MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) today announced the conclusion of its four-year NAZ Is Working investment campaign which raised more than $35 million from corporations, foundations, and individuals, including a recent commitment of $5 million from the Medtronic Foundation. NAZ, whose mission is to end generational poverty and build a culture of achievement in North Minneapolis where all children of color are healthy, secure, and academically successful, is hosting a private virtual event today to honor those who worked on this campaign and to celebrate the more than 90 donors who contributed to its success.
In addition, NAZ is launching a year-long, community-based campaign, NAZ Now: Claiming Our Future, to raise $5 million through multi-year major gifts from individuals. Through this effort NAZ is seeking to attract 500 new donors to ensure the organization's long-term sustainability and impact.
"I am so grateful to the volunteers and donors who have contributed their time and financial support to our NAZ Is Working campaign," said Sondra Samuels, President and CEO of NAZ. "Their significant investment in Northside scholars and families is having a measurable impact on thousands of individual lives and driving change in our community."
Resources from the NAZ is Working investment campaign will help NAZ:
- Sustain and scale the results being realized by Northside families and children through an initial 2011 five-year Federal Promise Neighborhood Grant.
- Provide a continuum of support for Northside children from pre-natal to college and career readiness.
- Engage NAZ Family Achievement Coaches to work directly with families and schools, as they prepare their scholars for college and beyond.
- Expand Family Academy classes that empower parents to support the stages of their scholars' development.
- Maintain and grow existing family supports in housing, behavioral health and wellness, career, and finance through partner organizations and community experts.
- Advocate for family- and children-friendly policies that will enable them to break the cycle of poverty and disenfranchisement.
- Extend the opportunities provided by NAZ and its collaborating partners to nearly 2,000 families and 3,000 children.
According to Art Rolnick, University of Minnesota economics professor and NAZ board member who has conducted extensive research on the economics of early childhood education, investments in high-quality educational programs for children, beginning at birth and including parental support, have been proven to deliver a very high public return. "Research has demonstrated that if we do a better job preparing a child for school, that child is going to perform much better throughout his or her entire life," he said. "We are seeing this strong return on investment through the work and results of the Northside Achievement Zone."
NAZ has built one of the most comprehensive solutions in the country to close the opportunity gap in education, through a collaboration of more than 30 organizations and schools. Scholars with longer participation in NAZ academic strategies have higher rates of proficiency in both reading and math. For example,
- Scholars who participated in two or three NAZ strategies had more than twice the rate of math proficiency as those who only participated in one;
- NAZ scholars who attended early childhood learning centers and continue to partner with NAZ perform better in 3rd grade reading.
Yet, Minnesota continues to have among the largest gaps in the nation - by race and socioeconomic status - on measures of standardized test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness.
"The need on the Northside is urgent – elevated by the impact of the pandemic and the growing commitment to achieve racial equity and justice in our community," Samuels said. "While NAZ has demonstrated that our focus on education and whole-family support creates real opportunities for children and families of color in North Minneapolis, ensuring a brighter future for all of us demands that we do more."
NAZ Now: Claiming our Future will build on the success of NAZ is Working with a focus on broadening the organization's base of support with individual donors who share the vision of a prosperous North Minneapolis. Contributions to NAZ Now will help NAZ ensure that families on the Northside have the support needed to succeed – in school and in life.
"We are at a critical inflection point," added Samuels. "Now is the time to secure our future and help families, scholars, and Minnesota thrive. Through the continued generosity of community members who share our vision, we will be able to sustain and scale our results."
About Northside Achievement Zone
The Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) has a bold mission: to end multi-generational poverty in North Minneapolis by building a culture of achievement where all low-income children of color graduate high school, college and career-ready. NAZ was launched in 2008 when a group of multi-sector Northside leaders and neighbors decided once and for all to work together as one system of support for low-income families of color so they could lift themselves out of poverty and put their children on a path to college/career. Today, NAZ is the "backbone" of an ecosystem of 30+ neighborhood schools and nonprofit partners that provide a continuum of cradle-to-career whole family support for more than 1,000 families and 2,000 children. NAZ serves the North Minneapolis community as an engine of hope, opportunity, and change in the most challenged of neighborhoods, working intentionally to move Minnesota from worst to first in eradicating opportunity gaps. Learn more at https://northsideachievement.org.
SOURCE Northside Achievement Zone