Grant funds projects for minorities

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

Abraham Daza gives a presentation for a restaurant in the El Parral Ballroom as part of the Community Growth Initiative's second meeting Wednesday evening at Riverland Community College. - Eric Johnson/

Three community groups will receive part of $15,000 in funding to help immigrant workers and entrepreneurs of color. Not all of the three projects were originally supposed to, however.

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At Wednesday night’s Community Growth Initiative meeting, only two of the three projects presented their cases as to how they would help local immigrant workers and entrepreneurs of color. A third project was created seemingly on the spot.

“All three projects will be funded to an extent,” said Peggy Young, a training and development coordinator at Riverland Community College. Young was one of the members of the Leadership Team comprised of Riverland staff, community members and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation representatives, who decided which groups got a $15,000 grant from the SMIF. Community members met last month to come up with ideas that would help local immigrants and workers of color, eventually combining ideas and paring them down to three projects.

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Representatives from El Parral Ballroom presented a business plan for the addition of a kitchen to the ballroom and bar, which would provide on-site food service as well as jobs for young adults and new additions to the area. People who rent out the ballroom would be able to rent their food services, which would include nine staff consisting of cooks, wait staff and maintenance staff.

Although people wouldn’t be able to use the facilities for their events due to insurance and liability concerns, El Parral would be able to offer cooking classes for a variety of foods to area residents, according to Abraham Daza, an El Parral spokesperson.