3M, Target, UnitedHealth and Medtronic play roles in establishing D.C. museum

Four Minnesota business organizations contributed more than $17 million toward the building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened its doors on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C.

The 400,000-square foot building was established as one of 19 museums and galleries within the Smithsonian by an act of Congress in 2003. 3M Co., Target Corp. and UnitedHealth Group were among the 13 “cornerstone donors” contributing $5 million or more to the museum. The Medtronic Foundation was among 22 organizations to contribute $2 million or more as Keystone Donors.

3M’s technology is helping to tell the black experience in the museum through 100 3M touch screens throughout the museum that help guide visitors through the exhibits. In the exhibit, “Freedom Now: The Modern Civil Rights Movement 1945-1968,” 3M touch screens lead visitors through a question-and-answer application that informs visitors about the height of segregation including stories about freedom marches and the Montgomery bus boycott.

“This technology enables the Smithsonian to tell stories in new and exciting ways,” Mark Lavoie, the 3M sales rep who installed the monitors, said in a statement. “The best way to connect with museum visitors is through the convergence of voice, data and video technology.”

3M has a long partnership with the Smithsonian. Retired 3M executive Bob MacDonald serves as chair of its National Board of Directors.

Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell served as an advisory board member of the African American museum. In a blog post on Minneapolis-based Target’s website Cornell said, “This museum will be a place where visitors can come and learn, reflect, understand more about each other, and ultimately be more accepting of all people.” Target is supporting the Target Learning Center at the museum, a space where visitors can take a deeper dive into history through interactive displays.

Patrick Kennedy

Small food entrepreneurs aid stricken founder with fundraiser

Midwest Pantry, a 200-plus member marketing organization for small local food producers, and local farmers markets are helping one of their own who is battling cancer.

Amy Glass, co-owner of Lucille’s Kitchen Garden, a producer of fruit jellies and jams, is fighting an aggressive, late-stage breast cancer and is unable to work at the company she started in 2007 with business partner, Zoie Glass, or run operations of Midwest Pantry. Amy and Zoie Glass, who are married, started Midwest Pantry in 2010 with Chad Gillard.

Proceeds from two recent farmers markets one-day events mean the Glass family is halfway to the $15,000 that would cover insurance and medical costs next year. This will allow Lucille’s to keep “cash flowing,” Gillard said.

“The food-creator community has responded so quickly … that Zoie and Amy have gone from considering shuttering the company … to being able to expand the number of stores which carry Lucille’s Kitchen Garden jams,” Gillard added. “The kindness … has been extremely humbling.”

Midwest Pantry members and customers at recent Northeast Farmers Market and Linden Hills Farmers Market events“proved this is a good place in which to do business,’’ Gillard said.

“In addition to selling a truck full of jelly, people donated a tremendous amount,” Gillard said. “Amy had a crowd when she arrived each day!”

There are two more opportunities to participate in the “Kick Cancer — Buy Jam” fundraiser: at the Mill City Farmers Market on Oct. 22, and the Midwest Pantry Shop Small Holiday Market in St. Anthony on Nov. 26. A jar of Lucille’s jam will sell for $7; two for $12.

Neal St. Anthony

Toro helps make Hazeltine National green

Toro Co., a market leader in golf course maintenance and irrigation equipment, has long had a green hand in men’s and women’s major championship events. However, this week’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club is different. The Chaska course is practically in Toro’s Bloomington backyard and a perfect opportunity to showcase Toro equipment on a course built with and maintained by Toro equipment.

Hazeltine course superintendent Chris Tritabaugh and his crew have been prepping for the Ryder Cup for a couple of years.

“It’s an honor to have Hazeltine on the world’s stage and host many of today’s top professional golfers,” Tritabaugh said in a statement. “We couldn’t have done it without three things: the hard work from our staff here at Hazeltine, the great relationship with our distributor, MTI Distributing, and top-quality mowing and irrigation equipment from Toro.”

A small army of approximately 3,800 volunteers are on site, including a handful of Toro volunteers working with Tritabaugh’s crew on course preparation and maintenance.

Patrick Kennedy