Minneapolis has added a new position to to manage work on the city's Promise Zone efforts in north Minneapolis.
Julianne Leerssen, who will work in the City Coordinator's Office, will serve as the city's equity and inclusion manager. In a news release issued Tuesday, the city said Leerssen will "work closely with the city's community partners to identify and create lasting solutions using a collective impact approach" within the Promise Zone.
The city is one of 13 communities that this year were granted a "Promise Zone" designation by the White House. The program provides technical help to governments and outside agencies looking to boost areas that struggle with poverty, low graduation rates and other issues. It does not come with any direct funding, but Promise Zone communities receive priority status when applying for federal grants.
Leerssen, an attorney and community organizer, grew up in north Minneapolis, according to the news release. She will be paid $96,945 per year.
Leerssen's hiring follows that of two other new employees tasked with leading efforts on other high-profile initiatives of Mayor Betsy Hodges. In July, the mayor announced that she'd hired a new senior policy aide on early childhood education and youth development and another senior policy aide for education and youth success. Those two staffers are responsible for efforts on the mayor's Cradle to K program for babies and young children and the My Brother's Keeper project, a White House initiative aimed at minority young men and boys.
The office of the City Coordinator has seen considerable growth in the last year. The 2015 budget added two positions for a new Office of Equitable Outcomes, and six more new staffers were hired after the city landed a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant of up to $2.7 million.
The grant-funded team is exploring how well the city does at providing basic services to all residents. It's initial focus is on gaps in homeownership and housing conditions.