Minneapolis Urban League Board elects new chair, officers

Mark Ryan

The Minneapolis Urban League (MUL) announced June 23 that Mark Ryan, president of Carl Bolander & Sons Construction, was elected chair of the board of directors for a one-year term beginning July 2017. Ryan has served on the board since 2014 and demonstrated strong commitment to MUL’s mission and programs.

Ryan’s unanimous election by the board reflects their confidence in his ability to partner with Steven Belton, president and chief executive officer, in leading the organization under a new strategic framework and mission.

Ryan replaces Clinton Collins, Jr., managing attorney, GEICO staff counsel. Collins retired from the MUL Board of Directors at the conclusion of their June 2017 meeting. He served on the board for more than six years, the last two as chair.

Also retiring is Bishop Richard Howell, pastor of Shiloh Temple International Ministries, who served as board secretary. Collins and Howell both are tireless advocates for the people and communities served by MUL and are credited with helping strengthen the governance and management structures of the organization. They were presented with plaques honoring their years of outstanding service as directors and officers of MUL.

“We are grateful to Clinton Collins for his leadership of the board and with gratitude anticipate continued strong leadership from Mark Ryan,” said CEO Belton. “It’s an exciting time for the Minneapolis Urban League.

“We will unveil our new strategic framework over the next few months, and I promise it is bold, laser-focused, relevant and timely. Our board of directors plays a critical role in setting priorities, providing oversight and securing resources to assure our success as unapologetic advocates for African descendants in the Twin Cities metropolitan area,” Belton said.

Clinton Collins, Jr

The board also elected Tom Evers, executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, to serve as treasurer and Mariah Owens, principal of MCO Communications, to serve as secretary. Both will serve one-year terms as officers and may be re-elected to additional one-year terms.

In addition to Ryan, Evers and Owens, current MUL board members include: Ben Aeilts, regional sales manager at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Winnie Brown, president of the Minneapolis Urban League Guild; Al Coleman, principal attorney at Gray Plant Mooty; Paris Ford, associate director at Sojourner Truth Academy; Lance Hornaday, general manager at Knutson Construction; Dan McConnell, business manager at Minneapolis Building & Construction Trades; Jayne Miller, superintendent of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board; and Richard White, director of operational risk management at Ameriprise Financial.

About the MUL

The Minneapolis Urban League (MUL) is a community-based organization and affiliate of the National Urban League. Founded in 1926, the MUL mission is to link African descendants, other people of color, and low-income households to opportunities that result in access to education, career pathway employment, health and social services, housing and other quality of life and human development resources in support of economic success and the achievement of self-sufficiency.

Further, MUL serves as a convener, collaborative partnership builder and facilitator effectively advocating for policies that eradicate racial disparities.

The organization’s framework for service is called “Gateway to Opportunity,” which is comprised of four intersections deemed essential for overcoming personal, educational, employment, social and economic life barriers. They are: College Readiness & Career Development, Workforce Solutions, Health and Wellness and Wealth Accumulation.

The goal of these intersections is to derive solutions and execute quality programs that solve educational, employment, health, wellness and economic disparities that inhibit service seekers’ abilities to maximize their potential.


— This information and photos provided by the Minneapolis Urban League.