The Ballmer Group – the philanthropic organization of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie – have committed to a five-year, $10 million grant to NAZ!

“The grant should inspire and challenge all Twin Cities business and civic leaders to lean in and work together in support of NAZ,” General Mills CEO Ken Powell said.

NAZ will use a portion of its campaign investment to launch a 3-year early-learning scholarship fund of $1 million a year for low-income NAZ families.
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5 hours ago  ·  



The TCB 100: People To Know In 2017

December 5, 2016 – Here are the Minnesotans you should be watching over the next year.
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Two North Side nonprofits get Bush awards for innovation

November 17, 2016 – Six Upper Midwest nonprofits with bold missions to transform the communities they serve, including the Northside Achievement Zone in north Minneapolis, will divide up a nearly $2.4 million prize pot announced Tuesday by the Bush Foundation.
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Path to College walk in north Mpls celebrates bright futures

July 25, 2016 – The Northside Achievement Zone held a Path to College walk, celebrating a bright future ahead for thousands of students.
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Autonomous schools gain ground in Minneapolis and across the nation

March 23, 2016 – As part of Acceleration 2020, the Minneapolis Public Schools' strategic plan adopted in 2014, the district made a commitment to focusing on “schools as the unit of change.” Under this framework, decision-making should originate at the school level, since on-site educators and parents are best attuned to the needs of their students.
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The Evolving Fight Against Concentrated Poverty

March 22, 2016 – This past year I visited four places to look at some of the cutting-edge work focused on poverty and place. The diversity of their theories of change is impressive, and all of them should be on our collective radar as we move into a new presidency.
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Freedom is not the last word

February 4, 2016 – "Butch was shot. He's dead." As a 14 year old growing up in New Jersey, these five words caused an emotional tsunami that has altered my life forever. These simple words violently upended my innocence, my sense of safety and trust of adults.
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Leveling the playing field with Promise Neighborhoods

February 1, 2016 – Michael McAfee, a national leader in Promise Neighborhoods, and Sondra Samuels, who runs the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, joined MPR News host Tom Weber to talk about how Promise Neighborhoods work and what Minnesota needs to do to move the needle on racial inequality.
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Minneapolis’s Less Visible, and More Troubled, Side

January 11, 2016 – A city long known for its robust economy, affordability, liberal politics and chic restaurants finds itself confronting an open secret as discomfiting as the bone-chilling winters. By several measures, its black population, which has grown to 19 percent of its 400,000 residents, has been left behind.
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North Minneapolis: Creating the world’s best workforce

October 22, 2015 – The Business Partnership presented NAZ with its 2015 Minnesota’s Future Award for its efforts to close student achievement gaps in north Minneapolis.
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Target And General Mills Pledge $6M To Northside Achievement Zone

October 12, 2015 – The companies’ charitable giving arms are concerned about a looming workforce gap.
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Target and General Mills pledge $6M to North Minneapolis nonprofit

October 12, 2015 – Target and General Mills pledged to each give a North Minneapolis nonprofit $1 million a year for three years. The $6 million will go to Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), which describes itself as a community-wide partnership of 33 organizations and 10 schools helping North Minneapolis children prepare for college.
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Northside Achievement Zone aims to break the poverty cycle through education

June 30, 2015 – A collaborative effort among schools, neighborhood groups, and service organizations is working to boost academic performance and family stability in North Minneapolis.
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The Changing Face of the Heartland

March 27, 2015 – This Brookings Institution essay explores the demographic revolution occurring in Minnesota and the surrounding states of the upper Midwest, and how to prepare this diverse workforce for tomorrow.
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Good News For North Minneapolis

March 26, 2015 – The Northside Achievement Zone collaboration is producing results.
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Minn. Nonprofit Sees Big Return on Achievement Gap Investment

March 23, 2015 – As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." One 'village' in North Minneapolis is doing what some would call a shockingly good job.
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The American Dream is alive in the Twin Cities, but not for everyone

March 23, 2015 – In the United States, the best cities for making a living are usually the least affordable. Minneapolis-St. Paul has been an exception, thanks in part to progressive laws on education, tax sharing and housing. But even in the Twin Cities, there’s a sharp racial inequality gap. Judy Woodruff interviews writer Derek Thompson as part of a collaboration between The Atlantic and the PBS NewsHour.
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Living as a Seed of Hope During and After AmeriCorps

March 11, 2015 – I learned to live as a seed of hope and joined other seeds of hope in that community. Together we marched for peace, planted gardens, ensured the safety of children and worked to stem the tide of the drug trade destroying the neighborhood.
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Young Men Commit to Change

March 2, 2015 – February 26, 2015 – On Friday, February 6th, a group of young African American men from North Minneapolis graduated from North 4, which is a joint project between EMERGE and NAZ. North 4 is a work readiness program for African American young men men ages, 16 – 21. [Read More]
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Northside Achievement Zone gets mid-term report card

December 29, 2014 – Almost three years ago, the Spokesman-Recorder reported on the origins and mission of the Northside Achievement Zone, or NAZ, which was described as “a $28 million social experiment” whose goal was “increasing educational outcomes so that kids and families have opportunities that they can point to” over the following five years. [Read More]
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Northside Achievement Zone report finds longer enrollment boosts academic success

December 16, 2014 – An ambitious effort to improve the academic performance of children in north Minneapolis is helping some students in the younger grades make gains, according to a recent assessment of the program. Wilder Research has found that the longer children are enrolled in the Northside Achievement Zone, the greater their improvement.
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100 People to Know in 2015

December 16, 2014 – Samuels wants to craft better futures. Samuels aims to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone, but on Minneapolis’s North Side, working with a $28 million federal grant and schools, parents, and partners such as the University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development.
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Northside Achievement Zone results expanding to more grades

December 15, 2014 – Reading, math scores rise for those enrolled longest in Achievement Zone.
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U of M study bolsters case for all-day preschool

December 1, 2014 – A new University of Minnesota study showed that Chicago preschoolers enrolled in full-day programs were more prepared for kindergarten than their peers in half-day programs, bolstering the case that more learning time benefits students, particularly low-income, minority children.
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Northside Achievement Zone aims to break the poverty cycle through education

November 17, 2014 – A collaborative effort among schools, neighborhood groups, and service organizations is working to boost academic performance and family stability in North Minneapolis.
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Minneapolis’ Northside Achievement Zone celebrates students’ academic progress

September 25, 2014 – Minneapolis’ Northside Achievement Zone recognized six of its members for making great strides in academic leadership.
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Extra Officers Walk North Minneapolis Streets

July 25, 2014 – A day after gunfire claimed another life in north Minneapolis, police are making their presence known.
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MN Ranks High in KIDS COUNT, but Concerns Remain

July 22, 2014 – An annual report on the well-being of the nation’s children again ranks Minnesota among the states that best care for their youngest citizens while offering a worrisome reminder of significant inequality.
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Northside Achievement Zone Graduates Largest Class

July 12, 2014 – There’s a wave of change moving through north Minneapolis aimed at improving the future for kids.
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Sondra Samuels on The Mary Hanson Show

May 12, 2014 – Mary talks with Sondra Samuels about the Minneapolis organization Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) and the achievement gap we see among minority groups when it comes to education.
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A zone for success: Bold effort promises a reversal of fortune for troubled families

April 6, 2014 – Ahzaneia Cook sits at a low table finger-counting her way through after-school math problems, figuring simple sums and then coloring a flower to match the number.
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Sondra Samuels speaks at The Current’s Policy and a Pint: The State of Education

February 26, 2014 – “You may have made a decision that you can no longer tolerate the egregiousness of this achievement gap, but now it’s time to take action.” – Sondra Samuels, CEO, Northside Achievement Zone
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Closing the Achievement Gap: Early Experiences That Matter

January 27, 2014 – Experiences in the early months and years of life shape a child’s health, learning and development forever. In order to thrive, children don’t need anything fancy – just basic experiences of predictable love and care, parents who talk, sing and read to them, opportunities to explore in a safe, supportive environment. But for too many … Continue reading Closing the Achievement Gap: Early Experiences That Matter
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Twin Cities Business 2014 Black Book (feat. Sondra Samuels)

January 13, 2014 – As the president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), Samuels leads a collaborative of partner organizations and schools that work together to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. Samuels is a tireless advocate for effective solutions to end poverty through education. Under her leadership, NAZ was … Continue reading Twin Cities Business 2014 Black Book (feat. Sondra Samuels)
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500 North Side families sign up for intensive education program

October 30, 2013 – The Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) announced Wednesday that is has hit a milestone of enrolling more than 500 families in its effort to help children in a 234-block area of north Minneapolis reach college.
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Northside Achievement Zone enrolls 500th family

October 30, 2013 – A program that aims to close the academic achievement gap in Minneapolis and put economically disadvantaged children on a path to college is celebrating a milestone today.
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U of M takes on Minnesota’s school achievement gap — Community organizations collaborate on Northside research

August 14, 2013 – Last spring’s edition of Connect, a quarterly newsletter of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), announced a major initiative to reduce the Black-White achievement gap in Minnesota. Since it was not apparent in the story what role African Americans were playing in this effort, we decided to inquire further. Our … Continue reading U of M takes on Minnesota’s school achievement gap — Community organizations collaborate on Northside research
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North Mpls. coalition ramping up cradle-to-career efforts

May 30, 2013 – A north Minneapolis area of 255 blocks is the site of a grand experiment to lift children out of generational poverty. The Northside Achievement Zone won a Promise Neighborhood federal grant in 2011 with the goal of seeing each child graduate from high school, ready to succeed in college.
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Northside Achievement Zone hiring mostly Northsiders

May 1, 2013 – Lucretia Gill is a connector. She talks to families with children in North Minneapolis to determine their family’s goals, and then she connects them to the organizations that can address the challenges hindering them from reaching their goals.
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