Announcement, News, Press Release

The GreenLight Fund Launches its 9th Site, GreenLight Twin Cities

Jan 14, 2020

Twin Cities


Fund intends to commit $5 million in the Twin Cities over the next five years to run a locally-driven process to attract innovative, gap-filling, proven high-impact solutions to address local needs and help improve outcomes

Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN – January 14, 2020 – The GreenLight Fund, with support from more than 50 local philanthropic investors, today announced the launch of GreenLight Twin Cities. The organization’s locally-driven program will identify and address pressing, unmet needs of children and families in the region’s low-income communities.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is excited to welcome GreenLight Fund, “Building a city that works for all of us requires that we identify innovative solutions to address our toughest challenges. The GreenLight Fund will support even greater collaboration in our community, as we work to realize the big vision we’ll create together.”

“In Minneapolis, we are committed to a future built on inclusive economic opportunity and are excited to welcome another partner with that shared commitment, the GreenLight Fund,” added Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis, MN. “With GreenLight’s community-based model and support, we can better address some of our biggest challenges and pursue even more of our city’s bold aspirations.”

GreenLight Twin Cities’ record number of co-founding funders include: Andersen Corporate Foundation, Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, Anonymous, Julie and Doug Baker Jr. Foundation, Bank of America, Frankie Bennett, Craig Bentdahl, Bush Foundation, C. H. Robinson, Cargill, Margaret A. Cargill Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, Page and Jay Cowles, DFK Group, Inc., Andrew Dayton, Deloitte, Andrew Duff, Ecolab, Jonathan and Michele Eisele, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Simon Foster and Nikki Sorum, Tim Gokey, Jeff and Terri Greiner, Glen and Nancy Gunderson, HealthPartners, Ann and Chris Hilger, Virginia Hubbard, iHeartMedia, Rick and Gina King, Craig Leipold and Helen Johnson-Leipold, Jim and Norma Leslie Family Foundation, Minnesota Vikings Football, Minnesota Wild, Chuck and Liz Mooty, John W. Mooty Foundation, Rory and Rhonda O’Neill, the Otto Bremer Trust, Amy and Chip Pearson Family Foundation, Todd and Fabiana Peterson, Karen and Bill Richard, Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation, The Sanger Family Foundation, Securian Financial, John and Sue Simon, Julie and Bob Sullivan, Thomson Reuters, Greater Twin Cities United Way, University of St. Thomas, US Bank Foundation, Liz and Tim Welsh, Walter and Karen White, and WMN Foundation.

“An incredible group of Twin Cities investors has rallied around GreenLight Twin Cities and believes in its potential to help the region address critical barriers to economic mobility facing children and families in low-income communities,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures. “Our community-driven, action-oriented, proven approach to addressing issues will be amplified by the amazing civic spirit and generosity we’ve seen in our visits to the Twin Cities.”

“We are proud to be part of a record number of co-founding funders helping to launch GreenLight in the Twin Cities,” shared Tim Welsh, Vice Chairman, Consumer and Business Banking, US Bank. “The organization has an incredible track record of demonstrated results in other cities. We look forward to working with GreenLight to address our community’s highest needs, and seeing the impact that work will have in Minneapolis and St. Paul.”

“GreenLight’s leadership and the demonstrated impact the organization has had in other cities gives us great confidence that GreenLight’s presence in the Twin Cities is just what we need to tackle the persistent economic mobility issues we face with top notch, sustainable solutions,” said Brian Lipschultz, Co-CEO and Trustee, the Otto Bremer Trust. “OBT has been a leader in impact investing in the Upper Midwest so we can truly appreciate GreenLight’s social innovation model. We are proud to be part of the founding investor group here in the Twin Cities.”

GreenLight Twin Cities will work in collaboration with the local community to transform the lives of low-income children, youth and families in the Twin Cities by: conducting an annual process to identify where there are gaps in services; supporting the replication of innovative, entrepreneurial organizations with proven, measurable results to address those gaps; and galvanizing local community support to help programs reach and sustain impact.

“GreenLight’s model aligns well with our philanthropic goals. Ann and I are energized about the ability to take innovative programs that work from across the country and make them available here, addressing critical gaps with measurable results,” said Chris Hilger, CEO, Securian Financial.

Jeff Greiner, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Northern Pacific Group added, “Putting resources and best-in-class, proven solutions where they will have the greatest impact in our region is an endeavor we are pleased to support. Terri and I are delighted to join this incredible group of philanthropists so that together we can make a transformative difference for children and families in the Twin Cities.”

Twin Cities is the ninth community to join the GreenLight network. In other cities – Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area – the GreenLight Method has been used to address a wide variety of issues including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, poor health outcomes, family income and asset-building, and youth aging out of foster care.

Katie Simpson, Market President, Bank of America shared, “My Bank of America colleagues have been early investors in GreenLight Fund in other cities with tremendous results. We are looking forward to supporting GreenLight’s launch in the Twin Cities and to the opportunities this will make possible for our community.”

Julie Sullivan, President, University of St. Thomas added, “We were immediately impressed with GreenLight’s focus on implementing best-in-class solutions from across the nation to provide opportunities for children and families in our community. GreenLight’s impact in other cities has been profound, and we believe that it will be transformative here in the Twin Cities.”

In 2019 alone, GreenLight’s 27 portfolio organizations reached more than 110,000 children and families across GreenLight’s cities with their innovative, replicable and effective programs. Each GreenLight site will continue to bring programs with demonstrated and scalable impact to their cities each year, exponentially growing reach and impact, providing economic mobility opportunities for more children, youth and families in GreenLight cities across the nation – with consistently proven results.

“We are thrilled to be part of this impressive coalition of founding funders, bringing this innovative model to our region. GreenLight will become an important pillar in our community, bringing together leaders and resources to bring smart, effective solutions to where they are needed,” said Chuck Mooty, Chairman, Jostens.

GreenLight Twin Cities will be led by a local executive director with advice and insight from a Selection Advisory Council made up of Twin Cities’ leaders from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy, the community and government. The search for GreenLight Twin Cities’ executive director is underway. Once hired, the local executive director will engage the Selection Advisory Council in the annual GreenLight process to identify issue areas, perform diligence and select an organization for support. The first selection will be made in 2021.

Margaret Hall, GreenLight’s co-founder and CEO, said of the launch timeline, “We are energized by the warm welcome we’ve received across all facets of the community and are ready to get started. Our all-important first step is to hire an executive director to lead the work in GreenLight Twin Cities. With this person in place, we’ll launch our first selection process and look forward to keeping the community apprised and engaged with our progress.”

Additional quotes from co-founding investors

“The GreenLight Fund initiative is an extremely attractive, innovative approach that is essential because the Twin Cities ranks among the very best in overall quality of life and among the very worst in racial and ethnic disparities, and far too little progress has been made to close this gap.”
– Karen and Bill Richard

“We are honored to be among this broad group of co-founding investors and excited about the impact GreenLight will have in the Twin Cities for years to come. GreenLight will serve as a value-added partner, offering proven solutions to locally identified problems not currently being addressed, and bringing meaningful change to our community.“
– Page and Jay Cowles

“The Minnesota Wild are excited to be a co-founding investor as GreenLight’s vision aligns with our mission of Creating a Greater State of Hockey. We share the same goal to positively impact the lives of children and families across all corners of the state for many years to come.”
– Wayne Peterson, Director, Community Relations and Hockey Partnerships, Minnesota Wild

“Deloitte is proud to be an inaugural supporter of Greenlight Fund Twin Cities. We’re excited to work alongside other business and community leaders who believe in making moonshots possible.”
– Jeff Cotton, Managing Partner, Deloitte

“The GreenLight Fund approach is particularly well-suited to the Twin Cities, as it brings a proven, systematic methodology to address an area of extreme regional need. It will help focus the longstanding commitment of individuals and businesses in the Twin Cities to improve the community for all by supporting the most effective organizations.”
– Walter White, President and CEO, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America

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