Month: November 2015

You Can Make a Real Difference in a Child’s Life

TJ and Paul

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, CommonBond Communities raised more than $43,000 on Give to the Max Day!

Every week during the school year at CommonBond Communities all around the metro, there is a flurry of activity between 3-6pm, when kids get home from school and head over to the Advantage Center to begin working on their homework and connect with staff, mentors, and friends. You can be part of both of these inspiring experiences.

This year, our Give to the Max Day campaign raised funds to support the Study Buddies program, an on-site, one-on-one mentoring program that pairs youth with a caring adult for the purpose of academic advancement and personal support. It’s a once a week commitment during the academic year.  As Co-Managing Partner of Dominium, one of the country’s largest affordable housing development and management companies in the nation, and a pretty busy guy, Paul Sween became a Study Buddy last year.  Paul says, “I’ve done other volunteer work with boards and I wanted to do something working one on one with someone. My Study Buddy volunteering really fits the bill!” You can make a real difference in a child’s life.  Paul summed it up well, “I think I get more benefit than my study buddy.” As you can see from the photo above, Paul’s study buddy TJ seems to get a lot out of his time with Paul too.

Here’s how you can still support the Study Buddy program:

  1. Make a gift today!
  2. Become a Study Buddy,  Contact Volunteer Manager Kristina Kithinji at

Where Parks Start is Where Communities Start

Whittier Group

The inception of the Whittier playground began in early 2014, when leaders from Calvary Church (, located across the street from CommonBond’s Whittier Cooperative in Minneapolis, met with Property Manager, Alyssa Kiffmeyer, to talk about how to interest families in their new tutoring program and engage more people in the neighborhood. One of the things Whittier residents had wanted for many years – a playground – was shared with the group. The Calvary board realized what a playground could provide for the 100+ young CommonBond residents and neighborhood children and committed a $10,000 matching gift challenge for the project. What happened next was pretty exciting.

CommonBond’s goal was to build the playground in the summer of 2015, but we were still searching for someone to match funds.  Thankfully, Donnie Brown, the Community Affairs Director at the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) called CommonBond looking for a project they could both donate to, and be a part of.  It was the perfect opportunity for their group.

On a brisk and sunny day in October, seventeen MAAR members, several Co-op residents, and some amazing contractors helped build a new playground for Whittier. “We’re giving back” said Dave Philp, President of the MAAR Foundation.  “Where parks start is where communities start, so we’re going to have families playing out here for years to come”.

Our neighbors from Calvary, current and past MAAR leadership, a number of neighborhood businesses, and CommonBond’s CEO Deidre Schmidt were on hand to be a part of the transformation.

If your organization or group is interested in being part of a project like this, please let us know.  We’ll find the right match between your interests and the needs of our residents.  Contact Julia Dangerfield at