Connecting Community Champions

In October, Propel launched its first-ever Emerging Nonprofits Cohort. Leaders from seven organizations, representing diverse communities and missions from around Minnesota traveled to the Propel offices to meet for the first time.  Their time was spent making fast and authentic connections and sharing excitement for the work ahead.

After years of planning and development, the Fiscal Sponsorship team witnessed the special moment where an idea becomes reality. The intent behind this cohort is to go beyond the support and coaching provided through fiscal sponsorship to create a space for participants to connect with other grassroots leaders while learning in community. Last month’s launch event was an inspiring reminder of the work we are REALLY supporting as partners to emerging organizations.

Making ideas into reality requires resources- and the development and launch of this cohort is supported by the Otto Bremer Trust, Old National Bank, and The Minneapolis Foundation. Thanks to their support, we are able organize and host this first-ever cohort and provide participants with $5,000 grant awards to support their missions.

The seven organizations participating in Propel’s first Emerging Nonprofits Cohort are:

Aanjichigeng: The vision of the nonprofit is to protect and maintain the site of the Chief Buffalo Memorial in partnership with responsibilities agreed upon with the City of Duluth, to continue to build ways of engaging with the history of Chief Buffalo and the Treaty of 1854, through public art, historical signage, and community engagement, and to celebrate contemporary Indigenous storytellers, leaders, artists, and community members, both descendants of Chief Buffalo and those who continue to work for the betterment of conditions for Native people in our region.

LEAN (Lived Experience Advocacy Network): LEAN is working to build and support an advocacy network that prioritizes and amplifies the voices of people with Lived Experience of homelessness or housing insecurity. LEAN members believe that people with lived experience are best equipped to describe their needs, challenges and experiences.

The Upton Program: The Upton Program (TUP) serves to provide equitable support for parenting and pregnant youth throughout Minnesota along their journey into parenthood. TUP focuses on breaking intergenerational poverty through access to job readiness, financial literacy, and curriculum-based parenting programs.

MN Overdose Awareness: The mission of Overdose Awareness is to increase awareness and education surrounding the issues of opioids, overdose, substance use, and harm reduction.

My Turn Discrimination Advocacy: MyTurn’s main objective is community dissemination of current civil rights and amendments; educating legal ways to hold compassionate accountability against oppressors in the following order: 1. Through agency; and 2. Through direct client advocacy.

Good Trouble: Our mission is to build a coalition that advances public understanding and expands access to lifechanging learning experiences statewide. Our 10-year vision is that all Minnesota youth facing adversity have access to learner-centered experiences.

Somali American Coalition of MN: Somali American Coalition of Minnesota is a grassroots organization that promotes democracy, racial, social, and economic justice for the Somali community. Our aim is to build a diverse coalition among the Somali community in Minnesota that builds power and addresses the Somali community’s needs.

For the next eight months, leaders from these groups will gather monthly to learn and share. They will also connect with mentors, advisors and experts in the field. If we are successful, our gatherings will leave participants feeling more connected, provide useful and timely resources, advance the development of these emerging organizations and enable us all to have a little fun while we do it.

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