Star Tribune, MPR Will Make Grants to Underrepresented Businesses
Ken Wolter /

Star Tribune, MPR Will Make Grants to Underrepresented Businesses

They will support marketing efforts for six minority-owned companies, including firms owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and persons with disabilities.

After reporting on the racial reckoning that followed the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, the two largest media organizations in Minnesota plan to make grants to minority-owned businesses.

Called Star Tribune Connect, six Minnesota companies will be awarded $55,000 apiece, or $330,000 total, in ad credits. The small businesses will use the credits to market their companies through advertising and marketing services available from the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio print, digital, broadcast, and event offerings.

This is the second year the Star Tribune will be providing grants, and it has expanded the program through a partnership with Minnesota Public Radio. In January, the Star Tribune and MPR will announce the six grant winners, who can use their ad and marketing credits throughout 2022.

This year, the inaugural recipients of the marketing grants were: Beyond Family Chiropractic, Black Tech Talent, Coconut Whisk, and Sahan Journal.

Applications for the next round of grant recipients will be accepted through Oct. 31. More information is available at

“We’re keenly aware that a healthy business climate must offer a hand to business owners who have been underrepresented, including communities of color, women, LGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities,” said Paul Kasbohm, the Star Tribune’s chief revenue officer, in a written statement.

To be considered for a grant, applicants must be licensed businesses registered in the state of Minnesota that meet the state’s definition of minority-owned businesses.

Minnesota Public Radio is an underwriting sponsor of this grant initiative. “We believe that providing marketing resources for business owners from underrepresented communities is an opportunity to create a more inclusive business environment,” said Duchesne Drew, MPR president and a former Star Tribune editor, in a written statement.

While reporters at the Star Tribune and MPR compete for breaking news, the two organizations work together on a few projects. For several years, they have paired up to present “Talking Volumes,” which features live events and news coverage of prominent authors. They also pool their financial resources to fund the Minnesota Poll, which recently also was funded by KARE 11 and the PBS “Frontline” series.

Reinventing media competition

On Tuesday, St. Paul-based American Public Media Group announced that $100,000 in prize money will be awarded as part of the Next Challenge for Media and Journalism, which is a national competition.

“The Next Challenge is our opportunity to see the future of media,” said Jeff Freeland Nelson, executive director of APMG’s Glen Nelson Center. “Our goal is to find the most promising media startups and support talented and diverse entrepreneurs anywhere in the country.”

Several organizations are sponsoring the Next Challenge competition, which is accepting entries through Nov. 7. More information is available at

The Minnetonka-based Carlson Family Foundation is among the partners for this initiative, which is seeking to identify and support groundbreaking startups and student-led ventures with the talent to reinvent media over the coming decade.