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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Opportunity Neighborhood

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Homeless & Housing, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Senior Citizens Housing & Retirement Communities, Seniors, Unknown, Youth Development Programs

Mission:

Opportunity Neighborhood supports people and strengthens neighborhoods within affordable housing communities through cooperative partnerships. 

Results: 2016 Agency Accomplishments: • Began out-of-school time programming at a brand new 47-unit affordable housing complex in North Minneapolis called Commons at Penn. • Received a third Allina Neighborhood Health Connection Grant to provide healthy community dinners and nutrition education session to residents. To date, the project has served over 190 households in 4 different affordable housing communities • Increased the number of board members to six by adding Siyad Warsame, the Founder and Executive Director of the Africa Reconciliation and Development Organization (ARDO). ARDO is a Twin Cities non-profit specializing in cultural resolution among the African community. Siyad’s background working with Somali youth assists us in better serving the large number of Somali youth participating in our out-of-school time programs in North Minneapolis and on St. Paul’s Eastside. • For the fifth year, our agency has met the Charities Review Council’s Accountability Standards. (http://www.smartgivers.org/Charity/Review/opportunity_neighborhood) • Created a partnership with the Twin Cities Mobile Market (TCMM) to bring their grocery store on wheels to Garden View Apartments every Saturday from 1:30-2:30 pm. The TCMM is stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and canned goods at reduced prices. There are no grocery stores within walking distance of Garden View Apartments. Having the TCMM come directly to the property is a convenient and accessible way to promote healthy eating among the resident population.

Target demographics: Children and families be safe, have stable housing and have opportunities for family success programming.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 3,550 children and families living in affordable housing communities by providing programs and services that increase community safety, housing stability and opportunities for family success.

Geographic areas served: Affordable housing communities throughout the Twin Cities metro.

Programs: * Early Childhood Education: Early childhood family education classes, toddler playdates and clothes/toy exchanges for children 0-5 years old and their parents/caregivers in the affordable housing’s community space at no cost. * Out-of- School Time/Youth Intervention: After-school, evening and summer opportunities for youth K-12th grade to engage in academic, recreation, life skills training and enrichment activities in the affordable housing’s community space at no cost. * Safety Initiatives: Courtesy staff patrols the affordable housing community, addresses minor lease violations, builds relationships with residents, and partners with the housing management and local law enforcement to create a safe and stable community. Last year we provide 6,500 hours of Courtesy at 5 affordable housing communities. * Information and Referral Services: Residents can call, email or drop-in at the Resident Services office to obtain resources for food, clothing, transportation, employment, health, etc... In 2014, we provided 162 residents with information and referrals. * Community Events: Promoting social connectedness and building community, resident identified community events are held weekly in the affordable housing’s community space at no cost. Examples of community events include: National Night Out, community dinners, BINGO, crafts, billiards, movie nights and holiday parties. * Special Initiatives: Programs created to meet a specific community need or short-term enrichment program provided through a community partnership. We currently have a literacy program for struggling K-2nd grade youth at Ames Lake Neighborhood provided through a partnership with the I.T.A Foundation and Police Activities League. We have also had healthy community dinners & nutritional education program at Garden View Apartments and University Dale Apartments provided through a partnership with Allina Health and the University of Minnesota Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Community Stories

61 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Opportunity Neighborhood was a wonderful and diverse place to volunteer at. The children were very energetic and the staff members are very helpful. The staff members inform you about situations or upcoming events that are happening in the neighborhood.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I consider myself very lucky to be able to witness how this nonprofit organization works on a day to day basis. The employees of this organization make a huge difference on the children in the Ames Lake Neighbor Community located in East Saint Paul. The staff works so hard to educate the children and help them achieve in school with tutoring after school and a bookmobile that comes to the community.

Not only does this organization help the children in the community but also the adults that need help finding resources for food, furniture and access to a computer.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I really enjoy watching how involved ONDC is with the children of Ames Lake Neighborhood. I like how they keep the children involved and how they all participate one way or another in the program.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I reside at Ames Lake and I have resided here for two years. I love the program that Kacee Moua is in charge of here at Ames Lake neighborhood. It is a very positive program and she is a great leader. Kacee is in charge of resident services and she is always positive and energetic and she is a very sweet and endearing person. The resident services program is about families as well as individuals both of which I think is great. Kacee and Lee(Kacee's assistant) are always very helpful and patient and they are both dedicated and work hard to make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable and that is a very big plus for me.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The biggest contribution to increasing community safety at Garden View Apartments has been the community building. When people feel they are part of a community they take ownership of their community. As people take ownership they have a desire to be a contributing member to make their community better. As a result of the community building done by Opportunity Neighborhood people no longer become afraid to call the police when someone is behaving out of the norms of the community to they can preserve the safety and quality of their community.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The are a great organization that really makes a difference in the communities they serve. Their innovative programming is very effective in neighborhood stabilization. Their services improve those whom they are providing them for and allow for safe and secure living spaces.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work in social services and frequently refer parents to the Ames Opportunity Neighborhood for family support and high quality child care. The Ames Opportunity Neighborhood after school program is always seeking new ways to offer learning, engagement and caring to the youth they serve. Kacee Moua is a great leader who is really the driver for innovation and improvement at this program.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Spending my Wednesday afternoons with these boys has been quite the pleasure . I admire all the staff and the way they lead , assist , and build with the children within the program . They were ALWAYS more than welcoming and forever pleasent with me and my experience! One of my all time favorite programs I have been involved with due to the relationships I was able to build . Thankful for Ames lake !

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seen Kris, Kacee and the team be intentional at collecting and looking at data to inform continuous quality improvement in their programs. Their commitment to quality and collaboration have made it a pleasure to work with them.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Kris and her team have been a delight to work with. In the past few month, the Twin Cities Mobile Market has been a new addition to the Garden View and we couldn't ask for a better group to people to work with. They truly care about the resident.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the great pleasure to work together with Kacee Moua, Resident Services Coordinator, and Opportunity Neighborhood on an early childhood program called Birth to Five. The Birth to Five Early Childhood Program serves parents with young children and provides a space to grow, learn and develop community relationships. Kacee's professionalism and the care and attention she gives to her residents is exceptional. Kacee and the other staff at Opportunity Neighborhood clearly value their community!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

ACES partnered with Ames Lake Opportunity Network to provide innovative field trips exposing 3rd-5th graders to post-graduate opportunities. Students had a blast visiting Metro State University and Century College. Staff were professional, organized, and maintained clear communication throughout planning and implementation process.

Bee M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The children and staff were energetic and articulate. We hosted the students - elementary aged - for a campus visit and I was surprised at how engaged they were. The students asked many intellectual questions, were respectful, and engaged in all of our activities. The Opportunity Neighborhood staff also helped with activities and encouraged their students to ask questions. Because of the generous help from their staff, the campus visit went by smoothly.

Marilyn55

Donor

Rating: 5

I support Opportunity Neighborhood because of the exceptional programs they offer their residents.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have made a donation to Opportunity Neighborhood for several years, and when I see pictures of the smiling faces of the children and adults in the monthly newsletter , I know my donation is being well spent. The programs and services continue to survive and even grow year after year.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am glad to serve opportunity Neighborhood board.because this board can address complex issues and anticipate challenges and assessing risks, having diverse board from different background really helps diverse board allows for the opportunity neighborhood better anti-cipate and consider the concerns and perspectives of all key constituencies, I have confidence and trust to the board and executive director that they can delivery for their neighborhood.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Opportunity Neighborhood, continues to live up to its mission of supporting people and strengthening neighborhoods within affordable housing communities, through cooperative partnerships. The programs that it offers continue to make a difference in the lives of the those families and individuals that live in affordable housing communities that it supports. I am prod to not only be a supporter but also serve as a board member of this organization

Keith Bluford

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

From the first time that I met with Perry Lofquist, and learned about Opportunity Neighborhood’s charter as a nonprofit, I knew that this was the organization that I wanted to be involved with. With its focus and dedication to providing unique innovative tools and solutions that builds and maintains caring, and safe communities for families and youth to live and grow. Over that last six years that I have been a board member, Perry, Kris, and the entire Opportunity Neighborhood team have shown that they are truly committed to this cause! Great people, great organization doing wonderful things for our community!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Opportunity Neighborhood is uniquely positioned to provide innovative services for children, families, and safety in large multifamily properties. Great work is being done with after school programs that help families succeed. Large complexes often have a variety of safety needs that require flexibility with and knowledge of multi-cultural issues on site. Opportunity Neighborhood has developed a one of a kind program to address many of these issues call "Courtesy" which daily places a caring adult where difficult circumstances exist. I have been continually impressed with the staff's ability to adapt and implement effective solutions on these large properties.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I got involved at the genesis of Opportunity Neighborhood about 10 years ago. I watched as Perry Lofquist came aboard and assembled a collaborative community effort. There are a variety of great community organizations that are committed to families and kids and each sees great value in working directly with Opportunity Neighborhood. I know very few organizations that are as innovative as this one is. And very few organizations can effectively build a network of safeguards and programs along with other organizations who care about families in large housing communities. In my view Opportunity Neighborhood has been able to step back and let other succeed for the sake of families. While doing that the great staff and board has become effective and successful in fostering its mission.

Terry91

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This organization is a strong partner with our free summer lunch program located nearby their Garden View site. Both organizations enjoy cross marketing programs that meet the needs of lower income households. It is a good fit and a great partnership.

Branica X.

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for Opportunity Neighborhood at the Ames Lake location as a Youth Programmer for 9 months. It was an amazing learning experience for me. The staff are very supportive of each other, especially my supervisor Kacee Moua. I was also using my work hours at ON for hours in my internship as a Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies major. Although, it wasn't structured to be an internship, Kacee offered to help me as much as possible. The overall program was great for teens and kids. As the programmer, I had to meet certain requirements such as covering certain learning and beneficial topics each month. We also followed the YPQA so that we had a quality-program. Each child and teen was offered a full meal so that they wouldn't go home hungry. This made Opportunity Neighborhood a home for a lot of teens and kids. I am happy to say I was once part of this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Opportunity Neighborhood is an amazing place for kids to go after school! They provide homework help, and plan fun, constructive learning activities that the kids will enjoy! They cater to many different needs and you can really tell that the staff care for the kids, and are passionate about the service they are providing for them. Opportunity Neighborhood was a really fun place to work and I learned so much not just from the staff, but also the kids!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My church small group volunteered with Opportunity Housing for National Night Out. We had such a wonderful time meeting the staff and families that live in New Brighton. We are excited to work with them again!