Welcoming Community Program Update 2022

Over the past twelve months, the Welcoming Community program leveraged a variety of different approaches to bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds in an effort to build intercultural understanding and forge a more inclusive future for northeast Minnesota.  

As program coordinator, Lead for Minnesota/Americorps Fellow Amber Lewis led a 31-person advisory committee with over 50% representation from underrepresented communities to steer the program.  

The program was also supported by Olivia Niska as part of a three-month Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Intern internship which involved an in-depth research project. 

Here are some more highlights from 2022:

  • Hosted the second annual Equity Summit, “Belonging in Northeast Minnesota,” which took place in November and drew over 100 in-person attendees (a panel presentation from the summit is pictured above)
  • Provided free administration of the Intercultural Development Inventory for individuals and organizations across northeast Minnesota (60 complete with an additional 16 in progress)  
  • Facilitated Inclusion Learning Cohorts in Cloquet School District and the Cook County School District—a year-long facilitated process to measure and improve inclusiveness 
  • Organized and hosted Duluth Lyceum, a monthly community learning and social forum at Bent Paddle in Duluth  (pictured below)
  • Collaborated with Urban Rural Action to orchestrate Uniting for Democracy in the Northland, a nonpartisan program dedicated to broadening civic participation 

The program also launched a monthly newsletter and blog series. You can sign up for the newsletter, and browse past newsletters here:  

You can learn more and get involved with the Welcoming Community program here, or contact Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org for more info.