At its April board meeting, the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) approved $20,000 for the Skyway Senior Center, 950 Nicollet Mall, Suite 290.
The allocation of Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds raised the center's budget considerably - to about $20,000.
The center is a meeting place for seniors, the majority of them with Downtown Zip Codes, according to City Councilmember Lisa Goodman (7th Ward). There have been more than 53,000 visits to the Senior Center since its 2001 opening for countless events, programs and classes.
After a startup grant from Target Corp. dried up in 2002, the center has been in financial straits. There is one part-time staffer; otherwise, dedicated volunteers, the majority of them seniors, keep the center running.
Even with its rent covered by developer and building owner Ryan Companies, the center costs $12,000 a month to operate, meaning the DMNA money will keep them open for less than two months.
Although the center, with the help of a city of Minneapolis grant writer, is pursuing private grants and a sponsor, Center Director Michelle Lodahl said the requests so far have been rejected because few organizations are providing funding for seniors. Lodahl hopes to appeal to health organizations and foundations that do support senior programs. She said the center is currently waiting to hear back on a couple of grant applications.
Councilmember Goodman called DMNA's $20,000 grant a "good use of NRP money" and asked the board to consider matching it with another $20,000. The DMNA board told Lodahl it would consider the additional grant but would like to see the center develop a long-term fund-raising strategy.
To find out more about the Senior Center, see www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/advocates/senior_skyway.asp or call 370-3869.