SAP Community Foundation names Brasel youth winner

By Julie Drechsler

The St. Anthony Park Community Foundation has chosen The Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities program as the inaugural recipient of its Michael Brasel Fund for Youth grant.

A $2,500 grant will be awarded at the SAP Arts Festival in early June to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization to support its youth mentoring and free arts programs.

The foundation last summer established it youth endowment fund to honor Brasel, who in early May 2023 died of gunshot wounds as he interrupted car thieves in front of his house.

“With Michael’s love of art and mentoring so many of the young people he coached, it seemed like the perfect fit for our first grants,” said Julie Drechsler, foundation executive director. “We know that mentoring can make such a big difference to the life of a young person.”

The foundation wanted to turn a community tragedy into something positive, Drechsler added. “The new fund is an impactful way to honor and remember a dedicated community member while making a difference to young people in the Twin Cities. We couldn’t let his love of St. Anthony Park and young people be forgotten.”

Each year, a nonprofit organization serving youth of St. Paul and Minneapolis will be chosen to receive a grant from the fund.

“The fund already has over $60,000 and we’ve had great community support,” Drechsler said. “But we have an ambitious goal of $250,000. Money raised goes into the endowed fund, which builds principal and the invested income is used for the annual grant.”

People interested in supporting the annual grant program can send donations to SAP Community Foundation, PO Box 8038, St. Paul, MN 55108 or through the Foundation’s GiveMN page, givemn.org/organization/Saint-Anthony-Park-Community-Foundation. 

Julie Drechsler is the executive director of the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation.

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