Nonprofit that provides computer access to children in Minneapolis running low on funds

Just months after opening, a youth center in south Minneapolis is already at risk of closing.

The nonprofit "The Real Minneapolis" started the program to help provide resources for distance learners during the pandemic. But organizers say, right now, there's not enough funding to keep the center afloat.

"We saw a need and we filled it, it’s really as simple as that," said The Real Minneapolis co-founder Valerie Quintana.

Now, a little more than three months after opening, the Hope Youth Center located in the Midtown Exchange building in south Minneapolis could be just days away from closing its doors for good.

"We’ve continued our duties here and worked with students," said The Real Minneapolis co-founder Mary Claire Francois. "We just haven’t received funding."

The space, which was donated by Allina Health, was created by nonprofit The Real Minneapolis as a resource for distance learners, a majority of its students are children of color.

"That’s kind of the role that we’ve stepped into," said Francois. "We’ve fed them, kept them on task, made sure that they’re not spending too much screen time."

The nonprofit says since opening, it's only received $20,000 in donations. With funds drying up, organizers say they can no longer provide food. Now, they are making a public plea.

"We're really just setting the boundary that we’re unable to keep our doors open unless The Real Minneapolis steps up in whatever form that takes," said Quintana. "GoFundMe, corporate donors, and so that’s really where we are at."

With more children set to return to in-person classes soon, organizers expect their services here will still be in demand but time is running out.

"It’s just heartbreaking," said Quintana. "Because that’s all we want to do is be there for distance learners."

Organizers say that they have supported about 50 students so far. If they receive more funding, they hope to bring on even more students. If you want to help out, the organization has launched a GoFundMe.

The Real Minneapolis, the nonprofit which runs the program, was formed following the death of George Floyd.