Grants Awarded to Strengthen West Bank Neighborhood
The West Bank Community Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation has awarded $32,700 in grants to seven organizations that provide services to residents living in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis.
These grants will support a variety of projects that recognize the neighborhood’s diverse cultures, improve social connections across cultures and generations, and encourage West Bank residents to engage in community and policy issues that are important to them.
One grant will support a storytelling project at Mixed Blood Theatre. “Using storytelling, the traditional art form of Somalia, The City of Nations Storytelling Studio at Mixed Blood Theatre aims to create conditions for positive cultural change powered by education and self-determination in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood,” said Khamara Pettus, the theatre’s Development Director. “The studio will create welcoming, inviting, and affirming spaces for safe-but-uncomfortable, multi-generational conversations that focus on destigmatizing sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse, and mental health.”
Photo courtesy of Mixed Blood Theatre
The seven grants are as follows:
- Islamic Civic Society of America: $4,200 to support a community design and ownership model for an afterschool tutoring program serving Somali youth.
- Korean Service Center: $5,000 to support a new garden project to encourage cross-cultural and intergenerational social connections between Korean and non-Korean residents in the neighborhood.
- Minnesota State Horticultural Society: $5,000 to support neighborhood gardeners and provide access to education, convening space, and resources to create sustainable food systems.
- Mixed Blood Theatre: $3,500 to support The Storytelling Studio in destigmatizing mental health and sexual health for positive cultural change in the Cedar-Riverside community.
- New Africa Community Development Corporation: $5,000 to support culturally specific mental health, trauma, and substance-abuse counseling for individuals and households in the Cedar-Riverside community.
- Pillsbury United Communities: $5,000 to support the West Bank IT Help Desk, which bridges the digital divide for Somali and Oromo immigrant seniors and fosters intergenerational connections between seniors and Somali and Oromo youth.
- Sakan Community Resource: $5,000 to support asset-based financing and help immigrant families position themselves to purchase their first home.
The West Bank Community Fund was established in 1991 by the Cedar Riverside Project Area Committee, a citizen organization authorized by the City of Minneapolis to review development activities in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. The fund was endowed with money that flowed to the community upon the sale of Riverside Plaza. Since its inception, it has made more than $334,000 in grants to support projects that benefit the neighborhood.
Grants from the West Bank Community Fund are awarded every two years, with decisions made by an advisory committee of neighborhood residents and staff members of the Minneapolis Foundation. The fund’s next grant round is scheduled to open in 2023.
To learn more about the West Bank Community Fund, contact Jo-Anne Stately, the Minneapolis Foundation’s Director of Impact – Economic Vitality, at 612-672-3878.