Neighborhoods 2020: The future of neighborhood funding

It’s time to advocate for continued funding, we need your help!

The City of Minneapolis has released its framework for the future of neighborhood organization funding. Your neighborhood association can only continue its work if it receives funding through this vital source. We are asking our neighbors to make an impact by submitting comments and personal stories about how you value the work of the Tangletown Neighborhood Association. Some examples of previous, current, and upcoming work in Tangletown that could not occur without city funding:

  • Annual Fourth of July Parade and Celebration
  • Tangletown Winter Fest
  • Tangletown Garage Sale
  • Washburn Water Tower landscaping
  • Fuller Park improvements (sun shades, playground equipment, and more)
  • Facilitating neighborhood feedback opportunities with city entities (Washburn High School Addition, Southwest Area Parks Plan, etc)
  • Grants (home improvement, business facade, Justice Page Middle School, Le Mac Cleaners, etc)
  • Traffic, cycle, and pedestrian safety initiatives 
  • Crime and safety programming and forums
  • Organics captain program
  • Utility box artwork
  • Sustainability Sam 
  • Welcome bags for new residents
  • Energy improvement rebates 
  • Storm drain stenciling
  • Neighborhood clean up events
  • Sharing neighborhood information via our print newsletter, e-newsletter, and social media

Public comment is being collected through March 31. Please email your comments and personal stories to neighborhoods2020@minneapolismn.govjeremy.schroeder@minneapolismn.gov and info@tangletown.org. Learn more at: minneapolismn.gov/ncr/2020

The Tangletown Neighborhood Association’s feedback on the Neighborhoods 2020 Framework:

Benefits of Neighborhood Organizations

  • Neighborhood organizations provide place-based, grassroots level community engagement that connects residents and gives them a voice in local government.
  • Neighborhood organizations generate hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer time that benefits our communities (and city).
  • We serve as a conduit to the city. The cost of replacing the services that neighborhood organizations provide would be astronomical (and not financially feasible) for the city.
  • We strive to be more effective, representative, and influential in promoting the guidelines of engagement and diversity.

Neighborhood and Community Relations Department

  • We would like to see more analysis on the NCR structure and resources. To meet the requirements of the new framework, neighborhood organizations will need sufficient support from NCR.  For example, it would be very helpful if neighborhood organizations could have access to cultural specialists and translation services.
  • We would like NCR to create an annual report of successful engagement efforts across the city. We can learn from the successes of other neighborhood organizations.

Diversity/Representation

  • We support the goals of the diversity requirements and we need more support from NCR to reach these goals. The goals should be compatible with the demographics of the neighborhood. We would like a voice in shaping how these requirements are implemented.
  • There are many challenges to meeting these requirements including the fact that board members are elected so we do not have total control of the board make up.
  • The 18 month time frame for meeting board diversity standards at the risk of losing funding could be modified to indicate that the organization must show efforts towards implementing their diversity action plan within that time frame.

Governance

  • To maintain a balance of control and influence, the Community Engagement Commission should be composed of 50% appointed representatives and 50% elected from representation of the neighborhoods.
  • We support the suggestion of the work group to offer a stipend to CEC members to cover costs like child care for those who want to serve.

Meetings and Participation

  • Allowing voting for members of the neighborhood who cannot attend the annual meeting will be a more elaborate process that will require additional funding and/or resources from NCR.
  • The requirement for quarterly membership meetings may be ineffective if there are not topics to draw residents to the meetings. All TNA meetings are open to the public. We suggest a goal of ensuring that city departments engage with neighborhood organizations when they are working on projects in the neighborhood, which will increase attendance at the meetings. For example, TNA’s best attended meeting in 2018 featured planners from the Washburn High School construction project. Conversely, TNA was not contacted about plans for construction along Minnehaha Parkway which drew significant engagement on TNA social media and could have warranted a membership meeting with planners.

Funding

  • We strongly support a well-defined application process and want to contribute input to the funding guidelines for community groups, neighborhood organizations, and cultural groups.
  • All neighborhood organizations need a minimum base funding amount that permits all neighborhoods to maintain at least a part time staff member, host annual events, and maintain regular communication. All neighborhoods deserve to have strong engagement and community building through a neighborhood association. There needs to be a minimum neighborhood allocation of $30,000 a year to enable smaller neighborhoods to keep operating.
  • We support the recommendations in the framework to have additional discretionary funding and impact funding for which neighborhoods can apply.
    • As NRP funding is depleted, discretionary funds will be critical in order for organizations to make investments in their neighborhoods on initiatives such as affordable housing, safety improvements, environmental work, and more.
    • If a neighborhood organization has had a previously successful engagement initiative, it should be able to receive impact funding for the next year to host the same program. Success should be rewarded. We do not feel that increased engagement should be the only measure of success.
  • Pooled services are a great idea to encourage neighborhood organizations to be more efficient and economical. We need more clarification on how the bonus point system will work and how it will affect access to pooled services.
  • NRP funding realignment needs more clarification. Tangletown Neighborhood Association just initiated a three year strategic plan via a contract modification for $313,000. The planned budget has taken countless months of planning. We would recommend that restructuring NRP funds would only apply as contracts are modified.
  • Approval of funding on a three year cycle would allow for longer term planning and enable the success of our initiatives.

Neighborhoods 2020 Process

  • We would like a transparent decision-making process that considers, respects, and thoughtfully responds to all stakeholders.
  • We see the value in shaping the guidelines that are developed between April and October and want to ensure neighborhood organizations are involved in that process.
  • We think the framework outlines a non-profit best practices model that we all strive to follow.
  • We see this process as a means be a more effective and representative organization for our residents.

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