News Releases

Jan 02, 2009

Twin Cities Groups Receive Half-a-Million Dollars in General Mills Grants to Shore Up Programming Serving Communities of Color


The General Mills Foundation awarded grants of $10,000 each to 50 nonprofits, schools, theaters and other Twin Cities organizations with programs that support people of color. The General Mills Celebrating Communities of Color grants program is a $500,000 initiative.

Since 2004, the program has served more than 500,000 children, families and individuals across the metro area with a total of $2.5 million in grants. The program was established in recognition of the Foundation’s 50th anniversary and aligns with General Mills’ commitment to diversity, which is a company core value and a key business strategy.

The 2008 grant recipients include: 

  • The Wicoie Nandagikendan Urban Early Childhood Immersion Program, one of the first kindergarten-readiness programs in the U.S. to incorporate a Native American language (Dakota or Ojibwe) immersion curriculum in the classroom. The program, which serves children in Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood, provides an immersion-based kindergarten readiness curriculum, projects, field trips, and parent involvement strategies that extend classroom learning into the home. The program is a collaboration of Four Directions Child Development Center, Anishinabe Academy, the Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals, and Little Earth of the United Tribes Early Learning Neighborhood Center. The Anishinabe Academy kindergarten is now one of the city’s top performing kindergartens.
  • Centro Cultural Chicano’s Emergency Latino Food Shelf, which provides culturally specific foods to the growing number of hungry Latino families struggling with the downturn in the economy. The Centro food shelf reported a 55% rise in the number of individuals and the amount of food it distributed in the first two quarters of 2007 and 2008.  Centro's food shelf is the only culturally specific food shelf for Latinos in Minneapolis.  The food shelf also provides clients with referrals to the agency's other health, human service and educational programs.
  • The Construction Careers Foundation, which supports UnderConstruction,  a paid, hands-on summer construction jobs program for students from inner city high schools across the metro. The corner stone of UnderConstruction is to teach young people what it takes to be an employable worker by building on skills such as communication, listening and problem solving, math and accountability. The program focuses on key components including academic, life experience and work experience, with the goal of exposing students to a career pathway that can offer financial sustainability. 
  •  Plymouth Christian Youth Center's (PCYC) Capri Summer Theater Arts Institute offers 8-14 year olds an intensive six-week experience in the performing arts, culminating in public performances of an original musical stage production at PCYC's Capri Theater, North Minneapolis’ only remaining theater. The performance revolves around a social theme of interest and relevance to students. Young people take classes in acting, dance, music, creative writing, and set design as well as go on field trips to local theaters. During the second half of the program, students either audition for a part in the cast or work on the technical crew or with writing and artwork for the program. Institute staff include Twin Cities  performing artists including  Dennis Spears, T. Mychael Rambo, Austene Van and others. 

“Our mission at General Mills is to nourish communities, so we are pleased to support these vibrant programs that are reaching out to and fulfilling the needs of thousands of people of color in the metro area,” says Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation.

As a unique part of the grants program, General Mills employees volunteer to accompany staff on site visits to organizations and help the Foundation in the evaluation process.

The General Mills Foundation nourishes communities by addressing societal needs with breakthrough ideas, championship people and financial resources. In fiscal 2008, General Mills awarded $87 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5 percent of company pretax profits that year.  Of the total, the Foundation contributed $21 million in grants in the targeted areas of youth nutrition and fitness, social services, education, and arts and culture.

2008 Celebrating Communities of Color
Grant Recipients

Organization Program name
Alliance of Early Childhood Professionals Wicoie Nandagikenden Urban Early Childhood Immersion Project
AMICUS Men of Rafiki
Ananya Dance Theatre Ashesh Barsha (Unending Monsoon)
The Bakken Library and Museum Bakken/Minneapolis Public School Partnership Program
Cedar Cultural Center Concerts for Youth
Cedar Riverside People's Center Youth Nutrition and Fitness Initiative
Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization Youth and Families Enterprise Project
Centre for Asians and Pacific Islanders East African Food Shelf
Centro Cultural Chicano Centro Emergency Latino Food Shelf
The Church of St. Peter Claver and St. Peter Claver School After School Day Programming
College of St. Catherine The First Step Institute
Community Action Council, Inc. New American Services
Construction Careers Foundation UnderConstruction
Dads Make a Difference Strengthening Families of the Future
Eco Education City Connections
El Colegio Charter School Muralistas
Emerge Community Development Homeless Youth Educational Support Program
Emergency Foodshelf Network, Inc. African Food Project
Free Arts for Abused Children of Minnesota YES to Art - Dancing with Dreams
Freeport West, Inc. Freeport Saint Paul Youth Center
Hmong American Partnership Hmong Youth Pride
Hope For The City Community Partner Program
Hospitality House Boys and Girls Clubs Urban Learning Center
Incarnation-Sagrado Corazon de Jesús Familias Saludables
Intercongregation Communities Association Lunch in the Sun
Joyce Preschool Latino Family Education
Lifetrack Resources Families Together
Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts After-School Community Partnership Program
MAD DADS MAD DADS Youth Community Outreach
Minnesota Landmarks, Inc. Urban Expedition
Mixed Blood Theatre Company World premiere production - RED INK
Mizna Mideast in the Midwest Series
North American Council on Adoptable Children The Harambee Village at NACAC
NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center Family Health and Literacy Program
Old Arizona Arizona Bridge Project
Partners for Violence Prevention Holistic Approaches to Violence Prevention Project
Plymouth Christian Youth Center Capri Summer Theater Arts Institute
Saint Paul Public Schools Ramp-up to Readiness
Selby Area Community Development Corporation, Inc. 8th Annual 2009 Selby Avenue JazzFest
Somali Success School Support Services for Success
St. Paul Urban League Youth Entrepreneurship Program
Theater Mu, Inc. Outreach surrounding 'Flower Drum Song'
TU Dance World premiere of 'New Blues'
Twin Cities RISE! TCR! Participant Community Emergency Fund
United Nations Association of Minnesota Global Classrooms Program
University of St. Thomas National Youth Sports Program
The Vietnamese Community of Minnesota Vietnamese Arts & Cultural Project
Volunteers of America of Minnesota Service Adventure and Leadership Team
Wilderness Inquiry, Inc. Inclusive Outdoor Youth Program
WOMEN OF NATIONS Native American Dancing Colors