Grants:Project/Minnesota's Diverse Communities

Minnesota's Diverse Communities
summaryMinnesota’s Diverse Communities aims to foster a much-needed statewide conversation about the state’s rapidly changing demographics by lifting up the voices of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups throughout the state, helping Minnesotans to learn from one another and build understanding and empathy. Through this project our goal is for people and groups to connect across the divisions of race, religion, culture and neighborhoods. These connections, where diversity and division are overcome for the common good of the community, generate the active work of strengthening democracy.
targetThe APM Research Lab and MPR, like all public media franchises, are committed to information access and would be proud to partner with Wikimedia Foundation in the effort of accessible, important and reliable information. As part of a media organization, APM Research Lab is able to distribute information to a dedicated public media audience base. Through Wikimedia, we are excited to go beyond this audience base to engage with communities around the world that are likely not familiar with our work. MPR hopes the MN Diverse Communities project will spur conversation and broaden perspectives around the globe.
type of grantresearch
amount100,000.00 USD
type of applicantorganization
created on21:37, 29 January 2020 (UTC)

Project ideaEdit

What is the problem you're trying to solve?Edit

What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
While Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) knows that divisions among different races and ethnicities is not an easily-solvable issue, MPR is aware of the platform we can provide to help bring these issues to the community level to foster greater levels of awareness, perspective sharing through conversation and change among Minnesotans. MPR's goal is to create conversation and empathy through connection, and by the end of the project, we hope the issue of the lack of community conversation around diversity and division will be resolved bringing greater demand for advance in solutions.

What is your solution?Edit

For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
Minnesota’s Diverse Communities puts the hopes and concerns of communities across the state at the center. Through community listening sessions and a statewide survey, we want to understand what’s important to Minnesotans of various ethnicities, races and backgrounds and explore the commonalities and differences of people of diverse communities living in different parts of the state. The community listening sessions, survey analysis and key findings will be the basis for a series of MPR News reports, live talk show topics, conversations and events. Through this project we will encourage audience members and event participants to listen, to learn and to build a better understanding of our “neighbors” from all over Minnesota. Inspired by the recent Truth and Transformation: Changing Racial Narratives in Media Conference, coupled with the success of a previous similar statewide project, Ground Level, APM Research Lab and MPR News will build civic awareness and understanding by sharing stories of people from a variety of communities across the state.

MPR has always been a strong partner and has a long history of collaboration, convenings and community engagement. The recent Truth and Transformation: Changing Racial Narratives in Media Conference served as a relaunching point for MPR to better listen and serve our communities.

In partnership with KMOJ 89.9 FM, the Minnesota Humanities Center, North News & KRSM Radio 98.9 LPFM, Hamline University and ThreeSixty Journalism at the University of St. Thomas and generous funding from Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations, Minnesota Public Radio was instrumental in bringing 275 media professionals, educators and students together for a two-day conference to learn from each other and from people who live in Minnesota communities that have traditionally been left out or misrepresented in the news media.

In advance of this conference, MPR engaged our community partners and hosted listening sessions across the state to better inform the conference. Additionally, APM Research Lab partnered with Wilder Research to survey Minnesota journalists on racial narratives in Minnesota media. Results showed that only 1 in 5 think Minnesota news media is doing an excellent or even good job of portraying Indigenous people and people of color; 4 in 5 rate local media as ‘poor’ (31%) or fair (49%) in this regard. The conference program was rooted in key findings from this first-of-its-kind study, including strategies to diversify media sources and staffing, and ultimately to tell more complete and authentic media stories about people of color and Indigenous people. We continue to advance what we learned from Truth and Transformation and will use the listening session facilitation structure from those listening sessions to guide similar work for this project.

MPR’s Ground Level project demonstrated that strengthening connections across differences could be done through deep-listening and engagement with communities statewide. Through Ground Level, we learned that when we ask Minnesotans to share their identities and knowledge outside a framework of contentious debate, they are enthusiastic about connecting across their differences. They are also interested in discovering commonalities with Minnesotans from different origins. While Ground Level was structured to explore rural and urban communities’ perspectives, this new project will seek to understand differences and commonalities between various racial and ethnic communities in Minnesota and to better inform MPR News reporting in the future.

The Minnesota’s Diverse Communities project is built on the listening session concepts of Truth and Transformation Conference and the previous APM Research Lab and MPR News collaboration, Ground Level. Both of these project have lasting impact. Ground Level developed 14 MPR News stories and four call-in shows, hosted six in-person forums throughout the state and convened a 350-member Facebook group for continued conversation and community-building. The APM Research Lab created 11 Ground Level reports, authored six blog posts and participated in six presentations that included conversations with community members and leaders around the state. Truth and Transformation work has continued through a webinar for media professionals ( rq=truth%20and%20transformation)as well as training sessions at the Annual Public Radio Program Directors’ National Conference. For Minnesota's Diverse Communities, we look forward to even broader impact through Wikimedia engagement.

Thanks to initial funding from Blandin Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN Foundation, we are starting the listening sessions in April 2020. We are actively reaching out to local and national partners to reach the budget goal which includes conversations with Bush Foundation, Minneapolis Foundation, Headwaters Foundation for Social Justice, Joyce Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. There is interest and desire to see this project come together. We hope Wikimedia Foundation will join us.


What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.
Minnesota's Diverse Communities is a project designed to: 1) Explore the impact of Minnesota’s rapidly changing racial demographics and address Minnesota’s severe racial disparities in education, employment, income and health. 2) Facilitate a statewide conversation examining attitudes and trends about the state’s rapidly changing demographics. 3) Produce journalism and hold community events that A) highlight the voices of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and B) develop understanding and empathy among Minnesotans.

As a public media program, all of our information is free and available to the public. Through Wikimedia, we are excited to go beyond our current audience base to engage with communities around the world that are likely not familiar with our work. As we work on the survey for the Minnesota’s Diverse Communities project, we will engage in conversation with the Wikidata community to get their input on what they would be interested in learning from various racial and ethnic communities and what questions or strategies should be considered for the survey.

Through Minnesota’s Diverse Communities project, APM Research Lab can disseminate information to existing Wikipedia pages for Minnesota, American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio. In addition, APM Research Lab will create a page highlighting this project as well as links to some of our past projects including Roots Beyond Race, which includes data on 198 heritage groups creating the most comprehensive portrait of Americans’ identity available anywhere, and a recent national survey on attitudes about immigration:

By sharing our findings through Wiki platforms we hope that this project can become a model for other media entities in other states to follow.

Project impactEdit

How will you know if you have met your goals?Edit

For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (e.g. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

We plan to create and distribute surveys to measure progress towards goals. Our evaluation of success will also come down to the following four items:

• Successfully host 9 listening sessions throughout the state. Through listening sessions, we will engage participants, keep them informed of progress and content and survey participants at the end of the project.

• Implement survey and analysis to represent populations and communities described above. We will survey 2,100 participants that represent 7 major racial/ethnic groups: African American, American Indian, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino, Somali, Hmong, Non-Hispanic White for comparison. Surveys will be provided in multiple languages and strategies will be used to assure statically a sound survey including intentional oversampling and using a combination of outreach methods like online methods and telephone.

• Create MPR News engaging content initiatives and events on scale with Ground Level project.

• Demonstrate increased audience engagement through additional outcome measurements: Social media benchmarking through Facebook group activity and hashtag tracking; Anecdotal feedback from audience members; Employee evaluation benchmarking how we grew as an organization as a result of this project; Engage with the Wikidata community throughout the project to increase visibility and to gain additional feedback.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?Edit

Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Once the project concludes, we anticipate that thousands of Minnesotans will have engaged in this project by participating in listening sessions, participating in the survey, hearing and providing feedback about news stories, attending events and through project content on Wikimedia platforms: Wikidata and Wikipedia pages for Minnesota, American Public Media, Minnesota Public Radio and APM Research Lab. Specifically, the listening sessions will have over 100 participants. The Survey will have over 2,000 participants. MPR News has a dedicated weekly audience of 500,000 and hundreds of people will attend the events. By posting our findings and stories on Wikipedia, we'll be able to engage with an audience beyond Minnesota and have the opportunity to inform and to change perspectives well outside our state boundaries.

Project planEdit


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?
Minnesota’s Diverse Communities aims to carry out the project by:

1) Hosting listening sessions across the state and learning from the communities we seek to highlight as part of this project. These listening sessions will provide a base of knowledge of what is important to Minnesota’s communities and will help build a sense of trust, the foundation on which important and lasting cross-cultural connections can begin.

We will coordinate nine listening sessions in towns or cities that have balanced geographic representation. Including:

 Worthington – With residents of color making up at least 60% of the population, Worthington is an ideal location to engage both Latinx and Somali communities. Additionally, we have a new reporter, Hannah Yang, covering Worthington and southwest Minnesota. These listening sessions will serve as a great introduction to the concerns and hopes of these communities.

 Leech Lake – MPR News has recently produced great content featuring Indigenous communities in White Earth and Minneapolis. For this project, we would like to turn our focus to Leech Lake to provide insight into the concerns of Indigenous residents in this location.

 St. Cloud ‐ We want to learn more about the lived experience of Somali residents in St. Cloud.

Additional listening session locations include: Hibbing, Winona, Mankato, St. Paul, Minneapolis and one additional location that has yet to be determined.

2) Implementing statistically sound research and analysis through the survey. Survey questions will be derived from listening sessions as community members express what is most important to them. The survey will help identify if themes that emerge from listening sessions are trends across the state. Additionally, the survey gives a broader glimpse into the hopes and concerns of Minnesotans across the state.

APM Research Lab fosters an engaged democracy by inspiring curiosity, inquiry and discussion on important topics through surveys and analysis. The Lab also curates existing data in easy to understand formats to better inform the public. For the Minnesota’s Diverse Communities project, the APM Research Lab will implement a statewide survey designed to learn about the hopes and concerns of six racial and ethnic groups (U.S.‐born African American, Mexican, Indigenous, Hmong, Somali, Asian Indian and White/non‐Hispanic for comparison). The APM Research Lab is aware of other surveys in the community but, unlike this project, they have not done an intentional and comprehensive deep‐dive into the concerns of these racial and ethnic communities. APM Research Lab’s team of researchers is distinctively qualified to implement this survey with the following strategies: providing surveys in multiple languages, intentional oversampling and using a combination of outreach methods like online, telephone and advanced snowball sampling.

The survey questions will be based on information gathered from community listening sessions designed to specifically engage members of these communities. As such, questions in the survey will explore attitudes and concerns that surface at these sessions and we aim to include a balanced set of questions that reflect concerns from these sessions in both rural and urban locations. The survey will ask respondents to voluntarily disclose their racial, ethnic identity and location so we can track the percent of respondents from racial/ethnic segments as well as if respondents are residents of rural locations of 35,000 population or less, larger towns or urban areas.

Upon implementation and analysis of the survey, APM Research Lab will compare and supplement from other community surveys.

3) Reporting, producing and distributing journalism derived from listening sessions and the survey through online content, on-air segments and community forums. This final stage of the project will amplify the work done in the listening sessions and the survey to MPR’s more than 500,000 listeners. We will expand our outreach and increase opportunities for connections between differences through MPR hosted public events and convenings.

4) Throughout the project, share learnings and conversation through Wikidata and Wikipedia platforms.


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

-$50,000 Listening Sessions – includes project manager staff time, compensation of participants, food for participants, participant travel and childcare stipend, transcription of sessions, facilitator travel and food. 50% funded.

-$230,000 Survey and Analysis – includes project manager staff time, Research Lab staff time, survey, survey translations.

-$210,000 Journalism Production and Distribution – includes reporting staff time, digital engagement strategy and distribution, community forum event expenses. 5% funded.

Total: $490,000

We are just getting started in building a coalition to share in this work. We hope that Wikimedia Foundation will join us as a philanthropic partner at the amount of $100,000.

Community engagementEdit

Community input and participation helps make projects successful. How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve during your project?
As a part of our activities plan, MPR will be hosting listening sessions, surveys, and journalism that engages with different communities in Minnesota. MPR's platform allows us to connect communities, spreading the information gained in the project to a broad, diverse audience.

Minnesota’s Diverse Communities will highlight the 7 cultural groups below, which collectively account for 94.4% of the state’s population: 1. U.S.-born African American 2. Mexican 3. Indigenous 4. Hmong 5. Somali 6. Asian India 7. White, non-Hispanic Note that these cultural groups may include both foreign-born (immigrant) and U.S.-born residents

In line with the project budget, we will start with nine listening sessions throughout the state. Locations for these listening sessions will correspond with areas were the communities we wish to reach have a population of 20% or higher. Locations include Worthington, Leech Lake, Winona, Hibbing, Mankato, St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. We will seek input and introductions from our community partners in the communities we wish to learn from and serve. We will also rely on our embedded regional reporters to help make connections. Through the listening sessions, we will build relationships and trust in these communities. We will continue engagement in these communities through reporting, news events and convenings. Our impact evaluation relies on building these relationships and demonstrating meaningful connections, stronger relationships, produce important and relevant content from which these communities will benefit and provide learnings for our curious audience across the state. We aim to build a strong coalition of community partners and participants who will be demonstrative of the impact these sessions will have. The project will build and strengthen connections, where diversity and division are overcome for the common good of the community, generating the active work of strengthening democracy.

Get involvedEdit


Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

With over 50 years of public media experience, MPR is the largest public radio network in the nation, serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states. MPR News is the only newsroom in Minnesota with reporters embedded in six communities outside of the Twin Cities: Moorhead, Bemidji, Collegeville, Rochester, Duluth and Worthington. The embedded reporters plus a network 46 public radio stations throughout Minnesota and surrounding states gives MPR News capacity to deliver balanced reporting throughout the state.

Minnesota’s Diverse Communities is pleased to have senior leaders from three areas of the organization, Impact and Community Engagement, APM Research Lab and MPR News, working on this project:

Ka Vang, Director for Impact & Community Engagement at Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media, has skills and experience in management, strategic planning, operations, advocacy, strategic partnerships, training, and communications. As a senior leader at MPR|APM, and, previously, at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Office’s Diversity and Equity Division, Ka has had unique operational and strategic leadership roles championing underrepresented communities and developing diversity and inclusion education materials.

Laura McCallum, Interim Director of MPR News, has been with MPR News for more than 26 years serving in several different roles: regional reporter, political reporter and most recently, managing editor. Laura along with MPR News reporters are excited to learn from our communities as we begin the Minnesota’s Diverse Communities project.

The APM Research Lab Team, Craig Helmstetter Managing Director of APM Research Lab, senior researcher Andi Egbert, data journalist Gabriel Cortés, senior analyst Benjamin Clary and digital assistant Fiona Boler, combined have more than 35 years of experience working in data research and analysis. Craig and Andi worked together at Wilder Research and Minnesota Compass. Additionally, Craig brings experience from the MN Office of the Legislator Auditor and Andi from the MN State Demographic Center and Minnesota Kids Count. The APM Research Lab staff background and expertise allows for thorough analysis on a broad spectrum of topics.

Community notificationEdit

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc. Need notification tips?


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