31 May, 2020

NAZ and Design for A Difference-According to LiLu

Naz and Design for a Difference
According to LiLu

Design for a Difference and NAZ

As Interior Designers, our mission at LiLu Interiors is to use our talents and strengths to make the world a more beautiful place. This past week in Minneapolis we have seen a lot of pain and writing my blog this week feels difficult. When we are faced with a huge problem like systemic racism, it can feel like any small thing we do is not enough. I believe, however, that if all of us do one thing that we can effect change.
I urge you all to look at your resources and strengths and ask yourselves, what can I do to help heal, to help bridge the abyss of racial disparity in our city. I have done so and will continue to do so.
One thing I can do today through my blog is to help you become familiar with two organizations and ask you to support a project in North Minneapolis meant to help families and close the achievement gap for students of color in Minneapolis. These organizations are Design for a Difference and NAZ (Northside Achievement Zone)
Our friends and colleagues at Intersource Inc. are sponsoring a project, through Design for a Difference to transform much-needed space for the Northside Achievement Zone.
The tragic murder of Minneapolis community member George Floyd has brought the racial dynamics of our community to the forefront. I meant to write this blog back in March when I was able to tour North with the leadership of NAZ but I didn’t. Now, I felt I must.
Naz and Design for a Difference

A Holistic Approach to Supporting Scholars

I went on a tour with NAZ recently and their mission of permanently closing the achievement gap and ending generational poverty by partnering with entire families to provide opportunities for the families and students to reach their unlimited potential impressed me as a smart and wholistic way of starting to close the gap.
It is a fact that Minnesota has the widest achievement gap in the nation between white students and students of color. Minnesota also ranks last in the country for graduating African American high school students.
NAZ believes a culture of achievement can only be built from within the community, one family at a time. They work with families by collaborating with a variety of community-based organizations to help those families and their students through a holistic approach.
NAZ is a game-changing program that is closing the achievement gap. They focus on a healthy community, healthy food sources, stable housing, stable jobs, many of the things that contribute to a student succeeding in addition to coaching, tutoring, and goal setting for the students.
Naz supports scholars from pre-birth through college. Their high-touch team approach currently serves 1,100 families and 2,400 scholars. And those scholars out-perform similar students by 7 points in math and 11 in English on standardized tests.
The makeover that Design for a Difference and Intersource are sponsoring will transform the NAZ offices and provide the employees and families additional private meeting spaces, and areas for renewal. The 24 dedicated coaches who work with these families will have a functioning workspace so they can continue to strive for excellence in their demanding jobs.
The mood boards below show the intended design scheme and the budget for the project is $150,000. If you are moved to make a donation, please send a check to
Design for a Difference
Intersource Inc
275 Market St. Suite 190
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Please put Design for A Difference in the memo line.
Learn more about Design for a Difference and NAZ.
If you are moved to help NAZ directly with resources for students who are now distance learning. Please click on the link.
This is a small step but one I felt I could take. I hope you will look around your community too and search for ways to help.
Naz and Design for a Difference Naz and Design for A Difference

Comments on NAZ and Design for A Difference-According to LiLu
  1. Janet R Lorusso says:

    Thank you for sharing these incredible organizations that are impacting so many lives and helping to usher in a much needed era of systemic change.

  2. Christina Rodriguez says:

    Sounds like some good is happening. Love it!

  3. Mary Ann Benoit says:

    Thanks for sharing information on these 2 great organizations!

  4. Leslie Carothers says:

    Lisa…it’s wonderful that you are helping this organization to make a difference in the lives of these students. I had no idea that MN was ranked last in the nation for graduating black students from college.
    Hopefully, the work you are doing on the design end will help them become even more productive and contribute to their feeling of hope and well being.

  5. Darla Powell says:

    Love this post. Thank you for sharing those resources.

  6. Deborah Main says:

    Thank you for writing the post Lisa. I had NO idea MN ranked so low. The two programs you discuss sound like excellent ways to help. Thank for sharing this important info.

  7. Sheri Bruneau says:

    Thank you for sharing, Lisa. I also had no idea that MN ranks low. Hopefully the work of the organization will help for years to come!

  8. Alyse Eisenberg says:

    Hey Lisa! Thank for sharing this valuable information! I love the rendering and moodboards as well!

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