Welcoming Community Logo

This program seeks to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds in a spirit of humility and curiosity to explore intercultural differences and find ways to adapt to the challenges that can emerge from them. Inclusiveness is central to a Welcoming Community and programming focuses on bringing together people from different backgrounds to help build mutual intercultural understanding. This programming lays the long-term foundation to create ladders of opportunities and eliminate systemic barriers for people of diverse backgrounds, many of whom face significant disparities in northeast Minnesota.



To increase belonging of underrepresented community members and trust between people from different backgrounds and lived experiences in Northeast Minnesota.


Our Welcoming Community programming builds conditions to address systemic barriers and create a genuine sense of belonging for all in northeast Minnesota. We build relationships through open dialogue and self-disclosure to ensure all stories are illuminated and heard. Through authenticity and trust, we unite to build a central hub and space for holding and healing that reflects our strengths, fosters understanding, and creates an enduring support network across the region.

Our Advisory Committee is representative, catalytic, and data driven.

  • REPRESENTATIVE – We strive to be reflective of the diversity of different cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, faiths, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, and communities across all seven counties of northeast Minnesota. We bring our whole selves to discussions and are willing to have challenging conversations to ensure all viewpoints are at the table.
  • CATALYTIC – We provide a space for the impetus to create sustainable change. We maintain a big picture focus and take action to help our communities move the vision toward reality.
  • DATA DRIVEN – We carefully study our communities to understand their realities and look to proven methods to guide the initiative. We establish clear baselines, measure our efforts against them, and make decisions accordingly.

Four Programming Strategies for 2022-2023

1. Building Community Leadership Capacity

    • Learning Cohorts launched in rural areas of NE MN
    • Entrepreneurial Leadership Programming
    • Welcoming Community Advisory Committee (AC)
    • IDI Offerings
    • Uniting for Democracy in the Northland program

2. Creating Partnerships to Broaden Community Participation

    • Duluth Lyceums
    • NORTHFORCE Student Programming
    • Annual Northeast Minnesota Equity Summit

3. Connecting People and Resources

    • Monthly communications to individuals interested in DEI across the region
    • Compilation of resource lists to connect needs to solutions 
    • Finalization and launch of Northspan’s Welcoming Community webpage

4. Identifying Gaps to Increase Broadband Access

    • Mapping and Sharing
    • Support or initiate a broadband centered project based on data gathered

We Offer the Intercultural Development Inventory® Free for Qualifying Individuals

Northspan’s Welcoming Community programming is offering the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI) for free to qualifying individuals living or working in rural areas in the seven counties of northeast Minnesota.


We encourage the IDI for community leaders in the following sectors:

  • governments
  • quasi-governmental community groups
  • housing redevelopment authorities
  • economic development authorities

Northspan's goal in making the IDI available to individuals and organizations across northeast Minnesota is to elevate our rural community leaders' intercultural fluency. Learn more here. Sign Up for your Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®) assessment today! (google.com)

Want to connect with welcoming work services providers and contractors?

Check out options here: Grow and Learn Here - Be North

AND check out all the regional organizations engaged in welcoming work here: Connect Here - Be North

Learn More from Our Blog Posts and Newsletter Articles