POSTED: October 24th, 2012 • Latest News

The Community Engagement Team’s Grant Review Committee reviewed every submission for the 2012 Outreach and Engagement Grants. The panel recommended 10 projects for $323,000 in funding in the second and final round of community engagement grants. The selected projects represent four transit corridors: Central, Bottineau, Southwest and Gateway. These recommendations were approved by the Corridors of Opportunity Policy Board. See a chart of recommended projects by corridor.

African Career, Education and Resource, Inc. (ACER)

Project title: Making Transit Meaningful 2
Project Category: Received 1st Round Funding
Corridor: Bottineau
Amount: $30,000

African Career, Education and Resource (ACER) is a volunteer-driven, community-based organization founded in 2008 to close the resource and information disparities within Minnesota’s communities of African descent and help those communities achieve societal and economic independence.

Project description

ACER will focus the second phase of its project on engaging business owners, youth and apartment residents from underrepresented groups in the northern and northwestern suburbs.  ACER’s engagement message will target African immigrants and African Americans through a series of community forums, small group meetings and media publications.  ACER will partner with the City of Brooklyn Park to reach this population. At the end of this phase, a large representation of African immigrants, African Americans and other people of color will have actively participated and contributed to community forums and workshops to be better informed and more engaged about transit issues that affect their communities and individual lives. There will be heightened public awareness and increased understanding translated into sustained support and informed action by the target audience around transit issues.

Cleveland Neighborhood Association

Project title: Bus Shelter Workshop Toolkit and Outreach
Project Category: Capacity Grant
Corridor: Bottineau
Amount: $10,000

The Cleveland Neighborhood Association serves the residents in the Cleveland Neighborhood of North Minneapolis.

Project description

CNA will use this capacity-building funding to organize underrepresented residents around transportation equity issues by engaging them in the decision-making process using innovative outreach tools, built in collaboration with partner Works Progress, to build long-term involvement of residents in the Cleveland Neighborhood t.  CNA will engage transit-dependent, low-income, people of color in the Cleveland neighborhood through a “bus shelter workshop toolkit” to inform them about transit development (LRT, Street cars, bus, etc.) and connect them with the neighborhood organization to empower those residents to have a voice in the decision-making process.

Harrison Neighborhood Association

Project Title: Transit Equity Partnership Phase 2
Project Category: Received 1st Round Funding
Corridor: Bottineau
Amount: $45,000

Harrison Neighborhood Association (HNA) is a racially diverse community in North Minneapolis. 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 our communities in North Minneapolis. Harrison Neighborhood Association (HNA) is the lead organization in the partnership. Both HNA and Heritage Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) are place-based organizations that have multi-cultural leadership, working on multiple issues. Loa Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM) is a refugee organization serving primarily Lao community members throughout the state but geographically concentrated along the Bottineau line.

Project description

The Transit Equity Partnership is an effort to overcome a century of discriminatory urban planning that has resulted in disinvestment, lack of opportunity, isolation and marginalization of those living in North Minneapolis. TEP will do this by using a racial justice framework to build a common understanding between diverse communities.  The focus of this round is to ensure that the community-developed equity agenda is a priority in neighborhood, local government and area property owner decision-making going forward. This will be done in the following ways: (1) By training existing leaders and recently emerged leaders on how to advocate on behalf of the recently developed community position, (2) Forming a Van White Station Stop Stakeholders group  (3) training and preparing resident leaders to advocate for their community in upcoming DEIS process  in the county-sponsored Health Impact Assessment process, (4) development of community priorities and positions for Bottineau line between Van White and Penn Avenue, and (5) connecting local leaders to corridor-wide efforts and processes.

Masjid An-Nur

Project title: En-LIGHT-enment
Project Category: Capacity Grant
Corridor:  Bottineau
Amount: $10,000

Masjid An-Nur serves the most densely populated area of Minnesota in North Minneapolis. Masjid An-Nur is home to an organization called Al-Maa’uun. This organization focuses its efforts on providing neighborly needs and stands as a vanguard against poverty and injustice. It serves as a catalyst and partner, supporting the human dignity of individuals and families and improving their lives and the communities in which they live and serve.

Project description

This project is an LRT awareness and education campaign for the North Minneapolis community served by Masjid An-Nur and Al-Maa’uun. By educating the community about issues such as social, environmental and access equality, the project aims to empower individuals from this often overlooked community to become a part of the planning and decision-making process for the Bottineau LRT Corridor. The project has two concise goals: 1) To create an aware and educated North Minneapolis community about issues surrounding the planning, development, and implementation of LRT in North Minneapolis, and 2) to empower individuals who otherwise would not be involved from North Minneapolis to serve as community advocates with LRT leadership, ensuring long-term involvement with the Bottineau Corridor line.

Northside Residents Redevelopment Council

Project title: Northside Bottineau Transitway Organizing
Project Category: New Applicant – Implementation
Corridor: Bottineau
Amount: $30,000

Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC) is the oldest neighborhood organization in Minneapolis. NRRC has an active transportation committee that focuses on access to public transit for underrepresented populations. Northside Transportation Network (NTN) was formed in 2010 out of a joint public meeting organized by Harrison Neighborhood Association and NRRC. Along with neighborhood residents, NTNs core group also includes the participation of these organizations: Harrison Neighborhood Association, Northside Residents Redevelopment Council, West Broadway Business & Area Coalition, City of Lakes Land Trust, MICAH, ISAIAH, and Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, MN Center for Environmental Advocacy and Transit for Livable Communities.

Project description

To secure tangible community benefits for North Minneapolis residents, NRRC and NTN will facilitate extensive outreach to engage underrepresented communities. The ultimate goal is to create a more unified North Minneapolis resident-lead participation in the Bottineau Transitway planning process, which will lead to clearly identified goals related to leveraging economic development, jobs, affordable housing and access to a metro-wide transit system. Efforts to reach these goals will include collaboration with Asian Economic Development Association, Asian Media Access, and Lao Assistance Center, Masjid An-Nur, North Point Health and Wellness, Minneapolis Urban League, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Heritage Park Neighborhood Association and other local groups, businesses and institutions. Success for this project is a Bottineau Transitway planning process that respects and incorporates the passionate, intelligent and experienced involvement of North Minneapolis’ underserved residents and organizations. This active involvement will result in transit services that serve our community. The successful transit service will become a catalyst for employment, economic development, affordable housing and will contribute to a vibrant, economically successful North Minneapolis.

Union Park District Council

Project title: Building Skyline Tower Power
Project Category: New Applicant – Implementation
Corridor: Central
Amount: $28,000

Union Park District Council (UPDC) is a nonprofit organization that serves the Merriam Park, Snelling Hamline and Lexington-Hamline neighborhoods adjacent to the Central Corridor LRT in Saint Paul.  UPDC’s mission is to “provide a forum for people in District 13 to participate in decision-making and in actions to improve the quality of life and bring about positive change in our neighborhood.”

Project description

Skyline Tower is an affordable housing high-rise apartment building located one block south of University Ave between the Hamline and Lexington LRT stations. It is home to around 1,000 people, mostly East African immigrants. Decisions are currently being made about the Central Corridor that will impact this neighborhood and its residents for decades. However, most Skyline Tower residents have not been involved in LRT decision-making processes because of several barriers, including the language spoken at meetings, lack of transportation to meetings, and literacy issues regarding flyers, newsletters and email updates. “Building Skyline Tower Power” will connect the underrepresented immigrant population of Skyline Tower to decision-makers along the Central Corridor by hiring a Skyline resident to be a community organizer, who will work with the Skyline Tower Leadership Team, share resident perspectives, and communicate priorities and needs for Central Corridor development.  This project will allow a way to more effectively engage Skyline Tower residents as the decision-makers and organizers for their own community along the Central Corridor, with the knowledge and support of the UPDC and the Advantage Center available to help them achieve their goals. With a Skyline Tower resident on Union Park’s staff to support the STLT, Skyline Tower residents will be fully involved in the project’s implementation and successes.

Eastside Prosperity Campaign

Project title: Engage East Side Phase 2
Project Category: Received 1st Round Funding
Corridor: Gateway
Amount: $25,000

Eastside Prosperity Campaign is a coalition of organizations on the East Side of St. Paul that works with cultural specificity to engage underrepresented communities around transit, with a focus on the Gateway Corridor.

Project description

The first phase of Engage East Side work concentrated on core areas of education, community surveying and data dissemination, transit-related research, community events, and making connections with planners, key stakeholders and elected officials. Moving into year 2, the coalition will continue to educate East Side residents, many of whom are not aware of the Gateway Corridor nor any of the other transit planning that is happening. The project will pull together a resident leadership group to represent the community to the various transitway decision-makers (Gateway Commission, Washington and Ramsey Counties, the Met Council/Transit, and City Planning Departments). The project will offer ongoing capacity-building efforts (leadership development, organizing training, etc.) to prepare the group for this role. Success for this project is to create an established community platform to involve residents in future development opportunities.

Native American Community Development Institute

Project title: Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Market
Project Category: New Applicant – Implementation
Corridor: Hiawatha
Amount: $35,000

Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) is a nonprofit organization that partners with American Indian communities to build and execute 21st century community development strategies; it is a mission and approach geared to gaining inclusion of community members’ voice and input. The project partners, Ventura Village Association and Seward Neighborhood Group, are resident-based organizations, representative of community member constituency.

Project description

Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Market is a gateway and market in the American Indian Cultural Corridor at the Franklin Avenue light rail station that connects two neighborhoods. After years of hard work, the American Indian community officially opened the American Indian Cultural Corridor in 2010. The half‐mile cultural corridor—the only urban American Indian corridor in the country—is located at the Franklin Light Rail station, minutes from downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America and the airport. Over 10 million light rail passengers pass the cultural corridor annually; however most do not visit the corridor. Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Market creates a unique gateway and market that welcomes people to the cultural corridor at the light rail station, connects two neighborhoods and serves as a community gathering space.  An unused central median of Franklin Avenue will be developed into an art and food market with space for arts vendors, food trucks and seating. Additionally, a plaza for performances will be reinforced with community public art. The Cultural Arts Market catalyzes development of a vibrant community economy along the corridor and bridges the current disconnect between communities and transit use.

Neighborhood Development Alliance

Project title: Robert Street Transitway Alternatives Analysis Study
Project Category: New Applicant – Implementation
Corridor: Robert Street (not one of 7 CoO corridors; but eligible)
Amount: $20,000

Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA) is a 23-year old nonprofit development corporation providing primarily housing development services on St. Paul’s West Side. The West Side Community Organization (WSCO) is an action oriented, neighborhood-based non-profit organization empowering our residents to participate in and advocate for solutions to West Side community issues.

Project description

This project will ensure that underrepresented West Side residents participate in Dakota and Ramsey Counties’ 2-year planning process: the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives 2 Analysis Study. The counties met with representatives from WSCO and NeDA and agreed that a community engagement strategy targeted at new immigrants and low-income residents was a priority.  Project activities will include conducting research on past planning studies in the area; outreach to neighbors through individual door knocking; meeting with resident and church groups; establishing an ongoing communication strategy to keep the neighborhood informed on plans, meetings, etc. Success for this project will be that the Alternatives Analysis incorporates the resident’s concerns, wants and needs into the plans. Specifically, the project will identify clear-cut recommendations emerging from the study regarding improved east-west connections and improved linkages to the Central Corridor.

New American Academy

Project title: SW Corridor Immigrant Opportunity Outreach & Engagement Phase 2
Project Category: Received 1st Round Funding
Corridor: Southwest
Amount: $40,000

The New American Academy (NAA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 that provides multiple programs and services to immigrants in the Twin Cities, predominantly Eden Prairie residents. NAA is located in the city of Edina, but serves as the only Somali-led institution operating in the southwest area of the Twin Cities’ region including Edina, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, and Saint Louis Park. The organization is dedicated to serving the East African population in this area through a combination of programs including: work in education, citizenship, housing, mentoring and tutoring, employment, civic engagement and citizen participation.

Project description

Eden Prairie and cities along the Southwest LRT Corridor are experiencing a growing and vibrant population increase of new immigrants from East African and other ethnic immigrant community members who are resettling from other cities in our region and across our state.

After the first year of capacity-building for this project, NAA’s next steps for the 2012-2013 second-year grant period will focus on implementing specific goals, visioning and long-term strategies that were discussed and/or proposed for second-year follow-up, steering committee action, and other implementation recommendations, that will benefit the southwest corridor impacted by this project. Success indicators will involve: (1) provision of equal opportunities and elimination of disparities for the underrepresented beneficiaries, (2) economic growth and competitiveness,  (3) convergence and synergy of collaborative partnerships,  (4) creation of benefit-earning permanent employment/career opportunities for disenfranchised beneficiaries, and  (5) creation of affordable housing development units.

La Asambela de Derechos-Civiles

Project title: Emancipation Campaign: Corridors to Freedom
Project Category: Capacity Grant
Corridor: Bottineau, Cedar, Southwest
Amount: $10,000

La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles is a faith-based organization in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud that builds leadership and acts in collective power to change the politics that affect the destiny of our people.

Project description

Through the Emancipation Campaign of Corridors to Freedom, La Asamblea will organize Latino faith community members at St. John the Evangelist (serving residents of Hopkins along the Southwest Corridor), Saint Alphonsus (serving resident of Brooklyn Park along the Bottineau Corridor) and Church of the Risen Savior (serving residents of Apple Valley and Lakeville along the Cedar Avenue Corridor). La Asamblea will host public forums, conduct community surveys, provide leadership training for community members and organize meetings between residents and decision makers. The Latino community is an underrepresented constituency at decision-making tables due to institutional racism and an oppressive immigration system. This project aims to bring Latino immigrants to the table to develop a collective vision around the corridors and make their voice heard to ensure they benefit from decisions that affect their lives. This project will result in increased access to job opportunities, a safe mode of transit for immigrants, the preservation of existing affordable housing along the corridors and the development of new affordable housing.

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos En La Lucha (CTUL)

Project title: Good Job Opportunities in Corridor Development
Project Category: Capacity Grant
Corridor: Interchange, Bottineau, Southwest
Amount: $10,000

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Luchas (CTUL) is a low-wage Latino immigrant-led organization that is organizing for fair wages and working conditions for all workers in the Twin Cities metro area.

Project description

The key to promoting sustainable, vibrant and healthy communities is ensuring that development leads to good jobs that pay living wages. There are three components of the project: research, education and outreach, and action and engagement.  CTUL will involve low-income Latino immigrants in planning, decision-making and implementation processes around The Interchange, and proposed connecting lines, to ensure that new jobs created are good jobs.  A large percentage of CTUL members live in South Minneapolis and work in the surrounding suburbs, many working at jobs along the proposed Bottineau and Southwest corridors. CTUL will use project funding to set up structures ensuring the long-term involvement of its constituency in corridor development.

Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH)

Project title: Interfaith Housing, Transit and Equitable Development Organizing
Project Category: New Applicant – Implementation
Corridor: Bottineau, Southwest
Amount: $30,000

Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) organizes communities of faith throughout the metropolitan region around the vision that everyone, without exception, has a safe, decent and affordable home.

Project description

This project brings together the members and resources of four organizations: Zion Baptist Church, Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, Discussions that Encounter, and MICAH, around the shared goal of engaging residents of North Minneapolis with supporters from communities along the Southwest and Bottineau transitways to engage community members on the Northside to assure that development decisions benefit everyone in the community. For the past 6 years, MICAH members from throughout the region have been working in communities along transit corridors to ensure that development along all these corridors benefits the whole community and include a range of housing and economic equity opportunities. Success for this project will be a diverse group of leaders from the neighborhood leading the campaign and winning on policy priorities that will create new and preserve existing affordable housing, protect current homeowners with low incomes from displacement due to increased property taxes, provide well placed transit options for the neighborhood and generate economic opportunities.