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Funding will support programming of the African American Leadership Forum and the Healing Justice Foundation.

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation (the Foundation) today announced the awarding of two grants to nonprofit organizations that will work in coordination to provide immediate trauma-related services to the community after the recent unrest in Minneapolis and Saint Paul due to the death of George Floyd.

A grant of $50,000 will fund programming of the Minneapolis-based African American Leadership Forum (AALF), an organization of African American community leaders and volunteers who seek to uplift the Black community by identifying and empowering its leaders. Funding will further programs and services tailored to youth and young adults through the creation of healing spaces, virtual individual and community-based therapy and through the sharing of uplifting narratives of the African American Community.

“We are grateful to the Foundation for funding that comes at a critical time for greatly needed healing in our community, compounded by the tragic death of George Floyd,” said Marcus Owens, executive director of the AALF. “Improving well-being for all is key to building a healthier and just community. This grant will further our ability to reach the underserved communities in the Twin Cities during a time of great and immediate need.”

A second grant for $50,000 will fund the work of Saint Paul-based Healing Justice Foundation (HJF), a national philanthropic nonprofit with roots in Minnesota. The organization provides individuals, families, organizations and communities with resources to address inequities. Special focus is given to providing urgent healing support to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and to youth who are most directly impacted by inherently racist systems. Funding will broaden the reach of therapeutic programming offered by the organization’s community healers, social justice advocates and activists, and conscious creatives.

“Healing is a justice issue. Our cities are literally burning, because as Black people, we are imploding from unprocessed historic trauma and the present day trauma of the tragic murder of Mr. George Floyd,” said Dr. Joi Lewis, founder and executive director of Saint Paul-based HJF. “The Healing Justice Foundation is thankful for the generous support of the Foundation that will allow direct support to community healers, racial justice activists, organizers and conscious creatives, who are doing the invisible and mostly non-compensated emotional labor of healing our community. This support will provide much-needed space for our community to hold both heartbreak and joy.”

“Our communities and community leaders were already stressed by COVID-19, navigating a new reality,” said Foundation Senior Vice President of Community Impact Pahoua Yang Hoffman. “The recent events related to the killing of George Floyd is re-traumatizing our communities, especially our black community. Black leaders are answering the call to support their communities, but they are frustrated. They are tired. They, too, need healing in order to continue doing their critical work in our communities. I am proud that the Foundation is supporting community-led healing efforts so that we can continue to seek justice together.”

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