MHP is excited to welcome three new staff members! Our new Director of Communications and Research is Andy Birkey, an award-winning journalist and experienced communications professional formerly with the Minnesota AIDS Project (now JustUs Health). Tyrone Grandstrand and Cole St. Arnold joined our Community Development Team in January, bringing a wealth of knowledge around community development, planning, leadership, and more.
“We’re so pleased Andy, Tyrone, and Cole are part of our team,” said Executive Director Anne Mavity. “Their energy and passion for this work is infectious. They bring deep expertise and exciting ideas that I know will propel MHP forward and make us a stronger, more effective organization.”
From left: Tyrone, Andy, and Cole
Andy Birkey is a communications professional with 15 years of experience in both investigative journalism and organizational communications, all in the nonprofit sector. His data-driven investigative reporting has won local and national awards for accuracy and impact. Andy drives MHP’s communications and research efforts to ensure communities have the information they need to improve the quality and affordability of housing. Outside MHP, Andy enjoys traveling with his husband, checking out Minnesota’s new breweries, and contributing data to citizen science projects around the state.
“MHP has an incredible track record of expertise and advocacy around affordable housing,” Birkey said. “I'm excited to be in a position to communicate that legacy as well as ensure communities have the information and data they need to develop and maintain quality affordable housing.”
In his previous roles as a city council member in Grand Forks, North Dakota and a city planner in Fargo, Tyrone Grandstrand worked to positively impact people’s lives. Tyrone helped found the North Dakota’s first and third Community Land Trusts. He has a Master’s degree in public policy focused on policy analysis, housing development, real estate finance, data visualization, and community development from the Milano School of Management, Policy, and Environment at The New School.
As Community Development Manager at MHP, Tyrone provides direct technical assistance and capacity building to local communities to ensure they can meet their community development and housing development goals. “Communities know that in the wealthiest nation in the world, working families shouldn’t have to struggle,” Grandstrand said. “I am excited to be part of a team helping communities stand together and realize their own power to accomplish any goal.”
Raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cole St. Arnold wishes there was an easier way for green chile to be available in Minnesota. He has previously worked in the nonprofit sector in Colorado and Arizona, fostering opportunities for higher education and community development. Cole is an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and is also a relation of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Lake Superior Chippewa. He’s a proud University of Colorado at Boulder alum and also holds an MPA from the Arizona State University Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. He currently serves on the boards for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network National and Bii Gii Wiin Community Development Loan Fund. In his free time, Cole, his wife Cate, and their corgi, Dr. Finndiana Bones, enjoy the great outdoors of Minnesota.
Cole also serves as a Community Development Manager. At MHP, he works alongside rural communities and Native nations working to develop shared solutions for community development and affordable housing. “When we put our minds together and work for future generations, great things are possible for our communities,” Cole said.