Invest $1 in NAZ and Partners, Get $6 in ReturnInvest $1 in NAZ and Partners, Get $6 in Return

A new study shows that investment in NAZ and its partners is paying dividends—sixfold.

Wilder Research, a widely respected research arm of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation and a national leader in nonprofit return on investment evaluation, recently analyzed the work of NAZ and its partners.

They discovered that the average cost of supporting a NAZ participant is $33,000, yet the prospective societal benefits per participant equal $200,000. That’s a return on investment (ROI) of $6.12 for every dollar invested.

The biggest drivers for the ROI are increased lifetime earnings from educational attainment, improved health and reduced mortality, increased tax revenues, and savings in the justice system, the K-12 education system, and the public assistance and child welfare systems.

What should partners understand about the ROI Study?
The ROI analysis is based on the total cost of implementing solutions across NAZ partners—not costs for NAZ Central. Partner organizations should use the ROI when talking with their own current and prospective funders, and emphasize the critical role they play in earning that societal return.

NAZ Connect: Better Together at Washburn Center for ChildrenNAZ Connect: Better Together at Washburn Center for Children

Washburn Center for Children recently expanded their use of the NAZ Connect online system. As a result, communication and coordination have become more streamlined, enabling efficient and informed partnerships with NAZ families.

Lauren Nietz, LICSW, therapist, clinical trainer, and consultant at Washburn, says, “Several staff at Washburn Center for Children have been using NAZ Connect to collaborate, share information, stay updated about changes, and respond to families’ behavioral health needs. It has been incredibly beneficial to have access to NAZ resources and insight into how they’re supporting families.”

Katie Rogers, LICSW, a therapist in Washburn’s Day Treatment Program also says, “It’s also been helpful to be able to read NAZ staff notes about family meetings to ensure that I can follow-up on what’s been discussed.”

NAZ is Named 2015 Nonprofit of the YearNAZ is Named 2015 Nonprofit of the Year

NAZ is proud to have been named the 2015 Nonprofit of the Year by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce at their Best in Business event on March 19.

Sondra Samuels, NAZ President & CEO said, “The breadth, depth and coordination of our collaborative effort is a game changer for North Minneapolis. This award is recognition that by working together, we are stronger. We are grateful to all of our partners for believing in this collaborative approach.”

We want to credit our partner organizations, which are working with us to create a new vision for the nonprofit sector that is focused on outcomes. We also want to recognize our amazing NAZ families, who are all on a college path. Together we are gaining traction on closing the achievement gap!

Featured NAZ Family StoryFeatured NAZ Family Story

When Lacresha and her children began partnering with NAZ three years ago, it was at the request of NAZ Anchor School Elizabeth Hall Elementary, where Lacresha’s son was struggling in school. His academic life was made more challenging because they lived in substandard housing on a block with high levels of crime.

Today Lacresha’s son is supported by a team of people, made up of staff from Elizabeth Hall and NAZ staff who are located on site at the school. The challenges he once faced are now manageable. His older sister receives similar support, thanks to strong coordination between the school and NAZ staff.

“The school and NAZ staff keep me updated on my kids’ academic achievement so that I have a better understanding of how to help them at home and keep them on track,” says Lacresha, who has become known at the school as a highly involved parent.

The children’s academic progress is buoyed by after-school and summer programming at Plymouth Christian Youth Center. And thanks to Anchor Partner Minneapolis Public Housing, Lacresha and her children are celebrating their second year in stable and safe housing, which enables the children to show up at school ready to learn.

Lacresha is admired by NAZ staff for her leadership and focus on education. Her NAZ Connector says, “She’s a mom who knows how to be selfless, and she makes sacrifices in order to put her children’s education first. She’s taught me a lot.”

Read more Family Stories.

Preparing Minnesota’s Workforce for the FuturePreparing Minnesota’s Workforce for the Future

The Brookings Institution recently released an in-depth essay that explores the demographic shift occurring in Minnesota, highlighting the game-changing approach of NAZ and its partners in helping to prepare this diverse workforce for tomorrow.

We encourage partner organizations to share this important essay with funders to illustrate how our work as a collaborative is transforming the future of Minnesota’s workforce.

Read the full essay.

Partner Campaign: I Stand By the Future College Graduates of North MinneapolisPartner Campaign: I Stand By the Future College Graduates of North Minneapolis

Throughout 2015, a coordinated marketing campaign will be rolled out among NAZ Anchor Partners. The goal of the campaign is to spread the message of a college bound culture throughout the Zone. Each Anchor Partner will work with the NAZ marketing department to create a banner or sign, as well as custom items that can be easily incorporated into the day-to-day work of the organization. NAZ will fully fund this effort.

Pictured above is a banner, which was installed at Nellie Stone Johnson in preparation for the recent visit from Congressman John Kline. NAZ looks forward to working with each organization to make sure the campaign is an asset in its work with NAZ families.

Head of U.S. Education and Workforce Committee Visits NAZHead of U.S. Education and Workforce Committee Visits NAZ

On March 20, NAZ and partners welcomed Congressman John Kline—a major influencer in the education sector—to the Northside. As chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee for the House of Representatives, Kline has the power to bring about changes in education funding at the federal level.

Kline and his staff met with leaders from NAZ, Nellie Stone Johnson school, Minneapolis Public Schools, business leaders, NAZ board members, and other partner organizations. He was given a tour of Nellie Stone Johnson and an overview of the NAZ model.

Legislative UpdateLegislative Update

As part of the Educational Partnerships Coalition, NAZ and other coalition members are working on the ground at the Capitol to forward legislation that would appropriate more money to programs like NAZ through competitive grants. So far, the bill containing this language has been heard in committees in both bodies with bipartisan support.

In summary, the proposed bill creates a fund to which community collaboratives can apply to support local efforts to coordinate and enhance supports for families to ensure educational success. Coalition members have met with individual legislators serving on education policy and finance committees to explain the success of NAZ and similarly modeled programs in Minnesota. Now that there is bipartisan support in both chambers, our team and lobbyists are working toward April 24, the finance deadline by which the House and Senate will have to act favorably on our bill in order to move forward with an allocation to the Educational Partnerships Fund.

Our Annual NAZ Ball Has Come to an End! But Our Celebration of the Northside Will Live on in Other Ways

Because of NAZ’s current focus, we have decided to no longer host the NAZ Ball. It is not without sadness that we make this announcement. We want to thank all of our partners and friends who have supported the event for the past 11 years! You have faithfully celebrated all the great things the Northside has to offer, and had fun in the process. Although we will no longer host the ball-style celebration that attracted friends across race, class and geography, we will never stop celebrating our hard work and partnership. We will host an annual Community Celebration, and we invite you to attend. (See details below.) This event will highlight the significant accomplishments of our families and children in transforming the Northside.

The NAZ Collaborative in the News

Twin Cities Business – Good News for North Minneapolis Read more »







PBS NewsHour – The American Dream is alive in the Twin Cities, but not for everyone Read more »


KSTP Channel 5 – Minn. Nonprofit Sees Big Return on Achievement Gap Investment Read more »


MinnPost – Prioritize preparing children in deep poverty to be ready for kindergarten Read more »


TC Daily Planet – Young Men Commit to Change: EMERGE Celebrates the North 4 Banquet Read more »


Upcoming Events

Family Academy Graduation
Celebrate with NAZ Families as they graduate from Family Academy parenting classes.

Saturday, May 9 from 2-4 p.m.
Patrick Henry High School Auditorium
4320 Newton Ave N., Minneapolis

RSVP today.

Community Celebration
Join us at this community celebration and award ceremony where we honor scholars and parents for their achievements.

Thursday, May 28 from 6-8 p.m.
Patrick Henry High School Auditorium
4320 Newton Ave N., Minneapolis

RSVP today.

NAZ FLASH / News from the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) 2123 W. Broadway #100 | Minneapolis, MN 55411 | 612-521-4405 |