The New Year Means the End of Our Federal Grant, But We Will Never Stop Innovating!The New Year Means the End of Our Federal Grant, But We Will Never Stop Innovating!

In 2012, the NAZ Collaborative was given an incredible gift in the form of a five-year $26 million federal implementation grant to scale-up our efforts in North Minneapolis. With this monumental gift came a monumental responsibility to show real results for the children and families we worked with.

We’re thrilled to report that the NAZ Collaborative is working. Our data shows that Northside children and families who receive customized and layered supports from across our many partners are achieving Kindergarten readiness, reading proficiency, and academic growth. Graduates from NAZ parent education classes are achieving twice the goals of parents who do not graduate. Stable families who have what they need raise children who are ready to learn.

And although our federal grant ended on December 31, 2016, we will never stop innovating! Together, we will eradicate the opportunity gaps that create disparities in academic achievement so that every child thrives in 2017—and beyond. NAZ-enrolled children will graduate from college, and that will change the trajectory of an entire generation in North Minneapolis, as well as our state.

Stayed tuned for the next chapter of our powerful collaborative. When it comes to the success of ALL our children, we have only just begun!


Antoinette Achieves Career Success with the Help of the NAZ Collaborative!

Antoinette with her Family Achievement Coach after presenting to Minnesota state legislators

The year 2015 was especially difficult for NAZ parent Antoinette W. She was working a high-stress job that made her feel unappreciated, and going through a rough patch with her youngest daughter, Kiesha. It was right around this time that she began partnering with the NAZ Collaborative and her Family Achievement Coach Andre McNeal, who told her, “Just give it a year—let’s see what a difference a year makes.”

Antoinette agreed to work with NAZ and its partners and trust that things would get better. She wanted a fulfilling job, a strong relationship with her daughter, and bright futures for all her high school-age children. So together with her team, she began by addressing the issues she was having with Kiesha.

Their breakthrough came in Spring 2015, when Antoinette, despite her initial reluctance, participated in Kiesha’s senior prom. With the encouragement of her team, she realized it was critical for her to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and the experience ultimately helped patch up their relationship.

Kiesha moved back home and graduated from NAZ Anchor School Patrick Henry that spring. Antoinette is proud her daughter is currently studying early childhood development at Hennepin Technical College, while her other daughter, Kiana, is studying phlebotomy. Both daughters received support from a NAZ Achievement Coach at Patrick Henry, who ensured they were on track with their college goals and Federal Student Aid application.

Antoinette’s second major success came the following year when, together with Andre, NAZ partner Emerge, and NAZ Career and Finance Specialist Deanne, she set out to find a better job. In June 2016, she attended Wanted Analytics, a pilot résumé-building event hosted by NAZ and Emerge. There, she was able to get her résumé reviewed and apply for jobs immediately. A few weeks later, Antoinette announced she had landed her dream job at Interlude Restorative Suites, a place where she’d always wanted to work. She’s already received a promotion.

And this past October, Antoinette presented to a group of Minnesota state legislators about the impact the NAZ Collaborative has had on her family. Her efforts will help make it possible for other families to receive similar support—so they too are better able to build a brighter future!

Read more Family Success stories.


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Award-Winning Journalist Thomas Friedman Includes NAZ in His Latest BookAward-Winning Journalist Thomas Friedman Includes NAZ in His Latest Book

Best-selling author and The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman lifts up the NAZ Collaborative as a solution that will make a big impact in our community in his latest book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. On December 13, Friedman also generously donated his time to speak in front of an audience of NAZ supporters and partners at a recent event hosted by Target at their beautiful Target Plaza Commons venue. Guests heard from Target CEO Brian Cornell, NAZ president and CEO Sondra Samuels, WCCO anchor and reporter Angela Davis, and Thomas Friedman himself. Friedman discussed his latest book, and attendees had the opportunity to bid on an exclusive dinner for six. T. Mychael Rambo acted as the amazing auctioneer. Thank you to Thomas Friedman, Target, and everyone who came out to support NAZ children and families!

See more photos from the event.

NAZ Collaborative Receives 2016 Bush Prize!

NAZ is thrilled and honored to be among those selected for The Bush Foundation Prize for Community Innovation! Each year, this grant is awarded to six organizations that have a track record of making great ideas happen. It honors groups who have demonstrated a pattern of inclusive, collaborative, and resourceful problem-solving processes that lead to innovative solutions.

This prize affirms that our collaborative is truly breaking the mold among efforts to close the opportunity gap. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see our work together honored in this way.

Congratulations to fellow recipients Emerge Community Development; Men As Peacemakers; De Smet, South Dakota; Plains Art Museum; and South Dakota Symphony Orchestra!

NAZ in the News

The TCB 100: People to Know in 2017 The TCB 100: People to Know in 2017

There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” We’d suggest you need knowledge, too, but in December, our tradition is to compile the “who”—the Minnesotans people in business need to know in the year ahead.
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Two North Side nonprofits get Bush awards for innovation Two North Side nonprofits get Bush awards for innovation

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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NAZ FLASH / News from the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ)
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