Each fall we celebrate the outstanding grantees of the year in various categories. Our partner agencies nominate their shining stars and MicroGrants’ Women’s Advisory Group chooses the winners. As always, we are proud of all the ‘people of potential’ who are working with our partner agencies toward their dreams of financial independence.
Thank you to WCCO’s Angela Davis, our emcee; John Koziol, pianist; Jason Jones, who provided sound, and all the volunteers and guests who made this year’s Grantees of the Year Celebration a wonderful experience for everyone. Congratulation to all of this year’s winners!
THANK YOU to our event sponsors and in-kind donors. We couldn’t do it without you!
Angela Davis of WCCO presented the Grantee of the Year Awards at the Celebration this September. Each year it is a challenge to choose the winning grantees as there are many ‘winning’ stories from our grant recipients. Congratulations to ALL of our outstanding grantees year after year.
Elbert Carlisle is this year’s Outstanding Courage, Persistence & Resilience Winner. Elbert has been a resident of Project for Pride in Living’s supportive housing and has been working as maintenance staff for Better Futures MN since 2011. Elbert’s goal to become self-sufficient motivated him to start a vending machine business with juice and snack machines. He was awarded a MicroGrant through PPL in order to make repairs to the juice machine and to purchase additional equipment to expand his business. Elbert has faced and overcome many obstacles in life. Receiving this grant has helped him move closer to his goals of entrepreneurship.
Anthony Dahl wins the Outstanding Innovation Award through NDC, Neighborhood Development Center. Anthony started Everest Cleaning Systems in 2010, and in his ongoing efforts to expand his business, he kept himself training, informed and well-networked. As a result, he bid and won a substantial contract with the Metropolitan Council to clean and maintain the Park & Ride facilities. With his MicroGrant, Anthony was able to purchase the necessary equipment to fulfill this exciting new endeavor.
Luella Davis has won the Outstanding Leverage Award through Summit Academy OIC. Luella is a certified welder, carpenter and truck driver with 3 daughters, 2 in college and one now graduated. Luella needed reliable transportation as she found public transportation difficult and stressful getting to and from various job sites and interviews. With her MicroGrants, Luella was able to purchase a vehicle and insurance which has made her more confident, reliable and stable in the work force. [Latriste Graham, one of last year’s Outstanding Grantees of the Year presented Luella with her award.]
Laverall Edwards wins the Outstanding Student and Role Model. Laverall provides for his wife and 4 children as a Certified Nursing Assistant which has slowly taken a toll on his body requiring a career change. In order to pursue a new career he intended to return to school but was unable to register for classes due to a financial hold on his student account. Using the MicroGrant, through Project for Pride in Living, Laverall was able to pay off the debt and continue his education. He is now in his third semester at Hennepin Technical College and is on his way to a new career.
Patricia Harris is the winner of Outstanding Grantee for Community Involvement through the Wilder Foundation. Simply put, Patricia loves financial literacy and loves to coach and mentor people, especially low-income people. She used her MicroGrant for business start up expenses, including Articles of Incorporation. She has volunteered for many organizations as a leadership coach, and was recognized by Oak Park as Volunteer of the year in 2013.
Tasha Henry is the winner of the Outstanding Determination Award. Tasha came to the PPL Learning Center discouraged and hopeless. Upon completion of her job training class, she found new hope and her confidence began to strengthen. She got her GED within 6 months and began classes at MCTC pursuing an associates degree in Human Services. Last year, she was facing a financial threat – if she continued paying for school, she would lose her housing; If she paid her housing, she’d have to quit school! Project for Pride in Living nominated Tasha for a MicroGrant to pay her tuition, keeping her housing and keeping her on track toward her degree. [Tricia Haynes of MicroGrants accepted the award for Tasha who was attending class that evening]
Carlos Lazoya is the winner of the Outstanding Strategic Use Award through MEDA, Metropolitan Economic Development Association. Owner of Carlos Construction and Remodeling, Carlos needed a computer to do business in a professional and timely manner, and from his truck. With the assistance of MicroGrants, he was able to purchase a portable computer and accounting software allowing Carlos to invoice clients, make bids and answer business emails right from his truck and in a timely fashion thus increasing his revenues. [Adrian Coulter, one of last year’s Grantee of the Year winners, accepted the award for Carlos who was on the job.]
Astrid Yango is our Outstanding Grantee of the Year for Overcoming Many Barriers. Astrid and her family relocated to the US from from a war-torn African country 3 years ago. They were housed at a local homeless shelter in St Cloud and spoke very little English. After many failed attempts she finally found a job as an entry level cashier but trying to manage her and her children’s schedules using public transportation became unworkable and prevented her from obtaining full time employment. With the help of her MicroGrants, Astrid was able to take driver’s education classes, get her license and is now working as a bank teller. [Carolie Collins of GoodWill Easter Seals accepted the award for Astrid]
Samson Zeleke is our winner in the category of Outstanding Foresight through Neighborhood Development Center. He is the owner of Samson Upholstery and has been in business for many years. He had the foresight to anticipate the need to upgrade the tools of his trade, most importantly a new sewing machine. Samson bought the new machine just days before the old one broke down. The new machine took over for old machine while it was being repaired so he didn’t have to lose any business. Now both machines are working and have increased his business capacity.