The McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) have selected Shanene Herbert and Jamil Jackson, both of North Minneapolis, as this year’s Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award recipients.

This award recognizes four Minnesotans who have made a significant impact in the state, yet have remained unrecognized or, “unsung,” in their commitment to making Minnesota a better place for all.

The 2019 awardees will each receive a cash prize of $10,000 from the McKnight Foundation and MCN and will also be recognized at the 2019 MCN Annual Conference on Oct. 24 in Rochester at the Mayo Civic Center.

Since 1985, the McKnight Foundation has recognized Minnesotans who have improved the quality of life for current and future generations with the Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Service. In 2015, MCN partnered with McKnight to coordinate and present the first-ever Unsung Hero Awards, honoring individuals who were doing life-changing work in communities across Minnesota with little or no recognition.

“We are extremely thrilled to be partnering with the McKnight Foundation to celebrate and recognize the incredible work of these award recipients,” said Jon Pratt, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. “It was clear throughout the nomination process how much they were respected, not just by their nominators, but by the communities they have personally touched. What an inspiration they are to so many others who do impactful yet often unrecognized work in Minnesota and beyond.”

Herbert, a native New Yorker now living in North Minneapolis and a mother of two, has worked with young people of color and their parents in educational settings across the Twin Cities, navigating pathways to success and slowly chip away at the cradle to prison pipeline. Herbert has launched a number of programs and initiatives, including Heal Sis, a grassroots initiative that brings women together to explore their past, present, future experiences and their trauma around topics that affect their lives.

Jackson has dedicated his life for improving the lives of under-resourced teens in North Minneapolis. Through basketball, he created a leadership development program that engages over 200 boys each week, focusing on college-readiness and their future careers.  From this program, Jackson launched C.E.O. (Change Equals Opportunity), which brings in community leaders to mentor and guide the youth in his program with a focus on positive black leaders and entrepreneurship. Outside of this work, Jackson started his own construction and lawn maintenance business where he trains and employs youth felons and students at risk for gang involvement.

Also selected were Shirley Nordrum of Cass Lake and Patti Reibold of Red Wing.

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