The YMCA’s Equity Innovation Center is a collaborative engine of equity innovation serving the Twin Cities region and beyond. More than a place or a program, we serve as a national center of excellence that seeks innovative ways to solve intractable problems around inequity, intolerance and exclusion.
The YMCA is well-known for our commitment to healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. The Equity Innovation Center began as way to expand the work of the Mission Impact Council that was created over five years ago, in partnership with Youthprise and the Greater Twin Cities United Way to address the disparities facing thousands of Twin Cities urban and underserved youth. The initiative brought together leaders from around the Twin Cities as well as leaders representing six diverse communities to guide their work, including the East African/Somali, Hmong, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and Homeless and Highly Mobile communities.
The Mission Impact Council held community engagement forums called Equity innovation Labs where participants were led through a civic engagement process that examined the various challenges facing their youth and communities. This community engagement process provided the Mission Impact Council and the YMCA with the resources and partnerships needed to foster civic engagement and leadership development among community organizations and youth participants.
Through the Equity Innovation Center, the YMCA plans to expand and advance the work of the Mission Impact Council by working with organizations from all sectors to develop innovative solutions for the disruption of social inequities. With our legacy of positive change in communities, we launched this Center of Excellence to learn, practice and share. We don’t claim to have all the answers. Instead, we bring together thought leaders and change agents from across the region to:
- Identify best practices
- Develop future practices
- Convene individuals, groups and power communities
- Be a resource