Ordean Foundation gift to program director becomes $100,000 grant for Family Freedom Center

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When the Ordean Foundation bestowed retiring program director Joe Everett with a legacy grant of $100,000 to give to an organization of his choosing, he knew precisely where he wanted it to go, the Family Freedom Center.

“You know, I grew up on West Ninth Street, five blocks up the hill. I went to Elementary School three blocks from here. I went to junior high in this building, even had a math class right behind us over here. And now this project, I think, is a great outgrowth of the type of innovation and kind of entrepreneurial spirit that Family Freedom Center brings to these important services and providing opportunities to young people,” said Everett.

Everett especially wanted to fund skilled trades, arts, robotics and technology programs to provide career pathways for BIPOC, and Central Hillside youth.

“When George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, I wanted to do something for the African American community here in Duluth. I was thinking about working with the community to create what was being called at the time an African heritage hub, kind of a place to empower youth in their families and to create pathways to education and training and jobs,” continues Everett.

It was also stated that the grant will be used to make the new Skilled Trades, Arts, Robotics, and Technology (START) program a reality. Everett spoke on how START Labs will bridge the gap between Black and Brown students and professions that build generational wealth, by introducing them to technology.

Family Freedom Center & Neighborhood Youth Services is empowered by McKnight Foundation, Ordean Foundation, St. Louis County Family Services Collaborative, Northland Foundation, as well as the State of Minnesota and the City of Duluth. To find out more, click here: https://www.familyfreedomcenter.org/