About UMN

 Our mission is to ensure that trained, committed grassroots leaders of color effectively organize on issues of concern in their communities, their regions, and the nation.  Our vision is to create a unifying force to address the threats to our civil liberties and to end discriminatory policies and practices that limit our access to political, economic and social power.

UMN is working to ensure our collective power as people of color is heard and felt. Our communities are too often on the receiving end of legislation, public policies, and discriminatory practices that directly and repeatedly limit access to economic opportunity and justice. Founded in 2002, UMN is committed to fully engaging communities of color as active participants in our democracy. UMN trains, organizes and empowers people of color to access effectively many of the resources that make a difference in people’s lives – from the Commonwealth’s schools, to its workplaces, to its financial institutions, to its voting booths.

Thanks for sharing your expertise with us and facilitating our retreat. You guys are great. We look forward to carrying on the agenda and bringing our relationship to a next level, meaning between NACVO and UMN!  Again thank you so much for your humanism and thank you for helping us focus and accomplish so much.”

— Gunga Tavares
Coordinated retreats conducted by UMN to found the National Alliance of Cape Verdean Organizations

We provide organizing, media, lobbying, advocacy, and political strategy to build the capacity and knowledge of campaigns and organizations locally and nationwide.  UMN has provided technical support to the Peace Development Fund, the American Bar Association, the AFL-CIO, All of Us or None, the Blackfoot Nation, National Alliance of Cape Verdean Organizations, among others.  We provided support on criminal justice reform to the cities of New York, Trenton, Baltimore, Honolulu, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Seattle, Chicago, and Minneapolis, the Council of State Governments, the State of California, and the Greater New Orleans Grassroots Community Coalition


UMN is a grass roots community organizing organization that lives on hope and commitment. UMN’s efforts are designed to strengthen democracy and re-build communities of color, in which the pernicious effects of discrimination continue to exist as barriers to equal opportunity.“ — Anne Josephson,
Kotin, Crabtree & Strong, LLP

UMN trains people of color to address the problems in their neighborhoods, in their regions, and in their country, and to work successfully for change. Our efforts are designed to strengthen democracy and to rebuild communities of color which continue to be pummeled by the pernicious effects of racism and resulting lack of economic, social and educational opportunity. Our goal is to create a unifying force to deal with the threats to our civil liberties and the discriminatory practices that limit our access to political, economic and social power.

We are trainers, building new skilled leaders and activists. We are technical assistance advisors building organizational capacity of organizations locally and nationwide. We are organizers and coalition builders. Our programs and people are changing the political landscape of Boston and Massachusetts.People and communities working together have and will make a difference. The collective clout of people of color represents millions of voters and billions of dollars – real economic power. Our collective power will renew hope and neighborhoods.

The Board of Directors forms policy, helps focus direction, assists with fundraising and is comprised of activists who have been involved in the UMN’s various activities. Many of the members of our board help with trainings.

Board of Directors

Althea Roach Thomas, Chair     

      Joe Leavey, Treasurer       

  Tracy Lopes Miller, Secretary 

 Michael Brown     

Anne Josephson  

   Jonathan Regis    

Daïna Estime

Our work would not be possible without the following support:

  • Access Strategies Fund
  • AJ Muste Foundation
  • Andrus Family Fund
  • Ben & Jerry’s Foundation
  • The Boston Foundation
  • Boston Women’s Fund
  • Burgess Urban Fund
  • Center for Labor and Education
  • City of Boston
  • Public Welfare Foundation
  • Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation

  • Claretian Social Development Fund
  • Josephine and Louise Crane Foundation
  • Foley Hoag Foundation
  • Fund for a Just Society
  • Haymarket People’s Fund
  • Genevieve McMillan- Reba Stewart Foundation
  • Hyams Foundation
  • Peace Development Fund
  • Twenty-First Century Foundation
  • The Lenny Zakim Fund

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required