The Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) has been starting work on some of the major issues facing the Commission over the next year.
At the Commission’s February meeting it approved the 2010 Bridge Fund intended to assist officially-recognized neighborhood organizations by the City of Minneapolis that have limited access to other sources of administrative funding in 2010. The Bridge Fund is a $200,000 one-time funding source that comes from the City’s general funds.
You can find out all of the program’s details at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/ncr. Letters of interests will be accepted starting February 1. The evaluation is expected to include a site visit, so letters of interest should be submitted as soon as possible.
The first round of evaluations will consider letters of interest submitted between February 1 and February 15. After February 15, neighborhood organizations may still submit a letter of interest; however, it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Commission also decided to create a Committee of the Whole to help develop the next phase of programs for neighborhoods. By forming a Committee of the Whole, to which all of the commissioners will belong, the NCEC will now be meeting twice a month for at least the next year.
The Committee of the Whole meetings will be open to the public, but will be less formal meetings where the commissioners can work together on developing these really important programs. The starting point for the Commission’s work is the Framework for the Future, which was adopted by the City Council in 2008.
The Framework for the Future set out a plan to establish three complimentary programs. The first will provide administrative funding of approximately $3 million to neighborhood organizations. The second program will be the Neighborhood Investment Fund which “will be directed by neighborhoods to help address neighborhood-identified priorities.” The third program is the Community Innovation Fund which is meant to “provide grants to officially designated neighborhood organizations to seek out innovative and locally-relevant approaches to City-identified goals or problems.”
The Commission’s goal is to finish all three programs in time for implementation in 2011. Over the next several months the Commission will be reaching out to community members, neighborhood organizations and other stakeholders to get their input and ideas for these programs and for how the Commission can help improve civic engagement in Minneapolis.
Mark Hinds is the elected neighborhood representative for NCEC District 6, which includes the CARAG, East Isles, East Calhoun, Lowry Hill, Lowry Hill East, Lyndale, Kingfield, Stevens Square and Whittier neighborhoods. He can be reached at 612.824.9402 ext. 16 or email@example.com.