Boards and Commissions
The City benefits from the volunteer efforts of hundreds of residents who serve on more than fifty advisory boards and commissions. These boards and commissions represent a key component of community engagement activities in regard to City actions and decision making. Residents should have good information about service opportunities and be well-oriented once selected to serve.
Approximately 600 volunteers serve on these boards and commissions. As such, the City has seen board and commission service as an important leverage point for advancing racial equity. Currently, people of color represent 25 percent of the population, but only 16% of the membership of boards and commissions. It is projected that by 2040, people of color will be 40 percent of the population. The City of Minneapolis recognizes that in order to be effective in their work and to truly represent the interests of all of the city residents, membership of the City’s boards and commissions must reflect the diversity of the community.
Every other year NCR completes a voluntary Boards and Commissions Diversity Survey which asks board and commission members to complete questions regarding 8 diversity factors: age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, income and education. The survey, which was completed in 2009, 2012, and most recently in 2014, helps tracks progress in reaching the goal of equitably representing the community. The surveys can be found here. In 2014, the City also began tracking the demographics in its boards and commissions applicant pool. The purpose of this effort is to be able to compare the demographics of people applying for the boards and commissions to those actually appointed. This helps identify any issues or biases that may reside in the appointment process.
The City works with Nexus Community Partners, a 501c3 non-profit organization to further connect people of color to opportunities on City boards and commissions. Nexus Community Partners developed a program called The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute of the Twin Cities (BCLI). The BCLI is a 7-month program that identifies, trains, and supports placement of communities of color and other underrepresented communities in publicly appointed boards and commissions in support of an equity agenda. NCR works closely with Nexus Community Partners to ensure that graduates of the BCLI are aware of the opportunities on Minneapolis’ boards and commissions. Visit the Nexus Community Partners website to learn more about the BCLI program.
Additional strategies to increase participation:
One Minneapolis Fund: A small grant program that provides direct grants to community and culturally-based organizations in the city that support engagement and leadership development. The program is now in its 3rd year and has awarded 20 grants to date.
City Academy: A five week course that teaches residents about the operations and functions of city government.
Streamlined Appointment Process: The City has aligned the appointments to its boards and commissions to occur twice a year (spring and fall cycles). This allows clarity and transparency for community members as to when and which appointments are available.
Orientation, staff training and other internal supports: Training for boards and commissions support staff (including equity training), an orientation to new members and a manual for volunteers are some of the additional supports now being offered to appointed volunteers.
NCR Staffed Boards and Commissions:
Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities (MACOPD): The MACOPD is a citizen based education and advocacy group formed to expand opportunities for all children and adults with disabilities throughout Minneapolis, without regard to disability or other protected class status
Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC): The NCEC works with the Neighborhood and Community Relations department to provide overall direction on the City’s community engagement efforts. Through the input and work of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission, residents, community and neighborhood organizations will play a key role in enhancing and shaping how the City engages its residents.
NRP Policy Board: The key work of the Policy Board is to review and approve the NRP plans and to also to review the Community Participation Plan submissions from neighborhood organizations.
Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Aging:The Committee is responsible for bringing senior citizen concerns to the attention of the Mayor and City Council.
Last updated Sep 8, 2015