Way 2 – Invest in People with Disabilities

Way2Nicole Atherton is 25 years old and an active member of the Moorhead community.

Nicole does volunteer work and holds down two part-time jobs — one at a grocery store and one providing administrative support to a nonprofit serving others with disabilities. She is also working toward her next goal — moving to an apartment that would allow her to live more independently, and save the state money.

She doesn’t let her disability hold her back, and state-funded services for people with disabilities, including job coaching and support for independent living skills, are a major reason she can do so much.

Nicole has a bright future, thanks to the state’s investment in services that keep her healthy and maintain her many commitments. “My goal is to use fewer services and be even more independent,” she says.

Nicole and her family understand the connection between the services she receives and the need to raise revenues to fund them. That’s why they are active in advocating both for fair revenues and services for others with disabilities, which earned Nicole an Outstanding Citizen of the Year award from the Metro Area Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities.

Way 1 – Invest in Small Business

Way1Robyn Cruey is a small business owner and mother of two young children.

She owns I Heart Kids’ Art, an art studio for young children in Minneapolis. “I opened my own business because like so many women who stay home with their kids for a few years, I couldn’t find a job when I was ready to return to work,” she says.

Robyn turned to WomenVenture, a nonprofit that assists women to create and build their own businesses.

“Owning your own business is very daunting and risky,” she says. “I couldn’t have done it without WomenVenture’s training,

mentoring and skill development programs. WomenVenture also helped me get a small business loan, which enabled me to move into a better space and build my business. WomenVenture couldn’t help women entrepreneurs like me without the support of grants from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).”

Robyn says she’s a prime example of the benefits of state investments in small business. “I have a successful business that helps provide for my family, helps kids learn and creates jobs,” she says. “As a small business owner, I am happy to pay my fair share in taxes and I think everyone should do the same.”

With support from DEED, WomenVenture will create 25 new businesses, 125 jobs, gross revenues of $625,000 and state tax revenues of $106,250 this year.