Creating opportunities and shaping communities where people can thrive is the mantra Angela Burns Finney lives by daily. A St. Paul native, Finney was raised in the Rondo community where she was infused with a generational legacy in community service. It is this legacy and the collective voices of mentors that guide her decisions of service, “it’s great to give back to your community, but for me, the most impactful opportunities are where you can help shape economic equity for individuals and business.” She currently serves as the vice-chair for both the YWCA St. Paul board and the City of St. Paul’s Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) program, and as a commissioner for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (U.S. Bank Stadium).
A natural connector, the mission of the YWCA St. Paul resonated with Finney on many levels. While serving in leadership roles for the Summit University Planning Council (SUPC), Finney seized the opportunity to increase awareness of the City’s resources for local businesses and nonprofits, as most were unaware of STAR funding from the city. The program awards loans and grants for capital improvement projects in St. Paul neighborhoods, funded by 50% of the city’s half-cent sales tax proceeds.
During a meeting at Golden Thyme Coffee with a staff and board leader to discuss joining the YW board – Finney was engaged in the programs and learned of some of the barriers they were trying to address. At that moment, she connected their needs with information about how STAR funding could help YW do some upgrades to the Oxford property. Before she knew it, they had convinced her to join YW’s board and she convinced them to apply for STAR funding. “It’s work that allows you to see the direct impact in the community that drives me,” said Finney. The mission, the programs, and YW’s connection to the Rondo community made joining the board an easy decision.
After two years of board service, Finney continues looking toward the future of YWCA St. Paul through the lens of a larger project, a new capital campaign. Through preparation and locating funding streams to support this project, Finney hopes that YWCA St. Paul becomes a community hub; a place for intergenerational resources, help for families in need, children in need, supportive job training, and improving healthy lifestyles. No matter what age or stage of life people are in, YWCA St. Paul is the go-to hub in the community.
Finney is hopeful that the community can get to the core of what YW is – she hopes everyone seizes the opportunity to break down barriers and build up the community.
Finney continues to live in St. Paul and says her most important work is being a mom to her children and GiGi to her grandbabies. She says, “Being a mom and GiGi are definitely the most rewarding aspects of my life, so I’m motivated to help make this community, this state, this world a better place for them.”