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Category : Community Engagement

Preparing Immigrants and Refugees for Public Health Emergencies in Hennepin County
Recent public health emergencies have highlighted the continuing need for public health officials to further improve communications with immigrant and refugee communities about the importance of being aware and prepared for infectious disease outbreaks, dangerous weather, public shootings, and other community emergencies. In 2016, Wilder Research was contracted by Hennepin County Public Health Emergency Preparedness to conduct a study about emergency preparedness planning with nine immigrant and refugee communities in the county (Mexican, Hmong, South Asian Indian, Somali, Ethiopian, Oromo, Guinean, Liberian, and Sierra Leonean). The goal was to gather information about the culturally specific needs and communications practices of these communities to inform policies, practices, and communications related to public health emergencies. Wilder Research interviewed 25 professionals and community leaders who work with immigrants...
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​Hello Fellows: Meet Damon Shoholm
Wilder employees have the opportunity to apply for Kingston Fellowships, an honor awarded annually based on accomplishments, commitment to human services and leadership potential.In March 2017, Wilder awarded fellowships to six employees spanning a variety of professional backgrounds. The fellowships help these professionals to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and develop innovative programs to address community concerns. In “Hello, Fellows,” we introduce the most recent cohort of Kingston Fellows. This week, we catch up with Damon Shoholm. What is your role at Wilder? I’m a director of Leadership Programs at Wilder. I work in concert with Nou Yang of the Youth Leadership Initiative to administratively and programmatically shape the suite of leadership programs that Wilder offers to a greater community. Tell us about your background. Before coming to Wilder, my...
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Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County: Research as a Tool for Planning and Partnership
A group of six sits around a table having a discussion.Most researchers and evaluators do the work they do hoping it will be used to improve the lives of others and not end up sitting on a shelf. So I was thrilled when Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County (CAP-HC) said they wanted to host a series of community forums to share results of the recent community needs assessment they contracted Wilder Research to conduct. Needs assessment will inform work in expanded service area At the direction of Governor Dayton, Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County (CAP-HC) grew out of the organization formerly known as Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin County (CAPSH) to serve Minneapolis in addition to suburban Hennepin County.   Community Action Partnership agencies are federally mandated to conduct a community needs assessment every...
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Hello, Fellows: Meet MK Nguyen
Wilder employees have the opportunity to apply for Kingston Fellowships, an honor awarded annually based on accomplishments, commitment to human services and leadership potential. In March 2016, Wilder awarded fellowships to 11 employees spanning a variety of professional backgrounds. The fellowships help these professionals to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and develop innovative programs to address community concerns. In “Hello, Fellows,” we introduce the most recent cohort of Kingston Fellows. This week, we catch up with MK Nguyen. What is your role at Wilder? I am a program manager in the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood (SPPN). I help people understand why culturally responsive opportunities matter in a young people's success in school and life. My role is to support participation of parents and partners to advance in...
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Hello, Fellows: Meet Chong Lee
​Wilder employees have the opportunity to apply for Kingston Fellowships, an honor awarded annually based on accomplishments, commitment to human services and leadership potential. In March 2016, Wilder awarded fellowships to 11 employees spanning a variety of professional backgrounds. The fellowships help these professionals to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and develop innovative programs to address community concerns. In “Hello, Fellows,” we introduce the 2016 Kingston Fellows. This week, we catch up with Chong Lee. What is your role at Wilder? I’m a program manager for the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. I manage our partnerships. I manage contract agreements and provide logistical supports to partner programs. One of the roles that the Promise Neighborhood plays in all of our partnerships is support for infrastructure and capacity building....
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Immigration, Communities, Foundations
All communities experience immigration. No question whether it will occur, just when and how much. Some of us arrived as immigrants ourselves to a new nation; the rest of us descended from ancestors who came from somewhere else, to settle in a land still pristine or already inhabited. Political events, economics, wars, environmental changes, and other events cause people to move, voluntarily and involuntarily. Worldwide trends suggest that immigration will continue on a major scale, with implications for nations and for their constituent regions and communities. Since 1990, the immigrant population in the United States has doubled; in Minnesota during that same period, the immigrant population quadrupled. Speaking for Ourselves Study Using newly gathered information from the Wilder Research “Speaking for Ourselves” study, in combination with data from...
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Senseless Killing, but Hope Exists
Wilder Research Executive Director Paul Mattessich​Philando Castile, driving with two passengers, including a four-year-old child, is shot during a police traffic stop. He dies. It’s senseless.What can we do about this? How can we prevent it from happening again?In 2013, when police in the United States committed 461 “justifiable homicides,” police officers in England and Wales killed exactly zero people. Do we in the United States have violent tendencies so much worse than residents of England, so that shooting us becomes necessary in order to maintain the peace? In the Falcon Heights, Minnesota incident, the police officer seems like an upstanding community member, dedicated to helping others. He likely did not go to work expecting or intending to kill someone. Did sufficient information exist in that officer’s mind to justify a...
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The Wolves Den: New Nonprofit Boosts Chances for Success
Ann Haines and Keyondra Yarbrough, The Wolves Den co-foundersI was told that starting a nonprofit organization is not an easy or straight-forward task. Now I’m learning that first-hand. Together with Keyondra Yarbrough, I am in the process of starting The Wolves Den, a culturally based group residential housing program for American Indian women receiving methadone treatment for opiate addiction. The Wolves Den just received nonprofit status and we’re working toward obtaining a group residential housing contract. We are also working with Wilder Research to develop a theory of change. Photo: Ann Haines (left) with The Wolves Den co-founder Keyondra Yarbrough. A theory of change is a tool used by organizations, evaluators, funders, and others to map the activities of an organization or program and its expected outcomes, as well as the underlying assumptions...
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​Immigrants Speak Out, Organizations Respond
Speaking for OurselvesMinnesota’s late Senator Paul Wellstone used to say, “We all do better when we all do better!” Here at Wilder Research we work to ensure that “we all do better” by conducting research to better understand how to promote equity and well-being for all people. I recently was part of the research team to learn more about the growing and diverse immigrant and refugee communities living in the Twin Cities. The study, Speaking for Ourselves, asks five different immigrant communities in the Twin Cities what issues are important to them. Wilder Research held an Action Summit in April 2016 with the goal of sharing innovative strategies to address the issues participants identified in the study. Panelists from organizations and government agencies shared their work related...
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Characteristics of Community Innovation
Community innovation: A breakthrough in addressing a community need that is more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches.​The word “innovation” is everywhere. Recently, the term’s omnipresence has extended to the nonprofit and public sectors. The question is: What does innovation look like when it takes place in a community, among neighbors, schools, organizations, local and regional governments, and businesses? We recently completed a study with the Bush Foundation that begins to answer this question. The purpose of this study, called Characteristics of Community Innovation, was to learn from organizations that have been recognized with the Bush Prize for Community Innovation, an annual award from the Bush Foundation that honors and supports organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. The Bush Foundation defines a community innovation as a breakthrough solution to a community problem that is more equitable, effective, or...
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