NEON Events

NEON hosts events throughout the year to highlight the role of entrepreneurship in closing  Minnesota's long-standing racial wealth gap. By creating a Culture of Entrepreneurship on the Northside, we are building generational wealth and transforming our community from a drive-through to a destination. 

Our lively Community Conversations series brings local and national luminaries together to discuss economic policies, the role of philanthropy, Black entrepreneurship and other hot topics that impact the low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs we serve. Our annual Northside Live! fundraising reception celebrates these entrepreneurs and our community. 

 
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About Community Conversations 

Our three-part series featured foundation executives, BIPOC entrepreneurs, and legislative leaders who discussed the intersections of philanthropy, social/racial justice, economic opportunity, government/public sector policy, and their impacts on entrepreneurship.

 

Through these hybrid in-person and livestreamed events, we sparked strategic discussion, initiated collaborations, and informed decision-making among NEON’s broad audience of stakeholders.

Community Conversation Series 2.0 focused on the following topics:

  • Government and/or public sector leaders sharing their policy objectives and support of small businesses and organizations like NEON who are working to provide access to financing, networks, and expertise for BIPOC-owned businesses.

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  • A dialogue between local and national leaders in philanthropy discussing economic opportunity (and equity and justice) for Black, Brown, and minority business leaders in the Twin Cities.

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  • Successful Black entrepreneurs and best practices.

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SESSION 3: Excellence in Black Entrepreneurship (HYBRID)

 

Date and Time: Thursday, March 10, 2022 from 3:30pm-4:30pm (CST)

Location: The Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom (5418 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, MN 55416)

About the Event

The third and final installment of NEON's Community Conversation 2.0 series truly embodied the essence of NEON's mission by featuring BIPOC entrepreneurs who have achieved major success in their crafts. On Thursday, March 10th, entrepreneurial expert Daymond John; Founder and President of Arubah Emotional Health Services, Anissa Keyes; and local accomplished chef Justin Sutherland with NEON President, Warren McLean

Moderated by Harry Colbert, Jr., the conversation examined the intersections of racial equity, business ownership, financing, expertise and suppliers, and access to networks. Panelists will also discussed different pathways to achieve economic equity and wealth for BIPOC entrepreneurs.

Guest panelists included:

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Daymond John, Celebrity Entrepreneur (Panelist)

From humble beginnings to a self-made multimillionaire with over $6 billion to date in global product sales and a starring role on ABC’s business reality TV show, Shark Tank, Daymond John is known as “The People’s Shark.” Daymond continues to set standards of excellence while expanding his interests in fashion, branding, marketing, consulting, entertainment, and beyond. This industry leader, best-selling author, and ground breaking entrepreneurial expert has evolved into a highly sought after business and motivational speaker.

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Chef Justin Sutherland, Celebrity Chef (Panelist)

Chef Justin Sutherland was born to cook. Under the Sutherland brand, Justin operates multiple award-winning restaurants in the Twin Cities including the Handsome Hog, Obachan Noodles and Chicken, Chickpea Hummus Bar, The Gnome, Woodfire Cantina, and Gray Duck Tavern.

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Anissa Keyes, Founder and President of Arubah Emotional Health Services (Panelist)

Anissa Keyes is the President of Arubah Emotional Health Services, PA., a community mental health clinic that has been in operation for the last 9 years. After Anissa expanded her clinic into their second office space, her interest expanded from emotional restoration and healing within individuals and families, to restoration and revitalization within old commercial spaces in her neighborhood. Anissa feels passionate about accessing underutilized spaces in the community that could become assets to community members, the economic growth of North Minneapolis, and the building of a legacy of wealth for her 5 children. 

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Warren McLean, NEON President (Host)
 

Warren McLean joined NEON in 2018, bringing with him his belief in entrepreneurs as a catalyst for community vitality. He leads NEON’s responsive strategic development, ensuring an organization that continually evolves to meet the needs of North Minneapolis and surrounding communities.

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Harry Colbert, Jr., Managing Editor at MinnPost (Moderator)

 

Harry Colbert, Jr. is the Managing Editor of MinnPost, joining the newsroom in January. Prior, he was North News' Editor in Chief where the publication was awarded three Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists awards and five 2021 Minnesota Newspaper Association first place awards including the individual award for Best Column. Colbert is the recipient of an additional four Minnesota Newspaper Association awards, three National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Awards, and three National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence nominations. He has contributed as a reporter, columnist and editor for such outlets as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s The Village, Insight News (Minneapolis), Suburban Journals (St. Louis), St. Louis American, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joplin Globe, Metro Networks (St. Louis) and KDHX (St. Louis).

Thank You to our Community Conversation Series, 2.0, Sponsors and Donors!

New sponsors coming soon

Premier Plus

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Premier

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Partner

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Partner

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Partner

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 Changemaker Sponsors 

 Accelerator Sponsors 

2.0 Venue

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Entertainment

CC2.0 & Northside Live!

Production

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2.0 Festivity

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2.0 Festivity

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&

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2.0 Media

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Northside Live! Wine Wall

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Northeast Bank
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Thank you for your donation

SESSION 2: A PHILANTHROPY DISCUSSION (HYBRID)

Date and Time: Friday, October 29, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (CST)

Location: The Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom (5418 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, MN 55416)

 

Thank you for attending NEON’s Community Conversation Series 2.0, Session 2. It was a great panel of metro and regional philanthropy leaders – Tonya Allen, Jen Ford Reedy, and R.T. Rybak – who shared their thoughts with us. If you enjoyed our recent conversation connecting philanthropy to social and racial justice, we encourage you to join us for the next conversation. Watch for updates on our social media.

Guest panelists included:

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Tonya Allen, President of the McKnight Foundation (Panelist)

Tonya Allen serves as president of the McKnight Foundation. Throughout her 25-year career, Tonya has been the bridge-builder and a civic diplomat focused on community-led philanthropy and the power of transforming place. She has worked to bring people together across diverse sectors to catalyze fresh thinking, test new approaches, and advocate for equitable policies and practices that benefit everyone.

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Jen Ford Reedy, President of the Bush Foundation (Panelist)

Jen Ford Reedy has been president of the Bush Foundation since September of 2012. She is involved in several civic groups and committees and enthusiastically serves as an election judge. Jen teaches a graduate course in philanthropic history and strategy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

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R.T. Rybak, President & CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation (Panelist)

R.T. Rybak has served as President & CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation since July of 2016. A Minneapolis native, R.T. spent 30 years in journalism, publishing, marketing, and the Internet before serving as Mayor of Minneapolis from 2002 to 2013. His career focus has been on developing equitable career paths for youth of color.

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Warren McLean, NEON President (Host)
 

Warren McLean joined NEON in 2018, bringing his conviction in the potential of entrepreneurs as a catalyst for community vitality. He leads NEON’s responsive strategic development, ensuring an organization that continually evolves to meet the needs of North Minneapolis and surrounding communities.

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Harry Colbert, Jr., North News Editor in Chief (Moderator)
 

Harry Colbert, Jr. joined North News as Editor in Chief in 2020. Colbert is the winner of a number of awards for writing and photography, including four Minnesota Newspaper Association awards, three National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Awards, and three National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence nominations. He has also contributed as a reporter, columnist and editor for such outlets as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s The Village, Insight News (Minneapolis), Suburban Journals (St. Louis), St. Louis American, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joplin Globe, Metro Networks (St. Louis) and KDHX (St. Louis).

SESSION 1: A POLICY DISCUSSION (HYBRID)

Date and Time: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (CST)

Location: The Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom (5418 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, MN 55416)

About the Event

On August 31st, NEON hosted a 45-minute dynamic conversation to address policy objectives and support of small businesses and organizations like NEON who are working to provide access to financing, networks, and expertise for BIPOC-owned businesses.

Guest panelists included:

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Warren McLean, NEON President (Panelist)
 

Warren McLean joined NEON in 2018, bringing his conviction in the potential of entrepreneurs as a catalyst for community vitality. He leads NEON’s responsive strategic development, ensuring an organization that continually evolves to meet the needs of North Minneapolis and surrounding communities.

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Tina Smith, United States Senator (Panelist)
 

Tina Smith serves as United States Senator for Minnesota. She’s a fierce advocate for Minnesotans and is focused on continuing the progressive legacy of the seat she holds. Since coming to the U.S. Senate in 2018, Tina has worked to create economic opportunity for families, businesses, and communities across the state.

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Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General (Panelist)
 

Keith Ellison was sworn in as Minnesota’s 30th attorney general on January 7, 2019. He is the first African American and first Muslim American elected to statewide office in Minnesota. As the People’s Lawyer, Attorney General Ellison’s job is to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect. His guiding values are generosity and inclusion.

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Ilhan Omar, United States Representative (Panelist)
 

Ilhan Omar represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first woman of color to represent Minnesota and the first American refugee to join Congress. Omar believes in building a more inclusive and compassionate culture that allows for our economy to flourish and encourages civic participation.

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Harry Colbert, Jr., North News Editor in Chief (Moderator)
 

Harry Colbert, Jr. joined North News as Editor in Chief in 2020. Colbert is the winner of a number of awards for writing and photography, including four Minnesota Newspaper Association awards, three National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Awards, and three National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence nominations. He has also contributed as a reporter, columnist and editor for such outlets as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s The Village, Insight News (Minneapolis), Suburban Journals (St. Louis), St. Louis American, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joplin Globe, Metro Networks (St. Louis) and KDHX (St. Louis).

 

NORTHSIDE LIVE! FUNDRAISING RECEPTION

Date and Time: Friday, November 12, 2021 from 5:30pm- 9:00pm (CST)

Location: The Grand 1858 at Minneapolis Event Centers - 212 2nd St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our 2021 Northside Live! Reception. It was a successful night of fundraising and celebration of the diverse community of successful entrepreneurs NEON serves.

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Featuring

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Jasmine Brett Stringer is the award-winning author of “Seize Your Life: How to Carpe Diem Every Day,” and founder of the internationally recognized lifestyle brand Carpe Diem with Jasmine and the #SHARETHEMICMN movement. In these times of transformational change, Jasmine is on a mission to help people live empowered and authentic lives. Jasmine guides people in identifying their goals and achieving their personal definition of success through her Seize Your Life workshops and seminars.

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Jamecia Bennett is a national recording artist, drummer, producer, songwriter, CEO and lead singer of the 3x Grammy Award winning Sounds of Blackness. She has also received a NAACP Image Award for Best World Music. Jamecia starred in the 5x Tony Award show Caroline or Change and has directed a variety of shows and musicals throughout the Twin Cities. Jamecia is looking to resurrect music that heals and talks about love, pain, and the relationships of this generation.

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Sponsorship Opportunities

 

Questions and Sponsorship Opportunities

Please email Bev Ordahl at bev.ordahl@jmurphyassociates.com with additional questions, concerns or to learn how to become an event sponsor.

Sponsorship Resources and Downloads

Accelerator Sponsorship Packet ($1,500-10,000)

Change Maker Sponsorship Packet ($15,000-50,000)