There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Clinical care accounts for only 20% of health outcomes; 80% are affected by the social determinants of health: employment and economic stability; education; social and community connections; neighborhood and physical environment; and access to healthy food and physical activity. We believe that efforts grounded in lived experiences that emphasize social determinants will have the greatest impact on health and well-being.
Young people are our most valuable asset, our future elders, our hopes and dreams. Our youth deserve safe, nurturing spaces to grow, cultivate skills for self-actualization, and develop into 21st-century global citizens, which is why GMCC invests in the education and development of our young leaders.
Food is vital for life, the center of our gathering table, and a wellspring of entrepreneurial and educational opportunity. Farmers and growers around the world are an integral part of the sacred ritual that brings food to the table. We partner with many in our state to make sure healthy food is reaching those in need, while also co-creating sustainable models for small businesses and centering food as a learning opportunity. Life and business skills in the food system include farming, cooking, agricultural technology, business and marketing, transportation, edible landscaping, composting and more. We are especially proud of our legacy of cultivating and connecting food shelves, individuals, and partners through our Minnesota FoodShare initiative.
Founded in 1981, Minnesota FoodShare is a long standing brand of GMCC’s food security and justice work. Our annual March Campaign engages thousands of people to raise food and funds for our 285 food shelf partners across Minnesota. During March Campaign and throughout the year, Minnesota FoodShare raises and distributes funding to food shelves and other partners addressing urgent issues of food security.
Visit www.mnfoodshare.org for more information. Later in 2021, the Minnesota FoodShare site will be retired and all information regarding the program will be found here, on GMCC’s main site.
Genius Labs @GMCC
Launched in Summer 2021, Digital Café brought together technological access, studio learning, and youth-centered design to create opportunities to middle school youth that fostered creativity, independence, critical thinking, and self-awareness.
In Fall 2021 we plan to incorporate food support through meals and food boxes alongside learning opportunities and experiences for the whole family including courses for parents, sports clinics, healing-centered mental health support, pathways to career development, and much more.
Launching in October 2021 the goal of Tech Teens is to spark student interest in technology, exposing them to the variety within the tech field, and position them for careers in technology or those that require technology. Tech Teens will focus on three core areas: learning technologies, career preparation, and soft skills training.
Minnesota Venture Farms
Currently under development, Minnesota Venture Farms (MVF) is a BIPOC-led response to inequities in our food system that further disparities in health, housing, education, and wealth. MVF is an enterprise that is led by a collective of BIPOC farmers, agricultural leaders, and food entrepreneurs. MVF builds a new, equitable food ecosystem including BIPOC land ownership, new distribution channels, and co-designed microenterprises.
GMCC Health & Well-being Community Co-Design
Currently in development, GMCC Community Co-Design is a consultancy that supports healthcare systems, community organizations, government agencies, and users of our healthcare systems to turn community lived experiences into organizational strategy and action. GMCC Community Co-Design uncovers perspectives and experiences that are not currently captured and thus not considered. Unlike traditional research and engagement approaches, GMCC Community Co-Design provides an innovative structure to turn understanding of lived experiences into practical and powerful solutions.
Youth Innovation Labs
Currently under development, Youth Innovation Labs provides underinvested youth with paid positions that inform systems change. Youth design more equitable and innovative products, services, policies, and solutions with community organizations, government agencies, and corporations.
Face The Facts: Poverty Simulation Training
Our award-winning poverty simulation, previously a component of our Urban Immersions program (suspended indefinitely), Face The Facts focuses on education and awareness on the complexities and root causes of poverty, privilege, and social justice issues within our communities. Due to COVID-19 in-person trainings have paused, however, the GMCC team is actively engaged with development of a virtual format. Stay tuned!
Food Distribution Initiative
When COVID-19 resulted in food access challenges for some communities, GMCC partnered with faith and community leaders to launch a food distribution initiative. We opened a kitchen and prepared and delivered daily, culturally appropriate nutritious meals to seven Twin Cities communities. By the end of 2020, we were delivering 7,000 meals per week. This initiative inspired our reputation as one of the only effective halal food distribution networks in the area. Additionally, we worked with mosques and other partners to provide take home food and supply boxes for 150 families.
In fall 2020, our Learning Pods initiative provided 70 Somali youth with twice-weekly distance learning and tutoring support and engaged mothers in courses in nutrition, computer literacy, women’s health, and financial planning. We also provided weekly take-home food and supply boxes to 20 families. The Learning Pods initiative served as a proof of concept for our new youth and family services model.
Kinship Greater Twin Cities
In 2020, we completed an intensive research process that included evaluation of our 65-year running Kinship mentoring program. This six-month process included engaging paid co-designers in a three-part studio session; conducting one-on-one interviews; reviewing historical surveys; administering new surveys; meeting with partners working in the same areas; and reviewing published, external research. Results informed a reimagination of our youth development and family services to ensure we are best serving our communities. As these initiatives continue to develop, the kinship program and name will phase out to transition to new programming.
For 25 years, Urban Immersions, engaged groups from around the midwest about the complexities and root causes of poverty and social justice issues within our communities through service learning and education. Due to COVID-19 all immersions and in-person trainings paused. As of 2021, we will no longer be offering overnight immersions as we utilize our building for other initiatives.
Want to partner with GMCC on
an initiative in your community?
We’re constantly adapting to changing needs. We’re looking for compassionate people to partner with us in creating impact for Minnesota. Here’s what we look for in any new initiative: