The global health pandemic and the social unrest happening all across the country supercharged 2020, illuminating the stark disparities in outcomes among Black and brown communities and other communities of color in comparison to their white neighbors. The public murder of George Floyd on Monday, May 25, by a police officer at 38th Street & Chicago Avenue moved the South Minneapolis community to raise their voices, and the days that followed were filled with public unrest. On the evening of May 27, the frustration and the hurt boiled over with riots throughout the city of Minneapolis. The riots reached Du Nord Craft Spirits, where their warehouse was burned.
The subsequent uprising and building damage in May 2020 left a tear in the fabric of Minneapolis. Initially, co-founders of Du Nord Craft Spirits, Chris and Shanelle Montana, pitched in where they could by raising money for affected businesses and operating a food shelf, but it quickly became clear that these efforts would need to be sustained in order to make a significant difference.
Support poured in, from off-line donations, grants, and to our Go Fund Me campaign, where to date over 12,000 people worldwide have contributed, bringing their combined funding to well over $1 million dollars. Almost half of all donations were under $25. Formalizing their efforts in June 2020, the Du Nord Foundation was founded to address racial inequities in the Twin Cities by focusing on three core tenets: providing stability through disaster, supporting business ownership and economic prosperity, and investing in rebuilding the community through intentional, innovative business development—all with an eye towards economic justice.
Rebuild Recovery Fund:
Through their first initiative, the Du Nord Foundation disbursed $496,751 in emergency rebuilding funds to 76 small and underrepresented business owners in Minneapolis and St. Paul, whose physical stores or offices were damaged during the civil uprising following the murder of George Floyd. Beyond the numbers, this list contains hundreds of faces who shared their stories, tears, anger, hopes and dreams for a more equitable future.
A food shelf was set up on the burnt premises of Du Nord Craft Spirits and started as a way to address the immediate food desert that the civil unrest left behind. The Community Market is a community-supported food shelf for neighbors (“anyone in need of resources”) to find free, healthy, and fresh foods for their table. The Community Market provides limited staple grocery items as often as needed. Most neighbors come about once per week, from 35 different zip codes across the Twin Cities. Items are preordered online, and then packed by volunteers and brought out to the neighbor for curbside pickup.
The biggest challenge has been knowing where to start with such a complex issue as economic justice. Building wealth in historically disadvantaged communities requires engagement with those communities, a lot of conversations need to be had, and a lot of questions need to be asked before moving forward in the right direction. Disadvantaged communities often face labor market discrimination, including being steered toward occupations that are less secure, lower-paying, and have fewer benefits and career-advancement opportunities.
Devoted to racial equity and economic wealth of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) business owners, the Du Nord Foundation envisions innovative business districts to create a one-of-akind destination for all Minnesotans to enjoy. This plan seeks to establish:
1. A diverse set of business owners anchoring a district devoted to business development.
2. An identifiable site within Minneapolis.
3. Property acquisition and development led by diverse firms and aimed at building capacity within communities of color.
4. Business supports and incubation/acceleration opportunities for new businesses.
When executed, the end result will be a business district with: (1) a critical mass of BIPOC-owned businesses, (2) a focus on cultural preservation, and (3) a launch platform for new BIPOC-owned businesses.
Black Lives Matter Yard Signs
Twin Cities Co-op Partners is proud to support the Du Nord Foundation. With each purchase of a yard sign, 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Du Nord Foundation. To date, this program has raised almost $8,000.
You Can Help!
Learn more about the Du Nord Foundation’s Community Market at dunordcommunitymarket.square.site
Donate – www.dunordfoundation.org
Volunteer – www.dunordfoundation.org/help-us
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