The BCLI application is now closed

  • July 21, 2016
  • By: Chai Lee
  • In: General

Thank you for all who considered, applied, and helped suggest or nominate others to apply for our 2016-2017 BCLI cohort. The application is now closed as of July 2, 2016.

We encourage you to attend our Issue Series which begin later this fall.

Please check back at the link below for topics and locations (tbd) for the upcoming Issue Series.

See list of Issue Series dates here:

Until then, if you are interested in applying for a future round of BCLI, please check back next May (2017) when we release the next year’s application (nomination packet). Thank You

Check out the BCLI Power Point!

  • June 27, 2016
  • By: Chai Lee
  • In: General

Please view our Power Point about the BCLI here. A friendly reminder that applications are due Friday, July 1, at Midnight.

BCLI 2016 Info Session PPT

Nexus is now accepting BCLI applications!

We are now targeting seats in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Saint Paul, the Metropolitan Council and the State of Minnesota.


Just as soon as the BCLI wrapped up year three cohort with a graduation on April 14, we are already recruiting for the next class! How exciting!

The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 1st by 12 midnight CST


The BCLI fellowship runs from October 2016 – April 2017.

We need to be running our own folks for seats by building power that pursues true democracy…We need to be developing leaders to be bold at those decision-making tables and to never leave their community behind. This is how we tell our own story. This is a story that tells everybody they can belong, and this is how we build our movement.”
Kandace Montgomery, BCLI ‘14

Why Apply?

  • Join a network of racial equity and social justice advocates influencing policy decisions on local and regional commissions.

  • Gain integrated perspectives on key local and regional racial equity and social justice issues: economic development, health equity, affordable housing, transit, and workforce development.

  • Participate in a facilitated learning community of trainers, advocate commissioners and elected officials who share best practices, lessons learned, and key concepts.

  • Learn commission skills like Parliamentary Procedure, media messaging, and municipal budgeting.

Download the application HERE

Come to an upcoming Information Session!
Please RSVP to Chai Lee at and please indicate which information session you plan to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

  • Wednesday, May 11th, 5:30 pm -7 pm at Rondo Library, 461 N. Dale St, St. Paul, 55104
  • Thursday, May 26th, 9 am -10:30 am at Hope Community Inc., 3rd Floor Loft: 611 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, 55404
  • Wednesday, June 8th, 5:30 pm -7:00 pm at Cookie Cart, 1119 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, 55411
  • Thursday, June 16th, 5:30 pm -7:00 pm at Brookdale Library, 6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Brooklyn Center, 55430

Questions? Contact us:
Mr. Chai Lee
Program Coordinator

Ms. Terri Thao
Program Director

About the BCLI
Nexus’ Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a 7-month leadership program that supports, trains and places people of color and other underrepresented community members on publicly appointed boards and commissions that influence and impact equity in the Twin Cities Metro Area.


About Nexus Community Partners
Nexus Community Partners (Nexus) is a community building intermediary whose mission is to build more engaged and powerful communities of color by supporting community building initiatives that expand community assets and foster social and human capital. Click here to learn more about our work.

Minnesota’s Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) presented the 2016 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award to the Health Equity & Engagement Cohort, Hennepin County and Nexus Community Partners. The award was for shared work to incorporate health equity and community engagement into the Station Area Plans for the METRO Blue Line Extension which will run from Brooklyn Park to the City of Minneapolis.


The Health Equity & Engagement Cohort members included: ACER Inc, African American Leadership Forum (AALF), CAPI USA, CLUES, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Heritage Park Neighborhood Association, Lao Assistance Center, Masjid An-Nur, MN African Women’s Association, Northside Resdients Redevelopment Council, La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, Redeemer Center for Life, Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council, and with technical support from the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and MN Center for Neighborhood Organizing.

Some project highlights include:

  • Health Equity & Engagement Cohort informed over 1,600 hundred people, gathered input from over 900 people and supported community leaders participate in local station area planning. Over 80% of the participants were people of color.
  • Station Area Plans that explicitly speak to Health Equity, recommendations linked to community engagement results, and recommendations to utilize a Racial Equity Toolkit and other equitable development tools to inform decision-making and project development to improve community health outcomes
  • Over 200 public employees from various departments within Hennepin County and Cities along the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) were provided training by the Governance Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE).       The training introduced participants to the concepts of Structural Racism, Institutional Racism, Individual Racism and a Racial Equity Tool to inform government decision-making.

Congratulations to everyone involved!


On Thursday, April 14, the Twin Cities Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) graduated 15 fellows in our third cohort. We lucked out with beautiful weather and a beautiful location in Norway House on Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis. About 60 people attended, some of which included family, friends, nominators and funders.

This year’s fellows selected BCLI trainer Pakou Hang, executive director of the Hmong American Farmers Association to deliver the keynote address. Pakou reminded the fellows in her comments to reach inside for their strength and moral compass to always fight for justice. She also encouraged them to have the determination of a rock which can bend the direction of a stream. Her speech was followed by equally powerful personal reflections of four of the fellows: Tiphanie “PH” Copeland, Jeanette Jones, Luis Rangel, and Harrison Bullard, all of whom were nominated by their peers to speak. On a final program note, we are proud to share that four of the 15 fellows are currently serving on a board or commission and our goal is to get the majority of folks placed within a year of graduation.

We are grateful to all that made the graduation possible and to everyone who has been a part of the program the past year. And as this year ends we already look forward to the next year’s cohort!

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We are excited to announce!

  • April 11, 2016
  • By: Lynette LaFontaine
  • In: General

The Community Engagement Team (CET), a partnership between Nexus Community Partners, the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, recently awarded $229,000 in contracts to 11 community organizations to engage their communities around transit equity issues and inform Metro Transit’s Better Bus Stops Program (BBS) (

As part of the Metropolitan Council’s commitment to advancing equity in the region, the BBS program invests in bus stop improvements that enhance access to employment and educational opportunities. The program improves bus stops located in neighborhoods with areas of concentrated poverty where the majority of residents are people of color.

The 11 community organizations are Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Hope Community, Jordan Area Community Council, Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council, Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, Smart Trips, West Bank Community Coalition, West Broadway Business and Area Coalitions, and West Side Community Organization.

KFAI Radio: Truth to Tell (February 2016)

How is Nexus Community Partners expanding the participation of minorities on Metro boards and commissions? Join Siobhan Kierans, Maleta (Queen) Kimmons, Luis Ragel, Terri Thao, Tom O’Connell & Chai Lee as they discuss Expanding Voice/Promoting Equity on TTT