NEON awarded $10K grant to address unemployment disparities

The Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) recently received a $10K grant from Old National Bank Foundation to support its efforts to create economic opportunities in North Minneapolis.

As the philanthropic arm of Old National Bank, the Foundation awards the grant three times a year to organizations that fit its strategic initiatives of affordable housing, early education, economic development, financial literacy, and workforce development.

NEON fits the bill with its workforce and entrepreneurial development programming. For more than a decade, the nonprofit has been working to expand economic development opportunities and build wealth for low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs in North Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Part of that work includes addressing unemployment disparities for Black Minnesotans.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the unemployment rate is more than two times higher for Blacks compared to Whites. The grant money will be used to provide 200 hours of technical assistance to entrepreneurs in North Minneapolis and surrounding areas.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Old National Bank as our newest partner in economic development,” said NEON President Warren McLean. “The grant will definitely help us increase our capacity to serve a greater number of clients in North Minneapolis. We are excited about the future of our burgeoning partnership and its benefits to North Minneapolis entrepreneurs.”

Old National’s VP Community Development Officer Trent Bowman, who has been a long-time supporter of NEON, said the nonprofit’s work can help change the narrative for the North Minneapolis community.

“Business and community go hand-in-hand — the success of one depends heavily on the other. By empowering community members to start their own businesses, NEON is truly helping North Minneapolis thrive,” he said. “We at Old National are proud to support NEON and we’re excited to see more from their hard-working clients.”

For more information, head on over to neon-mn.org.

— Information provided by Old National Bank