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This page is archived. It contains useful information, but is no longer being updated. See our project evaluation and our Inclusion section for updates on new programming in this area.

For the latest news and extensive resources, see the list of over a dozen blog posts and presentations below.



With Ford Foundation support 2010-11, we are deepening our Issues Forum start-up efforts starting in the lower income, high immigrant Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis and the Greater Frogtown neighborhood in St. Paul.

Support from the St. Paul Foundation in 2010 assisted the launch of a new forum on St. Paul's Eastside. In 2011, with Minneapolis Digital Inclusion Fund support, Phillips and Powderhorn gained special inclusive outreach assistance. The Knight Foundation's donor advised fund at the St. Paul Foundation is supporting additional St. Paul-wide outreach covering most of the city but in particular helping us extend special outreach to the West Side, Summit-U Rondo, and the North End.

Our overall neighbors forums network is growing and these efforts are gaining attention in the news.

These forums serve the kinds of neighborhoods are the least likely to have local community building efforts that use social media while wealthier, more homogeneous areas are benefiting from a mix of neighborhood e-mail lists, blogs, Ning sites, and Facebook Groups.

From gathering lessons on effective community outreach (we do extensive in-person outreach) to building content and forum participant engagement that reflects the diversity of those successfully recruited, this work is being watched. This seems to be a nut that no one has cracked. What good is online engagement if it just empowers those communities that need the least relative help while completely passing over those diverse/lower income areas that could benefit the most?


Our part-time Diverse Community Outreach Leaders lead recruitment efforts and our content-oriented Community Outreach and Information Leaders lead information seeking and discussion seeding that brings out the diversity of the community in the dialogue and exchange. We are also working to evaluate and document this ongoing work for broad sharing.

With 2011 funding just secured from the Blandin Foundation, we are expanding efforts to include our Native American majority rural Minnesota Cass Lake Leech Lake community Issues Forum in this enhanced effort. Our volunteer-based 35+ forum network continues and will also benefit from efforts to increase the diversity of new voices.


This work is built on our past Neighborhood Forums and Rural Voices grants and ongoing Issues Forum work. It is informing our exploratory Neighborly effort to build a tool that helps connect you with your nearest neighbors online via electronic block clubs of sorts (for all kinds of block activities).

We will seek project input and share lessons via the new Digital Inclusion Network and Locals Online that we are hosting as part of the Participation 3.0 initiative.


Background - Details from our Blog

For further background on this evolving work, see the following blog posts on our project blog:


Back to Participation 3.0


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