Initiatives

 

The Good Acre grand opening marks introduction of food hub facility in Falcon Heights

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The Pohlad Foundation is pleased to introduce The Good Acre, a local non-profit food hub designed to enhance how food is grown and shared in the Twin Cities region. Our goal is to demonstrate the viability of new economic models that will expand sustainable food production and access to local, healthy food. By working directly with independent, small-scale farmers, The Good Acre provides the tools and infrastructure to help grow their business and access new markets for their products. 

The Good Acre also provides a new multi-farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) product that delivers healthy, locally grown fresh produce to workplaces across the Twin Cities.  The facility marked its grand opening on October 30, 2015..  Read more in the press release and groundbreaking brochure.  Visit the website at thegoodacre.org

 

Program Related Investments

Program related investments (PRIs) provide an additional avenue to support efforts in geographic or service areas of high interest to the Foundation.  PRIs—often in the form of low interest loans—are rarely considered, but eight PRIs with a total initial value of more than $7 million have been approved since 2009.  Please note unsolicited proposals are not considered.  Two examples of Pohlad PRI’s are:

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Foundation:  In response to the Great Recession beginning in 2008, small businesses around the state were assisted with $5 million in PRI loans in 2009.  The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Foundation‘s statewide reach and regular contact with small businesses via its Grow Minnesota! program made it an ideal partner. Ninety-two businesses located in 62 communities around the state received loans to support job retention. “The small companies we helped were hit hard by the recession,” said Bill Blazar, President of the Chamber. “These funds filled timely needs. Since then, many companies turned the corner and are seeing increases in revenue and employment growth.” Indeed, responses to a 2014 survey from 53 participating companies found 80% continue to grow and 161 new full-time jobs have been collectively added at a majority of companies receiving support.

Northside Home:  As part of a larger commitment to improve the north Minneapolis area (see initiative description below), the Pohlad Foundation sought to preserve as many as 100 homes with few public funds. The $4 million PRI to Northside Home LLC (created by Urban Homeworks and Project for Pride in Living) provides capital to purchase and renovate homes (utilizing local labor/contractors).  Once renovated, interested families have two options—a direct path to homeownership, or a lease-to-own phase with financial counseling to help families successfully move from tenancy to ownership. Gaining momentum in 2014, by year’s end Northside Home owned 17 homes—ten of which were fully renovated. Seven were home to renters through the lease-to-own program.

 

North Minneapolis

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What happens when philanthropic efforts are concentrated in one small geographic area? Neighbors come together to build a stronger community, neighborhoods receive needed face lifts, positive activities and jobs for youth increase, commercial real estate is improved and local businesses are established.

Beginning in 2008, the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation made a three-year commitment to North Minneapolis, an area suffering from decades of disinvestment, high unemployment, visible crime, significant mortgage fraud, high foreclosure rates, poverty and crime, and a lack of private investment. Despite these challenges, the area also had important strengths, including resilient residents, great creativity and significant diversity.

Knowing that a different approach was needed, the Foundation’s work began by getting to know the residents of the Jordan Neighborhood of North Minneapolis, learning what they wanted, and working with them to realize those changes. 

Some of the projects in which the Foundation has been involved include:

  • Volunteer Project in Cottage Park neighborhood
  • Volunteer Project in Glendale Park neighborhood
  • Support for redevelopment of the commercial building at 1200 West Broadway Ave.
  • Research and development of the Kindred Kitchen
  • Revitalization of the Jordan Area Community Garden
  • Annual summer youth employment grants, 2010-present

 

Economic Crisis

The Great Recession that began during the fall of 2008 brought with it a flood of need. 

Small businesses couldn’t cover expenses and were eliminating jobs. Capital sources evaporated as businesses struggled to keep the doors open or make necessary investments. Nonprofit organizations faced huge increases in service demand at a time of ebbing contributions. Families that lost one or more incomes could no longer make ends meet. Mortgage fraud and home foreclosures decimated some Twin Cities neighborhoods.

As owners of businesses affected by the financial crisis, Jim, Bob and Bill Pohlad were already well aware of the effects of the downturn. On a cold day early in 2009, Jim expressed concern over the loss of jobs at a local nonprofit, saying, “We need to do something to help because there will be more job losses.”

This marked the beginning of the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation’s Economic Crisis Initiative – a commitment to provide financial support to Minnesota small businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals in need or capable of helping stabilize a neighborhood.

Working with and through nonprofit organizations, the family assembled a plan with three goals: retain jobs at small businesses; ensure critical services at nonprofits; and improve neighborhoods hardest hit by the housing crisis.

After a few weeks of planning, the Initiative launched in April 2009, backed by a $20 million commitment from the Foundation.  

Some statistics on the initiative’s impact:

  • 174 nonprofit jobs retained
  • 32 affordable housing rental units refurbished for energy efficiency (new windows, appliances, insulation, etc.)
  • Approximately 3,000 households received energy assistance
  • Down payment assistance grants helped close 251 home loans in north Minneapolis and Dayton’s Bluff in St. Paul