The Minneapolis Foundation Awards First Round of Safe Communities Grants

31 groups will receive $623,725 in funding. A second round of grants is under review and will be announced later this summer.

The Minneapolis Foundation today announced the first round of grants from its Fund for Safe Communities, awarding $623,725 to 31 community-based groups that are using a broad spectrum of approaches and strategies to reduce violence in Minneapolis neighborhoods. 

“Violence is a problem that has always been with us, and one violent death in Minneapolis is one death too many,” said Chanda Smith Baker, Senior Vice President of Impact at The Minneapolis Foundation. “This summer’s horrific challenges have only intensified the urgency of this issue, and we are doubling down on our efforts to support the many local leaders who are doing high-impact work to reduce violence in their communities.”  

The grants announced today will support organizations that applied for funding through a process that began this spring, before the killing of George Floyd. In light of Floyd’s horrific death in police custody and the civil unrest that followed, The Minneapolis Foundation quickly committed an additional $500,000 to the Fund for Safe Communities, and a second round of grants is currently under review, with awards expected to be announced later in August. 

In reviewing these grants, The Minneapolis Foundation prioritized applications from groups that are led by Black, Indigenous and people of color and engaged in efforts that are grounded in the needs of diverse Minneapolis neighborhoods. 

The Foundation designed a low-barrier application process for these grants in an effort to reach the broadest, most diverse pool of applicants possible and to offset the additional burdens posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, applicants had the option of submitting proposals via video files, and they were allowed to apply as individuals, even if they did not have a nonprofit organization serving as their fiscal agent. 

“Our biggest takeaway from this grant round was understanding that these kinds of newly adopted practices for grantmaking are an important way for us to support cutting-edge leaders,” said Brandon Williams, The Minneapolis Foundation’s Safe Communities & Criminal Justice Fellow. “Our process was designed to give applicants confidence that, first and foremost, we would consider their work, and not focus on critiquing the way they communicated it to us. This welcomed unique and promising applications from organizers who have never been funded by The Minneapolis Foundation before.” 

The quality of the proposals that the Foundation received makes a strong case for continuing this approach, Williams said. “We must continue to shift our practices and efforts to make Minneapolis a more equitable and safe place for everyone, especially those who are marginalized and underrepresented.” 

Established in 2018, the Fund for Safe Communities supports tangible, specific, and meaningful actions to address and prevent violence. Inspired in part by the leadership shown by students who were affected by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Fund emphasizes the importance of work led by young people.  

The Fund is advised by a committee of eight young adults who, in a variety of ways, have been personally affected by gun violence in Minneapolis. The committee reviewed grant applications submitted in this round and made funding recommendations to Smith Baker. 

“I feel it’s important to invest in communities directly, and that is exactly what this committee does,” said advisory committee member Meti Regassa. “All of the members have a vested interest in watching Minneapolis become a safer version of itself.” 

The awards announced today will support the following groups: 

A Mother’s Love Initiative

  • $35,000 to provide individuals and families in areas that are subject to high rates of violence in North Minneapolis with guidance, prayer, trauma care, referral and intervention services, and other resources.

African American Center of Minnesota

  • $50,000 to promote peace and awareness about gun violence throughout Minneapolis, with a concentrated effort in the north metro.

American Indian Community Development Corporation

  • $14,025 to increase safety patrols in communities with high crime rates in South Minneapolis.

Appetite for Change

  • $14,030 to support learning sessions that teach young people basic cooking skills and how to acknowledge and navigate violent circumstances in their community.

Art is My Weapon

  • $20,000 to support programming by and for young people who have been impacted by gun violence in North Minneapolis.

Be the Voice

  • $10,000 to offer therapeutic services for those who have lost loved ones due to gun violence.

Circle of Discipline

  • $15,000 to expand advocacy and goal-setting services for at-risk youth in the South Metro.

Conflict Resolution Center

  • $18,575 to provide mediation, healing, and restorative services to at-risk youth in the Little Earth Neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

East African Integration Center

  • $10,000 to support community activities for at-risk youth in South Minneapolis.

Ghands, Inc.

  • $15,000 support monthly workshops focused on developing leadership and early intervention work in communities of African immigrants and refugees.

HAVEN International

  • $10,000 to provide trainings that combat domestic violence and human trafficking in BIPOC communties throughout the metro area.

HIRED, Inc.

  • $25,000 to expand support for individuals who are at risk of being involved in criminal activity.

La Oportunidad

  • $15,000 to expand domestic abuse and parenting classes in Minneapolis.

Lucy Laney Boxing Academy

  • $10,000 to provide mental and physical health services for at-risk youth in North Minneapolis.

Metro Youth Diversion Center

  • $9,900 to provide group workshops, inidivdual therapy, social skills, training, tutoring, mentoring, and community engagement services to youth in South Minneapolis.

Minneapolis MAD DADS

  • $50,000 to support the design and implementation of a youth outreach program that seeks to reduce youth involvement with gangs, violence, and the juvenile justice system.

Ostara Initiative

  • $15,000 to provide supportive housing for women/non-binary people post-incarceration, reducing housing instability and recidivism.

Plymouth Christian Youth

  • $10,000 to sustain programs that engage at-risk teens and their families in activities that promote safer behaviors and environments in North Minneapolis.

Restorative Justice Community Action

  • $5,100 to expand trainings on domestic violence and outreach for those who have experienced violence.

Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice

  • $5,000 to empower leaders of the Somali community in the south metro to combat an increasing rate of crime by young people.

Somali Action Alliance of Minnesota

  • $15,000 to expand civic engagement and participation in efforts to increase the freedom, liberation, and political power of Somali communities in the the south metro.

Strength Group

  • $9,896 to offer mentoring sessions and healing circles to young individuals who are exposed to gang violence in the North Metro.

The Price Dynamic

  • $17,200 to provide 1-on-1 coaching and parenting support groups for single and co-parent families in North Minneapolis.

Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation

  • $20,000 to provide individuals involved in criminal activity with classes and mentoring services to prevent recidivism.

The funding announced today also includes the following grants:

  • A Mother’s Love Initiative ($15,000)
  • Me and My Sis-Stirs ($5,000)
  • NAACP of Minneapolis ($15,000)
  • Philando Castile Peace Garden ($50,000)
  • Philando Castile Relief Foundation ($50,000)
  • Pillsbury United Communities ($50,000)
  • Pollen Midwest ($10,000)
  • Professional Firefighters Association ($10,00)

Businesses and members of the public are encouraged to contribute to the Fund for Safe Communities. Contributions are welcome in any amount. To make a tax-deductible online donation or to learn about future funding opportunities from the Fund for Safe Communities, go to: