The Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) hosted Minnesota’s first community development conference on October 6th in partnership with the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA). The MCCD Resilient Communities Conference was a success and brought together MCCD members, partners, funders, and other organizations working in the community development field to listen and learn about how we can grow the work and better serve the communities we work in!
MCCD kicked off the conference with a moving and inspiring performance by Minneapolis based artist and poet, Joe Davis. Joe performed his piece Show Up (excerpt below),
“Show up, even if you don’t know for certain,
you may have the truth and healing for which the world is searching.
In this grand universe, we are but small workers with a big PURPOSE,
because of the hearts widening the circle— hearts that are open, hearts that are broken,
so the light can shine through a little HOPE for the hopeless.
Wherever you go simply know
The Spirit of this place goes with you, so go!
Ready with sleeves rolled up, always growing, never fully grown up, ready to show love, ready with all your heart, mind, body, and Soul,
simply to SHOW UP.”
We then heard from Minnesota’s 50th Lt. Governor, Peggy Flanagan, who is also a mom, member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and has built her career standing up for children, working families, communities of color and Indigenous communities, and Minnesotans who have historically been underserved and underrepresented. She also highlighted the critical role community development organizations play in Minnesota, especially in terms of resiliency from the pandemic. It was a great way to start the conference and get centered for the day.
Conference attendees listened in and participated in three sessions throughout the day building on resiliency.
Session 1: During the past year and a half, reliance and attention on non-profit economic development organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) increased like never. As community economic development organizations plan for the future, one thing is clear we need more business advisors (especially those that identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color) to help carry this work forward. In this session we started to explore building a business advisor pipeline - we heard from business advisors at a variety of organizations that have a range of backgrounds and experience and then broke into small groups to discuss what a pipeline could look like. MCCD plans to continue these conversations with members and partners.
Session 2: In this session we heard from experts on the current landscape of rent reporting as well as organizations utilizing rent reporting as a tool to help residents and clients build up their credit. We learned that renters are seven times more likely to have no credit compared to homeowners and in Minnesota, renters are more likely to identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color. As community developers collectively contemplate how to make changes to their business models to better serve their respective communities, one place to start is by implementing rent reporting. Credit scores are used for everything from obtaining a bank account, favorable loans (commercial or residential) and even the ability to obtain a market rate rental home.
Session 3: This session highlighted the game-changing work happening in Minneapolis to make shared ownership real estate opportunities a reality. We heard from panelists working to revitalize the corner of 35th and Penn Ave in North Minneapolis through the use of a commercial land trust and real estate investment cooperative. The partnership is working to create permanently affordable commercial real estate, build community ownership and prevent the displacement of BIPOC owned businesses. As community developers and organizers fight for racial justice and an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising in the Twin Cities, we must target resources towards regenerative strategies that build community wealth.
During our time together we also enjoyed a 15-minute wellness moment of stretching, movement and breathing with Emily Figueroa and ended our day with a cocktail and mocktail demonstration plus trivia. Overall, it was a great day, and we hope to continue to carry the conversations we had forward.
Thank you so much to all speakers, moderators, attendees, sponsors and NACEDA for ensuring that the day was a success.
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