In fall 1986, Arthur Himmelman, senior program officer with The McKnight Foundation, convened a meeting of three college presidents: Charles Anderson, Augsburg; Steven Lewis, Carleton; and Robert Gavin, Macalester to consider the impact of a three-year grant provided for scholarships to attract and retain students of color to their respective campuses. The review showed mixed results. While some progress had been made, it was clear a more comprehensive approach was necessary if students of color were to have opportunity and access in Minnesota postsecondary institutions. An initial meeting of community leaders from various sectors met to discuss the advisability of developing a multisector collaborative to focus specifically on access and success of students of color. They recommended that an expanded group, to include community representatives,should be convened to consider the steps necessary to design and implement the collaborative. After a series of planning sessions, it was concluded that a collaborative should be formed with the mission âTo increase the success of students of color in Minnesota schools, colleges and universities.â Those in attendance formed the first policy board of the new collaborative, and The McKnight Foundation provided the initial grant to begin operations. As is common in any organization, founders soon began to leave to take on other responsibilities. MMEP is a different organization today than it was in the beginning. But the roots of commitment to Minnesotaâs students of color are still as powerful today as they were in fall 1987.
To increase the success of students of color in Minnesota schools, colleges and universities.
A strategic plan was developed to give the organization a clear path to achieving its mission, and an action plan is annually updated to assure the timeliness of MMEP action. Some of the unique characteristics of the MMEP design include: • MMEP is a multi-sector collaborative, dedicated to having educators, public officials, philanthropists, business people, nonprofits, students and parents at the table • MMEP focuses its work on kindergarten through postsecondary education and promotes a continuum of support at all levels • MMEP is a multicultural organization dedicated to having the diversity of Minnesota communities represented in all components of the organization • MMEP’s financing structure requires that one third of its core operating budget come from membership fees, one third come from a state appropriation and one third come from grants • The Implementation Working Group has the ability to adjust the work plan of the organization whenever it is necessary to assure appropriate advocacy and programming on behalf of Minnesota communities of color • The work of MMEP is as dedicated to the process of collaboration as it is to its programs/products