Over the past 25 years, the Alliance has evolved as an organization to center a race equity analysis in its work, cultivated deep relationships with community-based organizations across issues and geographies in the Twin Cities region, and co-created campaigns and coalitions that have made significant progress in addressing structural racism and centering historically marginalized communities in housing, transportation, land use, economic and workforce development, and other critical regional issues. To mark our anniversary in 2019, we reflected on our collective work together and curated 25 Wins for 25 Years. View the gallery of wins below or download the PDF!
We build the capacity of organizations to organize for equitable growth and development, and to see the connections between local and regional issues. This means both creating tools and convening people in critical discussions, as well as connecting people to successful ideas from other regions. Here are some of the specific outcomes of this work:
Articulated OUR Agenda for Regional Equity
Developed through conversations with local leaders and released in 2018, Our AREA: The Alliance Regional Equity Agenda highlights the strategies Alliance members and partners are using and calls for further collective action to heal communities, stimulate regenerative power, dismantle structural racism, and end the displacement and gentrification of our communities. With overarching principles and targeted policy recommendations, this living agenda moves toward reclaiming the term “equity” and defining it in our terms through our strategies.
Built momentum for housing justice in Eden Prairie
In early 2017, the Alliance began to build a deep partnership with multiple local and regional housing advocacy groups to form a powerful coalition in the southwest suburb of Eden Prairie. The Somali community in Eden Prairie has worked for many years to persuade city leaders to embrace their economic and social priorities. Affordable housing concerns are at the top of the list, and in April of 2017, over 300 residents from multiple faith and cultural communities in the city came together at a housing forum sponsored by the coalition, which is led by Alliance member organization New American Development Center.
Secured historically significant affordable housing plan in Highland Park
When the former Ford Auto Plant closed over a decade ago, activists identified the site as a powerful opportunity to advance transformative equitable development in Saint Paul’s middle to upper class Highland Park neighborhood. As the city considered zoning options in 2017, the Alliance convened a coalition that pushed the city council to adopt a plan with compact urban densities that could support a rich mix of homes, retail and commercial space, green space, strong transit connections, and bicycle and pedestrian trails. In partnership with councilmembers such as Dai Thao, the coalition persuaded the city to adopt a plan calling for 10% of all residential units affordable at 30% of Area Median Income (AMI). These units will be affordable to lower wealth households, including individuals making the minimum wage, seniors on a fixed income, Section 8 certificate holders, and people with disabilities. At maximum density, the Ford site could accommodate 400 units of rental housing at this affordability level. Furthermore, this landmark site plan envisions another 5% of all residential units at 50% of AMI and 5% at 60% of AMI.
Secured Better Bus Stops
Beginning in 2014, the Community Engagement Team, comprised of Nexus Community Partners, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, partnered with Metro Transit to develop a plan for increased investment in bus stops. The CET awarded $229,000 in contracts to 11 local organizations to engage transit riders and historically underrepresented communities around transit equity issues with a focus on bus stops. This cohort built relationships, shared information, and interpreted the feedback received across 22 neighborhoods. Read the Better Bus Stops Community Engagement Report.
Created the Transformative Equitable Development Series
In 2016, the Alliance developed a year-long series of events that started a community conversation on transformative equitable development (TED). Transformative equitable development creates a new paradigm where equity, shared prosperity, and community wealth is the norm. It does this by lifting up the community as decision-makers on development projects that impact their neighborhoods. Learn more about TED.
Supported community engagement along the Northside Greenway
The Alliance supported North Minneapolis leaders in working with the city of Minneapolis to design a greenway that would encourage healthier living on the Northside. A greenway would provide a safe pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians, and would allow residents to move through North Minneapolis and connect to trails, parkways, the Mississippi River and the northern suburbs. Visit Northside Greenway Now’s Facebook page.
Exceeded people of color’s workforce participation on the Vikings stadium project
As a leader in the HIRE Minnesota campaign, the Alliance held the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority accountable to exceeding the workforce participation goals for people of color on Vikings stadium construction. The new U.S. Bank stadium was constructed by a workforce that was 36 percent people of color. Learn how we did it.
Secured regional community engagement standards
The Alliance has convened the Community Engagement Steering Committee (CESC), a group of community-based organizations from throughout the region for four years. In 2014, the CESC co-authored the Public Engagement Plan with the Metropolitan Council, establishing regional community engagement standards that will be integrated into all Metropolitan Council activities. In addition, CESC advocated for, then joined the Metropolitan Council in developing the scope, purpose, and membership of the Equity Advisory Committee (EAC). The EAC will advise the Metropolitan Council on the creation of equitable outcomes for the people who live and work in the region.
Launched the Equitable Development Principles & Scorecard
In 2015, the Alliance in partnership with Harrison Neighborhood Association and Umoja Community Development Corporation to launch the Equitable Development Principles & Scorecard. This scorecard was created by community leaders from across our region to ensure that the principles and practices of equitable development, environmental justice and affordability are applied in all communities as they plan for economic development and wealth creation that benefits everyone.
Advocated for Equity in Place
The Alliance and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs convened a network of organizations to improve the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment in 2014. This regional plan that can be leveraged to create more equitable opportunities for low-wealth communities of color in the Twin Cities region.
Created shared commitment to equitable LRT development
The Alliance convened the Equity Commitments for the Southwest LRT coalition in 2014 to build consensus among community-based organizations about the opportunities to advance equity through transitway development.
Exceeded Central Corridor LRT Hiring Goal
For several years, the Alliance and the HIRE Minnesota campaign worked to ensure the Central Corridor LRT project hired 19 percent people of color to construct the new transitway, exceeding the 18 percent goal set by the Metropolitan Council.
Secured an equity deal for the Minnesota Vikings stadium
In 2013, the Alliance worked with the HIRE Minnesota campaign to design and implement a stadium equity deal for the $1 billion Vikings stadium. We created a new Employment Assistance Firm model that contracted up to $800,000 to community-based organizations to ensure the project meets its hiring goal of 32 percent for people of color.
Improved community engagement in transitway planning
The Alliance worked with the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing and Nexus Community Partners, our Corridors of Opportunity Community Engagement Team partners, to integrate community-based leadership throughout regional planning for an expanded transitway system. This work began in 2012 and continued for several years. We created a community-based granting model that has funded more than 20 community organizing projects and engaged more than 25,000 residents in advocating for more equitable transitway development in their communities.
Developed a Race and Regionalism analysis
The Alliance developed a series Race and Regionalism papers that explored our region’s history of public policymaking and how it has favored, either intentionally or as a byproduct of poor decision-making, the needs of white people over those of people of color and indigenous people. The series includes pieces about the Harrison neighborhood, hiring equity, the G.I. Bill.
Improved Minnesota Department of Transportation hiring equity
With our partners in the HIRE Minnesota campaign, we achieved a 189 percent increase in the number of people hired by the Minnesota Department of Transportation on road, bridge and transitway projects between 2009 and 2012.
Advocated for increased state hiring goals for people of color
In 2011, we worked with the HIRE Minnesota campaign to increase the state of Minnesota’s construction hiring goals for people of color to 32 percent in the metro area.
Received national recognition for the Stops for Us campaign
Along with our partners in the Stops for Us campaign, we received the EPA’s 2010 National Achievement in Environmental Justice Award for our work to add three missing stops to serve low-wealth people and communities of color in the final Central Corridor LRT design plan. Watch the Stops for us video.
Secured state funding for green jobs
We worked with the HIRE Minnesota campaign to secure $2.5 million for green jobs training programs and community outreach about energy-efficiency programs for low-income people and people of color in 2009.
Secured investment in our state’s transportation system
In 2008, we worked with the Transit Partners coalition to pass the historic Transportation Choices 2020 bill, which created a 1/4-cent sales tax in five metro counties to build a regional system of transitways and to contribute to yearly operating costs.
Developing the region’s first neighborhood-based community benefits agreement
We provided technical support to the Longfellow Community Council in 2008, which signed the first neighborhood-based community benefits agreement in the Twin Cities to secure more opportunities for residents resulting from a large-scale development slated for the neighborhood.
Advocated for digital inclusion in Minneapolis
We co-convened the Digital Inclusion Coalition in 2006, which secured a community benefits agreement between the city of Minneapolis and its Wi-Fi vendor. The agreement provided funds for community access to technology and an estimated $11 million for community technology projects.
Secured commitments for equity along University Avenue
The Alliance helped form and support organizing efforts for the University Avenue Community Coalition in 2005, which organized for affordable housing, job training, local hiring and living-wage jobs at Lexington and University Avenues in St. Paul.
Preserved affordable housing in Brooklyn Park
In 2004, we supported a community coalition in defeating a city of Brooklyn Park ballot initiative that threatened to displace 900 local residents of affordable rental housing.
Contributed to the field of organizing for smart growth and equity
With support from the McKnight Foundation, the Alliance formed the Smart Growth Organizing Project in 2003. This was one of the first efforts to convene a variety of allied organizations from the nonprofit sector to advance effective grassroots organizing practices and build powerful community campaigns for racial, economic and environmental justice.
Enforced regional affordable housing policies
The Alliance sued the Metropolitan Council and the city of Eagan in 2002 to ensure they adhered to the affordable housing commitments set out in the Land Use Planning Act.
Recognized as national smart growth leaders
We received a 2002 smart growth award from the National Neighborhood Coalition as one of fifteen Communities Leading the Way.
Secured funding for affordable housing
The Alliance helped secure $8 million for a statewide inclusionary housing program, $10 million for Ramsey County’s Affordable Housing Endowment Fund and $4 million for the Hennepin County Affordable Housing Investment Fund from 1999-2001.
Secured inclusionary housing policy
In 1998, we worked with a community coalition and the Minneapolis Affordable Housing Task Force to persuade the city of Minneapolis to pass a voluntary inclusionary housing policy.
Secured funding for brownfield redevelopment
The Alliance supported faith and environmental communities in securing $19.4 million to clean up polluted land in 1998.
Passed strong land use policy
We helped to pass the 1995 Livable Communities Act, which provides funding for communities to invest in local economic revitalization, affordable housing initiatives, and development/redevelopment that connects different land uses and transportation.
Brought people, places and issues together to advocate for justice
Community activists formed the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability in 1994 as a way to bring people together across the silos of issues and geographies to advocate for racial, economic and environmental justice.
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