Black Interview Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.
A number of foundations and other funders who have been deeply invested in North Minneapolis for many years have not seen the change they'd like to see in that community, Northside Funders Group Executive Director Tawanna Black states. The funders decided they needed to work differently and to get to know each other to better understand places of overlap, challenges and gaps. After meeting informally for six years, 20 foundations and other funders formed the Northside Funders Group (NFG) collaborative in 2013.
NFG's mission is to change the way philanthropy works in North Minneapolis, Black says. She points out that NFG has developed three priority focus areas where it concentrates its work and funding: building thriving learning communities, building social capital and building thriving economies. NFG is one of fewer than five place-based foundations in the country. Black says NFG's place-based approach allows the organization to attempt to transform an entire neighborhood.
NFG member grants to Northside organizations, which collectively amount to $15 million to $20 million per year, are more focused and coordinated than they were before, Black notes. Some NFG member funders give grants to Northside organizations on their own, while the rest donate to a pool from which NFG members determine what joint grants they will make. All of the grants are investments in the organization's three focus areas.
Black calls on legislators to evaluate workforce programs by looking at participants' outcomes two years after they complete a program. Average outcomes of the programs have not been good, especially for African American men. She believes state and county governments must make data-based decisions and shift the way they decide who gets the money for workforce programs. She discusses the use of the $35 million investment in equity appropriated by the 2016 Legislature, what difference the funding will make and how recipients of the money will be evaluated.
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The Northside program could do something like this to help people get and keep jobs. After years of unemployment, people need help and hand holding to make the transition to coming to work, dressing for success, working with others, understanding the mission of organizations. They have the energy but need coaching that continues after training and obtaining a job.
Bringing jobs to Northside is just as critical as training people to do and hold those jobs. There should not be an influx of people coming into Northside fulfilling positions when an entire population is already there. This same situation of not finding suitably trained people exists also for companies in rural areas. In schools, we fill youngsters heads with the nonsense of going to college as the only path—nonsense because of it is unrealistic for many and because of developing skills and knowing of other training possibilities for advancement as welders, carpenters and 100s of other good and important to society jobs. Just visit a technical college with its 100s of program, unfortunately isn’t seen as a "respectable" college High schools have closed shop, home and reduced on-the-job programs and other hands-on subjects because they weren’t aca demic enough—read not well-thought-of enough. This not an argument against attending college but recognizing that many, if not most, drop out and label themselves failures when, in fact, they could be successful with training for work.
One point to note, the State of Colorado, the only state, has created an apprentice program with great similarities to the German model. CC might look into this as a complementary interview.
Also, may I commend to members the writings of Guy Standing on the "precariat" It's worth considering whether or not the CC picks up on it.
Also the Suskind's book, The Future of the Professions
2. What involvement will the NFG have in the redevelopment of the city owned Upper Harbor and Linden Yards?
3. Why is the North Loop which is prospering included?
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The Civic Caucus is a non-partisan,
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includes persons of varying political persuasions,
S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill
Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted
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