One relatively unnoticed aspect of Allianz Field development was a commitment by Minnesota United FC and Allianz Life to improve the local business community. Grants designed to achieve that goal are now providing that impact.
The Neighbors United Funding Collaborative (NUFC) to support Midway and Union Park area residents, local businesses and organizations was set up when work began on the MLS stadium. Now, even though the stadium is not open to fans, Minnesota United FC and Allianz Life have funded the NUFC during the COVID-19 pandemic, donating $75,000 in May.
While the Minnesota United community grants are small–$2,500–they are important to the many small businesses in the Midway still operating with revenues of less than $2 million annually, per the Star Tribune:
Mosaic on a Stick is one of nearly 70 businesses that received grants through the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative this spring and summer. Established as a community benefit fund to support the area around Allianz Field, it has become a source of emergency assistance for small businesses in St. Paul affected by the pandemic and, later, the unrest following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Though the $2,500 grants went fast, business owners say they made a difference at a time when their future was far from certain.
“When you have to shut your business down and you have employees and you don’t even know how to support yourself, let alone if you’re going to be able to support your employees … $2,500 does actually go a long way,” said Dawn Pivec, owner of Merriam Park Acupuncture.
The Neighbors United Funding Collaborative was created in 2016 and for more than three years, residents and community leaders collaborated to create a resource the neighborhood surrounding Allianz Field can draw from to improve and strengthen the area for years to come.
These are not huge businesses that the beneficiaries of Minnesota United community grants: these are small businesses that are the backbone of any thriving community. COVID-19 certainly hit them hard and the Midway was already a struggling area before the onslaught of COVID-19, so the impact of the grants are being felt.
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