Seven South Minneapolis neighborhood organizations steer toward a bright future


Over the past year, seven neighborhood organizations in South Minneapolis have worked together to explore strategic partnership opportunities that will improve operating efficiencies and ensure long-term sustainability of the sector while improving our capacity to engage and build grassroots leadership.

The partnership is called the Southside United Neighborhoods Project (SUN Project) and the following neighborhood organizations, representing eleven neighborhoods are participating: Bancroft Neighborhood Association, Bryant Neighborhood Organization, Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization, Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, Longfellow Community Council, Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association and Standish-Ericcson Neighborhood Association.

“By bringing together board and staff representatives from the seven neighborhood organizations, the SUN Project is facilitating discussions on how neighborhood organizations in our area can remain strong, reduce duplication of administrative functions and better share resources,” said Shirley Yeoman, community coordinator for the Standish-Ericcson Neighborhood Association. “It is exciting to see these collaborative conversations taking place.”

With generous support from the McKnight Foundation, the SUN Project has hired the Dendros Group to help guide the exploration and evaluation process. The organizational assessment period will begin in December 2011 and conclude in the spring of 2012 with a set of recommendations for how the seven organizations can move forward more collaboratively. The recommendations will be presented to the seven organizations and the communities at-large for final approval.

“This initiative will certainly build our collective capacity and ensure that residents have the opportunity to collectively address issues of importance long into the future,” said Cynthia Frost, board member of the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization.

The SUN Project will assess the feasibility of strategic partnerships to address the following needs: a stronger collective voice regarding policy matters; elimination of duplicate administrative functions within the seven neighborhood organizations; and development of a proactive response to the changes in neighborhood funding sources and the needs of the communities.

Maintaining the unique identities of each of the neighborhoods is a top priority as the SUN Project moves forward.

“Each neighborhood recognizes the need for residents to identify and collectively address issues related to neighborhood improvement and supports capacity-building to undertake neighborhood improvement activities,” said Andy Hestness, board member of the Bancroft Neighborhood Association.