As a community foundation, one of the most important things we do is bring people together to support efforts that make our community better for everyone. That is why we invite you to contribute to the Minneapolis Foundation Fund for Safe Communities. Contributions will support tangible, specific and meaningful actions to address and prevent gun violence, particularly efforts led by young people.
We are all painfully aware of the deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. On Valentine’s Day, a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people. It was another senseless act of gun violence that triggered another wave of anger, sorrow and despair; the cycle has become all too familiar in far too many communities, including our own.
It seems hard to believe, but most high school seniors today were just sixth graders when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary and killed 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old, as well as six adults. Since then, they’ve seen six of the ten deadliest mass shootings in modern history. But after the Parkland shooting, we saw young people from across the country stand up and say, “Enough.”
Here in Minneapolis, and beyond, students are actively raising funds to organize vans and buses to attend the March For Our Lives on March 24 in Washington, D.C. Groups like Students Demand Action – MN, with support from the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, are organizing a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol. Contributions to the Fund for Safe Communities will help support these and other community-led efforts to address gun violence.
Money alone will not solve the problem. People need to increase their knowledge about the issue and their understanding of the people and communities it impacts most. We plan to create more opportunities for people to do just that. We invite you to join us on Tuesday, March 20 from noon to 1:30 p.m. for a conversation on building safe communities with Chanda Smith Baker, our Senior Vice President of Community Impact.
Before joining The Minneapolis Foundation, Chanda served as President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities. A lifelong North Sider, she has spent her career working to build stronger, safer communities. Chanda will share insights on ways communities are working to address the range of intersecting issues that contribute to gun violence. These issues became even more personal for her in 2011 when her cousin, who had recently become a police officer, was shot and killed in his home.
This is not a new issue for The Minneapolis Foundation. When I was Mayor of Minneapolis, I sat with families as they grieved for loved ones whose lives were cut short by gun violence. Ellen Goldberg Luger, our Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Services, helped lead Minneapolis Heals and the Hawthorne Huddle, two successful efforts to address gun violence in Minneapolis. Our team includes a mother whose kids were at the Jewish community center in St. Louis Park when there were threats on campus, parents who had to explain the Philando Castile shooting to their African American boys, and so many others traumatized by the epidemic of violence.
Together with our donors, The Minneapolis Foundation has long invested in people and organizations working to build safer communities. Our experience, expertise and connection to the community ensures contributions to the Fund for Safe Communities will help bring peace to our communities today and into the future. We hope you will join us.