Tonya Draughn was born and raised in Minnesota, graduated from St Agnes High School, and attended Fisk University in TN and Hamline University in MN. She has had training with community partners such as Wellstone, MN Council of Nonprofits, Public Policy Project, and Nexus. She is a graduate of community leadership programs: ASANDC Power One Plus One, Community Action Public Policy
Training, and the Boards and Commission Leadership Institute. Tonya is a working member with Everybody's In, a community educators group, and is a board member of The Village PTSA, an African American Parent Teacher Student Association. In 2017, she was selected by St Paul City Council to sit on a Legislative Advisory Committee on Poverty to make recommendations for the city to help those that are experiencing poverty.
Tonya is the Executive Director of Uplift MN. Uplift MN is a grassroots organization that strives to uplift underserved communities empowering them to use their voice in seeking justice and equity in policies that impact their lives. Uplift MN encourages advocacy and increased civic engagement to foster an awareness of the power to build a better community. Uplift MN is working on their education reform and Books Not Bars campaigns with their partners Mpls Family Advocates, S.T.A.N.D. Up, Dignity in Schools, and the Village PTSA. They are currently training parents, caregivers, and students in Minneapolis and St Paul to become leaders and advocates for their families educational journey.
Tonya brings 15 years of experience working in a variety of roles with underrepresented communities were she works to assist them in learning about advocacy and leadership in their community. She
believes that when you empower residents to recognize the power of their voices and when you encourage our communities to work collectively it will set our communities on the best pathway to move forward.