It’s that time of year where we all look back at what we’ve done and get excited about new beginnings. It’s one of my favorite times of year. When people ask me what I do, and I say I work for a neighborhood association, they always ask what that means. I’m here to reflect on the previous year, give a little insight into what Nokomis East Neighborhood Association does, and tell you about what we are looking forward to in the next year.
For starters, a neighborhood association is a nonprofit focused on creating community. We are a small team of 2.5 people (I work part-time), and we work in the Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park, and Wenonah neighborhoods. We do whatever we can to help foster community, help local businesses, connect and raise awareness about nonprofits, and see how we can get local government to help our community.
So… what have we done in the past year? I’m glad you asked.
We kicked off the year with State of Our Neighborhood, something we host each year in January/February. Our neighborhood's school and park board representatives, council members, and county commissioner got together and spoke to members of our community over Zoom to answer any questions and hear about any concerns our neighborhood has. Last year, 60 plus neighbors came to speak about local issues, and learned about the involvement of each member. It was amazing to be able to make local politics even more accessible to our neighbors.
We held two food truck rallies and a neighborhood cleanup. Dozens of members of our community came together to clean up trash around the neighborhood, enjoy local food trucks and celebrate our amazing neighborhood.
We hired a new community organizer, who got straight to work door knocking and meeting with neighborhood members to help connect locals and spread the word of what we do. Along with that, we gave out eight $500 curb appeal grants to help people fix the areas around their homes and improve their home security.
We held our fourth annual kickball tournament where six teams fought for Nokomis East’s prize for the best kickball team.
As it got cold, we held our first Dog Days of Nokomis. Sixty-four puppies vied for the spot of cutest dog in 2023. Our winner, Cedar, got over 150 votes!
We then had our annual community-wide garage sale. Forty homes placed themselves on our virtual map for neighbors to shop and donate money to both our rent support fund and funds of the home owner’s choice.
We worked with the Minneapolis Parks Department to organize and put on the 15th annual Monarch Festival. Ten thousand people from around the city came to see five different bands/performers, sample from 13 food vendors, and connect with 30 different vendors, artists, and local non-profits.
We partnered with our neighbors at Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, and raised nearly $8,000 in rent support to help our neighbors afford their homes. The fundraising continues; you can learn more here: www.nokomiseast.org/renter-support-fund
We continued our support for the Nokomis East Food Distribution, which gave out 20 tons (40,000 pounds) of food in the last year and consistently had 20 volunteers every week, giving a total of 50+ hours weekly of volunteer time.
We also continued to support our neighborhood’s gardens: our Giving Garden, the Gateway Garden, and the Nokomis Naturescape. The Giving Garden gave a record breaking 1,090.5 pounds of food this year to people in need!
Want to learn more about our community? Come to our State of Our Neighborhood! It’s held on Zoom, in January/early February – look for the date coming up on our socials or website.
I hope you are as excited as I am about everything NENA has been doing in the past year. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings.
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