PFunding the Community

Photo courtesy of PFund
Photo courtesy of PFund

Photo courtesy of PFund

LGBTQ+, BIPOC-owned businesses receive grants from the PFund Foundation each year. Here are some of this year’s recipients.

For LGBTQ+ folx, community is everything. Of course, community looks different to everyone. It may mean friends to one person, relatives to another, or colleagues to another. But whoever we consider our immediate family, we all have one thing in common: a greater community made up of people in our area. It’s the local coffee shop where we meet up with friends, or the little boutique that offers gender-inclusive clothing and friendly conversation. It’s the bar where the staff know exactly what “the usual” means. It’s the places where we spend our time, and it’s the people who make these spaces feel like home.

Photo courtesy of PFund

The PFund Foundation knows how important community is to LGBTQ+ folx, which is why each year it awards grants to LGBTQ+, BIPOC businesses, volunteers and community leaders. Though this selection process typically looks the same each year, it’s been a bit different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the police murder of George Floyd.

“This review committee looked at the impact of COVID-19 and the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd on the business; a strong plan to utilize the funds; and the businesses’ work in the community to determine which recipients would be awarded, as there were more applications than there were funds,” says PFund Executive Director Aaron Zimmerman. “The requirements for this round of funding were that the business owner must be BIPOC and LGBTQ+, operating their business in Minneapolis, and impacted by COVID-19 and the protests following the murder of George Floyd.”

PFund Foundation partnered with Quorum, Minnesota’s LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce, to not only provide grants to each business to invest in their recuperation, but to provide additional wrap-around support, including a membership to Quorum and monthly education sessions.

“PFund Foundation is a community foundation that must be responsive to the needs of our communities in order to have the greatest impact,” Zimmerman says. “In these past 15 months, PFund has truly had to put this philosophy into action by investing in those most impacted by tragedy and injustice. We have developed amazing partnerships with other funders, community leaders and others to create some amazing funds for communities impacted. We partnered with local mental health professionals who provided stipends for individual/group mental health support and healing for leaders facing trauma before, during, and after the murder of George Floyd.”

Additionally, Zimmerman explains that PFund’s LGBTQ+ BIPOC Business Capacity Fund will be their focus in the coming years as they continue to see the need to invest in BIPOC communities. 

“We are continuing to seek new ways to drive impact for the most marginalized communities within LGBTQ+ communities,” he adds.

Among this year’s recipients are Sammy’s Avenue Eatery and Formation Healing Arts.

“Our mission is to continue to establish ourselves as a heart-healthy food and community establishment with great vibes,” says Sammy McDowell, owner and operator of Sammy’s Avenue Eatery in North Minneapolis. “We’re very grateful to receive the PFund grant, which helped us get through the tough times we all faced during the pandemic and the uprising. Rest in peace, George Floyd.”

Sammy’s, where you can snag one of the tastiest sandwiches in the Twin Cities, remains a local mainstay.

“It’s very important for us to stay afloat amongst all that we have faced,” McDowell adds, “because as people may or may not know, Black businesses have a greater challenge in securing financial support and city and state support, not because we’re not great business operators, but simply because of the (beautiful) color of our skin. I would love for Minnesotans to intentionally continue to support all small businesses because we matter.” McDowell adds: “Please forgo your normal chain establishments and support small businesses if you have the chance.”  

Like Sammy’s, Formation Healing Arts is a staple of the community.

“Formation Healing Arts works for healing justice through supporting the restoration of healthy connections within our own systems, with the natural world, and other living beings through individual and collective holistic healing practices,” says founder Anna Meyer.

Anna Meyer. Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Meyer explains that a grant from PFund provides Formation Healing Arts access to professional development in the areas of small business management, additional holistic health training and education, and professional associations. The funds also allow for holistic healing sessions to be financially accessible for community members by supporting an income-based sliding fee scale.

“George Floyd’s murder brought attention to racism and systematic and systemic racism on a larger scale, but queer and trans communities of color have been experiencing these realities for generations,” Meyer says. “The need for healing is more visible now but the need has always been there, and how we do our work is ever more important. Remembering ancestral ways of being and healing and restoring our health holistically—individual, collective, systemic, planetary—is central to our survival, healing and thriving.”

With a new office in South Minneapolis, Formation Healing Arts offers individual Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Reiki, HearthMath techniques, training, and group holistic healing and facilitation support.

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