News Releases

May 20, 2011

General Mills grants support to Twin Cities’ Communities of Color


Foundation awards $500,000 in grants to local community-based organizations

MINNEAPOLIS – The General Mills Foundation has awarded 50 Twin Cities nonprofit organizations with $10,000 grants to support programs and initiatives focused on Celebrating Communities of Color.

The grant recipients, all based in the seven-county metro area, provide a variety of services to a wide range of groups including children, youth and adults. Their programs are specifically designed to improve the lives of the Twin Cities’ communities of color and beyond. Areas of focus range from resources for immigrant families, early childhood care and education, and programs for at-risk youth.

“Celebrating Communities of Color is a unique and important way General Mills can nourish our communities by supporting a broad spectrum of organizations dedicated to strengthening our communities of color in the Twin Cities,” says Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation. “Some of these groups are just gaining a foothold in our community, while others have been in existence for years. We’re pleased to support the hands-on dedication and innovative ideas they offer as they work to make our community a better place for all.”

Following is a sampling of the 2011 Communities of Color grant recipients. The full list is here.

Neighborhood Mini Markets
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)

Many communities of color in Minneapolis have little access to fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly fresh produce grown by local farmers. In 2006, IATP launched several small farmers markets or mini markets in diverse low-income neighborhoods to help support smaller-scale sustainable farming and expand market opportunities for local farmers. Today 21 mini markets, each hosted by a neighborhood-based organization, reach hundreds of community members and provide diverse, low-income families in Minneapolis with increased access to fresh, affordable produce. The program is certified to accept Women, Infants, Children (WIC) coupons and Farmers Market Nutritional Program coupons at the markets. First Lady Michelle Obama cited Minneapolis' mini markets as a leading example of how communities can support healthy eating in inner cities. 

Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN
The Karen Youth and Family Support project is designed to help high-risk Karen refugees, an ethnic minority from Burma and Myanmar, build successful lives in their new country where they face profound linguistic, educational, and economic challenges.  Over 100,000 Karen persecuted by the Burmese military government fled to refugee camps in neighboring Thailand. Currently, 5,000 have resettled in the Twin Cities.  Many young Karen are failing in school and engaging in at-risk activities. Parents are challenged in intervening because of their inability to communicate in English and their lack of access to culturally sensitive family resources. The Karen Youth and Family Support Project helps bridge the gaps between Karen families and  mainstream society, and between Karen youth and their elders through weekly life skills workshops, cultural enrichment activities, academic tutoring, community service activities and leadership development. Parents are equipped to better nurture their children through support groups and quarterly parenting skills workshops that address issues such as the American education system, school expectations, appropriate child discipline, and family communication.

JuxtaLab: Creative Social Enterprise Program
Juxtaposition, Inc.

JuxtaLab is an art and design-based education and employment initiative that, in 2011, will produce 70 creative industry apprentice jobs for young adult artists. The program will also facilitate new individual and community connections to education, income and asset building resources in North Minneapolis' West Broadway and Emerson corridor. Through the program’s pilot project, young adults went through intensive visual art literacy training before they were hired for part-time jobs in Juxtaposition’s textile, graphic design, painting and/or environmental design studios. They learned marketable art and design skills while working on jobs for clients including designing a West Broadway Pride t-shirt that was sold during the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, constructing a pocket park on a previously vacant/ underutilized lot on a prime commercial/residential corridor and designing and painting a large scale mural on the wall of the Juxtaposition Arts building.  Juxtaposition Arts is a 15-year-old nonprofit cultural center that annually engages thousands of youth, artists and other local stakeholders through a myriad of innovative participatory visual art and design programs.

About the General Mills Foundation
The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating 56 years of giving, is to nourish communities. In fiscal 2010, General Mills awarded more than $100 million to communities across the country. Of the total, the Foundation contributed $22 million in grants in the targeted areas of hunger and nutrition wellness, and K-12 education. In addition, 82 percent of U.S. employees volunteer in the communities where they live and work. More information is available at

2011 Celebrating Communities of Color Grant Recipients (Alphabetical by Organization)



Augsburg College

Jane Addams School for Democracy

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities

Native American Mentoring Initiative (NAMI)

Center School, Inc.

Lakota Star Knowledge

Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, Inc.

The Learning Together Program

Eco Education

Eco Education's Youth Advisory Board

Equality Minnesota

Community Outreach for Equality

FreedomWorks Incorporated

Job Transition and Readiness Program

Genesis II for Families Inc.

Adolescent Parent Education

Givens Foundation for African American Literature

Givens Literary Arts Education Program


Latina Educational Development System (LEDS)


Dakota-Scott Employment Project

Hope Community, Inc.

Learning in Community

Hope For The City

Partnering Agency Program

Illusion Theater and School, Inc.

North Minneapolis GIRL DRAMA

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Neighborhood Mini Markets

Jabbok Family Services

COOL Youth Center

Joyce Preschool

Latino Family Involvement and Support

Juxtaposition Inc.

Juxta Lab: Creative Social Enterprise Program

Kaleidoscope Place

Young Artist Expressions

La Oportunidad, Inc.

Padres (Parents) Program

Little Earth Resident Association, Inc.

Little Earth Community Co-op and Urban Farm

Loaves & Fishes Too

Expansion of Summer Lunch Program for Children

Mad Dads

MAD DADS Vigil and Community Support for Crime Victims in North Minneapolis

Merrick Community Services

East Side Heritage Project

Minneapolis Community and Technical College Foundation

Student African American Brotherhood Initiative

Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School District #1

Nellie stone Johnson Health and Wellness Initiative

Minnesota Humanities Center

Absent Narratives

Minnesota Landmarks, Inc.

'Urban Expedition: Discovering Our World'

Page Education Foundation


Park Square Theatre

Commissioned work by Carlyle Brown

People Responding in Social Ministry (PRISM)

Local Nutritious Food for Families

Playworks Education Energized

Playworks Twin Cities

Project for Pride in Living, Inc.

PPL Youth Tutor/Mentor Programs 2011

Ragamala Music and Dance Theater

Sacred Earth

Resources for Child Caring, Inc.

Laotian Quality Childcare Engagement Pilot


Project Starfish

Reuben Lindh Family Services

Four Directions Family Center

Somali Success School

Somali Success School Youth Program

TeenWorks, Inc.

SPARC (Students with Purpose for Achievement and Readiness for College)

Tennis and Education

Be Your Own Fitness Coach

The Bakken

The Bakken School Partnership Program

The Cedar Cultural Center

Concerts for Youth

The History Theatre, Inc.


TU Dance

World Premiere at Ordway Center

Urban Homeworks, Inc.

Construction Training Capacity-building

Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota

Karen Youth and Family Support

Volunteers of America of Minnesota

Opportunity All Stars

Way to Grow

Great by 8 Initiative

Youth Determined to Succeed Track Minnesota Mentor Programs

Kids 4 Health Program


Camp Sunrise Program