Donors have given more than $2.5 million to help small businesses on Lake Street rebuild in the aftermath of last week’s riots that caused widespread destruction.
By Monday afternoon, just four days after the fundraiser launched by the Lake Street Council went live, more than 32,000 people had given money, with donations coming in furiously from the metro area and from across the country, said Matt Kazinka, senior strategic initiatives manager for the nonprofit, which advocates for hundreds of small businesses and organizations along the busy south Minneapolis corridor.
“It’s incredible to see how much care about Lake Street and a community like ours,” said Kazinka, noting that a majority of businesses are owned by immigrants and people of color. “These businesses serve so many people and are home for so many people. It’s not just the goods and services they provide, but they are community centers.”
The council said it will take millions of dollars to rebuild the scores of businesses damaged during the riots of the past few days, which erupted after the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died May 25 after he was restrained during an arrest.
Kazinka said the council will be drawing up guidelines in the coming weeks to determine how to disburse the money.
To recognize the generosity, the council said it will use its own general operating funds to make a “significant gift” to Floyd’s family. All donations that come in will be allocated to businesses to help them rebuild storefronts and reopen, the council said.
Many businesses had already been struggling economically in the wake of COVID-19 closures. Then the riots hit and delivered more devastation. But thousands are stepping up, Kazinka said.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I’m thrilled about what this means for our community.”
Checks can be mailed to the council’s office at 919 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN, 55407. But the council warns it may not receive them for “some time” because mail delivery in the area has been temporarily halted.
In a separate fundraiser for the Lake Street Business Association, Edina-based Inclusivi-Tee will hold an online auction June 25-28. “Artists Who Share” will feature work from more than 40 established and new artists from the United States, as well as from Colombia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Argentina and England.