Impact and Programs
The following highlights from the previous year illustrate the positive impact we have in the community.
Food Access: Engaged thousands of individuals and dozens of organizations to increase hunger awareness, raising over $21.5 million and 7.4 million pounds of food for 280 food shelf partners across Minnesota through our Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign; Helped 100 Kinship families with food access during school breaks by providing grocery gift cards; Educated community members and advocated with local, state, and national representatives on policies that impact food access; Delivered healthy, culturally appropriate meals to 250 Somali elders and people with disabilities struggling with food access during the month-long stay-at-home orders; Provided emergency grants to Liberty Community Church, Interfaith Action St. Paul, and Sanctuary Covenant Church to help the faith leaders address food needs in their communities of North Minneapolis and among Native groups Metro-wide at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic; Provided leadership for hundreds of community members joining the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) and Hunger Days on the Hill, educating representatives at the local, state, and national levels, about policy changes that impact food access.
Youth Development and Mentoring: Supported 130 mentor matches through Kinship Greater Twin Cities, a program that has been supporting youth and families for 65 years; Engaged young people and their families (more than 250 people) in monthly community-building and academic enrichment activities that provide a vehicle for connection and community/family cohesion; Logged 25,000 volunteer hours through mentoring and other volunteer support; Inspired 93% of participating youth to report improved interest in school; Supported 73% of participating youth in demonstrating improved decision-making and problem-solving, based on mentor and parent/guardian feedback and observations; Motivated 78% of participating youth to report increased hope or optimism for their future because of their Kinship involvement.
Training and Volunteerism: Provided 45+ Urban Immersions Understanding Poverty/Privilege workshops, a nationally recognized, award-winning social justice training program; Trained 2,100+ individuals to take action against inequity and racism; Facilitated 7,200+ volunteer hours for local nonprofit service delivery.
2020 brought a renewed focus on inequitable systems in the State of Minnesota. GMCC staff and leadership are pivoting to create pathways for a more equitable future. The following are several initiatives that guide the deployment, refinement and, ultimately, the delivery of GMCC’s stated mission, vision, and values.
Food Access: At the request of Somali community leaders and a highly-respected local Somali Imam, GMCC launched a rapid response to address food needs in Twin Cities Somali Communities. In partnership with Darul Hadiith (a 501c3 coalition of Twin Cities mosques) and the MN Somali Covid-19 Task Force (a group of Somali faith and community leaders addressing Covid-19-related community needs), we delivered daily prepared dietary and culturally appropriate meals to over 250 elders and people with disabilities in the Somali community for over a month, which included Ramandan. The effort was resourced with funding reserves which were leveraged to secure additional funding from The Minneapolis Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN Foundation, and a local family foundation. In the fall of 2020 we launched a larger-scale food distribution initiative, based on the infrastructure we built in the Spring, to serve approximately 4,000 prepared meals per week to Somali elders and families in four different communities throughout the Twin Cities. The effort is designed, led, and implemented by GMCC and new GMCC Somali leadership staff.
Somali Community Health Network: We seek to leverage the network and community-centered leadership model we built for food distribution to continue to address critical challenges presented by the pandemic, including furthering Covid-19 preparedness, education, and treatment, and, in the long-term, promote community resilience and wellbeing by addressing the social determinants of health. Our hypothesis is that effective efforts to address health issues and disparities must start from within a community and utilize existing and trusted relationships. GMCC will work with Somali staff and leadership to “test” the deployment of the food distribution network to address health and wellbeing. We are also in discussion with leadership at Allina Health, whose headquarters are only one block from GMCC, about how we can leverage this community infrastructure to co-design more equitable healthcare systems.
Resilient State-Wide Food Supply Models: Covid-19 and its impacts have exposed weaknesses of our food system. At a time when the need for affordable and local food has increased, many farmers have experienced disruptions in their distribution and/or processing chains, leading them to dump milk, plow-under crops and euthanize animals. In response, GMCC partnered with Sprout, a food hub and marketplace in Little Falls, MN, along with local farmers, growers, and food shelf staff and volunteers to re-imagine MN’s food supply system in Region 5, asking how we could play a greater role in aligning current food supply with current demand. This prototype builds on existing relationships through Minnesota FoodShare to support the development of a "farm to food shelf" or "farm to consumer" infrastructure to improve food access and security, rebuild supply chains and distribution processes, and build resilience and flexibility of our food system. GMCC and our partners will explore how we can leverage what we learned in our Region 5 work to facilitate collaborations and explore food supply systems in other Regions of MN.
Sustainable Urban Food Distribution Network: Damage to restaurants, groceries and food sources in south Minneapolis has resulted in limited food options for residents within a geography already suffering from food apartheid. While there was an initial surge of support in the form of food and supply drives, donations are beginning to wane; as we enter fall and winter, we anticipate distribution options will become even more limited. We look to address food access along the Lake Street Corridor in the medium-term (6-18 months) as a bridge to more sustainable long-term options for food access and security.
Learning Pods: GMCC launched Learning Pods in our facility on Lake Street. The Learning Pods will facilitate effective and safe distance learning, including technological access and rotating tutors, in response to school closings by providing safe connection opportunities and programming for single mothers. Covid-19 threatens to exacerbate Minnesota’s already problematic education and opportunity gaps because students without computers, internet access, or resources to hire tutors are unable to effectively participate in distance learning.
A New Mentoring Model: GMCC is engaging Kinship Mentors, Mentees, and Families along with other youth leadership in a design process to re-imagine the future of youth development at GMCC, carrying on the mentoring legacy of Kinship Greater Twin Cities.
Community Recovery and Innovation Space (leveraging our building asset): We will explore the transformation of the GMCC building into a work/operations/maker space for Black and Brown-owned businesses, initiatives, and non-profit organizations that have been displaced or disrupted due to Covid-19 and the recent destruction on and around Lake Street.
Racial Justice and Privilege Training: We will pivot our award-winning, copyrighted poverty simulation and curriculum into a virtual format that can be widely disseminated as a racial and social justice training tool, including a virtual gathering and facilitator option.
Community or Constituency Served
GMCC's focus is on working to support individuals and families most negatively affected by the CDC's social determinants of health and well-being.
Geographic Area Served
GMCC's geographic service areas include Minneapolis and the greater Twin Cities area as well as communities across Minnesota.