Measuring progress. Inspiring action.

February 2016

Investing in entrepreneurs to transform neighborhoods from within

Grooming House

This story is one of many examples showing how local organizations use data from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul neighborhood profiles to inspire action.

Above: Daymn Johnson (right) and friend Dedrick Young started Grooming House Barbershop with the help of a Neighborhood Development Center microloan.

What were you aiming to do?

Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) is a non-profit community develoment financial institution. We look at neighborhoods with the highest need and best potential for community and economic development. Our aim: to transform neighborhood economies from within by building relationships with partners in the low-income communities we serve. We believe in the power, drive and daring of local entrepreneurs to transform their lives and revitalize their neighborhoods.

Which information did you draw on?

We've relied on Minnesota Compass data to inform our work and strategic plan. The information we most commonly use includes racial demographics, disparities in income levels, availability of jobs, and median income levels. We work in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, but the data helped us hone in our "primary" neighborhoods of focus: the Lake Street area in South Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, Frogtown and Rondo along University Avenue in Saint Paul, and Payne-Phalen on the East Side of Saint Paul.

What happened?

We are specifically focused on serving high-need neighborhoods and being able to demonstrate how our work will build up residents' social and economic impact. We can measure our success against the Compass data. In this way, we use the data to build a case for funding NDC's work and provide culturally competent, integrated business services in historically underserved neighborhoods.

As we are about to enter into a new strategic plan, this data will be invaluable again. We will use it to inform the NDC board and staff about the strategic planning process and set the course to continued neighborhood revitalization.

What advice would you share?

We highly recommend using the data! Be sure to draw on it to help tell your story and the story of the people you or your organization work with. It's a wonderful resource that can be used across the nonprofit sector.

Submitted by Elisa Pluhar, development and communications coordinator, Neighborhood Development Center

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