A Chance To Grow is proud to be a part of Northeast Minneapolis, a vibrant community that nurtures the arts, its businesses and the vital work of nonprofit organizations that serve the neighborhood. The area's community organizations have played a critical role in helping us meet our mission for decades. We'd like to introduce you to three of our most ardent Northeast supports: Kiwanis Club, The Exchange Club, and the Lions Club. These are local chapters of national organizations. In North-East Minneapolis, these all-volunteer organizations work hard to raise money to support organizations like ours, as a way to ensure that we can meet the needs of our neighbors. Their support over the decades has given us a chance to grow.
Nationally, the Kiwanis focus their efforts in on improving the lives of children. Locally, the NE Kiwanis have helped the neighborhood's children for more than 70 years by supporting organizations, like A Chance To Grow, that provide the services they need. They hold a number of fundraisers each year, and feature speakers from local organizations at their weekly meetings.
One member, Al Morelli -- a longtime friend of ACTG -- remembers how the club first got involved with us in 2001.
"They were having a golf tournament and were looking for volunteers to help at the event. So five of us from the Kiwanis went out and they gave us jobs at each hole selling raffle tickets," said Al. It was the first year for us, so we didn't really know what was going on. After that first year, I thought, hey, I could really raise some funds for these guys."
Al got the Kiwanis Club to donate $500 to the event the following year, and used those funds to purchase raffle prizes." We set up a tent and made it look like a carnival and then we sold tickets for chances to win all this stuff. And it worked! We raised about $1,200 that year on just one hole! And each year after the, I got a donation from the club and it just kept growing!"
Thus began a beautiful partnership. The Kiwanis continued to support ACTG's golf event over the next 18 years, raising thousands of dollars for ACTG's programs and services. When, post-pandemic, we decided to end the golf event, the Kiwanis stayed with us, by sponsoring our annual Race For The Children, and -- with Al's help -- donating wonderful items for the Silent Auction.
"We liked what A Chance To Grow was doing, helping kids with special needs, so it was easy to get the club to support it, and it's been great ever since," said Al.
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/NEmplsKiwanis/.
Nationally, the Exchange Club has Programs of Service that focus on helping children. For @ EXCHANGE the Northeast Chapter, volunteers put on a variety of fund- raising and activities with a special emphasis on youth programs, child abuse prevention, community service and good citizenship. They not only support ACTG through annual donations, they also help organizations like East Side Neighborhood Services, My Very Own Bed, the Crisis Nursery, and La Oportunidad. In addition, they make annual awards via the ACE Scholarship Awards, the YMCA Youth Citizenship Award, and a civics contest. Like the Kiwanis, the NE Exchange Club has supported ACTG for decades with thousands of dollars in annual grants, and this year, they are serving as a sponsor for The Race For The Children.
"We're very proud to be the recipient of one of their Victory Shrines* says Vicky Stein, ACTG's Director of Development and a member of the Exchange Club's Board of Directors. She further states, "The Exchange Club does such important work in the neighborhood, and it's all donated by an incredible group of dedicated volunteers. What began as local businessmen meeting for lunch has grown into a service organization that strives to meet a wide range of community needs. We're lucky to have their support."
Learn more at https://eastmpis-exchange.org/.
For many years, the Lions and their Community Foundation have generously awarded ACTG grants to help our clients, many of whom are without adequate insurance coverage, receive vision screenings and obtain eyeglass prescriptions.
"Their donations have made it possible for us to provide vision care to thousands, as well as donating meals to our Turnquist families around the holidays," said ACTG's Executive Director, Erica Dickerson. "The partnership has been such a positive one that it prompted me to get involved in the Lions Community Foundation Board as a member, allowing us to give back even more to the community that has been home to ACTG for more than 20 years."
Learn more at nelions.org/.
Together, these organizations have donated countless hours and dollars to support the prosperity of the Northeast Minneapolis community. We are forever grateful for all the support they've shown us over the years, it has helped us become who we are today. It is worth noting that each of these organizations are volunteer-run, and would welcome new members to help them meet their missions. We are honored to call them not only our partners, but members of our ACTG family.