Building Community in Minneapolis with East Side Neighborhood Services


​In the 13 years that Jazmin Danielson, youth department director, has been with East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, funding has really changed. But need hasn’t. “Funders like the Opus Foundation® are really important,” Danielson said. “It’s really important to have their assistance for smaller projects.”

East Side Neighborhood Services has been supporting the east side of Minneapolis since 1915. They are the largest nonprofit serving the area, and they provide services to individuals six months to senior citizens. The Opus Foundation recently granted East Side with $40,000 to help them enhance and expand learning opportunities in out-of-school-time programming for youth living in southeast Minneapolis.

All of the youth programs at East Side have three main components:

  1. increase academics in core areas,
  2. increase school connectedness to make the experience more positive and successful and
  3. increase 21st century skills, including writing, public speaking, research and leadership.

They offer youth programs in five different schools and three community-based sites, a summer camp program in Wisconsin and teen employment program.

Specifically, this grant will assist East Side in providing services to youth in the area in a couple different ways. “Technology is always an area we need support in,” Danielson said. “A lot of the kids we serve don’t have a computer at home.” Some of the funds will be used to purchase new laptops for students to use during program hours.  The laptops will allow more students to participate in an intensive web-based assessment and learning system that has proven results in increasing reading and math competencies.

The college-readiness and work-readiness programs will be supported through this grant as well.  With the funds, East Side will be able to hire consultants and specialists to develop more in-depth curriculums around real-world skills such as budgeting, career exploration, goals setting, public speaking, SAT/ACT prep and college visits.

In partnership with the University of Minnesota, we identified East Side Neighborhood Services as a quality nonprofit organization directly serving neighborhoods near recent projects. Supporting the communities where we live and work and continuing our commitment to youth development are integral parts of Opus and the Opus Foundation.

Read about more Opus Foundation grants to recipients such as Big Shoulders Fund, the Special Olympics MN and NAIOP Indiana's University Challenge.

The Opus Foundation is building community for a better tomorrow by supporting projects and programs that make our communities better places to live, work and raise families through grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of early childhood education, youth development, workforce development, community revitalization and pressing/emerging needs. Read more about the Foundation's work.