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Neighborhoods 2020 Update and Invitation

Via an e-newsletter from David Rubedor, Director of Neighborhood and Community Relations for the City of Minneapolis:

There has been a lot of progress made in recent weeks on the Neighborhoods 2020 initiative, so I would like to give you an update on the work thus far and invite you to provide your feedback in the upcoming engagement sessions and comment period. The Neighborhood and Community Relations Department (NCR) is continuing to work with neighborhood, community and elected leaders to identify new neighborhood programming, funding, governance and an engagement policy that will support the City’s 70 neighborhood organizations, beginning in 2021.

Neighborhoods 2020 is about strengthening our neighborhood organizations, elevating their work and ensuring that the neighborhood system is inclusive and cognizant of the equity issues facing our city. It is about combining diverse engagement tools to form a collective strategy that will effectively engage all people in our community.

We know there are not only concerns about the policy recommendations coming from the Neighborhoods 2020 work groups, but also about the future of funding for neighborhoods. Once the Neighborhoods 2020 work groups wrap up their work, their recommendations will be brought to the City Council in March 2019. It will be during that phase of the work that City Council will make determinations regarding the future of funding. As discussed at the NCR budget presentation on October 18th, it is possible that we may see efforts to include NCR funding and neighborhood work in the City’s long-term funding plan this year. If this occurs, it will be a general commitment that will need further clarification and council action upon completion of the entire Neighborhood 2020 process.

Below is more information about the expected timeline and opportunities for weighing in with your concerns.

Our Goal of Equity and Diverse Representation

NCR applies the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) framework and an equity lens to the City of Minneapolis’s engagement work.In 2016, the department adopted the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement, a 5-year strategic plan to engage cultural groups and under-engaged communities. We model our work around this blueprint to ensure equitable access to City resources and programming and inclusion in the City’s decision-making processes for all communities and cultures in Minneapolis, using a broad array of engagement techniques. One crucial component of this engagement toolkit is the neighborhood organization system.

The City of Minneapolis values the contributions of our neighborhood organizations. To that end, 73% of NCR’s $12M 2018 budget is committed to supporting neighborhood work. Nearly all of these funds are direct allocations to neighborhoods organizations through the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the Community Participation Program. With these funds, neighborhoods have worked on many important issues, supported grass-roots initiatives and leveraged over $2.8M worth of volunteer time from residents in 2017 alone. One of our goals with Neighborhoods 2020 is to ensure that this significant investment in communities, the neighborhood organization system, also benefits from diverse representation and participation.

NCR’s engagement efforts focus on removing barriers to participation and creating welcoming spaces for all community members to participate. About 20% of our annual budget is dedicated to support this type of work. Some examples include the City’s new, overhauled Americans with Disabilities Action Plan, the over 500% increase in use of City language access services, and the NCR staff embedded in our city’s major cultural communities (African American, East African, Latino, Southeast Asian, American Indian, seniors and GLBT). We have included diverse voices in major policy initiatives such as the safe and sick time, minimum wage and municipal ID ordinances. We host radio shows in Spanish, Hmong and Somali to ensure more residents understand the issues facing our city and the resources they have available. We support voter outreach and recently added the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to expand our support to new Americans.

A complete list of the departments performance measures, including both neighborhood and cultural outreach programming, can be found here:

Neighborhoods 2020 Update and Upcoming Engagement Opportunities

The Neighborhoods 2020 work groups were established in July, each covering one of the three major topics under consideration: programming and funding, governance and formulating a citywide community engagement policy. The work groups consist of 47 individuals, representatives experienced in equity/undoing racism, from neighborhood organizations and cultural groups, and appointees chosen by City Council and the mayor.

Since July 2018, work groups have concentrated their efforts on five main goals:

Goal 1: Increase inclusive and vibrant leadership within neighborhoods by creating space for new ideas, people and planning.

Goal 2: Create effective financial and program accountability of neighborhood organizations to the communities they serve.

Goal 3: Increase effective capacity of neighborhoods in the areas of administration and program development.

Goal 4: Create inclusive, diverse and equitable neighborhood organizations.

Goal 5: Clarify an effective role and relationship with the City of Minneapolis.

After three-and-a-half months, work groups are close to finalizing and presenting their work. The groups will convene together on November 19 to make any changes to their recommendations based on the product of other work groups. There will be several opportunities for residents and community members to provide input or feedback on the work group recommendations.

Presentation of Draft Recommendations (late November):

During the last week of November and early December, presentations will be conducted at various locations around the City for community feedback. A separate announcement of the meeting times and locations will be sent out soon. The work groups will meet after these presentations to discuss any final changes to their product.

45-day Review and Comment Period (January – February):

Final recommendations will be available for a 45-day public comment period starting in early January 2019.

City Council Presentation (March):

Final recommendations, including public comments, will be presented to the City Council’s Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights and Engagement Committee in March 2019.

This has been a meticulous process for the work groups, the community and our staff; but, using the expertise and best practices that work group members and NCR staff contribute, I am confident that a solid and achievable program will emerge. The guidelines will be different than in years past, but the changes will make neighborhoods and the City stronger partners for years to come.

I want to thank all the work group members for their hard work and dedication. I also want to thank neighborhood leaders for their contributions and patience with this process. I know the uncertainty is difficult, but please know that we are working hard to bring Neighborhoods 2020 to a successful conclusion. I believe that, between the work of our volunteers, the work group members and NCR staff, Minneapolis will remain the most meaningfully engaged city in the US.

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