Scholarships of hope for north Minneapolis graduates

A “shockwave of hope” rippled through north Minneapolis when Pillsbury United Communities announced that 2022 graduating seniors of North Community High School would receive a $10,000 scholarship for their post-secondary education.

Pillsbury United Communities (Pillsbury United) has a 140-year legacy of co-creating thriving communities where every person has personal, social, and economic power. Rooted in the pursuit of justice, Pillsbury United builds opportunity to flourish regardless of zip code, age, ability, or background. Crucial to Pillsbury United’s vision is the belief that everyone should have access to high-quality education.

“Direct investments in young people are powerful.”

—Adair Mosley, former CEO and president of Pillsbury United Communities

A Bright Future

Furthering Achievement through a Network of Support (FANS) is Pillsbury United’s college readiness, career mentorship, and scholarship program for high school students of color, recent immigrants, and other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education.  

Faiza, a former 2020 FANS Scholar from Wellstone International High School commented, “Ever since I was little, my parents used to talk to me about how important education is to the whole family and the community. This group offers an opportunity for the students. I will be a role model for my younger siblings.”  

In early 2022, leaders at Pillsbury United envisioned a new FANS program, the North High Scholarship Fund. This $1,000,000 fund is a force to counteract the unique and extreme difficulties 2022’s graduating class faced during their high school years: a pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis Public Schools’ educator strike, and disproportionate experiences with violence in their community. 

“This is a moment for sowing hope into those who have been profoundly affected by the events and losses of the past few years and ongoing entrenched inequities.”

—Adair Mosley, former CEO and president of Pillsbury United Communities

Closing the Gap

Pillsbury United knows that disrupting the deep disparities affecting Black wealth and education will require bold solutions. A solution like the $1,000,000 scholarship fund “tells 100 Northside youth they are worth the investment,” says Adair.

To reach this ambitious goal, a wide network of local funders joined together to raise $450,000 to support Pillsbury United’s vision for the North High Scholarship Fund. Through the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund at Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, MACP was able to support Pillsbury United in closing the funding gap towards its $1,000,000 goal with a $550,000 grant from our Local Initiatives program. The Local Initiatives program supports equity-centered work that is informed by historically excluded communities throughout Minnesota, including Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latine, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and underserved rural populations.

Roughly 100 students graduated in spring 2022 from North Community High School and each senior earned up to $10,000 for post-secondary career training or college. Additionally, students received ongoing access to college and career counselors throughout the summer to help prepare for their next chapters.

MACP sees these scholarships as a direct investment in the future of young Northsiders.

Photos provided by Pillsbury United Communities.