Lake Street Council launches grant programs totaling $1.5 million to encourage local ownership, development

The nonprofit is now accepting acquisition and pre-development grant applications

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The Lake Street Council announces two new grants that will provide a total of $1.5 million to local entrepreneurs who rebuild and invest in property on Lake Street.
The grants are a part of the nonprofit’s We Love Lake Street Fund, which raised more than $11 million for Lake Street businesses following the civil uprising prompted by George Floyd’s death.
“Small businesses are essential to the economic well-being and vitality of our region,” said Lake Street Council Executive Director Allison Sharkey. “We are determined to help business owners and members of the community rebuild, reopen and invest in Lake Street.”
The We Love Lake Street Acquisition Fund will provide a total of $1 million in forgivable loans to encourage local entrepreneurs and nonprofits to purchase destroyed properties. Small business owners who were displaced by social unrest can also use the funds to help purchase a building on the Lake Street corridor. The We Love Lake Street Predevelopment Fund will provide a total of $500,000 in grants for pre-development costs, such as feasibility studies, environmental reviews and architecture.
Both grant programs are competitive and will prioritize applicants that are led by or benefit Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, align with equitable development principles and pedestrian-oriented design guidelines, and/or were properties most impacted by the civil unrest this past summer.
“Lake Street has a long history of small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) families, local entrepreneurs, and immigrant business owners. Many of these small businesses are currently experiencing the most challenges in recovering and reopening,” said Elena Gaarder, CEO of the Minneapolis Consortium of Community Developers and chair of the We Love Lake Street Fund Oversight Committee.
“Our goal with these grants is to keep property in local hands, support wealth in BIPOC communities and retain the small businesses that make Lake Street that vibrant corridor that it is,” Gaarder said.
More than 400 Lake Street businesses incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in damage following the civil uprising this past summer. To assist owners in rebuilding and reopening, the Lake Street Council created the We Love Lake Street Fund in May, which to-date has provided more than $5 million in grants to 300 different small businesses along the Lake Street corridor.
The two new We Love Lake Street Fund grant programs are now open for applications. Grant applications will be reviewed starting on Jan. 4, 2021, and accepted on a rolling basis.

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