Central Corridor Funders Collaborative

The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative (2007 – 2016) was an innovative partnership supported by 14 local and national foundations seeking to create a “corridor of opportunity” along Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT).

The Funders Collaborative supplemented the programs and grantmaking of its member foundations by working with community organizations, the business sector and public agencies to encourage collaboration, planning and investment “beyond the rail.”

The Green Line opened in June 2014, and the Funders Collaborative concluded its work two years later in June 2016 as planned.

The Funders Collaborative was founded with a belief in light rail’s potential for benefiting the people and places closest to the line. The Funders Collaborative envisioned stable, thriving neighborhoods throughout the corridor that reflect community identities and link all people to regional opportunities and local amenities.

Members of the Funders Collaborative included:

All members provided funds to staff and operate the initiative. Those marked with an asterisk provided resources to the “Catalyst Fund,” which allowed for flexible grantmaking around priority issues.

Since 2008, the Catalyst Fund has made more than 160 grants, totaling nearly $12 million and leveraging more than $54 million of additional investment.

How We Worked

Working with others — local resident organizations, community groups, nonprofit and business coalitions and public agencies — the Funders Collaborative sought to create and implement corridor-wide strategies aimed at ensuring the adjoining neighborhoods, residents and businesses broadly shared in the benefits of public and private investment in the Green Line. The Funders Collaborative focused on four main areas of activity:

  • Access to Affordable Housing
  • Strong Local Economy
  • Vibrant, Transit-Oriented Places
  • Effective Communication and Collaboration
two women work in a garden

The Funders Collaborative carried out its work by:

Promoting learning so decisions affecting the Corridor are well informed and far-sighted. This was done through shared learning events with diverse corridor stakeholders; commissioning and sharing research; learning from other communities; and presenting our experiences to other funders.

Building shared solutions through corridor-wide working groups and community partnerships focused on outcomes in four major investment areas. Through investment in these groups, the Funders Collaborative encouraged learning, innovative thinking, creating corridor-wide strategies and goals, and effective implementation of the shared solutions they developed.

Investing capital in strategies, policies and programs aimed at achieving corridor-wide benefits. These resources were separate from, and a supplement to, the programs and initiatives of individual member foundations.

Green line metro train

Working Groups

Working Groups were at the heart of the Funders Collaborative model. They convened and supported nine active corridor-wide working groups with members from the public, non-profit and private sectors.

Forming at different stages of the Green Line’s life cycle, these working groups came together to learn, develop joint strategies, to prioritize and lead implementation activities from those strategies, and to measure results. This approach helped to galvanize many voices around key issues and led to the creation of corridor-wide plans and strategies that could be implemented at multiples scales.


Read the final Central Corridor Funders Collaborative report, About Community, Not a Commute

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Watch the final video

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Review changes along the Green Line in our 2016 Central Corridor Tracker

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See a list of our grants from 2008 – 2016

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Video archive

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Photo archive

Linked Resource