Better Futures MN_2019-10-17 (2)

(Left to right) Better Futures’ Joe Jeruzal, Old National Bank’s Leo Lopez, Better Futures’ Thomas Adams, and Old National Bank’s Trent Bowman, Kelly Elkin and Emily Michels.

The Old National Bank Foundation, philanthropic arm of Old National Bank, presented checks for $50,000 to Big Brother Big Sisters Twin Cities, and $7,500 to Better Futures Minnesota, a nonprofit that works to transform the lives of men who were previously incarcerated.

Three times a year, the foundation presents grants to organizations that fit the strategic initiatives of affordable housing, early education, economic development, financial literacy and workforce development.

“Support from the Old National Foundation will help thousands of promising young people realize their future career and college potential,” Michael Goar, Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities CEO, said. “Mentoring happens at the community level, working with kids at a young age. Gifts like this are both a way to begin eliminating racial and economic disparities and a long-term investment in the future Twin Cities workforce.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is being awarded the grant for its workforce development efforts. The grant money will go toward the organization’s Realizing Potential Campaign over the next two years. This campaign includes the purchase and renovation of a new youth development hub in North Minneapolis, which will also house the organization’s offices. Once complete, Big Brothers Big Sisters will be the first specifically youth-focused organization to move into the Hawthorne neighborhood.

“As a community bank, we’re proud to support the continued efforts of organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters to revitalize North Minneapolis neighborhoods and invest in our children’s futures,” Old National Bank Foundation Board Member Kelly Elkin said.

“We’re so grateful to the Old National Bank Foundation for their support of Better Futures Minnesota,” said Thomas Adams, president and CEO of Better Futures Minnesota. “This grant will allow us to provide certifications for upwards of 50 men that will allow them to gain entry-level employment in the HVAC industry. Thereby giving them an opportunity to earn a livable wage for themselves and their families. This is putting them on a transformational journey to better themselves and become contributing members of society.”

Better Futures Minnesota is being awarded this grant for its workforce development efforts. The grant money will go toward the organization’s training efforts. Better Futures Minnesota offers more than 12 workforce certifications, including refrigerant evacuation and HVAC.

“Better Futures Minnesota breaks down barriers for these men and really provides them with a brighter future,” said Elkin. “At Old National, we believe education is power, whether that’s financial education, continuing education or workforce education – it all leads to a better way of life for our community. We’re proud to support this powerful organization.”

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