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South Minneapolis nonprofit Urban Ventures distributes gymnasium full of donations on first day, pleads for replenishment of goods and help rebuilding businesses

South Minneapolis nonprofit Urban Ventures distributed a gymnasium full of donations on the first day it opened to the community, reflecting the widespread need in the area for food and basic items. Urban Ventures – an organization focused on preparing and sending neighborhood youths to college or postsecondary education – sent its initial request for food and other goods to its list of supporters less than a week ago after its CEO Dave Hawn and staff members spent Saturday helping to clean up South Minneapolis streets and assessing urgent needs.

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Urban Ventures transforms gymnasium to receive and distribute donations to South Minneapolis families and businesses in need. (Photo: Business Wire)

"When I saw the extent of the impact on South Minneapolis after Friday night’s fires and the destruction of supermarkets and other stores residents rely on to survive, I knew Urban Ventures had to seek help quickly," said Hawn. "Our network of supporters responded overnight and brought a gymnasium full of canned food goods, diapers and other necessities. But the need was so great that the gymnasium was empty before nightfall, and we are again in dire need of substantial donations."

According to Hawn, Urban Ventures’ initial call for help resulted in more than 3,000 volunteers who were ready to clean streets, neighborhood shops and other businesses, and help in other ways. The nonprofit saw a nonstop stream of donations of food, household supplies, and kids’ books and activities that filled the gym. With social distancing fully observed, staff and volunteers acted as ‘personal shoppers’ for neighborhood residents, fulfilling customized (culturally-relevant) orders and bringing them out to cars or delivering directly to doorsteps. Because of the huge need, unfortunately, the gym was emptied the first day.

Twin Cities church, Eagle Brook Church, responded, delivering a semi-truck full of food and personal hygienic products which, with a continued outpouring of support from the broader community, is helping meet the tremendous continued demand. However, Urban Ventures still needs additional donations.

Continued Hawn, "Our South Minneapolis neighbors are finding themselves without food and other necessities at a time when the supermarkets and stores where they would normally buy those items have been destroyed, and at a time when many residents are reeling from losing jobs due to COVID-related business closings."

Urban Ventures will phase out its crisis response service by helping businesses re-open. The organization plans to deploy project teams made up of volunteers and staff—accompanied by financial resources, when necessary—to rebuild, restock and promote businesses that have been shuttered for COVID-19 and then damaged from the street violence. Urban Ventures plans to focus its efforts on its closest neighbors: the approximately 150 small businesses on Lake Street, between Portland Avenue and interstate 35W. In addition to assistance with insurance deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses not covered by insurance, the organization intends to purchase large quantities of gift cards from the shop-owners and distribute them into the community.

Urban Ventures is appealing for continued donations by visiting its donor page at http://urbanventures.org.

"George Floyd’s death has started a movement that’s sweeping the globe, and the outpouring of compassion and support is most evident right here in the city that he called home. To honor Mr. Floyd and the many others before him who have lost their lives to systemic racism and injustice, Urban Ventures will continue our focus on driving long-lasting systemic change right here on Lake Street where we’ve been for the past 27 years. This is our community and we’re here to help," concluded Hawn.

About Urban Ventures

Urban Ventures works alongside 70 local partners—all with the overarching goal to prepare and send every youth in our neighborhood to college or postsecondary education. We do this by providing academic support, mentoring, food and nutrition services, athletic programming, and a College and Career Center that, in part, offers full-tuition, full-need leadership scholarships to over 50 students each year. We also offer adult classes aimed to empower parents to support their children. Urban Ventures will open an Early Learning Center for children ages 0 to 5 later this year, rounding out a full 'cradle-to-career' continuum of support.

Urban Ventures
2924 4th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200605005474/en/


Urban Ventures
Troy Groenke, VP of Marketing
612.990.7214 (mobile)
612.545.9869 (office)

Leah Kondes
(612) 270-1563 (mobile)