Following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, 3M Foundation established a Social Justice Fund. The Foundation worked with a key group of 3M stakeholders — including those who lead our diverse set of Employee Resource Networks — to assess local organizations with a focus on legal justice, racial equity and healing. The team ultimately selected four groups to each receive a $250,000 grant in support of their crucial work.
“3M Foundation is proud to help advance racial equity and healing,” said Michael Stroik, director, 3Mgives and vice president, 3M Foundation. “By partnering with these instrumental organizations on the journey to make our communities more equitable and inclusive, we are hopeful that these investments and the engagement of 3Mers will result in positive change.”
Below is an overview of the grant recipients and how their funding will be used.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is a national organization dedicated to eliminating disparities and achieving racial justice through litigation, advocacy and public education. 3M Foundation grant funding will support the LDF’s general operations in four focus areas for driving equity: political participation, criminal justice reform, economic justice and education equity.
The Neighborhood Justice Center is one of the longest standing public defense organizations in Minnesota, serving communities of color by connecting individuals with life resources and providing comprehensive criminal defense representation to those who are over-represented in the justice system. 3M Foundation grant funding will support criminal defense representation, expungements of old criminal convictions to enable people to find better employment and housing opportunities, community education about legal issues and assistance with reporting police abuse of power to ensure accountability.
Racial Equity and Healing in the Twin Cities
The Penumbra Center for Racial Healing is a longstanding 3M partner in Saint Paul with an arts for activism agenda, using storytelling, artistic expression and cultural experiences to address systemic racism and enact positive social change. 3M Foundation grant funding will support resources for individuals and organizations seeking knowledge and skill building, creative outlets, wellness and avenues to engage in community-building, civic engagement and direct action.
“The tragic killing of George Floyd has inspired a racial justice movement, inside our workplaces and in our communities,” said Ann Anaya, 3M chief diversity officer and global diversity and inclusion strategic lead. “Penumbra’s focus on racial healing will nourish our hearts and minds in a way that Penumbra is uniquely positioned to do, by creative expressions of compassion and empathy.”
The YWCA Saint Paul is committed to eliminating racism and empowering women through education advocacy and services that impact racism and gender-based disparities in housing, education and employment in Saint Paul. 3M Foundation grant funding will support YWCA’s efforts to advance racial equity through direct service to individuals, community engagement and education sessions about racial and gender inequities, and advocacy for policies that work across the intersection of race, social class and gender.
“The fight against racism — systemic and personal — is at the heart of everything YWCA St. Paul does — from our mission to our daily interactions with the people we serve. The generous grant from 3M Foundation will help support and expand our education and advocacy efforts focused on racial and social justice, and help raise awareness of our programs and services that impact racial and gender-based disparities in housing, education and employment in our community,” said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO YWCA St. Paul. “What we do — or don’t do — now to advance racial equity and social justice will shape the American experience for years to come. We sincerely thank 3M Foundation for their support.”
Hear more about the impact these individual grants will have.