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Building Community, One Lightbulb At A Time.

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Lights On! partners with law enforcement and auto service providers to replace traffic tickets with repair vouchers. The vouchers fix the bulbs, improve safety, and mitigate what often becomes a downward spiral for lower income members of our communities.

Lights On! turns the potential confrontation of the traffic stop into an opportunity to connect one-on-one in a productive, restorative experience.

Stopping The Spiral

No one should have their life upended because of a lightbulb. We know that across many communities, a broken taillight or turn signal can trigger a chain reaction that could lead to destabilizing families. What is meant to keep everyone on the road safe, can instead cause immense harm to those on the receiving end of a traffic stop. Lights On! is working to change that.


A Community-Wide Impact

Improve police and community relations

Vouchers allow officers to engage positively with motorists and offer a solution.

A new approach to societal problems

Instead of punishing drivers for having broken lights, we can fix the bulbs and work toward strengthening the community.

A positive path for low-income drivers

By preventing tickets, this program has the potential to stop the downward spiral affecting employment and financial stability.

Better priorizitation of community resources

Police and courts spend fewer resources dealing with small violations and are freed to deal with bigger issues.

Safer cars on the road

Fixing car lights that would otherwise remain broken is good for everyone.

Less police officer stress

Officers know that this traffic stop will be positive, rather than confrontational.
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You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers.

After the tragic death of Philando Castile, the MicroGrants Board of Directors discussed ways that they could prevent such a terrible event from happening again. MicroGrants already had connections to low-income drivers, auto repair shops, and law enforcement. MicroGrants CEO Don Samuels, former Public Safety Chair of the Minneapolis City Council, called a number of police departments to ask whether they were interested in joining the program. Since then, the program has grown dramatically as our story has spread. Lights On! continues to grow rapidly as interested law enforcement agencies, auto shops, cities, and nonprofits contact MicroGrants and ask to join.

Lights On! can help transform a negative, costly stop for an equipment violation into a healing moment between an officer and a community member, helping:

  • Improve police and community relations
  • Provide a positive path for low-income drivers
  • Put safer cars on the road
  • Offer a new approach to societal problems
  • Better prioritize community resources
  • Decrease stress on police officers

Lights On! is not a government program. MicroGrants, a Minneapolis nonprofit, raises money from individuals and foundations to pay for the Lights On! program in Minnesota. In other states, partner law enforcement agencies secure funds for the program in their communities.

MicroGrants has at its core a desire to help low-income people break the cycle of poverty. Lights On! shares this goal and also aims to improve police-community relations and public safety. As a nonprofit, MicroGrants is driven by mission, not profit; as a program of MicroGrants, Lights On! functions the same way.

If you are interested in supporting Lights On!’s work in the community, you can make a donation. While our auto service partners provide their work at a deep discount, the program still has expenses, so these funds help offset those costs. You can also help spread the word about this important work.

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100 North Sixth St, Suite 626B
Minneapolis, MN 55403


MicroGrants is the parent organization of Lights On! Our mission is to give a boost to motivated people on their journey to economic self-sufficiency. By providing cash, not loans, we meet the immediate needs of low-income individuals on their quest to start a business, finish their education, or acquire transportation for their job.

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