This November, the Worker Owner Initiative, a part of Nexus Community Partners, officially became a technical assistance provider with the City of Minneapolis’ Cooperative Technical Assistance Program (C-TAP).

In this role, we help business owners with succession planning, share information on forming a cooperative business or refining a cooperative business model, and more. The Nexus Worker Ownership Initiative (WOI) team specializes in exploring the benefits of employee-owned business models for restructuring or as an exit strategy.

This information and training is provided free of charge, with costs covered by the City of Minneapolis. For more information on ways that WOI can support your organization, please reach out to the WOI at or, or visit us at here.


Learn more about C-TAP below (excerpted from City of Minneapolis):

City of Minneapolis B-TAP | C-TAP Program

In 2016, the City of Minneapolis expanded its Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) to include services aimed at supporting the development of new Minneapolis co-operatives by launching the Co-operative Technical Assistance Program (C-TAP).

The City desires to leverage the co-op model for maximum community benefit to:

    • Act as an economic development tool to reduce poverty and promote social cohesion.­
    • Increase racial and ethnic diversity, and community ownership.
    • Support innovation, community building, and local investment by encouraging a more collaborative business model.

The North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship (NSBCF) has extended it’s deadline for applications to Friday, November 27th. You can find the application to apply here.

Also, the North Star Information Session zoom recording and the powerpoint presentation are both now available.NorthStar2021InfoSessionPPT  If you have questions regarding the North Star 2021 Fellowship please feel free to reach out to Nkuli Shongwe or Danielle Mkali at

Centering Our Values: The 2020 Election

  • November 3, 2020
  • By: efireside
  • In: General

In who we are and through what we do, Nexus Community Partners builds engaged and powerful communities so that each and every person can flourish in a joyful and abundant life. For this to be possible, we must usher out the rigged rules, attitudes, and practices that concentrate wealth and power in fewer and whiter hands, and usher in ways of living, working, and making decisions together that nourish communities for this generation and generations to come.

Because we are living in historic times, through a pandemic, and in the midst of a volatile election season, we wanted to take the time to affirm a few things.

Each of us has a voice, and each of us contributes to the fabric of our communities. Whether we are Black or white, Asian or Latinx, Indigenous or immigrant, this moment shows us that now, more than ever, every one of our voices deserves to be counted. This election season has brought voter suppression tactics the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Jim Crow era — ranging from reducing polling access in predominantly Black, brown, indigenous and immigrant zip codes, to politicians encouraging outright intimidation from white supremacist militias in an attempt to scare us from exercising our vote. But the only reason they try to suppress our voices is because they know that together, we’re powerful. And we demonstrated our power by showing up to the polls in record numbers. 

But our power has always extended beyond the ballot box. Election season or not, pandemic or not, we’ve counted on one another to care for our loved ones, make ends meet, and make a better future. No matter who is elected, there is nothing that will stop the work that we and countless others have been doing and will continue to do long after all the ballots have been counted. 

At Nexus Community Partners, we work toward a future where…

the places and spaces we share allow us to explore and express the depths of who we are – celebrating our joys, and healing our pains.

We honor our responsibility for each other, knowing that we are all connected – what affects one person or community, affects another. So, we first make sure that each and every person has their essential needs met, and we grow from there. That’s just what makes sense.

We nurture the prosperity of our communities – and in this prosperity, our health, joy, peace, love, safety and the needs of future generations come first. We foster our relationships with each other and with the land, and work cooperatively to cultivate and share this prosperity in our communities. 

We relish our distinctive cultural practices, traditions and needs. For our world to work, we all need each other. When we nourish each of our unique contributions, our world is a better, more interesting place, and we are more powerful together. 

When we make decisions that affect all of our lives, we share the power in making those decisions. We create and maintain processes of collective decision making that ensure that power continues to be informed by all of us, and the structures we use to make decisions actively repair and heal the harm from hyper-individualistic white supremacist structures. 

We repair and heal our individual and collective trauma, knowing those are interconnected. Each person gets to heal on their own terms, and collectively we confront oppressive systems that get in our way. We honor the trauma and resilience of generations that came before us.*

We count on each other. Whatever the outcome of this election, Nexus Community Partners will keep striving for the world that we all want and need.

Look at the statement here.


* Adapted from Young Women’s Empowerment Project and the Chicago Healing Justice Learning Circle by way of Fumbling Towards Repair: A Workbook for Community Accountability Facilitators

Please check out the Housing and Land edition of the North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship. The North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship is a five-month fellowship focused on Black American Cooperative Economics. North Star is centered on the history of Black cooperative economic thought and practice. Our 2021 North Star Fellowship will focus on housing cooperatives and land trust models for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. As a cohort, fellows will explore the power and landscape of resident-controlled community ownership models that are permanently affordable and provide dignified housing options for our communities. We are forming a cohort of fellows that have a vision of collective living, permanently affordable, and community-controlled land and co-operative housing that will provide a space for our communities to have access to spiritual, cultural, and economically sound options.

Also, new this year, we are only accepting applications in groups of 2 or more. Apply here! And for more information please contact Danielle Mkali at or Nkuli Shongwe at

TBLMF: 10/16/2020 Individual Mutual Aid Update

  • October 16, 2020
  • By: efireside
  • In: General

To keep our community informed, here is another update on the Transformative Black Led Movement Fund Mutual Aid progress so far.

These are the latest numbers, as of today. In the future, we’ll keep sharing this information, and hope to share more information around geography, demographics, and more.

We know our community urgently needs this money, and we are working as hard as we can to get it out on a timely basis. We also want to acknowledge that though we are trying our best to get money out, we have also encountered a lot of barriers and setbacks. And we know every one of these slow downs impacts people who are trying to pay rent, bills, access healthcare, provide for their families, and more.

We’re building new processes and infrastructure to help us handle a huge volume of grant requests. We’re struggling to work with financial institutions (like banks and PayPal) who make it hard to get money into the hands of those who need it most. We are trying our best to make the mutual aid process fair to everyone, while not adding unnecessary barriers, especially for undocumented folks. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this new landscape of mass-mutual aid.

They are advocates, facilitators, program officers, executive directors, and pastors. They come from nonprofits, work in government, and are graduate students. They are dynamic, innovative, and entrepreneurial. Above all, they want a seat at the table and like other years, they will push for racially equitable policies at local, regional, and state levels. From Woodbury to Hopkins, from St. Paul to Brooklyn Center, they represent a wide swath of geography and demographics, talent, and life experiences. “They” are our amazing 8th cohort of Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) fellows in the Twin Cities and Nexus is pleased to announce the 2020-2021 cohort today.

For more than 15 years, Nexus Community Partners has been dedicated to building more engaged and powerful communities of color. Through the work of BCLI, Nexus has continued to build sustainable and replicable models for community engagement and community orientated leadership development that strengthens communities.

The BCLI is a seven-month leadership program that identifies, trains, and supports placement of dynamic leaders of color and underrepresented communities onto publicly appointed boards and commissions in the Twin Cities. It is adapted from a model created by Urban Habitat in Oakland, California. BCLI fellows help advance a racial and economic equity agenda across several sectors and issue areas. For the first time, two of our Nexus colleagues will be joining the cohort! The cohort kicks off the week of October 5th.

The eighth BCLI cohort members are:

  1. Alexandra Siclait, nominated by BCLI alumni
  2. Angela Cuellar, nominated by BCLI alumni
  3. Angela Williams, nominated by BCLI alumni
  4. Carl Johnson, nominated by State Representative Jay Xiong
  5. Clara Jung, nominated by BCLI alumni
  6. D’Andre Gordon, nominated by BCLI alumni
  7. Jewelean Jackson, nominated by BCLI alumni
  8. Jose Huape, nominated by BCLI alumni
  9. Mala Thao, nominated by The St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation
  10. Nkuli Shongwe, staff, Nexus Community Partners
  11. Octavia Smith, staff, Nexus Community Partners
  12. Samantha Sencer-Mura, nominated by New Leaders Council – Twin Cities
  13. Shawn Sorrell, nominated by the City of Woodbury
  14. Stephanie Lewis, nominated by Social Impact Strategies
  15. Steven Nelson, nominated by Ramsey County Department of Human Services
  16. Tsua Xiong, nominated by BCLI alumni


The BCLI continues to build momentum within local governing bodies by creating opportunities for community members to become active decision makers. The incoming BCLI fellows join a network of 84 alumni, 44 of which have been successfully appointed on a board or commission or hold a high-level policy position, and all of whom are building and pushing racial, social and economic equity in the community. Alumni of the Twin Cities program include Congresswoman Ilhan Omar; MN House Representative Hodan Hassan; Metropolitan Council Representative for the 8th District Abdirahman Muse; Bush Fellows Roxxanne O’Brien and Carmeann Foster; Lower Phalen Creek executive director Maggie Lorenz; Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Minneapolis Ron Harris; Legislative Aide to St. Paul City Council President Amy Brendmoen HwaJeong Kim; and local entrepreneur and former Metropolitan Council Transportation Advisory Board member Jamez Staples.

Biographies of each fellow can be found on Nexus’ website,

For more information about the BCLI, the launch or ways to become involved, please contact the program director, Ms. Terri Thao at or program manager Mr. Chai Lee at You can also check out Nexus’ website:





We have had an incredible response to the Transformative Black Led Mutual Aid Fund (TBLMF). Since August 10th, requests for Mutual Aid alone have totaled over 1.5 million dollars from 700 applications (from both organizations and individuals).

Because of this response we will be putting the mutual aid fund on hold to be able to adequately assess and more promptly respond to these needs. We will send out another communication once it has re-opened. We understand that this response indicates the great amount of need in our Black communities and are working hard to be able to distribute these funds as quickly and thoughtfully as possible during these difficult days. We appreciate your patience, reminders, and all of the following up.

We will honor and review requests received through 10/2.

Applications for Organizing for a New Future, Transformative and Healing Justice, and Economic and Cultural Justice will re-open on October 12th.

Please feel free to reach out to the TBLMF team with any questions or concerns that you may have at We try our best to respond to all emails within one week.

In cooperation,
The Transformative Black-Led Movement Fund team

Are you or your organization seeking resources to move toward deeper community engagement practices? 

Join us for the next Tapping the Potential of Community Engagement series:
A 4-Part Introduction to the Field of Community Engagement

Dates: October 23, October 30, November 13, November 20

Time: 9:00 am – 12 Noon

Where: Zoom (link will be shared day before each session)Image of group discussion from Engaged Learning Series

Description: This workshop series is designed to deepen your knowledge, broaden your perspective, and sharpen your skills as you explore the potential for community engagement to create equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. The sessions are for anyone who is interested in learning more about community engagement, or for those who wish to deepen their work with community.

Session Topics:

  • Pre-Work Option: Cultural Exploration through the IDI
  • Session 1: What is Community Engagement?
  • Session 2: Shifting Power: Moving from Service to Engagement
  • Session 3: Healing through Community Engagement
  • Session 4: Moving Forward: Integrating Community Engagement Practices and Shifting Work Culture

Learning Goals:

  • Understand the principles and values of community engagement and how it differs from other practices, such as outreach and the traditional social service model.
  • Learn how community engagement can make your work more effective.
  • Utilize community engagement tools for building relationships, leadership, and ownership.
  • Explore how community engagement leads to equity and how understanding equity is essential for effective community engagement.
  • Assess your organization’s readiness and capacity to incorporate community engagement as an approach in your work.

*PRE-WORK OPTION: Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Cultural Exploration: Culture, healing and relationships are central to authentic and sustainable community engagement. Thus, we are offering the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) as an optional pre-work add-on for participants who are interested in more deeply exploring culture and identity, challenges and opportunities connecting across difference and commonality, and how to navigate those differences in community engagement work. Your confirmation email upon registration will have more information and next steps for opting into the IDI pre-work component, which will take place in October 2020 prior to the beginning of the workshop series.*

Fee: Scholarships are available to ensure anyone can participate, no one will be turned away. Contact for details.

  • Philanthropy/Corporate Rate: $850 for all four sessions
  • Nonprofit/Government Rate: $450 for all four sessions
  • *Additional IDI Pre-Work Option: additional $250 per person for IDI group session and individual feedback session in October 2020 – registration is separate and will come with your confirmation email from one of the above selections*

NOTEAttendance at all four sessions is required, as this is a cohort experience and each session builds upon previous sessions.

Contact with questions or for more information about scholarships.


Click here to register and for series details!



Nexus is happy to be partnering with the Black Visions Collective on this rapid response fund. The goal of the Transformative Black Led Movement Fund (TBMF) is to transparently and efficiently resource Black-led and Black individuals in the Twin Cities. Funds will go to support those responding to the political and cultural opportunity to defund police and begin the transition process toward developing and implementing a shared vision of community led safety. Funds will also go to provide direct mutual and legal aid. 

Through this interim fund, we will redistribute $3.1 million from funds raised by Black Visions and Reclaim the Block during the uprising proceeding the murder of George Floyd by MPD. Nexus Community Partners is partnering with Black Visions Collective to administer the fund and to facilitate the process for supporting an interim fund committee advisory. This fund serves as a rapid response strategy as we work to develop a community led Black Movement Fund.  The fund application can be found here also, this is a link to the pdf version of the application for your reference, applications will still need to be submitted via online form, finally, the TBMF Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

If you have questions about the application or the process please feel free to reach out to the TBLMF team at

In partnership with Public Allies Twin Cities, Nexus Community Partners is hiring for two dynamic 2020-2021 Public Allies positions:

Community Engagement Coordinator, Nexus Community Engagement Institute (NCEI)

Program Associate, Human Resources & Organizational Culture (HROC)

Nexus Community Partners is a community-building intermediary whose mission is to build more engaged and powerful communities of color by supporting community-building initiatives and fostering social and human capital.

Public Allies Twin Cities is a social justice organization committed to changing the face and practice of leadership by recruiting and training talented young leaders, with a passion for social impact, to create meaningful change in our community. Our Allies are diverse, equity-centered, innovative problem solvers, dedicated to mobilizing community assets to develop solutions to local challenges. In partnership with nonprofit partners, we deliver our nationally recognized, values-driven, results-led apprenticeship to advance our mission to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it.

Click the above links for the position descriptions – priority application deadline Wednesday, August 5th, final deadline Friday, August 14th. 

Click here to view other openings at Nexus

Nexus staff at 15th anniversary