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On Fri, May 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM, From Jenna.Reck <Jenna.Reck@target.com> wrote: Hi Donald – We spoke on the phone a few times, but I also wanted to follow up so you have my e-mail address. We are still working on your request and will definitely have more information to provide for your story. I anticipate that we will have information for you next week, but I will follow up once I know more. I appreciate that you gave us the opportunity to respond and provide some additional information for the story. Thank you – Jenna (Target Stores Public Relations).
by Donald Allen, Editor-in-Chief, The Independent Business News Network
Minneapolis, MN (IBNN, Follow the Money/January 6, 2012)…In 2003, Target (one of my favorite stores), left north Minneapolis after a short stint on Broadway Avenue citing high loses due to theft and lower than expected consumer base and below average revenues. Before Target left north Minneapolis – the forward thinking corporate staff of the retail giant made a huge one-time grant of $300,000.00 to assist small businesses on the north side and hushing some community members concerns about not having a Target in north Minneapolis.
IBNN contacted Target’s Jenna Reck, Public Relations for some clarity on what happened to the $300,000.00. Ms. Reck wrote the following:
“In August 2003, we closed the Target store at 701 W Broadway Ave. in Minneapolis after careful consideration of the location’s long-term financial viability. We remain committed to building strong communities everywhere we do business, including in our Minneapolis hometown. When the Minneapolis store closed, Target provided a one-time $300,000 grant to the Minneapolis Foundation to support the West Broadway Development. The funds remain with the Minneapolis Foundation as they finalize the details of a new program that will provide unique support to this community. It is our understanding that The Minneapolis Foundation will announce this program later this year. In addition to our partnership with the Minneapolis Foundation, Target continues to support the Minneapolis community through several Target store locations, non-profit partnerships, team member volunteers and Target School Library Makeover projects.”
So then I contacted The Minneapolis Foundation. They wrote:
“Since 1915, The Minneapolis Foundation has partnered with generous individuals and families, effective nonprofits, engaged civic leaders and others to strengthen our community through charitable giving. In the past year through its Minnesota Helps Fund, The Minneapolis Foundation raised and distributed $1.7 million for tornado recovery efforts in North Minneapolis. (A summary report on the impact of that initiative is available at www.minnesotahelps.org.) In addition, our continued investments in North Minneapolis over the past three years have totaled over $5 million. These investments have helped transform education, promote economic vitality, and build social capital. One of our longstanding partners in the Minneapolis community is Target. Target provided the Minneapolis Foundation with a $300,000 grant to support the West Broadway Development. Since we received the grant, we have been working with Target and a variety of community agencies to determine how the funds could be used to provide the greatest benefit to the community in accordance with the original intent of the grant. By the end of June of this year, we will announce a new plan for distributing the funds in partnership with the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to provide match funds, released by participating economic development or community development corporations, to existing small businesses of color. As part of the program, 80 percent of the funds will be directed toward African American businesses in north Minneapolis. Loans will be provided from this fund to support small minority businesses in obtaining financing, purchasing of inventory, marketing, communication and expansion in North Minneapolis. As details of the fund are finalized, the Minneapolis Foundation will post information on its website at www.MinneapolisFoundation.org.”
At this point, I’m feeling like the pivot-man in a circle jerk.
There remain some salient questions we must ask both the Minneapolis Foundation and Target. Some in the community think that like the “tornado money,” the Minneapolis Foundation has been less than honest. Efforts to get information on both tornado recover and in this case the Target Store money has not successfully hit the “target” - no pun intended.
Was the $300,000.00 grant banked in such a way that interest accrued over the last 9 years? (If so, how much?) What is the plan grant the money to the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce? Will the business community in north Minneapolis (not just the usual suspects) have access and a say in how the money is used? What are the business successes of the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce in the last 5-years? (If possible, name 5.) Who are the board of Directors for the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce? Do they have the combined knowledge to build capacity for Businesses in north Minneapolis?
Target Stores and the Minneapolis Foundation promised IBNN NEWS a first look at the plan in June 2012 for grating the money to the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately, we have never seen it and don’t know any more information about the mysterious $300,000.00 grant.