Skip to main content

Welcome, VISTA Cohort 2018-2019!

Hello, world!

My name is Max and I am the VISTA Leader for this year’s new C3 TwinCities cohort. Last year I served in C3 Twin Cities at the Eastside Financial Center (Lutheran Social Service of MN) as their Systems Change Innovator and decided to return as VISTA Leader because of how much I valued my cohort experience.

To any new people reading this blog, welcome! C3 Twin Cities is an AmeriCorps VISTA program sponsored by the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of MN to address social justice issues in the Twin Cities. VISTA members in this cohort are placed in organizations working in three focus areas: Education, Opportunity Youth, and Community Wealth Building.

Our 2017-2018 VISTA cohort laid a great foundation for our new members to build upon. Over the past month and a half the new cohort has gotten to know each other through fun activities such as a city-wide scavenger hunt, bowling, and a bike tour ending at a local brewery.

VISTAs Joey and Nkuli participating in the Minneapolis scavenger hunt

VISTAs Ellie and Maggie bowling

A stop along our Minneapolis bike tour











Check out our sites and members:

Education – Members at these sites are building ties between schools and their communities, making student-centered learning more relevant, and engaging parents for student success.

KIPP-MN – Maggie Simmons, Communications and Development Coordinator

Friendship Academy of the Arts – ML Kenney, Fundraising and Fundraising Coordinator

Patrick Henry High School – Joey Miranda, Program and Engagement Coordinator

Rêve Academy – Henry DeGrand, Strategy and Communications Specialist

Opportunity Youth – Members at these sites are connecting disengaged youth to career pathway and post-secondary opportunities.

Pohlad Family Foundation (cohort lead) – Eleanor Benson, Program Associate

Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness – David Travnik, Project Coordinator

Project for Pride in Living-LEAP Initiative – Mitch Hinojosa, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Hennepin Health Foundation-MVNA – Kadaisha Tolliver, Youth Voice and Social Media Specialist

YouthLink MN – Olivia Glen-Rayner, Career Pathways Center Coordinator

Community Wealth Building – Members at these sites are building economic development strategies that ensure local and broad-based ownership for vibrant local economies.

Nexus Community Partners (cohort lead) – Nkuli Shongwe, Community Wealth Building Program Coordinator

City of Lakes Community Land Trust – Madison McConnell, Project Specialist

Appetite for Change — Heidi Affi, Northside Fresh Food Partnership Coordinator

Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) – Anna Schmiel, Community Engagement Specialist

Merrick Community Services – Jose (Tony) Salazar Mejia, Eastside Workforce Advocate

Pictured from L-R, starting at top left: Kadaisha, Anna, Mitch, Maggie, Tony, Henry, ML, Max, Olivia, David, Madison, Coco, Ellie, Joey, Heidi

We are excited for the year (and the blog posts) that lie ahead! Keep track of our activities, impact and learning via this blog or our Facebook page!


For more information, please contact Madeline Geitz ( or Coco at (

Phillips Family Foundation

Author Phillips Family Foundation

More posts by Phillips Family Foundation