Community fundraisers raise nearly $20K for businesses vandalized in Minneapolis

A business hit by the vandalism on Franklin Avenue was boarded up after the crime.

After a vandal struck several East African-owned businesses in Minneapolis, the community has come together to help the businesses pay for repairs.

After the crimes in September, those business owners were shocked and scared. But since those bricks came through the businesses on Franklin Avenue, something good has emerged.

A 36-year-old man is accused of targeting Somali-owned businesses along Franklin Avenue after throwing rocks at the windows. He’s been charged with damage to property because of bias.

"The window and door smashed," recalled Ekram Hamid of Tobacco Plus.

One of those businesses targeted was Tobacco Plus on Franklin Avenue.

"Everybody paid out of our pocket to fix it, all the businesses," explained Hamid.

And those damage costs are adding up but community backing keeps them going.

"Since that we’ve been ok, we don’t see anything bad. We don’t see anybody threaten us, and I really appreciate the Seward community for supporting," said Hamid.

Some of that support comes from new customers.

Surveillance video showed a man throwing an object at the building. Six businesses were vandalized in the Seward neighborhood. (FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul)

"We’ve actually seen a lot of different people that we never met, we very glad to see them," said Abdi Awad of the Capitol Cafe.

It all added up to something much bigger: Nearly $20,000 raised by Seward Community Co-op customers.

"This was one person (the vandal) and what I’m seeing in this fundraiser is 40,000 individual transactions," said Abby Rogosheske from the Seward Community Co-op. "This is not the norm in our community and our community wants to say, 'Hey, we stand on the side of these businesses.'"

It’s a testament of how big of an impact, small acts of kindness really can make.

"All of the people who have rounded up knowing that this money is going to the businesses are part of the community making that happen," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.

The money raised through the Round-Up program at Seward Co-op and an online fundraiser through CAIR and the Minnesota Main Street Alliance will be distributed to the businesses to pay for things like added security and damage repairs. The Round-Up will go through the end of October.