Archive for the ‘ LISC ’ Category

Help Wanted

LISC’s AmeriCorps program seeks to attract talented individuals to serve for one year to help build organizational capacity. LISC is seeking an AmeriCorps member to work with the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. ASANDC, established in 1980, aims to address neighborhood quality of life issues, advocacy, organizing and community economic and housing development in St. Paul’s Ward One neighborhoods of Aurora St. Anthony, Summit-University and Frogtown.

The AmeriCorps member working with the Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC) will serve as a Program Assistant and will work on a variety of initiatives and projects, including:

  • Developing resident leaders through ASANDC’s Power of One Plus One Program (PO1+1), a program that aims to increase the level of engagement of community residents. The program provides training to residents and helps them develop the necessary skills, knowledge, ability and power to decide the direction of their neighborhood.
  • Assisting with the project management of the Frogtown Rondo Action Network, a collaborative of 10 non-profit organizations working to ensure that community residents in the Old Rondo and Frogtown neighborhoods achieve long-term stability and well-being. In this role, the AmeriCorps member will support the development and implementation of specific strategies identified by FRAN; participate in community meetings, events and other public forums; and maintain cooperation and participation with collaborating groups.
  • Other duties as assigned.

See the full job description for more details. Applications are due August 8, 2010.

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Transit Workshop

Transit meeting

Community engagement continues to be a central issue in development and planning. When engagement is poorly managed, community members may feel an incoming assault in their neighborhoods, which can make or break a project.

“A lot of folks have anxiety about builders coming into their community,” said Leslie Moody, executive director of the Denver-based Partnership for Working Families, while presenting to an audience of over 100 participants on May 11 as part of a workshop focused on developing transit-oriented districts and walkable communities.

Held at the Wilder Foundation, the workshop, titled Equitable Development and Community Benefits, was the third in a four-part series. The session centered on leveraging a community benefits model, which builds relationships between the community, the developer and the city.

“We want the public involved in government,” said Moody. “Having active civic engagement in these processes is the way to get people to understand government and support it.”

Not all communities are created equal as pointed out by Gretchen Nicholls of the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a leading sponsor of the event series.

“Community is a term we use very easily, although it’s a very complex idea,” she said.

After Moody’s presentation, participants shared success stories from their local areas and discussed topics related to points of influence in planning, timing mismatch, connecting on different priorities, and engaging communities over time.

A panel of local community organizers offered perspective. The panel included Russ Adams, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability; Gretchen Nicholls, LISC / Corridor Development Initiative; Malik Holt-Shabazz, Harrison Neighborhood Association; Mihailo (Mike) Temali, Neighborhood Development Center; Jonathan Sage Martinson, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative; and Brian Miller, Seward Redesign.

Common themes involved engaging developers early on, the role of small business, and ensuring community involvement beyond planning and throughout implementation.

Event sponsors included Twin Cities LISC, Metropolitan Council, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Center for Transit-Oriented Development, Urban Land Institute and The McKnight Foundation.

The last workshop, Financing of Transit-Oriented Districts – Building Public/Private Partnerships will be from 9 a.m. to noon June 15 at Dorsey & Whitney, 50 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis. For registration details, email Gretchen Nicholls.

Community Roundtable

Organizer Roundtable

About 30 people attended the Organizer Roundtable on the Building Sustainable Communities project.

More than 30 attendees from 22 organizations gathered at the Model Cities Communities Room on University Avenue on February 24, 2010, to hear impassioned community leaders share their raw experiences — the triumphs and the difficulties — in realizing the true meaning of collaboration.

Collaboration, in this case, meant creating neighborhood-centric, multi-partner coalitions aligned with the Building Sustainable Communities initiative supported by Twin Cities LISC.

As part of a monthly roundtable series organized by the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, the event, titled “Community Partnerships for Success,” drew excellent attendance according to Joan Vanhala, coalition organizer with AMS.

“I appreciated the different leaders who talked honestly about their challenges in working with coalitions towards one common goal,” said Vanhala.

Those leaders included Mari Bongiovanni, executive director, East Side Neighborhood Development Company; Staci Horwitz, program director, City of Lakes Community Land Trust; Cathy Maes, executive director, ICA Food Shelf; Judy Elling, executive director of ResourceWest in Hopkins; and Nieeta Presley, executive director, Aurora/St. Anthony Community Development Corporation.

During the two-hour session, leaders outlined the formulation of their collaborative, conveying both excitement and frustration in the challenges and rewards of developing cross-sector partnerships.

“I can see that in the different presentations, we’re at different levels of maturity, and we all came out in completely different ways,” said Bongiovanni. “We [St Paul’s East Side] needed to sit at the table for quite a while.”

After four years, Bongiovanni admitted her collaborative is still working on finding a comprehensive voice, which has slightly fragmented recently due to resident churn in a tough economy. That said, she noted the effort put forth in a multi-year process that started with informational meetings and evolved into 64 organizations sitting at a table calling each other to ask for advice and referrals.

“That was a big step,” she said. “Before we were all in our little silos and hoping that we would get funded and others wouldn’t because that would be more money for us.”

The next Organizer Roundtable will be “Race, Power and Organizing,” which will address the dynamics of race in day-to-day life, and how to integrate racial equity in campaign focus.

Race, Power and Organizing

Noon – 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 31
Rondo Community Library
461 N. Dale St.
St. Paul, MN 55103

Building Sustainable Communities Roundtable

LISC logoJoin Model Cities, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, Aurora/St. Anthony NDC and other Frogtown Rondo Action Network partners at an Organizer Roundtable — Community Partnerships for Success: Building Sustainable Communities from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, at Model Cities Community Room, 839 University Avenue, Saint Paul. (Map/Directions or Transit Planner)

In 2007, the Twin Cities was chosen by the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to carry out a Building Sustainable Communities demonstration to promote more integrated and comprehensive approaches to community development. Twin Cities LISC is implementing the project with a focus on five areas: St. Paul’s East Side, the Central Corridor, Minneapolis’ north and south sides, and the suburban community of Hopkins. They chose these areas because each offers a multitude of potential partners, opportunities and issues.

Come hear from community leaders involved in the program about their efforts to direct resources toward community-based projects already under way that would otherwise be constrained by limited means and abilities. Join in the dialogue about how innovative partnerships like this can leverage resources for community projects.

Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Light snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring your lunch.

U7 hires business advisors

Hiawatha LRT construction photo courtesy of Met Council

Hiawatha LRT construction photo courtesy of Met Council

The University Avenue Business Preparation Collaborative — known as U7 — is working to help existing and new businesses survive the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit construction phase and to improve their businesses after the construction is complete. We plan to offer technical assistance and business development planning in areas such as cash-flow management, advertising, customer retention and more. Plans also include new pools of funds for short-term lending and real-estate acquisition lending. The collaborative includes:

U7 is advised by the city of St. Paul, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Model Cities, University United, the St. Paul Port Authority and UABA. The collaborative has hired two business-retention advisors, Sia Lo and Marilyn Porter, both of whom have extensive experience in the business and nonprofit sectors. To contact the business-retention advisors:

  • Email Sia Lo  or call (651) 789-7486.
  • Email Marilyn Porter or call (651) 230-1020.

FRAN has a plan

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC

A new initiative led by nine community organizations is focusing on high-impact projects along University Avenue designed to bring prosperity to the people of the neighborhood as state and local governments prepare to build the Central Corridor light rail line. The Frogtown/Rondo Action Network, funded in part by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, and serving an area from Rice Street west to Lexington, and from Thomas south to St. Anthony, is made up of:
•    Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation
•    Community Stabilization Project
•    Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation
•    Hmong Business Association/Asian Economic Development Association
•    Jewish Community Action
•    Just Equity
•    Selby Area Community Development Corporation
•    University Avenue Business Association
•    University United
Although planning for the Central Corridor LRT in Saint Paul includes strategies to mitigate negative  effects of the project on community members and small business owners, the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation is concerned that the project might not be focusing enough on the real needs and issues of the community as expressed by the community members and business owners.
“If the underlying premise is to ‘spur’ economic development, then the building of the LRT must be done right from start to the finish,” said Nieeta Presley, executive director of ASANDC.
FRAN’s goals are to direct resources toward community-based projects already under way that would otherwise be constrained by limited means and abilities. The idea is to have ASANDC, which has been serving the community since the 1980s, to center the coordination efforts in order to aptly prepare, strengthen and help residents and businesses not only survive the Light Rail changes but any changes that present themselves to our community.
LISC has committed three years of support to FRAN and hopes to raise and leverage additional resources both for support and implementation of FRAN projects, which have a total budget of about $7.5 million.
— By Ashanti Austin