Over the past 16 years, EMERGE has grown deep roots in North Minneapolis and Cedar-Riverside neighborhoods. Our neighborhoods are rich in human power, diversity, and culture, but also impacted by long-term racial and economic disparities. Our model has developed and evolved over time, but our vision, commitment and focus has remained the same. We continue to partner with people to help them find meaningful employment and careers, gain skills through career training pathways, endorse financial literacy and work with youth to promote positivity and to begin their workforce journey.
Everything we do is to facilitate life change for individuals and communities experiencing racial and economic disparities. Economic advancement is a central source of many other intersectional barriers facing our community, so we focus our effort around economic opportunity, advancement, and stability which delivers a noticeable impact to our broader community.
Our mission, vision, and values
Our mission is to reveal the potential in people and communities through skill-building, employment, and economic opportunity.
Our vision is to amplify the power of community to realize racial equity and economic prosperity.
We unequivocally value equity, innovation, collaboration, responsiveness, and community.
Take a scroll though our timeline
LAUNCHED AS NEW UNITY INC.
EMERGE was established as a division of Pillsbury United Communities, titled New Unity Inc., focused on workforce and economic development. We experimented with many projects during our early days, such as: multiple social enterprises, a housing program, and
Collaborative Village Initiative was a highly innovative, supportive housing program. It was one of the first known projects of its type in the nation. It was built on a harm-reduction model with high-risk families. We sought to address challenges with a community approach 100% of the families housed for the first two years. EMERGE co-led the project until 2011.
CO-DEVELOPED 1101 W BROADWAY
We launched the first EMERGE headquarters with development partners restoring the 1890 storefront building. Together, we repositioned the building as a vibrant business center on the W. Broadway corridor with EMERGE’s programs acting as a building anchor.
EMERGE’S SPIN-OFF & INDEPENDENCE
With the leadership of our current President & CEO Mike Wynne, EMERGE spun off into its own independent nonprofit. We established 1101 W Broadway as our first headquarters and base of work.
Camden Apartments opened as an innovative, supportive housing option serving homeless custodial fathers and their families. Governor Tim Pawlenty attended the grand opening ceremony.
RENEWING THE OLDEST LIBRARY
With a vision to bring technology access and skills to the North Minneapolis neighborhood, we acquired the former North Branch Library. Built in 1893 and on the National Register of Historic Places, it is the oldest standing library building in Minnesota. The redevelopment process began.
NORTH 4 CREATED
EMERGE was selected to pilot the North 4 program to address the rising crime and violence by targeting gang and clique involved young men in the four neighborhoods experiencing the most violence: Jordan, Hawthorne, McKinley, and Folwell. Since its inception, North 4 has changed the lives of hundreds of young men and is still going strong.
EMERGE CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER OPENS
A successful $6.2m campaign led to renovations of the North Branch Library. The EMERGE Career and Technology Center (ECTC) opened to serve the neighborhood.
ACQUIRED SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
We merged to join forces with Momentum Enterprises, a long-standing Twin Cities social enterprise that founded Second Chance Recycling and Furnish Office & Home.
OUR WORK REWARDED
2014 – 2016
We were honored to receive the following awards:
2014 – Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit of the Year
2015 – Bank of America Neighborhood Builder Award
2016 – Bush Prize for Community Innovation
CEDAR-RIVERSIDE OPPORTUNITY CENTER
We opened the Cedar-Riverside Opportunity Center in partnership with the city, county, local colleges, and other partners. The center is a unique, one-stop-shop for addressing employment and education issues, tailored to the needs of the community with a focus on youth.
NIELSEN METAL MANUFACTURING
Nielsen Metal Manufacturing was brought into the fold as our third social enterprise business to address the gap in welders in Minnesota. Nielsen provided re-entry friendly job opportunities for EMERGE participants, until 2023.
REACHED 500,000TH MATTRESS RECYCLED
Second Chance Recycling recycled its 500,000th mattress on November 6th which is enough mattresses to cover the area of MSP airport over 23 times! We’ve kept over 1.9 million pounds of waste out of landfills.
2020 – 2021
In the absence of face-to-face services, EMERGE developed new online tools and virtual services. With our partners, we distributed hundreds of computers and tablets and helped neighborhood members connect through low-cost internet services. A youth-led food distribution program responded to increased hunger in the neighborhoods.
OUR STORY CONTINUES
We were honored to be recognized as “City of Minneapolis Partner of the Year for Manufacturing Training” at the beginning of 2023.