Neighborhood Notes

Nick Cichowicz- NCEC District 5 Representative

My name is Nick Cichowicz and I am the elected District 5 representative on the Minneapolis Neighborhood Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) and the current Chair of the commission.

District 5 includes the following neighborhoods: Downtown East, Downtown West, Elliot Park, Loring Park, North Loop, Harrison, Near North, Sumner-Glenwood, Willard-Hay, Bryn Mawr.

In This Month’s Newsletter

  • Message from Nick
  • 2020 Work-Group application link
  • NCEC Recommendation Document
  • NCEC Election results from 6/14
  • Next NCEC Commission details

Message from Nick Cichowicz
Please take a moment (1:57 seconds to be exact) to view a personal message from me.

2020 Work-Group application
Work group application and information- 2020 Work-Group (July-November) Information and Application. Please review- deadline for application, June 18th

NCEC Recommendation Document
The NCEC approved a NCEC Recommendation document intended to start the process of offering feedback to the 2020 Work-Groups starting in July.

This document is a starting point meant to be used as a reference by the City Council and the 2020 Work-Groups. The NCEC anticipates offering multiple recommendations during the 2020 Work-Group process along with a comprehensive final recommendation at the conclusion of the Work-Groups.

Please email or contact me with any comments or thoughts about the document or anything having to do with neighborhoods and community engagement: or 612-735-0949



Recommendations for Recalculating the 2020 “Roadmap”

“Neighborhood Organizations are vital to the success of Minneapolis.”

Public comment made at NCEC Listening Session 2/27/18

The above comment was made by a young woman who hadn’t been born when the Neighborhood Revitalization Program started. As an intern with Elliot Park Neighborhood, she learned the history and legacy of Minneapolis neighborhood organizations. Many success stories were shared during this Listening Session.
But – since the current source of funding for neighborhood organizations and the programs that support them is coming to an end in 2020, the following questions need to be asked:

  1. How do we keep or improve the relevancy and usefulness of Minneapolis’ neighborhood organizations?
  2. How do we maintain and increase the funding and administrative support?
  3. How do we maintain the current systems or create new systems that improve collaboration and communication with the City?

In early 2017, NCEC Commissioners, residents and NCR staff members participated in training sessions on the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter. A partnership of the NCEC, NCR, neighborhood organizations and residents organized and held five Community Conversations plus two cultural community specific conversations.
Based on these conversations, we learned that residents continue to rely on neighborhood organizations to:

  1. Provide communication to and from the city
  2. Provide a venue for civic engagement on issues that concern them
  3. Build and develop authentic community
  4. Provide opportunities to become further involved in City government.

Residents also expect transparency, good leadership and representation. The evidence proves that many residents are willing to expend 73,285 of their precious volunteer hours to make all of the above continue to happen, valued at $1.9 million per the 2016 Neighborhoods Program Annual Report.
The participation and input from the Community Conversations, the Community Connections Conferences and the recent NCEC Listening Sessions show that neighborhood organizations are remaining relevant and possibly more useful and needed than in the past.
To meet the new challenges and opportunities of density and increased diversity, neighborhood organizations, the NCEC and NCR will need to work together to create the tools and resources necessary to assist in expanding outreach efforts, board and volunteer retention and developing capacity.

To address question #3, we need to have further discussion and increased understanding of the role of the 5 NCR Cultural Community Specialists and how they could better work to bring neighborhood organizations and cultural communities together. The NCEC will continue working on this matter.

NCEC Commissioners have been hearing directly from neighborhood representatives and residents regarding the options and action items listed in the “Neighborhoods 2020 Roadmap” developed by the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department. The NCEC has held two Listening Sessions for residents to give public input on the Roadmap (2/27/18 and 3/27/18). The following feedback is derived from those conversations.


Option 1 (The Impact Assessment Model[1])
This would create a system that encourages (with disincentives) the smaller (Level I) organizations to merge with Level II & III organizations. The ultimate goal of fewer, larger, more staff-driven neighborhood organizations would make the system more manageable for the city. It would lose the “granular” level of current neighborhood activity and access. There is a concern that larger entities would be barriers for diverse board and volunteer representation. There are more opportunities to work together to build community with 70 organizations vs. 13 – 20 organizations.

Option 2 (The Pooled Services Model)
One aspect of this option suggests a District Council model which would also mean fewer, larger organizations and therefore we have the same concern outlined above. The sharing resources aspect of this option is viewed favorably by neighborhood organizations who would like the to ability to collaborate, but not necessarily merge. This concept needs to be better understood and defined. Neighborhoods have often expressed a wish for better centralized communication, but not necessarily through the city. The NCEC could more appropriately fulfil that role.


  • Develop more detailed description and process of ‘pooling services’
  • Consider creation of Pooled Services/Community Coordinator to develop procedures and adaptations to assist neighborhood organizations in developing partnerships

Option 3 (Community Participation Program – the current system)

The current system preserves and supports the 70 independent neighborhood organizations. The needs-based allocation formula provides an equitable funding distribution. The feedback from the listening sessions and conversations have been strongly in favor of keeping the current system with a few tweaks. A unanimous request is that food expenditures would be allowed under the new funding source.

NCEC Option 4 (The Community Collaborative Model) (Option 4 in the Roadmap is “TBD”, a placeholder for ideas to be added. NCEC has added one.)

This model strives to increase community participation by encouraging neighborhood organizations to partner with non-profits and other community associations. The goal of the partnerships is to create community involvement of ethnic and cultural groups and produce diverse leaders. Such partnerships will increase community participation, increase the safety of the neighborhood, increase diverse leadership, bring diverse cultures together and keep a neighborhood healthy and strong.


NCEC recommends the continuation of the Community Participation Program (“CPP”) Program with the following provisions and additional concepts:

  1. Clearly defined roles and expectations among the neighborhood organizations, the NCEC, the NCR Department and the City of Minneapolis (to be developed with neighborhood organizations)
  2. Increased funding for sustainable programming, including food as a community engagement tool.
  3. Multi-year allocations (5-year) with ability to repurpose unexpended funds into the next cycle.
  4. Enhanced officers, board and volunteer capacity and organizational management required training added to future program guidelines, as co-defined by the City and the neighborhood organizations, to help ensure there is a base level of board proficiency in board governance and fiduciary duties.
  5. Equity and undoing racism training, along with support services to ensure that the organization board is representative of its community
  6. Strong & qualified administrative support from fully-resourced NCR Department, or from contracted services, 4-5 additional FTE’s (Neighborhood Support Specialists) consistent with the recommendations of the May 2016 Biko GrayHall Pentel report.
  7. Develop better coordination of services by Cultural Community Specialists to neighborhood organizations.
  8. Translation services available to neighborhood organizations.
  9. Develop a “Sister Neighborhood” program, including additional funding for hosting co-neighborhood events.

The NCEC further recommends the following for future discussions and considerations by the workgroups:

On NRP Funding:

NCEC supports the NCR recommendation to continue the use of NRP funds into perpetuity.

On NCEC Structure:

  1. Review and adjust the NCEC District Borders to reflect changes in population.
  2. All NCEC elected representatives to be elected by City Wards (13 seats).
  3. Reduce appointed NCEC positions from 8 to 4 3 positions, to be appointed by the City Council (2) Mayor (1) and the Park Board (1).
  4. Elect/appoint non-voting Alternates for all NCEC positions.
  5. Term Limit of two (2) consecutive two-year terms, with absence of one year before being eligible for election or appointment again.
  6. City needs to work with neighborhood organizations to adjust the boundaries of the NCEC Districts.

NCR proposed three workgroups to be established in June to further develop the details of the action items of their proposal. Neighborhood organizations have many questions about the action items and the workgroups. The NCEC COW met and recommends the workgroups be structured as follows:

Funding, Guidelines and Implementation Work Group (15 Members)
2 NCEC – ( old / new)
1 NRP Policy Board
3 Cultural Community / Community Reps.
5 Neighborhood Reps.
2 Subject Matter Experts (Neighborhood Specialist and Development Finance Staff)
2 Undoing Racism / Equity Reps. GARE (Government Alliance on Racial Equity) trained equity leads
1 Council – Non Voting
1 Mayor – Non Voting

Governance Advisory Structure for Neighborhood and Community Engagement (15 members)
2 NCEC (old / new)
2 NRP Policy Board
5 Neighborhood
3 Cultural / Community Reps.
1 Subject Matter Expert – City Clerk
2 Undoing Racism / Equity Reps. GARE (Government Alliance on Racial Equity) trained equity leads
1 Council – Non Voting
1 Mayor- Non Voting

City-Wide Engagement Policy (15 members)
2 NCEC (old / new)
1 NRP Policy Board
3 Cultural / Community Reps.
5 Neighborhood Reps.
2 Subject Matter Experts – CPED and Public Works
2 Undoing Racism / Equity Reps. GARE (Government Alliance on Racial Equity) trained equity leads
1 Council – Non Voting
1 Mayor – Non-Voting

NCEC will assist NCR in making final determination of Work Group Members based on an application process. NCEC will choose a small sub-committee to look at the applications and make selections.

NCEC Elections Results from 6/14

Please see the election results from last night’s Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission election for NCEC Districts 4, 6 and 8, congratulations to:

  • District 4: Marcus Mills
  • District 8: Marcea Mariani
  • District 6: No candidate elected.

Due to no candidate in District 6 being chosen, the application period for that district will be re-opened.

Applications for NCEC Districts 2 and 6 will now be open until Friday, July 13th. The application and further details can be found online at: