North High Scholarship Response 12/20/23

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

We hope this message finds you well. At Pillsbury United Communities (PUC), we are committed to supporting your child’s educational journey, and we understand the vital role scholarships play in this process. Recently, we’ve received feedback about difficulties in accessing the North High Scholarship funds. We want to clear up any confusion and provide clear guidance to ease the process. 

Steps to Receive the North High Scholarship: To ensure a smooth scholarship disbursement, please follow these steps: 

  1. Obtain a Student Statement: Ask your school’s financial aid office for a copy of your student statement. 
  2. Submit Required Information to PUC: Email the student statement to Gary Ly at GaryL@pillsburyunited.org.
    Please include:
     
  • Student’s Name 
  • Student’s Email 
  • Student ID or Social Security Number 
  • Statement with the balance due to the student’s account 
  • Address of the School’s Financial Aid or Bursar’s Office where the payment should be sent 

PUC will coordinate directly with your academic institution to apply your scholarship towards your balance. 

Additional Support for Post-secondary Planning: If your student is still considering their post-secondary options, PUC offers college and career counseling services. To access this support, please contact Gary Ly at GaryL@pillsburyunited.org or 651-252-4649 during business hours. 

Extended Deadline for Scholarship Application: We acknowledge the community’s need for more time to apply for the scholarship. Therefore, we are extending the application deadline to June 30th, 2024. 

Holiday Closure Notice: Please be aware that the PUC offices will be closed from December 25th to January 1st. During this period, responses may be delayed. We will resume regular operations on January 2nd. 

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we strive to assist each student effectively. Our goal is to make the scholarship process as accessible and supportive as possible. If you have any further concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. 

Thank you for your continued partnership in advancing your child’s education. 

Warm regards, 

Cinnamon Pelly 

President, CEO of Pillsbury United Communities 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Can the check be cut directly to me? No. The check will only be distributed to an educational institution for eligible expenses. 

Can I give the $10,000 to someone else? No. The award is unique to you. Your classmates are all awarded the same amount and are not transferable to other classmates, friends or family members. 

What are the eligible expenses? Tuition, registration fees, room and board. Books and technology purchased only through the school. As noted, the institution will invoice Pillsbury directly for any fees incurred for you. 

 Do I have to spend all the money at once? No, but all funds must be utilized by June 30, 2024. 

 I graduated in summer ’23. Can I access the scholarship funds? Currently, the funds are specifically for students who graduated in 2022. 

PUC’s Jovita Morales on the long fight to get Driver’s Licenses for All

Jovita holding a mic at an event.

Jovita Francisco Morales, an Indigenous Mazahua immigrant from Mexico, has organized Latine community members out of our Waite House Community Center in East Phillips for more than 15 years. “Waite House is kind of like my house. So much is accessible here,” she said.  

After years of fighting, she was one of the leading forces that secured Driver’s Licenses for All in Minnesota during this year’s legislative session. At the end of March and the end of a sabbatical she took to focus on advocacy for the Driver’s Licenses bill with her organization Minnesota Immigrant Movement, she spoke with the Pillsbury United communications team about that recent victory, food access as an organizing tool, and the power of Indigenous women. 

Tell us about your relationship with Pillsbury United. How long have you worked here?
I started volunteering in 2002. In 2005, I started work as a regular employee at Waite House. My first job was smoking cessation work. Then I worked at the front desk as a receptionist. Then I worked in the food shelf. And then I started community organizing during our produce giveaway. 60-100 people were showing up to presentations on produce day. We [eventually] organized those people to fight for municipal IDs and Driver’s Licenses for All. It became statewide.  

Why have driver’s licenses for all Minnesotans regardless of immigration status been such an important issue to you?
I have been working for so many years at Waite House, and I see community every single day that is in need of food. To have no hunger in the community, we have to look at the policy that makes people vulnerable. Having licenses will let people work; they will have money to bring food to their tables and there will be less trauma; this has caused trauma for 20 years.  The system has forced people to take risks and made it hard to take care of themselves by removing their right to a license. There’s a lot you can do with a state ID, like rent housing. The economy will be better because of this. 

You’ve been a leader in the movement since the beginning. How did you get involved?
From 2008-2009, collective tables began to form to lead this initiative. At Waite House, we started as Latinas Creativas which became Mujeres en Liderazga and then Mesa Latina, and then Minnesota Immigrant Movement. We wanted Waite House to do training and development to do something in community. That led us to develop the Driver’s Licenses for All bill and to work on getting municipal IDs in the City of Minneapolis, beginning in 2009. 

Tell us about the process of working for more than ten years to get the bill passed.
We asked many legislators to carry our bill in the beginning and they said no, but former Representative Karen Clark said yes right away. She recommended Scott Dibble in the Senate who passed it to Bobby Joe Champion. Clark and Champion became our fighters. Our first bill was introduced in the state of MN in 2010. We weren’t successful. In 2012, the bill passed the Senate but not the House. Then we passed it three times in the Senate but not in the House. We did work all over the state promoting the need for it. We had so many meetings. We did hunger strikes twice. We were camping every legislative session outside of the Capitol. The weather was so cold. We were also sleeping inside the Capitol at times. Governor Dayton said he wouldn’t support the bill, so we went to all his election events. We did a lot of rallies and marches. At one point Republican Rod Hamilton became the house author. He tried to bring other members, but he couldn’t. Finally, Senator Zaynab Mohamed and Representative Aisha Gomez carried it in the end joined by Senator Bobby Joe Champion and Representative Maria Isa Perez Vega. Most of the work being done was women. We started with women and ended with women. 

Tell us more about the work and power of women in this movement.
I come from an Indigenous community where machismo is still there, adopted from colonialism. Women were minimized and forced to do things. This movement proves that women can do so much, even without degrees. I didn’t have the opportunity to finish high school or go to college but have built so much political connection and power. This movement shows the resources we have—they come from the grassroots community members. When you work with your heart, everything you harvest will be love. 

Now that the law is passed, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done to implement it. What is that looking like?
This month we’ve re-visited ten cities around Minnesota doing education and consciousness work. We’re telling people we won; showing them that this is what happens when you don’t give up and you resist. We talk about what the law means, the story of how we got here, and then the bill itself. We want to prepare people to meet the requirements to get a license. We’re talking about responsibility and driving safely. We want people to take care of Minnesota like they’re taking care of their own lives. 

Do you have other dreams for Minnesota? What are they?
If I had more money, I’d create more programs, especially housing. Especially in rural MN, we can do a lot to use the food system to organize people and change policy. I also want to see paternalistic systems dismantled. If we say we want justice for everybody, or if we say we want to empower community, what does that really mean to us? My experience is that organizations minimize us or take credit for the work that community has done. How do we recognize all the good work without territorialism?  

What are your dreams personally and professionally?
I have been asking myself that. One of my dreams is just to be happy and see people happy. When you see a family that has a lot of love, it’s partly because they are ok. Better jobs and better housing create love and harmony in the family. Need gets in the way of love. We have to share resources and remove barriers in order to live equitably. 

Cinnamon Pelly Named President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, APRIL 10, 2023 — The Pillsbury United Communities Board of Directors announced today that Cinnamon Pelly has been named the President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities. Ms. Pelly comes to the agency from Cincinnati, Ohio where she has most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio.

Pelly is an experienced executive with diverse leadership experience spanning community development, education, health and human services, banking and philanthropy. As COO of the Urban League, she oversaw significant renovations to the Cincinnati and Dayton offices during the COVID-19 pandemic which kept the doors open and allowed staff to serve 40,000 in the community.  She led negotiations for a 10-year, multi-million-dollar real estate contract for the new Holloman Center for Social Justice. The Cincinnati Enquirer called her an “African American emerging leader to watch,” and she’s been honored with several professional awards for her transformational leadership.

“I am deeply honored to lead Pillsbury United Communities as its next president and CEO. I am fortunate to join a team of incredibly talented and caring executives, staff, volunteers, trustees, and donors who have prioritized a bold vision for justice, equity, and prosperity. Together, we will build on our rich legacy of co-creating enduring change that positions people and communities to reach their full potential.”  said Pelly.

Pelly’s first official day at the agency will be April 17, 2023.

“Pillsbury United Communities has been the quiet achiever, fighting for social justice and equity in our communities for over 140 years. The team has been preparing for the next chapter and selecting this new leader was a serious undertaking. We had some wonderful candidates, and we actively involved the entire organization. In the end, Cinnamon didn’t only bring an incredible breadth of skills and experience, but her ability to genuinely connect with people at all levels was amazing. Uniting people is the key to our future. With game-changing directives in play that will positively impact so many parts of the community, the Board is excited to welcome Cinnamon to help begin PUC’s next chapter.” said Heath Rudduck, Chair of the Board of Directors.

“I’m so pleased to have Cinnamon join Pillsbury United. Her breadth of experience, coupled with her commitment to strengthening communities and racial equity are a beautiful combination of talent and passion that align with our agency’s values. I am thrilled to work closely with her in coming months to welcome her to the PUC family and introduce her to our community,” said Pillsbury United Interim CEO Brenna Brelie.

The Pillsbury United Board of Directors retained BroadView Talent Partners to conduct the CEO search in the fall of 2022. “Midwestern born and raised, Cinnamon brings an amazing blend of progressively responsible corporate, non-profit, and community development leadership coupled with exceptional relationship management and fundraising capabilities to the PUC CEO role. Cinnamon will fast-adapt to Minneapolis and the constituent communities served by PUC’s mission and social enterprises. We envision that she will be the perfect catalyst for PUC’s next phase of growth and maturity,” said Tracy McMillan, CEO & Managing Partner of BroadView Talent Partners.

About Pillsbury United Communities

Pillsbury United Communities is one of Minnesota’s most well-established organizations with 140+ years of service to diverse communities across the Twin Cities and beyond. Pillsbury United Communities has an annual operating budget of $16M (including affiliates) and 150 change agents. We are community builders co-creating enduring change toward a just society where every person has personal, social, and economic power. Our united system of programs, neighborhood centers, social enterprises, and partnerships connects individuals and their families across the region. More information about Pillsbury United Communities is available at www.pillsburyunited.org

 

Contact: Kenzie O’Keefe, Head of Mobilization & Narrative Strategy
651.245.2647
KenzieO@pillsburyunited.org

PUC FANS 2022

“PUC FANS Race 2022,” 5 Eyewitness News, 6/5/22

Hydroponics: The latest fad in food or the future of agriculture?

“Hydroponics: The latest fad in food or the future of agriculture?,” MPR News, 6/2/22

Pillsbury United announces $1M raised for North High Class of 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn (April 15, 2022) – Pillsbury United Communities (Pillsbury United), an agency with a 140-year legacy of recognizing and amplifying the assets and aspirations of the communities living in historically underinvested neighborhoods across Minneapolis, announced $1M in scholarship funds raised for the Minneapolis North High Class of 2022 at 3pm on Friday, April 15. 

Every senior who graduates this year will receive up to $10,000 for post-secondary education.

Leaders at Pillsbury United envisioned the North High Scholarship Fund in early 2022 as a force to counteract the extreme difficulties this year’s graduating class has uniquely and intersectionally faced during their high school years: the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis Public Schools’ educator strike, and disproportionate experiences of community-based violence, most recently the murder of their beloved classmate Deshaun Hill Jr. 

“This is a moment for sowing hope into those who have been profoundly affected by the events and losses of the past few years and ongoing entrenched inequities.  We believe direct investments in young people are powerful. This fund will meaningfully support students in actualizing the futures of their wildest dreams. We are following transformative models across the country and aim to have a generational impact on prosperity,” said Pillsbury United CEO & President, Adair Mosley.

Roughly 100 students are on track to graduate in spring 2022. Upon successful graduation, each senior will earn up to $10,000 for post-secondary career training or college. Pillsbury United will hold the funds and remit them directly to the educational institutions of students choosing.

Students who do not have an immediate plan will have up to one year to determine their plans. Pillsbury United will make its college and career counselors available during summer hours to support the students through this process. Our counselors are hired from the community, providing students with trusted adults that have similar life experiences.  

The North High Scholarship Fund is made possible by the generous contributions from the following foundations and corporations: The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund at the St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Cargill Foundation, General Mills, McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis Foundation, Minnesota Twins, Target and the U.S. Bank Foundation.

Pillsbury United welcomes additional contributions to the fund and plans to explore how to continue and expand it in the years to come. Donate here. Media inquiries can be directed to kenzieo@pillsburyunited.org, 651.245.2647.

 

About Pillsbury United Communities: Pillsbury United Communities is one of Minnesota’s most well-established organizations with 140 years of service to diverse communities across the Twin Cities and beyond. Our mission is to co-create enduring change toward a just society where every person has personal, social, and economic power.  We build systems of interconnected programs, neighborhood centers, social enterprises, and partnerships that work together to address complex issues by breaking down barriers and building pathways for people to achieve greater personal health and well-being, places to exist where cultural understanding creates social connections, and prosperity to be shared through equitable education and employment . 

About North Community High School: Established in Minneapolis’ Near North neighborhood in 1888, North Community High School is a college-preparatory school where students are equipped to succeed in post-secondary institutions; lead constructive change in their communities; and build ethical careers in a global, competitive marketplace.

Sisterhood Boutique celebrates its 10-year anniversary

We can’t believe that we’ve been here this long. We have been working hard to change lives for the many young women who have been a part of our program. And now it’s time to celebrate!
 In 2012, a group of East African girls began discussing the gaps they were seeing in their community—they wanted the same opportunities as the boys! With support from the youth development team at the Pillsbury United Communities Brian Coyle Center, these entrepreneurial young women developed the concept for a resale clothing store and launched the Sisterhood Boutique in 2014. For the past eight years, the Sisterhood Boutique has been providing a safe place for East African girls to learn and grow while providing a valuable service to the community.
Today, the Sisterhood is a thriving youth development program that helps East African young women ages 14-23 develop life and work readiness skills with hands-on experience in the operation of a fully functioning retail business.

OUR MISSION: We encourage East African young women to connect and evolve as leaders and entrepreneurs by creating space to explore, express, and educate each other and their community. Because, we believe the future is for all women.

We are so thankful for the longevity of the organization so far and we are so grateful for the people and donors that have worked along with us throughout the past 10 years!
Sisterhood – Wrapping Women in Confidence

Support Foodshare Month!

At Pillsbury United Communities, we are working to create a long-term solution to food insecurity while meeting the most urgent needs of community. In 2021, we gave away close to 2 million pounds of fresh produce and nutritious ingredients tailored to the unique cultural tastes of our East African, Latin, and Indigenous neighbors. We couldn’t do it without your support. All donations to our food shelves through April 10 will receive a partial match from our partners at Minnesota FoodShare.

 

To make a monetary donation, visit:

https://pillsburyunited.org/foodshare22/

Pillsbury United launches Minneapolis Documenters to Boost Government Transparency

MINNEAPOLIS (JAN. 2022)  — Local government meetings shape our lives, but these discussions often lack participation from the public. A new participatory journalism initiative from Pillsbury United Communities is making public meetings more transparent and accessible, giving Minneapolis residents the information they need to actualize the change they wish to see in their communities. 

Minneapolis Documenters trains and pays community members to take notes at city and county government meetings. We’re building a community-owned public record by centralizing city and county-level public meeting dates, government documents and Documenters’ notes in one location at minneapolis.documenters.org. Notes and summaries are also shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @documenterspuc. 

Minneapolis Documenters is led by Pillsbury United Communities’ Civic Producer Jackie Renzetti and Director of Policy and Advocacy Kenzie O’Keefe. Both are former Twin Cities-based journalists and media educators. 

“Government doesn’t typically meet community where it’s at; it can be technocratic, time-consuming, and difficult to track. Here at Pillsbury United, we are investing in a Documenters program to remove some of those structural barriers, supporting the community members we serve in building their government awareness and organizing power,” O’Keefe said.

Pillsbury United is inviting local newsrooms and civic organizations to use this resource and share ideas for collaboration. 

“We believe sharing resources between news organizations and opening up the reporting process to the public is key to a sustainable, equitable media ecosystem that supports civic participation, ” Renzetti said. “We envision this as a resource that can open new opportunities for collaborative journalism and civic action in Minneapolis and beyond.” 

Minneapolis Documenters is an affiliate of the Documenters Network created by City Bureau, a Chicago-based civic journalism lab, in 2016. Since 2018, Cleveland and Detroit have also established affiliate programs. Documenters in these programs have used their experiences to further their careers and interests in fields including reporting, civic action and research. Newsrooms have also collaborated in these cities to pursue accountability reporting based on the Documenters’ notes. 

“Public meetings are workshops for local democracy. Across the country, gaps in coverage of these meetings leaves community members less informed and less able to make informed decisions about schools, development or who to vote for in local elections. Access to information from these meetings allows people to hold local officials accountable,” said Darryl Holliday, Executive Director of National Impact at City Bureau. “The Documenters Network informs, engages and equips community members to get civically involved and connect their neighbors to critical information.“

Since the program’s soft launch in mid-December, 22 Minneapolis Documenters have joined more than 1,600 Documenters across the country. Based on engagement with the public, Pillsbury United Communities will focus its Minneapolis Documenters coverage on city and county-level agencies that deal with housing, land use and public safety. The notes will also cover other justice-related issues such as food access, transportation and health.

Documenters are paid $20 hourly for time spent at the training and covering meetings. The only qualification to become a Documenter is attendance at a Minneapolis Documenters orientation. Prospective Documenters – and reporters, if they’re interested in observing – can register here to attend an upcoming orientation, held Jan. 26 at 10 a.m. and Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. 

At a time when residents are calling for accountability from both local government and the media, Minneapolis Documenters offers a pathway to building community power by bringing the public into both spaces. 

Financial support for the Minneapolis Documenters comes from the McKnight, GHR, and Target Foundations.

 

 

About Pillsbury United Communities
Pillsbury United Communities is one of Minnesota’s most well-established organizations, with 140 years of service to diverse communities across the Twin Cities and beyond. We serve the Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant, and working-class residents of Minneapolis. We have brick-and-mortar locations in the North, East Phillips, Powderhorn and Cedar-Riverside neighborhoods. Our mission is to co-create enduring change toward a just society where every person has personal, social, and economic power.  In addition to Documenters, PUC owns and operates two other community media enterprises: North News and KRSM Radio.

About City Bureau
City Bureau is a journalism lab reimagining local media. We do this by equipping people with skills and resources, engaging in critical public conversations and producing information that directly addresses people’s needs—in the process, we have created locally-driven initiatives like the Public Newsroom and national civic infrastructure like the Documenters Network. Drawing from our work in Chicago, we aim to equip every community with the tools it needs to eliminate information inequity to further liberation, justice and self-determination. 

About the Documenters Network
The Documenters Network creates new pathways for civic action and public oversight of local government through participatory media by training and paying local residents to attend and annotate government meetings, turning the knowledge, relationships, and capacity of local residents into a powerful community information resource. Today, the Documenters Network is made up of hundreds of people in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Minneapolis who have collectively made thousands of public meetings more transparent, relevant and accessible. For more information, including how you can launch a Documenters Network site in your city, please contact our team at network@citybureau.org. 

Shop small today and everyday at social enterprises

It’s that time of the year where many of us are out hustling and bustling in search of that perfect gift for someone special. While you are planning out your shopping stops, don’t forget to keep our social enterprises in mind. This holiday season, support your community by shopping small and with a purpose.

Gifts from Full Cycle

For the biker in your life, consider hitting up Full Cycle Bike Shop in South Minneapolis. From bikes to beanies, hoodies to buffs, t-shirts to studded tires—you’ll be sure to find great gear that supports a great cause. So much more than your run-of-the-mill bike shop, Full Cycle supports young people experiencing homelessness through employment and training in the shop, free bikes, emergency food access, and more.

Location: 3515 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hours:
Tuesday – Friday, 12pm – 5pm

Photos from Sisterhood Boutique

For your fashion-forward (and perhaps environmentalist?) friend, check out Sisterhood Boutique in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. As a gently used clothing store that was designed by young East African women from the neighborhood about 5 years ago, today it continues to double as a youth employment program. So, not only can you snag some affordable, stylish clothes, but also know that your purchases support a space for young East African women to explore, express, and educate each other and their community. And hey—shopping resale is always kinder to our environment too.

Location: 2200 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Hours:
Monday – Friday, 1pm – 6pm

And, we can’t forget food for the festivities. Consider getting all your grocery needs at North Market, a new kind of grocery store uniting three elements of community health in one place: nutritious food, health care services, and community wellness. North Market hires from the surrounding Northside community, pays living wages, and has products from over 20 local vendors on their shelves. Stock your cart with some fine red meats, delicious pies, fresh produce, and more and support local this holiday season. (And with any purchases of $100 or more, you get a $25 gift card in return!)

So—whether it’s bike gear, clothing, or healthy foods, shopping our social enterprises this holiday season is a win-win. You get affordable, quality gifts for the folks you love AND the dollars you spend go directly to supporting valuable opportunities for people in our communities. Truly, gifts that give back. Thanks for keeping us in mind.

Location: 4414 N Humboldt Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55412
Hours:
Open everyday, 9am – 9pm

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