One of our legislative victories from last session is in jeopardy – can you take a few minutes to take a photo today and help send a message to key legislators to take these critical investments off the chopping block?
Last year, under the tireless leadership of Senators Champion and Hayden, the legislature prioritized funding for organizations that focus on addressing racial disparities in workforce and business development. A total of $35 million was invested in these programs for FY 2017, with another $35 million committed in “base” funding, or ongoing annual funding for FY 2018 and beyond. This includes both direct appropriations and competitive grant programs focused on racial equity. MABC advocated for these investments, particularly the expansion of small business development funding that became known as the MN Emerging Entrepreneur Program (MEEP), along with many allies and partners. This year, the legislature has proposed a significant reduction to that base funding. This means organizations that were counting on continued funding for racial equity programs will see a reduction in the resources available for this critical work in FY 2018, and those resources may be eliminated completely by FY 2019.
The chairs of the House and Senate Jobs committees need to hear from organizations and communities that care about racial equity that we need to continue to invest in racial equity programs. Please let Senator Miller and Representative Garofalo know that we want full base funding for the Equity programs. Base funding enables organizations to invest in long-term strategies for addressing racial disparities.
What you can do today:
Take a photo of yourself, a fellow staffer or a client, holding a plain piece of paper with the phrase “MN Equity Investments Matter because ____________________” and write your best reason. Then email the photo to Dave Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please let us know if you have questions, or want to check in about what message you will write. We’re hoping to have a mix of some organizations that received funding because of this legislation, and some organizations that value racial equity and are speaking up for it even though they are not grantees.