Senior Program Officer Kevin Bennett writes for MinnPost Opinion.
"Unlike a traditional joint fund, #GroundBreakMSP seeks to dramatically change how capital flows in the region, and who it flows to by creating a new financial system informed by community members to address historic wealth disparities that, for too long, have been researched and discussed, but not acted on in a systemic and transformational way. Over the next 10 years, GroundBreak intends to unlock $5.3 billion in capital to build Black wealth and close racial wealth gaps for good."
Senior Program Officer Kevin Bennett writes for MinnPost Opinion.
"GroundBreak is about collective will and intentional action—building solidarity to address racial wealth and opportunity gaps." Senior Program Officer Kevin Bennett joined Almanac to discuss the GroundBreak Coalition and its ambitious 10-year vision to create a more equitable MSP region, following the announcement of nearly $1 billion in capital to expand wealth-building opportunities in MSP.
Learn more about GroundBreak here.
Team members at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a National Historic Landmark. The bridge was the site of the brutal Bloody Sunday beatings of civil rights marchers during the first march for voting rights. L to R: Meg Gehlen Nodzon, Senior Program Officer; Kevin Bennett, Senior Program Officer; Tenzin Nordon, Program Officer; Molly Morton, Senior Manager, Office of the Chair
A few members of GHR’s team joined FADICA, a Catholic philanthropic network of foundations and donors supporting Catholic activities and initiatives, for a pilgrimage to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. Part of FADICA’s 2023 Symposium, the trip focused on how Catholic philanthropy could be informed, transformed, and activated to address racism.
The trip included visits to The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, sites “situated on lands occupied by Indigenous people for centuries, in a region that once held the largest population of enslaved Black people and would later become the heart of the Civil Rights movement.” The Legacy Sites offer visitors “a powerful opportunity to engage with history and begin an era of truth telling.”
The team’s journey proved transformational, with opportunities to engage with and reflect on the realities of racial injustice, violence and discrimination that have characterized U.S history. Team members left Alabama and its makers of civil rights with a deep understanding of why racial justice and racial equity cannot wait for another generation to manifest.
From MPR News:
"A coalition of more than 40 corporate, civic and philanthropic organizations in Minnesota announced Tuesday that it’s received pledges of nearly $1 billion to help build wealth in Black communities.
The GroundBreak Coalition was formed after the murder of George Floyd to help close racial wealth gaps in Minnesota, by expanding opportunities for homeownership, entrepreneurship and commercial development.
Kevin Bennett is senior program officer for the Minneapolis-based GHR Foundation. He said Tuesday the pledges of more than $1 billion mean “that these resources will start flowing abundantly, reliably — and most importantly, permanently. So that aspiring homeowners, small business owners, developers can pursue the type of transformation that we want in our community.”
Gov. Tim Walz called the effort “transformational.”
“It’s essential to our survival as a state, both morally and economically, that you’re successful,” he told the crowd Tuesday."
[PRESS RELEASE] GroundBreak Announces Investments of Nearly $1 Billion in First-of-Its-Kind Effort to Expand Equitable Wealth-Building Opportunities in Minneapolis-St. Paul
GHR joins a coalition of over 40 philanthropic, private, and public institutions in support of GroundBreak, an ambitious 10-year vision to create a more equitable MSP region. Learn more in the press release:
"MINNEAPOLIS, MN – GroundBreak, a coalition of over 40 philanthropic, private, and public institutions working to create a more equitable Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) region, announced investments of nearly $1 billion ($926.75 million) to expand wealth building opportunities with a current focus on aspiring Black homebuyers, entrepreneurs, and commercial developers. This is a significant step toward the coalition’s goal of mobilizing $5.3 billion over the decade to expand equitable wealth-building through an innovative approach shaped by community members.
GroundBreak, launched in May 2022, aims to transform financial systems through a nation-leading effort to expand opportunity and shared prosperity. Unlike a traditional joint fund, GroundBreak is working to fundamentally change how capital flows within a region, building on proven financial tools and strategies, deep collaboration across philanthropic, financial, corporate, and public institutions, and collective investments.
Ahead of a Tuesday morning community gathering, the coalition released a report outlining its progress and detailing its early commitment of $926.75 million for financial tools and products that are expected to be available in the region by the end of 2024."
In the wake of the compounding crises of 2020, spurred especially by the police murder of George Floyd, GHR deepened our local commitment with an explicit focus on racial equity. As part of this long-term commitment, the Foundation awarded Minnesota news nonprofit Sahan Journal $1.5 million over three years, to support their mission of advancing racial equity as an entrepreneurial publication covering communities of color. Our community has benefited greatly from Mukhtar's leadership and the ongoing dedication of the Sahan team. We’re grateful to be part of the organization’s journey and are excited for its next stage.
From Sahan Journal:
"Mukhtar M. Ibrahim spent almost a decade reporting for legacy newsrooms before he made a leap to try something different. Mainstream journalism, he’d found, failed to cover immigrant communities like his own; when other news sites did publish stories about people of color, they often did more harm than good.
Though Mukhtar had never worked as an editor or publisher, that realization inspired him to quit his job in 2019 and found his own digital news startup. He called it Sahan Journal, taking the name from the Somali word for “pioneer.”
After building the nonprofit newsroom from a solo endeavor into a 20-person operation with a $2.5 million annual budget, Mukhtar is stepping down as publisher and CEO. Mukhtar, 35, announced the leadership transition Monday, vowing to help start the search for a successor and to offer his full help and assistance to the new executive.
“I’m stepping down now because I believe Sahan Journal is in a very strong position in terms of staff, organization, and funding,” Mukhtar said. “This is the best time for the organization, and I want to give someone else the opportunity to lead one of the country’s most innovative nonprofit newsrooms.”"
From Global Sisters Report:
"Religious life in the U.S. continues to transform with emerging forms, partnerships and relationships, according to an evaluation of the GHR Foundation's Sister Support Initiative. 'The dominant narrative of decline is being gradually replaced by a new narrative of collaboration, reconfiguration, and a sense that the quality of presence that sisters bring is more important than their numbers,' the report said.
That is one of the central themes of the report, released Sept. 15, which served as an assessment of the GHR Foundation's investment in the Sister Support Initiative and a look at the state, and transformation, of religious life in the U.S.
Since 2010, GHR has focused on supporting Catholic sisters in this transition, specifically on four areas: leadership, membership, resource development and new forms. The new forms include collaboratives, budding movements and organizations such as 'Nuns and Nones,' described in the report as 'a growing intergenerational, spiritually diverse multiracial drawing on the wisdom and traditions of women religious.'
'We're beginning to see the building blocks of a different narrative: the charism of religious life, resilience, collaboration, increased focus on 'the life' itself, increasing diversity,' senior program officer Kathleen Mahoney said in an email interview. 'I was taken by the words of a younger sister who said that she entered only knowing smaller communities — that smaller was okay and expected. That's the current lived experience for younger sisters.'
GHR is now winding down this initiative, which provided a timely moment to look back and assess, through the grants it has made and programs it has helped foster, how religious life has evolved over the past decade and what may lie ahead for sisters in this country, said Mahoney, who is retiring in October.
Program officers Yende Anderson and Tarra McNally will be overseeing the remaining grants."
"A new study will combine an Alzheimer’s medication that slows disease progression in some patients with two other drugs to see if their effects can be amplified. The trial will be the first to test drugs acting on two disease-driving proteins, amyloid and tau, for patients with late-onset Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia.
The trial will recruit 900 participants with early Alzheimer’s at UC San Francisco and other sites nationwide. It is funded by a $151 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
In the trial, known as the Alzheimer’s Tau Platform (ATP), researchers will evaluate the effects of two anti-tau therapies and an anti-amyloid therapy like lecanemab (Leqembi), which was approved in January 2023 after demonstrating a 27% reduction in global impairment compared with placebo.
Lecanemab and related drugs clear amyloid and have also been shown to reduce tau. But drugs that specifically target tau may be more effective since their levels and locations correlate more closely with symptoms."
[Op-Ed] GroundBreak Coalition: Collective Will and Intentional Action: Philanthropy’s Role in Boldly Reimagining What’s Possible
About the Author: Kevin Bennett is a senior program officer and racial equity lead at GHR Foundation and serves with CEO Amy Goldman on the GroundBreak Steering Committee.
"GHR is committed to advancing racial equity in the Twin Cities and we have been intentional in making deeper investments locally. This has meant centering the Black community and communities who continue to experience systemic disparities as we look to create pathways to access and opportunity. Recent investments have supported local organizations creating a more inclusive and equitable region and economy, as well as community entrepreneurship with the University of St. Thomas. We’re now looking at focusing resources at the intersection of racial equity and Catholic Schools in the Twin Cities by cultivating models of excellence for under-estimated scholars, such as innovations underway at the Catholic Academy housed at Ascension School in North Minneapolis.
We invite you to stand firm and determined with us at this historic time for action. No organization can advance racial equity alone and GroundBreak Coalition offers a way to work together on bold solutions previously untried in our community. With our commitment to GroundBreak over the next three years, GHR is continuing to expand on more than $15 million in investments made in the Twin Cities since 2020. This support mirrors how our foundation works with partners across our local, global, and biomedical domains—often providing early, flexible, multi-year funding that unleashes the limitless potential for good within partners and communities."
Read the full op-ed here.
Ascension Catholic Academy is a consortium of four Catholic schools (currently St. Peter Claver, St. John Paul II, Ascension, and St. Pascal Regional) that center racial equity and unleash scholar potential in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area.
GHR partnered with the Academy to help two schools (Ascension and St. Peter Claver) meet state requirements to open childcare centers on their campuses. Beginning in September 2022, this funding expands ACA’s Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) initiative to all four schools in the Academy, ensuring that regular classrooms being converted over to ECLC spaces are up to code, equipped with the necessary furniture and learning materials, and are spaces families and scholars can be proud of and excited to learn in.
Expanding the initiative provides families in the most underserved communities access to early childhood learning solutions. Close to 75% of kindergartners at ACA schools enter the classroom with no pre-k experience. Ensuring scholars are kindergarten ready is crucial to their holistic, long-term success. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on childcare programs, with many being forced to close permanently. The lack of affordable, high-quality ECLC programs has forced many parents and guardians to forgo returning to the workforce, risking their financial security. Opening two new childcare centers at these schools will offer families in the community much needed relief.
Early childhood learning is an essential component of closing the education opportunity gap, a key aspect of GHR’s Local Domain strategy. Through this partnership, we anticipate improved academic outcomes for the ECLC scholars entering kindergarten, as well as stronger retention of families and scholars moving from pre-K to K-8 classrooms.
GHR works to design new and replicable models for high-quality Catholic education. Learn more about this work here.