Eligible businesses may apply for up to $5,000.00 in funding. Owners must match dollar-for-dollar all BNA grant monies received. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please read through the application information below in its entirety prior to completeing the applicaiton. Note the you may not start work on your project until your application has been approved by BNA.


Businesses may apply for up to $5,000.00 in funding. A business’s eligibility for funds will be judged based on the priorities listed below. Owners must match dollar-for-dollar all BNA grant monies received.

Owners of businesses located within the boundaries of the Bancroft Neighborhood (east of Chicago Avenue, south of East 38th Street, west of Cedar Avenue, and north of East 42nd Street) are eligible to apply for matching grants to make exterior and interior improvements to their businesses. In addition, businesses located at the following commercial nodes, but outside of Bancroft’s formal boundaries, are eligible: 38th and Cedar, 38th and Bloomington, 38th and Chicago, 42nd and Cedar, and 42nd and Bloomington. Home-based businesses are not eligible to participate in this program.

Businesses are eligible to receive multiple awards through this program. However, the cumulative total awards received by any single business must not exceed $5,000.00.

Funding Priorities

Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The Bancroft Neighborhood Association strongly encourages the use of this program by businesses that:

  • pay a living wage ($8.92 per hour or higher) and/or average wage to employees employ South Minneapolis residents

  • are established businesses for at least six months

  • have shown a commitment to the neighborhood through involvement in neighborhood or business groups

  • preserve the historical value of a property when possible

  • plan improvements that decrease visual clutter or unify the appearance of commercial areas

  • show a commitment to try to use contractors in the Southside area who are licensed in the City of Minneapolis

Exterior Improvement Projects

Funds must be used for permanent exterior building work that improves the “curb appeal” of the business, which can include painting, stucco work, awnings, exterior lighting, parking lots, cement work, retaining walls, landscaping, roofing, tuckpointing, brick restoration, doors, and windows.

Interior Improvement Projects

Funds will be prioritized to go to permanent improvements that address code compliance and functional obsolescence.

Eligible interior projects include:

Electrical repairs and updates; environmental safety, including lead and asbestos abatement; Green initiatives and energy efficiency; fire prevention requirements; ADA requirements; plumping improvements; structural repairs and improvements, including flooring, doors, roofing and ceilings; basement and foundation improvements; permanent, structural pest control improvements; capital costs for permanent safety

Ineligible Uses of Funds

BCIP funds may not be used for signs, additions, new construction, or projects designed solely for beautification, or ongoing maintenance.

Funds will not go for security system operating costs, metal roll-down grates and window bars.

The City may have small business loan programs with favorable interest rates to assist with projects that are not included in this grant program. Visit the City website (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/business_finance_home.asp) or call 311 for more information.


Improvements must be done by contractors licensed by the City of Minneapolis, wherever applicable, or through sweat equity on the part of the owner. It is your responsibility to obtain and verify a contractor’s license. You may call the City Licensing Department at 612-673-3001 to check if a contractor is licensed, bonded and whether there are complaints filed against him or her. It is also your responsibility to be sure that a permit is obtained for all necessary work. The City of Minneapolis requires permits for many of the eligible activities listed here. It is vital that business and building owners work with city zoning staff on designs and obtain all permits before beginning work.

The BNA will fund only materials for sweat equity projects, not labor. Owners who are doing their own work must obtain all necessary city permits for the job.


The Bancroft Neighborhood Association recommends obtaining a minimum of two bids for projects. At least one bid must be submitted with the application. The BNA reserves the right to review or reject any bid.


Checks will be issued to contractors directly after all work has been completed, a completion statement has been signed by both business owner and contractor, and an invoice, and all lien waivers and an invoice are all turned in to the BNA. Permits must have final sign-offs completed. For projects done by the business owner, all work done must be completed and have passed any needed city inspection before reimbursement for materials will be issued.


The BNA will inspect BCIP projects, not to guarantee work quality but to verify project completion and that a permit was obtained if necessary.

Application Process

Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis, determined by the date and time a complete application, with accompanying written bid(s) is received. Submit a completed application and supporting documents to the BNA office at 4120 17th Avenue South (inside of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church).

Step 1:

Be sure your project meets program requirements:

  • The building to be improved is located in an area with commercial grant funding available, listed on page one of this information sheet

  • The applicant is a property owner or business owner with the property owner’s written consent to make the improvement

  • The property to be improved is current on all property taxes and assessments

  • All improvements meet City zoning and building codes.

Step 3:

BNA will notify you of your application’s status within three weeks of receiving it. All grant applications will be reviewed by the BNA Commercial Development Committee and approved by the BNA Board of Directors to make sure they are complete and serve the intent of the Bancroft Commercial Improvement Program. Once you receive a confirmation letter from BNA, you may proceed with the project. BNA approves applications on a first-come, first-served basis until all allocated funds are disbursed.

Step 2:

Submit a completed application form to BNA including:

  • a. Written description of the project, including drawings or other materials that accurately represent scope and intent of project improvements

  • b. Photographs of the current state of the building, where the improvements will be made

  • c. Signature of applicant (and property owner if different from applicant)

  • d. Contractors’ bid(s) for proposed work. BNA recommends obtaining a minimum of two bids for projects. Applicants are encouraged to solicit estimates from women and minority contractors and provide evidence that contractors are licensed, bonded, and insured.

Step 4:

Proceed with project. Be sure to obtain all the permits for the project.

Step 5:

Submit to BNA the following items upon completion of the work. If more than one contractor is used, there must be completed sets of the items listed below for each contract/contractor:

  • a. A completion certificate filled in and signed by the grantee and contractor

  • b. A final invoice from the contractor showing the total cost for the project and a copy of the check for the work completed AND/OR a lien waiver from the contractor AND/OR for improvements being completed by the grantee, detailed receipts from the building materials supplier;

  • c. For work requiring a City permit, proof of final inspection by the City of Minneapolis Inspections Department (send a copy of the permit signed off by the responsible City Inspector); for work NOT requiring a city permit, call BNA at 612-724-5313 to notify them that the work is complete

  • d. Proof of payment of grantee’s Matching Funds to contractor1; and

  • e. Photographs documenting the completed work, taken from the same locations of the “before” photographs required in the initial application.