“Every member of our board had ‘community engagement’ and ‘improving diversity and inclusion’ in their strategic plans but admitted we weren’t making headway on either goal. Parent engagement, especially with communities of color, was insufficient and our collaborative struggled to find ways to authentically engage youth. After working with Marnita’s Table we now collectively have hosted 46 tables to-date across our 15 communities and have engaged over 5,000 parents, youth and community members cross-culturally and inter-generationally. The social capital building is key to our community health, learning, safety and security. The work continues and must deepen with every intentional interaction, but without IZI, we wouldn’t be on this journey together.”

Mary Sue Hansen, Director, Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative

“Having IZI as our convening model of choice has led to the deepest, most meaningful community engagement process imaginable. When we first started working with Marnita’s Table, we had no idea how important this model would become in helping us reframe and focus our strategies and goals for the Catalyst Initiative. EVERY convening is outstanding, well planned, exceeds our goals and expectations, and reinforces the importance of using authentic engagement practices like IZI. For the Catalyst Initiative, working with Marnita’s Table has been a crucial component of the success of our three years of building integrative health and healing in community. I highly recommend this model.”

Suzanne Koepplinger, Director, Catalyst Initiative of George Family Foundation

“In less than seven weeks Marnita and her team were able to pull together seven amazing community feasts and Implicit Bias/MicroAggression trainings all around the state in communities where they had never been. Through the feasts and trainings, we were able to engage more than 900 community members and workforce development professionals allowing us to build relationships and hear voices not traditionally heard.”

Karen Francois, Assistant Commissioner, Economic Equity and Opportunity, MN DEED

“It often pushed us out of our comfort zone, participating in the Intentional Social Interaction (IZI) events has energized our staff and provided a model to connect with people across cultures in a deeper way that will allow for enhancing relationships and providing the best health care possible… The IZI model works!”

Dan Swenson, Administrator, CentraCare Health – Long Prairie

“The results are in. Intentional Social Action has exceeded goals whenever and wherever the touch points upon which it is built are deployed. Marnita’s Table is a truly innovative, cost-effective social profit business model. Marnita is a unique and visionary leader whom I’ve supported as a donor and a mentor for the past eight years.”

Hubert Joly, CEO, Best Buy

“Marnita’s Table brings the talent and expertise to introduce and incorporate cross-cultural methods and understanding to systems design and the workplace. Every foundation and business knows the explosion in future products and their work will have to command a multicultural, blended audience. Marnita’s Table has the knowledge, skills and successes to help guide those processes and maximize the potential of your work.”

Jo-Anne Stately, Director of Impact Strategy & Economic Vitality, Minneapolis Foundation

“You made it sound as though IZI could cure cancer. And then you did it. In three hours. Austin, MN will never be the same. We have a new normal.”

Laura Helle, Director, Vision2020

“I do an IZI in my home every single month and have for years. It’s changed the way we relate in our rapidly diversifying community. I never miss an opportunity to attend an IZI.”

Dave Kleis, Mayor, St. Cloud, MN

“Marnita’s Table has an amazing ability to create a setting where people are welcome, inspired, challenged, and have fun (all in one evening). We think the IZI model is fantastic – a civic inspiration for us at the Citizens League. The Table is helping us expand our networks – particularly in communities of color – and is moving the Citizens League toward a board, staff and membership that reflects the diversity of Minnesota. Best of all, it’s become a natural extension of our work, instead of a burdensome add-on. For example: we recently went through an interview process for summer interns, and ended up hiring a law student from the Dakota Nation we first connected with through an IZI.”

Sean Kershaw, Executive Director, Citizens League


All participant identifiers transcribed as self-reported on sign-in sheets.

“It brought me light.”

Foundation Coordinator at Blue Cross Foundation

“Thank you for broadening our knowledge and showing us how to reach out to others in a meaningful way. We found our philanthropic passion at the Table. We admire your passion and skill. The Table has helped us become better partners and allies.”

Margie & Phil Soran, Philanthropist/Founder Compellent Technologies

“I loved meeting new people and talking about the topics that I usually feel uncomfortable talking about. Marnita’s Table opened my eyes and showed me that you can always talk about these issues differently.”

African-American Student, 19

“I feel connected. I feel like my heart is open and barriers are down. This has opened my eyes to the beauty of other humans and how we are all connected. Thank you.”

Program Coordinator at Ceap

“This is the most wonderful day of my life. I’m 94 years old, from a little all white town in the middle of the prairie. I never thought I’d ever live to see and experience so many wonderful people of so many different backgrounds. Thank you.”

Participant, 94

“Marnita’s Table creates an environment in which people from different backgrounds suddenly find themselves talking to, not through, each other. Things happen. It is a singular talent.”

Steven Wells, Partner-in-Charge of Trial Group Worldwide, Dorsey Whitney LLP

“This is like a dream come true. We have needed this for a long time. Even when the police chief in St. Paul gathered people-it wasn’t with the freedom of self-direction and expression like we’ve had here today!”

Biracial Fundraiser, Baby Boomer

“I really like how open everyone is and how I’m not being looked at as a problem. I found my voice.”

African American Student, 15

“I loved this experience. I wish I could do this every day of my life.”

African-American Student, 20

“A place where strangers can recognize each other.”

Biracial Social Worker

“I have never done something like this and I have immediately been inspired.”

Caucasian Student, 21

Marnita's Table is a 501(c)3. Our 18-year old organization seeks to close gaps across difference through making Intentional Social Interaction (“IZI") / Digital Intentional Social Interaction (“dIZI”) the new pattern for society where Indigenous; Black and brown people; the disenfranchised; the poor; the LGBTQ+; those from historically and currently pushed to the margins communities; the traditionally unheard and excluded are actively and intentionally included and valued at the policy-making and resource-sharing table.