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Community Fund

Support / ASI Community Fund

A Response to Community Need

The American Swedish Institute’s Community Fund began in 2020, in response to the seismic impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil uprising that followed the murder of George Floyd. The Fund was designed to be nimble and responsive to emerging neighborhood needs in the aftermath of these events. Four years from the inception of the fund, the needs of the community have evolved. As our neighborhood gains its footing and re-anchors, ASI is committed to welcoming our neighbors onto our campus, to being a resource for community builders and cultural keepers, and a place for generations of families to gather in every season. We look to partner and strengthen our ties with organizations of all kinds that serve our neighborhood. The Community Fund is only one part of ASI’s investment in these goals, and will focus on helping neighbors and peer organizations carry out well-defined programs and activities with a more immediate impact.

If you represent, or know of an organization primarily in the Phillips or adjacent neighborhoods of South Minneapolis that meets the following criteria and might benefit from access to the ASI Community Fund support, we encourage you to apply or share this information.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

Process

The ASI Community Fund starts with $10,000 each fiscal year, which forms the bulk of the grants given out. The Community Fund committee is made up of a rotating group of staff volunteers for each granting cycle. Applications that receive funding usually describe a specific project or goal, rather than add to an organization’s operating budget. As a non-profit that also applies for several grants throughout the year, we want to get to know and support as many of our neighbors as we can in the Phillips West Neighborhood and beyond. We encourage all applications that fit our criteria, including from organizations that have already received a Community Fund grant, but keeping in mind the committee’s goal of enabling a multitude of projects and activities.

Fund Amounts and Application Deadlines 

  • Gift amounts will generally range from $500 to $3,000.
  • The next deadline to apply is Sunday, September 15, 2024.
  • Applicants are only eligible for funding once in a calendar year.

Focus Areas 

The American Swedish Institute is a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts, informed by enduring links to Sweden. Funding priority will be given to projects or organizations working in or across three focus areas that connect deeply to ASI’s organizational history and mission, including: 

  •  Projects or organizations that are immigrant-led and immigrant-serving. 
  •  Projects or organizations that support and uplift cultural keepers and creators. 
  •  Projects or organizations that center on environmental stewardship. 

Criteria  

  • Project or organization connects deeply to one or more of the three focus areas listed above.   
  • Project or organization has a clearly articulated and resonant mission.  
  • Priority will be given to projects or organizations serving primarily Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color residing in Phillips or adjacent neighborhoods.  
  • Priority will be given to projects or organizations addressing immediate needs.   
  • Priority will be given to projects or organizations that demonstrate the impact of a small-scale gift on their work.  
  • Applicant confirms that funds will be used only for charitable purposes and not for lobbying or political activities. 

Other Support Available 

If you do not receive a grant, there may be other ways ASI can support your initiative. In addition to fiscal support via the Community Fund, ASI hopes to support neighborhood and partner organizations or projects by offering free use of the grounds and campus on a case-by-case basis. ASI has several classrooms, conference rooms, and larger halls that are well-suited for hosting meetings or public events. We also have an extensive courtyard and parking lot area for outdoor programming or events. If your project or organization is seeking an event or meeting venue, please send inquiries to apriln@asimn.org.   

ASI also is glad to offer guest passes redeemable for museum admission upon request and discuss possible programmatic partnerships.  

The most recent round of ASI Community Fund recipients includes:

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. The community fund money will support 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: 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.

Previous recipients include Tamales y Bicicletas, the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts, the Somali American Women Action Center, Alley Communications, the English Learning Center, Joyce Preschool, the Phillips Community Free Store, Sisters’ Camelot, the Phillips West Neighborhood Organization, Banyan Community, Ebenezer Senior Care, the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, the Bilingual Education Collective, the MN Urban Debate League, and the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts. Earlier initial donations also went to PICA Head Start and Open Arms of Minnesota. 

 

Donate to the Community Fund today!