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 supporters: Kiwanis Club, The Exchange Club, and the Lions Club. These are local chapters of national organizations. In Northeast 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.
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 looking for volunteers to help with 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 just on one hole! And each year after that, 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 www.facebook.com/NEmplsKiwanis/.
Nationally, the Exchange Club has Programs of Service that focuses on helping children. For the Northeast Chapter, volunteers put on a variety of fundraising 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. “The Exchange Club does such important work in the neighborhood, and it’s all donated time 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://eastmpls-exchange.org/.
The Northeast Minneapolis Lion’s Club is a place where individuals join together to give their valuable time and effort to improve their communities and the world. ‘Lions serve. It’s that simple.’
“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.”
Additionally, Lion's Club member, Marty Zaworkski, has served as the MC of the The Race for the Children for the last handful of years. We're excited to announce that he will return to host this year's event on August 20 at Canterbury Park!
Learn more at https://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.