Promise Zone: Grants and Updates

City of Minneapolis and Promise Zone

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March 22, 2017

Minneapolis Promise Zone Workmark

In this edition of Minneapolis Promise Zone Updates:

  • Feature Story: The Power of Perception
  • Department of Justice Releases After-Action Assessment of the Response to Minneapolis Protests
  • Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board and Minneapolis Youth Congress Make Statement on Welcoming Refugees and Immigrants
  • US Department of Education Announces Fiscal Mapping Tool for Promise Zones
  • VISTAs in the Community
  • Tiny Fields

Also including:

  • Updates, News, Events
  • Recent Federal Grant and Partnership Opportunities 
  • About the Minneapolis Promise Zone

Spotlight Grants: Economic Development and Employment 

HHS Community Economic Development Projects Grants

Note: This is a grant forecast; the application is expected to open on or about March 17.

Description: Projects that align with Promise Zones are encouraged. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS) will award approximately $27.2 million in Community Economic Development (CED) discretionary grant funds for well-planned, financially viable, and innovative projects to enhance job creation and business development for individuals with low-income.

Eligibility: Applicant must meet three conditions. The CDC designation does not need to be specified on any official documents as long as the three requirements stated below are met:

1. Applicant must be a private, non-profit CDC with 501(c)(3) status;

2. Applicant must have articles of incorporation or bylaws demonstrating that the CDC has as a principal purpose the planning, developing, or managing of low-income housing or community economic development activities; and

3. The Board of Directors must have representation from each of the following: community residents, business leaders, and civic leaders.

Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement. Faith-based organizations are encouraged to review the ACF Policy on Grants to Faith-Based Organizations at:


DOL: Department of Labor

Refugee Microenterprise Development

HHS: Department of Health and Human Services

 Best Buy 

Additional grant opportunities are available at the bottom of this update

Feature Story: The Power of Perception

Ousman Camara - Owner of K's Grocery & Deli

By Mariah Mendoza, Northside Fresh Co-Coordinator

Born in Sierra Leone and a Gambian at heart, Ousman Camara finds himself invested into the north Minneapolis community where he envisions success not only for himself, but for those around him as well. His fulfillment as a businessman is not solely derived from financial progression, but rather the earning of trust and building relationships with his community. Ousman's life journey has thus far taught him about what it means to take risks, to believe in the voices of one's community and lastly, how the power of perception can change everything.

After moving from Gambia, Ousman found himself living in New York with his sister and decided that it was not for him. "My cousin lived in Minnesota and so I moved there." He soon began working two jobs and attending school full-time at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) to study business administration. Life was quickly moving for Ousman as he took on opportunities of interest as they came. With only 26 credits left to graduate, Mr. Camara quit his two jobs, put school on hold and went to work with a friends who owned a convenience store in Hopkins. "I wanted to do business and my friend was looking for help and asked me to find someone. So I asked, 'When are you looking for someone to start?' He said next week... I went to work that night and put in my two weeks notice." Ousman wanted to learn how to run a business hands-on. "I called him that weekend and said, 'I'm ready.' His friend said, 'Oh, you found someone?' 'No, I'm going to do it. I put in my notice already.

Read the full story

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    Department of Justice Releases After-Action Assessment of the Response to Minneapolis Protests

    The Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today released an after-action report of the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Police Department's (MPD) public safety response to the protests, demonstrations and police precinct occupation that followed the November 2015 fatal shooting of Jamar Clark.

    The review, requested by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, specifically focuses on the 18-day period of police response to protest activities including the occupation and demonstrations in and around the fourth precinct police station.

    Read the entire press release

    Read the entire After-Action Assessment

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    Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board and the Minneapolis Youth Congress Make Statement on Welcoming Refugees and Immigrants

    Thursday, March 9, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board and the Minneapolis Youth Congress joined forces Thursday evening in an effort to share their perspectives on making Minneapolis a welcoming city for refugees and immigrants in the wake of White House executive orders. Despite the recent delay due to judicial action, youth from the MYC and elected officials from the YCB felt it was imperative to release a Statement of Welcoming to not only highlight the issue but to show their solidarity and support to refugee and immigrant families during this time.

    Elected officials in attendance were Mayor Betsy Hodges, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, City Council member and  YCB Chair Cam Gordon and Hennepin County Commissioners Marion Greene and Peter McLaughlin as well as Hennepin County Library Director Lois Langer Thompson.

    Find the Statement of Welcoming on the YCB website.  

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    US Department of Education Announces Fiscal Mapping Tool for Promise Zone Communities

    On March 15th, 2017, US Department of Education Communications and the Forum for Youth Investment provided an overview of the web-based tool and guidance for Promise Zone communities to effectively use the tool as a resource development tool to support a community based change agenda.

    US Department of Education and Jobs for the Future will also announce the development of a community of practice that will provide a limited number of Promise Zones and Performance Partnership communities an opportunity to develop their own fiscal map.

    To utilize the tool, complete the free registration 

    If you have questions, please contact Education Coordinator, Hannah Walker

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    Promise Zone VISTAs volunteering for mock interviews with Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center Program

    VISTAs in the Community

    Two of our Promise Zone VISTAs, Sharin Tellez and Helina Haile, spent their Saturday morning conducting mock interviews for youth that are involved in the Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center (KAYSC) program. The youth that participated are in grades 9-12 and are a part of a racial equity initiative that bridges youth of color with STEM related projects. There are various cohorts that are involved in separate issues that range from healthy food access to creating apps. The youth were very impressive! Some arrived with their resumes in tow, while others had the experience of participating in the KAYSC program since middle school. We would have hired them all if we could!

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    Tiny Fields Project Garden

    Victory Tiny Fields Project

    Applications are now open to participate in the 2017 Tiny Fields Project. City of Minneapolis Residents are welcomed to apply to the Tiny Fields Project. The Tiny Fields Project teaches Victory residents to grow their own vegetable gardens by providing participants with a garden kit and other resources needed to successfully grow and harvest produce. The kit includes seeds and seedlings to plant a 7ft x 12ft space with a variety of vegetables.

    Apply here

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    Promise Zone News

    Graduation rates for Minneapolis schools keep climbing, especially at North HS (02/24 - Fox9)
    Graduation rates for Minneapolis Public Schools are continuing to climb, with 67 percent of students graduating within four years - the highest graduation rate in the district has seen in the last 10 years.

    Minneapolis North Captures TC Crown (03/08 - Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder)
    With Junior guard Taylor Johnson battling foul trouble, senior guard JaQuan Sanders-Smith picked up the slack, scoring a game-high 22 points and leading Minneapolis North to an 81-65 boys' basketball victory over St. Paul Central in the Twin City championship last Saturday.

    To whom it should concern: We need real help in north Minneapolis (03/10 - Star Tribune)
    Here in north Minneapolis, there's a bullet train running through our backyards. When are the rest of you going to stop averting your gaze and do something real to help us out?

    Met Council to discuss possible bus fare increase Monday (03/13 - Star Tribune)
    The Met Council is facing a projected $74 million transportation budget shortfall, and on Monday the Transportation Committee will talk about ways to plug the gap, including raising bus and rail fares. Some service reductions also are being considered.

    Facebook's new 'Town Hall' feature helps you find and contact your government reps (03/14 - TC Sessions)
    In Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's nearly 6,000-word manifesto published last month, he laid out a number of global ambitions he had for the social network in the days ahead - including one where its users became more "civically-engaged" and voted more often.

    Fellowship hopes to spur a new generation of Minnesota cooperatives (03/14 - Minn Post)
    That's why Hang helped found the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), which eventually built a 155-acre farm just south of St. Paul where Hmong farmers would have access to year-round farmland.


    Community Cook's family Night
    March 22, 5:00-7:30pm
    Appetite for Change

    Youth Night Community Cook's
    March 23, 5:00-7:30pm
    Appetite for Change

    NEON Pop-Up Boutique
    March 25, 11:00am-3:00pm
    Northside Economic Opportunity Network

    Truth Telling and Community Healing: Celebrating Our Community Elders
    March 27, 4:30-8:30pm
    University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center

    Community Connections Conference
    April 1, 8:00am-3:00pm
    Minneapolis Convention Center

    SADBOC Procurement Fair
    April 27, 9:00am-3:00pm
    Earle Brown Heritage Center

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    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.


    HHS: Department of Health and Human Services

    USDOJ: Department of Justice


    ED: Department of Education

    NEA: National Endowment for the Arts

    HHS: Department of Health and Human Services


    USDOJ: Department of Justice


    HHS: Department of Health and Human Services

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    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

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    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