ST. PAUL, Minn., (Feb. 12, 2016) – During the fourth quarter of the first full year that grantmaking aligned with a new four-portfolio funding strategy, the Northwest Area Foundation invested nearly $5 million in promising and proven approaches to community-led work to help people build assets through good jobs and financial capability. Funding focused especially on communities of color and communities that are Native or immigrant.
In total, 43 organizations received grants from the Foundation this past quarter. Of special note are two that fall within the Enterprise Development portfolio, from Hmong- and Latino-led nonprofits respectively, and another from a Native-led nonprofit within the Financial Inclusion portfolio.
Enterprise Development Grants Advance Social and Micro-Businesses—for Lower Stress and Greater Hope
Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), based in St. Paul, will put a $150,000 two-year grant toward improving the value and well-being of Hmong American farmers. Its innovative Whole Food Model will give 43 small-scale Hmong farming operations in the Twin Cities the opportunity to polish their business skills, learn about ecologically sustainable farming, improve food safety, expand partnerships, access new markets, gain long-term land leases, and create new jobs – all of which lead toward increased income and advanced economic prosperity in Hmong communities.
Latino immigrants will have an opportunity to develop new, or enhance their existing, small businesses through a $300,000 Foundation grant to Ventures, formerly Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help, of Seattle. Ventures empowers entrepreneurs who have limited resources but unlimited potential to thrive through small-business ownership. The grant will allow Ventures to tailor their successful microbusiness development program and community development financial institution (CDFI) services to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs in Washington’s Puget Sound region.
“These Enterprise Development portfolio grants focus on providing entrepreneurs with the resources they need to generate income while advancing social good,” explained Karla Miller, program director for Northwest Area Foundation. “They’re also building jobs and skills that help individuals, families, and communities thrive on their own terms.”
Financial Inclusion Grant Taps Native Youths’ Power to Grow the Green Economy
Native youths in Minneapolis will benefit from a two-year, $240,000 grant to Migizi Communications Inc. in support of its Indigenous Pathways to Economic Independence (IPEI) project. IPEI will prepare 120 Native youths for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related careers in the growing green economy. The program taps into higher educational outcomes, improved financial literacy, and enhanced skills and experience to connect the youths to good job pathways and financial security.
Forty additional organizations received grants through the quarter’s funding. Details are available in a related blog entry and via a listing of all fourth quarter grants. An annual grant listing, which includes all of the recipients of the Foundation’s $13.4 million of grantmaking awarded in 2015, is also available.
The Northwest Area Foundation supports organizations that drive proven approaches and promising innovations to help people build assets through good jobs and financial capability. Its grantees are champions of change who reflect the diverse cultural strengths of its region, which includes the eight states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon, and more than 75 Native nations. The Foundation listens to, learns from, and leads others to grantees’ transformative program and policy work, which helps hardworking people and families overcome crises today so they can establish good credit, launch small businesses, save, and begin to feel secure and hopeful about tomorrow. The Foundation was established in 1934 and is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, please visit www.nwaf.org.