Touchstone Honoree: Northspan Group

Touchstone Honoree: Northspan Group

A look at how the Northspan Group is helping build a more inclusive future, with their program called Welcoming Community.

Our second Touchstone Honoree is the Northspan Group. They have a program called Welcoming Community.

And a major part of that program was their 3rd Annual Equity Summit called, “Belonging in Northeast Minnesota.”

Amber Lewis is the program manager for the Welcoming Community program. “So the goal is to increase belonging of underrepresented groups, and build trust between people of all backgrounds and lived experiences. The goal of the summit is to bring the people together who are working to create an inclusive and welcoming place, to let one another know what work they’re doing.”

It continues to grow. Higher education, community groups, and government organizations took part. It was October 4th in Virginia.

“We know people are doing this work. But everyone was doing it in tunnel and quietly. So we thought, how can we bring people together to celebrate what they are doing and continue learn from each other and lift it up. Create that space and say what you’re doing matters,” explained Elissa Hansen, the President and CEO of Northspan.

One of the speakers during the lightning round was Nathaniel Coward, a co-founder of VEMA. VEMA stands for Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness.

“Just getting people out of the pockets of these small towns and communities, and talk about big things, I think that’s important. It’s easy to easy to talk to people who have like minds.” he shared.

Funding from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation helped sustain Lewis’ position.

The DSACF has chosen Northspan to be an honoree in the upcoming Touchstone Celebration, recognizing their work to improve opportunity, resilience, and belonging.

For more info:

The Touchstone Celebration is coming up on Thursday, November 9th, at 6:30pm on WDIO.