Because parks play a special role in people’s quality of life, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has a responsibility to strive for racial equity. As a proud member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), we are participating in local and national movements to advance opportunities for all, in the park system and in our organization. We are having conversations about race and putting new behaviors and policies into practice. We are committed to working with communities, the City of Minneapolis and other government agencies to eliminate inequities between white people and people of color — and increase everyone’s ability to succeed.

Fact Check

NAACP

In 2011-12, MPRB leadership worked closely with former Minneapolis NAACP President Booker T. Hodges during an investigation that was resolved as a result of an extensive and extraordinary review of past disciplines, staffing changes, and changes in organizational training and practices. That investigation was re-opened in 2016 by new NAACP leadership and St. Thomas University’s Community Justice Project, whose members also raised their concerns during City Council meetings.

For more background, read the correspondences [PDF] among these parties between February and May 2016.

In late 2016, and again in 2017, Park Board met with current NAACP leadership to discuss their concerns and demands. On March 17, they issued a statement, read our response below:

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Response to March 17 Statement


Superintendent Board Meeting Statements

MPRB meeting rules (see Procedures, Section 1.G.1.1.4) prohibit debate during Open Time public testimony, so commissioners and staff cannot respond to the concerns raised. However, Superintendent Jayne Miller often makes a short statement responding to some of the comments made during previous meeting Open Times, and also shares information about what the Park Board is doing to engage and involve the communities we serve.

Board Meeting Statements

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Statement on May 3, 2017


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Statement on March 15, 2017


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Statement on March 8, 2017


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Statement on November 30, 2016


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Statement on November 2, 2106


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Statement on September 21, 2016


Concerns Raised at 2016 Board Meetings

Since May 2016, community members have attended Board meetings to comment during Open Time about their concerns of racism and inequities in the park system and Park Board workforce. A meeting rule (see Procedures, Section 1.G.1.1.4) prohibits debate during Open Time public testimony, so commissioners and staff cannot respond to the concerns raised. However, the MPRB takes them seriously and has followed up on specific issues. Click on each topic below for more information.

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Open Time at September 7, 2016 Board Meeting


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Farview Summer Camp and Scholarship Fees


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Webber Pool Closures


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Trash Truck Usage


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Latino Cultural Awareness Training


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Consultant Hiring


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Holiday Work Detail & Hiring


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Wasteful Spending


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Meeting Requests


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Wirth Golf Course Termination


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Public Speaking Allotment


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Holiday Pay Differences


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Family Medical Leave Reaction


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Permanent Employee Licensure


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Farview Park Lighting


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Support for Northside Youth Athletics


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Certification of Seasonal Employees


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Program funding at Phillips Community Center


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Civil Service Hiring Process


Workforce

Since 2011, the MPRB has initiated a range of measures to assess, address and build racial equity within our workforce while improving diversity, cultural awareness and inclusion. Because change on a system-wide scale takes time, we continue to proactively examine how we assess and measure our improvements. For instance, among our full-time workforce, the percentage of non-white and multiracial staff grew to 24.79% in March 2016, from 20.49% in January 2011. Meanwhile, a 2015 Culture and Climate Assessment Report showed progress in many areas and noted others that need attention, including: communications around change, performance evaluation, recognition of employees and training and development for managers and supervisors. Currently, key efforts with respect to inclusion, diversity, equity and access planning, training and implementation include:

  • Participation in the Government Alliance for Racial Equity and its Advancing Racial Equity MN Cohort
  • Expansion of internal training opportunities
  • Continued incorporation of racial equity tool use in MPRB’s policy, planning, program and budget decisions
  • Development of a Racial Equity Action Plan for 2017-2018
  • Training in implicit bias for all staff involved in the hiring process
  • Bias training for all Minneapolis Park Police officers, offered by the League of MN Cities

Workforce Diversity Cultural Awareness of Racial Equity Actions/Initiatives [PDF]

Summary of MPRB Workforce- Appointed and Full-Time Certified Employees[PDF]

Park Investments

Racial equity is a key component of two major initiatives, approved in 2015 and 2016, that address the diverse and changing needs of communities in neighborhood parks and recreation centers as well as MPRB programs and services. View the 2016 Equity Ordinance on using racial and economic equity criteria to prioritize park projects.

The 20 Year Neighborhood Parks Plan (NPP20)

NPP20 uses objective, data-driven racial and economic equity criteria to prioritize rehabilitation and capital improvements in neighborhood parks through 2036, and to raise maintenance standards throughout the system. This historic agreement with the City of Minneapolis reverses decades of chronic underfunding of neighborhood parks, by allocating $11 million dollars (USD) annually, for twenty years. To learn more, visit the Project Page.

RecQuest

This plan for the next generation of recreation centers in Minneapolis includes a comprehensive assessment of MPRB’s 49 centers and their program needs. Demographics within the City of Minneapolis are changing rapidly, which makes it more important than ever to ensure that we are meeting the needs of its diverse stakeholders. To learn more, visit the Project Page.

Park Investments 2010-2014

Since adoption of its 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan, the MPRB has made significant investments in North, Northeast/Southeast, and South Minneapolis.

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North Service Area


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Northeast/Southeast Service Area


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South Service Area


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Southwest Service Area


Community Outreach

The Community Outreach Department was established in 2011 to embody and reflect our commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. It leads organizational efforts to connect the Park Board to underserved communities, anticipate and thoughtfully respond to their needs and continually seek ways to better deliver park and recreation services. Its work includes:

  • Building relationships with underserved communities and serving as the bridge for the organization to provide equitable access to and use of parks, programs, opportunities, and information
  • Supporting MPRB’s efforts to recruit a workforce that reflects the racially and ethnically diverse communities it serves
  • Supporting data-driven decision-making around engaging and serving diverse communities throughout the organization
  • Producing and supporting community events that connect people across cultures to the parks and each other

Community Outreach actions and initiatives include:

  • Community Coordinators who engage specific underserved communities in the North, Northeast/Southeast, South and Southwest Service Areas
  • Cultural competency training for MPRB staff
  • The Bilingual Information Ambassador program, developed in collaboration with the Customer Service department, includes Spanish- and Somali-speaking customer service staff who conduct outreach at park and nonpark events and provide customer service by phone and email
  • Leading the application of the Racial Equity Toolkit in planning projects and policy development, including Bossen Field Master Plan, South Service Area Master Plan, RecQuest
  • Development of a Racial Equity Action Plan for the MPRB

Additional Reading:

History

Since 2011 the MPRB has initiated a range of efforts to improve diversity and inclusion and to integrate racial equity into all aspects of our work. We recognize that system-wide change takes time, both within the Minneapolis park system and our workforce, so our efforts are ongoing, and we take proactive measures to examine, assess and measure them. The timeline below shows a number of actions, initiatives and milestones regarding our efforts in these areas, while highlights are featured in our Diversity, Inclusions, and Racial Equity PDF.

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2016


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2015


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2014


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2013


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2012


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2011