Press Release: Innovative Partnership Enables Expansion of Effective Charter Schools in Minneapolis

Hiawatha Academies to build new school with help from business, nonprofit communities

Minneapolis – The Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP) and Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) today announced the completion of a loan that will enable Hiawatha Academies to build a new public charter school in south Minneapolis. The new school will initially serve high school students before becoming a middle school in the 2018-19 academic year.

The loan is the result of a partnership between NAF, the MBP and its members (e.g. Ryan Companies, Ecolab, Polaris, Hubbard Broadcasting, US Bank, Wells Fargo and Dorsey & Whitney). This is the first milestone in the MBP’s charter school initiative, which will help effective charter school networks build five new schools to serve an additional 2,500 students in Minneapolis.

“Hiawatha Academies and other effective charter schools have a proven track record of raising student achievement and closing the achievement gap,” said Pat Ryan, CEO and President of Ryan Companies and chair of the Minnesota Business Partnership’s Education Policy Committee. “This is the first step in an enduring partnership between Minnesota employers and effective public charter schools, guided by the shared belief that all students, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, are capable of achieving academic success.”

“We are excited about the support we have received from the MBP and its members,” said Eli Kramer, Executive Director of Hiawatha Academies. “At Hiawatha, we believe and have proven that all students have the potential to succeed. Thanks to this innovative partnership with NAF and MBP, even more students will have the opportunity to fulfill that potential. We are deeply grateful to all of our partners that have made this new school possible.”

Kate Barr, Executive Director of the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, said: “Over the past decade, NAF has helped provide financing for numerous public charter schools in Minnesota, but we are very excited about this new partnership that engages employers to expand proven, effective charter schools.”

The MBP is coordinating with NAF on this joint effort to help effective public charter schools build new facilities, with the goal of enabling these charter schools to serve 2,500 additional students in Minneapolis. In addition to the Hiawatha Academies in south Minneapolis, the MBP and NAF are working to meet the facility needs of the Harvest Network of Schools in north Minneapolis. MBP members are also providing pro bono consulting services and volunteers to selected charter schools.

Media Contact: Jonathan Blake, 612-370-0840,

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About the Minnesota Business Partnership
The Minnesota Business Partnership is composed of more than 100 men and women representing a broad range of business interests, political perspectives and personal philosophies. As chief executives of Minnesota’s largest employers, however, they are united by the Partnership’s mission: Maintain a high quality of life for all Minnesotans by ensuring that the state’s economy remains strong, globally competitive, and its prospects for growth bright. Visit

About Nonprofits Assistance Fund
Nonprofits Assistance Fund strengthens the community by investing capital and expertise in nonprofits. The organization works with nonprofits in all fields of service by offering loans, training, and financial management advice and resources to help them address unexpected events, finance new opportunities, and realize strategic goals. In the last year the Fund made 98 loans totaling $13 million for facilities and working capital to nonprofits. Visit

About Hiawatha Academies
Hiawatha Academies is a network of high-performing college preparatory charter schools located in South Minneapolis. Our mission is to empower all Hiawatha scholars with the knowledge, character and leadership skills to graduate from college and serve the common good. Visit