Seward Neighborhood Group

We are Hiring a Community Organizer

Hiring A Community Organizer for Seward

The Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) is looking to hire a part-time Community Organizer who is able to help build community and organize with Seward neighbors on neighborhood issues.

Position: 25 hours/week

– $16 – $22/hour (depending on qualifications)
– Generous vacation and sick-time offered

How to Apply:
– Send cover letter and resume to Kerry Cashman, Executive Director of SNG,
– Please indicate “Community Organizer” in the subject line and within your cover letter
– Position is open until filled
– No phone calls please

Seward Neighborhood Group is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. Our goal is to have a diverse workforce that is representative of the neighborhood we serve. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and community need.

SNG is one of the oldest neighborhood organizations in Minneapolis. SNG was established in 1960 to make Seward a better place to live, work, and play. SNG and our neighborhood community have a history of welcoming and promoting diversity including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, culture, language, age, sexual orientation, gender, and socioeconomic status in our neighborhood. We recognize that this diversity is part of our strength and character, and wish to encourage all to be thoughtful, respectful and tolerant of others, especially those who have come to start a new life, to give opportunity to their families and to protect them from hatred, bigotry and persecution for any reason. All are welcome here.

The History Committee of SNG Remembers Burt Berlowe

By: Marilyn Matheny

Author, friend, and neighbor, Burt Berlowe passed away at United Hospital in St. Paul, on October 28th, 2019, due to a series of complications after a fall.

He is remembered as father, husband, friend, author, journalist, and dedicated peace activist. Drawn to social justice issues, he was a writer and contributor to two books on Compassionate Rebels. To learn more about these books:  

Burt Berlowe at a 2013 History Committee meeting in the SNG conference room.

He was a steadfast member of the SNG history committee that met regularly for 7 years and put the Seward history book together. He will be sorely missed. He was a writer and contributor to several chapters in “A People’s History of Seward.” For a chapter on urban renewal he interviewed many social activists from the 60s and 70s who worked with the City of Minneapolis to modify the urban renewal plans for Seward East and West and to preserve Milwaukee Avenue. For a chapter on new Seward neighbors he interviewed several East African residents to bring their stories of escaping war, surviving refugee camps, and success as immigrants to the book. He strongly advocated for their involvement in the life of the Seward community. He enthusiastically promoted the book and arranged speaking opportunities so the committee members could share stories from the book. Our committee meetings won’t be the same without him.

His family and friends will be gathering to remember him on December 7th, 2019 at Open Book in the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts at 1011 Washington Avenue South. The gathering will be from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

To learn more about him visit:


History Committee members: Rick Musser (sitting), Dick Westby, Marilyn Matheny, Burt Berlowe, and Wendy Epstein at 2014 History Committee meeting.
Dick Westby, Wendy Epstein, and Burt Berlowe at September 2019 History Committee where they enjoyed receiving hte AASLH awar for leadership in history for the book “A People’s History of Seward.”

How the Seward Commons project is shaping our neighborhood

By: Brigid Higgins

What is Seward Commons?

It’s a development project by Seward Redesign, a nonprofit community development corporation. Redesign engages the energy and creativity of residents and businesses to implement development that’s based on the priorities of the community, and creates living-wage jobs, diverse housing options and a vibrant local economy.

We are a place-based organization, which means we are exclusively dedicated to the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. This scale is important because it allows our work to be rooted in the community over the long term.

The Seward Commons project is a big undertaking, involving the redevelopment of the area near the Franklin Light Rail Transit station.

What was there before?

The Blue Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) became operational along Seward’s western boundary in 2004. The region had high hopes for the LRT to catalyze high density development. But the station on Franklin Avenue was surrounded by challenging sites that stymied the big dreams for the station area. When the recession hit in 2008, nothing from those plans had been realized. Bystrom Brothers had recently ceased operating a machine shop on a 3.5 acre site just south of the station area. Redesign acquired the site in 2009 and began an area-wide planning process to make the space work better for the surrounding community.

What parts of the Seward Commons have already been built?

Touchstone Mental Health – Rising Cedars (I) and The Cooperage (II), currently providing 100 units of affordable housing in the neighborhood.The Verna (IV),formerly known as The Gateway Building,is located at 2200 Minnehaha Avenue and connects Seward Commons to the greater Seward neighborhood. This building was recently inaugurated under its new name, honoring late Seward neighborhood activist and organizer: Verna Strick. Learn more about Verna’s contribution to the neighborhood, and check out the building’s 5 small business and nonprofit tenants:  Solcana Crossfit, 826 MSP, Soomaal House of Art, Beez Kneez, and Cheeriup.

What is coming next?

Focus Arts (V) is a redevelopment project scheduled for construction this winter. Last Spring, Redesign assisted the previous tenant, Fun City Dogs, in the purchase of her own property nearby, leaving the 20,000 square foot industrial building vacant. Redesign will reinvest in the building to make it into a space that’s functional, ADA accessible, affordable, and stable. In response to a lack of accessible space for artists in the Twin Cities, the redevelopment project will divide the existing space into several smaller commercial units marketed to artists and creative businesses.

The Bessemer (IIIA) will be a 5-story building of 128 apartments, in the place of the vacant industrial buildings on Snelling Avenue and E 22nd Street. Construction will begin this winter and last 14 months. This project will be the first market-rate development in Seward in almost 40 years, and is a part of the community’s vision for a mixed-income, transit-oriented neighborhood with access to the Franklin Lightrail Station and Hiawatha bike trail.

Fun fact: the bessemer process is an industrial process for mass producing steel, used by the Bystrom Brothers in the machine shop originally on this site!

Wadaag Commons (IIIB) is the final planned development of Seward Commons. The city lacks affordable, family-sized rental apartments. Redesign is working in partnership with Noor Companies to develop a project that addresses this need and incorporates design features with East African families in mind.

Why is this unique to Seward?

Seward Commons is a piece of a vision for our neighborhoods: that they are healthy, diverse, and sustainable communities where all people have the opportunity to thrive. Nonprofit, place-based CDCs have the ability to provide technical expertise to implement community vision, rather than letting the private market dictate the future of the built environment. Redesign is one of the last remaining organizations of its kind in the Twin Cities.

Redesign provides comprehensive community development services that fall into four categories of work:

  1. Housing development
  2. Commercial real estate development
  3. Infrastructure advocacy
  4. Business development and technical assistance

We believe that a comprehensive approach that includes each of these areas is essential to creating and maintaining  healthy and sustainable communities.

Want to be more involved? Join the Seward Neighborhood Group Development Committee! Meetings are the third Thursday of each month, 7:30-9AM, at our office (2619 East Franklin Avenue). For questions, contact

Milwaukee Avenue’s Peace Pole Dedication and Celebration: The Story

By Caren Stelson

What is peace?

What does peace look like?

Where can we find it?

How can we generate more of it?

Neighbors on Milwaukee Avenue in Seward have been asking these three questions and more–and trying to come up with some “answers.” Why these questions and why now? We are living in an extraordinary time of growing division, disconnection, inequality, and violence. What can one neighborhood do to make a positive difference? Living in a historically immigrant neighborhood, Milwaukee Avenue residents wanted to make a visual statement of welcome to everyone who walked through the neighborhood, one that would inspire all of us to reach out in peace.

The result?

Milwaukee Avenue  will celebrate the completion and installation of a one-of-a-kind peace pole on the event’s rain date, Sunday, September 22 during the “Twin Cities Ten Days of No Violence” ( ). Everyone—friends and neighbors on Milwaukee Avenue and the greater Seward neighborhood—are invited to a day of peace celebration and peace pole dedication. Here’s what’s happening.

10:00 am – peace chalk art on the mall led by chalk artist Tessie Bundick.  Kids, families, everyone are welcome. Meet at the Milwaukee Avenue park benches.

4:00-5:00 pm – peace pole dedication and celebration. Come for our gathering, music, food, and friends. Guest speaker: Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Meet at the Milwaukee Avenue park benches.

           (This event was originally scheduled for Saturday, September 21st.)

The Story Behind Milwaukee Avenue’s Peace Park

The Milwaukee Avenue’s peace park did not begin with a peace pole. It began with a tree—a true peace tree. If you walk by the Milwaukee Avenue’s playground, you may spot a sapling protected and happily growing taller each year. It’s a ginkgo tree grown from a seed of a ginkgo that survived the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing. We planted the tree near the playground so we could share the gingko’s story of resilience, hope and green peace with the community, especially the children.

Milwaukee Avenue gingko tree planting, 2017

The next idea was to install a peace pole along the Milwaukee Avenue pedestrian mall. No doubt, you’ve seen white peace poles in gardens and parks around the city with the words, “May peace prevail on earth.” Milwaukee Avenue neighbors believe in the statement, but we wanted to engage our neighbors to create a one-of-a-kind, artist-designed peace pole. We hoped that everyone who walked by the peace pole would slow down, appreciate and be inspired by the design, and think about what peace meant to them.

Left to right: Bob Roscoe, Milwaukee Ave. architectural preservationist, Tom Guelcher, peace pole woodcutter, Emily Goldberg, Milwaukee Ave. peace committee member, Denise Rouleau, peace committee member and peace pole ceramist, in Denise’s art studio.

As a neighborhood project, friends, kids, and neighbors gathered at various “pop-up peace parties” and made pencil-drawn sketches to represent what peace meant to them. Working together, our own neighborhood dedicated artist-ceramist Denise Rouleau turned the sketches into beautiful terra cotta tiles. Expert woodcutter Tom Guelcher turned a six-foot cedar pole into a carefully carved peace pole with frames for each tile. Each step of creation, from brainstorming, to sketching designs, to etching clay tiles, to bringing all the pieces together took patience, time, inclusion, care, mistakes, revisions, understanding, thoughtfulness, kindness, empathy—all the elements of peace making.

Tiles designed by Milwaukee Avenue artists, children and adults.
Peace pole in Tom Guelcher’s workshop.

As we gather together on Sunday, Sept. 22 on the Milwaukee Avenue mall, we will open our hearts to neighborliness, music, food, and fun. We also look forward to collectively coming closer to answering those three questions: What is peace? What does peace look like? Where can we find it? How can we generate more of it? Please come join us.

Milwaukee Avenue peace committee members:

Emily Goldberg

Denise Rouleau

Caren Stelson

Deal from Zipps Liquors

SNG will not be sending out our print Profile this April.  We love to connect with our neighbors and promote businesses and activities in the neighborhood but do not want to take any risks in this time. We will send out a print edition as soon as it is safe for all involved. In the meantime, we will be posting both the articles from the Profile and highlighting our advertisers on our webpage and Facebook.

Please buy local, support your local businesses and organizations.   Thank you for being Seward!

Mention this ad at Zipp’s via SNG and you will receive a free reusable Zipps Liquors bag.

Zipps Liquor Store-1.jpg

Census Update from Hennepin County

April 1 Is Official Census Kickoff Day!

Today is the official Census Kickoff Day. We had hoped to mark the occasion with community celebrations and a rally at the capitol. But even if we can’t gather to celebrate together right now, the best way to kick off the Census is to complete it today!

While we are working together to stay home and slow the spread of COVID-19, participating in the 2020 Census is a practical thing we can all do right now to help our community. The information collected from all of us will determine the resources available to us for the next ten years – for healthcare, education, housing, transportation, emergency services and other vital programs.

How to complete the census Online:
If you received an invitation in the mail
– Go to
– Enter your unique census ID number you received in the mail

If you don’t have the unique census ID
– You can still complete your census online
– Go to
– Type in your address and the census ID number should come up

By phone Call the toll-free number: 844-330-2020.

For more information •
• Or text your questions to 662020 (We Count MN)

Census Day Deadlines

What is the Census?

The census is a part of democracy that matters to all Minnesotans. $15 billion allocated to Minnesota by U.S. census data is at stake. This critical funding supports vital programs like Medicaid, highway planning, and programs that aid low-income households, rural communities, and communities of color. Every person we count matters and contributes to our beautiful and vibrant community.

When does the Census Happen?

These are the key dates to keep in mind for the 2020 census. Make sure the communities you work with are informed about when they will receive their invitations, and that they have access to a device, or are aware of the phone and paper options they can use to respond to the census.

  • March 12-20 – Invitations to respond to the census will be sent out via mail (some households will receive paper questionnaire).
  • March 16-24: Households will receive a reminder letter.
  • March 26-April 3: Another reminder letter will be sent out to households that have not yet responded to the census.
  • April 1: National Census Day! Save this date, attend a census day event in your area or organize one in your community
  • April 8-16: A reminder letter and a paper questionnaire sent out to households that have not responded.
  • April 20-27 Final reminder before the enumerator follow up period starts

The Census and Nonprofits

Nonprofits have a critical role to promote community participation and build power. The census is about equity and inclusion and making sure that there is fair political representation and distribution of resources. We are all stronger when our democracy is strong. We are all stronger when communities are using their voice and power to help shape and change the systems that impact them every day – especially communities that have been historically disenfranchised.

MCN Census Grants

Congratulations to 35 organizations across Minnesota who received one of MCN’s census grants for census mobilization:

Alliance of Chicanos Hispanics and Latin Americans
Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency
Asamblea de Derechos Civiles
Campus Compact
Centro Tyrone Guzman
Community Action of Ramsey and Washington Counties
Cultural Diversity Resources
Deaf Equity
Hispanic Outreach of Goodhue County
Hmong Museum
Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association
Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners
Jordan Area Community Council
Korean Adoptee Ministries
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
Little Earth Residents Association
Living at Home Network
Organization of Liberians – Minnesota
Our Savior’s Community Services English Learning Center
Pelican Rapids Multicultural Committee
Pillsbury United Communities
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Prairie Five Community Action Council
Project for Pride and Living
Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota
Rise, Inc
Somali Community Resettlement Services
Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota
Women for Political Change
Wright County Community Action
Marshall Area YMCA

Computer Help Working from Home

Do you need to work from home?  Neighbor and SNG supporter Zeke Cato is willing to do home office consulting for you on a sliding scale basis.  His regular price is $200 for a home network/internet and workstation setup (not including hardware purchases or subscriptions from other vendors.)  His web address is

Covid 19 Community Updates & Resources

In response to public health concerns around COVID-19, we will do our best to try and provide some local resources, opportunities and support for our community. Please check back regularly here for updates and changes. We look forward to hearing about creative ideas for the community to do safely so feel free to email us with suggestions! Thanks everyone and take care.

* Updated 3/26 Covid-19 Updates from the City of Saint Paul

* A list of resources for Households Impacted from Family Housing Fund.

*Through 4/3 Minneapolis Public Schools Student Meal Pick Up Sites HERE.

* SNG’s March Board meeting will be meeting virtually via Zoom. You are welcome to join us. Click here for more information.

* Signed 3/23/20 Executive Order by Gov. Walz to suspend evictions HERE.

* Signed 3/23/20 Executive Order by Gov. Walz on Small Business Loans HERE.

* Resources for Neighbors during the COVID-19 Outbreak. Provided by the Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) HERE.

* For announcements and community resources such as food shelf info, MPS school info, Metro transit, and emergency assistance from click here.

* COVID-19 State Resource Document 3/16/2020 The following list is compiled from resources at DEED, MDE, DHS, MDH, DHS, MHFA, the Courts, and the Attorney General’s office. HERE.

* Notice from Comcast about Internet access increase and low-income internet service. HERE

* For Strategies to slow the spread of Covid-19 from the MN Dept of Health click here.

* Here is a link to the loan assistance program for small businesses in need of disaster relief.

* Here is the link for employees who need to apply for unemployment benefits. Folks can call in to get translation, but encourage English speakers to use the online form to reserve phone lines for those who need them. 651-296-3644.

* A list of businesses with unemployed workers you can support HERE. Updated 3/23/20

*3/22/20 Update from USPS on service HERE.









Updated: SNG Virtual Board Meeting March 25

Due to the coronavirus concerns and recommended social distancing, SNG will be have a virtual Board Meeting on Wednesday March 25 from 6:30 – 8:15 via the Zoom app.

Best way to join is on computer or smartphone (get the Zoom app).
Use headset (earbuds with a microphone for best sound quality), if you have one.
Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 415 887 073

One tap mobile  +13126266799,,415887073# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location  +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)


6:15 Virtual meeting will be activated 15 minutes before meeting start time to allow folks to troubleshoot / test their audio connections

6:30 Introductions with Icebreaker Question: What has been a positive aspect of (“silver lining”) or a way you’ve been coping with our current reality with COVID-19?

6:42 Agenda & Minutes Approval

6:45 AGRA development proposal for former Perkins site by Claire VanderEyk, Senior Development Associate, Newport Midwest (briefing of project proposal only with clarifying questions permitted; no time in tonight’s agenda for full community feedback – that will happen via an online survey launched during the week of March 30th and another virtual meeting open house during the week of April 6th)

7:10 Councilmember Update – if Gordon / Warsame attend, they can provide an update

7:15 Committee Motions


Update on Mia Tour with Marne Zafar!

Updated 3/23/2020. This event is indefinitely postponed. We will contact all bidders to arrange a later date when the museum reopens. Thank you for your support and understanding!


Tickets are $20 and can be bought on Eventbrite or at the SNG office.

This special SNG 1-hour tour will be in the Americas galleries. Dedicated to the creativity of the Native peoples throughout MN and the US, we will explore together the paintings, sculpture, weavings, pottery, beadwork and more that reflects the diversity of Native people in the Midwest, Southwest, Northwest and Plains.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is home to more than 90,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history. Its permanent collection includes world-famous works that embody the highest levels of artistic achievement, spanning about 20,000 years and representing the world’s diverse cultures across six continents.

A former President of SNG, Marne Zafar is a Collection-In-Focus guide for the Americas galleries. She is known in the arts world for her vast knowledge of American Indian arts and indigenous global priorities, and had taken the lead at Mia to “show off” and introduce visitors to the differences of the respective Native nations. Recently she lead private tours for the much-acclaimed Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists special exhibition of which she was on the exhibition and community advisory boards, and was co-designer of award-wining book.

Space for up to 15 people. See Facebook Event page HERE.

This event is one in a series of great gatherings intended to build community and inspire fun while helping to support the Seward Neighborhood Group. The proceeds from your ticket are all donated to Seward Neighborhood Group.

Huge thanks to Marne Zafar for donating her knowledge and time!

Now that is a Great Gathering!



Thanks for Joining us at the FUNdraiser!

zThanks to those who could make it to the Party at the Playwrights’ FUNdraiser,  and to our super volunteers for helping us put on a successful night. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Special thanks to the fabulous businesses that donated food: Soberfish, Tracy’s Saloon, Coastal Seafood, Pizza Luce, El Norteno and Zipps Liquor.



Seward Great Gatherings! Bid on these events at FUNdraiser!

A Mad Men Dinner Party, where you are invited to break out the cocktails and pistachios! Your hosts will prepare and serving a 4-course meal of your favorite 1960’s food and drink. Vintage attire encouraged!

Branching Out: Acrylic Painting Workshop for everyone. Kat Lange and Connie Lanphear are inviting you to unleash your creativity! Grab a friend and join us for an afternoon of play and experimentation using a simple masking technique with acrylic paints, tape and canvas. Take home a beautiful and unique work of art. All abilities are welcome!

Knitting Hour at the Gnome Home. Everyone is welcome, if you already knit or want to learn how, let’s get together and interlock yarn! We’ll have delicious appetizers and enticing conversations. This will be co-hosted by our lovely friend Pat Rosaves. So join us at Maggie’s gnome home for a good time.

A Tour of Mia with Marne Zafar. A former President of SNG, Marne Zafar is a Collection-In-Focus guide for the Americas galleries. She is known in the arts world for her vast knowledge of American Indian arts and indigenous global priorities, and had taken the lead at Mia to “show off” and introduce visitors to the differences of the respective Native nations. Recently she lead private tours for the much-acclaimed Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists special exhibition of which she was on the exhibition and community advisory boards, and was co-designer of award-wining book.

This series of great gatherings is intended to build community and inspire fun while supporting the Seward Neighborhood Group. While the food you eat, the relationships you build, and the memory are all yours to keep, the proceeds from your ticket will be donated back to Seward Neighborhood Group.

Can’t attend the fundraiser? You can can purchase individual Great Gathering Event tickets on the event link above on Eventbrite.

Or join us for our annual fundraiser, a celebration of our community at the Playwrights’ Center on Saturday, February 22nd to help sustain our work for another year! 2310 East Franklin Ave, Mpls, MN 55406.

Come by anytime from 7:00pm to 10:00pm to savor food and drink, live music, and bid to win items from our Star Studded Silent Auction!

Our Goal is to raise $5000 to invest back into the Seward Community and organize around issues that matter to all those that live, work, play, and pray in Seward. You are a big part of this.

Buy FUNdraiser Tickets
Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door!




Wine, Art, Dining, Yoga and more at the FUNdraiser Silent Auction!

World class wine from Gianni Buonomo Vintners out of San Diego (unavailable in MN except by club membership), art cards from Seward artists Dan Leisen and Lisa Boehlke, cribbage board from Wood From the Hood, Gift certificates and merchandise from Ghandi Mahal, Hi-Lo Diner and Big River Yoga and Northern Clay Center. Thank you to our generous donors!

Join us for our annual fundraiser, a celebration of our community at the Playwrights’ Center on Saturday, February 22nd to help sustain our work for another year! 2310 East Franklin Ave, Mpls, MN 55406.

Come by anytime from 7:00pm to 10:00pm to savor food and drink, live music, and bid to win items from our Star Studded Silent Auction!

Our Goal is to raise $5000 to invest back into the Seward Community and organize around issues that matter to all those that live, work, play, and pray in Seward. You are a big part of this.

Buy Tickets
Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door!