Minnesota business leaders honor Northside Achievement Zone for closing student achievement gaps

Minneapolis – The Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP) will present its 2015 Minnesota’s Future Award tonight to the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) for its success in helping to close student achievement gaps in North Minneapolis.

NAZ is a community-wide partnership involving more than 30 organizations and 10 schools in north Minneapolis that have aligned to support 2,500 children prepare for college. NAZ not only supports children to succeed in school, they also provide each family with a coach to help overcome barriers in housing, health care and employment—so children can focus on their education. NAZ is serving as a national model to permanently close the academic achievement gap, and is being replicated in communities across the country. NAZ’s youngest participants are the college class of 2038, and they represent Minnesota’s future business leaders.

NAZ will be honored before nearly 1,000 business, civic, and political leaders at the Minnesota Business Partnership’s Annual Dinner at the Minneapolis Convention Center. NAZ President and CEO Sondra Samuels will also deliver brief remarks.

“Minnesota’s large and persistent achievement gaps threaten our state’s future economy, workforce, and quality of life,” said Charlie Weaver, Executive Director of the Minnesota Business Partnership. “NAZ is demonstrating the importance of believing that all students can and will succeed. Their innovative, collaborative and data-driven approach is driving student success on the Northside.”

“Our state is known across the country for innovation. It’s gratifying to see visionary business leaders promoting this same level of problem solving on behalf of low-income children of color, who face egregious disparities,” said Sondra Samuels, President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone. “Minnesota once more has an opportunity to lead the nation and create the world’s best workforce.”

A recent Wilder Research study projects a societal gain of $6.12 for every dollar invested in NAZ. Key factors driving the projected rate of return include increased lifetime earnings from higher educational attainment, improved health, reduced mortality, and increased tax revenues, in addition to savings to the justice system, the K-12 education system, and the public assistance and child welfare systems. The results of the Wilder study underscore how Minnesota’s achievement gap impacts the economic vitality of the region.

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About MBP

The Minnesota Business Partnership is composed of more than 100 men and women representing a broad range of business interests, political perspectives and personal philosophies. As chief executives of Minnesota’s largest employers, however, they are united by the Partnership’s mission: Maintain a high quality of life for all Minnesotans by ensuring that the state’s economy remains strong, globally competitive, and its prospects for growth bright.


About NAZ

NAZ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a collaboration of 43 organizations and schools dedicated to closing the academic achievement gap. Together they are working with 870 north Minneapolis families with 1,870 children as they lift themselves out of mutigenerational poverty, using education as a lever. NAZ is working to enroll a total of 1,000 families with 2,500 children in the next year.