April 23, 2020
Hey Northside! We See You and We’re Here for You
How long until this COVID-19 nightmare is over? Can we see the light at the end of the tunnel yet? What will life be like afterwards? Are you and your families ok? Like anyone reading this around the time of its posting, we wish we knew. We’re in the middle of something unprecedented and all we have are guesses about the short and long-term consequences.
While we wait for clarity, maybe the best we can do is appreciate those who are stepping up to confront the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to families, schools, businesses and communities. As a funder focused on North Minneapolis, we take comfort from the many ways Northsiders are caring for each other.
Shout-Outs to Those Who are Stepping Up
Northside Pride has been on display since the early days of the pandemic. Here are a few neighborhood treasures that we appreciate for their leadership:
- Masjid An-Nur: “The Mosque of Light” on the Northside has launched an ambitious neighborhood meal program, targeting youth and seniors. Donate or get more info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Appetite for Change: Just when Appetite for Change was planning to re-open Breaking Bread Café on West Broadway, the pandemic hit. Even though we have to wait a little longer to eat their delicious food, AFC is hard at work turning out great food for families in economic need and essential workers. They are partnering with MN Table to collect donations, and then distributing meals from their Northside kitchen.
- North News: The best neighborhood newspaper in the Twin Cities (and beyond?) has stepped up its game to tell the stories of how COVID-19 is impacting North Minneapolis. Kudos to Kenzie O’Keefe and her team.
- Mauri Friestleben: North High School’s new (as of 2019) principal has used her daily, noontime Facebook Live sessions to inform, connect and celebrate the students, families and staff who make up her school community. We learn something new every day, Principal.
- West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, NEON, Davis Law Office, Black Women’s Wealth Alliance and Social Impact Strategies Group have stepped up their game to provide critical technical assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs and contractors to navigate the plethora of local and national loan and grant programs supporting small business loss mitigation. Kudos to Felicia Perry, K. Davis Senseman, Warren McLean, Kenya Ahad McKnight, and Elaine Rasmussen and their teams for their foresight and quick response.
Updates from the Foundation
We’re inspired by these examples and trying to do our part to keep the Northside strong during and after this crisis. Here are a few updates from the Foundation:
- We are pleased to be able to provide $100,000 to the Northside Funders Group to support its hardship grant program targeting Northside small businesses. Thus far, NFG has approved nearly $250,000 in immediate grants for local businesses, along with technical assistance support to help them secure additional loans and grants.
- The Foundation is committed to moving forward with the redevelopment of 927 West Broadway, and recently approved a $1.5M equity investment. This building will serve as our new home, and that of our two partners, TRI Construction and NEW RULES. We anticipate beginning construction in June and moving in next spring. Read more HERE.
- We continue to support several longstanding projects, including Village Financial Cooperative, My Story/My Brilliance at Olson Middle School, The Community Connected Academy at Patrick Henry High School, and the Commercial Land Trust at the City of Lakes Community Land Trust.
We know these times are difficult, but we will continue to stand with you as we collectively figure our way through this. We want to understand both your short-term challenges and how we can work together on long-term solutions that address the systemic failures highlighted by this crisis. We are committed to doing as much as we can to provide financial support where we are able, as well as continuing to champion your good work and elevating Northside needs to other funders, civic leaders and policy makers.
Please reach out to any of our staff. We continue to work remotely but are available to listen, to talk, to discuss and to strategize with you. As we said at the beginning, we see you and we’re here for you.
The Staff of The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota