Community Equity Program

Amherst H Wilder Foundation, Community Leadership Programs, Community Equity Pipeline, Public Policy, MN State Capitol, Minnesota Government, MN Legislature
A public policy leadership experience #CommunitytoCapitol

The Community Equity Program supports Indigenous, Black and People of Color (BIPOC/IBPOC) to influence and enact public policy at Minnesota's Capitol. Formerly known as Community Equity Pipeline, this Wilder Foundation community leadership program builds their power, skills and experience to become more actively engaged in and impact public policy decision making for their communities.


About Community Equity Program

The Community Equity Program (CEP) is an immersive leadership program that brings together up to 20 Indigenous, Black and People of Color who currently serve as community and nonprofit leaders to build an even more powerful and influential voice in public policy decision making in order to drive social change and transform lives in Minnesota. 

Community Equity Program's mission is to deepen engagement of BIPOC communities in the legislative process by building connections to people, communities, groups, and organizations that influence or enact public policy.

Program Length

9 months (September - May) & Graduation (June)

Program Format

  • Four hour cohort sessions every two weeks focused on legislative knowledge, advocacy skills, racial equity, and building a cohort learning community
  • Four hours per week engaging in legislative activities with coalitions and Partner Advocates
  • CEP follows a cohort model which includes up to 20 participants per cycle

Participant Requirements

  • Identify as a Black, Indigenous or Person of Color
  • Demonstrate clear connection to and involvement with BIPOC communities
  • Interests in building power for and with BIPOC communities
  • Committed to attending scheduled cohort meetings and coalition activities during the extent of the program

I always felt like my life was shaped and determined by decision makers. Being in this program has allowed me to step up and be part of the decision-making.


Phillipe Cunningham, 2015 CEP Alum

Apply to the Community Equity Program

No longer accepting applications for the 2019-2020 CEP Cohort!

  • Applicants who have applied to join the 2019-2020 CEP Cohort will be notified by July 31, 2019.
  • Program runs September 2019 - May 2020, see the 2019-2020 Schedule.
  • Questions? Contact Octavia Smith or Dominic McQuerry at or call 651-280-2417.

2019-2020 Community Equity Program Schedule

Community Equity Program sessions mainly take place on Fridays from 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. at either the Wilder Center (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation) or the Minnesota State Capitol Complex. Program starts with an orientation and retreat on September 6, 2019 and ends with graduation on June 3, 2020.

Meet the Changemakers of the Community Equity Program

Welcome Changemakers, from the community to the capitol!

Get to know the 2018-2019 CEP cohort who just graduated. 
Find out who they are, what they are invested in and why they joined CEP.

diverse public policy leaders, POCI leaders, people of color at the state capitol

2018-2019 CEP Cohort (from left to right): Cherita Tenhoff, Ricardo Caballero Perez Gonzalez,Tonja Honsey, Comfort Dondo, Bukola Oriola, Fatu Magassouba, Linda Garett-Johnson, Maya Washington-Zeigler, Maria Isa Perez Hedges, Aarica Coleman, Jokho Farah, Biiftuu Ibrahim Adam, Estefania Navarro Hernandez, Rico Durán, Samantha Sencer-Mura, Erica Valliant and Abiola Abu-Bakr (not pictured) 

Stories, Research & Impact

Linda Garrett-Johnson, a graduate of Wilder's Community Equity Program

Community Equity Program Gives Experienced Leader Linda Garrett-Johnson a Deeper Understanding of the Legislative Process

With more than 25 years of experience advocating for public policy changes, Linda Garrett-Johnson knows how to read a bill. Even with her experience, Wilder’s Community Equity Program helped Linda deepen her knowledge of the Minnesota le...More about this story »

Meet the Community Equity Program Team

Coulette Columbus-Powers

Administrative Specialist, Community Leadership Programs

Libby Freis

Senior Administrative Support, Wilder Community Leadership Programs

Miah Ulysse

Senior Program Associate, Community Equity Program