Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Twin Cities Launches Community Safety Initiative Leading $1.4M Investment

Apr 12, 2022

Twin Cities

LEAD program will empower Lake Street corridor residents to reduce police interactions

MINNEAPOLIS (April 12, 2022) – The GreenLight Fund Twin Cities (GLFTC) today announced a multi-year investment in Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (LEAD). Alongside a coalition of funders and a commitment from Minneapolis leaders, LEAD will use a community-involved approach to reduce police interactions for low-level offenses in the Lake Street corridor.

“Thanks to GreenLight Twin Cities, Minneapolis now has a public-private partnership that offers the prospect of real change,” said Thomson Reuters Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Alliances and former Minneapolis Mayor, Sharon Sayles Belton. “GreenLight has an excellent track record of selecting effective programs in other cities. Given the thorough process through which they identified LEAD and the benefits we believe it will have in Minneapolis, Thomson Reuters is pleased and proud to support this new initiative.”

LEAD, a project of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, is a public health approach to community safety that diverts individuals cycling in and out of the legal system into a long-term case management model of care. Utilizing a harm reduction platform to improve outcomes, LEAD’s unique, collaborative implementation structure brings a cross section of community leaders and neighborhood residents and business owners together in partnership with case managers. Their common goal is to decrease recidivism and improve stability for residents facing challenges with non-violent behaviors often criminalized.

Simone Hardeman-Jones, executive director of GLFTC and a former Obama Administration staffer, knows the Lake Street corridor well. She grew up near there and said, “It’s a hub of entrepreneurship and culture built and sustained by Black, Indigenous, LatinX and immigrant communities.” While leading GreenLight’s selection process to address unmet needs and remove barriers, she explained, “We spoke with a cross-section of people who consistently shared that improvements in public safety through fewer unnecessary police interactions could make a real difference.”

GreenLight Twin Cities led a comprehensive process, partnering with leaders and residents across the community, to identify and scale a proven program to meet unmet needs and remove barriers to inclusive prosperity in the area. With community safety identified as a priority for positive change, GreenLight identified LEAD, a program effectively addressing community safety in Seattle and 70 other cities across the country. GreenLight Twin Cities brought together a coalition of partners and funders, who will support the implementation of LEAD. Serving up to 50 participants in its first year and scaling to additional neighborhoods across the Twin Cities, goals include reaching 200+ participants, lowering recidivism by 50%, increasing social supports by 35% and improving relationships with residents, law enforcement, and business owners over the next 4 years.

Naija Morris-Frazier, director of LEAD’s National Support Bureau, has partnered with over 70 cities across the country to launch LEAD. “Every person deserves to have their humanity seen, and we know this program works” said Najja. “ In Seattle, where LEAD began, 58% of participants were less likely to be arrested and twice as likely to be sheltered. We are excited to support the launch of LEAD Minneapolis during such a critical time”.

LEAD’s local implementation will include a Policy Coordinating Group made up of community and civil rights leaders, law enforcement, business owners, and city officials. The Minneapolis City Attorney’s office is committed to playing a role, said Jim Rowader, sharing, “Like Minneapolis, many communities around the country are seeking ways to improve public safety. LEAD provides us with the opportunity to operate outside of the court system and to engage individuals within the community in a unique and different way. We are committed to providing services and support to help make LEAD a success.”

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