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Carrie Zelin Johnson

Program Officer, Education

Inspiration: “Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What working in this community means to me: “Because I live and work in the same community where I raised my family, I find it natural and rewarding to build authentic cross-cultural relationships and work towards community-based solutions. I enjoy collaborating directly with children, families, and teachers to address gaps and overcome disparities.

Carrie is a program officer on the community impact team, where she drives education outcomes and leads the Start Early Funders Coalition. She is working to build a community where all people thrive regardless of income, race, or place.

Carrie joined Greater Twin Cities United Way with an extensive background in education and mental health. She worked as a consultant for over 20 years helping organizations and schools improve equitable outcomes. As Way to Grow’s former director of education, Carrie led home visiting programming and accredited preschools by implementing culturally and linguistically responsive curriculums. She attended the University of Minnesota and earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture with a minor in cultural and social perspectives in urban and housing design. She also holds a master’s degree in education with a focus on leadership.

Carrie continues to volunteer in her local community with a focus on equity in education and mental health. Being a parent and working as a mental health practitioner gives her a unique perspective on systemic issues impacting children and families. Carrie and her husband Dunyell have five children and live in North Minneapolis where they enjoy traveling, gardening, and hiking.