5:30 pm -7:00 pm at Cookie Cart, 1119 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, 55411
  • Thursday, June 16th, 5:30 pm -7:00 pm at Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, 55430

Questions? Contact us:
Mr. Chai Lee
Program Coordinator

Ms. Terri Thao
Program Director

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.


About Nexus Community Partners
Nexus Community Partners (Nexus) is a community building intermediary whose mission is to build more engaged and powerful communities of color by supporting community building initiatives that expand community assets and foster social and human capital. Click here to learn more about our work.

Minnesota’s Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) presented the 2016 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award to the Health Equity & Engagement Cohort, Hennepin County and Nexus Community Partners. The award was for shared work to incorporate health equity and community engagement into the Station Area Plans for the METRO Blue Line Extension which will run from Brooklyn Park to the City of Minneapolis.


The Health Equity & Engagement Cohort members included: ACER Inc, African American Leadership Forum (AALF), CAPI USA, CLUES, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Heritage Park Neighborhood Association, Lao Assistance Center, Masjid An-Nur, MN African Women’s Association, Northside Resdients Redevelopment Council, La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, Redeemer Center for Life, Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council, and with technical support from the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and MN Center for Neighborhood Organizing.

Some project highlights include:

  • Health Equity & Engagement Cohort informed over 1,600 hundred people, gathered input from over 900 people and supported community leaders participate in local station area planning. Over 80% of the participants were people of color.
  • Station Area Plans that explicitly speak to Health Equity, recommendations linked to community engagement results, and recommendations to utilize a Racial Equity Toolkit and other equitable development tools to inform decision-making and project development to improve community health outcomes
  • Over 200 public employees from various departments within Hennepin County and Cities along the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) were provided training by the Governance Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE).       The training introduced participants to the concepts of Structural Racism, Institutional Racism, Individual Racism and a Racial Equity Tool to inform government decision-making.

Congratulations to everyone involved!


On Thursday, April 14, the Twin Cities Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) graduated 15 fellows in our third cohort. We lucked out with beautiful weather and a beautiful location in Norway House on Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis. About 60 people attended, some of which included family, friends, nominators and funders.

This year’s fellows selected BCLI trainer Pakou Hang, executive director of the Hmong American Farmers Association to deliver the keynote address. Pakou reminded the fellows in her comments to reach inside for their strength and moral compass to always fight for justice. She also encouraged them to have the determination of a rock which can bend the direction of a stream. Her speech was followed by equally powerful personal reflections of four of the fellows: Tiphanie “PH” Copeland, Jeanette Jones, Luis Rangel, and Harrison Bullard, all of whom were nominated by their peers to speak. On a final program note, we are proud to share that four of the 15 fellows are currently serving on a board or commission and our goal is to get the majority of folks placed within a year of graduation.

We are grateful to all that made the graduation possible and to everyone who has been a part of the program the past year. And as this year ends we already look forward to the next year’s cohort!

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We are excited to announce!

  • April 11, 2016
  • By: Lynette LaFontaine
  • In: General

The Community Engagement Team (CET), a partnership between Nexus Community Partners, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, recently awarded $229,000 in contracts to 11 community organizations to engage their communities around transit equity issues and inform Metro Transit’s Better Bus Stops Program (BBS) (

As part of the Metropolitan Council’s commitment to advancing equity in the region, the BBS program invests in bus stop improvements that enhance access to employment and educational opportunities. The program improves bus stops located in neighborhoods with areas of concentrated poverty where the majority of residents are people of color.

The 11 community organizations are Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Hope Community, Jordan Area Community Council, Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council, Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, Smart Trips, West Bank Community Coalition, West Broadway Business and Area Coalitions, and West Side Community Organization.

Please help us welcome Rebeka Ndosi!

  • December 15, 2015
  • By: Lynette LaFontaine
  • In: General

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.


Kyriarchy 101


Kyryiarchy Diagram


Key & Peele code switch sketch




LOCUS Facebook