Minneapolis Green Cost Share

Full Cycle creates healthy space with efficient HVAC upgrades

Enhancing their impact on the Southside

Pillsbury United Communities (PUC) is a program with deep, historical roots in Minneapolis. From their conception in 1879 as “Bethel Mission” and their start as one of the first settlement houses in the city to the present day, they have positively impacted so many lives in our communities. PUC recognizes the systemic racism that creates barriers for communities of color in Minneapolis and actively works to close the gaps that ragingly persist in Minnesota. To do this, PUC creates and operates programming all throughout the city, focusing on things like education, housing and work, policy, and food security to name a few.

PUC is able to accomplish so much because of their network of events, organizations, and enterprises that all share the same commitment to their neighbors. One of these such enterprises is Full Cycle, a bike shop on 35th and Chicago. Full Cycle is more than a bike shop, though. They have a strong bond with their Southside community, but Founder and Director Matt Tennant realized they weren’t able to operate at full capacity due to energy efficiency limitations. Eventually, they decided to apply for and received Minneapolis Green Cost Share funding in 2020 to upgrade their space.

Initially, there was no air conditioning in the space, and only one of three ancient gas heaters worked. We had a chance to speak with Matt and he described their previous working space as a rather unhealthy working environment. They were breathing in dry, dust-filled air while trying to still provide programming to benefit their neighbors. Not only this, but they had to limit business operations and cut programming short during the pandemic.

Matt opened up to us about stigmas against nonprofits and how people can get stuck in the mindset of “they don’t deserve to have nice things” and there’s a huge culture of “getting by with nothing.” This should not be the case, though. Nonprofits have the ability to make huge ripples in their communities, and Full Cycle is not an exception. With internship programming for homeless youth, a commitment to sustainability through refurbishing old bicycles, and food delivery by bike to families that need it, the nonprofit makes a deep impact in the Southside of Minneapolis and beyond.

However, it’s difficult for nonprofits to continue to benefit the community when working conditions are unhealthy and unsustainable. With help from CERTs and Green Cost Share, they were able to get a quarter of their energy efficiency project covered, which expanded their operation hours and improved conditions of the space. Matt stressed the importance of “bringing awareness to the fact that just because youth and others working the shop may experience homelessness does not mean they don’t deserve a healthy and clean work environment.”

Just because youth and others working the shop may experience homelessness does not mean they don’t deserve a healthy and clean work environment. I am making sure the building will outlast me and be operational for future generations to come.

Matt Tennant, Full Cycle Founder and Director

With their new 96% efficient air furnace and high-efficiency air conditioner, Full Cycle has been able to extend their hours of operation and continue working on mutually beneficial programming for the community. Not only this, but their employees and interns-as well as customers-now have a safe and healthy environment conducive to the work and services they provide. Offering free bike appointments and paid internships to homeless youth, as well as a commitment to the environment by refurbishing and repairing old bikes, Full Cycle is an integral part of the Southside community and beyond.

The nonprofit could have chosen less efficient HVAC upgrade systems and kept their old, energy-wasting air ducts, but they decided to take it a step further and provide more long-lasting, sustainable infrastructure. Matt expressed the importance of, “making sure the building will outlast me and be operational for future generations to come.” This is how environmental stewards are created in our community, and trailblaze the way for others to make the switch to sustainable infrastructure and working spaces.

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