Meeting Suyapa Miranda, Prepare + Prosper’s (P+P’s) new Executive Director — virtually, as we all work towards a healthy, COVID-19-free community — gives an impression of easy smiles over a solid foundation of determination. Behind her is house décor of a shining copper tree, and beside her is an overflowing bookshelf. In front is Suyapa, in a geometric black and white cardigan, side-lit by a window, where a plant leans towards the sunlight.

Suyapa brings experience developing and implementing programs that serve communities impacted by systemic economic injustice, with 20 years of experience in various capacities. She most recently served as the Director of Operations at New Native Theatre and as Executive Director for Saint Anthony Park Community Council. Her legacy includes developing an equity committee that implemented a framework for policies, projects, and issues rooted in equitable solutions.

“I was really up front as I interviewed for this position [at P+P]. I said I’m about building equitable systems, and if that’s not what P+P is about, then I’m not the right candidate. And I was told equitable systems are something P+P’s wants to see, too. And I was so excited to hear that.”

With a wealth of experience in building community engagement, passion for creating better policies and programs, and an eye for recognizing and reckoning with the complex systems that create inequity, Suyapa has found an ideal place to use her talents to create change.


Suyapa’s experience working at the capitol (with the Women’s Environmental Institute) to create sustainable environmental policies) equipped her with the tools for a top-down approach, changing systems on a large scale. However, without being grounded in the needs of the people affected by the systemic change, progress can be meaningless or outright harmful. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made sweeping tax reform, framing the change as providing a significant tax boost to low-income households. But this tax reform ultimately served to widen the racial wealth gap.

Suyapa is firmly grounded in community needs, having lived through economic experiences many of us are familiar with: growing up in a financially unstable household and working her way through school in unstable economy.

“I’ve lived in the shoes of many of our customers and clients. […] When I worked in case management, I could see that the people who designed the program had no idea what our customers and clients were going through.”

From that frustration she found her calling – to be a nonprofit leader, creating programs that recognize and meet the needs of the community, always built with the people in mind first.

A wholistic approach

In late 2008, Suyapa worked as an employment specialist at Merrick Community Services (one of P+P’s site partners during an in-person tax season) where she started to create wraparound programming.

“Our clients never came with just one problem. There could be housing instability, domestic abuse, food insecurity, transportation barriers, mental health. All these pieces or interconnections of pieces can be additional obstacles to decent jobs with livable wages.”

And getting a livable wage is always a major barrier to overcoming other struggles. Once, Suyapa received a call from a client, ecstatic to share that she’d found a job that paid $23 per hour, giving her the freedom to move to a neighborhood where she felt she and her family would be safe, removing a major anxiety from her life and providing a more secure environment for her family to thrive. Without the support of a livable wage, a person may be stuck in a neighborhood with few jobs, little transportation access, or a lack of childcare services. Without financial strength, there’s little opportunity to change one’s situation for the better.

Everything we do is interconnected.”

Suyapa’s work to meet whole needs, instead of singular needs, doesn’t end with her job; she also serves as the Vice Chairwoman of MNSure, seeking to strengthen the state’s healthcare system and to create a pathway to affordable health insurance for those Minnesotans uninsured.


A community isn’t just a group of people; it’s defined by the myriad connections or lack of connections between each individual. Suyapa starts with the individual.

“When I was an employment specialist, I might spend six months working with someone to really help build up their resume, to really understand fully who they were and build that relationship.”

By fostering authentic relationship-building, she creates space for vulnerability, empathy, and understanding. Towards the end of her four years of work with the Saint Anthony Park Community Council, Suyapa recalls:

“I remember seeing one of my board members helping to place reflective stickers on the back of our community member’s wheelchairs, and I had to step away to cry. I had worked so hard to humanize that experience – to not take these people and turn them into numbers. To have names. Eventually it wasn’t just ‘Suyapa has been thinking a lot about equity,’ and instead it became people directly working with their neighbors.”

Getting Started

As Suyapa rounds into her first month of working at P+P, she has kept a guiding question in mind:

“How can we position P+P to close the economic wealth gap in Minnesota?”

In order to build brighter financial futures and close the wealth gap, we need to create wholistic services within the organization’s scope, circling everything in reach regarding economic health. Prepare + Prosper doesn’t file an individual’s taxes and send them on their way; the organization provides a variety of financial tools and programs, aiming to meet the customer wherever they are in their journey. In

addition, Prepare + Prosper pushes for more equitable policies at state and national levels, like expanding access to the Working Family tax credit in Minnesota, allowing young workers to benefit from their labor at tax time.

“We’re here to build our community’s wealth, and we’re more than just a tax clinic. I’m looking forward to amplifying our other programs. I want to make FAIR a household name.