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Twin Cities Non-Profit that Works with Immigrants to Revitalize Low-Income Twin Cities Neighborhoods Earns National Award for Exceptional Immigrant Integration Initiatives

Press Release
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Twin Cities Non-Profit that Works with Immigrants to Revitalize Low-Income Twin Cities Neighborhoods Earns National Award for Exceptional Immigrant Integration Initiatives

WASHINGTON – The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy announced today that Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), a Twin Cities-based community development non-profit that seeks to revitalize low-income neighborhoods by empowering aspiring entrepreneurs, is one of four recipients of its 2013 E Pluribus Unum Prizes for exceptional immigrant integration initiatives. This national award honors NDC for its work with immigrant entrepreneurs and partnerships with immigrant community organizations to transform their neighborhood economies from within.

Founded in 1993, NDC has worked to revitalize communities in 25 low-income neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis, training more than 4,250 entrepreneurs, including nearly 1,500 immigrants; providing $10 million in small business financing, nearly half to new and existing immigrant-owned businesses; and 40,000 hours of consulting to small businesses. NDC also owns and manages six business incubators housing 120-some small enterprises, the great majority operated by immigrants.

NDC has created a path to entrepreneurship for many who would not otherwise have had access to mainstream business or financial services because of lack of credit history or poor credit, language barriers, and lack of knowledge of rules, regulations and systems.

More than 450 NDC-assisted businesses are currently in operation, including a tortilla factory, a taxi company, barbershops and an Ethiopian restaurant. NDC’s model, which seeks to concentrate the power of micro-enterprise development within hubs of community revitalization, includes providing culturally competent services to Hmong, Somali, Oromo and Spanish-speaking clients; and forging partnerships with African American, Latino, African, Asian and other ethnic groups to facilitate entrepreneur recruitment and program delivery. Independent research estimates that every dollar NDC spends results in $28 returned to the community in the form of taxes, purchases and payroll. The NDC model is being replicated in Detroit, and NDC has worked with other organizations nationally and internationally to adapt its model.

The E Pluribus Unum Prizes program, established in 2008 by MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy with generous support from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, seeks to encourage the adoption of effective integration practices and inspire others to take on the important work of integrating immigrants and their children so they can join the mainstream of U.S. society. NDC’s work is guided by the understanding that the success of U.S. immigration policy is directly linked to how well immigrants integrate into their communities, workplaces and classrooms.

The 2013 E Pluribus Unum Prizes winners will be honored tonight at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., with a keynote address by U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, author of the recent Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill. The national award is accompanied by a $50,000 prize.

“The success of U.S. immigration policy ultimately turns on the effectiveness of immigrant integration,” said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, who also co-directs the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “NDC offers a reminder of the innovative integration work that is taking place in demographically-changing communities across the nation, whether by non-profits, schools, government agencies, faith-based organizations, employers and others. As Washington debates reform of the U.S. immigration system, effective immigrant integration policies and support for this work will need to be considered.”

Said Margie McHugh, co-director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy: “NDC has long been recognized as a pillar of community-led economic development in the Twin Cities, and has served as a model for others working to revitalize their cities. Its work connecting the energy and interests of native-born and immigrant groups and individuals is creating a win-win situation where the economic success of immigrant businesses is helping to fuel community development more broadly, and where the voices of immigrant business leaders are joined with those of African American and other leaders to articulate approaches for economic development that meet the needs of all local stakeholders.”

Mihailo Temali, NDC’s founder and CEO, welcomed receipt of the prize. “We are honored to receive the E Pluribus Unum Prize, which we view as important affirmation of our philosophy that residents, small businesses and civic groups in all communities have the talent and ability to work together to transform their neighborhood economies from within.”

The other 2013 winners of the $50,000 E Pluribus Unum Prize are the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, a Washington, D.C.-based adult-focused charter that provides adult basic education and workforce training to more than 3,000 immigrants and refugees annually; and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), whose Integration Institute has become a national model for bringing together stakeholders from government, immigrant and refugee communities and the private and non-profit sectors to improve integration research, policy analysis, advocacy and system capacity. The Prizes program’s 2013 Corporate Leadership Award goes to Kaiser Permanente for its dedication to providing culturally competent health care and expanding such efforts in the health care industry more broadly.

Winner highlights can be found at www.integrationawards.org. For more information or to set up interviews, contact Michelle Mittelstadt at 202-266-1910, [email protected].

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The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more, visit www.migrationpolicy.org.

MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is a crossroads for elected officials, researchers, state and local agency managers, grassroots leaders and activists, local service providers and others who seek to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities today’s high rates of immigration create in local communities. For more on the center’s work, visit www.migrationpolicy.org/integration.