Common Ground

Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > News > Harvard’s Toni Griffin, founder of UrbanAC, Headlines Our 2021 Sunrise on the Mississippi

Harvard’s Toni Griffin, founder of UrbanAC, Headlines Our 2021 Sunrise on the Mississippi

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s breakfast benefit Sunrise on the Mississippi will be back on Thursday, September 9, 2021, with Toni Griffin as our virtual keynote speaker. Event details are taking shape, but as in 2020, it will be a safe and predominantly virtual event, and we are excited to again engage our passionate community of park supporters around the vital role parks play in transforming lives every day.

Toni L. Griffin is founder of urbanAC LLC, based in New York, a planning and design management practice that works with public, private and nonprofit partnerships to reimage, reshape and rebuild just cities and communities. Over the past ten years, the practice has successfully collaborated with several major U.S. cities on the cusp of just economic recovery, including Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Memphis, and Detroit. 

“Toni Griffin is that rare planner-designer who reveals and draws people into the connection between humanity, policy, equity, and the built environment,” says the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Project Implementation Director, Paul Bauknight. “Her groundbreaking work in Detroit was the precursor to the work our partners in Reimagining the Civic Commons are building on as they co-create neighborhoods and livelihoods in a community undergoing powerful and empowering change. Here in Minneapolis, we can learn from her, too.”

Also a Professor in Practice of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Ms. Griffin teaches design studios and seminars also rooted in issues of social and spatial justice. And she is founder and director of the Just City Lab, an applied research platform that investigates the ways design can have a positive impact on addressing the conditions of injustice in cities.

Bookmark our Sunrise page for more information about how you can get involved the event, including table sponsorship and tickets. Or contact Christine Moir, Development Manager at 612.354.7513 or

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.