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Press Release

ASI Announces Spring Community Fund Recipients

May 15, 2024 By Darby Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS – The American Swedish Institute announced its latest summer round of awards made through the ASI Community Fund, which offers short-term aid to service-oriented organizations primarily in the Phillips and adjacent Minneapolis neighborhoods. Award amounts ranged from $500 to $2,000, for a total of $5,500 awarded to the following: Somali Museum, Our Saviour’s Community Services, St. Paul-San Pablo Lutheran Church, and African Immigrants Community Services. 

ASI Community Fund recipients Spring 2024:  

The Somali Museum:

The Somali Museum is the home of traditional Somali arts in Minnesota. Housing over 700 pieces of traditional Somali arts, the museum also offers unique educational programs aimed at fostering an understanding of Somali culture among Minnesotans. The community fund money will support their “Poetry in Nature” initiative, led by Somali poets and artists, which aims to integrate cultural expression with environmental stewardship through immersive experiences in Twin Cities’ parks, facilitating workshops to enhance understanding of environmental issues and empower advocacy for a more sustainable future. 

Our Saviour’s Community Services:

Our Saviour’s Community Services provides dignified shelter and housing for single adults and educational opportunities for adult English language learners in South Minneapolis. Their goal is to enhance the lives of individuals in need within the diverse Phillips community. With the support of the community fund, they plan to run summer programming of both morning and evening classes. This initiative will allow students to explore cultural, civic, and natural attractions in the Twin Cities and Minnesota, including the Phillips neighborhood, fostering deeper connections and understanding within their community. 

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran: 

Established 135 years ago, the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church currently serves the diverse and impoverished Phillips community in south Minneapolis, notably in the heart of the Latine community with substantial populations of Somali, Native American, African, and European-American residents. The community fund will support the creation of a community mural at the church, visibly bringing together the shared Swedish roots as a congregation alongside the diverse stories and cultural expressions of the community St. Paul-San Pablo currently serves.  

African Immigrants Community Services:

AICS was established in 2007 by Somali refugees to support the needs of East African refugees in the Twin Cities area. Over the years, it’s expanded its services to include youth employment initiatives, social services such as housing assistance and benefits filing, health programs, and career development opportunities. The community fund money will support AICS’s efforts to deliver comprehensive services aimed at enhancing the self-sufficiency and integration of East Africans in their host communities. These services support their physical and mental well-being and educational efforts to increase awareness of available community-based health services to empower families to achieve health and economic stability.  

The next ASI Community Fund application opens on Monday, August 12 and the deadline is Sunday, September 15, 2024, with twice-yearly deadlines. For more information, including granting criteria and a link to the online application, please visit     

The ASI Community Fund was founded in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and seeks to help respond to emerging needs and support ASI neighbors to build, invigorate, and reimagine our shared community. More than $50,000 in awards have been given since the Fund’s establishment in June 2020. Donations are intended to support organizations and initiatives aligned with ASI’s mission and values.     

The Fund was established with independent donations, mostly by individuals, with an ASI staff committee selecting recipients. It is rooted in ASI’s founding by Swedish immigrants and reflects a commitment to sharing stories of migration among many immigrant-based organizations in the Phillips neighborhood, celebrating mutual support and collective well-being.

ASI has built longstanding community relationships during the past 15 years through collaborative programs, including the Pippi Project at Andersen and Bancroft elementary schools, PICA Head Start graduations, and the Story Swap program with Wellstone International High School.  ASI also works closely with our Phillips West Neighborhood Organization and other community partners to continue to build bridges for understanding and partnership. Future gifts will allow the Fund to grow and continue serving the community.  To contribute to the Fund, please visit