Hello to all the friends and supporters of UpWorks,

These last few months have been very difficult for everyone. First COVID-19 isolated us, then the killing of George Floyd shattered us. UpWorks has put everything we have towards meeting the needs of our neighbors in the north and south Minneapolis communities through both of these difficult historic times. We continue to deliver our foundational programs – now fully online! Additionally, we have leveraged our resources, networks and relationships to collect and deliver much needed hygiene, medical, personal care and baby supplies; these are so very difficult to find and often available locally only at hugely marked up prices. We plan on continuing to be this channel of support for as long as the community needs our help. There is no end date.

We are grateful for each and every donor and volunteer that continues to work with us – to lessen the trauma in our communities today. Thank you! Thank you for your kindness, generosity and prayer support. We need it, we feel it and we are so very grateful!

If you would like to know more how to partner with us in any capacity, please reach out to me at lisa@upworksmn.org or at my cell, 612-618-6936.

Peace to You,

Lisa Peterson, Executive Director


Up Project Distribution

Hygiene and Medical Care Boxes

Kevin Saunders, Director of Empowering Adults

In response to the riots, UpWorks hosted the first Up Project Distribution in both north and south Minneapolis on Saturday, June 20th. The riots have resulted in families no longer having access to essential needs. UpWorks, in partnership with Lift Up and Mercy Vineyard Church, has come together to be the hands and feet of Jesus to meet the immediate needs our community was telling us was most important. Over 400 boxes were packed with hygiene, medical care and baby products for hundreds of families! Handwritten letters of encouragement, written by caring volunteers all over the state, were handed out along with each box to emphasize to each recipient how very much they are loved and how much they matter.

Up Project Distribution of Hygiene and Medical Care Boxes

P.A.C.E Program Launch

Formally known as On-Track 4 Employment

Stacey Jones, Director of Community Relations

On-Track 4 Employment’s name has been changed; we are pleased to introduce you to our new and revised training initiative, the P.A.C.E. Program. The reason for the program name revision is to provide more detail behind our work in the area of equipping participants in the field of personal development. We are intentional about seeing individuals thrive and develop a consistent “P.A.C.E.” in every-day life and at their place of employment.

P.A.C.E. stands for passion, activate, character and equip.

Read more regarding this revision in the announcement from Stacey Jones, Director of Community Relations.


Schwan’s Distribution

Enriching Schools Program

Ken Norman, Director of Enriching Schools

On Saturday June 27th, UpWorks was able to bring thousands of items of frozen, nutritious food donated by Schwan’s to a neighborhood food pop-up in south Minneapolis. Hundreds of individuals went through the line to secure needed hygiene and personal care items; frozen food, vegetable plants for their garden, a large bag of Schwan’s meals to feed their family and a handwritten card of support from caring volunteers. It was a hot day outside but everyone was smiling and hearts were lifted! These food pop-ups are so critical because access to these essential items remains very difficult in both north and south Minneapolis. The need is growing, not diminishing.

UpWorks is grateful for the chance to jump in and use our resources and relationships to answer the needs of what the community is sharing are most critical. We are especially grateful for Schwan’s generous gift! They stepped up and then blew everyone out of the water with their generosity!

Schwan's Distribution


Real Race Relations Require Hard Conversations

Written by Kevin Saunders

Kevin Saunders, Director of Empowering Adults

A few weeks ago, I wrote a Facebook post sharing the range of emotions I felt in response to the George Floyd murder. In conclusion of that letter I indicated we must move forward in unity.

I suggested we go from just motioning compassion to real acts of compassion. That we go from saying what we think to asking hard questions. Asking hard questions carries us into very uncomfortable spaces. It requires that we actually identify a person who does not look like us and engage in meaningful, substantive conversation.

An example would be to humbly ask how all the turmoil has impacted a person’s life. Most people only want to know that others care about their situation and are willing to act in some way. Being completely transparent, I should share that engaging in meaningful dialogue is challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. Go into a Black or Brown community center or church. Let the people there know you just want to listen, then LISTEN. We don’t always have to know what to say or have the answers to questions. In fact, people respond positively when someone simply says “I don’t know”.

As I have engaged in many in-depth conversations with various people, I’ve noticed a tendency for some to defend their feelings or start the blame game. My advice to all is that we must rise above the noise of chaos and division. There are people who have an agenda to forcefully make dramatic sweeping change right now. There are folks who want to pause and let everything “settle down”, really meaning keep things as they are. Also I have found others who just want to protest without any thoughtful dialogue. Rising above all the noise and chaos is really about seeing humanity in pain and having a willingness to accept our role in contributing towards that pain.

As a 62-year-old Black man, I have been subjected to prejudice, oppression and racism. Yet, I stand with humanity and truth. My challenge to White brothers and sisters is to stand for humanity and truth. Lay aside all our personal agendas and begin to focus the conversation on humanity and truth. As a foundation, consider the fact that ALL HUMANS ARE CREATED EQUAL, and must be regarded equally. If we engage in conversation with openness, seeking real heart felt discussion, humanity will avail itself and bring forth truth.

Let’s start talking about it!