Promise Zone Updates

City of Minneapolis and Promise Zone

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

February 22, 2017

MPZ Watermark

Promise Zone Updates

In this edition:

  • Feature Story: #YouveBeenSouled 
  • Education Updates: PEACE Coordinator Position, Scholarship Available for Federal Education Meeting in Austin, TX, Education Webinar for Promise Zones and their Partners
  • Promise Zone News
  • Events
  • Recent Federal Grant and Partnership Opportunities 
  • About the Minneapolis Promise Zone

Feature Story: #YouveBeenSouled

Wendy Puckett, Proprietor of Wendy's House of Soul
Wendy Puckett, Owner of Wendy's House of SOUL


By Mariah Mendoza, Northside Fresh Coordinator

After years of working in the hospitality industry and with the encouragement of her son, Wendy Puckett took that leap of faith with her passion for food and created Minneapolis' infamous SOULROLL. The origination of these unique gluten-free egg roll wraps stemmed from her two boys despising the taste of vegetables. "I would chop up vegetables real tiny... and they would always eat it without knowing there was broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, onions, or [even] garlic," she said. After an injury that impeded her hospitality career, Wendy took on cooking full-time and undertook providing SOULROLLS not only for her boys, but family, friends, and community members as well. "Mom," said her son, "Do it [sell SOULROLLS] for a weekend and see what happens. I'll front you the money [just] see what happens." From that moment, business picked up and looking back was no longer an option.

In addition to her two sons, Wendy's grandmother was a central figure behind what she produced and it's meaning. "I stayed in the kitchen attached to her hip," said Wendy. "Anything that my grandmother made was a favorite of mine: the peach cobbler, the salmon croquettes, and the homemade biscuits with peach preserves." Wendy's grandmother was both a "church mom" and dedicated volunteer who naturally came across many people from all walks of life. Her grandmother shower her that food has the potential to erase barriers between individuals and build strong communities. "My grandmother always put food and family together - they were never separated," and so SOULROLL, for that reason, is "purposely written as one and [intends] to stand as one. I don't necessarily think people see color [because now] we're talking about flavor and what makes your taste buds dance...and that's what I love so much about the SOULROLL. 

"I am at a time in my life where I want to enjoy each and every day and I'm just going to continue to keep stepping out on faith and try new things - you only live once." 

People hear about it and so it begins - a conversation exchanged from different people, with different life experiences, and talking about a different kind of meal they're about to try together. When you get the chance, try the Nanny SOULROLL (names after Wendy' grandmother, of course) which is filled with fried chicken and mac & cheese, staples her grandmother always had on Sundays in between church hours at the house.

"[One day,] I want to see my SOULROLLS in supermarkets, but definitely want to keep it the same flavor [and] continue for it to be my own. I also want a food truck; I have a really neat idea. [Lastly,] I wish some of the moms could get together and make food more flavorful in the school system," Wendy expresses. Community and relationship building are fundamental to her, but she goes on to say, "I grew up in the suburbs so what I see here sometimes is disheartening and I want people to love and appreciate what's around them whether you own it or not. People work hard for their businesses and it would be nice if the community came out and supported them even if it is from the outside - let people know from the outside that we support each other."

The Northside Fresh Coalition is a great chance to meet people working towards a thriving, local food system here in North Minneapolis and Wendy's drive for a strong community is a key component for making this work successful.

Wendy's final thoughts left us with this: Don't beat yourself up for a decision you make make that may or may not work out in the beginning. Don't give up and let discouragement get the best of you. Truth is, we're not always going to have the right answers the first, second, or even third time around and that's okay - it's normal.

Wendy's glowing spirit is undoubtedly noticed when she speaks and her passion for food is undeniably present. When you get the chance, take that step of faith and contact Wendy to order yourself a SOULROLL with her specialty SOUL sauce. I ensure you, as others might too, you'll be back for more.

Back to Top

    Education Updates

    Pathways to Emergency & Academy Career Experiences Wordmark

    (PEACE) Coordinator Position Available

    The City of Minneapolis  Community Planning and Economic Development Department is currently reaching out to seek interested candidates for a short-term, contract position that would assist with the PEACE Program from mid-March to mid-August (up to 20 weeks). This is s non-benefited position with a pay rate of $25 per hour.

    Responsibilities include:

    • Recruit internships from justice and emergency services employers for up to 50 youth
    • Support and coordination or internship recruitment and application process with STEP-UP team
    • Work in Minneapolis Public Schools to provide support for internship requirements
    • Work with employers to develop and/or create and submit job descriptions
    • Work with employers to complete and submit job pledge forms
    • Coordinate partners to volunteer at STEP-UP Achieve mock interviews
    • Coordinate supervisor training and orientation for employers 
    • Submit intern contact information and resume to employers 
    • Work with STEP-UP to match interns to each employer position
    • Provide and track program evaluation for employers, supervisors and students
    • Send and follow up on communication with employers, supervisors and students
    • Provide program support needs for PEACE students
    • Provide services to youth through minimal case management
    • Other program, student and partner support duties as assigned

    A letter of interest and resume from interested candidates should be emailed to by February 28.

    More information about the PEACE funding

    Back to Top

    Ready by 21 Wordmark

    Scholarship Available to Attend Federal Education Meeting in Austin, TX

    The US Department of Educations' Place Base Initiatives Pilot Team is excited to announce that registration has opened for the Ready by 21 National Meeting and the Place-Based initiative Pre-Meeting scheduled for March 29-31, 2017 in Austin, TX.

    Ready by 21 is a set of innovative strategies developed by the Forum that helps communities improve the odds that all children and youth will be ready for college, work and life. Ready by 21 strategies center around four building blocks for effective change: broader partnerships, bigger goals, better data, and bolder actions. Find out more information about the Ready by 21 model

    Who should attend?

    The ready by 21 National Meeting is aimed at community leaders and practitioners, including youth leaders, who are committed to improving partnerships, policies, and practices for children and youth. 

    A scholarship will be available to reimburse travel expenses for one person per Promise Zone Community to attend the national meeting. Please note that meeting registration costs and related fees cannot be reimbursed. Communities are encouraged to send additional representatives to the national meeting (through their own resources) in order to fully participate in the broad range of sessions and topics that will be available. 

    More information can be found through the Ready by 21 National Meeting Website

    If your organization is interested in attending, or utilizing the Minneapolis Promise Zone scholarship, please contact Promise Zone Education Coordinator, Hannah Walker

    Back to Top

    Education Webinar for Promise Zones and their Partners: Making the Case for Serving Opportunity Youth

    Measures of America has developed report and data tools to help communities better understand the challenges facing opportunity youth and see national, state, and regional trends for this target population's outcomes. In this webinar, Kristen Lewis will (1) provide an overview of the scope of the population, (2) highlight the equity challenges that need to be addressed, and (3) provide evidence of the cost to young people and society of not addressing the challenges of this population. They will be sharing their knowledge with Promise Zones and Performance Partnership Pilot Communities. Measures of America has national and state level data, so Kristen Lewis will use data from the states that are represented among the PZ and P3 communities.

    Presenter: Kristen Lewis, Co-Director, Measures of America

    Date: February 28, 2017 2:00-3:15pm EST/ 1:00-2:15pm CST


    Contact Education Coordinator, Hannah Walker, with questions.

    Back to Top

    Promise Zone News

    Mpls. to reallocate more than $9M in frozen funds to neighborhood groups (02/06 - Star Tribune)
    More than $9 million in frozen Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds will be restored to the Minneapolis neighborhoods over the next few years, pending City Council approval.

    City of Minneapolis Looking to Fill Vacant Lots with New Homes (02/07 - KSTP)
    The real estate meltdown of 2008 left the North Side in bad shape. In fact, the City of Minneapolis says, out of the 12 wards four and five were hit the hardest. And nearly six years ago a tornado rolls through and North Minneapolis has a Housing Crisis.

    Want to build a new house on the North Side? Minneapolis can help with that (02/10 - Star Tribune)
    Want to build a new house in Minneapolis? Choose a vacant lot on the North Side, and the city will help make it happen. The City Council approved a pilot program Friday that will offer incentives for building new homes in north Minneapolis and help low-income buyers purchase houses built on vacant lots

    Minneapolis establishes Transgender Equity Council to advise City Council, Park Board (02/12 - Star Tribune)
    Minneapolis city leaders created an official group Friday to advise the City Council and Park Board on matters related to the transgender community. The new Transgender Equity Council is part of an ongoing city effort to identify disparities and work more closely with community members.

    Minneapolis and St. Paul paid sick leave ordinances: What you need to know (02/19 - Twin Cities Pioneer Press)
    St. Paul and Minneapolis both passed city ordinances last year that require private employers to provide their workers with paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members.

    Back to Top


    NAMC Monthly Meeting
    March 2, 2017 - 3:30 - 5:00pm
    UROC - 2001 Plymouth Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411

    Minneapolis Homes: Preview for North Minneapolis Residents
    March 6, 2017 - 6:00-7:30pm
    UROC - 2001 Plymouth Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411

    Northside Housing Fair
    March 18, 2017 - 10:00am-3:00pm
    More information

    NEON Pop-up Boutique: Future of Black History
    March 25, 20107 - 11:00am
    NEON - 1007 W. Broadway Ave, Suite 100, Minneapolis MN 55411

    Back to Top

    Recent Federal Grant and Partnership Opportunities

    The following content is for informational purposes only. For additional details on the opportunities below, and to find additional opportunities, please visit

    Promise Zone Preference Points

    If a discretionary funding opportunity indicates Promise Zone (PZ) preference points are available, please visit for additional information on forms and contacts to request preference point certification from the City of Minneapolis Promise Zone. Please submit your preference point request at least two weeks prior to the application deadline for Promise Zone certification approval consideration. 

    If a funding opportunity does not indicate PZ preference points, you are still encouraged to contact the Promise Zone Manager, Julianne Leerssen (612-225-7721), about potential partnership opportunities to strengthen your application.

    Spotlight Grants: Promise Zone Preference Anticipated

    The grants below are likely to be eligible for additional PZ discretionary scoring points and/or are encouraging PZs to apply. For more information on applying for Minneapolis Promise Zone (MPZ) preference for specific grants such as these, please visit:  

    Additional Federal Funding Opportunities

    These grants may or may not have PZ preference. You are encouraged to highlight the MPZ partnership in your application.

    CNCS: Corporation for National and Community Service

    DOL: Department of Labor

    ED: Department of Education

    HHS: Department of Health and Human Services

    HUD: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    NEH: National Endowment for the Humanities

    NSF: National Science Foundation

    DOJ: National Institute of Justice

    Back to Top

    About the Minneapolis Promise Zone

    Promise Zones are federally designated, high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, and leverage private investment. The Minneapolis Promise Zone (MPZ) plan is a comprehensive, community-driven revitalization strategy that builds on and aligns numerous initiatives to address the persistent unemployment, crime, housing blight, and poor educational outcomes that affect that area.

    For more information, please visit

    Back to Top

    For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact Christina Manancero Villagran at or by phone: 612-673-2958. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. 

    TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

    Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

    Welcome to North Minneapolis" mural by youth artists from Juxtaposition Arts and TATS CRU