We're Here for You, Central Minnesota: COVID-19 Updates


Make a Donation 

Initiative Foundation Get Logos
Initiative Quarterly Magazine
Initiative Quarterly

Grant Guidelines, Eligibility

New Partnership Streamlines Grant Application Process

The Initiative Foundation has completed the transition from its legacy grant-making technology platform to its new partnership with Foundant Technologies. We trust that you will appreciate the new system and its ease of use.

All current and future Initiative Foundation and Partner Fund grantees will need to create a new account. To learn more about the registration and one-time account creation process, watch our video

View Open Grant Opportunities   APPLY/LOGIN

(The "View Open Grant Opportunities" button is a preview only.
Potential grantees must create an account and login to apply for a grant.)

Learn More

Reference these tutorials to guide you through the account setup and application process:

Reports on Past Grants

If you have a final report due on a past grant, you can expect to receive an Initiative Foundation email to explain the process. If you have further questions, feel free to send an email to grants(at)ifound.org. Thank you!


2021 Innovation Fund Guidelines

The Initiative Foundation makes grants through its Innovation Fund for projects and programs that advance our mission to empower people across Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity.

Innovation Fund grants primarily support start-up or capacity-building projects across the 14 counties of Central Minnesota. Applications to the Innovation Fund are accepted on an ongoing basis, with quarterly awards made through a competitive review process. 

2021 Review Schedule

Application Deadline: Notification of approval or denial: 
Feb. 3 Feb. 28
May 5 May 31
Aug. 11 Aug. 31
Nov. 10 Nov. 30 


We seek to make strategic investments during critical phases in an organization's history and to be a catalyst for innovative and bold ideas, approaches and initiatives. Therefore, past recipients of funding should not necessarily assume that they will receive funding every year.

Grant applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits, school districts or local units of government that serve the people and communities in Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties, and the portions of the sovereign tribal nations of the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe which lay within these counties. Funding requests for use outside of this geography will not be considered. Individuals are not eligible to apply for grant funds.

Innovation Fund grants seldom exceed $5,000. We typically receive many times more applications than we can fund, so our process is highly competitive. Priority consideration is given to projects that have local financial support. The Initiative Foundation also strives to allocate our grant resources around our entire region, so geographical diversity is a consideration in our review. Applicants are encouraged to contact one of our program officers—Don Hickman or Zach Tabatt—to discuss proposal design and fit prior to submitting an application.

Proposals that focus on at least one of the following areas will be given priority consideration:

  • General operating support for nonprofits addressing the urgent needs of vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Cost share for projects intended to create behavioral change associated with combating racism, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Advancement of creative activities or strategies to address workforce shortages and/or re-training by those displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Support for strategic planning, fund development, board training or other capacity building initiatives for nonprofits that advance economic security for vulnerable households and financially disadvantaged people.
  • Projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in one of our region’s three communities which are home to large meat processing facilities (Cold Spring, Melrose and Long Prairie).
  • Support for local and regional community and economic development entities advancing early-stage feasibility or pilot projects.

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. 
  • Out-of-state travel.

Once you’ve confirmed that your project fits within the guidelines, you can select the "Apply/Login" button to create an account, complete an eligibility quiz, submit an application, review your application history and submit grant reports.


 Additional Grant-Supported Opportunities

 In addition to the Innovation Fund, the the Initiative Foundation has two other paths to award grants. 

  • Partner Funds: A significant share of Initiative Foundation grantmaking is funded by donor-advised or community-based Partner Funds. View priority areas for each fund and their granting schedule. Each of these funds has specific priority areas and varying grant schedules. 
  • Program Grants: The Foundation makes a limited number of discretionary grants related to specific localities within the region, or specific high-priority program activities. Current examples include grants to pilot communities in partnership with First Children's Finance to improve access to economically sustainable, quality, affordable childcare; grants on behalf of the Minnesota Department of Education to support young children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and support to the city of Becker and Sherburne County as they prepare for decommissioning of the Sherburne County coal-generation facility and associated loss of the community’s primary tax base.

Additional Grant-Funded Programs

  • Nonprofit Development Programs: Programs provide organizations with training on business topics and fund development to strengthen long-term resiliency. Learn more here
  • Initiators Fellowship: A two-year program providing a suite of supports to Greater Minnesota early-stage social entrepreneurs leading change in their community. Learn more here
  • Enterprise Academy Program: A training program for minority and income-eligible entrepreneurs. Learn more here


The Initiative Foundation strives to treat applicants with courtesy and respect. Staff members are sensitive to varying levels of experience in completing applications and encourages open communication with applicants needing additional assistance.  

For assistance, please contact us: 
Email:    grants(at)ifound.org
Mail:      405 First Street SE, Little Falls, MN 56465
Phone: (320) 632-9255 or toll free (877) 632-9255

Staff support typically is available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Staff members are currently working remotely. Calls to the Initiative Foundation’s office will be forwarded to the appropriate person and will be answered in the order in which they are received. 

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

Current Grantees: Financial Reports

The Financial Report Form is for organizations currently receiving a grant. Once completed, refer to the provided instructions for next steps.

2021 Grant Highlights

3rd Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

  • CommunityGiving—EmpowerCF 2021 Sponsorship: $1,000 to support the annual convening of community foundations. This grant was in partnership with Southwest Initiative Foundation.
  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits—2021 Membership: $1,200 to support the annual operations of this statewide group that works to build the capacity and voice of Minnesota’s nonprofit sector.
  • Greater Minnesota Partnership—2021 Membership: $1,000 to provide annual support to this advocacy organization that represents the needs of Central Minnesota communities.
  • Crow River Trail Guards, Inc.—Donor Management Software: $5,000 to support capacity-building activities.
  • Friends of the Paynesville Public Library—Expansion Grant: $5,000 to support community engagement, planning, design and other feasibility assessments for the expansion or relocation of the public library.
  • Open Doors For Youth—Creating a Roadmap for the Future: $5,000 to support strategic planning.
  • CommunityGiving—Building Racial Equity in Our Community: $10,000 to create a network across sectors and communities, connect ideas and resources, share best practices and develop an assessment to advance solutions to systemic racism.
  • True Friends—Identifying Project Funding Potential: $5,000 to support a feasibility study to explore the potential for a new welcome and recreation center.
  • Community Growth Fund, Inc.—Welcoming Advocates Valuing Everyone: $5,000 to help establish a community liaison and supports to welcome newcomers to Long Prairie, particularly those for whom language is a barrier. The liaision would also help newcomers access resources and amenities in the community.
  • Main Street Family Services—Sustainability Plan: $3,000 to support development of a sustainable fundraising plan and the tools necessary for implementation. Main Street Family Services provides supervised family visitation, therapeutic counseling, training and other resources.
  • Bridges of Hope—Capacity-Building for Emergency Warming Shelter Development in Crow Wing County: $10,000 to support feasibility analysis, planning and staffing for an emergency warming shelter to serve those in the Brainerd Lakes Area experiencing housing insecurity.
  • Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc.—Community Needs Assessment Surveying Project: $5,000 to support a community needs assessment at the Leech Lake Sovereign Nation.
  • True Directions, Inc.—Outpatient Peer Recovery Support Services Program: $5,000 to support a pilot project to build a new program in peer recovery coaching.
  • Kinship Partners, Inc.—One-On-One Career Mentoring for Students: $5,000 to support a feasibility analysis for a one-on-one career mentoring program for students ages 14-18.
  • Greater Twin Cities United Way Start Early Funders Coalition—2021 Membership: $1,000 to provide annual support to this coalition providing critical leadership and funding for research, program development, public policy and grantmaking to improve early childhood efforts in Minnesota.
  • The Trust for Public Land—Minnesota Coalition 2021–22: $5,000 to support this coalition working to secure additional state funding to protect natural resources, improve the environment, right environmental injustices of the past and engage more diverse citizen leaders going forward to achieve bigger, bolder and longer-term success.
  • City of Braham—Economic Development Overview & Preliminary Hotel Development Report: $5,000 to retain Hospitality Marketers, LLC, to prepare an economic development overview and preliminary hotel development report.
  • City of Isle—Post-Pandemic Seminars and Training: $1,000 to support training and technical assistance to area businesses to help them recover and rebound from pandemic-associated impacts.
  • City of Lindstrom—Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Design Study: $5,000 to support downtown design and revitalization plans.
  • Benton Economic Partnership, Inc.—County-Wide Broadband Feasibility Analysis: $10,000 to identify unserved and underserved areas within the county that are experiencing a lack of affordable, efficient and reliable broadband access by conducting a countywide broadband feasibility analysis.
  • Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, Inc.—Little Falls Job Fair Support: $5,000 to support a job fair on Oct. 14, 2021.

2nd Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

  • Cuyuna Range Youth CenterInternship Program: $5,000 to support development of a program that connects youth with local employers to develop job skills and create pathways to employment.
  • Community Connection Allies2021 Senior Dining & Meals on Wheels: $5,000 to partner with Catholic Charities to provide meals to people who are homebound or in need of rehabilitation time from surgery, injury or illness.
  • Success AcademyAfter-school Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) Club for East African Students in St. Cloud: $5,000 to establish an afterschool STEM club to provide hands-on activities and tutoring to increase understanding and retention of school subjects.
  • Morrison County Food ShelfGeneral Operating Funds: $1,000 to support food security services in Morrison County.
  • Bridges of HopeStrategic Planning to Grow Organizational Capacity: $5,000 to support a strategic planning process designed to foster greater organizational stability and effectiveness. 
  • Anna Marie's AllianceBuilding Capacity Through Board Strategic Planning: $5,000 to support a board strategic planning process to continue the organization’s efforts to be forward-thinking and courageous.
  • Oasis Central MinnesotaStrategic Planning Support: $5,000 to support strategic planning for Oasis Central Minnesota. 
  • Terebinth RefugeShelter Program General Operations: $5,000 to support the mission of Terebinth Refuge. 
  • Region Five Development CommissionJustice System Community Outreach: $7,500 to bring together local law enforcement and diverse consortium of community members to listen, share, learn and build trusting relationships.
  • The Outreach Program of Brainerd LakesStrategic Planning Session for Board of Directors and Staff: $5,000 to support strategic planning for The Outreach Program of the Brainerd Lakes Area.
  • AvivoCareer Exploration and Medical Office Training for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) High School Seniors: $5,000 for career exploration and medical office training for BIPOC high school seniors to address the racial wage gap in the St. Cloud area.
  • Rural Renewable Energy AllianceOrganizational Capacity Building: $3,000 to support strategic planning for the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance. 
  • Hands Across the WorldAmeriCorps Volunteers in Serivce to America (VISTA) Project Launch: $5,000 to build the capacity of Hands Across The World by supporting an Americorps VISTA to build new hybrid learning systems.
  • Brainerd Family YMCAData and Site Assessment for Child Care Satellite: $10,000 to support site assessment and design for the expansion of quality, affordable childcare facilities in the Brainerd community.
  • United Way of Central MinnesotaCentral Minnesota Child Care Credentialing Program: $10,000 to support a partnership with St. Cloud Technical and Community College, helping cover costs for students participating in an Accelerated Childhood Development Associate Certificate program. This provided entry-level credentials to 30 new child care providers serving in the Greater St. Cloud area and serves as a stepping stone for additional credentials.
  • Kanabec County Economic Development Authority2021 Strategic Plan Update: $2,500 To update the strategic plan for the Kanabec County Economic Development Authority.  This will identify the strategic direction for the next three years and will include a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education AssociationResidential Recruitment, Research and Development: $10,000 to research recruitment needs and practices of Brainerd Lakes Area employers to develop a united residential recruitment effort. This would include businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities.
  • Mille Lacs Corporate VenturesMille Lacs Tribal Economy Satellite Broadband Study: $6,670 to support a 12-month case study of four home sites and one staff site within the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe districts to gather information about the services and experiences. Data will measure speed, reliability, device usage and more to understand the reliability, affordability and convenience of services. 

1st Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

  • Anderson CenterForum Scholarships: $10,000 to provide scholarships for entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders to attend management and leadership training offered by the Anderson Center.
  • ConnectAbility of MinnesotaGrowing Staff Capacity: $3,000 to build capacity of staff and the organization through training and technical assistance.
  • Wilder FoundationMinnesota Compass: $4,000 to provide annual database research and support for key measures of community and economic vitality in Central Minnesota.
  • Minnesota Association for Volunteer AdministrationUrgent Needs, Volunteers and Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: $4,000 to support an increase in diversity of volunteers in organizations across Central Minnesota.
  • Region 5 Children's MuseumStrategic Fund Development Plan: $5,000 to support a feasibility analysis and funder development plan.
  • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, St. Cloud AreaSupport Strategic Planning Shifts and New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Focus: $5,000 to support recruitment and retention of more diverse volunteers.
  • Greater St. Cloud Public Safety FoundationCapacity Building Initiative: $3,000 to build organizational capacity.
  • Community Aid of Elk RiverFood Shelf Strategic Plan Project: $5,000 to assist the organization in planning for a successful future.
  • Jugaad Leadership ProgramMentoring Project: $8,000 to support this leadership and mentoring program for young professionals of color.
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations2021 Membership: $5,850 to provide annual support to this professional affinity organization. The Minnesota Council on Foundations is a vibrant philanthropic community collectively advancing prosperity and equity.
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations2021 Annual Conference Sponsorship: $2,500 to provide support for this year's virtual annual conference.
  • SourcewellStudents of Character Celebration Sponsorship: $1,000 to support the 30th annual Students of Character celebration hosted by Sourcewell.
  • Higher Works CollaborativeProject Look Up: $5,000 to expand the capacity of the organization through training and resources to strengthen fundraising and financial management.
  • Pine Technical and Community CollegeAccelerated Early Childhood Certificate: $10,000 to provide workforce support by facilitating training for potential child care workers.
  • Too Much TalentAdvocacy Training on the COVID-19 Vaccine for Communities of Color:  $5,000 to build capacity to advocate for increased COVID-19 vaccinations in the Black community.
  • Central Minnesota Community Empowerment OrganizationCapacity-Building Grant: $5,000 to build an online presence and keep staff and clients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • North Star Family Advocacy CenterVirtual Tour/Video Tour: $5,000 to support expanded public outreach and build overall capacity. Because this organization’s work is highly confidential, they need to be innovative in the way they invite the public to share in their mission. 
  • Waite Park Somali Community AssociationCapacity Building: $5,000 to support the tools and space needed for the Waite Park Somali Community Association to improve efficiency, create a better public-facing office environment and improve communication systems.
  • Jugaad Leadership ProgramQuickBooks Start-up Support: $5,000 to help program staff build financial capacity as a newly formed 501(c)(3).
  • Promise Neighborhood of Central MinnesotaTraining and Empowerment: $5,000 to support capacity building training and technical assistance for Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota.
  • The American Association of University WomenSt. Cloud Area Branch Savvy Teens Seminars for Career Success: $2,000 to develop online resources to highlight career opportunities for young women of color.
  • Wright County Economic Development PartnershipWorkforce Pathways Reboot: $10,000 to support career exploration and illuminate workforce pathways available to young adults in Wright County.
  • Brainerd RestorationCommunity Workforce Inclusion Council: $3,600 to support training for Brainerd Lakes area businesses interested in attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce.
  • Wadena Development AuthorityLead for Wadena: Artisanship for Economic Development: $7,500 to share costs for Lead for America fellow to support economic development through art.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic DevelopmentMusic on Main and Highway 210 Revitalization Project: $5,000 to support programming to offset adverse economic impacts associated with downtown highway reconstruction.
  • Greater St. Cloud Development CorporationAnnual Investment 2021: $25,000 to provide annual support for business and workforce development initiatives in the Greater St. Cloud region.
  • City of Little FallsResidential Broadband Implementation Study: $7,500 to support feasibility analysis for expansion of high-speed broadband services.

View past Innovation Fund grant awards.

2021 Partner Fund Grant Highlights

3rd Quarter 2021 Partner Fund Grant Highlights

Three Rivers Community Foundation

  • Open Doors For Youth—Mental Health Support for Homeless Youth: $5,000
  • Thumbs Up High 5K—Teen Mental Health Initiative: $5,000
  • Youth Investment Foundation—Elk River Area Timber Bay: $5,000
  • YMCA of the North, Elk River—Childcare Scholarships: $2,500
  • Granny's Closet—Good Nights From Granny’s: $3,000
  • Christians Reaching Out In Social Service—Food Rescue: $4,000
  • Rivers of Hope—Youth Advocacy for Survivors of Domestic, Family and Teen Dating Violence: $5,000
  • Community Aid of Elk River—Culturally Specific Food: $4,000
  • Young Life—Walk With Me Relaunch Project: $2,500

Greater Pine Area Endowment

  • Pine Emergency Medical Service—Operating Support: $5,000
  • Pine City Elementary School—Pine Dragons Parent Teacher Organization: $3,300
  • New Horizon Thrift Store—Technology Project: $3,869
  • Pine Center for the Arts, Inc.—Energy Efficiency: $15,000
  • Changing Gaits, Inc.—The Power of YOU—A One-Day Enrichment Program for Pine City High School Students: $2,000
  • Pine Technical and Community College—Childhood Development Associates Certification Fall Cohort Scholarship: $400

Morrison County Area Foundation

  • Horizon Health, Inc.—Improving the Lives of Seniors and Individuals With Disabilities in Morrison County: $1,500
  • Morrison County United Way—Tools For Schools: $1,000
  • Little Falls Community School District—DECA Scholarships for Career Development Conferences: $1,000
  • Little Falls Community School District—Dr. S. G. Knight Elementary Association Playground and Project Fund: $1,500
  • Oasis Central Minnesota—Greater Resources: $2,000
  • ConnectAbility of Minnesota—2021 Rural Transportation for Residents Living with Disabilities and the Elderly in Morrison County: $1,500
  • City of Pierz—City Hall Bench and Planters: $800

Central Minnesota Builders Association Fund & Initiative

The following grants will support Tools for Schools.

  • Albany Area School District: $2,376
  • St. Cloud Area School District—ALC McKinley: $1,500
  • Becker Public Schools: $1,400
  • Browerville Public Schools: $1,249
  • Foley School District: $1,000
  • Kimball Area School District: $750
  • Little Falls Community School District: $1,000
  • Melrose Area School District: $1,500
  • St. Cloud Area School District—North Junior High School: $1,500
  • Rocori High School: $560
  • Sartell High School: $1,468
  • Sauk Rapids-Rice High School: $1,500
  • St. Cloud Area School District—South Junior High School: $1,500
  • Swanville High School: $2,500
  • Upsala High School: $1,000

Innovative Schools Project Fund

  • Sourcewell: $35,796 

Cuyuna Lakes Education Foundation

  • Lake Region Christian School—Scholarships and Classroom Enhancements: $23,300
  • Cuyuna Lakes Education Foundation—Operating Support: $25,000

Braham Area Education Foundation

The following grants will support Braham Area Schools:  

  • Applied Agriculture Physics Wind Tunnel: $1,225
  • Boom Whackers for Fourth- to Sixth-Grade Music: $400
  • Snap Circuits Sets: $1,219
  • Differentiated Seating Options: $625
  • Electrophoresis for Biology & Forensic Students: $4,000

Memorial Hospital Foundation (Serving Greater Isanti County)

  • Common Ground United Methodist Community—COVID-19 Prevention Community Safety Forum: $5,000
  • Cambridge Community College Center Foundation—Health Sciences Scholarships Program: $12,500
  • Isanti County Commission on Aging—Development of Website: $2,200
  • Pine Technical & Community College Foundation—Scholarship Program: $5,000
  • New Pathways, Inc.: $10,000
  • North Star Family Advocacy Center—Trauma Screening Project: $5,000
  • Cambridge-Isanti School District Early Childhood Programs—Gearing Up for Kindergarten: $5,000

Marie and David Fischer Family Charitable Fund

  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota—Camp Knutson: $25,000 

Playing it Forward: The Kenneth and Evelyn Pinckney Young Musicians Fund

  • Little Falls Community School District—GraceNote Program: $875
  • Little Falls Community School District—2021 Podium Award: $526

Family Farm Fund

  • Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota—Meat Processing Workforce Development and Plant Ownership Project: $2,700 

John and Bonnie Schlagel Endowment

  • Animal Humane Society—Animal Care at Coon Rapids Location: $2,000
  • Anoka Ramsey Community College Foundation—Scholarship in Memory of Evan Stein: $2,000
  • Cambridge Community College Center Foundation—2022 Cambridge Scholardazzle Fundraiser: $1,500
  • Isanti County Humane Society—Animal Care: $2,000
  • Mayo Clinic—Alzheimer's Program: $2,000
  • Mayo Clinic—Cancer Program: $2,000
  • Tres Islas Orphanage Fund Incorporated—Animal Care: $2,000
  • Tres Islas Orphanage Fund Incorporated—General Operations: $2,300
  • University of Minnesota Foundation—Veterinary Medicine Scholarship: $2,000
  • A Place For You—Housing for Homeless Individuals: $2,000
  • Cambridge-Isanti Dollars for Scholars Foundation—Scholarships: $2,000
  • Family Pathways—Food Shelf Program: $2,000
  • Family Pathways—Refuge Network Shelter Domestic Abuse Program: $3,000
  • Minnesota Safe Ride—Sober Cab Program in Kanabec and Pine Counties: $1,800
  • New Pathways, Inc.—Housing for Homeless Families: $3,000
  • Pine Technical & Community College Foundation—Scholarships: $2,000
  • Cambridge-Isanti School District—Early Childhood Partnership for Isanti County: $2,000

Bob & Marsha Bunger Family Endowment Fund

  • Quiet Oaks Hospice House—General Operating Support: $1,000 

Anderson Brothers Family Fund 

  • Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen—Operating Support: $2,000
  • Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Inc.—Child Hunger Program: $2,000
  • Essentia Health Foundation—Community Health Endowment Fund: $1,000

Hanowski Family Fund

  • Little Falls Sports Arena, Inc.—Blue Line Club: $750 

Artesian Homes Charitable Fund

  • Camp Shamineau of the Evangelical Free Church—Camp Sponsorship: $12,000 

Operational Reserve Fund of Northern Waters Land Trust

  • Northern Waters Land Trust—General Operations: $40,000 

Veterans Art Monument Fund—Phase 2: St. Cloud

  • Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery Association—Veterans Art Monument Fund: $14,885 

Veterans Art Monument Fund 

  • Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery Association—Veterans Art Monument Fund: $23,221 

2nd Quarter 2021 Partner Fund Grant Highlights

Rum River Community Foundation 

  • City of MilacaMilaca Area Veterans Memorial Park: $1,000 
  • Milaca TownshipTables and Chairs: $200
  • Mille Lacs Soil & Water Conservation DistrictGrowing Community Connection With Youth While Developing a County Groundwater and Geological Atlas: $300 
  • Milaca High School Hall of FameMilaca High School Kiosk: $500 
  • City of Milaca Public Works DepartmentFirst Annual Kids Hands-on Event: $500 
  • City of MilacaMilaca RecFest Bluegrass Festival: $600 
  • City of MilacaMilaca Senior Center: $900 

Greater Pine Area Endowment

  • Grindstone Lake Bible CampPine City Residents Scholarship: $2,500 
  • Pine City Heritage Players Sound Equipment: $5,000 

Staples-Motley Area Community Foundation

  • Faith Lutheran Church2021Back-to-School Fair: $2,000 
  • Staples-Motley Hall of Fame Development: $2,000 
  • Staples Economic Development AuthorityBatcher Block Opera House Capital Campaign Feasibility Study: $3,000 
  • LEAP, Inc.June Fest 2021: $3,000 
  • Discover StaplesConnecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference: $3,000 

Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation

  • Leech Lake LegacyVeterinary Spay and Neuter Suite: $500 
  • Northwoods Arts CouncilLakeside Concert Series: $500 
  • Kokoro Center for Music and the Performing ArtsPoetry in Public Places: $500 
  • Backus Cornfest: $500 

Innovative School Project Fund

  • Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Parent Teacher Organization: $5,000 
  • Freshwater Education Foundation: $5,000 
  • Wadena-Deer Creek School Parent Teacher Organization: $5,000 
  • Lowell Elementary: $1,000 
  • Upsala Area School District: $5,000 
  • Verndale Parent Teacher Organization: $5,000 

Sauk Rapids-Rice Education Foundation

  • Central Lakes College Staples CampusLiving Legacy Garden: $4,800 

The following grants will support the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District:  

  • Dramatic Play: $314 
  • First-Grade Take-Home Book Cart: $389 
  • Large Motor Equipment for Early Childhood Family Education: $1,000 
  • Nonfiction Library Revamp: $997 
  • School-Wide Social-Emotional, Personal Growth and Development Book Inventory: $1,000 
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access (IDEA) Resources: $1,000 
  • Logitech Crayons for iPads: $300 

Memorial Hospital Foundation (Serving Greater Isanti County)

  • New Pathways, Inc.In Memory of Dr. Ray Magnuson: $5,000 

Royalton Education Foundation

The following grants will support the Royalton School District:  

  • Bringing A Bearded Dragon Into the Classroom: $1,500 
  • Present, Respond, Connect to the ArtsArt Exhibit Furniture for Student Presentations: $2,000 
  • Stock Ticker Display: $1,540 

Early Childhood Fund for Morrison County

  • Little Falls Community School DistrictEarly Childhood Grant: $1,000 

Bridges Manufacturing Workforce Development Fund

  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education AssociationThomas Taylor Scholarship: $1,000 

Pillager Education Foundation

  • Pillager School DistrictReal Care Babies: $1,145 

Playing it Forward: The Kenneth and Evelyn Pinckney Young Musicians' Fund

The following grants will support the Little Falls Community School District:  

  • Bari-Saxophone: $4,755 
  • 2021 Spotlight Jazz Camp Award to Will Jorgenson: $650 

Thrive Fund

  • MilestonesGeneral Operating Support: $4,500 

Central Minnesota CEO Fund

  • Wadena-Deer Creek School DistrictClose-out Grant: $26,346 

Patrick and Jane Mitchell Family Fund 

  • River Park Community Foundation, Inc.Alexander Park and Firefighters Splash Pad Pledge: $3,000 
  • Colette & Paul Cameron Donor Advised Fund
  • Friends of Pine Grove ZooAnimal Acquisition: $6,077 

Paws and Claws Animal Shelter

  • Paws & Claws Rescue & ResortGeneral Operating Support: $1,600 

Lake Region Conservation Club

  • Sullivan Lake First Response TeamGeneral Operating Support: $375 
  • Hillman Area First Response TeamGeneral Operating Support: $375 

Artesian Homes Charitable Fund

  • Brainerd Sports Boosters Club, Inc.Weight Room Project: $10,000 
  • Family Life Church of the Assemblies of GodVerndale Area Christian Academy General Operating Support: $75,000 

Betty and Larry Nelson Family Fund 

  • School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific ProvinceOperating Support in Sierra Leone: $200 
  • Minnesota Public RadioGeneral Operating Support: $200 
  • Northwoods Humane SocietyGeneral Operating Support: $200 
  • Kiva MicrofundsGeneral Operating Support: $200 
  • Friends of Mwangaza, Inc.General Operating Support: $200 

Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation

  • Taos Avalanche Rescue Dogs: $2,500 

Skolmate Fund for the Welfare of Animals

  • Paws & Claws Rescue & ResortGeneral Operating Support: $1,450 
  • Morrison County Animal Humane SocietyGeneral Operating Support: $1,450

1st Quarter 2021 Partner Fund Grant Highlights

Staples Motley Area Community Foundation and its Emergency Relief Fund

  • Becks Burgers Co.—Emergency Relief$4,000
  • Local Legends BarEmergency Relief: $1,500
  • B&B's Sports Bar & GrillEmergency Relief: $1,500
  • Ives Family, LLCEmergency Relief: $1,500
  • Lefty's, Inc.Emergency Relief: $1,500

Three Rivers Community Foundation

  • Elk River School DistrictPatricia Sanford Scholarship: $500
  • Elk River School District: $19,000
  • Spectrum High School: $1,000

Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation: Emergency Relief Fund

  • Hackensack Senior Citizens Club, Inc.Emergency Relief: $727
  • Family Safety NetworkEmergency Relief: $1,000

Innovative Schools Project Fund

  • Pine River-Backus School District: $5,000
  • Brainerd Public Schools Foundation: $5,000
  • Browerville Public Schools: $5,000
  • Pierz Public Schools: $5,000
  • Long Prairie/Grey Eagle School District: $5,000

Game Changers

  • Hackensack Game Changers: $11,837

Irene Myres Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund

  • Pequot Lakes School District: $1,100 

Dorn Family Fund

  • Delano Public Schools: $1,000 

Bert and Helen LeBlanc Legacy Scholarship Fund

  • St. Cloud State University Foundation, Inc.: $1,000
  • Central Lakes College Foundation: $500

 Archie and Isabelle Powell Family Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Elk River School District: $1,000 

ZES Scholarship Fund

  • Zimmerman High School: $400 

Mel and Jeanette Beaudry Fund

  • Global Developers Network, Inc.The Hope Connection: $1,000
  • Triumphant Faith Christian Center, The Launching PadGeneral Operations: $700

Sacred Heart - Knights of Columbus Fund

  • Sacred Heart Area SchoolGeneral Operating Support: $500

Staples Knights of Columbus Council #1803-Lloyd & Marion Giddings Scholarship Fund

  • Staples and Motley Dollars for Scholars: $2,800 

James and Susan J. Kurpius Family Fund

  • Staples and Motley Dollars for Scholars: $3,000 

Manufacturing Fund of Central Minnesota

  • Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Inc.Women's Business Alliance: $5,450
  • St. Cloud State UniversityHardness Tester: $5,000 

Little Falls Education Foundation

The following grants will support the Little Falls Community School District:  

  • Geometry ALGEBROS Flipped Mastery Curriculum: $500
  • Higher Algebra ALGEBROS Flipped Mastery Curriculum: $500
  • Personalizing Learning in First Grade: $800
  • Exercise Bikes & Rowing Machines for Physical Education Department: $1,500
  • Special Education Sensory Needs: $1,500
  • Poster Printer: $1,471
  • Classroom Seating: $274
  • Tables + Flexible Seating for the 21-22 School Year: $584
  • Osmo for Schools: $1,500
  • MS Aesthetics: Phase III—Raise the Bar Classroom Project: $500
  • Enhancing Communication Skills in Preschool Students: $586
  • Flexible Seating: $1,609
  • Continuing Flexible Seating in the Third Grade: $729
  • Garden to Table: $1,100 

Albany Area Education Foundation

The following grants will support the Albany Area School District:

  • Social and Emotional Learning Library: $471
  • Osmos and iPads: $1,200
  • Math Flexible Seating for Personalized Instruction: $1,319
  • Artist in Residency, Doug Wood: $950
  • Project Read A Lot: $471
  • Phonological Awareness—A Key Component for Readers: $558

Braham Area Education Foundation

The following grants will support Braham Area Schools:

  • Naviance—College and Career Readiness: $1,500
  • Flexible Seating: $789
  • Classroom Needs: $565 

Patriot Foundation

  • Pequot Lakes School DistrictVirtual Reality Science Lab: $1,500

Lakes Area Medical Development Fund

  • The Outreach Program of Brainerd LakesMeal Packaging and Distribution to Local Agencies: $5,000
  • Helping Paws of Minnesota, Inc.Service and Facility Service Dogs for the Brainerd Lakes Area: $3,000

Onamia Early Childhood Endowment Fund

  • Mille Lacs Health System/Onamia Area Early Childhood CoalitionMaterials for Distance Learning: $500 

Bridges Manufacturing Workforce Development Fund

  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education AssociationBridges Manufacturing Workforce Development Fund Scholarship: $1,000

Bob and Pauline Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Isle School District: $3,000 

Paula and Chad Becker Fund

  • Christ the King Catholic ChurchChurch and School Operations: $10,000
  • Browerville Public SchoolsAthletic Programs: $2,500
  • Southwest Minnesota State UniversityWrestling Program: $2,500


  • Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers AllianceGeneral Operating Support: $3,600

Alternative Sources of Energy Fund

  • Milaca Scholarship Foundation: $4,125
  • Milaca School DistrictScience Department: $1,375

Land and Waters Preservation Trust

  • Whitefish Area Property Owners AssociationGeneral Operations: $13,800

Patrick and Jane Mitchell Family Fund

  • ROCORI Area Dollars for Scholars: $500 

Beverly M. Pantzke Scholarship Fund

  • Little Falls Community School District: $22,000

Mark Wood Foundation

  • Little Falls Community School District: $5,500

Little Falls Scholarship Fund

  • Little Falls Community School District: $3,100

William & Ethel Nelson Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Royalton School District: $1,600

Betty Ford Menzel Scholarship Fund

  • Crosby-Ironton School District: $2,200

Shawn Grittner Memorial Fund

  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College Foundation: $1,100 

H. Eugene Menzel Scholarship Fund

  • Aitkin Dollars for Scholars: $1,200 

Artesian Homes Charitable Fund

  • The Church on the Wise RoadJamaican Missions: $1,500
  • Heritage ChurchOperating Support: $10,000
  • Lincoln Evangelical Free ChurchOperating Support: $10,000
  • Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center of BrainerdGeneral Operating Support: $7,500
  • Family Life Church of the Assemblies of GodGeneral Operating Support: $10,000
  • Pillager School DistrictPillager Huskies Fishing Team: $1,000
  • Lake Region Christian SchoolGeneral Operating Support: $50,000
  • Family Life Church of the Assemblies of GodGeneral Operating Support at Verndale Area Christian Academy: $50,000 

Fregin Foundation

  • Little Falls Community School District: $500 

Sourcewell Region 5 COVID-19 Relief Fund

  • The Outreach Program of Brainerd LakesCOVID-19 Emergency Food Relief: $3,600

Central Minnesota Emergency Relief and Recovery Fund

  • Mille Lacs Health SystemA Mask Is Not a Big Ask: $2,000
  • Leech Lake Tribal CollegeMarketing and Technology Upgrade: $3,000
  • Boys & Girls Club of Central MinnesotaEastside, Roosevelt & Southside Club In-person & Virtual Summer Programming & Meals: $15,000
  • Central Minnesota Community Empowerment OrganizationEarly Childhood Student Support: $15,000
  • Cambridge-Isanti School District Early Childhood ProgramsMaintaining Stable and Nurturing Early Learning Relationships During COVID-19 Pandemic: $15,000
  • Kid's Haven, LLCTeaching and Caring for Children 6 Weeks to 12 Years Old: $15,000
  • St. Mary's Early Learning AcademySupport for Underserved Children Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic: $11,197
  • STRIDE AcademySupporting Underserved Students in Benton, Stearns, Sherburne and Wright Counties: $15,000
  • Trinity Lutheran Church Learning CenterDistance Learning Methods, Technology and Training: $15,000
  • WomenVentureFamily Child Care Business Essentials, Regional Training Opportunity: $5,000
  • HousingLinkBeyond Backgrounds Expansion: Creating Housing Security for Vulnerable Renters: $4,000
  • Lakes Area Pregnancy Support CenterClient Material Assistance: $4,000
  • Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Inc.Increasing the Use of Pop-Up Markets to Meet Rising Food Insecurity: $5,000

Partner Fund Grant Rounds


The Initiative Foundation is proud to host a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteer-led groups. Our Partner Fund program allows local leaders to champion local causes while we provide the 501(c)(3) public charity infrastructure necessary for donor gifts to receive the highest possible charitable tax deduction. From community foundations to educational funds to special project and field-of-interest funds, the Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds are working together to ensure strong and vibrant communities throughout Central Minnesota.

View Our Partner Fund Grant Schedule




Jessy Beto
Program Specialist

(320) 631-2057


 Don Hickman
Vice President for Community
 Workforce Development
(320) 631-2043

Keep Investing In
Central Minnesota

Thanks to our supporters and contributors for powering possible and investing in Central Minnesota. Keep the momentum going.

      DONATE TODAY      

Insight & Information

Since 1986, the Foundation has awarded thousands of grants that have provided millions to the communities we serve. The average grant award is about $5,000. For an historic snapshot, see our Impact Update or our county-by-county investment activity.

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

Visit our Grants Awards page to learn more.