Minneapolis-based Meda Receives $1M Boost from Cummins
Alfredo Martel, president and CEO of Meda Provided photo

Minneapolis-based Meda Receives $1M Boost from Cummins

The funding, provided by engine maker Cummins, will be distributed to local Black-owned businesses in the form of grants and forgivable loans. The nonprofit will accept applications through March 24.
Alfredo Martel, president and CEO of Meda Provided photo

Indiana-based engine maker Cummins has donated $1 million to the Minneapolis-based Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) to support Black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities.

Meda CEO Alfredo Martel said the donation marks a “first-of-its-kind partnership” for the nonprofit.

“Cummins and Meda are providing a joint private/philanthropic solution for Black-owned businesses recovering from the economic downturn, as well as those gearing up for the new economy,” Martel said. “This program will help accelerate these businesses as they hire, acquire market share, and buy inventory. Meda is honored to be partnering with Cummins to showcase the power of partnership and innovation in addressing wealth equality.”

The donation is part of the Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE) initiative’s $3 million pledge to Black-owned businesses in Minneapolis, Memphis, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Indiana. Distributed to local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) like Meda, the funding aims to help undo systemic discrimination against the Black community in the U.S.

“Teamwork, caring, integrity, and diversity and inclusion are cornerstone values of Cummins, and connecting with local organizations that share these values was important to ensure these funds are distributed properly,” said Shon Wright, VP of Cummins Turbo Technologies and Economic Empowerment CARE Workstream Leader. “Furthermore, the community partners we identified share our understanding that when we aid the Black community, we in fact support the larger community.”

The maximum grant available is $15,000, and the maximum forgivable loan is $30,000. Black-owned businesses in the Minneapolis area can apply for these funds online. The deadline to apply is March 24.

“Meda knows firsthand the innovative ideas and spirit of Black business owners in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and the pandemic has only magnified their determination,” Martel said. “Through our partnership on the CARE initiative, Cummins and Meda will be able to fund these incredible entrepreneurs that are key in seeing our local Black economic ecosystem thrive.”

Meda has received some additional funding from the Opportunity Finance Network/Grow with Google Small Business Fund to help out local BIPOC entrepreneurs.

Each year, Meda also hosts a national pitch competition for BIPOC entrepreneurs. Last year, the organization divvied up shares of a $1.1 million prize package among six companies, including one based in Plymouth.