Investing in Resilience: Minneapolis Businesses and Neighborhood Associations Partner with Minneapolis Foundation to Raise $ 20 Million to Help Small Business Owners and Hallways Affected by Civil Unrest Following George Floyd Murder


MINNEAPOLIS & SAINT PAUL, Minnesota – (BUSINESS WIRE) – If you thought that the 350 or so small business owners in Minneapolis and St. Paul on Lake Street and West Broadway in Minneapolis, and University Avenue in St. Paul’s Midway who saw their businesses damaged or destroyed in the civil unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd a year ago gave up their dreams, you’d be wrong.

What the civil unrest took away made them stronger and even more determined than ever to rebuild their businesses and reinvent their future and that of their communities.

“I won’t give up until I know I can’t continue,” said Wonneda Hing, owner of Universal Hair Design located in the East Midway / West Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul. “So, I will try to find financing, loans, to help my dream.”

Resilience inspires the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine fund

It is this determination that is fueling a new fundraising effort supported by a coalition of businesses and nonprofits to help small businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul directly affected by civil unrest rebuild their businesses. operations.

Formed by the Minneapolis Foundation, the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Community Fund ( started with a challenge grant from the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and has so far received donations from Target Corporation, the Donaldson Foundation and Mortenson. By creating the fund, the goal is to raise at least $ 20 million over the next year.

“I am personally inspired by the determination of these small businesses to rebuild themselves,” said Rod Young, CEO and President of Delta Dental of Minnesota. “Because of their fighting spirit and love for their communities, we have joined with other large businesses and neighborhood nonprofits to accelerate their rebuilding efforts. Through our Foundation, we want to continue their momentum. ”

These companies partner with the Lake Street Council, the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition and the Midway Chamber of Commerce in St. Paul, and the funds raised will be directed and distributed through the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation. To complement these efforts, Minneapolis-based Mortenson, one of Minnesota’s largest construction companies, provided pro bono services and technical advice to help affected businesses, and connected affected business owners. with contractors belonging to local minorities for services.

“The physical restoration of these major corridors in our community is vital,” said Lynn Littlejohn, vice president of community affairs and development for Mortenson. “Much has been accomplished so far, but there is still a long way to go. Time becomes a factor the longer we wait. That is why we must act now and act decisively to restore these three main cultural and trade corridors. ”

The mini-documentary highlights resilience

The world was shocked when images of burning buildings, shattered facades and looted businesses flooded their screens a year ago.

Today, new images are emerging – of small business owners on Lake Street, West Broadway and University Avenue more determined than ever to reinvent their future.

Their stories are captured in their own words in a new 12 minute mini-documentary titled Corridors, which tells the story of how businesses on Lake Street and West Broadway in Minneapolis and University Avenue in the St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood were damaged or destroyed, how the community came together to help, and why owners are passionate about staying in their neighborhood, to rebuild their businesses and reinvent their future. The documentary is available to watch on

The mini-documentary was created in support of the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund and serves as a call to action to encourage new philanthropic investments in vital communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul affected by civil unrest.

“These small business owners are part of a long legacy of immigrants who came to Minnesota to carve a new future for themselves and their new adopted home,” said RT Rybak, president of the Minneapolis Foundation . “Many have fled wars and conflicts in their homelands. No one understands what it means to rebuild better than these business owners. That is why we are investing in it. ”

Restore hope; Reimagine the future

Donations to the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund will be used specifically to help small businesses affected by civil unrest rebuild their businesses. These efforts range from minor repairs to store facades to complete reconstruction of buildings.

“We have learned in our community outreach efforts over the past year that many of these small businesses are underinsured,” Littlejohn said. “The Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund will help fill this gap.”

But what is very clear, according to the Corridors documentary is the will of these small business owners to survive and thrive.

“I think all together we can make this thing better again,” said Fidencio Cruz, owner of Maria’s Restaurante and Mercado Central on Lake Street near Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis. “It was great before, but we can make Lake Street even better.”

“I want to build a building. How realistic is this dream? Asked KB Brown, owner of Wolfpack Promotionals LLC on West Broadway in the Jordan neighborhood of Minneapolis. “I am an entrepreneur. I don’t believe in failure. I’m going to get there.

Donate to the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine fund

Business and community leaders and individuals who want to help small businesses from Lake Street and West Broadway to Minneapolis and University Avenue to St. Paul rebuild can donate directly to the Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund on, by submitting email rebuild @ mplsfoundation .org, by calling 612-672-3867, or by sending “REBUILD” to 243725. Donations of all sizes are accepted. Donations will be administered to local businesses by the Minneapolis Foundation’s Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund.

“The strength of Minneapolis and Saint Paul is that we come together and help each other,” Rybak said. . ”

“I hope that we can form alliances and that those who can afford them can join forces with those who do not. I hope we can have these partnerships, ”said Christina Le, owner of Lake Wine & Spirits with her husband, both immigrants from Vietnam. “It’s hard to do something alone. We would like to stay here as long as possible, grow with the city and reinvest our time and money again in our neighborhood. No risk, no glory! ”

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