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Mpls. Nonprofit Receives International Attention, Grant

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twin Cities Rise is a nonprofit that trains unemployed and under-employed people for good jobs.

Now this Minneapolis organization is receiving international attention and a $50,000 grant. The eBay Foundation and Ashoka Changemakers awarded the grant to Twin Cities Rise because of the way they fund their operations.

From writing to computer skills, the people who come to Twin Cities Rise learn what they need to get living-wage jobs — jobs at some top Minnesota companies.

But don’t call these people students. TCR calls them participants, like Antoinette Grier.

“I found myself disabled for 10 years, I had been a professional and in getting back up, I lacked the confidence to go back into the real world and that’s what I came here seeking,” she said.

Confidence is a key word here at TCR. In fact, the organization is so confident in its program that it does not take funding unless participants succeed. It’s called Pay-for-Performance, and it’s what impressed the folks at eBay and Ashoka.

“We only get paid by the funder, in this case the State of Minnesota, if we achieve success at a very high level. If we do that, everybody wins,” said Art Berman, CEO of TCR.

This place is all about winning, so much so that the instructors are called coaches — and they never quit.

“So coaches are always hammering away on that fundamental belief that you absolutely have the stuff to be able to be employed and be a contributing member of any community you choose to be in,” said Dwaine Simms, director of coaching.

Twin Cities Rise was one of only five nonprofits to win this award worldwide and the only one in the United States.

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