The Minneapolis Foundation awards first grants from OneMPLS Fund

New fund focused on emerging community needs directs $500,000 to support stable housing.

The Minneapolis Foundation today announced $500,000 in grants from a new charitable fund that expands on its work to advance racial, social and economic equity.

The OneMPLS Fund builds on the Foundation’s grantmaking by making more resources available to address emerging issues in the community. Designed to be nimble, the fund will invest in a variety of projects as community needs change. The OneMPLS Fund’s inaugural grant round focused on stable housing for families and youth.

A collective impact fund to which anyone can contribute at any level, the OneMPLS Fund also creates a new pathway for community members to join forces for good.

“At The Minneapolis Foundation, we believe that philanthropy is about far more than writing checks,” said Chanda Smith Baker, the Foundation’s Senior Vice President of Community Impact. “One of our most important jobs is to bring people together to strengthen community, and that’s exactly what this fund does.”

Donors to the OneMPLS Fund are invited to become part of an intimate giving community, with access to special opportunities to learn about pressing issues. “People are hungry for relationships, and they want to learn more,” Smith Baker said. “We’re digging deep to understand the challenges beneath the issues that are holding us back as a community.”

The OneMPLS grants announced today include five awards of $100,000 each for the following projects:

  • The Alliance will work to prevent gentrification and displacement by creating a coalition that surfaces, advocates for, and implements policies that prioritize the expertise and wisdom of communities of color in affordable housing decisions.
  • CommonBond Communities will create and fill a Clinical Director position to build the capacity of staff members based on-site in its housing communities to support individuals and families facing mental health issues.
  • Hope Community will produce a Community Ownership training program to support renters to become owner-occupant landlords of small multi-unit buildings.
  • Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia will launch a new Tenant Union to organize direct actions to achieve building and unit repairs and prevent displacement. The Tenant Union will be organized and led by dedicated members. It will also not be limited to a single building or landlord, but will be open to any tenant facing abuse, exploitation or neglect.
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid will partner with Hennepin County to launch an integrated, multi-discipline tenant support center in North Minneapolis. When complete, the center will provide one-stop help for tenants from lawyers, mediators, nonprofit housing counselors, county financial workers and mental health specialists.

“The Northside of Minneapolis experiences a daily eviction crisis that upends the lives of families of color and exacerbates our community’s inequality on a generational scope,” said Luke Grundman, the leader of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Minneapolis housing practice. With its OneMPLS grant, “Legal Aid will embed a lawyer at the heart of the crisis who will work hand-in-hand with members of the community who already battle against the predatory, eviction-for-profit business model of some Northside landlords.”

Overall, the OneMPLS Fund received applications from more than 50 organizations that collectively sought more than $4.7 million, nearly 10 times the amount available for the first round of grants. The Minneapolis Foundation used a simplified competitive process to ensure that OneMPLS grants would be accessible to a wide range of organizations.

The Minneapolis Foundation launched the OneMPLS Fund in 2018 with an initial investment of $1 million. The OneMPLS Fund supports organizations and projects that:

  • Identify integrated approaches that bridge impact areas (e.g., intersections between mental health and housing stability)
  • Use multi-generational approaches to increase family and community stability.
  • Increase access to opportunity by targeting the policies, practices and approaches that keep inequitable systems in place.
  • Identify and implement innovative, catalytic or upstream solutions to pressing issues.

Members of the public can contribute to the OneMPLS Fund by going to https://mplsfdn.org/donate.  Nonprofit organizations interested in learning about future grant opportunities from the fund can sign up to receive email updates here.