Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

NENA acknowledges end of ‘transitional year’ with new plan

Posted on 23 May 2016 by calvin

Six new members elected to board at annual meeting; residents briefed on NENA’s new strategic plan and goals

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Nearly half of the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association Board members are new this year.

At the annual meeting on Thur., Apr. 28, residents elected Marcelina Torres Ramos and Jenna Carter for Wenonah; Carrie Andersen and Mike Ferrin for Minnehaha; Sahr Brima for Keewaydin; and Anne Johnson for Morris Park.

Re-elected were Mike Guild (Keewaydin) and Mark Preston, who had been appointed to fill the vacant Morris Park seat in January 2016.

IMG_0865NewBoardMembersSmPhoto left: At the annual meeting on Thur., Apr. 28, residents elected (front, left to right) Marcelina Torres Ramas, Carrie Andersen, Mike Guild, (second row) Mike Ferrin, Mark Preston, Sahr Brima, Anne Johnson, and Jenna Carter. Outgoing NENA Board members include chair Vanessa Haight, Joe Henry, Matt Musich, John Lambrecht and longtime board members George Jelatis and Kent Knopp-Schwyn. Remaining on the board are Larry Ouellette, Katie Sheetz, Marian Streitz, Maribel Osorio, Steve Larmon, Mark Keeler and Helena Pikus-Li. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

These changes cap a year and a half of major alterations within the organization.

“2015 was a transitional year for Nokomis East Neighborhood Association,” remarked NENA Executive Director Becky Timm.

“Your input and your support helped stabilize our organization, and put NENA back on track to be a sector-leading organization.”

In October 2014, the board terminated its executive and associate directors. That was followed by the resignation of five board members and appointment of eight new members a couple of months later. Another four new board members joined in April 2015.

IMG_0842TechnologyCommitteeSmPhoto right: The NENA Technology Committee was honored with the 2015 NENA Volunteer Award. Group members (left to right) Brigid Jordan, Chris Becker, and Helena Pikus-Li, along with Jim Cummins and Kyle Matteson (not pictured) launched a new website, worked to create a social media presence, sent out regular e-newsletters, and updated the office computers. “Functional IT makes a big difference in the life of a non-profit,” remarked board member Katie Sheetz. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Amy Arcand served as Interim Executive Director until Becky Timm took over on July 27, 2015. Five months later Dave Collings was hired as NENA’s Program and Communications Manager.

IMG_0834LatinasSmPhoto left: Las Familias Latinas de Wenonah was honored with the 2015 NENA Volunteer Award. Led by board member Maribel Osorio, the group of Latino women has worked to create a safer neighborhood. When someone tells Osorio that they don’t feel welcome in the community, she responds that they need to participate. Last year, the group of women organized the first Day of the Child celebration that was attended by 150 children and families. About 300 attended the Day of the Mother’s event. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

NENA is currently in the process of hiring a new Community Organizer, who will be fluent in English and Spanish to replace Maria Alcaraz, who resigned earlier this year.

NENA office moves
In addition to having a new roster of staff and board members, the location of NENA is changing.

In May, NENA vacated its office at 3000 E. 50th St., because the building was sold by its owner. NENA had been located there for 21 years.

The new location is 54th and 53rd in the Morris Park area. NENA is renovating the former Hiawatha Bike Shop building. It will offer a larger space for meetings.

An open house is planned for August.

Collings is also working with a design class at the University of Minnesota to freshen up the NENA logo. See it soon on new Nokomis area bike racks.

“Thank you for being patient with us over the year as we transitioned back to permanent staff,” said Timm. “I want you to take a new look at NENA and see yourself here.”

Strategic plan provides direction
“Since we last came together a year ago, NENA has been doing some great things,” observed outgoing Board President Vanessa Haight. She pointed to the hiring of two full-time staff members and the creation of a strategic plan.

“With that strategic plan in place, we’re starting to look outward,” Haight said.

The strategic plan for 2016-2018 is expected to give NENA direction, a renewed sense of purpose, and an understanding of what the community expects of its neighborhood organization.

More than 500 community members and the board members were involved in sharing ideas and feedback on the new plan.

In the strategic vision, NENA will be a sector-leading organization and the area’s first-stop resource hub that helps build an energetic and engaged neighborhood. They will be recognized by their welcoming physical space, enthusiastic volunteers and professional staff, and a willingness to lead courageous conversations and launch innovative programming. NENA will be an avenue to addressing important neighborhood issues, a catalyst for building strong neighborhood partnerships, and a leading voice for strategic community and commercial development.

“That’s a lofty goal, but I think together we will make inroads on it,” stated Timm.
NENA will seek to build operational excellence by improving governance and function, as well as building a better board. During the year, board members went door-knocking in September, had monthly training at board meetings, and were directly involved in board committees and projects.

This fall, the board will begin updating its bylaws, which were last reviewed in 2007.
According to the vision, NENA will demonstrate organizational responsibility through accountability and transparency, working to rebuild lost trust from the community.

Examples of this include the 2015 NENA annual report; a redesigned NENA website increasing timely access to governing documents, organizational reports, and meeting agendas and minutes; improved monthly board financial reports and financial training; and monthly organizational and staff reports at board meetings.

Board meetings are held on the fourth Thursdays of the month from 7-9pm.

“We want to have a two-way conversation with our community,” said Timm.

NENA is also working to increase outside review and accreditation, as well as to diversify its funding stream.

NENA’s 2015 annual budget was $227,969. Eighty-one percent of NENA resources are allocated to mission-based program work. The majority of funds come from the city of Minneapolis through its Community Participation Program and the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. Community members and businesses contributed $5,000 through cash and in-kind donations.

Another major area of the strategic plan is to build capacity for community engagement through partnerships with local organizations, as well as by getting the word out about activities through a variety of ways. “We want to build our volunteer base,” stated Timm.

Finally, NENA is seeking to engage the community through its various events and pop-up kiosks.

“This is your neighborhood. This is your time to get involved,” encouraged Timm. “There’s an opportunity for everyone with every time commitment.”

IMG_0857JohnQuincySmPhoto left: “Great things happen when people show up and do things,” stated Ward 11 Council Member John Quincy on Apr. 28. He was excited to share the news that the city had reached an agreement with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board on a $30 million plan to fund parks and street improvements over the next 20 years. The impact on property tax payers is less than 1%, said Quincy. “At the end of it will be a great system with no long-term debt.” Ward 12 council member Andrew Johnson and Parks Commissioner Steffanie Musich also shared updates at the NENA annual meeting. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

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