Micro Grants Support
Community Gatherings, Healing Spaces
The Minneapolis Foundation today announced the final round of micro grants from its Fund for Safe Communities, bringing the total to more than $204,000 distributed to local groups that have been working to address community trauma and create safe spaces for healing in the weeks leading up to the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.
“This is a painful season for Minneapolis, and we wanted to provide support where people are gathering to connect, reflect and consider our path forward as a community.” — Chanda Smith Baker, Chief Impact Officer and Senior Vice President
These micro grants funded a variety of community events organized by 47 nonprofits, schools and religious institutions—from healing circles to community conversations about social justice, from stress-relieving physical activities to creative endeavors such as poetry and music.
One micro grant supported projects for students at Sojourner Truth Academy, a public charter elementary school in North Minneapolis. “Playing in dirt is a timeless kid activity, and yet many youth in our school have not had the chance to experience the magic of building with lumber, smelling soil in the sunshine, or nurturing something as tender as seedlings that grow to produce real food that they can eat,” said Kate Mensing, a teacher at Sojourner Truth Academy. “Whether it was the responsibility of holding power tools, the freedom to express themselves through chalk art, or the simple joy of being outside, this grant provided our scholars with a chance to breathe in peace and focus on creation instead of the grief and loss of this year.”
Photos from Sojourner Truth Academy
These quick-turn micro grants were awarded on a rolling basis this spring. In addition to an initial round of grants announced in March, they have funded the following projects:
- All Square: $5,000 for community healing sessions facilitated by BIPOC counselors at Adams Triangle, prioritizing discussions of justice reform from the lens of those who are most impacted by the trial and civil unrest.
- Asian American Organizing Project: $5,000 to engage Asian youth and young adults to learn about the legal and social aspects of the Chauvin trial and systemic racism and justice in their community.
- Asian Media Access: $5,000 for the production of a book that will generate meaningful discussions between parents and children/youth by integrating Asian cultures and mainstream culture to fight racism.
- Better Futures Minnesota: $5,000 for a gathering that supports artistic expression from formerly incarcerated men so that they are process their experiences during the trail.
- Corcoran Neighborhood Organization: $5,000 for six healing circles and an outdoor yoga session in the park focused on healing from the pandemic and unrest by seeing one another and practicing self- and community-care.
- East Side Neighborhood Services: $5,000 for Black and Brown members of the East Side community to ground themselves, restore, and heal from stress and trauma related to the trial through gatherings in the wilderness.
- Harrison Neighborhood Association: $2,000 for weekly conversations that encourage discussions of the trial and systemic injustices.
- Joyce Preschool: $3,000 for a drive-through event bringing joy, breakfast and space for healing to families in South Minneapolis.
- Legacy Arts Group, LLC: $3,000 for an evening of live music, poetry, and activities that will allow youth to open up, network and build community in Southeast Minneapolis.
- Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association: $2,750 for community concerts aimed at building unity and healing trauma that may cause division during the trial.
- Lutheran Social Service: $5,000 for programming that enables children in North Minneapolis to proclaim themselves as unique and valued and tell their stories during the trial.
- Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute: $3,000 for healing circles hosted by Minneapolis residents that explore the deep roots of institutional inequity tied to the trial.
- Phumulani Minnesota African Women Against Violence: $5,000 for gatherings to promote healing and peace among Minneapolis residents of African heritage.
- Pillsbury United Communities: $5,000 for a visual arts showcase that prioritizes Blackness and cultivates community at Pillsbury House and Theatre in South Minneapolis.
- Salaam Cultural Center: $5,000 for gatherings to educate Northeast Minneapolis residents about the trial and provide them with a healthy, welcoming environment to share their thoughts, beliefs and reflections.
- Social Venture Partners Minnesota: $3,000 for affinity healing circles, community art projects and learning sessions to create space for shared learning, reflection, and dialogue for community members who want to deepen their work for racial justice.
- Sojourner Truth Academy: $2,877 for North Minneapolis middle school students to construct art projects and lead discussion about the Chauvin trial, civil unrest since George Floyd’s killing, and healing from trauma.
- Tusaalo Mentoring: $5,000 for mentoring activities, workshops, and conversations around social issues, identity, culture, and race during the trial.
- Toward Renewed Unity & Service Together: $5,000 to support healing through creative and therapeutic activities, including facilitated discussions, listening to music, guided meditation, movement and creative writing.
- Urban Strategies, Inc.: $4,000 for healing sessions in Heritage Park to help alleviate unrest for residents as they reflect on their experiences throughout the trial.
- Voicez Inc.: $5,000 for community concerts that provide a safe space of healing and to celebrate the lives of community members.
- We Are The Village: $5,000 for youth programming in south Minneapolis, including workforce readiness, wellness and connection to mentors.
The Minneapolis Foundation launched the Fund for Safe Communities in 2018 to support specific, meaningful actions to prevent violence. This spring’s micro grants followed more than $500,000 in funding that the Foundation distributed from the Fund last year for violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and individual and community healing in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.