POSTED: November 1st, 2011 • Latest News

The Community Engagement Team is pleased to announce the 2011 recipients of the Outreach and Engagement grants! These grants were recommended by a community Grants Review Committee and were approved by the Corridors of Opportunity Policy Board.

The Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement grants are intended to support innovative and effective placed-based initiatives that engage and involve underrepresented and marginalized communities (low-income, communities of color, immigrant communities, persons with disabilities) in participation, decision-making, and leadership roles around transit corridor planning and implementation. Grants were awarded to 10 community organizations working along four transit corridors. Organizations and projects receiving funding were:

1. Advocating Change Together

ACT is a grassroots constituency-driven organization, established in 1979 as a reaction to organizations that were not identifying persons with disabilities as being capable of making decisions about their lives.  This grant will allow ACT to bring its information, concerns issues and suggestions to the many existing organizations and agencies along the Central Corridor.

2. African Career, Education and Resource, Inc. (ACER) ACER is a volunteer-driven, community-based organization located in Brooklyn Park and founded in 2008 to close the resource and information disparities within Minnesota’s communities of African decent and help those communities achieve societal and economic independence. Through a series of community forums, ACER will partner with the city of Brooklyn Park and its innovative Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) team to  move underrepresented communities from a lack of basic awareness to a state of informed and engaged community action as it relates to community input and impact along the Bottineau Corridor.

3. Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA)

Created by University Ave. Asian business owners in St. Paul, AEDA is a  nonprofit grassroots economic development organization that provides access to resources, training, advocacy and community-driven planning. AEDA will create a team of culturally competent Community Outreach Ambassadors to organize and engage the Southeast Asian communities along Central Corridor and Bottineau Corridor.

4. Asian Media Access

Led by Asian Media Access, the Asian Pacific American Community Network (APA ComMNet) coalition has worked together since 2005 to actively challenge the existing cultural and linguistic barriers regarding engagement on state and local initiatives, and access to information and services for health and well-being issues in the Asian American Pacific Islander community. The project will utilize media and technology for engaging communities, institutions, and businesses, especially under-represented Asians along the Bottineau Corridor, in voicing their opinions and needs related to the line and livability in the area, which will improve analyses, plans and designs processes, fostering economic and civic vitality for marginalized communities.

5. Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation  & JUST Equity

Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC) was founded in 1980  to foster positive relationships within and between the neighborhoods we serve and to support their members in effecting the quality of life in their communities. JUST Equity is a regional network of African-American racial equity proponents who analyze the underpinnings of race/ethnicity and class within development dynamics to organize and advocate an improved quality of life for an African-American constituency historically excluded from development benefits. This campaign will train low-income and African American resident leaders residing throughout St. Paul’s Ward 1 to leverage transit-oriented development projects to further advance a Rondo Renaissance vision that allows for the preservation, enhancement, restoration and healing of our community’s cultural economy and longstanding neighborhood fabric into the future of University Avenue and the surrounding area.

6. Harrison Neighborhood Association

Harrison Neighborhood Association (HNA) is a resident-led, multi-cultural organization committed to community organizing and racial equity  to create a prosperous and peaceful community that equitably benefits all of Harrison neighborhood’s diverse racial, cultural and economic groups. The Transit Equity Partnership consists of three organizations controlled by underrepresented communities committed to creating a transit system that equitably benefits the diverse racial, cultural and economic groups that have been harmed by a century of discriminatory planning decisions that have marginalized and isolated communities in North Minneapolis.

7. Intercongregational Communities Association

The ICA will be funded for the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative (BRCC), a partnership of community and governmental organizations that engages with neighborhood residents and local business owners/managers to undertake projects related to improving safety, supporting positive activities for youth, and improving neighborhood infrastructure, all aimed at improving the quality of life in the Blake Road neighborhood in Hopkins. This project will address the disconnect in communications between immigrant communities, other residents, and government representatives through the use of discussion circles, community-building projects, shared governance and ties with the Joint Community Police Partnership.

8. New American Academy

The New American Academy (NAA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 dedicated to serving the East African population in Eden Prairie through a combination of programs including: work in education, citizenship, housing, mentoring and tutoring, employment, civic engagement and citizen participation. NAA plans to conduct workshops and community forums to educate the Somali community in the southwest area about the pending Southwest LRT line.

9. West Bank CDC & Somali Action Alliance

West Bank CDC (WBCDC) was created in 1973 by Cedar Riverside neighborhood residents to democratically control the affordable housing and commercial buildings created by those neighborhood residents through collective action, cooperation and political activism. Somali Action Alliance (SAA) was formed to expand racial and social justice and to build power in the Somali community through collective action. One of the most pressing concerns among members of these communities relate to gentrification and displacement pressures that might follow completion of the Central Corridor line, particularly for immigrant-owned businesses. This project will focus on exploring how a portion of the tax increment financing (TIF) plan can be directed to mitigating these impacts.

10. East Side Prosperity Campaign

The East Side Prosperity campaign is a coalition of organizations and institutions on the East Side of St. Paul working to enhance current engagement practices and building a comprehensive, community-wide mechanism for resident participation. As the Gateway Corridor project is planned, the Prosperity Campaign believes that it is urgent to prepare and engage underrepresented communities on the East Side.The campaign has gathered a diverse coalition of culturally specific organizations and placed based community organizations to focus on planning and engineering decisions for this corridor. Partner organizations will carry out cultural and neighborhood specific engagement activities that will reach into the major underrepresented communities of the East Side.

In the spirit of transparency, all grant requests are available for public viewing. To view full grant requests from any of the organizations who requested funding, please contact Susan Hoyt at

Thank you to the Grants Review Committee for working with the Community Engagement Team to develop these funding recommendations!

  • Russ Adams, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, CET member (multiple corridors)
  • Isabel Broyld, U 7 project manager, Neighborhood Development Center (Central Corridor LRT)
  • Monica Bryand, Headwaters Foundation for Justice (multiple corridors)
  • Saeed Fahia, Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota (Central Corridor LRT and Southwest LRT)
  • Ariah Fine, Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (Bottineau LRT)
  • Dawn Goldschmitz, East Side Neighborhood Development Company (Gateway Corridor)
  • Pakou Hang, independent consultant, Headwaters Foundation Social Change committee member, Wellstone Action trainer (multiple corridors)
  • Katie Hatt, former aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin (Hiawatha LRT)
  • Malik Holt-Shabazz, Harrison Neighborhood Association,  Headwaters Foundation Social Change committee member (Southwest LRT and Bottineau LRT)
  • Linda Hymes, Minnesota Tenants Alliance (Southwest LRT)
  • David Kang, Asian Media Access (multiple corridors)
  • Margaret Kaplan, Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing, CET member (multiple corridors)
  • Irna Landrum, Summit-University Planning Council (Central Corridor LRT)
  • Mona Langston, Housing Preservation Project (multiple corridors)
  • Neeraj Mehta, Nexus Community Partners, CET member (multiple corridors)
  • Repa Mekha, Nexus Community Partners, CET member (multiple corridors)
  • Va-Megn Thoj, Asian Economic Development Association (multiple corridors)
  • Ali Warsame, West Bank Community Coalition (Central Corridor LRT and Hiawatha LRT)