REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Northside Achievement Zone


A group of community organizations and individuals has launched what they call the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), “inspired by the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone.” The NAZ mission statement says:

The Northside Achievement Zone will align resources and opportunities in a targeted geographic area of North Minneapolis to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all children (birth to 18 years) with the aim of promoting educational achievement and life success.

Members of the steering committee include co-chairs Wesley Walker from NorthWay Community Trust and Michelle Martin from the PEACE Foundation, as well as Lauren Martin from 500 Under 5 (U of M), Chad Schwitters from Urban Homeworks, Andre Dukes from Shiloh Temple, Anne Long from PYC, Stu Ackerberg from Catalyst Community Partners, Ron Price from LISC, Sondra Samuels from PEACE Foundation, Jeff Lundberg from Sanctuary CDC, Brian Dejewski from TC Christian Foundations, Melanie Sanco from Mineapolis Public Schools, Dennis McLaughlin from Minneapolis Library, Makeda Zulu Gillespie from U-ROC, Bass Zanjani from the City of Minneapolis, Diane Hauley from Rueben Lindh, and Repa Mekha from Payne Lake Community Partners.

A planning group for NAZ began meeting in 2007, according to the group’s website. with facilitation by the Northway Community Trust and PEACE Foundation. They decided to target an area bounded by Broadway/Golden Valley Road on the south, Penn Avenue on the west, 35th Avenue on the north and the I-94 on the east. (See map.) According to NAZ, this area includes an estimated 5,464 households with approximately 7,725 children.

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