Blueprint for Equitable Engagement
The Blueprint for Equitable Engagement is a multi-year strategic action plan to ensure an equitable community engagement system for the City of Minneapolis
The City’s Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) department and the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) are utilizing an engagement strategy consistent with the City’s adopted Core Principles of Engagement to create the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement to ensure the City’s engagement efforts are equitable in their approach and implementation. An equitable engagement system ensures that all community voices are sought and valued and that decision makers reflect the communities of which they serve. The Blueprint for Equitable Engagement focuses in the following areas of the City’s engagement work:
- Neighborhood organizations: We aim to help neighborhood organizations assess whether or not their outreach efforts, board decision making processes and distribution of resources is being conducted with a lens of equity and inclusion. The City intends to include the 70 neighborhood organizations as partners in addressing racial disparities in our community. With access to local political and social resources neighborhoods are able to utilize millions of dollars annually and become central places of empowerment for marginalized community members;
- City's board and commissions: The City has a goal of having the advisory and planning boards and commissions reflect the diversity in the community. The City Council charged both the NCR department and the NCEC with making recommendations on the best way to achieve this goal. Recommendations have been developed and are in either being considered or implemented.
- City enterprise outreach and engagement. The NCR department supports the community engagement efforts of City departments and connects this work with the efforts stated above.
The NCR department’s Access and Outreach team will support the aforementioned efforts. The Access and Outreach team is dedicated to ensuring that equitable engagement practices are utilized where cultural norms and/or practices, language and disability create barriers. Specific initiatives that support equitable engagement include ADA support, the Latino Engagement Task Force and the American Indian Memorandum of Understanding. The department has initiatives to strengthen engagement with the Southeast Asian, East African and African American communities in 2014.
Work completed to date:
One Minneapolis Fund: This small grant fund administered by the NCEC supports leadership development in cultural communities and connects new leaders with the City’s engagement system. Recently, many newly engaged residents who were informed by One Minneapolis Fund Grantees of the importance of City engagement ran for their neighborhood boards, 8 of which were elected as of May, 2014.
Neighborhood Priority Plans: Through the Community Participation Programs (CPP), neighborhoods are required to identify priorities and coordinate activities directly with governmental partners, including the City of Minneapolis.
City Board and Commission Diversity and Representation:
- Streamlined Appointment Process for City Boards and Commissions: The NCR department, in collaboration with the City Clerk’s office, worked with the City Council to coordinate all appointments to the City’s boards and commissions twice per year, increasing awareness, understanding and ease of access for interested residents.
- Increased Outreach: The NCR department utilizes its existing engagement networks to inform residents of vacancies on our boards and commissions, resulting in a significant increase in the number of applications. In some recent years applications have doubled.
- City Academy: This annual 5 week course teaches residents about the operations of the City and serves as capacity building tool for prospective board and commission appointees. The program has run for 2 years now with 55 graduates.
- BCLI and other Community Partnerships: Nexus Community Partners (Nexus’) Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a 7-month leadership program that supports, trains, and places people of color and other underrepresented community members on priority, publicly appointed municipal boards and commissions that influence and impact equity in economic development, employment, health, housing and transportation in the Twin Cities Metro Area. In 2014, the first year of this program, 12 people graduated. The NCR department works with Nexus to connect graduates to Minneapolis’ boards and commissions.
- Boards and Commissions Diversity Survey: Every two years, the department conducts a diversity survey to track the composition of our boards and commissions. The survey measures a variety of diversity indicators such as age, income, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender and more.
- Appointment Process Recommendations: In 2013, the NCR department and the NCEC recommended that the City Council adopt procedures for the appointment process modeled after the City’s two most diverse commissions – The Workforce Council and the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission. The department is currently working with the City Clerk’s office to operationalize this recommendation.
Community Connections Conference: The conference is an annual gathering of neighborhood and cultural organizations for the purposes of 1) sharing experiences and best practices; 2) Facilitating connections between organizations; and 3) supporting stronger relationships with the City of Minneapolis. Two conferences have been held to date with over +500 people attending in 2014.
Equitable Solutions:The NCR department is part of the City’s internal work team developing tools support equitable engagement by city departments. This effort is called Equitable Solutions which helps City departments consider equity implications of their budgeting, business plan, and program development and implementation.
Upcoming focus group discussions:
The Blueprint For Equitable Engagement is being developed in accordance to the City’s adopted Core Principles of Engagement. The Blueprint is being developed with an engagement strategy that utilizes both internal and community expertise. Continued development of the Blueprint will include community dialogue to inform strategy and tactics, while expanding partnerships in this area of work. The following is a list of upcoming focus groups discussions. Additional focus groups may be added after completing the following:
- City Council’s HECE and NCEC community meetings (2)
- Intermedia Arts and Creative City Making
- OAP and its collaborative partners (including Nexus)
- Neighbors Organized for Change (NOC)
- African American Leadership Forum
- Latino Engagement Task Force
- Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities, the Senior Advisory Committee, and the Senior Skyway Center
- One Minneapolis Fund grantees
- Three (3) Neighborhood organizations focus groups organized in alignment with existing NCEC districts.
- Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors
- SE Asian Community Organizations
- East African Community Organizations
- LGBTQ Community
- Homeless Community Organizations
Upcoming Focus Groups: Focus group conversations and dialogue will be conducted in the summer of 2014 with an anticipated completion date of September, 30, 2014. Recommendations from these discussions will be considered by the department and the NCEC in the fall of 2014.
Boards and Commission recommendations: The department will be working with City Clerk’s office to further operationalize the recommended changes in the City’s appointment process during the summer of 2014.
Boards and Commissions Diversity Survey: The next survey will be completed in July, 2014. Further efforts to increase voluntary participation will be employed.
Blueprint for Equitable Engagement Steerting Committee members:
- Brittany Lewis, NCEC Commissioner and Steering Committee Convener
- David Rubedor, Director, NCR
- Lance Knuckles, Access and Outreach Manager, NCR
- Andres Hortillosa, NCEC Commissioner
- Ishmael Isreal, NCEC Commission Chair
- Jeff Strand, NCEC Commissioner
Last updated Jun 25, 2014