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Initiative Quarterly Magazine
Initiative Quarterly

Foundation Drives Nearly $383,000 in Fourth Quarter Grants

April 19, 2021

Nearly 110 Grants Go to Nonprofits and Community Groups; Millions More in Relief Funding Distributed to Central Minnesota Small Businesses

The Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds provided grants worth nearly $383,000 during the fourth quarter of 2020, with many going to regional COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.
Nearly 110 grants were distributed through the Foundation's Innovation Fund and its community-based Partner Funds.
During its fourth-quarter 2020 grants cycle, the Initiative Foundation also continued its delivery of Small Business Relief Grants in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. While the totals in this news release do not reflect the Small Business Relief Grants effort, the Initiative Foundation distributed $7.66 million in relief to hundreds of local businesses in late 2020. Another $110,000 was distributed as cultural mall grants to the owner/tenants of Global Center located in St. Cloud.
Additional grants of more than $1 million in federal CARES Act dollars were distributed by the Initiative Foundation to Pine County-area small businesses through a special partnership with Pine County.
For a snapshot of the Initiative Foundation's relief and recovery efforts, visit our COVID-19 Impact Update page or view our infographic.
"Our grants in this cycle reflect the fact that much of the economy is now strengthening, but many families and organizations are still struggling," said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation President. "So our grants range from forward-looking career exploration and clean transportation projects, to meeting more immediate needs of nonprofits and families."
Find fourth-quarter 2020 Innovation Fund and Partner Fund grant highlights below with additional information available at ifound.org.
The following organizations were among those that received Initiative Foundation grant funding during the months of October, November and December 2020: 

Central Minnesota Relief & Recovery Fund Awards

  • Organizations in Long Prairie, Brainerd, Walker and Cold Spring—Gift Card Project for Local Restaurants: $23,000
  • Stearns County Human Services—Latinx Community Outreach: $5,000
  • Leech Lake Financial Services—Technical Assistance for Businesses: $5,000

Innovation Fund Awards

  • Sherburne County—Clean 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.
  • Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Education Association—Virtual 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 online activities and simulations, videos and 360-degree clickable photos. All relevant local career information will be available in a free, secure setting.

Partner Fund Awards

The Initiative Foundation hosts a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteer-led groups. The following grants were among those made by our Partner Funds during the months of October, November and December 2020: 

  • Staples-Motley Area Community Foundation: $2,500 for a holiday food basket program at Central Lakes College.
  • Black Oak Getty Community Foundation: $15,000 for outdoor skating rink upgrades in Sauk Centre.
  • Braham Area Education Foundation: $3,449 for various classroom updates at Braham Area schools.

Partner Fund Relief & Recovery Fund Awards

  • Delano Community Foundation: $1,000 to Delano Old-Fashioned Christmas for a COVID-19 wish tree.
  • Three Rivers Community Foundation Emergency Relief Fund: $2,000 to Community Aid of Elk River for a relief grant.
  • Hackensack-Backus Relief Fund: $1,000 to Paws & Claws Animal Shelter for a relief grant.

Relief & Innovation Fund Highlights   Partner Fund Highlights

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