Sunday, March 13, 2011

Open Letter to Mr. Gary Cunningham and Kevin Walker of the Northwest Area Foundation, Headwaters Foundation and State Representative Bobby Jo Champion (D-MN/58B) – “Where Does Black Leadership begin in Minnesota?”

Just like the ''Economic Summit."
"Just like the March 30th, Economic Summit, the Black community of the Twin Cities has seen this before. The story below was originally done on November 20th, 2009. Somethings never change."

On Saturday, November 21, 2009 an African American Leadership Forum was held at General Mills.  The group of hand-picked, like-minded participants will insure that Black Minnesotans will achieve the same status-quo engagement while non-profit “fat cats” receive funding that never makes it past the agencies doors.


In the case of the now lack-luster Northway Community Trust who granted an out-of-town agency $50,000 for a survey of businesses on Broadway Avenue who never delivered a report – is one of the examples of Northwest Area Foundations “community engagements.”

The following email was sent to Northwest Area Foundations Gary Cunningham and President Kevin Walker:

Dear Mr. Cunningham and others,

I am writing to express my disdain for being lied to by you and the Foundation you represent regarding the African-American Leadership Forum tomorrow (11/21) at General Mills.


Northwest Area Foundation continues to overlook the community members who strive for social change aggressively and who are outspoken about social issues, when we are the people fighting in the trenches on a daily basis.  You promised in previous emails sent directly to me, that you would invite me and Mr. Edwards to this “leadership” meeting for a chance to dialog and observe the process.

Today, I spoke with Alfred Babington-Johnson from the Stairstep Foundation and Trista Harris from Headwaters Foundation and “hand-picked” participants to attend a “leadership forum” to be held on Saturday, November 21, 2009 starting at 7 a.m. and once again, you have overlooked inviting major activists in the Twin Cities and people who could create real change.

By working with those you feel comfortable with, lends itself to collusion, corruption and no results to no successful measurable outcome for the community.


I ask that the Northwest Area Foundation and others connected abide to principles of full disclosure and distribution of information to community stakeholders that may have additional view or opinions about the process and how it affects our community.

Our community has sat by for years and watched local non-profit agencies be gifted with funding from General Mills and others – do you realize none of this funding makes it to the lower 1/3rd of the underserved community. Businesses that have been created have failed at a catastrophic rate where is the accountability?

Mr. Cunningham – You have failed to invite individuals with opposing views – that have solutions and a process with a proven track record to assist changing the face of despair and hopelessness for African-Americans in Minnesota.

This is open letter is a request for full disclosure and the opportunity to participate.

Very best regards,

Donald W.R. Allen,II – IBNN
Ronald Edwards – National Research Institute/Rondex Group
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Nuff said – for now.

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