The Whittier Neighborhood

The Whittier Neighborhood, named for the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, is 81 square blocks one mile south of downtown Minneapolis. Whittier is bounded by Franklin Avenue to the north, Interstate 35W to the east, Lyndale Avenue South to the west and Lake Street to the south (view a map).  Approximately 15,000 people live in the neighborhood.  It is 90% rental. 53% Caucasian, 47% people of color.  The main commercial corridor is Nicollet Ave – also known as Eat Street in recognition of all the ethnic restaurants and groceries. Lyndale Ave and 26th St are also commercial corridors shared with other neighborhoods.

Whittier’s modern history began in 1849 as a streetcar suburb of Minneapolis, driven by the well-to-do in the Washburn – Fair Oaks Historic District.  Whittier is now popular for food, arts, and institutions.  Some popular destinations and restaurants in the Twin Cities region are here, including: Eat Street, Lyn-Lake, Jungle Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  More retail links are in the Business Directory.

The Whittier Alliance

The Whittier Alliance was formed by a small coalition of Whittier residents, businesses, agencies and religious institutions in January 1977.  It is a non-profit 501(c)3 neighborhood organization serving the residents and businesses of Whittier.  The Whittier Alliance is a neighborhood resource. The Alliance responds to business and resident inquiries and facilitates meetings to inform the neighborhood about changes, developments, safety issues, neighborhood funds for property improvements, events, etc. that impact the livability and prosperity of the Whittier neighborhood.

As in its formative years, the Alliance prevails on the civic involvement of neighborhood volunteers. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected by the Whittier residents and businesses, and daily operations are performed by the Executive Director, Community Organizer and a part-time administrative assistant. The organization facilitates meetings, does outreach and provides resources to improve the livability, economic and housing status of the neighborhood. It also advocates on behalf of the neighborhood to governmental bodies. City-wide, the Whittier Alliance is respected for its ability to mobilize residents, businesses and organizations to voice their opinions and concerns in a manner that encourages collaboration and creative outcomes.

Only residents and businesses registered in the neighborhood can become a voting member at the committees.

Mission, Vision, Role

The Alliance expresses Whittier’s goals and dreams and to address neighborhood needs and concerns.

  • Mission: The Whittier Alliance is dedicated to building a flourishing and distinctive neighborhood.
  • Vision: World Class Neighborhood.

The organization is currently and primarily funded by Phase 2 Neighborhood Revitalization (NRP) Funds.  The Whittier Neighborhood NRP Action Plan developed in 2003 & 2004 by Whittier residents, businesses and property owners and approved by the City Council in March of 2005. Based on the Action Plan, a portion of the funds are dedicated to operational expenses of the organization and the majority of the funds are dedicated to the neighborhood identified strategies of Housing, Youth, Business & Local Economy, Safety and Community Building.  The funding cycle is a 5 year cycle.  The strategies and associated activities of the Action Plan are initiated by the Whittier Alliance but frequently subcontracted to a provider who has expertise in an area. Learn the historic role of the NRP Action Plan.

For a detailed view of current Whittier Alliance goals and how you can be involved, see the Strategic Plan