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2019 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: 2019 Agency Accomplishments: *Ames Lake Neighborhood was recognized by the St. Paul Police Department for hosting National Night Out at the property for ten consecutive years. In 2019, over 400 residents and community service providers attended. *For the third year in a row, Opportunity Neighborhood has partnered with Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton to provide National Night Out at Garden View Apartments. This year’s celebration brought together over 300 residents and community service providers. *The agency now provides the Courtesy Program at Broadway Flats in North Minneapolis and Eastside Apartments in St. Paul. This brings the total number of properties the program is provided at to 5 representing 4 different property owners and 3 management companies. *92% of youth participating in the literacy program at Ames Lake Neighborhood increased or achieve their grade level reading skills. *Decreased the number of police calls to Garden View Apartments to only 73. That’s an 86% decrease since we began providing Courtesy services at the property in 2000. *The average resident turnover at all service sites is 32% compared to the national average of 54% (National Apartment Association, 2014).

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

86 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just want to say that Our courtesy patrol that works on our property is amazing, if they are on duty and you need anything you can call and they will be there in no time flat. I know that they are really good with responding to complaints from residents that are having issues and they make sure they are walking our property so that there is no junk going on in the parking lots or our buildings. I feel so much at ease with courtesy on our property.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered for the second year in a row with Opportunity Neighborhood for their National Night Out event. They host a wonderful neighborhood block party at one of the complexes they service, and it is a joy to see the community come together to celebrate. Highly rewarding experience, and I hope to continue to help out!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Earlier this year the chance to support at-risk youth presented itself to me when I was asked to share my experience working with children as a member of the Opportunity Neighborhood board of directors. Even though I am just coming to understand to this essential work and the ON team, it is apparent that the good people dedicated to this nonprofit are working hard to create a safe environment for low-income families and vulnerable youth to live and learn. The work of Opportunity Neighborhood and their partners is clearly an asset to the community and families served in their homes.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The part of Opportunity Neighborhood that I have experienced is Garden View Apartments in New Brighton. I have been to their Neighborhood Night Out the last two years and have found it to be well organized and very effective at reaching out to its residents, people of all cultures and ages. I am a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church just up the street from Garden View. We have invited their residents to our Block Party for the past several years. The office has been very responsive to allowing our invitation to be shared with their residents. Our Block party is not a heavily religious but more a "Thank You For Being Our Neighbor" event. We have free food and lots of activities, multicultural music and dancing., etc. In the last two years the event has attracted more than fourteen hundred people. A good part of response has come from the neighborhood including Garden View apartments. We also welcome to our church and after-school program called Community Partners in Youth. Many Garden View youth come to this program. We have found Garden View a great partner in serving our community.

Donor

Rating: 5

Three or four years ago I decided that in addition to making donations to my church I wanted to start donating to a nonprofit organization. When I found out about the many services Opportunity Neighborhood has to offer, I knew this was the organization I wanted my money to go to. I'm so pleased with the many services they offer to adults and children. I'm grateful for the monthly newsletter which keeps me up-to-date on the events and services for the residents. The pictures of the children at their events are especially fun to see.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ames Lake and Lisa Grotenhuis are a wonderful partner with the St.Paul Police P.A.L. Unit. I know first hand the time spent by Lisa to help each and every kid that comes to her center. She provides activities and acts as a positive role model every single day at Ames Lake. She helps keep kids away from the dangers of gangs and drugs and helps guide kids to strive to do well at school, athletics, or any other postive activities. It has been wonderful to see the work Lisa does with a part of the St.Paul community.

Donor

Rating: 5

Opportunity Neighborhood has developed into an incredible neighborhood asset by providing a safe place to live for low-income families in addition to offering much needed services, support and stability. Our foundation has been a supporter since 2005, and each year we see great additions to programming and better than expected results for tenant stability, adult success stories and activities and achievements for children. The Ames Lake Neighborhood, at one time, was a very tough area in Saint Paul, one that was full of crime, drugs and violence. Since Opportunity Neighborhood moved in, the apartments and neighborhood have been transformed into a success story of its own. Perry Loftquist has led a great team of dedicated professionals that work with local schools, police departments, agencies and organiztions to provide residents with resources that help them lead productive and stable lives and provide their children with a stable environment full of opportunities for enrichment, learning and fun--all with a sense of community and pride. I am always impressed with the connections ON has made and the results they achieve. The Ames Lake Neighborhood is a great example of what stability and the right opportunities can do for families, and we are pleased to be among Opportunity Neighorhood's supporters.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What a great organization doing something very unique. They provide youth intervention services (mentoring, counseling, education, school help, etc.) with youth and families in low income housing situations. This is a great way to reach our most at-risk youth...keeping them at home, in school and out of the costly juvenile justice system. We need more youth intervention programs like this one! Scott Beaty, Executive Director, MN Youth Intervention Programs Association.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Several years back, I was looking to get involved in supporting a nonprofit. When presented with the opportunity to work with Opportunity Neighborhood, I took it because I liked it's focus on foundational elements of safety, education and community building. All things that any of us want, regardless of where we live. I like how Opportunity Neighborhood brings these programs directly to the tenants and helps them learn what resources are available to bring stability and happiness to individuals, children and families. Perry, Kris, the program coordinators and courtesy officers work tirelessly with the building managers, local law enforcement, school districts and community resources to bring programs and services to the tenants. I am confident that these services increase resident's satisfaction.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ames Lake Opportunity Neighborhood is truly an inspiring organization. PAL (The St. Paul Police Department Police Activities League) has partnered and worked with the youth, and staff members from Ames Lake for about two years now and Ames Lake Opportunity Neighborhood has shown nothing but commitment, dedication, and compassion for the youth and residents who reside there. The youth programs offered to the at-risk youth living in this development has had an enormous impact on the children's lives. I have personally seen the transformation in kids who enroll in the programs, never coming to program before, from a delinquent, rough around the edges child, to developing into a mature, responsible, caring and empathetic young adult. Ames Lake knows how to touch these youth with the core values it takes to encourage them to becoming successful, productive members of society. Without Ames Lake Opportunity Neighborhood, a lot of these youth members would get lost to the street life of violence, gangs and crime.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Barebones Puppets had the opportunity to work in collaboration with Opportunity Neighborhood in activities involving high Art including Stilt construction and walking ,Rocketry and large pole puppets. All of the Barebones Artists had a wonderful time working with the children and staff . It was a spring week full of smiles that was compiled in a beautiful video short. Opportunity Neighborhood offers an incredible resource , support system and staff for member families and this was confirmed by the teriffic families that came to parade the beautiful puppets on the final day. Roxy was and is sensational in her support as was Kris in her facilitation of the project.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Yolanda I’m a resident at Ames lake, and the Girl Scout troop leader. I will like to say Opportunity Neighborhood is an excellent program because when I was little we did not have program like this. My girls just love Lisa and so do I. It helps kids with homework and helps kids look forward to the future. I’m so glad to be part of Opportunity Neighborhood.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to work with Opportunity Neighborhood now at two communities they provide services for. The impact they have within those communities are far larger than most see. I have witnessed first hand the dedication and true kindhearted acts the staff of Opportunity Neighborhood give everyday!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Opportunity Neighborhood provides opportunities for families and children to connect with each other and within their community. They actively search for funding that enhances lives and apartment communities. In partnership, we provide a pre-school for parents and children to attend together two days a week. Opportunity Neighborhood also provides enriched activities for after school programming.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Who says crime and poverty have to go hand in hand!
I have been a police officer in the city of St Paul for many years working in the Ames Lake area. For years and years, the Ames Lake Neighborhood was one of the worst places to live or in my case, to work. Drugs being sold on school bus stops and gang violence were all too common. Crime ran ramped and as kids had no safe environment to live or play, fell prey to that crime infested neighborhood as victims and, in too many cases, crime suspects.
A few years ago, Opportunity Neighborhood began working with the owners and management of the property at Ames Lake and have literally transformed that neighborhood into one where you see almost no crime or problems seen in years past. They have done this by providing quality after school programming such as home work help, boy scouts, girl scouts, teen leadership groups and several others. The also provide adult services such as computer labs for job skill building.
Opportunity Neighborhood’s work in this community has been priceless