$1 million approved to help residents and businesses in the Minneapolis Empowerment Zone
August 22, 2008 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The City Council today approved the funding of three loans totaling $486,000 for economic development projects in the Minneapolis Empowerment Zone (EZ). In combination with $514,000 in grants approved by the EZ Governance Board last month, this results in a total package of $1 million.
The Minneapolis EZ issued a request for proposals (RFP) in April of 2008 inviting proposals for projects and programs that will benefit residents of the federally-designated Empowerment Zone area, which includes the poorest neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The City received 74 eligible applications in response to this latest RFP, and has approved twelve (12) grants and three (3) loans. A brief summary of each of the successful proposals is attached, below.
"This is a very good day for youth and families in the Empowerment Zone," said Mayor R.T. Rybak, co-chair of the EZ Governance Board, following the board’s discussion and action in July, noting the large number of successful proposals from organizations that work directly to support Minneapolis youth and families.
"The Empowerment Zone continues its work, with this latest round of loans and grants, to support residents and businesses of the EZ, creating a better future in both the north and south sides of downtown," said Council Member Don Samuels, co-chair of the Empowerment Zone and Council Member, Ward 5.
The Minneapolis EZ was established in 1999 as a 10-year program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While Minneapolis originally expected to receive $100 million over this period, actual funding received from HUD has totaled $25.8 million. The amount of funds available for allocation at any given time varies due to several factors, including the rate at which previously approved funds are disbursed and the rate at which previously loaned funds are repaid.
The City estimated earlier this year that approximately $2 million in EZ funds would be available for allocation during 2008. However, a revised estimate prepared in June revealed that several 2007 funding commitments were not accounted for in the earlier estimate. As a result, the EZ Governance Board recommended approval of grants and loans totaling $1 million, reflecting the corrected June estimate.
Loans approved by the Minneapolis City Council on August 22, 2008:
Great Neighborhoods! Development Corp. / Broadway Athletic Center
GNDC seeks loan support for a transformative 165,000 square foot real estate development that will bring 225 new jobs, 15 businesses, and improved health and educational opportunities to the West Broadway corridor and the Empowerment Zone. ($136,000)
Neighborhood Development Center / Midtown Global Market
Neighborhood Development Center proposes to utilize the EZ loan capital for two purposes: $125,000 in loans to key Midtown Global Market (MGM) tenants for equipment purchase and build-outs; and $125,000 for improvements and build-outs for MGM itself. ($250,000)
North End Hardware / business expansion
Empowerment Zone loan funds will be used in combination with other funds to rehabilitate Near North’s only hardware store through improvements to the exterior and roof of the building and in its parking lot, expanding retail services and goods available to residents. ($100,000)
Grants approved by the EZ Governance Board on July 10, 2008:
Achieve! Minneapolis / STEP-UP
STEP-UP is a summer employment program for diverse, skilled and motivated youth, ages 16-21. STEP-UP is operated by Achieve! Minneapolis in affiliation with the City of Minneapolis workforce development strategy. Funding is for wage subsidies for jobs with non-profit employers for the summer 2009. ($50,000)
African Chamber of Commerce / micro business development
The funding will support services offered through the African Chamber of Commerce and will enable the African immigrant community to gain access to services, training, and support that will strengthen their businesses and management skills and increase their success and self sufficiency. ($40,000)
Cookie Cart / youth job skills training
The grant will support the Cookie Cart’s unique workforce development programs for North Minneapolis youth. Of the 110 young people who received job training at the Cookie Cart in 2007, 38 lived in the Minneapolis Empowerment Zone. So far this year, 21 of the 74 teens the Cookie Cart has trained are residents of the Empowerment Zone. ($25,000)
Council on Crime and Justice / Collateral Effects Initiative
Funding will support the Collateral Effects Initiative, a project of the Council on Crime and Justice that works to mitigate the impact of a criminal record on a person’s ability to secure gainful employment and to contribute to the safety and well being of the community. ($40,000)
Division of Indian Work / American Indian Math Project
Funding will support the American Indian Math Project, an after school program, which is a partnership of the Minneapolis Public Schools Anishinabe Academy and the Division of Indian Work Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP). YLDP provides academic support, leadership skills development and cultural enrichment for American Indian youth. The curriculum incorporates traditional American Indian games and culture to teach math concepts. ($50,000)
La Oportunidad / Padres Parenting Program
Funding will support La Oportunidad’s Padres Parenting Programs and Latinos Ending Abuse Program. Participants benefit from La Oportunidad’s comprehensive, research-based programming tailored specifically to cultural needs. Adults will receive benefits in the Public Safety, Health, Education, and Human Services HUD categories. ($39,000)
Little Earth Residents Association / capacity building
Little Earth, the nation’s only urban housing development with American Indian preference, has launched a Capacity-Building and Program Development Initiative that builds on the stunning transformations now underway in the community. From decreased crime to increased resident activism, Little Earth residents and board have vowed to move away from a dependency mode toward self-determination. Outcomes of this Little Earth initiative include increasing: parental involvement in children’s education; pre-school enrollment rates; high school graduation rate; employment rate; community safety; resident involvement; home ownership; and earned income. ($50,000)
Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC) / Power of You
The program guarantees free tuition for two years for any resident of Minneapolis who graduates from high school in the spring and immediately enrolls full-time at MCTC, Metro State or St. Paul College. Because many students are under-prepared, the first in their families to go to college, and have a myriad of other challenges outside of school, this initiative also provides intensive student support services promoting academic success. ($50,000)
Minneapolis Public Schools / Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program
Grant monies will support the Broadway Teen Parent Program’s career and technical education programs by hiring two part-time customized trainers. Over the funding period, the program will serve 200 teen parents and 100 children of teen parents. ($50,000)
Southeast Asian Refugee Community Home (SEARCH) / Immigrant Youth Intervention Services
The grant will support the need to expand SEARCH’s Immigrant Youth Intervention Services, to create pathways for success for 40 EZ resident Hmong and Somali youth at risk of dropping out of school and/or becoming increasingly involved with the juvenile correctional system. ($25,000)
YMCA / Beacons Network
Funding will support the Minneapolis Beacons Network. The program transforms public school buildings into active youth centers after school and in the summer, and provides educational, recreational and leadership development activities at no charge for youth in low-income neighborhoods surrounding the Beacon schools. ($50,000)
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Contact: Krista Bergert, Communications, CPED, (612) 673-5015
Published Aug. 22, 2008