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Awarding $1 Million Annually

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The Initiative Foundation awards about $1 million annually in grants to qualifying organizations in Central Minnesota.

Guided by our five-year strategic plan and focus areas, the Initiative Foundation awards grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, governments and schools in our service area.

Nearly 85 percent of grants awarded originate from two programs: our Thriving Organizations Partnership and our Thriving Communities InitiativeAdditional grant support comes from the Initiative Foundation's Innovation Fund or its Turn Key Funds.

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It's All About Community

All grants from the Innovation Fund must support projects that address at least one of the following areas:

  • Help communities address opportunities or barriers to business growth and quality jobs.
  • Advance economic security for vulnerable children and families.
  • Support community-based early childhood efforts to advance literacy, school readiness and access to dental services for children in poverty.
  • Support training for future, displaced or underemployed workers that lead to employment or advancement in growing industries.
  • Help small businesses and entrepreneurs develop through access to services, mentorship and education efforts.
  • Support planning for community-based amenities that enhance regional quality of life to attract and retain skilled workers and young families.
  • Help communities respond to and recover from significant local disasters.

2016 Innovation Fund Review Schedule

Letter of Inquiry (LOI)
due:
Notification of invitation to submit
full proposal or decline no later than:
Full Proposal Due:
Jan. 8 Jan. 22 Feb. 19
March 25 April 8 May 6
July 15 Jul. 29 Aug. 26
Oct. 7 Oct. 21 Nov. 18

You can verify a project's eligibility by selecting the Grant Guidelines tab above.

Once you’ve confirmed that your project fits within the guidelines, you can select the Apply/Login tab above to use the Initiative Foundation's online grant system to create an account, complete an eligibility quiz, submit inquiries and proposals, review your application history and submit grant reports.

Reviewing grant reports

The following documents are for organizations currently receiving a grant. Once completed, refer to the provided instructions for next steps.

> Financial Report Form

Questions?

For more information, or to submit your report early please contact us by email at grants@ifound.org or by calling (320) 632-9255 or toll free (877) 632-9255.


Regardless of circumstances, the Initiative Foundation cannot provide grants to individuals or businesses.

The Initiative Foundation makes grants for projects and programs that advance our mission to unlock the power of central Minnesota people to build and sustain thriving communities. We do this through our core programs, the Innovation Fund, and community and donor advised funds.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits, school districts or local units of government that serve the people and communities within Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, and/or Wright Counties. Funding requests for outside of this area will not be considered. Individuals are ineligible to apply for funds.

Priorities

Our “Innovation Fund” grants (totaling approximately $350,000 in 2016), are awarded through a competitive review process, with an average grant award of approximately $5,000. Generally our grants fund 50 percent or less of a project budget. Priority consideration is given to projects that have local support. Innovation Fund grants support program or capacity-building projects which address at least one of the following priorities:

• Help communities address opportunities or barriers to business growth and quality jobs.
• Advance economic security for vulnerable children and families.
• Support community-based early childhood efforts to advance literacy, school readiness and access to dental services for children in poverty.
• Support training for future, displaced or underemployed workers that lead to employment or advancement in growing industries.
• Help small businesses and entrepreneurs develop through access to services, mentorship and education efforts.
• Support planning for community-based amenities that enhance regional quality of life to attract and retain skilled workers and young families.
• Help communities respond to and recover from significant local disasters.

The Initiative Foundation also offers grant support associated with our Turn Key Partner Funds and core programs which focus on strengthening nonprofits, supporting community and economic development. For more information on these opportunities visit our website at: www.ifound.org.

Ineligible Expenses

The following expenses are ineligible and will not be considered for Innovation funding:

• Grants or reimbursements to individuals and businesses.
• Expenses incurred prior to the receipt of a grant award.
• Capital expenses (e.g. buildings, equipment, vehicles, etc.).
• Programs or projects that DO NOT directly benefit residents in the Initiative Foundation’s 14-county service area.
• Replacement of or substitution for government funding.
• Religious activities.
• Lobbying or campaigning for a candidate, issue or referendum vote.
• Development or purchase of school curriculum or support for school athletic programs.
• Arts, health-related and media production applications are discouraged unless they directly address at least one of the priorities listed above.

Application Process

Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

Qualified organizations interested in applying to the Initiative Foundation are required to complete an electronic Letter of Inquiry, which can be found at www.ifound.org on the “Community” page under “Grants”.

Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis and reviewed based on the timeline below. If a proposed project is selected, applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. Many factors affect the decision of whether or not to invite a full proposal, including but not limited to available funding. The Foundation reserves the right to decline a request for any reason (including poor history of report submissions for prior grants).

Full Proposals

Proposals are accepted based on the timeline below:

Letter of Inquiry (LOI) due: Notification of invitation to submit full proposal or decline no later than: Full proposal due:
January 8, 2016 January 22 February 19
March 25 April 8 May 6
July 15 July 29 August 26
October 7 October 21 November 18

 Full proposals are generally reviewed within 30 to 45 days. 

The Initiative Foundation strives to treat our applicants with courtesy and respect. Staff members are sensitive to varying levels of experience in completing applications, and therefore encourage open communication with our staff for assistance.  

For more information, please contact us by email at grants@ifound.org or by calling (320) 632-9255 or toll free (877) 632-9255.

Once you’ve confirmed that your project fits within the guidelines, you can use the Initiative Foundation's online grant system to create an account, complete an eligibility quiz, submit inquiries and proposals, review your application history and submit grant reports. To use the system, click one of the buttons below:

Start InquiryAccount Login

Click Start Inquiry to create an account and submit your first inquiry or to start a new inquiry. Click Account Login to return to an existing inquiry/proposal, access application history or submit a grant report.

Reviewing grant reports

The following documents are for organizations currently receiving a grant. Once completed, refer to the provided instructions for next steps.

> Financial Report Form


Questions?

For more information, or to submit your report early please contact us by email at grants@ifound.org or by calling (320) 632-9255 or toll free (877) 632-9255.

 
 

Connect:

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Don Hickman
Vice President for Community and Workforce Development
dhickman@ifound.org | (320) 632-9255

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Kendra Botzek
Grants and Accounts Payable Coordinator
kbotzek@ifound.org | (320) 631-2058


Insight & Information

Since 1986, the Foundation has awarded nearly 5,000 grants totaling about $29 million. The average grant award is about $5,000. Visit our Grants Awards page to learn more.

In all of its grant-making efforts, the Foundation subscribes to the Minnesota Council on Foundation’s Principles for Grantmakers.

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