Promoting Equity and Education
The goal of Equity on Ice is to bring together like-minded nonprofit organizations that use the ice as a way to connect with the community, whether through athletics or the arts. Four nonprofit organizations, including Brownbody, DinoMights, Friends of Saint Paul Hockey, and the Saint Paul Police Activities League are actively engaged with the program.
In 2017, the Saint Paul Port Authority* was working hand-in-hand with the Minnesota Wild to build-out TRIA Rink, the team’s practice facility at 400 Wabasha Street, Saint Paul. The end result would be a hockey facility to rival any in North America. The Wild would manage the rink and schedule ice time. Go Wild, LLC would be the landlord. And, because the Wild only needed five percent of available ice time, there would be plenty available for community use.
Despite the excitement surrounding the project, it was soon apparent that wealthier teams, from across the Twin Cities, would quickly lock-in ice time for games, practices, and camps. This left limited time available for inner city youth. At this point, we knew we had to better. But how?
We realized we couldn't do it alone, so we connected with nonprofit organizations that had expertise in both youth development and leveraging hockey or figure skating as part of their community outreach. Early on, we were introduced to DinoMights. The Minneapolis nonprofit had found a way to successfully merge hockey with tutoring and mentoring. The results were impressive. Since 1995, 86 percent of participants graduated high school, a rate significantly higher than their peers. We were convinced their success could be duplicated in Saint Paul.
From there, we were introduced to three additional organizations. First was Brownbody. Brownbody’s mission is to build artistic experiences that disrupt biased narratives and prompt audiences to engage as active participants in the journey. Brownbody accomplishes this through a blend of modern dance, theater, social justice, and figure skating.
Next was the Saint Paul Police Activities League (PAL). PAL's mission is to build trust and understanding between police officers and youth. They accomplish their goal through education, athletics, and recreational activities.
Finally, we were introduced to Friends of Saint Paul Hockey. Their mission is to minimize financial barriers that keep kids from playing hockey. Much of their time is spent fundraising. Thanks to their efforts, youth from Saint Paul and Ramsey County, who want to play hockey, have better access to ice time for "open hockey," free introductory teams, equipment exchanges, scholarships, and access to training that is common practice in the suburbs but rare in the city.
Together, these organizations had the ability to bring equity to TRIA Rink. More importantly, doing so would further their respective missions. With this in mind, we created a plan that would enhance their purchasing power at TRIA Rink while providing a home base within Treasure Island Center. Funds were raised through Capital City Properties (CCP), the not-for-profit arm of the Saint Paul Port Authority, to secure ice time and
build-out the Securian Financial Equity on Ice Education Center.
*The Saint Paul Port Authority owns 25 percent of Treasure Island Center, through Go Wild, LLC, a joint venture partnership between Capital City Properties (the not-for-profit arm of the Saint Paul Port Authority) and Hempel Companies.