Tawanna Black


Center for Economic Inclusion


2021, Alumni: Tawanna Black’s background in both corporate jobs and philanthropy helps anchor the mission of the St. Paul-based nonprofit. It has a data-driven approach to advocating for expanding business opportunities for people of color. Some big names have stepped up to provide support, including U.S. Bank and JPMorgan Chase.

2019, Overachiever: Good things are happening on Minneapolis’ North Side, and Tawanna Black is a major force in the economic development taking root. Beyond her already-critical role as executive director of the 20-member Northside Funders’ Group, Black this year founded the Center for Economic Inclusion. With a mission “to boldly advance an inclusive regional economy,” the new center is convening area leaders for information-sharing and dialogue, aligning public and private investments in housing and transit to better support jobs and economic development, and elevating the benefits of “shared prosperity” projects that take advantage of community assets and build wealth in communities of color.

2017, Emerging: Tawanna Black leads Northside Funders Group, which is trying to bring a new collaborative philosophy to neighborhood philanthropy. North Minneapolis has been grappling with economic disparities for decades. Collectively, the foundations and corporations that are members of Northside Funders invest $12 million to $17 million annually in local programs, but were seeing mixed results. Northside Funders looks to bring focus to funding through targeted, coordinated investments. As an engaged and involved leader, Black is bringing a higher profile to Northside Funders and its work.