Neighborhood & Community Relations

Crown Roller Mill, Suite 425
105 Fifth Avenue South 
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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Community Connections Conference

The conference is an annual free conference meant to build connections and foster collaboration between community, neighborhoods and government, focusing on best practices for community engagement. In 2019, the conference featured interactive workshops, speakers, an immigration, family and housing legal clinic, free food, panel discussions and over 100 exhibitors.

Add your email address here to receive a notice once exhibitor registration opens for the 2020 Community Connections Conference, once workshop presenter recruitment starts or when Neighborhood and Community Relations seeks community partners or volunteers to help with the conference.

Save the date! The 2020 Community Connections Conference will be on February 1 in the lower level of the Minneapolis Convention Center, Hall A.


2020 Location

  • Pictured: Escalators that connect to the lower levels.

Image of entrance to the space, 2019 Community Connections Conference

 Latest News


2019 All Day Activities

Legal clinic

Immigration, housing and family law legal clinic courtesy of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, The Advocates for Human Rights, the Volunteer Lawyers Network and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.

Neighborhoods 2020 open house

Learn about the neighborhood organization system and City community engagement policy, proposed policy changes for 2020 onwards, how community input was collected and used, and leave your own comments on the proposed Neighborhoods 2020 policy framework.

Transportation Action Plan & Vision Zero

Public Works staff were at the Community Connections Conference to share information about the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan and other department initiatives. Visit to learn more about the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan and upcoming engagement opportunities.

2019 Opening Panel: Connecting Activism to Change

The conference in 2019 included a robust conversation about connecting community activism to systemic change. The dialogue focused on intersectional and intergenerational movements, community engagement in the 21st century and the power of narrative.

Facilitator Keno Evol and Panelists Jen Arnold Rory Wakemup and MeLea Connelly 2019 Community Connections Conference

Facilitated by Keno Evol of Black Table Arts, panelists include Jen Arnold of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (United Renters for Justice), artist Rory Wakemup of Wakemup Productions, and Me’Lea Connelly of Village Financial Cooperative

2019 Workshops


  • Actualizing Equity with Diverse Watershed Stakeholders

    Environmental racism and failing infrastructure plague cities and historically communities of color have been relegated to toxic spaces that adversely affect health and contribute to health disparities. Low wealth, multifamily affordable housing communities within watersheds often bear inequitable and disproportionate amounts of environmental pollution due to the amounts of impervious surface that exist on these properties and their location. The equitable distribution of water resource investments creates opportunities for equitable engagement and inclusive development that centers around the needs and concerns of vulnerable populations in projects that build their capacity to lead, inspire, promote and build community resilience.- Metro Blooms
  • All About the Benjamins: Tips for Seeking Government Funds

    Is your organization interested in City and federal funding opportunities? This learning lab will cover search engines for funding and address misconceptions about the rigor of applying for government funds. This lab will conclude with resources that the Promise Zone can offer community organizations and a questions and answers segment. Community organizations, concerned citizens and small business won't want to miss it! - City of Minneapolis Coordinator's Office & Housing and Urban Development
  • The American Dream in Minneapolis: Obtaining US Citizenship

    There are thousands of Minneapolis residents who qualify for, but have not yet filed an application for naturalization to obtain United States citizenship. For those who have not yet applied for US citizenship but are interested in doing so, or those who simply want to understand the naturalization application process better, immigration attorneys from local nonprofit organizations will provide a comprehensive overview of the application process, from preparing your application to taking the oath of citizenship, including: who qualifies for US citizenship, what information needs to be included in the application, how does one qualify for a fee waiver, what are some of the naturalization test questions and where can they be found, how can an applicant obtain a medical waiver of the English language and civics test, what is the application processing time, and what options exist if naturalization processing is delayed. - Volunteer Lawyers Network, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and the City of Minneapolis, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs - Neighborhood and Community Relations
  • Are You Ready for eSupplier? [Neighborhood Edition]

    Beginning February 11, all vendors with the City (including neighborhood organizations) will be using the City’s new eSupplier Connect portal to, among other things, electronically sign contracts with the City (including NRP and CPP contracts). The portal also will allow vendors to view the status of payments and contracts and update their contacts and address. This session is open to all, but is especially focused on neighborhood organizations. All neighborhood organizations should make an effort to have at least one member attend this very important session. – City of Minneapolis Procurement Division
  • City Budget 101

    The City of Minneapolis creates an annual budget to represent the needs and values of the City and community. It’s a comprehensive financial plan that describes how much money the City expects to raise and spend within a year on items such as roadways, water, public safety and other essential services. Anyone can participate and submit ideas about the budget; residents, businesses, neighborhoods, City departments and others. This session details how and where those opportunities are for participation in the City’s budgeting process. - City of Minneapolis - Finance and Property Services.
  • Experiential Learning: The Housing Crisis at Home

    Come experience a hands-on learning activity about the housing crisis you can adapt for any age level, organization or learning program! The Housing crisis can get complex. It involves minimum wage, rent control, inflation, demand, unemployment, tenant rights, homelessness, evictions, section 8, preservation buyers, gentrification, naturally occurring affordable housing, stereotypes, convictions, credit scores, zoning, upscaling, emergency shelter access, capitalism and more! House of Charity has taken these issues and created an interactive, fun and digestible learning activity that engages participants of all ages. - House of Charity
  • How to Work Effectively with Muslims

    Each year, CAIR-MN handles hundreds of complaints of religious, racial and ethnic discrimination. The majority of the cases involve employment discrimination, including discrimination in hiring, wrongful termination, hostile work environments, and denial of religious accommodations. From these cases, we have learned that most discrimination occurs because of miscommunication and a lack of understanding of religious practices and culture. CAIR-MN’s proactive diversity training bridges the gap of misunderstanding and provides resources to employers, attorneys, community leaders and others. Learn how to effectively work with Muslims, demographics worldwide, in the United States and in Minnesota, how to provide religious accommodations in the work place and practices to be mindful of when interacting with Muslim clients. - CAIR-MN
  • Neighborhoods 2020: Recommendations for Policy Change

    Neighborhoods 2020 will reshape the structure and relationship between the neighborhood organization system and the City. Come see the final recommendations about funding, programming, and the governance structure for neighborhood organizations and a framework for the citywide community engagement policy. Your feedback from this session will be part of the official comments given to the City Council in spring. - City of Minneapolis, Neighborhood and Community Relations Department
  • Northeast BrainFest: Collaborative Planning and Cooperative Implementation

    Mental health issues are severely stigmatized in our society, often left unaddressed, impacting both individuals and neighborhoods. Audubon Neighborhood Association is drawing greater attention to mental health issues among Northeast Minneapolis residents and working to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness through a collaborative, multi-neighborhood effort entitled Northeast BrainFest. Attend this workshop to learn more.- Audubon Neighborhood Association
  • Panel: Engaging Renters

    A discussion about effective strategies that neighborhoods and community organizations use to engage renters in their area, working with landlords and partners. - Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, University of Minnesota Office of Student Affairs
  • Successful Neighborhood Crime Reduction Strategies

    Learn how Stevens Square Community Organization has successfully partnered with the Minneapolis Police Department 5th Precinct, the City Attorney's Office and Hennepin County Neighborhood Probation to counteract and reduce the kind of crime that destroys a neighborhood's sense of livability and security. - Stevens Square Community Organization
  • What the Minneapolis Health Department Can Do for You

    The Minneapolis Health Department improves the quality of life for all people in Minneapolis. Many people are aware of some Health Department services, such as restaurant inspections, but not others that are available to residents and community organizations.

    In this workshop, learn about the Health Department’s:
    • Healthier home programs: Lead abatement and asthma home services and smoke-free rental property programs.
    • Health data services: Available data for Minneapolis and how to get it
    • Emergency planning: Outreach and training for organizations to improve readiness and resiliency.
    • Health campaigns: Educational materials on tap-water safety and e-cigarettes.
    - City of Minneapolis Health Department


  • Are You Ready for eSupplier?

    Beginning February 11, all vendors with the City will be using the City’s new eSupplier Connect portal. This portal will allow suppliers self-service access to register to become a City supplier. It will be a two-way communication tool that allows suppliers to register online to become a bidder/supplier and to view their purchase orders, invoices, contract status, etc. and also to update their business contact/address information as needed. This session is open to all current and prospective vendors with the City of Minneapolis. (If neighborhood organizations are not able to attend the eSupplier session geared towards neighborhood groups, they should certainly make an effort to attend this more general, but still enormously helpful, session.) – City of Minneapolis Procurement Division
  • Athleadership: North Minneapolis Athletes Engage and Transform

    Athleadership was piloted in partnership with Heritage Youth Sports Foundation and provides summer jobs for North Minneapolis high school athletes to train North Minneapolis youth in elements of Discovery of Self, a vision, focus, and mindset development curriculum. Additionally, the athletes act as spokespeople for a new universe of possibility, and build positivity and connections with other communities through public events designed to leverage their transformational optimism. - Continuum Center
  • Awesome Neighborhoods in 120 Seconds or Less

    Join us for a series of fast-paced presentations from multiple neighborhood organizations throughout the City. This engaging workshop will include time to interact and learn more about the great work being done in Minneapolis neighborhoods. - Multiple neighborhood organizations and the City of Minneapolis, Neighborhood and Community Relations.
  • 2020 Census: A Community Conversation

    Anti-immigrant rhetoric has permeated our national dialogue at a critical time. As we approach the 2020 Census, some members of the Minneapolis community may remain uncounted out of fear, and the impact of undercounting lasts a decade. Undercounting would threaten our ability to secure federal and state funding and reduce our political representation. This workshop will focus on the importance of local action to mobilize people of color, immigrants, refugees and non- English speaking residents to be counted. - City of Minneapolis, Neighborhood and Community Relations Department
  • Community and Neighborhood Organization Board Training

    Learn about community and neighborhood organizations in Minneapolis, and the roles that board members play in both conducting outreach and managing an organization's responsibilities. This session covers effective tools and implementation for leadership that align with an organization's mission. - City of Minneapolis, Neighborhood and Community Relations
  • Immigration Hot Topics

    Learn about some of the most pressing topics in immigration for 2019: unaccompanied minors in Minnesota immigration court, Temporary Protected Status news, concerns regarding repatriation in the Southeast Asian Community and what we can do now; assisting victims of human trafficking, including labor trafficking; and the impact of the government shutdown on USCIS and immigration court case processing. - The Advocates for Human Rights, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) and City of Minneapolis, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs - Neighborhood and Community Relations.
  • Leveraging Appointed Boards & Commissions to Advance Racial Equity

    The City of Minneapolis has more than 50 volunteer-based appointed boards and commissions (ABCs) to advise City elected officials and staff on a wide range of policy and topic areas.This workshop covers introductory concepts to the role of government in advancing racial equity and reviews racial equity impact assessment tools. ABC members explore how they see their role in advancing racial equity within the context of their board or commission's charge. - City of Minneapolis
  • Minneapolis Homes

    Learn about how to access education, financing and property to buy, build or rehab housing through City of Minneapolis programs. - City of Minneapolis, CPED
  • Understanding White Supremacy and its Impact on Engagement

    Citywide community engagement is a goal of the City of Minneapolis. One of the biggest obstacles to authentic citywide engagement is systemic racism and white supremacy. The first thing needed to deal with this obstacle is an understanding of what racism and white supremacy really are. This interactive workshop will dig into these issues and look for, not only understanding, but some beginning ways to overcome the obstacles. - Metro State University


                        Collaborative Public
                        Safety Strategies project at Little Earth presentation at

Neighborhood Showcase at 2018 Community Connections Conference

                        Family One Community
                        exhibiting at the 2018 Community Connections Conference

Exhibitor photo 2018 Community Connections Conference

                        Community Connections Conference attendees conversing in exhibit hall


The exhibit hall featured information and resources from 119 different community groups and public agencies. Read more on the exhibitor page.

Community conversation with Mayor Frey and Minneapolis City Council members about Racial Equity

Facilitated by the mayor, the closing session brought conference attendees and City Council members together for round table discussions about the City’s Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan (SREAP).

This action plan is used to communicate City priorities around workforce, spending, data usage, community engagement and policy. The SREAP is a central document that policymakers can refer to, with clear goals, objectives and metrics by which to measure progress. View SREAP goals...


The Community Connections Conference provided free lunch. Attendees chose between these six food vendors:

La Mexicana, Afro Deli, Pham's Deli, Pow Wow Grounds, Mama D's Kitchen and Wendy's House of Soul.

Open detailed menu

Afro Deli & Grill Sambusas (Beef & Veggie)
Somali Rice
Veggie Stew
Chicken Curry
Vegan Curry
La Mexicana Rice
Mama D’s Kitchen

Pulled Beef
Mac and Cheese
Baked Beans (Veggie)
Cole Slaw (Vegan)

Pham’s Deli

Sesame Chicken
Beef and Broccoli
Stir Fry Vegetables

Pow Wow Grounds

Fry Bread Tacos
Refried Beans

Wendy’s House of SOUL, Inc.

Chicken Wings
SOUL Rolls (with vegan and veggie options)

Sponsors & Community Partners

Thank you to this 2019 sponsors CenterPoint Energy and Metro Transit. 

Our community partners in 2019 were Minneapolis American Indian Center, Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), Turning Point, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota and the Lao Advancement Organization of America.


You can sign up to volunteer at the conference by selecting "I would like to volunteer" on your registration form.

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Sign up to receive email updates about the Community Connections Conference by clicking here and entering your email address.

Last updated Aug 1, 2019



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