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Minneapolis neighborhood forums planning grant application -

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Minneapolis neighborhood forums planning grant application


Minneapolis neighborhood forums planning grant

MINNESOTA STATE NETWORK FUND Digital Justice Planning Grant Request

Cover Sheet

Final Submission Deadline for Grant Processing: Friday, February 10, 2005

Organization Name: E-Democracy.Org

Project Name (if applicable): Neighborhood Forums

Address: 3211 E. 44th Street City: County: Minneapolis Hennepin State: Zip Code: MN 55406

Telephone: Fax: 612-822-8667 612-605-0137 E-mail Address: Web Site:

Contact Person: Title: Steven Clift Board Chair

Amount Requested: $3,000 (Note - to be received)

Annual Organizational Budget: E-Democracy’s budget is under $10,000 per year

Tax Status: _____X___501(c)(3)

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Fiscal Sponsor, Address, Contact Person, and Phone number:

Briefly describe the lead organization (applicant organization) including mission, number of years in operation, and other information related to the organization’s capacity in relation to Digital Justice issues or in relation to racial and social justice issues. (200 words)

E-Democracy.Org was established in 1994. It hosted the world’s first election information website and today specializes in hosting local online forums for active citizen participation. Our mission is to improve participation in democracy through the use of information networks.

As a host of sustainable, vibrant forums, it has a general goal of diversifying participation in these agenda-setting forums through outreach to “new voices.” Our forums allow groups and individuals without a strong voice, including those working on racial and social justice issues, to communicate with their fellow citizens, the media, and elected officials on an equal basis. This proposal is focused on a new set of neighborhood-level forums with active outreach to immigrant communities and other less represented groups, however, our city-wide Minneapolis Issues Forum would also benefit greater participation.

CURA’s Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization program at the University of Minnesota is a lead partner in this proposal.

Minnesota State Network Fund Digital Justice Planning Grant Questionnaire

Name of Person Completing this questionnaire for the group:

Steven Clift

Phone number: 612-822-8667

Please answer all of the following questions within the limitations suggested.

Who participated in your strategy session? (See separate sheet for participants to sign and provide contact information)

Steven Clift, E-Democracy.Org Melinda Ludwiczak, Mpls Public Library Will Craig, CURA Kris Nelson, NPCR Colleen O’Brien, Housing Link

What Digital Justice concerns and issues were discussed?

  • Bring local on-line neighbors together (seniors, immigrants access to local content)
  • Access to geographically relevant content for diverse communities in Minneapolis
  • Need for neighborhood directories on-line

What kinds of projects are you all interested in developing?

Phase One

  • Network of online Neighborhood Forums hosted by E-Democracy.Org – Up to 5 pilot forums
  • Active immigrant and diverse community outreach for participation
  • Forum access actively promoted via libraries and CTC centers

Phase Two – Will require a future second proposal

  • Collaborative Neighborhood online directories with Minneapolis Public Library and Neighborhood Associations
  • Use of open source tools for hosting neighborhood content and geographically generated local content efforts
  • A phase two should connect with emerging “neighborhood portals” now being discussed as part of the City of Minneapolis Wi-Fi initiative

Who else needs to be involved in the planning?

CURA, E-Democracy, Immigrant Associations, Minneapolis Public Libraries, NRP, Neighborhood Associations and activists, City of Mpls, CTCs, MTN, Minneapolis Issues Forum participants

What do you propose to do in your planning process? (In order to identify a project and develop a full proposal.)

Develop a proposal for online “Neighborhood Forums” in up to 5 neighborhoods in Minneapolis. A majority of the official pilots will be focused in areas with larger immigrant, communities of color, or low income populations. The well established Issues Forum model including use of the open source GroupServer technology and the 60 page guidebook and development process will be proposed for adaptation in an eventual proposal. Unlike city-wide Issues Forums, neighborhood forums are envisioned as very friendly place for everyday citizenship and communication. A mix of local coffee shop “bulletin board” like items combined with discussions about neighborhood issues, responses to crime, and welcoming social interaction are envisioned. Partners can add information and references in response to issues to increase the capacity of the neighborhood to deal with issues raised. The proposal will outline outreach efforts so the forums would connect easier to organize “active citizens” with the fuller diversity of their neighborhood through active outreach into diverse communities. The Internet can be used as an “icebreaker” to bring evolving local communities together.

The following steps are envisioned:

1. Host at least 3 community meetings. One with community leaders, another with leaders of immigrant associations and service providers, and an online “meeting” with over 500 citizens currently subscribed to the Minneapolis Issues Forum.

2. Outreach interviews within identified target neighborhoods for forums, immigrants, communities of color, and low income citizens will be interviewed to better determine the recommended scope (charter) for neighborhood forums.

3. Develop an immigrant leaders e-mail contact list in order to gather proposal input and involvement.

4. Preliminary training event for potential volunteer neighborhood “forum managers” and diverse community groups on the use of online groups to meet their organizational and social justice goals

5. Grant application writing

Who will you work and partner with?

The initial partnership starts with E-Democracy.Org and CURA. Working with the libraries, immigrant associations, and others will be essential. An online and face-to-face working group will be convened with an open invitation for more partners distributed.

How will your planning project expand community based leadership and /or expand multi-sector coalitions?

Connecting growing local immigrant communities with ‘active citizens’ will be a key outcome. Neighborhood Forums with a critical mass of participation will create real public space for local justice and raising of diverse voices. Outreach to immigrant and multi-lingual communities will be important as will the selection of pilot neighborhoods in areas with diverse populations.

How much support are you requesting and how will that funding be utilized? (Meeting expenses, stipends, travel, consultants, technical support, other) Please provide a dollar amount associated with each ‘line item’

  • Community meeting hosting, recruitment and contact list development - $1250
  • Outreach interviews - $1250
  • Contingency - $500
  • Grant writing – CURA staff will assist with the application
  • Training session – Donated labor if free event space is located

List of Partners in the Planning Process (Initial partners, open to more)

Name Affiliation Organization

Phone Number/email Confirmed Interested To be contacted

Kris Nelson, NPCR, 612/625-1020

Will Craig, CURA, 612/625-3321

Steven Clift, E-Democracy.Org, 612-822-8667

Melinda Ludwiczak, Minneapolis Public Library

Minneapolis neighborhood forums planning grant


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