How You Can Help Lives In The Inner-city, Too

“While reading I kept thinking ‘I wish there were more ways to support and to help these organizations who are trying to make a difference.'” -Dianne

My article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last Sunday drew a lot of attention to the great work being done by area nonprofits helping inner-city residents make a better life for themselves. The story highlights the leading men and women of these organizations, mentoring those in need with a blend of empathy and accountability.

My article also received many reader responses, some of which asked if there is a way they can support these organizations.

There is.

You can.

Days before my article went to press, I reached out to these leaders mentioned in the story to let them know when to expect to see it. I contacted Urban Ventures, EMERGE, and then I reached out to VJ Smith, President of MADDADS.

VJ Smith
VJ Smith

After speaking to him, he asked, “Brandon, can you share about our fundraiser that is happening right now?”

We couldn’t fit it into the story. But I can devote this week’s blog post to it and let Dianne (quoted above) and all others interested know that, yes, there are ways to help. And you can do so right now.

MADDADS is an organization founded by parents in the inner-city “who were fed up with gang violence and the unmolested flow of illegal drugs.” They address these problems by patrolling the streets night and day–not looking to stop violence as it is happening, but more so to approach youth on the corners who look like they are in need of guidance.

“We’re bringing people in everyday,” Smith told me when I interviewed him for my story. Also for my story, I sat in on a group session at MADDADS:

VJ Smith (center) mentoring Minneapolis youth

Five months after this, I interviewed a participant in this session, a humbled 17-year-old who had gone from committing crimes to being back to school. There are many more examples like this one, young man.

By addressing the core concerns of young lives in the balance, I believe MADDADS is doing the most impactful work in the Twin Cities to help curb the suffering of the lives in the inner-city. And now’s the time for us to help.

During their fundraising drive, a matching donor will double the amount of money you decide to give to MADDADS.

Giving is easy. You can do so online:

Or you can print off these forms, fill them out, and send them in to the address given:

Fundraising Email-page-001

Fundraising Email-page-002

For any questions, comments, or other interest in MADDADS, feel free to check out their website or reach out to them at 612-822-0802 or

Thanks for your interest in this ongoing story of helping those in the Twin Cities who most need the support.


What say you?