DEED Names Project Legacy as an Equity Competitive Grant Recipient

November 15, 2016 – Rochester, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced an equity grant totaling $150,000 for fiscal year 2017 to Project Legacy, a program of Olmsted Outreach. The funds are part of the Support Services Competitive Grant Program for Youth that works to improve economic opportunities for young adults from communities of color, academic and behavioral intervention for low-performing students and youth intervention.

Project Legacy is a program to meet the needs of youth of color in the Rochester Community who struggle with lack of resources and supports that enable them to reach their full potential. Many of the youth lack stable housing, a viable support system, and caring adults to advocate for them. The program targets youth who have demonstrated resilience in the face of enormous obstacles and who are sincerely motivated to change their current lifestyle. Project Legacy currently has twenty-five youth who are in college, nine are seniors in high school, and five are incarcerated. In addition, they provide outreach to over thirty youth ages 17-24 who are street-involved and gang-affiliated.

Review panels – composed of state staff and volunteers from the nonprofit and for-profit communities – selected funding recipients after reviewing $48.4 million in program proposals from 165 Minnesota organizations.

"These equity grants are very important steps in building a better Minnesota, where everyone has a full and equal opportunity to succeed,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “I congratulate the recipients and wish them success in addressing these serious challenges. In the coming legislative session, I will again ask the Legislature to invest in creating better economic opportunities for all Minnesotans throughout our state.”

"If you have a good job, you have independence and the opportunity to improve your life,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. “With these grants, the opportunity for a good job will be expanded for thousands of people, especially people of color, women, young people, veterans and/or Minnesotans with disabilities. This will be good for Minnesota families. And it will be good for Minnesota businesses, which are forecasted to have a shortage of more than 100,000 workers within four years.”

“This was the first time that DEED has used review panels composed of community members to select funding recipients,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “The panels achieved our goal of ensuring transparency and diversity in the decision-making process. We will work to improve and implement this in other grant-making processes throughout DEED.”

“I appreciated the intent to bring citizen participation and input into government spending,” said review panel participant Joe Kreisman. “I think that is a noble and important part of being a public service department that acts on behalf of the citizens.”

“This review process allows the public to understand that the department is working with and not against them,” Trang Nguyen added. “I am hopeful that this change will leave a positive impact on the communities and our state’s well-being.”

The programs that were selected by the review panels will provide services under the Equity Article that was approved by the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Dayton in June.

The goal of the funding is to eliminate educational and career barriers in Minnesota and to create an economy where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

DonationNate Nordstrom