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This grant program addressed economic development and redevelopment needs that arose in the East Metro since March 15, 2020.

Sharing the Program’s Impact

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation awarded grants to 42 nonprofit organizations and businesses through the East Metro Main Street Economic Revitalization Program in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

As of May 15, 2023, a total of $7 million in state funding was awarded to projects in the Snelling-University-Rice Cultural District, the East Side community and along West Seventh Street in Saint Paul. An additional $2.15 million was raised and distributed to further support applicants to meet program matching fund requirements and complete projects.

We are proud to celebrate the success of this community-led grantmaking program and the contributions of our many partners through our impact report.

By the Numbers


grants awarded


in state funding


in additional funds

raised for projects


in grants to nonprofits


in grants to businesses



to small businesses

Our 42 Grant Recipients

African Economic Development Solutions (in support of Little Africa Plaza)

ARS Partnership, LLP

Black Hart of Saint Paul

Blendz Barbershop Minnesota, LLC

Brick by Brick MN, LLC

Checkerboard Pizza

Cook St. Paul, LLC (in support of Juche)

Dar's Double Scoop

Family Foods Market, LLC

Far East Bar & Restaurant

Hmong American Partnership

Hung Tu, Inc. (in support of Peking Garden Chinese Restaurant)

Indigenous Roots

It's a Wrap Hair Studio

Junior Achievement North

Keystone Community Services (in support of the Keystone Community Food Center)

La Palma Market

Latino Economic Development Center (in support of Plaza del Sol)

Listening House of St. Paul

Model Cities of St. Paul

Mu La Ya Phan Grocery

Nanny's Jamaican Kitchen

Neighborhood Development Center

Rhodes Food, LLC

Rolu, LLC (in support of Mi Linda Tierra)

Samson Upholstery, LLC

Sir Cerresso Fort Boxing and Fitness

Slice Pizza, LLC

Tee Pwo Market, LLC

That Property Place, LLC

The Sanneh Foundation

Udo's African Food

Ultimate Look, LLC

V & C Tasty, Inc. (in support of Little Szechuan)

V & I Best Steakhouse

Vang Property

Victoria Theater Arts Center

Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota

Wilandeth, LLC

Wildflyer Coffee

Wyld Chyldz Hair Studio

YT Eateries, LLC (in support of Swede Hollow Café)

Udo’s African Food Store

Udo’s African Food, renowned for its mouthwatering West African dishes, is growing and moving to a new location, thanks to the substantial support of East Metro Main Street. This funding has been instrumental in making their expansion possible, ensuring not only an expanded store area but also additional restaurant space.

“We are not only going to be expanding our grocery store - we are actually going to be cooking the product we are selling!” says owner Michael Udo.

La Palma Supermercado

La Palma Supermercado, known for its authentic Latin foods, now has a new attached bakery and upgraded kitchen thanks to the East Metro Main Street funding, providing enhanced culinary offerings and expanded amenities for its patrons.

"We have a variety for all the [South American ethnicities]," says owner Luis Gutierrez. "I think that’s the most important [way] we impact on the community. They come here, they come home, they feel like a family."


East Metro Main Street Program Map

Projects were funded along the following corridors, which were identified as places along which businesses and organizations have experienced significant amounts of widespread damage, major closures/vacancies and other negative impacts of COVID-19 and civil unrest.

  • Snelling-University-Rice Cultural District
  • East Side Community
  • West 7th Street

Click here to see a map of project locations

Community-led Projects

We prioritized projects led by and serving Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino, new Americans, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, LGBTQI communities, veterans, low-income communities or other communities that have been historically under- and dis-invested in by traditional funding, and 100% of projects met this criteria. More than 85% of the projects were owned or led by people of color.

Community Partnerships

Thank you to the many community partners who helped us develop this application process. The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation worked in partnership with the Asian Economic Development Association, East Side Neighborhood Development Company, NEOO Partners, Inc., Propel Nonprofits and the City of Saint Paul to provide business owners and nonprofits with technical assistance for projects throughout the application and award process.

The program was supported by funding from the Bush Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Mardag Foundation, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and many other community and financial institutions.

Collectivity, a collective social impact consulting group, provided project management for the program.

Review Committee

A Review Committee comprised of City of Saint Paul champions with economic development expertise convened six times to review applications, ask questions and discuss the challenges facing businesses and organizations in Saint Paul. They paid special attention to the needs of small businesses, identifying early on a goal of allocating a significant portion of the $7 million for small business projects. In total, $2.1 million was allocated to small businesses.

What’s Next

Grant distribution began in December 2022, and all awarded grants will be paid by June 2025. It is expected that all corresponding projects be completed by December 2026. The application process is now closed.

Additional monies are available through the PROMISE Act. This grant and loan program is primarily to support disadvantaged small businesses and social sector organizations located in certain neighborhoods in Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Greater Minnesota that were hit hard by the pandemic and civil unrest. The program funding was authorized by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed into law during the 2023 legislative session by Governor Walz. The program is anticipated to end by December of 2025.