Funding the fight for racial justice

African Career, Education, and Resource (ACER) works with the African diaspora community in Minnesota
African Career, Education, and Resource (ACER) works with the African diaspora community in Minnesota

The killing of George Floyd in broad daylight under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was a horrific indictment of our city. We are a city that continues to grapple with racial discrimination, anti-blackness and white supremacy, not just in the criminal justice system but in almost every facet of the city’s way of life — education, housing, jobs, health and more. Now is the time to invest in groups that are working on the ground to overturn these racist systems.


After the killing of George Floyd, Pillsbury United Communities came out with a strong statement of solidarity with those who demanded justice for George Floyd, both through charges and ongoing policy changes.

PUC does the work of racial equity through its group of nonprofit programs around the Twin Cities. At Pillsbury House + Theatre, located a few blocks from where George Floyd was killed, Pillsbury House works at the intersection of art and community, using theater and artistic practices to open up dialogues around social justice. Meanwhile Pillsbury’s radio station, KRSM, and North Side newspaper, North News, both amplify voices of color.

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Photo by Nancy Musinguzi

Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

ILCM was founded in 1976, first as part of Minnesota Regional Legal Services, and later as its own nonprofit. Its service and advocacy, as well as its research, are essential pieces of creating systemic change in the Twin Cities.

For the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, the work to create a more equitable world goes in two directions. On the one hand, caring and highly qualified legal staff provide immigration assistance to low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. On the other, ILCM acts as a fierce advocate in immigration issues, through its education programs as well as its advocacy work with lawmakers around human rights and immigration policy.

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United Renters for Justice

Top-down philanthropy only goes so far. While large, established charitable organizations are able to successfully raise many more funds than smaller, more grassroots organizations, they can be less effective at challenging the power structures already at work in society. United Renters for Justice, or Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (IX) aims to build power among immigrant groups. IX has waged successful campaigns against bad landlords, uniting tenants to speak out against unfair rental practices. Supporting this group means helping folks wield their own force.

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African Career, Education, and Resource

African Career, Education, and Resource (ACER) works with the African diaspora community in Minnesota as it works to build wealth and opportunities for black immigrant communities and to amplify black immigrant voices. ACER also does work in advocacy, creating access to education, jobs, health and housing, all of which have barriers to wealth for black immigrant communities because of deep-seated racism within the state of Minnesota.

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Asian American Organizing Project at Hmong Freedom FestivalAsian American Organizing Project

The Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP) got started in 2014, but its roots go
back a lot farther than that. It’s built on 20 years of grassroots activism within the Asian American community in Minnesota, working to build political sway. The organization works in partnership with other groups locally and nationally on a host of issues, including immigration reform, voting rights, language access, racial justice and civic engagement.

Among their programs are leadership fellowships for youth and adults providing experiences in engagement and organizing within the Asian American community.

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CAIR-MN is part of a national organization fighting for civil liberties and advocating for the Muslim community.

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Appetite for ChangeAppetite for Change

Appetite for Change brings together food, fellowship and systemic change. Among
its programs are an urban agriculture program with seven farm plots in North Minneapolis tended to by youth from the neighborhood, a community cooks program mixing social justice and cooking, training opportunities and community organizing work. At a time when the coronavirus has laid bare the vast racial disparities in access to healthy living in Minnesota, Appetite for Change is doing the important work to bridge the gaps to healthy food and lifestyle.

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WEST BROADWAY BUSINESS AND AREA COALITIONWest Broadway Business and Area Coalition

An anchor of North Minneapolis vitality, the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition works to support businesses and entrepreneurship along Broadway Avenue, through arts and culture events, street beautification initiatives, public art and more. The organization hosts the annual FLOW art crawl in addition to facilitating facade improvement grants, hosting farmers markets, showcasing North Side businesses elsewhere in the city and working in collaboration with partners on events like the Freedom Square series and Open Streets West. The organization has been a powerhouse in supporting many black- and minority-owned businesses in North Minneapolis. In the wake of COVID-19 and the destruction of businesses during the civil unrest following George Floyd’s killing, the coalition has been a unifying force for rebuilding and re-envisioning the future of the neighborhood. Check their Facebook page to find out ways you can volunteer.

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Isuroon, which means “a woman who cares for herself,” is pushing toward systemic change from the ground up by training Somali women and girls through a host of programs aimed at improving their lives and giving them tools to address problems in their communities. Isuroon’s programs include training in the voting process, political advocacy and system literacy. Isuroon also trains health care providers and policymakers on cultural competency.

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This long-time North Side arts organization has worked tirelessly for its community, creating paid artist opportunities for North Side youth. They’ve seen some damage during the unrest and are committed to creating transformative change for North Minneapolis.

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