Our Work


As an intermediary, Nexus works at the intersection of multiple sectors – community, philanthropic, government and institutions – building working relationships, amplifying resources, and finding common areas of work that lead to a greater impact than any one entity could have alone.

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.


Our organization began as Payne-Lake Community Partners in late 2003, a community development initiative created to connect communities of color and immigrant communities to economic, political and educational systems of power along a geographic corridor in St. Paul.

In 2009, we shifted to a community-building approach and expanded the geographies we worked in. This work strengthens residents’ social, cultural and human capital so they can more fully participate in creating positive change in their neighborhoods. Nexus’ history is one of innovation and evolution.

We have a proven track record of generating and implementing big ideas that reweave communities and address the systemic barriers to opportunities faced by underrepresented communities. Our values create an environment in which we are constantly learning and reflecting on ourselves and our work.