POSTED: November 23rd, 2015 • Latest News

Better Bus Stops Program: Community Engagement Funding Opportunity.
Applications due Friday, January 8th, 2016 at 5 p.m.

The Community Engagement Team, in partnership with Metro Transit, is pleased to announce available resources to support grassroots engagement and public outreach for the Better Bus Stop Program.

What is the Better Bus Stops Program? In October 2014, Metro Transit received a Federal Transit Administration Ladders of Opportunity grant for bus stop enhancements that improve access to employment, education, and other opportunities for communities of color and low-wealth communities. The Ladders of Opportunity grant is combined with other funding sources and bus stop improvement commitments made to advance regional transit equity through new investment in bus stops. This combined program of work is called the Better Bus Stops Program.

This is a new opportunity for Community Engagement for locally-based community organizations.

The Better Bus Stops outreach and engagement work is being opened up to community-based organizations through a competitive contracting process. Community-based organizations will be contracted to support effective place-based initiatives that engage and involve underrepresented communities (low-wealth, people of color, new immigrants, people with disabilities, or other cultural constituencies) in participation, decision-making, and leadership roles around regional transit equity issues at the bus stop level. The program will focus on engagement of constituency members who use transit themselves.

The outreach and engagement work of community-based organizations does not replace Metro Transit’s existing public engagement efforts, but is intended to occur alongside more traditional tactics and support the development of increased community capacity to participate on regional transit equity issues.

The Better Bus Stops Program will:

  • Add up to 150 new shelter locations, and enhance as many as 75 existing shelters
  • Improve transit information within these shelters and at other bus stops.
  • Support the work of community-based organizations to explore preferred shelter locations, the need for better lighting, maintenance and in some cases heated shelters
  • Support engagement focusing on regional transit equity and questions about future allocation of resources.

Here are the application materials for this funding opportunity:
Better Bus stops guidelines and application (updated).

Frequently Asked Questions

Before calling or emailing with questions, it is important to read through all the information being provided in the link above.

Information sessions are being offered to provide in person information about the Better Bus Stops Program and allow you to ask any additional questions you may have before applying. We anticipate that this will be a very competitive process so it’s important to make sure you 1) qualify and 2) know what is required.

Information sessions are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, December 1st, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. at NeDA (Neighborhood Development Alliance) 481 Wabasha street South, St. Paul.
  • Wednesday, December 2nd, 1 – 2  p.m. conference call – (832) 551-5100 Conference ID is 214675
  • Wednesday, December 9th, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC); 2001 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis.

Proposals are due Friday, January 8th at 5:00 p.m. to Monica Bryand at; proposals must be received by the 5 p.m. deadline – there will be no exceptions or extensions.

The CET team includes Nexus Community Partners, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing. Monica Bryand, formerly of Headwaters Foundation for Justice, will be providing leadership to this special project of Better Bus Stops Program.

Please direct all inquiries and questions to:
Monica Bryand


POSTED: April 15th, 2014 • Latest News

The Community Engagement Team (CET) of the Corridors of Opportunity was able to secure McKnight funds to do a third round of Community Engagement grants along transit-way corridors. The previous two rounds were made possible with HUD funding.  The third round was targeted at organizations who had previously received CET grants and had built traction towards achieving specific transitway project related goals and new organizations who were primed to carry out engagement activities to ensure that underrepresented communities are engaged in the decision making, planning, and benefits of transit related development. In total, the third round provides 16 grants along 10 transit-way corridors.

In addition to the funding, the CET will provide technical assistance to the grantees and continue to coordinate bridging meetings between community organizations and Corridor managers.

Grants awarded include:

African Career, Education & Resource, Inc. (ACER), $20,000

The “Making Transit Meaningful” engagement project will engage existing and new business owners, train people who are interested in starting a small business along the Bottineau Transitway and empower underrepresented groups to hold companies that receive public subsidies accountable for community benefits.

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) $5,000

AEDS will engage low income African immigrants to be connected and be part of decision making process through Little Africa, a transit oriented place based development. The primary focuses of this project is to engage with African immigrant residents, business owners, and district council, cities and states elected officials: Transforming the community through civic engagement.

Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA), $25,000

AEDA will coordinate a community engagement initiative, the TOD Engagement Project, to ensure traditionally underrepresented low income people of color, refugee, and immigrant stakeholders in Saint Paul’s Frogtown and Summit University neighborhoods play key roles in shaping a major transit-oriented development project at the Green Line Western Station.

African Immigrant Services (AIS), $10,000

The project seeks to organize African business owners in the Northwest suburbs, especially along the Bottineau Corridor, to explore the best option to influence decision making which helps them increase access to economic opportunities around the five nodal points—97 Avenue, 93rd Avenue, 85th Avenue, 63rd Avenue, and Brooklyn Boulevard.

All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC), $5,000

APAC will work with residents, park resident associations, and other partners to conduct information and listening sessions, and resident surveys regarding transit, infrastructure development, affordable housing, job opportunities, workforce development, and economic development along the Rush line.

Asian Media Access (AMA), $16,000

Led by Asian Media Access, Project Sweetie Pie, and the APA ComMNet Collaborative, Project PENN (Places for Entertaining, Networking and Nurturing) is an innovative and effective placed based Initiative that engages underrepresented communities (low-income/communities of color, and refugees/immigrants) in leadership roles to develop an economic development scan/action plan for North Minneapolis.

Intercongregation Communities Association Food Shelf/Blake Road Collaborative $20,000

This project utilizes strategies such as the Corridor Development Initiative to create opportunities for underrepresented communities along Blake Road to create a vision and participate in the decision-making processes for transit oriented development in the Blake Road neighborhood of Hopkins.

CAPI USA, $10,000

CAPI seeks to build its capacity to promote career pathways in demand industries for unemployed/under-employed immigrants living in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and North Minneapolis. With CET technical assistance, CAPI seeks to enhance immigrant awareness on how to influence Bottineau Corridor decision-making to yield more and better jobs for immigrants.

Cedar Riverside Neighborhood Revitalization Program (CRNRP), $10,000

CRNRP and the West Bank Community Coalition will address the availability and utilization of resources at government and other public and private organizational levels for transit oriented development  adjacent to the two LRT stations located in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. The project addresses the challenges facing the numerous immigrant and minority business including the lack of awareness and access to many resources that can assist these businesses.

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), $25,000

The Good Job Opportunities in Corridor Development Project will create a network linking living wage job opportunities to immigrant communities of color in South Minneapolis, and provide job placement support, labor rights education, and leadership opportunities. The project will also do outreach within immigrant communities of color related to Bottineau corridor development, identifying leaders who can participate in decision-making processes.

East Side Prosperity Campaign/Hmong American Partnership, $18,000

The Engage East Side project will formalize the resident leadership network as a body of representation for the East Side of St. Paul in transit development. The project will create a leadership committee, facilitate learning and capacity building for the group, and continue to do outreach to underrepresented communities.

La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, $16,000

La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles will organize Latino immigrant faith communities living and working near the Cedar Ave. corridor to influencing decision-making in order to share in the benefits of these investments. The project will host public forums, provide leadership development training, and build systemic change.

New American Academy (NAA), $15,000

New American Academy and its immigrant stakeholders will work to ensure that the SWLRT project investment should include affordable housing, jobs, business development and accessible public transportation for the Southwest’s low-income communities of color. In order to achieve these goals, NAA formed Southwest Corridor Immigrant Council (SWCIC). The Council is created by the NAA to discuss, advocate and engage the necessary issues, challenges and opportunities for the low-income and historically underrepresented community along the SWLRT.

Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), $20,000

NACDI will engage residents and cultural communities at the Franklin Station in South Minneapolis to design and implement a community public art project as a part of the Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace, to build community ownership of the station area and increase access and usage of public transportation.

West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBBAC), $10,000

To build the capacity of and consensus among those directly impacted by pending transit investments along West Broadway Avenue to advocate for themselves and ensure North Minneapolis receives the transit investments needed to support healthy, equitable development and job creation.

West Side Community Organization (WSCO), $25,000

Leverage awareness and relationships developed with emerging leaders in underrepresented communities to primarily target improved local bus service and to secondarily target the final planning stages of the Robert Street Alternatives Analysis, including engaging communities to be prepared to effectively respond to the eventual environmental impact and federal funding assessments.

POSTED: December 30th, 2013 • Grants, Latest News

The Community Engagement Team is pleased to announce recipients of Outreach and Engagement grants from round 3:

Recipients of Implementation Grants

African Career, Education and Resource Inc
Making Transit Meaningful

Asian Media Access
Project PENN

Asian Economic Development Association
TOD Engagement Project

Blake Road Collaborative
Supporting a Community Vision for Development on Blake Road

Centro Trabajadores Unidos en La Lucha
Good Jobs in Corridor Development

East Side Prosperity
Campaign Engage East Side

La Asamblea
Corridors to Freedom

New American Academy
SW Corridor Immigrant Opportunity Outreach

Native American Community Development Institute
Anpetu Was’te Mural Project

West Side Community Organization
West Side Bus Improvement and Robert Street Planning

Recipients of Capacity Grants

African Economic Development Solutions
Empowering Low Income African Immigrants

African Immigrant Services
The African Bottineau Opportunity Project

All Park Alliance for Change
Rush Line Corridor Manufactured Housing Initiative

Immigrant Career Pathways

Cedar Riverside
NRP Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement for West Bank Businesses

West Broadway Business and Area Coalition
West Broadway Transit Outreach and Engagement

POSTED: October 30th, 2013 • Grants, Latest News

The Community Engagement Team is pleased to announce a 3rd round of Corridors of Opportunity Outreach and Engagement grants.

The Outreach and Engagement grants support innovative and effective community-based initiatives that engage and involve underrepresented populations (low-income, people of color, new immigrants, persons with disabilities, and persons from other cultural constituencies) in participation, decision-making, and leadership roles around transit corridor planning and implementation.

These grants will fund projects in seven corridors within the system of existing and planned transitways in the region: Southwest LRT, Bottineau Transitway, Gateway Corridor, Cedar Avenue BRT, Central Corridor, Hiawatha LRT and Northstar Commuter Rail.

The deadline to apply for implementation grants is 4 pm on Thursday, November 7. Only organizations which have received funding in the past are eligible to apply for implementation grants.

Grant Guidelines / Grant Application

The deadline to apply for capacity grants is 4 pm on Friday, November 29. Only organizations which have not received funding in the past are eligible to apply for capacity grants.

Read more >

Grant Review Committee Members

Community Engagement Implementation Grants Review Committee members:

Carlene Coleman, community resident
Kabo Yang, consultant
David Wilson Jr, African Career and Education Resource project coordinator

Ann Beuch, Blake Road Corridor Collaborative community organizer
Monica Bryand, Headwaters Foundation for Justice program director
Malik Holt-Shabazz, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition organizer

Community Engagement Capacity Building Grants Review Committee members:

Carlene Coleman
Kenya McKnight, Bush Fellow and North Minneapolis resident

Andy Barnett, Frogtown Rondo Home Fund director
Hussein Ahmed, West Bank Community Coalition executive director

POSTED: May 23rd, 2013 • Latest News

Earlier this month, the Community Engagement Team, which the Alliance is a member of, held a convening for community engagement grantees from the seven transitway corridors in the Metro Area. The convening provided grantees an opportunity to learn how their projects are collectively changing the transitway decision making process, and enabling underrepresented communities to participate in shaping decisions which affect their communities. It also gave them the opportunity to share the successes and challenges of their projects with others.

Learn more about the convening >

POSTED: March 14th, 2013 • Latest News

In late 2010, Russ Adams, Margaret Kaplan and Repa Mekha each received a phone call at their offices. On the other end of the line was a staff member from the Metropolitan Council, the Twin Cities’ metropolitan planning organization, asking their organizations to consider taking a leadership role in a new project.

The council was working with other government, philanthropic and large nonprofit partners to develop a Sustainable Communities Initiative application to HUD. The initiative would promote sustainable, vibrant and healthy communities in the Twin Cities region, using major transitway expansion as a development focus. The agency wanted Adams, Kaplan and Mekha to form a Community Engagement Team to help include underrepresented communities in the challenging process of transitway planning.

Read the rest of the story >

POSTED: March 14th, 2013 • Latest News

African Career, Education & Resource, Inc. (ACER) is a volunteer-driven, community-based organization founded in 2008 to decrease the disparities in access to resources, health, and information within Minnesota’s communities of African descent, promoting the achievement of societal and economic independence. ACER is located in Brooklyn Park, a community situated along the proposed Bottineau Light Rail Transitway. In late 2011, it received a Corridors of Opportunity Community Engagement Team grant to implement “Making Transit Meaningful,” a program aimed to connect communities of color through a series of culturally appropriate engagement strategies. The organization partnered with the City of Brooklyn Park to identify and engage these communities with the goal of increasing active involvement in public decision making processes as they relate to the Bottineau Light Rail Transitway.

Learn more about ACER and its community engagement efforts in Brooklyn Park >

POSTED: February 6th, 2013 • Latest News

CET member the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing released a paper that details best practices in community engagement for transit-oriented development.

Read the paper >

POSTED: January 2nd, 2013 • Latest News

Every evening between 5 and 9 p.m. the New American Academy on the border of Edina and Eden Prairie comes to life with more energy, dreams and goals than can be easily contained within this industrial office space.

Somali students, aged kindergarten through high school, and their parents, attend classes on the English language and citizenship. A new addition this year is training to be an entrepreneur. These East Africans have made starting new businesses to support their families and community a focus as they establish themselves in their new society.

Asad Aliweyd, founder and executive director of the New American Academy, was awarded a $30,000 community engagement grant by the Corridors of Opportunity initiative to help him engage the Somali community in planning for new businesses, jobs, and housing along the Southwest light rail corridor.

“The Golden Triangle light rail stop in Eden Prairie will be key to many opportunities for our Somali community, linking us to the southwest, downtown Minneapolis, and the University where many of our children attend school,” said Aliweyd.

“In order to succeed, we need to have good education for our children,” he said. “We need affordable housing. We would like to build equity and assets through home ownership. We want to grow our job opportunities and we need reliable transportation.”

Read more of this article >

POSTED: November 5th, 2012 • Latest News

Corridors of Opportunity has a new web site! Check it out at