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Initiative Quarterly Magazine
Initiative Quarterly

COVID-19 Update: Loan Payment Deferrals Offered

March 20, 2020

As the rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, we wanted to take a moment to update you on some of the actions we're taking to empower people, to activate resources and to extend grace during these unprecedented times.

Loan Payment Deferral Opportunity

On Friday, March 20, the Initiative Foundation reached out to 100-plus small business loan clients with the opportunity to reduce or completely defer payments for the next 90 days. The goal is to give loan partners who qualify the flexibility to use resources where they're most needed. Options include full deferment of principal and interest, interest-only payments or to proceed with regular payments.

"While no single relief effort can solve the challenges our businesses are experiencing, we hope this deferment offer will give our loan partners a financial and spiritual shot in the arm just when they need it the most," said Jeff Wig, Initiative Foundation vice president for entrepreneurship.

The Initiative Foundation will continue to work with its critical local, regional and national partners to bring other assistance to the region. In the meantime, the loan payment deferral opportunity will be monitored for ongoing adjustments as needed.

Rallying Around Relief Funds

The Initiative Foundation on Wednesday, March 17, activated its Central Minnesota Emergency Relief and Recovery Fund by seeding it with $20,000. Since the fund's launch, donations of $50, $100 and $150 have been made by people from throughout the region.

We invite you to join these generous donors to support the fund so that we can drive crucial financial support to nonprofits and local units of government in the 14-county region.


We are joined in this regional relief effort by a host of Initiative Foundation-hosted Partner Funds that are either considering or are moving forward with local relief and recovery funds. They include the Staples-Motley Area Community Foundation; the Cambridge Area Community Foundation and its local partners; the Delano Area Community Foundation; the Three Rivers Community Foundation serving the Elk River-Rogers area; the Morrison County Area Foundation; and the Rum River Community Foundation.

"These and other area community and education funds are having additional discussions about how to use their grant rounds to respond to the immediate needs in their communities," said Kate Bjorge, Initiative Foundation community philanthropy manager. "Their heads and their hearts are in the right place, thinking about the ways in which they can help community members who are especially impacted during this time through food insecurity, lost wages and business revenue, child care and school closures, and more."

 Grantee Flexibility

The Initiative Foundation during the week of March 16 reached out to more than 50 regional grantees with an offer to use unspent Innovation Fund grants to support general operations and disaster relief. To date, more than $16,000 in unspent grant dollars have been redirected to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Grantees have responded with relief and gratitude. “With this pandemic changing things so rapidly, it’s hard to know exactly what will be expected,” said Cody Nelson, executive director of Cass Lake-based Anishinabe Legal Services. “The more flexibility we have with funding in the short term, the more nimble … and the more uninterrupted our services [will be] for community members in need.”

Visit the Initiative Foundation’s COVID-19 Response page for ongoing news and information.

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