Scott Gray

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Chasing the tornado money

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By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

and 

Jerry Freeman

Senior Editor

 

Almost immediately after the tornado struck North Minneapolis in May 2011, the Minneapolis Foundation established its Minnesota Helps Fund and raised $1,756,060 to assist Northside residents. Many other groups and organizations furthered the cause with food drives and fundraising events. On July 14, MSR began a series of stories called “Chasing the Tornado Money” with the following subhead: “Community individuals, local corporations and foundations have contributed well over a million dollars in donations, grants and matching funds to assist North Minneapolis residents affected by the May 22 tornado. Responding to questions from readers about where all these dollars are going, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder decided to provide a community service by reporting, in the interest of transparency, on just where the funds have gone and how they have been used.”

One year and several “Chasing the Tornado Money” stories later, the MSR interviews three individuals representing three major contributors to the recovery effort — the foundation, the participating community organizations, and the Northside Community Response Team — on how they now view the work completed and the relief provided to storm victims through funds totaling more than $2 million.  

The Foundation

“Our fundraising efforts were really concentrated on the first year [of the recovery],” reports Minneapolis Foundation Grantmaking and Special Projects Director Jo-Anne Stately. Continue Reading →

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Andrew Young: Public projects (like stadiums) should invest where most needed

 

 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Contributing Writer

 

Former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, as featured keynote speaker at last Thursday’s 2012 Minneapolis Urban League Gala “Picking up the Torch,” offered an example of how a public project in Atlanta — not unlike Minneapolis’ new Vikings stadium — invested heavily in an economically depressed community and served as a catalyst to turn it around. The implication was clear: What was done in Atlanta could be replicated here. Scott Gray, MUL’s president and CEO, pointed out during the May 31 event at the Minneapolis Convention Center that 2011 was not an easy year for the organization, now in its 87th year of serving the community. It dealt not only with the Northside tornado, but also a state shutdown and a lingering recession that affected funding and gave the organization reason to scale back on services, which they were fortunately able to avoid. Yet, “Last year [we placed] 200 job seekers in living-wage jobs… We served over 1,000 people impacted by the tornado, we helped 67 families avoid foreclosure and saved their homes, and we nearly served 3,000 folks that came through the Urban League to get free tax help with our partnership with Accountability Minnesota,” Gray reported during the event. Continue Reading →

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