NAZ Will Host More Than 800 Community Leaders at its Inaugural One Future Luncheon October 13

The One Future Luncheon is an exciting new NAZ annual fundraiser. On Tuesday, October 13, NAZ President and CEO, Sondra Samuels, will be joined by Mayor Hodges, Kate and David Mortenson, and a NAZ parent leader to deliver powerful messages about how the innovative work of the NAZ collaborative is closing the achievement gap. Together we are proving that a culture of achievement exists in North Minneapolis. Our featured national speaker is Michael McAfee, Ed.D., Vice President for Programs for PolicyLink and Co-director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. More than twenty leading Twin Cities companies are event sponsors, with Target as the Premier sponsor. The event is nearly full, but your support is greatly appreciated. The first $100,000 in donations will be matched by Pine River Capital Management. Visit to give today. Go to for more event details.

Together the Northside Community is Branding a College-Going Culture!Together the Northside Community is Branding a College-Going Culture!

A major goal of our work is to close the “belief gap”—and help North Minneapolis parents and children believe that college is possible. It’s a fact that a college education is the most effective ladder out of poverty.

Together with our partner organizations, parents, community members, teachers, and nonprofit leaders, we are spreading the message that Northside children are our future college graduates. We are rolling out a brand new logo (designed by Fallon Advertising) and branding campaign that reinforces a college-going message across the community. Keep an eye out for this campaign throughout the Northside this Fall!

Jasmine with the Little Library she maintains in front of her apartment buildingFeatured Family: The Power of One NAZ Parent

Jasmine Crooks began partnering with NAZ because she wanted to create a better life for her children. Since that time she has emerged as a natural community leader, widening her efforts to include her neighborhood and the Zone.

When she needed to improve her family’s housing situation, NAZ Anchor Partner Urban Homeworks (UHW) found them an amazing home in a six-unit building located in one of their People Oriented Developments, or “PODs.” PODs are clusters of UHW-owned housing where neighbors are encouraged to actively engage in their neighborhoods.

UHW Community Engagement Specialist Ethrophic Burnett, also a NAZ parent and Parent Advisory Board member, immediately noticed Jasmine’s interest and energy to begin helping. She soon recruited Jasmine to become a POD leader. Jasmine’s first task was to get to know her neighbors by delivering window-winterizing kits. From that point on, she has grown into her leadership role in ways that are transformative for her block. At the National Night Out event, which Jasmine coordinated, UHW staff noticed the difference from an event that had been held at the same location earlier that summer. Residents who had been at odds were now having friendly conversation. Engagement and energy was high in an area which had previously been quiet and relatively disconnected.

Ethrophic says of Jasmine’s burgeoning leadership, “She is very eager to learn. She’s very patient, and she’s a good listener. She is such a positive light for her neighborhood.”

With her family, Jasmine keeps the focus on academic success. Her youngest child currently attends a four-star-rated, high-quality early learning center through a NAZ scholarship, and her older child regularly participates in NAZ achievement check-ins to monitor academic progress. Jasmine pushes herself as well. She has completed her GED, become a CNA, and is now planning to become a Registered Nurse.

Featured Solution: Elizabeth Hall Elementary Embeds Wraparound SupportsFeatured Solution: Elizabeth Hall Elementary Embeds Wraparound Supports

Elizabeth Hall Elementary is forging new pathways in our collaboration, and creating outstanding results. In fact, recent data analysis from Wilder Research Foundation shows some exciting outcomes: The longer an Elizabeth Hall student has been enrolled in NAZ, the more likely the student is to be proficient in reading and math.

Hall has been a leader in figuring out how to best offer wraparound support to its NAZ-enrolled students. Principal Pao Vue is building off the great work begun by retired Principal Bennice Young, and committed to making a difference in the lives of NAZ children. Vue and the Hall team host three NAZ Connectors and Academic Navigators onsite, as well as staff from Washburn Center for Children. Washburn supports young scholars to work through behavioral health issues that pose barriers to their learning. The trifecta of school staff, NAZ staff, and Washburn staff working together is providing an unprecedented team of support for Hall’s most vulnerable students.

Hall also coordinates extensively with PCYC’s expanded learning program, which bolsters the academic progress students are making during the school day.

This high-level coordination is producing some of the strongest results across the NAZ ecosystem. Hall staff report that NAZ children on their “high priority” (or high-need) list are steadily making enough progress to be removed from the list completely. Teachers feel reassured because they know many students now have strong support outside the classroom as well.

We are grateful to both incoming Principal Vue and retired Principal Bennice Young for their commitment to our shared work. Elizabeth Hall’s unprecedented coordination is creating a trajectory toward success for NAZ children.

Welcome New NAZ Board Members: NAZ Parents Taya Morgan and Calahena MerrickWelcome New NAZ Board Members: NAZ Parents Taya Morgan and Calahena Merrick

Meet the two newest members of the NAZ Board of Directors: NAZ parents Taya Morgan and Calahena Merrick. Both women are active NAZ parents.

When asked why they want to serve on the Board, Taya said, “When I look back on my life, I will feel like I stood for something.” Calahena said, “I want to give back to my community, influence change, and really make things happen.”

A core value of the NAZ collaborative is: “Families are our leaders.” NAZ President and CEO Sondra Samuels says, “We are so fortunate that these parents, who are both such talented and exceptional individuals, have agreed to contribute their time and leadership in this critical way.”

NAZ Enrollment Reaches 1,870 Kids!

Our partnership with families continues to grow. As of July 2015, 870 North Minneapolis families have enrolled in NAZ to support their 1,870 children on a path to college graduation. NAZ is on track to reach our enrollment goal of 1,000 families with 2,500 children by January 2016.

Upcoming Events

NAZ One Future Luncheon
Tuesday, October 13
12-1 p.m.

We invite you to attend this new annual fundraiser for the Northside Achievement Zone!

The Depot
225 3rd Ave. S.
RSVP today

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