NEWS: $12.1 Million in Funds Dedicated to Disrupting Racial Inequities in Minnesota

Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way

(April 13) — Greater Twin Cities United Way announced today $12.1 million in grants that includes a shift in its grant-making.

It continues to support 89 organizations with $10.5 million in multiyear operating support for nonprofits with proven practices in equitable access to housing, food, education and the workforce. It also is making investments toward innovative approaches to disrupt racial inequities as well as to provide training for trauma-informed child care.

In addition, $400,000 is committed to Purpose-Driven Paychecks to fund partnerships between schools and employers, part of its ongoing Career Academies initiative. The Career Academies initiative partners with school districts across Minnesota to build career pathways for teenagers, ensuring students have access to meaningful work experiences, college credits with zero debt, and wealth-building careers.

A new initiative, 80×3: Resilient from the Start. will share $1.2 million in grants. The name 80×3 is a nod to brain science that indicates 80 percent of a child’s brain neural pathways are established by the age of three. Functioning in adulthood is dramatically impacted by the trauma of adverse childhood experiences — which includes prolonged poverty, encountering violence in the home, violence in the community, structural racism, sexual abuse, physical abuse, having a parent with a mental illness or who is incarcerated, alcoholism and neglect in the home environment, and other factors.

In a conversation with Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way, she noted that data estimates there are 120,000 children under the age of five in Minnesota at risk of experiencing trauma.

Funds will be used to enhance training for trauma-sensitive care providers in providing healing-centered and resiliency-focused environments.

Greater Twin Cities United Way, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, offers a suicide prevention lifeline for a large portion of the state. She says about 10 percent of those calls are people under the age of 15 — and that reflects only the children who are old enough to make a call about what they are experiencing. “The well-being of adults around children is a major indicator of youth well-being,” Ellis adds, which is a factor that has been exacerbated by the stress of the past few years.

Housing continues to be the top reason Minnesotans call the United Way 211 resource helpline. Preventing homelessness, and helping people transition to stable housing, continues to be part of United Way funding and policy work. “We have long advocated for changes in eviction policy,” Ellis says. “Eviction prevention is homelessness prevention.”

A hallmark of the future strategy for United Way, Ellis adds, is to co-create programs with grantees, who will have the space to determine and measure success in ways that reflect their unique perspectives and approaches. “We are looking for transformation from Point A to Point B, and see this as an opportunity to learn.”

Grantees to be Awarded

30,000 Feet
African Development Center of Minnesota
African Economic Development Solutions
Ain Dah Yung Center
American Indian Development Corporation
American Indian Family Center
American Indian OIC, Inc.
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Appetite for Change
Asian Economic Development Association
Avenues for Youth
Baby’s Space: A Place to Grow
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Twin Cities
Breakthrough Twin Cities
CAPI USA Catholic Charities – Northside Child Development Center
Centro Tyrone Guzman
Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota
Clare Housing
Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, Inc.
Connections to Independence
Division of Indian Work
Dream of Wild Health
Emma Norton Services
Esperanza United
Frogtown Farm
Frogtown Neighborhood Association
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc.
Hmong American Farmers Association
Hope Community, Inc.
International Institute of Minnesota
Irreducible Grace Foundation
Jeremiah Program – Minneapolis
Joyce Preschool
Juxtaposition Arts
Ka Joog
Karen Organization of Minnesota
Keystone Community Services
Latino Economic Development Center
Launch Ministry
Liberty Community Church
Merrick Community Services
Merrick Community Services-East Side Employment XChange
Mid Minnesota Legal Aid
Minneapolis American Indian Center
Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
Model Cities of St. Paul, Inc.
Muslim American Society of Minnesota
Neighborhood House
Network for the Development of Children of African Descent
New Vision Foundation
NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc.
Northside Achievement Zone
Northside Economic Opportunity Network
Partnership in Property Commercial Land Trust Initiative
People Serving People
Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, Inc.
Pillsbury United Communities
Prepare + Prosper
Project for Pride in Living, Inc.
Sabathani Community Center, Inc.
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood
Scott-Carver-Dakota CAP Agency, Inc.
Simpson Housing Services, Inc.
Solid Ground
Somali Success School
Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc.
Southside Family Nurturing Center
St. Paul Youth Services, Inc.
Summit Academy OIC
The Bridge for Youth
The Center for Victims of Torture
The Family Partnership
The Link
Ujamaa Place
United Cambodian Association of Minnesota, Inc.
Urban Roots MN
Urban Strategies
Way To Grow
Wayside House 
Wellshare International
YWCA of Minneapolis
YWCA of St. Paul