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2017 Grant Awards

3rd Quarter 2017 Grant Awards

  • Braham Area Schools ISD #314—School Board: $1,550 to provide Minnesota School Boards Association professional development training for the District 314 school board.
  • Arc of Minnesota—Job Training and Placement for Disabled Persons in St. Cloud: $5,000 to support an interagency alliance to provide self-directed tools and assistance to job seekers with significant disabilities and their families to help navigate known obstacles to competitive employment.
  • Christian Social Services, Inc.—Monticello Help Center Capacity-Building and Expansion Plan: $2,500 to support contracted technical expertise and training necessary for service expansion efforts.
  • Wright County Community Action, Inc.—Implementing Raising a Reader for At-Risk Children in Wright County:$4,000 to expand the "Raising a Reader" program, a research-based literacy program. The program is designed to increase school readiness and parent-to-child bonding by creating a culture of literacy in the home.
  • Morrison County United Way—Imagination Library Program:$3,000 to support the distribution of Imagination Library books to children from birth to age 5. The goal of this project is to support school readiness by encouraging families to read with their young children.
  • Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council—CareerONE Coleman: $5,000 to prepare unemployed individuals who have “aged out” of high school with the skills needed to fill manufacturing positions. The program focuses on literacy skills leading to a diploma while enhancing work readiness and encouraging continued education.
  • Cloverleaf Youth Partnership, dba Cyber Cafe—Computer Coding Class Training: $1,000 to support skills training for youth.
  • Central Minnesota Housing Partnership—Affordable Housing Initiative: $4,000 to develop at least one housing project that meets growing workforce needs in the Staples area. The goal of affordable housing is to help stabilize low- to moderate-income families who work within the area or are moving to the area for jobs.
  • Main Street Family Services—Staff Training Support: $4,500 to increase the number of staff who can deliver and teach the "Circle of Security," an international training program rooted in secure attachment research. This program is designed to increase nurturing and safety in families and help parents learn new skills.
  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits—Sponsorship Grant for Membership Renewal: $1,100 membership renewal.
  • Blandin Foundation—Sponsorship Grant for Border to Border Broadband Conference: $1,000 to sponsor the Blandin Foundation's Oct. 25-26 Border to Border Broadband Conference at Maddens on Gull Lake. The event will showcase a variety of approaches that rural communities have developed to expand broadband’s impact, leverage investments, and bridge the digital divide.  
  • CommunityGiving—Jugaad Leadership Program: $5,000 to provide underrepresented community members with the knowledge, skills and resources to become effective leaders at the grassroots level.  Activities include a seven-month series of speakers who train participants to understand community issues, build relationships, become familiar with nonprofit boards and committees and network with others.
  • Central Minnesota Community Empowerment Organization—Capacity Building for La Cruz Community Center: $7,500 to La Cruz Community Center to help new Americans integrate to the St. Cloud area by providing mentoring and tutoring for students, summer youth engagement events and English as a Second Language classes to parents. 
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education Association—Bridges Career Institute for Region Five for High School Internship and Apprenticeship Models: $5,000 to identify high school juniors and seniors from Brainerd, Pequot Lakes, and Crosby-Ironton schools and match them for summer 2017 employment in manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and information technology. 
  • City of Little Falls—Little Falls Downtown Revitalization II: $3,000 to support civic engagement in the development of public art as a strategy to foster a revitalized downtown area.
  • Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless—Stearns County RideShare Demonstration Project: $4,000 to support participating local agencies in providing RideShare services to individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This helps them access employment, education and other services necessary to improve their lives and enhance self-reliance.
  • Productive Alternatives, Inc. (PAI)—Removing Barriers, Because Work Matters: $4,000 to provide a challenge match to support the transportation of adults with disabilities to and from work, job interviews and skills training. Many businesses that have had difficulty retaining a skilled workforce have discovered that adults with disabilities often have a strong interest in productive employment.
  • Salem Lutheran Church —Salem WEST Social Enterprise Improvements: $2,500 to provide technology improvements for the Deerwood-based social enterprise which generates support for the organization's social services.
  • Goodwill Industries, Inc.—St. Cloud Area Financial Services Training Program: $4,000 to support an eight-week program that provides individuals with experience in the financial service, call center and customer service fields. The program offers additional support to help participants obtain employment upon program completion.
  • Essentia Health Foundation—Reach Out & Read Brainerd Lakes Area: $2,750 to increase engagement of parents and children in early literacy. Through this program, medical providers can provide information to parents about the importance of reading to children and provide free children’s books at their well-child exams. 
  • ServeMinnesota—Family Child Care Reading Corps: $5,000 to deliver the Reading Corps model in licensed family child care settings. This program is designed to increase kindergarten readiness skills and family engagement while increasing the capacity of child care provider to to sustain high-quality learning environments.
  • Jack's Basket—Donation in Honor of Jordan Witt: $500 to support families as they welcome babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
  • Big Lake School District—Big Lake Area Early Childhood Coalition: $7,000 to increase literacy-rich opportunities for families with young children, especially those living in poverty, by offering story times in various Big Lake parks. The grant will also help increase training and collaboration opportunities for early childhood professionals to support children in their school readiness skills. 
  • Pine River-Backus School District—Fostering Partnerships: $6,500 to provide community events and Love and Logic parenting classes, which are tailored towards families with young children. This program works to increase parent engagement and kindergarten readiness skills in young children.
  • City of Little Falls—Trunk Highway 27 Memorial Bridge Railroad Crossing: $2,500 to support a feasibility study of the railway crossing on Trunk Highway 27, which has hurt business growth on the western side of Little Falls. This study will analyze the alternatives to minimize this barrier.
  • City of Pequot Lakes—Pequot Lakes Thriving Communities Initiative (TCI): $5,000 to support projects resulting from the city's participation in the Thriving Communities Initiative (TCI) program, including: creation of a trademarked community brand, design of a new skateboard park, coordination of a community website to assist visitors and residents, and revisions to the city's current comprehensive plan to include elements from the TCI Initiative.
  • City of Avon—Avon Strategic Plan: $1,000 to support a strategic planning process to bring together public and private sectors in the creation of a roadmap to diversify and strengthen the local economy. Areas of focus will include workforce development and attraction, economic competitiveness, community resources and assets. 
  • Fairview Township—Gull Lake Trail: Phase 3-1, Fairview Township: $2,500 to support the township's planning efforts to connect existing trails in East Gull Lake with a future trail in Lake Shore. 
  • Wildlife Forever—Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species: $17,1550 to Wildlife Forever, a national nonprofit with offices and staff in Minnesota, which will partner with CD3, LLC, to deploy a prototype of a self-contained, vandal-resistant cleaning station to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. Partners include: Big Sandy Lake Association (Aitkin County), Three Rivers Park District, Hennepin County, Forest Lake Watershed District (Chisago County), St. Louis County, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
  • National Park Service Voyageurs National Park—Restoration of Wetlands Impaired by Invasive Cattails: $31,000 to support pilot prevention and control strategy for non-native invasive cattails, including mechanical and hand removal of the hybrid invasive cattails. This is in partnership with the Bois Forte and Fonde Du Lac Bands of Ojibwe, and is funded through a grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, as recommended by the Minnesota Legislature.
  • Greater Saint Cloud Development Corporation—Annual Corporate Investment: $7,500 to renew our annual commitment to this member-supported organization of community leaders that are dedicated to enhancing and expanding the economic opportunities of the St. Cloud region.
  • Central Lakes College Small Business Development Center (SBDC)—Small Business Growth and Success Initiative: $10,000 to support consulting services which provide assistance in business plan development, loan application preparation, financial projection analysis, market feasibility assessments, and other guidance to help local businesses grow.

2nd Quarter 2017 Grant Awards

  • Princeton School District - Early Childhood Preventive Dental Services: $1,500 to support early childhood dental screenings to improve kindergarten readiness and promote positive health and developmental outcomes.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota - Career Development Program: $5,000 to provide a range of services to help club members explore career opportunities and develop skills essential for workforce success.
  • Kimball Area School District - Robotics Program: $2,000 to support participation of adult chaperones in the Kimball Robotics Club participation in national competition.
  • Great River Family Promise - Board and Staff Development: $1,500 to support staff and board training to maximize service delivery while positioning the organization for greater sustainability in Elk River.
  • Wright County Community Action, Inc. - Staff Development: $2,500 to support staff development initiatives that foster a positive, inclusive culture and increase staff retention and engagement while improving customer service.
  • Sherburne County Area United Way - Issue-Focused Training: $5000 to support a planning process to align with United Way’s worldwide issue-focused standards.
  • Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota - St. Cloud Neighborhood Development: $5,000 to improve efficiency and effectiveness through board and staff development in the areas of fund development, volunteer coordination and data management to better serve disadvantaged youth in the greater St. Cloud area.
  • The Yes Network – I Have a Dream: $5,000 to support the “I Have a Dream” program that provides intensive support to 35 elementary students and their families to improve long-term physical and mental health outcomes.
  • Foundation for Essential Needs - Central Minnesota Food Shelves: $5,000 to support the expansion of FFEN's capacity-building work to help Central Minnesota food shelves provide more and better services while positioning themselves for greater sustainability in Cass, Crow Wing, Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties.
  • Minnesota Planned Giving Council - Sustainability for Central MN Nonprofits Through Planned Giving: $2,500 for under-served nonprofit professionals in Central Minnesota to learn about and engage in planned-giving discussions to increase their financial sustainability.
  • City of Wahkon - Veterans Park Feasibility Study: $2,500 to complete a project analysis that includes preliminary drawings, cost estimates and solutions to restore natural shoreline vegetation at the new park location.
  • Enterprise Minnesota, Inc. - The 2017 State of Manufacturing: $1,500 to support the May 2017 State of Manufacturing briefing and tour of the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF) at St. Cloud State University.
  • Saint Cloud Area School District - Play Area for Pre-School Children: $2,000 to provide a Dramatic Play Area at Talahi School to serve 3- and 4-year-olds. The play area is designed to offer hands-on learning opportunities such as planting a seed, nurturing it and harvesting the vegetables.
  • St. Cloud State University - Opening Doors and Building Bridges: $10,000 to address the social and emotional needs of young children in the greater St. Cloud area through collaborations with organizations that serve immigrant and refugee populations. Funding will support two co-learning events that bring together immigrant and refugee families and early childhood professionals along with community training about healthy social and emotional development.
  • Crow Wing County United Way, Inc. - Imagination Library: $4,000 to support the distribution of Imagination Library books to children birth to 5 years old to support school readiness and to encourage families to read with their young children.
  • Licensed Family Child Care Association of Morrison County - Home-Based Preschool Literacy Project: $3,000 to provide early literacy kits to families with young children to increase at-home reading.
  • Chisago County EDA - Chisago County Affordable Housing Study: $2,500 to develop a feasibility study and action plan to create the type of housing and financing needed to attract and retain skilled workers, provide an affordable option and keep seniors close to home.
  • City of Melrose - Housing Study: $3,250 to support a city housing study—one of the more significant barriers to attracting and retaining workers and young families following a September 2016 downtown fire that destroyed an entire city block.
  • Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc. - Financial Resiliency Program Participation: $5,000 to advance goals developed through participation in Round Six of the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program.
  • Happy Dancing Turtle - Financial Resiliency Program Participation: $5,000 to advance goals developed through participation in Round Six of the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program.
  • STEP - Financial Resiliency Program Participation: $5,000 to advance goals developed through participation in Round Six of the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program.
  • Tri-County Community Action, Inc. - Financial Resiliency Program Participation: $5,000 to advance goals developed through participation in Round Six of the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program.
  • Flight Expo, Inc. - Financial Resiliency Program Participation: $5,000 to advance goals developed through participation in Round Six of the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program.
  • Big Lake Community Food Shelf, Inc. - Financial Resiliency Program Participation: $5,000 to advance goals developed through participation in Round Six of the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program.
  • Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District - Rapid Response to Aquatic Invasive Species: $10,400 to employ a new treatment protocol to maintain herbicide concentration at the level required to kill Eurasian watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive species. This project is funded with grant support from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
  • Wildlife Forever - Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species: $126,400 to Wildlife Forever to deploy with its partners a self-contained, vandal-resistant cleaning station prototype to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. This project is funded with grant support from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
  • National Park Service Voyageurs National Park - Restoration of Wetlands Impaired by Invasive Cattails: $120,000 to support prevention and control strategies for non-native invasive cattails in partnership with the Bois Forte and Fonde Du Lac Bands of Ojibwe. This project is funded with grant support from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
  • Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District - Enhanced Skills Development for AIS Program: $28,000 to provide aquatic invasive species training in conflict resolution, techniques to de-escalate confrontations, and basic precepts in lake science and ecology. This project is funded with grant support from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
  • Isanti County - High-Speed Internet Feasibility Study: $5,000 to conduct a county-wide high-speed internet access feasibility study.
  • Cass County Economic Development Corporation - Annual Support: $1,500 to build the capacity of the Cass County Economic Development Corporation to build businesses and create jobs.

1st Quarter 2017 Grant Awards

  • Mille Lacs County - Mille Lacs County Cavity Free Birth-5 and Pregnant Mothers: $17,500 to support education and access to preventative dental health to children under the age of five.
  • Children's Dental Services, Inc. - Dental Care and Education for Central Minnesota Children: $5,000 to maintain essential and accessible dental treatment for 300 of Central Minnesota's most vulnerable children.
  •  Volunteers of America of Minnesota - Our HOME Supportive Housing in South Mille Lacs Lake Area: $5,000 to support 24-hour supportive housing that provides necessary services to help up to eight families develop more stable living situations.
  • Lakes Area Interfaith Caregivers - Support Services for Brainerd Lakes Area Seniors: $5,000 to support services that allow seniors to age in place and avoid unnecessary or premature nursing home and assisted living placement.
  • New Pathways, Inc. - Operating Support: $500 to support transitional housing services for Central Minnesota families experiencing homelessness.
  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud - Operating Support: $500 to support its Central Minnesota foster grandparent program.
  • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest - Operating Support: $500 to support Junior Achievement's work in the Greater St. Cloud Area.
  • National Joint Powers Alliance - Sponsorship for 2017 Student Recognition Event: $1,000 to provide sponsorship for this event honoring scholarships for outstanding students in the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) service area of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.
  • Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation - On the Grow Portal and JobSpot Enhancement: $7,500 to support improvements to GreaterStCloudJobSpot.com, a regional job portal to help retain and attract skilled workers to the region.
  • Rural Renewable Energy Alliance - Community Trust-Owned Solar Benefiting Income-eligible Minnesotans: $1,500 to help build a solar energy business model that serves Minnesota's poorest residents.
  • RESOURCE - Skills for Success: $5,000 to support the Skills for Success program that aims to build skills that enhance job and educational opportunities for new Americans in the St. Cloud area.
  • Tri-County Action Program, Inc. - Central Minnesota Free Tax Preparation: $5,000 to support the coordination of Tri-Cap's VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program that provides free-tax return preparation and e-filing services to income-qualified individuals in Central Minnesota.
  • Community Giving - Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation Spirit of Hope Fund: $5,000 to establish a challenge match for community donations to provide essential services for families in need.
  • Community Giving - Staffing for Create CommUNITY and Jugaad Leadership Program: $10,000 to support recruitment and training of up to 20 emerging leaders from communities of color in the Greater St. Cloud Area.
  • Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation - St Cloud Rotary Richard C Wilson Community Outpost: $2,500 to support Greater St Cloud Public Safety Foundation in development of a southside COP House (Community Oriented Policing) to increase community-police engagement and reduce crime.  
  • Nonprofits Assistance Fund - Capacity-building Training for Central Minnesota Nonprofits: $8,000 to provide nonprofits across the Initiative Foundation service area access to a variety of financial and management training opportunities.
  • Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota - St. Cloud Circle of Parents: $4,000 To provide parenting resources and a free weekly support group for parents who may be in danger of abusing or neglecting their children.
  • Stearns-Benton Employment & Training Council - Peer Career Counseling: $5,000 to recruit and train diverse college students to serve as peer mentors for high school students engaged in career exploration.
  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota - Emergency Childcare to Improve Self-Sufficiency and Employment Opportunities: $4,000 To reduce the maltreatment of young children and provide relief to parents in crisis by offering emergency childcare within a network of licensed child care providers in the community.
  • GiveMN - General Operating Support: $1,000 to help cover administrative costs associated with hosting the www.GiveMN.org website which serves as an online giving portal for many nonprofits throughout Minnesota.
  • St. Cloud State University - SCSU Winter Institute K-12 Teaching Workshop: $2,000 to market and deliver the Winter Institute Economic Education event to Central Minnesota K-12 educators.
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations – Minnesota Food Funders Network Contribution: $1,000 to provide administrative support for an affinity group of funding partners interesting in helping support family-owned farms, sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems.
  • Happy Dancing Turtle - Eureka! TEDx Gull Lake 2017: $2,500 to deliver a regional TEDx event to increase community engagement, highlight technology, advance workforce opportunities and inspire community partnerships.
  • Tusen Tack - Sustainable Governance of Tusen Tack/Braham Community Event Center: $2,500 to assist Tusen Tack's Board in making an orderly transition to a sustainable business operations model for the Braham Event Center.
  • City of St. Cloud - St. Cloud Parks and Recreation Master Planning: $2,500 to support public input and engagement in updating the St. Cloud parks master plan.
  • BestPrep - Minnesota Business Venture for Central Minnesota: $3,000 to deliver the Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) leadership and business skills development program program for high school students.
  • Milestones - Inside Out Connections Coalition; Supporting Children/Families Impacted by Incarceration: $5,000 to plan a regional training about children of incarcerated parents to increase awareness, provide resources and develop and maintain a network of support for families and returning citizens.
  • Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity - Brainerd Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity “ReStore” Job Transition Training: $5,000 to support a job training program for Minnesota Teen Challenge graduates that provides employment and a local reference to help them find long-term work.
  • Salem Lutheran Church - Salem WEST Fire Response Planning: $5,000 to support strategic planning assistance to help Salem WEST rebuild and reorganize following a March fire at its Deerwood facility.
  • Milestones - Caring for a Lifetime Learning Event: $2,500 toward an annual educational event attended by more than 300 self-employed child-care providers, small business owners and childcare centers.
  • Cambridge-Isanti School District - Cambridge-Isanti Early Childhood Coalition: $5,000 to support school readiness skills by providing early learning check-out materials such as books, toys and games).
  • Mille Lacs Health System - 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten in Onamia Area: $7,500 to increase access to literacy materials through the "1,000 Books before Kindergarten" program.
  • Freshwater Education District - Reading For the Future in Todd County: $3,460 to support the Reading for the Future (RFF) project that will disburse books to 500 children ages birth to age 5 at least three time per year.
  • Princeton School District - Princeton Early Childhood Coalition: $7,000 to collaborate with local agencies and businesses to enhance literacy, increase father involvement and foster teen-parent involvement.
  • United Way of Central Minnesota - Early Learning Access, Materials & Events in Greater St. Cloud: $12,000 to improve parent and caregiver involvment by providing toolkits designed to foster literacy.
  • Pine City School District - Early Childhood Standards and the Dragon Wagon: $5,000 toward training initiatives about the Minnesota Department of Education’s early childhood standards and to help fund the Dragon Wagon (mobile preschool) kindergarden readiness and literacy efforts.
  • Brainerd School District - Brainerd Lakes Area Early Childhood Coalition: $10,000 to provide trainings on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and for continued support of the school district’s cradle-to-career efforts.
  • City of Fifty Lakes - The Landing: $2,895 toward an economic development project to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs to explore operating in a shared location with shared advertising and other services.
  • A Place for You - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation's next-stage social enterprise training.
  • Isanti County Historical Society - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation's next-stage social enterprise training.
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation’s next-stage social enterprise training.
  • Advocates Against Domestic Abuse - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation's next-stage social enterprise training.
  • Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation’s next-stage social enterprise training.
  • Employment Enterprises, Inc. - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation's next-stage social enterprise training.
  • Pine Habilitation and Supported Employment, Inc. - Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise 2.0: $5,000 to advance goals developed through the Initiative Foundation's next-stage social enterprise training.
  • Wildlife Forever - Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species: $80,000 to assist Wildlife Forever in the deployment of a self-contained, vandal-resistant cleaning station to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. 
  • National Park Service Voyageurs National Park - Restoration of Wetlands Impaired by Invasive Cattails: $60,000 to support a pilot prevention and control strategy for non-native invasive cattails.
  • Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc. - Workforce Training for Disabled Adults: $5,000 to provide a work-transition support for individuals in Todd, Wadena, Morrison Cass and Crow Wing counties who experience employment challenges due to disabilities.
  • City of Wyoming - Community Economic Strategic Plan: $2,500 to develop a strategic economic development plan for the city of Wyoming.
  • Kanabec County EDA - Kanabec County EDA Satellite SBDC Office Formation and Mora Industrial Park Shovel-Ready Certification: $4,500 to assist the Kanabec County Economic Development Authority in the establishment of a Small Business Development Center office and to obtain shovel-ready certification for the Mora Industrial Park.
  • Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation - Micro-finance Feasibility Study for Greater St. Cloud: $2,000 to explore the creation of a peer-to-peer micro-lending program to support new Americans and other entrepreneurs in the Greater St. Cloud Area.
  • Northern Technology Initiative dba GPS 45:93 - Strengthening Economic Development in Region 7E: $8,200 to facilitate a new round of Economic Gardening (helping existing businesses move to the next stage) and to support pilot-project training for an economic development board member.