Apply by July 5, 2019 to join the Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps!

Positions may be filled in advance of the deadline. Apply early!

Community Equity and Economic Opportunity VISTA

Ecolibrium3

Duluth is experiencing a workforce shortage. For example in Q2 of 2018 there were about 1700 more jobs than workers available to fill them. At the same time, unemployment for African Americans and Native Americans in Duluth remains high – 23% for African Americans and 13% for Native Americans, as opposed to just under 3% for the population as a whole. Poverty rates are similarly high for these two groups, and despite a range of efforts over the last decade these disparities have not changed. Ecolibrium3 is a nonprofit that works at the intersection of Energy, Equity, and Economic Vitality. This AmeriCorps position will work with Ecolibrium3, the City of Duluth, and nonprofit partners to build community capacity to reduce these disparities by expanding partnerships, researching best practices, and developing a strategic approach to change.

City Planning VISTA

City of Duluth

As a member of the City of Duluth Community Planning team, build capacity, efficiency, and transparency. The VISTA member will develop a framework for analysis of the success of the Imagine Duluth 2035 Comprehensive Plan policies and work with Duluth’s planning team to implement the plan.  The VISTA member will gain experience working at a local government level to expand equity, develop a plan to review fairness in policies by engaging different community members, collect and interpret field data, participate in program activities and grant development, and coordinate with external partners. In this visible role, influence how a community addresses housing, economic development, health, open spaces, and energy.

Food Sovereignty VISTA

Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa

 

The Fond du Lac Reservation is located next to Cloquet, MN just 20 miles southwest of the city of Duluth. The Treaty of 1854 between the United States Government and the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa established the Reservation, comprised of 101,400 acres. The government is overseen by the Reservation Business Committee, comprised of five popularly elected officials. The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has over 40 programs including, but not limited to, a K-12 School, Head Start and Early Head Start, Human Services and Social Services, Resource Management and Transportation. In addition to full government services, the Band also runs enterprises such as a Gas Station, two Casinos and Propane Company. The Ecolibrium3 Resilience Corps member will work to build capacity with the Band’s Planning Division and collaboratively create a new Agricultural Department for the Fond du Lac Band. The member will lead evaluation of food sovereignty efforts.

 

Public Health Specialist VISTA

St. Louis County

To facilitate true collaboration among health care systems, public health, human services and the nonprofit sector in our community, a joint community health needs assessment process was developed and conducted in northeastern Minnesota. Organizations including St. Louis County Public Health, nonprofit hospitals Essential Health and St. Luke’s, Generations Health Care Initiatives, Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community, and Lake Superior Community Health Center, have aligned their resources, skills, expertise and interests to collaborate towards a healthier community.

Community Energy Program Developer VISTA

Ecolibrium3

Ecolibrium3 is an organization that has been recognized nationally for developing innovative approaches and partnerships to tackle difficult community problems. A major challenge in the northwoods of Minnesota is energy poverty experienced by low-income families. Using design-thinking approaches, the Utility Partnership and Low-Income Program Developer VISTA will create a unique partnership between local utility providers (ComfortSystems, Minnesota Power, delivered fuel providers), governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations to establish a groundbreaking cross-sector approach to alleviating energy poverty. The VISTA member will strategically engage service providers, develop best practices and evaluation methodologies to target resources, and expand outreach to decrease families facing “heat or eat” situations. The member will have access to energy program data and staff, coordinate community engagement to define opportunities and challenges from the customer’s perspective, and receive design-thinking mentorship from nonprofit and utility conservation program designers. The VISTA member will align utility program and other low-income services to create a seamless experience for economically challenged households, develop outreach strategies to match need with resources, and create integrated pilot approaches that can leverage existing and proposed programs.

Community Learning Advocate VISTA

Duluth Children's Museum

 

The Duluth Children’s Museum believes that children need free play time to discover new things about themselves and the world around them.  Their exhibits are designed with little instruction to give kids the freedom to find their own solutions. Programs and exhibits provide opportunities for children to try out their passions, to test their own abilities, and to explore new topics. Spaces are designed to encourage imaginations- dress up, pretend, invent stories and songs. There are no limits to how you play! As fun as  The Duluth Children’s Museum makes learning, they know they are in a serious business.  In Duluth, there is an opportunity gap experienced by families with lower incomes. This opportunity gap can often result in loss of learning during school breaks, placing children further behind others that have more resources.

 

Community Disaster Resiliency VISTA

Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation

 

The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation is a member of the 10-state Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership. Through this partnership, the Community Foundation has convened community leaders across multiple sectors with the goal of building capacity to mitigate the impact of, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Focus is particularly on increasing the disaster resilience of community members experiencing poverty, homelessness, mental and physical disabilities, and language barriers. This group of community leaders is forming a network with the goal of increasing disaster resilience.  Ecolibrium3’s VISTA member will build the capacity of this network and further its goal by strengthening and establishing whole-community systems and partnerships.

 

Lincoln Park Innovation Zone Developer

Ecolibrium3

Ecolibrium3 is a Duluth-based organization that has been nationally recognized for development of innovative approaches to difficult problems. Our use of design-thinking to effectively empower people and create unique partnerships allows us to develop strong community relationships and impactful programs. Working in concert with the Duluth Mayor’s Office, Ecolibrium3 is applying our approach to the new Lincoln Park Innovation Zone. The goal of the Lincoln Park Innovation Zone is to revitalize a neighborhood that has suffered from historical disinvestment. The neighborhood has seen expanded economic interest and has been recently become #CraftingSomethingGreat, as smaller craft-based businesses have relocated or started in the neighborhood. Through the Innovation Zone concept, the VISTA member will work to ensure that revitalization of the neighborhood business district results in expanded opportunities for low-income neighborhood residents. The Innovation Zone Developer will build the capacity of residents and businesses to define ongoing issues and secure partnerships and programs needed to address the challenges. We seek a curious person who measures their success in action, not just conversation. The VISTA will help build partnerships, develop innovation and leadership curriculum, and support neighborhood-led projects resulting from design thinking. We believe that our neighborhood holds the wisdom to reduce poverty, increase health and wellness, build social cohesion, and live vibrant lives. Help us unleash our power!

Northeast Minnesota Agriculture and Food Systems VISTA

University of Minnesota Extension

The VISTA member will collaborate with individuals &organizations of the agriculture & food systems network to 1) Unite the groups & individuals working on food system in NE Minnesota. With a focus on hunger, access, & production issues, find ways to connect & coordinate urban & rural food system efforts. Increase the collective function through this coordination & build capacity; 2) Establish a representative Agriculture & Food Systems Committee to coordinate information gathering, food systems education, food hunger & access, & production systems issues. Establish organizational operations with and for the group including group process, identifying collective goals & objectives, & developing a short & long term plan of action; 3) Identify models that work to alleviate hunger, models of successful food access options, & models of locally owned & produced food systems with an assumption of being equitable, just & sustainable. Economic assessments should accompany these models.

Energy Program and Renewable Energy VISTA

Ecolibrium3

Working to create an equitable deep decarbonization of our economy, this VISTA position will advance programs that address energy poverty & reduce the health concerns related to unsafe housing faced by low-income, elderly, & disabled individuals, the member will: 1.Assess the current state of Ecolibrium3’s efforts in recruiting and training volunteers for Giving Comfort at Home program, and create or revise policies, procedures, and documents to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of volunteer recruitment and retention. 2. Identify and expand partnership with volunteer and faith-based organizations, efficiency material suppliers, and local utilities to develop long-term in-kind and financial resources for the GC@H program to assist up to 50 households per year. 3. Develop an overall policy, procedures, and data management guide for the GC@H program that reflects best practices and train program staff to implement. 4. Coordinate community involvement in the development of a 40kW solar array to benefit veterans and low-income households.

Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps Leader

Ecolibrium3

The Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps began in 2017 with ten members focused on expanding capacity of local organizations and government agencies to address intractable community issues. Member positions range from working with City government on building equity and health into community plans, to working on community development at arts and neighborhood-based organizations, to combating opioids and hunger. In 2019, the Ecolibrium3 will have sixteen members with additional focus on closing the opportunity gap experienced by children in poverty, expanding partnerships with the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, and defining the Lincoln Park Innovation Zone. The Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps uses its depth of community knowledge to identify which levers may produce the largest impact on reducing poverty. We seek a VISTA Leader that can help develop the support resources needed for VISTA members to succeed in their positions and is interested in developing their own special project for capacity development. The VISTA Leader should have excellent communication skills, be flexible, be able to empathize with members and community representatives to identify issues and possible solutions, and be a strong ambassador for AmeriCorps. The VISTA Leader will serve as project manager for the collaborative project.

Children and Families Outreach/Policy VISTA

Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative

 

Increase and deepen partnerships with organizations and volunteers to improve health and social connectedness among young families. Develop a sustainable funding plan for LPCFC that will continue to advance child and family-centered programs in health, nutrition, and culture at a neighborhood-level. Key responsibilities include: 1. Recruiting, training, orienting, and placing volunteers within LPCFC programs. 2. Assisting with development of evaluation tools for assessing the success of the volunteer efforts, 3. Becoming familiar with LPCFC’s programs, activities, and priorities and how resources can support them, 4. Developing, recording, and institutionalizing policies and procedures, and 5. Expanding and developing key partnerships to advance LPCFC mission to address health, food access, and anti-poverty issues.

Garden Education and Volunteer Specialist VISTA

Duluth Community Garden Program

The Duluth Community Garden Program strives to cultivate healthy neighborhoods by providing access to land, resources, and community. DCGP manages 20 gardens (255 rentable plots), with the goal of building a garden within every 10 blocks. Garden plots are available on a sliding scale basis, to ensure that food growing and resources are accessible to all regardless of income. DCGP provides educational resources and community building to its gardeners and members. The DCGP VISTA, will create a more sustainable organization through agency capacity building and creating organizational infrastructure to provide opportunities for healthy futures to low-income Duluthians. This will include developing and implementing a robust volunteer program, creating an effective and evaluated educational program for gardeners, and developing plans to secure funding for these programs. 

Community Communications & Systems Impact Specialist

Ecolibrium3

Ecolibrium3 is a Lincoln Park based nonprofit organization with a mission to lead and inspire change in our community toward and equitable and sustainable future. We accomplish this mission through two areas of focus. The first is serving as the neighborhood convening organization in Duluth’s low-income Lincoln Park neighborhood, working on all aspects of sustainable revitalization that advances opportunities for residents and businesses. The second is a focus on community resilience including aspects of energy transition, housing stock improvement, economic security, and health. Ecolibrium3’s core competencies include innovation, integration, and inspiration. The Ecolibrium3 Community Communications Specialist will advance understanding of the programs, projects, and approaches of Ecolibrium3 through different media channels. The member will produce a systems map to inform program development, develop and test messages to improve delivery of program services, and create community engagement systems to advance community problem solving. The Community Communications Specialist will learn design-thinking skills, develop appropriate activities for integrating into neighborhood planning processes and projects, and work with underrepresented individuals to ensure action and impact around neighborhood/community identified issues of energy poverty, health, access to food, affordable housing, sustainability, and economic vitality.

Creative and Healthy Community Building VISTA

Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community

The Zeitgeist Center for Arts & Community is an arts and community development organization working to build a healthy, connected community empowered to create and thrive. We bring the arts and culture to all of our programs and projects, as well as a commitment to the natural environment and to building equity in our community. Much of our current work is dedicated to advancing access to fresh and healthy food, expanding equitable multi-modal transportation, and creating cultural and artistic opportunities through the facilitation of the Zeitgeist Arts Building – a community building designed to produce and present performance art and independent film. We are seeking a candidate who is passionate about creative community development. This person should be flexible in the type of work they will be participating in. The work will include building capacity with our Executive Director, as well as work to enhance our ability to tell the full Zeitgeist story through communications and programming in partnership with the Communications & Creative Director. The member will lead evaluation of current community volunteer efforts and build systems to make our work more powerful. Successful candidates will be comfortable in an office environment collaboratively working in a shared space. They will have basic computer skills and some experience writing reports or papers. They will be willing to work with volunteers, make recruitment calls, and interact with community members in a direct way. They will be self-motivated and able to work independently. The expected work hours are generally Mon-Fri during the day, but there is flexibility to accommodate needs and there will be some nights and weekends. Ultimately, this experience will offer an opportunity to see multiple perspectives within a non-profit that does diverse and multifaceted work. This position will explore program development, communications capacity, volunteer recruitment, and organizational & program evaluation.

Meet Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps Members

City Planning VISTA

Mollie Hinderaker is serving with the City of Duluth’s Planning and Economic Development Department. Originally from Minneapolis, Mollie studied Architecture and Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. However, it didn’t take long for Mollie to become a converted Duluthian. Mollie has enjoyed the variety of trails and watercolor painting opportunities since moving to Duluth. With past experience in public service at the State and County level, Mollie has appreciated the opportunity to engage community members on local issues and carry out projects for the City’s newly adopted Comprehensive Plan. So far in her service, Mollie has worked […]

2018-2019 Community Energy Program VISTA

Lucas Giese is serving as the Community Energy Program Developer at Ecolibrium3, working on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that especially focus on low-income and vulnerable people. Originally from Eau Claire, WI, Lucas studied at St. John’s University where he received a degree in Political Science, with a focus on climate policy and philosophy. After spending a year teaching English in India and Sri Lanka, Lucas moved to Duluth to continue to work at the intersection of environmental issues and social justice. 

2018-2019 Childrens’ Museum Community Learning Advocate VISTA

Paul Schulzetenberg is the Duluth Children’s Museum Community Learning Advocate VISTA. He graduated from The College of St. Scholastica, earning degrees in Biology and Philosophy. After graduating, Paul has been serving though AmeriCorps at a variety of locations around Duluth, including the Duluth Children’s Museum, Laura MacArthur Elementary School, and Hartley Nature Center. As an Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps member, Paul is working with the Duluth Children’s Museum to develop strategies and programs to enhance the Museum’s capacity to serve families in need. This entails establishing a dialogue between families and community agencies in the Lincoln Park area in order to […]

2018-2019 Garden Education and Volunteer Specialist VISTA

Maris Dishno is serving as the Garden Education and Volunteer Specialist at the Duluth Community Gardens Program. Maris is a proud Wisconsinite and graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point with a degree in Political Science and minors in Environmental Geography and Spanish. After graduation, she moved to Albany, NY to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Schenectady County Center for Juvenile Justice. Maris found her passion in helping others by following her life motto: making a difference in the world one life at a time. At a young age, she discovered this desire in helping others when she […]

2018-2019 Community Disaster Resiliency VISTA

Devin Low is serving in the Community Disaster Resiliency VISTA position with the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. He is a recent graduate of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. Devin’s interest in disaster resiliency came from classes he took on Emergency Management, Homeland Security, and atmospheric science classes during his time in Lowell. As an Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps member, Devin has focused on making sure that vulnerable people in the Duluth community have access to the resources that they need for disaster response and recovery. He has been building a new READY North Network of agencies […]

2018-2019 Fond du Lac Reservation Food Sovereignty VISTA

Ellen Friedrich is serving as an Ecolibrium3 VISTA Corps member working with food sovereignty at the Fond du Lac Reservation. Ellen is a native of Northeast Iowa. She has degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Iowa State University and a passion for conservation, cultural diversity, human rights, and the environment. She recently spent a year in Madagascar as a teacher and farmhand at an agricultural school designed to enable aspiring farmers to be able to meet nutritional needs, improve their economic standing, and care for their land. Ellen can frequently be found hiking, exploring, and pouring over books. Ellen […]