Rooted Philanthropic Expands to Focus on Saint Paul’s East Side
Originally founded in 2014 as Runyon Family Foundation by Shannon Runyon and Chuck Runyon, Rooted Philanthropic will focus on Saint Paul’s East Side neighborhoods. The foundation will make grants and engage in other philanthropic activities in support of its mission: Rooted Philanthropic supports the people of Saint Paul’s East Side communities to unlock their potential by investing in their capacity, growth, and innovation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saint Paul, MN; May 1, 2023 – Originally founded in 2014 as Runyon Family Foundation by Shannon Runyon and Chuck Runyon, Rooted Philanthropic will focus on Saint Paul’s East Side neighborhoods. The foundation will make grants and engage in other philanthropic activities in support of its mission: Rooted Philanthropic supports the people of Saint Paul’s East Side communities to unlock their potential by investing in their capacity, growth, and innovation.
The Runyons, who both grew up on the East Side, are co-founders of Self Esteem Brands (SEB), which franchises health-related businesses all over the world, the largest of which is Anytime Fitness. SEB is headquartered in Woodbury, MN.
“One of our favorite quotes: Society grows great when old men and women plant trees whose shade they shall never sit in,” said Shannon Runyon and Chuck Runyon. “We are inspired to do our part to uplift and strengthen the East Side of Saint Paul, a place where we grew up, attended school and visit frequently when visiting our parents and enjoying the trails, food and diversity of the East Side. We will always be proud of and grateful for our East Side roots, and we’re committed to investing in the areas of entrepreneurship, health, education and opportunities for women that will make the East Side even stronger. The best days are ahead!”
In 2022, the foundation hired its first staff person, Patrick J. Troska, as Executive Director. Troska comes with 25 years of executive and program leadership experience in philanthropy. Additional staff are planned.
“This is an incredible opportunity to work with these generous and humble founders to support efforts that uplift and strengthen the East Side,” said Troska. “Our ultimate goal is to listen to the community and provide the resources necessary for sustained and long-lasting impact. We know that solutions to community challenges exist within the community. Our job is to provide the needed resources and allow leaders to lead.”
As a sign of its commitment to the East Side, the first grant made under the new name will be a $280,000 grant to East Side Neighborhood Development Company (ESNDC). This grant will provide $200,000 in lending capital into a revolving loan fund for East Side small businesses and $80,000 over two years to add staff to service loans and provide high level technical assistance to small businesses.
“With the support of Rooted Philanthropic, ESNDC is excited to build off of our existing rehabilitation programs to leverage these new resources to advance small business revitalization on the East Side,” said Anne DeJoy, Executive Director ESNDC. “Additional resources help build capacity within our organization to create a new position for someone looking to build a career in community and economic development. Thank you for investing in this important work!”
In 2022, the foundation made grants of just under $1 million. This will grow to $2 million in fiscal year 2023 as the foundation’s funding priorities are fully articulated and rolled out. The funding priorities include: Entrepreneurship & Small Business Support, Education, Health & Wellness, and Empowering Women. An Advisory Board of five community leaders will work with the staff and Board of Directors on strategy, evaluation/impact, and grantmaking.
Since inception in 2014, the foundation has assets and distributions of over $10 million, with the founders contributing annually to the asset base. Rooted Philanthropic is intended to be a time-limited foundation, intentionally sun setting in 25 years, December 31, 2048.
To learn more, we invite you to check out our new website at www.rootedphilanthropic.org.