Welcoming Community: Quarterly Program Update

2023 Quarter 4 Update

The final quarter of 2023 for the Welcoming Community program was marked by the successful hosting of the Third Annual Equity Summit, Belonging in Northeast Minnesota on October 4, 2023, at the Iron Trail Motors Event Center in Virginia, Minnesota. Participation in this year’s summit rose from approximately 130 in 2022 to 180 in 2023. 

Participants heard a keynote address from nationally recognized visual artist, Jonathan Thunder, after which they participated in a community discussion, called a Lyceum, on the topic of “Art and Belonging.” 

Organizations active in working towards creating welcoming and inclusive communities were highlighted during a lightning round before hosting lunch discussion tables where attendees could get a more in-depth understanding of their work. 

Incorporating feedback from last year’s summit, workshops focused on providing interactive learning and tools for participants to apply in their community, organization, or business. 

The summit concluded with a panel presentation featuring a discussion of challenges for families and individuals with perspectives from disabled and LGBTQIA+ community members. 

This year’s summit featured sponsors at several different levels, including: 

Elevate Sponsor: St. Louis County 

Engage Sponsor: Architecture Advantage 

Small Business and Nonprofit Sponsors: Audacity HR, Fairview Range, and Boundary Waters Connect 

Northspan’s Welcoming Community programming is also funded in part by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and the Northland Foundation. 

View a video compilation from the day produced by Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Ojibwemowining Digital Arts HERE! 

Other notable numbers from Q4:   

45 Community Outreach Meetings   

50 Resources Shared with 546 contacts across the region through the monthly newsletter