DEI consultant and activist Jesse Ross is working to buy a 68,000-square-foot property in North Minneapolis. Once renovated, the building would become a rental and event space for BIPOC entrepreneurs. Ross says he got tired of hearing real estate companies repeatedly make false promises about their investments in his neighborhood.
“I just consistently kept asking questions and didn’t back down. Eventually, one of the people who invited me to the space asked me if I would be interested in owning a building, because I had been talking about ownership for a while. Thinking about North Minneapolis, the community that a lot of people consistently overlook, I just wanted to create something that was that “FUBU” model - for us, by us, owned by us, and then be able to create opportunities for us.”
Ross says his desire for this building stems from the recognition of the struggles facing entrepreneurs from marginalized communities.
“Black women particularly are creating businesses at the highest rate, yet don't own most of the buildings that they rent from, and have to rent from predominantly white landlords. And so typically, Black or brown folks and women are kept out of those conversations around how do we put money into something that is cash flowing, that will yield a return but also can help us financially, generationally, whatever that may be. I'm trying to create that vehicle also through this building. The only people that I am allowing the opportunity to make a financial investment and get a return are women and people of color.”
Ross says his vision is rooted in building a legacy.
“I think about how all of our ancestors were doing things that were probably very forward thinking, and they had no idea what was going to come out of it, but they stuck to what they believed was true. I hope that whatever we're doing with this building will leave a prominent legacy, not only for my family, not only for your family, but for generations to come.”
Ross needs to raise $300,000 by December 1 in order to move forward with the purchase of the building. You can find out more about the Wealth Redistribution Project at his website.