MINNEAPOLIS - The owners behind two professional Minnesota sports teams have announced mutlimillion dollar donations to social justice causes in the wake of the officer-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Twins announced Wednesday the Pohlad ownership family is donating $25 million to racial justice issues. The funds will come from a combination of Pohlad family foundation, Pohlad family members and Pohlad Companies in a two-phase, community-based approach.
"Black people have experienced oppression and racism for far too long in this country," said Bill Pohlad, president of the Pohlad Family Foundation, in a statement. "We condemn racism in all its forms, and we are firmly committed to helping to enact meaningful change. We know this will take time and effort, and we are committed to this work beyond this seminal moment in our country's history.”
The Pohlad family says it’s focused on providing immediate relief and rebuilding organizations in communities impacted by Floyd’s death. Pohlad Companies is encouraging employees to volunteer and will match employee donations to various causes. The Pohlad Family Foundation will support grassroots efforts doing the work, and they also plan to work with local government, charities and the business community to help those businesses destroyed by protests and riots in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. Long term, the Pohlad family says it’s focusing on impacting structural change through the foundation. They plan to partner with other committed organizations to help change the systems that create racial inequities and marginalize people of color.
The Minnesota Vikings and the Wilf family announced they would be donating $5 million donation to social justice causes throughout the U.S. The Vikings also announced the endowed George Floyd Legacy Scholarship, which was created by the Vikings Social Justice Committee. There will be a $125,000 establishing gift which will be used to give $5,000 each year to black high school seniors in the Twin Cities metro area who are pursuing post-secondary education.
“We continue to be inspired by these players as they advocate for transformational change in this very challenging moment,” said Mark Wilf. “We are proud of their efforts to use their platform in an effort to end deep-seated social injustices. Their thoughtful approach and our conversations with them have deeply moved us, certainly in large part because of our family’s history and longstanding commitment to human rights, but also because of their steadfast dedication to not sit idly by when they have the ability to make a difference."
Following Floyd's death tensions rose between residents and the police department. Demonstrators burned buildings, including the police department's Third Precinct, and left small businesses owned by many minorities destroyed. There have also been peaceful protests and powerful moments, including Minnesota sports figures coming together at Cub Foods in south Minneapolis last Friday for a food and supply drive for area residents who can't get essential needs because those businesses were damaged in riots.
"While we are determined to help affect change in our community, we also know that any real change must start from within," said Pohlad. "And so, we acknowledge that we have our own work to do and are working to strengthen diversity and inclusion in our organization."