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

 

Make a Donation 

Initiative Foundation Get Logos
Initiative Quarterly Magazine
Initiative Quarterly

Past Innovation Fund Grant Awards

4th Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

  • Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities—2022 Annual Membership: $2,000 to provide annual support to this affinty 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.
  • Pine Technical & Community College Foundation—Recognition of Traci Tapani's Service to the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees: $1,000 for general operating support at Pine Technical & Community College Foundation.
  • United Way of Central Minnesota—Exploring Potential Interests and Careers (EPIC) Career and College Readiness Pathways Expansion: $8,000 to support the EPIC project and ongoing career exploration initiatives in Central Minnesota.
  • Goodwill Industries, Inc.—Bridging the Gap Created by COVID-19 for Youth in St. Cloud Through Employment Services: $5,000 to support the Employment and Career Readiness Training and employment and placement services for high-risk high school youth and young adults in the St. Cloud area.
  • Project Forward Inc.: $5,000 to support transitional housing and support services to veterans and those experiencing housing insecurity.
  • Ellison Center—Strategic Planning Project: $5,000 to support capacity building projects for Ellison Center staff.
  • Tri-County Community Action Partnership, Inc.—Strategic Planning Project: $5,000 to support strategic planning for the Tri-County Community Action Partnership.
  • Royalton Public Schools—Robotics: $5,000 to provide a challenge grant to help secure local sponsorship for middle and high school robotics clubs in Royalton.
  • New Pathways, Inc.—Community Engagement: $5,000 to support capacity building for fund development.
  • Sherburne County Area United Way—Strategic Planning and Capacity Building: $5,000 to support strategic planning and capacity building for Sherburne County Area United Way.
  • Rivers of Hope—Capacity Building for Victim and Survivor Financial Empowerment: $4,000 to support capacity building and programming for Rivers of Hope.
  • Too Much Talent—COVID-19 Advocacy: $5,000 for general operating support to advance Too Much Talent’s missions of economic empowerment and strengthening families.
  • City of Baxter—Mississippi River Overlook Open Space Master Plan and Community Use Policy: $5,000 to support planning and public engagement to complete a study that will improve the quality of life in Baxter and the surrounding area.
  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota—Pop-up Meals for High-risk Senior Citizens in Cass and Crow Wing Counties: $5,000 to pilot an innovative pop-up meal distribution program for income-eligible seniors in Crow Wing and southern Cass counties.
  • Lakes Area Food Shelf, Inc.—Visioning for Lakes Area Food Shelf and the Community Resource Network: $5,000 to support a visioning and strategic planning process to strengthen the food shelf, improve its services and broaden its impact.
  • Rise, Inc.—Partnership for a Successful Re-entry for People with Mental Illness: $5,000 to support employment services to incarcerated individuals with serious mental illness who are scheduled for supervised release in Central Minnesota.
  • Great River Children's Museum—Planning, Training and Building Initiatives: $5,000 to support increased capacity for the Great River Children’s Museum.
  • Anna Marie's Alliance—Understanding Capital Capacity Through a Feasibility Study: $5,000 to support a feasibility study for the next stage of the organization's Building Hope capital campaign.
  • Minnesota Learning Center, Inc.—New Vision: $5,000 to support programs to increase community capacity to solve problems related to workforce, housing and food sovereignty.
  • ConnectAbility of MN—2021-2022 Building Team Capacity Through Staff Trainings: $5,000 to support staff capacity-building initiatives for ConnectAbility of MN, which serves those with disabilities.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation—Employee Benefits & Engagement Survey and 2021 Membership: $10,000 to support a partnership with Lakes Area Human Resources Association, Lakes Area Manufacturing Association, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association and the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce to develop and distribute a survey to determine how businesses compare in their offerings for health benefits, wellness programs, leave benefits, work schedules, employee development opportunities, engagement, incentives and performance management.
  • Family Pathways—Supporting Doorstep Delivery in the Chisago Lakes Area: $3,000 to support food delivery in the Chisago Lakes area. This grant was funded by the Minnesota Council on Foundations and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund.
  • Latino Economic Development Center—Winter Workwear: $3,000 to support purchase of winter work clothes for Latino employees who work outdoors. This grant was funded by the Minnesota Council on Foundations and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund.
  • Latino Economic Development Center—Workwear/Daycare Field Trip: $2,000 to support exploration of culturally appropriate child care opportunities, including visiting existing child care facilities and providing translation support for women interested in entering the child care field. This grant was funded by the Northland Foundation and Wells Fargo.

3rd Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

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

2nd Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

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

1st Quarter 2021 Grant Highlights

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

View past Innovation Fund grant awards.

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.