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Initiative Quarterly

Past Innovation Fund Grant Awards

4th Quarter 2020 Grant Highlights

  • Central Lakes College FoundationGeneral Operating Support: $1,000 in support of liberal arts and technical educational opportunities in the Brainerd Lakes Area. This grant is awarded to commemorate Charles Black Lance’s (Central Lakes College) service on the Initiative Foundation's Board of Trustees.
  • Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities2021 Annual Membership: $2,000 for membership fees for this organization that promotes smart growth and livable communities.
  • Community Growth Fund, Inc.Local Child Care Solutions: $10,000 to support creative and economically sustainable solutions to the child care shortage in Long Prairie. Long Prairie is a participant in the Child Care Solutions program funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
  • Sherburne CountyClean Transportation Electric Car Project: $4,000 to explore opportunities to partner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation's programs to support clean transportation options. This grant is funded in part by the McKnight Foundation's Climate Change program, in recognition of the economic impact of the pending decommissioning of the Sherburne County coal generation facility in Becker.
  • Stearns County Human ServicesStearns County Latinx Community Outreach: $5,000 to help Stearns County assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Latinx workforce in Cold Spring and Melrose, and to develop culturally appropriate outreach and responses based on this information.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education AssociationVirtual Career Exploration Experience: $7,500 to launch a virtual career exploration experience for area high school students. This new, interactive website would showcase local industries and careers through engaging online activities and simulations, videos and 360-degree, clickable photos. All relevant local career information will be available in a free, secure setting.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of CommerceCuisine Cash Gift Certificate Program: $10,000 to encourage the purchase of gift certificates to local restaurants that were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions in the Brainerd Lakes-area. A portion of proceeds were given to Bridges of Hope in Brainerd.
  • City of Cold SpringHospitality Industry and ROCORI Area Food Shelf Support Program: $5,000 to partner with the Economic Development Authority on a gift card promotion to support local restaurants that were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions with a share of proceeds going to the ROCORI Food Shelf.
  • Walker Area Food Shelf, Inc.Gift Cards to Area Restaurants For Families In Need: $5,000 to partner with the Leech Lake Chamber of Commerce to purchase gift cards from local restaurants that were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions and donate the cards to food insecure households.
  • Long Prairie Area Chamber of CommerceBuy Local & Greater Good Giving Campaign: $3,000 to support a buy local campaign where some of the funds supported local food shelves during the holiday season.

The below nonprofits received $5,000 for successful competition of the Nonprofit Academy program. Each nonprofit will use the funds to implement the ideas they generated during training.

  • Jugaad Leadership program, St. Cloud
  • Promise Neighborhood Central Minnesota, St. Cloud
  • Central Minnesota Community Empowerment Organization, St. Cloud
  • Waite Park Somali Community Association, St. Cloud
  • Too Much Talent, St. Cloud
  • Higher Works Collaborative, St. Cloud
  • NorthStar Family Advocacy Center, Braham

3rd Quarter 2020 Grant Highlights

  • Salem Lutheran ChurchSustainability for the Salem WEST Outreach Program: $5,000 to support economic sustainability of the Salem WEST mission to help families and individuals by providing new and gently used items to help fulfill their basic needs.
  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits2020 Membership Renewal: $1,200 to support the annual operations of this statewide group that works to build the capacity and voice of the Minnesota’s nonprofit sector.
  • Central Minnesota Islamic CenterCOVID-19 Relief Project, Caawi Walaalkaa (Help Your Brother): $10,000 to provide emergency relief to members of the East African community of Greater St. Cloud who have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development CorporationCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant Opportunity Coordination and Yearly Membership: $10,000 to support administration of Crow Wing County's CARES grants for relief of small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • GPS 45:93East Central Minnesota Virtual Business Park Tour: $4,100 to support a virtual tour of shovel-ready business parks and industrial sites in East Central Minnesota.
  • Greater Minnesota PartnershipMembership: $1,000 to support advocacy, education and collaboration on behalf of Central Minnesota's economic development organizations.
  • Sprout, LLCExpanding Regional Food Networks Through Increased Online Capacity: $5,000 to review and enhance the capacity of Sprout, a regional food hub for Central Minnesota. The project goal was to optimize the internet to connect local producers and consumers of the region's agricultural produce, thus improving access to fresh and healthy foods, shortening supply chains and helping farmers harmed by tariffs or markets disrupted by the pandemic.
  • Southwest Regional Development CommissionMinnesota Rural Broadband Coalition Speed Test: $10,000 to support a more accurate assessment of internet speeds in rural areas. This data will enhance advocacy efforts to encourage investment in broadband capacity needed to support equal economic opportunity in Central Minnesota. This effort is coordinated by the Blandin Foundation.

A series of grants was awarded to the following nonprofits to provide technical assistance with COVID-19-related challenges. Each nonprofit received about 10 hours of technical assistance on topics ranging from fund development to marketing.

  • Angel Reins Stable   
  • Friends of Career Solutions       
  • Kinship of Morrison County
  • Hands of Hope   
  • Family Safety Network   
  • UniteCloud   
  • Tusen Tack   
  • Anishinabe Legal Services   
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area

Partnership Awards More Than $1 Million in Pine County CARES Act Funds

The Initiative Foundation this fall partnered with Pine County to help deliver $1,055,972 in relief grants to 163 businesses and organizations. The U.S. government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law in March 2020. Some of the money from the $2.2 trillion package went to counties to support local grants. The Initiative Foundation partnered with Pine County to deliver CARES Act grants throughout September, October and November 2020. Learn more ...


2nd Quarter 2020 Grant Highlights

  • Tusen TackGeneral Operating Support: $1,000 to provide general operating support for the Braham Event Center, a community facility for weddings, celebrations, expos, and other events. This grant is awarded to commemorate the service of Steve Shurts (East Central Energy) on the Initiative Foundation's Board of Trustees
  • Kanabec County Family ServicesWorkforce Mobility: $2,500 to support innovation in helping staff explore technology options and work remotely while respecting client needs and privacy.
  • MilestonesChild Care Solutions: $3,000 to contract for 50 hours with a trained infant mental health consultant to provide group support for early childhood professionals and parents. The Consultant will also work individually with programs as needed to assist them through this stressful time of COVID-19.
  • Staples Economic Development AuthorityChild Care Solutions: $3,000 to support professional development and training for existing child care providers and/or those considering entering the sector.  Both Long Prairie and Staples-Motley are participating in the Foundation’s Child Care Solutions program to expand and/or retain quality, affordable child care.
  • Kanabec CountyImplementation of Strategic Child Care Supply Plan Goal #3: $3,000 to support the recruitment and development of new professionals in the child care sector. This grant is supported in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
  • City of Little FallsChildcare Facility Planning—DOD Grant Application: $3,000 to support design and planning for a child care facility to align with the Department of Defense—Community Infrastructure Program serving Camp Ripley.
  • New Pathways, Inc.Financial Resiliency: $1,000 to support continued success in development and fundraising activities. New Pathways was a runner-up in the Initiative Foundation’s #GiveAtHomeMN challenge.
  • Friends of Linden Hill, Inc.Financial Resiliency: $1,000 to support continued success in development and fundraising activities. Friends of Linden Hill was a runner-up in the Initiative Foundation’s #GiveAtHomeMN challenge.
  • Tusen TackFinancial Resiliency: $3,000 to support continued success in development and fundraising activities. Tusen Tack was the top prize earner in the Initiative Foundation’s #GiveAtHomeMN challenge.
  • Sherburne CountySt. Cloud Airport Planning Study: $5,000 to work with the counties of Benton and Stearns and the city of St. Cloud to form a Regional Airport Authority.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of CommerceLake Country Cares Public Safety Campaign: $10,000 to support a COVID-19 safety campaign designed to build trust among residents, visitors, and local businesses. This model program that other chambers can emulate shares shares easy and effective practices that businesses can adopt to prevent transmission and build customer confidence.
  • Chisago County EDAEconomic Development Strategy During COVID-19 and Beyond: $5,000 to address the retention and attraction of business, to encourage countywide business development to stimulate the economy and to provide opportunities for residents to find quality jobs, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2nd Quarter Emergency Relief and Recovery Fund Grant Highlights

  • United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena CountiesEmergency Relief Grant: $1,709
  • Family PathwaysFood Access in East Central Minnesota: $8,997
  • Staples Area Food ShelfStaples Area Food Shelf: $3,000
  • Rivers of HopeInnovative Advocacy to Reach Victims of Relationship Abuse: $2,500
  • Crow Wing County Victim Services, Inc.Emergency Services and support to Crime Victims: $2,500
  • Healing Opportunity—Safe Housing for Domestic Violence Clients During COVID-19.: $2,500
  • Someplace SafeEmergency Basic Needs Resources for Survivors of Crime and Abuse: $2,500
  • ASAMBLEA DE DERECHOS CIVILESLinea de Recursos COVID-19: $5,000
  • Holy Trinity Catholic SchoolEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Jessica Nutz Daycare and PreschoolEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Discovery Corner DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Terry PflipsenEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Denise EricksonEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Shannon WrightEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Pine Childrens Early Learning Center, LLCEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Kara Super-Peterson (Tiny Sprouts Day Care)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,000
  • Amber HennesseyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Grow With Us Childcare CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,500
  • Kiddie Country ClubEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Ashley Posterick (Little Beginnings)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Kimberly OpayEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Rene Wagner (Kingdom Kids)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Annie’s Childcare & Learning CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Angela Kunesh/Kunesh Family DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Bright Lights DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Ronda Palmer (Tiny Tots Daycare)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Rachel Christensen (Precious In His Sight)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Amy SullivanEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Early Years Academy, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Jillian Daigle (Mrs Petits Amis)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Super Tigers and Tiger Tots Child CareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Sunshine Station Childcare and PreschoolEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Jennifer Buzzell (Loving Hearts Child Care)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Brenda RegouskiEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Patty's Child Care/PreschoolEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Sharon BonsanteEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Playhouse Child Care Center of Monticello, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,000
  • Playhouse Child Care Center, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Alison M PrillEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Mustang Munchkins Childcare CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,500
  • Tiny Tots ChildcareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Big Adventures Child Care, LLCEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Nicole Yourczek (Nikki's Daycare)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Melissa SkogEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Lucky Little’s Child CareEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Jennifer HattonEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Deidre LaBatte-Allen (DeidresDaycare)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Tiffanie BergEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Kidzzone Daycare CenterEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • DFred's DaycareEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Jennifer GephartEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Charlotte BrownEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Jennifer Peplinski-Bella's Playhouse DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Totally Kids DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Roxanne PetersonEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Virginia MadisonEssential Workders & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Jenny Chilton (Jenny’s Daycare)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Little People Learning CenterEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Krayola Kids Childcare CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,500
  • Lil' Dreamers In Home Child CareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Kristi Fornshell (The Learning Ladder, Inc.)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Allstar Childcare CenterEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $2,500
  • Melissa Pioske ChildcareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Susan MoravecEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Tessa PetronEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Tammy SkaroEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Megan's DaycareEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Katie’s DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Annette SmiejaEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Jennifer Niessen (The Cub Club Daycare)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Ubah Hassan (Hope Academy Child Care Center, LLC)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,500
  • NikisNoodlesboppersEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Kelly’s Kiddos DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Nicole Miller (Nicole's Daycare)Essential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Lindsay's Mora Family ChildcareEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Heavenly Sunshine PreschoolEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • St. Mary's Early Learning AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Pillager Area Family CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Brainerd Family YMCAEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $3,000
  • Wadena County Developmental Achievement Center, Inc.Keep the WCDAC running & Freezer repair:$2,000
  • Mille Lacs Band of OjibweElder Food Sustainability: $15,000
  • The Leech Lake Band of OjibweCOVID-19 Food Security Program: $15,000
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central MInnesotaCOVID-19 Relief Programs: $5,000
  • Lakes & Pines Community Action Council, Inc.Provide Basic Unmet Needs During COVID-19: $5,000
  • Onamia School DistrictAddressing the Basic Needs of Onamia Youth: $3,000
  • Islamic Center of St. CloudCOVID-19 Essential Workers Care Project: $5,000
  • Anna Marie’s AllianceShelter for Victims of Domestic Violence: $2,500
  • Horizon Health, Inc.Food, Technology for Older Adults Struggling Alone During COVID-19: $5,000
  • Pine River-Backus Family CenterCommunity Meals: $5,000
  • Wadena County Developmental Achievement Center, Inc.Freezer Repair: $1,000
  • Lakes Area Interfaith CaregiversEmergency Food and Delivery Service: $5,000
  • Wright County Area United WayEmergency Relief Grant: $16,914
  • Princeton Parent Teacher OrganizationCommunity Outreach: $3,000
  • Hands of Hope Resource CenterEmergency Assistance During COVID-19 Crisis: $2,500
  • North Branch School DistrictSchool-Age Care COVID-19 Relief: $3,000
  • Crow Wing County United Way, Inc.Emergency Relief Grant: $11,711
  • United Way of Central MinnesotaEmergency Relief Grant: $24,785
  • Love and Learn Childcare Academy, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Nursing Value, LLC, dba Red BalloonEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Bright Child Development Center, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,500
  • New Horizon Child Care, Inc., dba New Horizon AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • New Horizon Child Care, Inc., dba New Horizon AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Lovely Child Care Center, LLCEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • First Step Preschool & ChildcareEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Kid's Haven, LLCEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • New Creations Child Care & Learning CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • A to Z Children's AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Tinkertown Station Child Care CenterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Carla Tapio (Carla Tapio's Child Care)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $2,000
  • Karen Rademacher (Karen’s Daycare)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Kayla Arens (Miss.Kayla's)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Playhouse Child Care Center, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Playhouse Child Care Center, Inc.Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Debra SchwartzEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Holly RichterEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Merry Moose Childcare and PreschoolEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Merry Moose Childcare and PreschoolEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Little Learner’s Child Care Annandale, LLCEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Prairie Hill Montessori, LLCEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Jaguar Kid ConnectionEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Verndale Family Life ChurchEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Nicole KittockEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • 40 Acres ChildcareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Beth Marie BundyEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Brittany’s DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Stacy Harthan (Magic Forest Childcare Center and Preschool LLC)—Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Amy HooserEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Sheri’s DaycareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Sarah RocheleauEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Allie Bauman ChildcareEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Michele Lyn AndersonEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Dawn of Discovery, LLCEssential Workers & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • Little Saints AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,500
  • New Horizon Child Care, Inc., dba New Horizon AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • New Horizon Child Care, Inc., dba New Horizon AcademyEssential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000
  • Playhouse Child Care Center, Inc. (St. Cloud)Essential Worker & Child Care Relief: $1,000

1st Quarter 2020 Grant Highlights

  • Minnesota Council on Foundations—Annual Membership: $5,850 to provide annual support to the Minnesota Council on Foundations, a statewide affinity group which works to advance prosperity and equity.
  • Milestones—Helping Count Children and Young Families in the United States Census: $1,000 to purchase copies of We Count! A 2020 Census Counting Book to distribute to child care programs. This document is developed for children and young families, a demographic frequently undercounted in the census.
  • Central Minnesota Taskforce on Battered Women—Anna Marie's Alliance: $500 to provide general operating support for Anna Marie's Alliance Shelter. This grant was recommended by this year's winners of the 5 Under 40 event hosted by St. Cloud's Times Media.
  • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest—Implementation of New Three-Year Junior Achievement Strategic Plan: $7,000 to support the  Career Speakers Series in which a volunteer guest speaker visits the classroom and shares information about career, work and education experience. Junior Achievement intends to make a special effort to recruit diverse entrepreneurs, so that students of all interests see successful adults that look like them.
  • St. Cloud Area School District—Exploring Potential Interests and Careers (EPIC) Event: $5,000 to support St. Cloud’s second annual Exploring Potential Interests & Careers (EPIC) event that provides hands-on career exploration opportunities for up to 5,000 students from more than 25 schools in  Central Minnesota.
  • Crow River Trail Guards, Inc.—Executive Director Succession and Curriculum Writing: $5,000 to support capacity building and succession planning for Crow River Trail Guards, Inc.
  • Amherst H. Wilder Foundation—Minnesota Compass: $4,000 to provide annual support for Minnesota Compass, a social indicators project that measures progress in our state and its communities. Minnesota Compass tracks trends in topic areas such as education, economy, workforce, health, housing and more.
  • The Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities—Annual Membership: $2,000 to provide annual support for this affinity group that helps grantmakers across North America advance strategies to create fair, prosperous and sustainable regions and communities that offer everyone the chance for a good life. The Funders Network is the host for the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP) group, which has helped build the capacity of rural low-income communities in Central Minnesota to be prepared for natural disasters.
  • Avivo—Career Education Enhancement and Capacity Building: $5,000 to support career education and job skills improvement in the St. Cloud community.
  • St. Cloud Technical & Community College Foundation—VEX Robotics Program Expansion in Central Minnesota: $5,000 to support the VEX Robotics program. VEX Robotics is a proven program to help close the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills gap to support local employment needs. VEX provides tools for today's educators, mentors and parents to inspire tomorrow’s problem-solvers.
  • Sourcewell—29th Annual Students of Character Celebration: $1,000 to support the Students of Character celebration hosted by Sourcewell. The event recognizes 48 students from 24 schools in the Region 5 area (Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties) that have overcome adversity in their communities.
  • Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota—Come to your Census: $1,000 to empower income-eligible people to interact, communicate and recruit other community members to participate in the 2020 Census.
  • CommunityGiving—Social Capital Survey Support: $6,500 to support a new iteration of the periodic social capital survey of Greater St. Cloud to identify where relationships and community connections are strongest, where they can be improved and what activities or strategies help build strong networks and support.
  • Native Governance Center—Native Nation Rebuilders Leadership Retreat: $6,000 to support leadership development.
  • Sauk Rapids-Rice School District—Student Scholarships: $3,216 to support the Julie Ann Hanson Scholarship Fund for graduates of Sauk Rapids-Rice School District.
  • First Children's Finance—Regional Child Care Technical Assistance: $30,000 to provide technical assistance to child care providers and communities/employers that recognize that access to quality,  affordable child care is a key strategy for attracting and retaining workforce. 
  • Kanabec County—Kanabec County Child Care Capacity Building: $10,000 to support implementation of strategic planning to improve access to quality, affordable child care by increasing the number of school-age summer slots, identifying locations for new or expanded child care facilities, launching new family child care providers and developing an early childhood career pathway through Mora High School. This grant is supported in part by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
  • Horizon Health, Inc.—In Recognition of Service Provided by Barb Downs: $1,000 to Horizon Health, Inc., in gratitude to Barb Downs, who volunteered her time to instruct nonprofit leaders in the Initiative Foundation’s Financial Resiliency program.
  • Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation—Annual Investment: $25,000 to provide annual support for business and workforce development initiatives in the Greater St. Cloud region.
  • Leech Lake Financial Services—Individual Financial Coaching and Improving Credit to Buy a Home: $10,000 to support individual financial coaching for income-eligible residents at Leech Lake Reservation to assist with basic budgeting, financial goals and improved credit. The long-term goal is to help participants gain financial literacy and establish good credit to become home owners.
  • Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Inc.—Be Strategic: Grow Your Business offered by the Women's Business Alliance Entrepreneur Fund: $4,000 to support development of businesses and social enterprise ventures through improved access to technical assistance, mentorship, succession planning and education efforts, especially to support minority business ownership and job creation in areas of poverty.

Early COVID-19 Response: Grants Redirected to Respond to Virus Outbreak

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Initiative Foundation in March offered flexibility to grantees with open Innovation Fund Grants. The following first-quarter 2020 grants were redirected from their original purpose to be used for general operating expenses and other COVID-19 response.

  • College of Saint Benedict—Interfaith Engagement Event: $2,000 original grant amount (amount redirected: $2,000)
  • Wright County Community Action, Inc.—Engaging the Community with the 2020 Census to Strengthen Partnerships: $5,000 original grant amount (amount redirected: $5,000)
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota—Dr. Potter’s Bigs On-Campus Mentoring Initiative: $5,000 original grant amount (amount redirected: $5,000)

The following 2019 grants were redirected from their original purpose to be used for general operating expenses and other COVID-19 response.

  • Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc.—Fund Development Assistance for Capital Campaign: $5,000 original grant amount (amount redirected: $5,000)
  • Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration—Service Enterprise and Change Management for Effective Leveraging of Volunteer Resources: $5,000 (amount redirected: $3,500)
  • Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc.—Untapped Workforce Series, Benefits to Hiring Specific Populations: $7,000 (amount redirected: $3,112)
  • Bridges of Hope—Program Integration of Resource and Service Delivery at Crow Wing County: $10,000 (amount redirected: $5,000)
  • Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota—Technical Assistance for Bicycle-Friendly Communities: $7,000 (amount redirected: $4,000)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Leech Lake Area—Board and Staff Retreat to Review the Financial Resiliency Training Concepts: $5,000 (amount redirected: $5,000)
  • Hands Across the World—Workforce Trainings for Immigrants and Refugees: $7,500 (amount redirected: $7,500)

To date, more than $45,112 in active grants have been reallocated to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.


4th Quarter 2019 Grant Highlights

  • Anderson Center2020 Leadership Grant Collaboration$10,000 to provide scholarships for entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders who could benefit from Anderson Center management and leadership training.  
  • Cuyuna Range Youth CenterInternship Program for Youth$5,000 for youth internship program to develop workforce skills. 
  • Central Minnesota Housing PartnershipSupportive Housing Development at Willow Grove$5,000 to provide initial program support for managing the Willow Grove supportive housing project for individuals with mental health challenges and criminal histories.
  • Minnesota Chamber FoundationMinnesota: 2030 Sponsorship$5,000 to provide support for the Jan. 8, 2020, chamber event, Minnesota 2030: Empowering Minnesota's EconomyPreview of Groundbreaking Economic Research. 
  • The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Business CommitteeLeech Lake YouthBuild$5,000 to support Leech Lake YouthBuild, which provides hands-on construction training and credentialing for disconnected youth with a goal of improving skills for employment and/or post-secondary enrollment skills. 
  • Minnesota Council on FoundationsAnnual Conference Sponsorship$2,500 to provide support for the Feb. 13-14, 2020, annual conference in Minneapolis. 
  • The National Loon Center FoundationNorthern Lakes Initiative, part of the National Loon Center$5,000 to partner with University of Minnesota Extension Partnership program to hire a 2020 spring graduate student to recommend exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities for the Northern Lakes Initiative at the National Loon Center. 
  • Family PathwaysInvesting in Mission: Building Development Capacity$7,500 for capacity-building for Family Pathways, a nonprofit focused on alleviating poverty. 
  • The Yes NetworkAdvanced Youth Leadership and Work Readiness Skills Training$5,000 to support development of advanced leadership training for youth to enhance leadership skills, expand team-building and work toward positive youth development goals while delivering community service in their own neighborhoods. 
  • SproutLLCOur Town 56345 Visioning Process$5,000 to support a deep and inclusive community listening process to discern and articulate a community vision and road map to help Little Falls navigate the future. 
  • LEAP, Inc.Sisters with Sass: Project Take Care of You$2,500 to support education regarding the role of personal hygiene in a professional workplace and improve access to hygiene supplies for students who have barriers. 
  • Confidence Learning CenterClear Vision with Confidence$5,000 to provide a challenge match to surface new donors in support of the Feb. 13-14, 2020, Winter Special Olympics event 
  • Bridges of Hope—Program Integration of Resource and Service Delivery at Crow Wing County$10,000 to build innovation and collaboration across local social service organizations. 
  • Citizens LeagueCitizen Engagement$1,000 for general operation of the Citizens’s League, a member-supported nonpartisan nonprofit organization that champions the role of all Minnesotans to govern for the common good.  This grant is made in recognition of the long service of Cal Clark as a trustee and committee leader of the Initiative Foundation. 
  • Tri-County Action Program, Inc.Free Volunteer Tax Preparation Program$1,500 to support tax assistance to income-eligible or English-as-a-second-language residents of Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties. 
  • Rural Renewable Energy AllianceStrategic Planning$7,500 to advance planning, strategy, board and organizational development. 
  • MilestonesChild Care Strategies$5,000 for Milestones to partner with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation to engage area employers in surfacing innovative solutions to the acute shortage in quality, affordable child care, a major barrier to worker attraction and retention in Central Minnesota.   
  • Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc.Fund Development Assistance for Capital Campaign: $5,000 for organizational growth and training related to fund development to increase financial resiliency. 
  • Sherburne County—Sherburne County Housing Study: $20,000 to support a comprehensive housing study and needs analysis to help decision-makers, takeholders and community members develop a meaningful sense of the housing market; an understanding of key housing issues; and identification of new strategies to address housing needs. The project is funded in part by the McKnight Foundation as part of its climate and energy program to diversify the county’s economy in advance of Xcel Energy’s planned coal plant decommisioning. 
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Leech Lake AreaBoard and Staff Retreat to Review the Financial Resiliency Training Concepts: $5,000 for organizational and board development training.
  • Enterprise Minnesota, Inc.—Executive Human Resources Peer Council: $7,200 to support the Executive Human Resources Peer Council for Central Minnesota entrepreneurs. 

3rd Quarter 2019 Grant Highlights

  • Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc.Untapped Workforce SeriesBenefits to Hiring Specific Populations$7,000 to offer an employer seminar series to highlight the benefits of hiring fair-chance workers. Each of these events will serve to educate employers and will be followed by hiring events.  
  • Heritage Group North, Inc.Feasibility Study for Abe and Lydia White Heritage Center$1,500 to support a feasibility study to determine the economic viability of a heritage center on a historic farmstead which is located near Heritage Group North's Pine River Railway Depot in Pine River.  
  • Blandin FoundationSponsorship Grant for Border to Border Broadband$1,000 to support the annual Border to Border Broadband conference, hosted by the Blandin Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development.  
  • Wellness in the Woods, Inc.Nonprofit Needs Survey Winner$1,000 to support the improvement of outcomes for those with mental illness. Wellness in the Woods, Inc., was chosen for this grant based on their participation in the Nonprofit Needs Survey conducted in July.  
  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits2019 Membership Renewal Sponsorship$1,100 to provide annual support to this statewide affinity group which provides resources, training and information to help nonprofits do their jobs better.  
  • Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School DistrictCollege and Career Exploration Expo$2,000 to help Buffalo High School create a college and career exploration expo during  parent-teacher conferences. Area businesses and organizations had the opportunity to present displays and hands-on activities to promote local workforce development through community connections.  
  • CommunityGivingJugaad Leadership and Mentoring Program$10,000 to support leadership development and community engagement in Greater St. Cloud. The Jugaad Leadership and Cross Culture Mentoring Program is committed to ensuring the personal and professional excellence and success of emerging leaders through structured programs and activities that promote inclusion, equity and a positive retention in Central Minnesota.  
  • Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, Inc.Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association Career and Technical Education Website Enhancement$10,000 to support the development of the "K12 Connection webpage to help educators, parents and students link with manufacturers for career development resources, tours, classroom visits, training tools and apprenticeship placement.  
  • Bicycle Alliance of MinnesotaTechnical Assistance for Communities$7,000 to provide technical assistance and direct service to communities, businesses and schools for adapting practices and receiving certification as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The communities of WalkerChisago LakesNorth BranchBig Lake, St. Cloud and Little Falls will all benefit from this grant.  
  • Staples Economic Development AuthorityHistoric Batcher Block Opera House Bond Preparation$5,000 to complete an economic impact analysis from the University of Minnesota Extension, develop architectural drawings to show the vision to key decision-makersbuild organizational capacity to lease the buildingcarry out the programming and business plan and assist with the fundraising plan for the total restoration project.  
  • St. Cloud State UniversityNeeds and Feasibility Analysis for a Co-Located School of Education and Campus Child Care Center$5,000 to identify first steps to create a large, sustainable, high-quality child care center for St. Cloud State University and the community. St. Cloud State University will explore opportunities in bringing together public and private stakeholders to use St. Cloud State University as central site for early childhood workforce development.  
  • New Pathways, Inc.Sheltering Families with Children Experiencing Homelessness$7,000 to deliver programming to move families out of homelessness in the Cambridge area.  
  • True FriendsRecruiting and Training Exceptional Staff for Human Services Jobs$5,000 to support new recruitment strategies to improve the ability to attract, hire, train and retain seasonal care staff for the True Friends Camp in Annandale. In addition, this grant will provide skills training which will improve the employment options in Central Minnesota’s support and direct care services field during the rest of the year.  
  • Goodwill Industries, Inc.St. Cloud Financial Services Training Program for Low-Income Adults$5,000 to provide financial services work skills training to low-income adults in the St. Cloud area.  
  • Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration—Service Enterprise and Change Management for Effective Leveraging of Volunteer Resources$5,000 to improve volunteer recruitment, management and retention for nonprofits throughout the 14-county region.   
  • Tusen TackFunding for Event Management Course for the Braham Event Center$1,000 to build capacity for Braham Event Center staff and volunteers.  
  • St. Cloud State University FoundationAnnual Martin Luther King Breakfast Sponsorship$1,000 to support the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast hosted by St. Cloud State University.  
  • Sherburne CountyRegional Land Use Planning Facilitator$25,000 to support community input through the county's partnership with the Highway 25 Coalition. The Highway 25 Coalition was initiated in April 2016 with the purpose of developing a unified effort to establish a future vision for the Highway 25 corridor and surrounding areaThe main goals are to improve safety, reduce congestion and improve freight mobility while encouraging economic development.  
  • City of BeckerEconomic Transition Work Plan$55,000 to support a comprehensive plan process, including public input on the desired future of transportation, affordable housing, land use and other policies. In addition, Becker city staff anticipate the continued need to allocate considerable time and resourceto support funding applications from state and federal agencies, including the Transportation Economic Development Infrastructure (TEDI) program, Federal Economic Development Administration and requests for state bonding to help the city prepare for the decommissioning of the Sherburne Coal Power Generation Facility.  
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development CorporationEntrepreneurial Fund Launch and General Support$10,000 to provide comprehensive services in support of entrepreneurs in the Brainerd Lakes area, including staff time to launch the program and promote a loan pool to our community, through promotional material and social media posts.  
  • City of OsakisHotel Market Study$2,500 to hire a consultant to evaluate market demand for additional hospitality capacity within Osakis.  
  • City of Little FallsResidential Broadband Implementation Study$7,500 to support an engineering study to determine the cost of delivering broadband to residential neighborhoods of Little Falls. The next phases would be engaging the community to determine their desires for the service, as well as strategic partners that might offset the build costs, by bringing the network through neighborhoods.  
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education AssociationDestination Downtown and Business Association$10,000 to support a third year of an innovative contest to fill empty storefronts and create public engagement in Downtown Brainerd, followed by the formation of a business association to advance revitalization efforts
  • St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce FoundationPresentation of "Intercultural Development Inventory" by Cultural Fluency Associates, LLP: $1,250 to support training and technical assistance associated with the use of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), an assessment tool which helps organizations benchmark their cultural agility and identify practices for welcoming participants from a wider range of experiences.    

2nd Quarter 2019 Grant Highlights

  • Greater Minnesota Worker CenterLaCruz Community Succession Planning Project: $7,000 for board training and leadership succession planning guidance as Jama Alimad, founder and present director, prepares to retire.
  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. CloudFinancial and Housing Counseling Program: $2,500 to provide confidential and professional counseling on affordable housing and financial management for income-eligible households.
  • Lakes & Pines Community Action Council, Inc.Transportation Resources for You (TRY): $7,000 to support a volunteer transportation network to improve access to medical care, employment and other essential services. The funds will help recruit drivers, provide a mileage stipend and promote the service.
  • Promise Neighborhood of Central MinnesotaBuilding Bridges to Success: $10,000 to support fund development and facility planning.
  • Hands Across the WorldWorkforce Trainings for Immigrants and Refugees: $7,500 to support workforce training for 100 refugees and immigrants in the Greater St. Cloud area. The participants will have help as they develop the skills necessary to find employment and fill vacant workforce positions. Additionally, 25 of those 100 adults will also be supported as they experience our afterschool program, alongside their children.
  • Terebinth RefugeStrategic Planning and Capacity Building Project: $3,500 to support organizational development. The nonprofit provides emergency and transitional housing and wrap-around services to Central Minnesota women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.
  • Faith in Action in Sherburne CountyFurniture 4 Families: $2,500 to support Faith in Action of Greater Sherburne County's mission of providing families with basic household needs by supporting delivery networks.
  • Wright County Community Action, Inc.Increasing Efficiencies in Grant and Fundraising Development: $5,000 to improve the fundraising ability of Wright County Community Action (WCCA) through the use of new technology and training.  WCCA plans to use the improved fundraising tactics to support its economic-security programs for vulnerable households.
  • A Place for YouStaff Development: $3,500 to support strategic planning, fund development and board training for A Place For You. This transitional shelter serves as a safe place for those facing homelessness in the Greater Pine City area.
  • Foundation for Essential NeedsCapacity Building to Increase Sustainability & Service for Central Minnesota Food Shelves: $5,000 to support strategic planning, fund development, board training and capacity building at food shelves in Crow Wing, Cass, Kanabec, Stearns and Morrison counties.
  • Great River Family PromiseDevelopment Support: $5,000 to support fund development for Elk River's Great River Family Promise, serving Sherburne and Wright counties.
  • MilestonesChild Care Solutions: $10,000 to provide matching funds to help engage public and private sectors with current and potential child care providers to improve access to quality, affordable child care. Funds will be allocated based on analysis and local public input of the opportunities and barriers in the Greater St. Cloud area. This project includes guidance from First Children's Finance and funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
  • City of Little FallsChild Care Solutions: $10,000 to provide a source of matching funds to help engage public and private sectors with current and potential child care providers to improve access to quality, affordable child care. Funds will be allocated based on analysis and local public input of the opportunities and barriers in Morrison County. This project includes guidance from First Children's Finance and funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
  • Staples Economic Development AuthorityChild Care Solutions: $10,000 to provide a source of matching funds to help engage public and private sectors with current and potential child care providers to improve access to quality, affordable child care. Funds will be allocated based on analysis and local public input of the opportunities and barriers to expand economically sustainable child care. This grant will support efforts throughout Todd County, and is supported with guidance from First Children's Finance, and funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
  • Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Inc.Central Minnesota Women's Business Alliance: $5,000 to support the newly established Women’s Business Alliance (WBA) office in Little Falls. This office serves Stearns, Benton, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Morrison, Todd and Crow Wing counties. Funds will be used to launch and stabilize the new office, bring matching federal dollars into our communities and provide necessary programming for women entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses.
  • Sherburne CountyBoard & Staff Development: $4,000 to support strategic planning, board development and board leadership succession.
  • Enterprise Minnesota, Inc.2019 State of Manufacturing Event Sponsorship: $1,000 to support the 2019 State of Manufacturing briefing on June 13 at the Bison Event Center in Buffalo. 
  • CommunityGivingWest Stearns County CEO Program Launch: $10,000 to launch an innovative youth entrepreneurship program called West Stearns County Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) for high school juniors and seniors. This project is a partnership between community business investors and the school districts of Albany, Melrose and Sauk Centre. The goal is to assist youth in understanding the business and career opportunities in their own communities and build connections to business leaders as mentors.

1st Quarter 2019 Grant Highlights

  • Dreams United/Sueños Unidos—Going Beyond Cinco De Mayo: $1,000 to engage young leaders of Long Prairie's Cinco de Mayo Fiesta to develop new programming or events to serve area families and children. The long-range goal is to foster event leadership succession planning.
  • Open Doors For Youth—Community Engagement Retreat: $3,000 to support a facilitated, community engagement strategy session and implementation of the plan.
  • Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota—Community Engagement and Needs Analysis: $1,500 to support a University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs doctoral student to survey St. Cloud Talahi Neighborhood residents to better understand the needs, services and opportunities they seek from the organization and its allies.
  • Anderson Center—Scholarships for Organizations in Initiative Foundation Region: $10,000 to increase accessibility to high-quality training that supports new and expanding businesses in Greater Minnesota.
  • United Way of Central Minnesota—Innocent Classroom Staff Development to Support Student Learning: $10,000 to support the Partner for Student Success project to improve adult and youth relationships, specifically for youth of color and underrepresented populations, by addressing implicit bias and low expectations through effective, data-driven professional development.
  • St. Cloud Area School District—Exploring Potential Interests and Careers (EPIC) Event: $6,000 to support a regional career exploration event to bridge education and industry for high school students, contributing to the fulfillment of the economic and workforce needs of the area.
  • Local Education & Activities Foundation—A Bankshot Basketball Project for Talahi: $2,000 to cover shipping costs for adaptive playground equipment for use at a Talahi public school in St. Cloud.
  • Amherst H. Wilder Foundation—Minnesota Compass: $4,000 to maintain and enhance Minnesota Compass, a website that presents summary statistics and tracks/analyzes trends in areas that affect the quality of life in Greater Minnesota.
  • CommunityGiving—Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI): $6,000 to support training and creditionals for three Create CommUNITY board members to become administrators of the IDI, an assessment used to benchmark individual and organizational cultural agility.
  • Region Five Development Commission—Food Co-op Peer-to-Peer Audit: $1,500 to support a Humphrey Institute graduate student to conduct a peer-to-peer audit of six food cooperatives in Central Minnesota to identify and share best practices with respect to layout, inventory, marketing and other retail variables.
  • The Yes Network—Building Youth Leadership and Work Readiness Skills Through Community Service: $5,000 to support development and piloting of a new interactive training program that will provide leadership and work readiness skills to youth who are experiencing multiple challenges.
  • St. Cloud Rotary Foundation—Pathways 4 Youth Grow Program: $5,000 to support increasing capacity to help youth, ages 16-23, experiencing homelessness in Central Minnesota to grow and become contributing members of our community.
  • CommunityGiving—Spirit of Hope Fund: $5,000 to provide funds to address a variety of emergency assistance needs of income-eligible families.
  • Rural Renewable Energy Alliance—Community Solar for Community Action: $5,000 to support development of a community-owned solar array in Little Falls which will provide energy assistance to income-eligible veteran families and demonstrate a long-term approach to energy insecurity.
  • Avivo—Central Minnesota Career Education Programs: $5,000 to support Skills for Success and Focus Forward trainings for immigrants and English-as-a-second-language learners.
  • Terebinth Refuge—Women’s Employment Readiness Program: $5,000 to support this St. Cloud-based program which provides job skills training, educational opportunities and safe housing for women who have been victims of sex trafficking.
  • Rise, Inc.—Re-Entry Employment Access Fund: $2,500 to support emergency financial support for documented one-time, employment-related needs of previously incarcerated individuals.
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations—2019 Membership: $4,450 to support the Minnesota Council on Foundations and its work to promote responsible charitable giving, maintaining resources for grantmaking, creating and sharing information, and serving as a catalyst for philanthropy.
  • Sourcewell—28th Annual Students of Character Celebration: $1,000 to provide sponsorship an event to award scholarships to outstanding students in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.
  • Advocates Against Domestic Abuse—Strategic Planning: $2,000 to support staff and board engagement in strategic visioning.
  • Sauk Rapids-Rice School District—Early Childhood Initiative Coordination Grant for THRIVE: $5,000 to support ongoing coordination of the THRIVE coalition for early childhood and to engage donors for the THRIVE endowment challenge campaign.
  • Cambridge Isanti School District— Early Childhood Initiative Coordination Grant: $5,000 to support ongoing coordination of the Cambridge-Isanti Early Childhood Coalition and to engage donors in an endowment campaign.
  • Lakes Area Senior Activity Center—Aging Community Outreach: $5,000 to support outreach efforts to income-eligible individuals and veterans to connect, participate in healthy activities and engage with their community.
  • Wright County Regional Inspection Coalition—Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Strategies: $371,224 to add a Regional Inspection and Decontamination Site (RAIDS) solution for aquatic invasive species monitoring. Mandatory regional inspection provides much greater potential for the pilot lakes at a lower price point than multiple, single-landing inspection programs.
  • City of Monticello—Transitioning an Energy Economy: $10,000 to support a partnership with the Coalition of Utility Cities (CUC) to document and examine the broader economic and social impacts of transitioning out of utility economy dependence, particularly if the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant is decommissioned.
  • Sherburne County—Policy Analysis to Support Rail Spur Economic Development: $2,500 to explore the potential for public financial assistance in the development or expansion of planned rail-served industrial parks.
  • Kanabec County—Workforce Housing Feasibility Study: $10,000 to partner with the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership to complete a feasibility study for the development of a large workforce housing project in Mora.
  • Economic Development Partnership of Wright County—Workforce Planning 2019: $10,000 to explore utilizing the Wright Technical Center for incumbent worker training opportunities to help address the skilled labor shortage.
  • St. Cloud State University—Helping Small Businesses Flourish Through Financial Literacy Education: $5,000 to support financial literacy training for entrepreneurs and small business owners in Central Minnesota.
  • Chisago County Economic Development Authority—Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition Support: $1,000 to support the Border to Border Broadband program to assist communities in Central Minnesota secure broadband capacity and strengthen local economies.
  • WACOSA—Community Collaborators Networking & Navigating Employment Connections & Talent (Project CoNNECT): $9,700 to support Project CoNNECT, an initiative to improve integrated, competitive employment for individuals with disabilities.
  • Cass County Economic Development Corporation—Succession Planning and Technical Assistance, Multi-County Approach: $5,000 to help businesses and social enterprise ventures with succession planning, education and technical assistance. This project is in partnership with Todd County.
  • Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation—Support for Workforce Development Initiatives: $25,000 to provide support for business development, talent development and stewardship of community initiatives.
  • Todd County Development Corporation—Succession Planning and Technical Assistance: $5,000 to provide training and technical assistance to help businesses and social enterprise ventures with succession planning. This project is in partnership with Cass County.

4th Quarter 2018 Grant Highlights

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota—Career Development Program: $5,000 to support programs that help St. Cloud youth gain the necessary skills to seek and maintain employment, learn about the labor market and develop career goals.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC)—Brainerd Growing Home Grant Winner: $1,000 for general operations to preserve and enhance the area’s economic base by expanding business, building community and growing jobs in Crow Wing County.
  • Bridges of Hope—Self-Healing Communities Project: $5,000 to support active engagement by residents of two east Brainerd neighborhoods in the Self-Healing Communities Program.
  • City of Riverton—Sanitary Sewer System Records Mapping: $2,500 to support engineering and analysis to inform wastewater infrastructure decisions and to support economic development.
  • City of Sandstone—Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings: $1,500 for a Humphry Institute's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs student stipend to research potential partners, funding, design and the appropriate role of government in assisting with the rehabilitation of historic buildings.
  • CommunityGiving—Women's Fund "Dancing with the Stars" Event: $1,000 to support the Women's Fund "Dancing with the Stars" event. 
  • CommunityGiving—Jugaad Mentoring Program and Job Fair: $10,000 to engage new and emerging leaders of color interested in serving on community and nonprofit boards and provide personal and professional development opportunities.
  • Cuyuna Range Youth Center—Job Skills Development and Employability Training: $5,000 to support activities that lead to improved job skills and access to employment opportunities for Crosby-area youth.
  • Family Pathways—From Here to There, Strategic Planning Initiative: $4,000 to assess community needs,  develop a strategic plan and facilitate community input from residents of East Central Minnesota.
  • Friends of Career Solutions—Pathways to Support Youth and Adults: $5,000 to assist clients referred by the Pathways for Youth organization and/or public schools. The goal is to help homeless youth gain skills and access opportunities to complete their diploma and gain sustainable employment.
  • Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities—Sponsorship Grant: $1,000 to support the Initiative Foundation’s membership in the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. 
  • Hands Across the World - We Team Up—Career Development Research Initiative: $10,000 to align employer needs with those of program clients with a goal of placing at least 20 New Americans or other underemployed workers into lasting employment opportunities in Greater St. Cloud.
  • Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest—Capacity-Building ISD 742 Pilot Project: $2,500 to support strategic planning and to expand the program to Westwood Elementary School, which has a high concentration of students in poverty.
  • Kinship Partners, Inc.—2019 Strategic Planning Session and Post-Session Meetings: $4,000 to support a strategic direction refresh session with the board and to conduct follow-up meetings to review implementation and address barriers to success.
  • Longville Area Community Foundation—Environment and Community Cleanup: $1,000 to support community and volunteer engagement in Community Cleanup event, hosted by the Longville Area Community Foundation.
  • Pay It Forward Foundation—Volunteer Support for I.C.E. Fest: $2,000 to provide coordination and support for volunteers associated with this first-ever community engagement and fundraising event.
  • Salem Lutheran Church—Job Creation Funding: $5,000 to support Salem WEST staff expansion in response to leadership succession and significant growth in requests for assistance.
  • Staples Economic Development Authority—Legacy Trail Expansion Feasibility Study: $3,000 to conduct preliminary feasibility analysis of connecting the Soo Line Trail and the Paul Bunyan Trail to Pillager as a trail head location. 
  • The Yes Network—St. Cloud Growing Home Grant Winner: $1,000 for general operations of this nonprofit, which is dedicated to creating vibrant, loving and prosperous neighborhoods by engaging with children, families and the communities in which they live.
  • Tri-County Action Program, Inc.—Free Volunteer Tax Program: $1,000 to support recruitment and management of volunteers to ensure delivery of a high-quality, free tax program for income-eligible residents of the St. Cloud area.
  • Tri-County Hospital, Inc.—Recognition of Wayne Wolden's Service to the Board of Trustees for the Initiative Foundation: $1,000 to support scholarships, grants and continued health education. This donation is made in recognition of the service of Wayne Wolden as a Trustee of the Initiative Foundation.
  • YMCA of Brainerd—ChildWatch Play Structure Shipping: $2,000 to cover shipping costs for indoor playground equipment, accessible for physically disabled children.
  • Brainerd Public Schools FoundationEarly Childhood Initiative Coalition Support: $5,000 to support coordination of early childhood coalition activities, including campaign for support of new endowment to sustain programs serving the Brainerd Lakes area.
  • Cambridge-Isanti School District—Early Childhood School Readiness and Literary Outreach: $5,000 to give backpacks to healthcare providers to distribute to children who are not attending early childhood programming. The backpacks contain school readiness information and activities for 3- to 5-year-olds.
  • Mille Lacs Health System—Onamia Early Childhood Initiative Coalition Support: $5,000 to provide coordination and project support for local activities that advance early childhood initiatives and help secure local investment for these efforts.
  • Morrison County—PreK to Grade 3 Alignment: $5,000 to engage child care providers, the county early childhood coordinator and teachers to create shared understanding and tools to best prepare children in Morrison County for kindergarten.
  • Sauk Rapids-Rice School District—Thrive Sustainability Project: $10,000 to create a sustainability plan for ongoing work as Thrive continues to build a seamless system of services that support healthy social and emotional development of children ages birth to 5, with a particular emphasis on birth to age 3.
  • First Children's Finance—Regional Child Care Technical Assistance: $30,000 to support regional staff to serve Central Minnesota in developing strategies to address the more than 17,000 slot shortage in quality, affordable child care. First Children's Finance provides technical assistance, business advice and professional development for child care providers, and can engage local units of government and employers to develop local plans to make sure that child care access is not a barrier to workforce engagement.
  • East Central Regional Library—1,000 Books Before Kindergarten: $5,000 to support this new program for families and children ages birth to 5 in Chisago County, in collaboration with the Chisago Lakes Area Library, Chisago Lakes Community Education and other partners.
  • Sherburne County—Minnesota Rail Service Improvement: $2,500 to retain a consultant to assist the county in developing a competitive grant application for the Rail Service Improvement Grant through the Minnnesota Department of Transportation Mercy program for $1 million in infrastructure assistance needed to create a rail spur in the Becker Industrial Park.  These investments are part of a strategic plan to diversify the economy in advance of anticipated job and tax-base loss associated with the planned decommissioning of Sherburne Coal Generation Station Units 1 and 2.
  • Community Growth Fund, Inc.—Talent Advantage Series Workshops, Part 2: $2,500 to support a continuation of the Talent Advantage series of workshops and trainings for area employers to advance solutions to the current workforce shortage. The series includes specific practices related to helping incumbent workers increase skills and productivity, use of the Minnesota Chamber's Job Match program, and attracting, retaining and supporting the hidden talent pools, including New Americans, veterans, the disabled, seniors, ex-offenders and other sectors that are underrepresented in the current workforce.
  • First American Financial Services—Wadena County Business Retention and Expansion Project: $6,000 to support the Business Retention and Expansion Project, a grassroots effort to understand and respond to the needs of the business community. This effort will be a collaboration between Staples, Verndale, Wadena, Sebeka and Menahga, while also seeking to serve the county’s smaller communities including Aldrich, Nimrod and Bluegrass. 
  • Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures—Opportunity Zone Event in East Central Minnesota: $1,500 to support training for regional economic development professionals and elected officials on the potential benefits of securing investment in Opportunity Zones.  
  • Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College—Core Consulting: $10,000 to help small businesses and social enterprise ventures gain access to technical assistance, mentorship and succession planning to help strengthen the economies of some of the most rural and underserved parts of the region. 
  • Sprout, LLC—Central Minnesota Meat Processing and Regional Branding Project: $5,000 to support a feasibility analysis of a Central Minnesota meat processing facility to serve more than 20 farmers. Partners include SCORE business experts, Community Development of Morrison County, Happy Dancing Turtle, Sprout Food Hub and Food Co-ops.

3rd Quarter 2018 Grant Highlights

  • Inside Out Connections Coalition—Supporting Children and Families Impacted by Incarceration: $2,500 to supports children and families with an incarcerated parent by providing community resources to to enhance services to improve the social-emotional development and capacity for school success.
  • Brainerd Community Action—Brainerd Lakes Area Newcomers Club: $3,000 to support efforts to attract and retain young families and skilled workers through creating a welcoming community.  This grant will serve as a challenge grant to area employers to help support the ongoing operations of the Newcomers Club hosted by the Community Action Council of Crow Wing County. 
  • RiverWorks—Strategic Planning: $3,000 to facilitate a planning process to help the organization make informed decisions regarding future operations.
  • Wellness in the Woods, Inc.—Strengthening Organizational Identity: $2,500 to help the organization build its brand, a key focus of the strategic plans developed through participation in the Initiative Foundation's Financial Resiliency program.
  • Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project—Strategic Planning: $1,000 to support a planning process that will help develop the board of directors and set direction for the near future.
  • Rivers of Hope—Community Needs Assessment for Sherburne and Wright County Domestic Abuse Services: $2,500 to support a needs assessment that supports the organization in making informed and strategic decisions regarding future programming.
  • Hands of Hope Resource Center—Strategic Planning: $3,000 to support an organizational planning session to determine ways to work effectively and efficiently in an ever-changing social landscape.
  • Central Lakes College Foundation—Support for Innovation at Central Lakes College: $5,000 to support  small grants to staff and faculty members with innovative ideas for reducing or removing barriers to student success, increase student retention and better prepare students to meet workforce needs.
  • Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc.—Strategic Planning and Organizational Development Activities: $2,500 for strategic planning and organizational development facilitation between staff and the board of directors with a goal of reviewing core values as they relate to the mission of providing civil legal services to income-eligible individuals on the Leech Lake Reservation.
  • Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota—Making Brainerd, Baxter, North Branch and Chisago Lakes Communities Bicycle Friendly: $7,500 to support planning, community engagement and implementation of improved bike trails and routes in Brainerd, North Branch and Chisago Lakes.
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area—“We Are the Future—Nation Building” Program: $5,000 to support the "We are the Future—Nation Building" program that matches fifth-grade students with community mentors to develop social-emotional learning with the goal to increase high school graduation and college entry rates.
  • LEAP, Inc.—Sisters with Sass (SWS): $2,200 to support the Sisters with Sass (SWS) program, which is a women’s mentoring program focused on empowering women through education, work and well-being.
  • College Possible—Programming for Income-Eligible Students in Central Minnesota: $3,000 to support College Possible's Tech-Connected High School program that provides intensive coaching services to income-eligible students to increase college readiness and admission, addressing workforce shortages and educational disparities.
  • CommunityGiving—Central Minnesota Community Foundation Annual Dinner Sponsorship: $1,000 in tribute to the contributions and accomplishments of Susan Lorenz, vital program officer who is retiring from the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.
  • Central Minnesota Arts Board—Staff and Board Development: $2,500 to support recruitment and full participation by emerging and diverse leaders in the organization’s board of directors.
  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits—2018 Membership Renewal Sponsorship: $1,100 to provide annual support to this statewide affinity group which provides resources, training and information to help nonprofits work effectively. 
  • Central Minnesota Housing Partnership—Strategic Planning: $4,000 to support development of a guiding plan to assist individuals and families with affordable housing over the next three years.
  • The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Business Committee—PCs for People: $5,000 to support the launch of this highly successful program to serve the Leech Lake Reservation. Staff will assist young adults to "scrub" hard drives of donated, used computers and refurbish them for use by income-eligible students and families, thus teaching valuable information-technology skills and improving access to the internet.
  • Big Lake School District—Early Childhood Coalition: $7,000 to support families, child care providers and other educators with activities to foster literacy, school readiness and improved access to quality, affordable child care.
  • City of Menahga—Thriving Communities Initiative: $5,000 to develop and implement training, marketing and necessary materials to make local projects led by a team of champions successful. Through their participation in the Thriving Communities Initiative (TCI), citizens of Menahga were able to identify opportunities to enhance their community. After seeking input from both public and private interests, several key priorities were identified: creating a tiny village to serve as a business incubator; conducting a business retention and expansion survey; and establising a community garden.
  • East Central Regional Development Commission—Mille Lacs Lake Area Scenic Byway Start Up: $5,000 to support planning, public engagement and promotion of the Mille Lacs Lake Area Scenic Byway, a federally designated route recognized for its beauty, ecology and value to the tourism sector.
  • Economic Development Authority of the City of St. Cloud—Economic Adjustment and Recovery Coordinator Project: $5,000 to assist with local matching funds toward an application to Federal Economic Development Administration (Federal EDA) for a $97,500 Economic Adjustment Assistance grant to help the city and surrounding region undertake economic recovery efforts from the permanent closure of the Electrolux home freezer manufacturing plant and dislocated workforce of 900 that is scheduled for end of year 2019. 

2nd Quarter 2018 Grant Highlights

  • Mille Lacs Health System—Cavity-Free Little Panthers, Phase III: $2,000 to support dental care programming for children birth to age five and to provide access to diagnostic and treatment services for children from income-eligible households.  
  • CommunityGiving—Jugaad Leadership Program: $5,000 to equip emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and resources to be effective in leading change at the grassroots level. 
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations—2018 Membership: $7,600 to support advocacy for and promotion of ethical and responsible charitable giving and to maintain resources for grantmaking, creating and sharing information for and about grantmakers.  
  • Sherburne County—Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Skilled Employees: $4,000 to educate  regional employers on successful programs and resources to develop, attract and retain their skilled workforce. 
  • City of Manhattan Beach—Community Planning: $1,000 to support public engagement in identifying a shared community vision, considering opportunities and barriers to action and specific steps to help the city adapt to changing tax base and demographics. 
  • Central Minnesota Taskforce on Battered Women—Building Capacity by Increasing Staff Engagement: $2,750 to support staff training and development, using the book "Daring Greatly" and associated curricula. Project will encourage staff engagement, explore how to manage the stress associated with addressing domestic violence and otherwise develop strategies for advancing the organizational mission. 
  • City of Nisswa—Gull Lake Trail: $2,500 for the preliminary engineering costs to establish a final trail route. The grant will also support public engagement meetings. 
  • City of Melrose—Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan: $2,500 to support development of a bicycle and pedestrian network in Melrose to improve quality of life for its residents. This will be joint effort between the city of Melrose, the school district and CentraCare Health. 
  • Freshwater Education District—Reading For the Future in Todd County: $1,500 to help young people discover the joy of reading and work to build a more literate community and nation, one child at a time. This project will target income-eligible households to improve English language skills. 
  • Salem Lutheran Church—Director Transition Project: $4,000 to support planning for and implementation of a leadership transition plan for the organization.
  • Employment Enterprises, Inc.—Training Culturally Diverse Unemployed Community Members as Direct Support Professionals: $5,000 to recruit and provide work skills training to members of the Little Falls-area immigrant community plus diversity training for staff to meet workforce needs in a tight labor market.
  • United Way of Central Minnesota—Great River Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) Program: $10,000 to cultivate future entrepreneurs which will help develop the community's next generation of leaders. The project will initially work with 25 high school students from St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Sartell-St. Stephen and Cathedral high schools. The project will help teach business and leadership skills through exposure to 60-plus businesses, which will help develop mentorship and retain and cultivate local talent.
  • Regents of the University of Minnesota—Workampers as a Resource to Address Regional Workforce Needs: $2,500 to explore opportunities and concerns associated with workampers, which are managed seasonal campgrounds utilized as a potential solution to affordable housing for hospitality workers in Cass and Crow Wing counties.
  • Community Grassroots Solutions—Informational Sessions Connecting Programs: $5,000 to support to assist St. Cloud immigrant and refugee women and girls in securing and retaining employment.
  • Sprout MN, LLC—Central Minnesota Meat Processing and Regional Branding Project: $1,500 to support a feasibility analysis for a mobile meat-processing facility based in Morrison County. 
  • Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota—Open House and Capacity: $5,000 to support a strategic fund development plan to increase financial capacity to continue offering community programs that support income-eligible children and families in St. Cloud's Talahi neighborhood. 
  • Someplace Safe—Financial Resources for Job Seeking, Job Training and Educational Opportunities: $2,000 to provide support for Wadena-area crime victims who are accessing resources to increase their employability.
  • New Hampshire Charitable Foundation—Sponsorship Grant for Community Foundation Opportunity Network: $2,500 to sponsor coordination and logistical support for this national affinity group seeking to build social capital in underserved communities.  The group is inspired by Dr. Robert Putnam’s landmark 2015 book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” which challenges notions about fairness, the future of American communities, the basis of income inequality and long-term economic and social sustainability.
  • The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Business Committee—Early Childhood Programs: $1,500 to support a student from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Regional and Urban Affairs to conduct a literature review of mental health, academic and social emotional benefits of exposure to natural spaces to support programming for young children.
  • Blandin Foundation—Sponsorship Grant for Border to Border Broadband: Transforming Minnesota Conference: $1,000 to support the Border to Border Broadband: Transforming Minnesota Conference, which is hosted by the Blandin Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development.
  • LION Community Enrichment Programs, Inc.—Stay Kool: $2,000 to provide leadership and "soft skills" training for young African American men in the Greater St. Cloud secondary educational systems.
  • Alzheimer's Association Minnesota North Dakota Chapter—Board Recognition Grant for Ashish Vaidya: $1,000 to support services, information and advocacy to people with dementia, their families and health care providers. This grant is awarded in recognition of the service of Dr. Ashish Vaidya to the Initiative Foundation's Board of Trustees.
  • Mille Lacs Health System—1,000 Books Before Kindergarten: $7,500 to support literacy by providing opportunities for children from birth to age 5 and their parents or caregivers to read together. In addition, a class for older preschoolers will help prepare them for kindergarten and enhance development in the areas of social-emotional development.
  • City of Hackensack—Hackensack Game Changers: $5,000 to support community volunteers overseeing beautification, wayfinding and additional local leadership development as recent alumni of the Thriving Communities Initiative (TCI) training.
  • Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Todd County—Save the School by Creating Affordable Senior Housing in Eagle Bend: $4,000 for a regional market survey for the redesign and repurpose of the vacant Eagle Bend High School. The intention of this project is to demonstrate the potential to successfully construct and operate a local senior housing complex.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation—River to Rail Launch and General Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC) Support: $10,000 to support the River To Rail Initiative, which provides coordination for many community development projects within the Mississippi River and the Northern Pacific Center corridor.
  • Cass County Economic Development Corporation—Membership: $1,500 to provide annual support for job creation and workforce development.
  • GPS 45:93—Innovative Career Initiative: $10,000 to support identifying and implementing a career exploration program for secondary students that best fits workforce needs in Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education Association—Destination Downtown Contest 2.0: $5,000 to support a second year of the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s successful Destination Downtown contest by filling one or more storefronts and restoring the positive buzz that is essential to revitalization. 
  • Isanti County Broadband: $5,000 to build on the foundation laid by the Isanti County broadband feasibility study by formalizing organizational partnerships and refining technology and financial plans.

1st Quarter 2018 Grant Highlights

  • Mille Lacs County—Cavity-Free Birth to Age 5 and Pregnant Mothers: $18,000 to increase education and awareness of early preventative dental health and provide access to dental services for our under-served population by contracting with Children's Dental Services to provide mobile dental clinics to four separate communities within Mille Lacs County.
  • St. Cloud Rotary Foundation—Pathways 4 Youth, LLC, Youth Opportunity Center: $5,000 to contribute to startup costs for the Youth Opportunity Center (called “Pathways 4 Youth”) to help youth experiencing homelessness (ages 16-23) manage trauma in their lives, stabilize their environment and provide access to health and career skills services. 
  • Christian Social Services, Inc.—Big Lake and Monticello Food Shelf Collaborative —Exploratory Phase: $2,500 to fund work with a facilitator to assist two food shelf boards and their executive directors as they explore collaborative opportunities to efficiently serve residents. 
  • Canvas Health—Mental Health Telemedicine for the Region 7E Workforce: $5,000 to help the workforce of east central Minnesota with chemical and/or mental health issues preventing them from getting, maintaining or excelling in a job while learning about telemedicine options for improving their ability to work. 
  • United Way of Central Minnesota—Sponsorship Grant for Times Media 5 Under 40 2018 Winners: $500 in general operating support as part of the Foundation's sponsorship of the St. Cloud Times/Times Media 5 Under 40 program, which honors St. Cloud-area emerging leaders. 
  • NJPA—Sponsorship Grant for 2018 Student Recognition Banquet: $1,000 to provide sponsorship for event honoring scholarships for outstanding students in the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) service area of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties. 
  • Friends of Career Solutions—Learn and Earn: $5,000 to provide training and apprenticeship opportunities to support young adults (ages 18-24) to complete their GED while also gaining applied workplace experience with a sponsoring St. Cloud-area employer. 
  • Northland Foundation—Sponsorship Grant for Annual Conference: $500 to provide support for Minnesota Council on Foundations annual conference. 
  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota—Emergency Childcare to Support Vulnerable Parents in Our Workforce: $5,000 to reduce the incidence of maltreatment of young children and provide relief to parents in crisis by offering emergency child care within a network of licensed child care providers. 
  • Lakewood Health System—Project Regional Health and Wellness Center: $2,500 to support an analysis to assess whether the populations around Lakewood Health/Staples-Motley can financially sustain a regional health center. 
  • Cass County Economic Development Corporation—Pine River Housing Study: $1,500 to support an evaluation of affordable housing in Pine River with a goal of creating access to quality, affording options as a strategy to attract and retain young, skilled workers. 
  • Hilltop Regional Kitchen—Hilltop Regional Kitchen Community Outreach: $2,500 to support communications and community outreach to support a 10 percent increase in the number of home-delivered and/or bundled meals delivered to seniors and home-bound individuals in Todd and Morrison counties. 
  • Community Giving—Sponsorship for 2018 Community Pillars Event: $4,000 to support costs associated with hosting the annual Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars Forum. 
  • Winthrop Economic Development Authority—Sponsorship Grant for the Broadband Coalition Event: $500 to support a collaborative of nonprofits and locals units of government, convened by the Blandin Foundation, to support education and advocacy for broadband access in Greater Minnesota. 
  • Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation—Sponsorship Grant for Annual Corporate Investment: $7,500 to renew annual commitment to this investor-supported organization of community leaders that are dedicated to enhance and expand economic opportunities in the St. Cloud area. 
  • Gateway Institute for Research and Development—Technical Skills for Business Plan Writing: $4,000 to deliver computer basics training to help New American entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs build skills for successful business planning. 
  • Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District—AIS Bait Bucket Water Refill: $3,000 to work with 20 bait shops and resorts to create incentives for anglers to use local bait water as a strategy to prevent the spread of invasive species.  This grant is supported in part by funding recommended by Minnesota's Outdoor Legacy Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. 
  • Citizen's League—Piloting Civic Governance as an AIS Best Management Practice: $5,000 to support a collaboration with the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Alliance to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by providing coaching, work plan development and project coordination between state and local governments, local stakeholder groups (sportsmen, lake associations, property owners, tourism and/or fishing professionals) in Ramsey and Cass counties to model pathways for local engagement for maximum impact.  This project is funded by the Minnesota's Outdoor Legacy Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. 
  • Vermilion Lake Association—Advanced Boat Access Traffic Analysis: $31,775 to significantly increase inspection efficiency and coverage by more accurately predicting arrivals and exits at each public access, each hour of the day, for the entire boating season. A flexible, fast-reaction scheduling methodology will be developed to complement ability to predict traffic.  This project is funded by the Minnesota's Outdoor Legacy Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. 
  • Carver County Water Management Organization—Vegetation Control as AIS Prevention Measure: $2,000 to evaluate the use of aquatic vegetation control as a prevention measure to reduce the spread of zebra mussels via aquatic vegetation in Lake Waconia, Lake Minnewashta and two additional lakes. This project is funded by the Minnesota's Outdoor Legacy Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. 
  • Itasca County Soil and Water Conservation District—A Multi-Region Resort Ambassador AIS Prevention Partnership: $210,000 to serve three regions—Cass County, Itasca County and the Lake Vermilion area—to align resorts in an aquatic invasive species inspection and prevention process. This project is funded by the Minnesota's Outdoor Legacy Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.  
  • City of Big Lake—Gap Analysis Studies: $3,000 to determine if the city of Big Lake can support a nationally recognized hotel and associated reservation system. This grant will also partially fund an analysis of commercial/retail opportunities that could diversify the regional economy and outline key strategies for workforce development. 
  • City of North Branch—North Branch Minnesota Design Team Initiative: $5,000 to support a Minnesota Design Team visit to the city of North Branch in an effort to identify key redevelopment opportunities and utilize current infrastructure. 
  • Brainerd School District—Love and Logic Parenting Classes: $8,000 to support the expansion of Love and Logic Parenting Classes in the Essentia Health service area, designed to offer ideas for raising responsible and respectful children. 
  • United Way of Central Minnesota—Early Learning Events & Materials: $12,000 To provide “Read, Talk, Play” toolkits to increase parent/caregiver understanding about the role they play in early literacy skills. To promote the value of reading, 200 books will be distruted to families of children birth to age 5 at an upcoming St. Cloud Rox baseball games. Rox players will read to children on the field prior to the game. 
  • Wright County Community Action, Inc.—Improving Wright County Poverty Data through Needs Assessment: $5,000 to support Wright County Community Action's Community Assessment Project to better understand the community's strengths, common themes and overall health to ensure the needs of low-income residents are being addressed. 
  • Central Minnesota Sustainability Project—Garden Leadership Program: $5,000 to support leadership and job skills development among immigrant women. 
  • Region 5 Development Commission—Downtown Brainerd Revitalization: $5,000 for events, activities and marketing to support businesses and downtown vitality during the reconstruction scheduled along Brainerd's 6th Street (old Highway 371). 
  • New Pathways, Inc.—"Path to Home" Fund Development Strategies in East Central and North Central Minnesota: $5,000 to support efforts to reach new donors who will contribute to provide emergency shelter and secure, stable housing for families experiencing homelessness. 
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC)—Brainerd Growing Home Grant Winner: $1,000 for general operations to preserve and enhance the area’s economic base by expanding business, building community and growing jobs in Crow Wing County.