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Initiative Quarterly Magazine
Initiative Quarterly

Grants Support Distance Learning, Safety and Programming

September 30, 2020

$140,000 Goes to 31 Organizations, Schools, Child Care Providers Working to Support Underserved Youths Affected by the Pandemic

The Initiative Foundation has issued its first round of grants for a total of $140,000 to support 31 regional child care providers, school districts and organizations supporting youth from birth to age 8 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant funding is being offered in three phases and is the result of a $416,000 award the Initiative Foundation received in August from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. The overarching goal is to support early childhood programming that benefits youth adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including illness, economic displacement and the interruption of educational and/or development supports.
Included in the first round of grants are projects that support training for early childhood educators and child care providers, learning kits for preschool students, support for programming and technology materials for distance learning. At least one grant was awarded in each of the 14 counties within the Initiative Foundation’s service area. 
The Initiative Foundation will host two additional grant-making rounds—one during early winter 2020 and another in spring 2021. 
Rachel Christensen, who runs Precious in His Sight child care in Brainerd, plans to use the $2,500 grant she received to support staff training and to complete an indoor activity area.
“My hope is through this grant I will learn how to give the kids new experiences they would not be able to get elsewhere,” Christensen said. “I hope to provide enriched activities to help them develop strengths in areas they need it most.” 
With support from a $1,000 grant, Pierz special education students will have access to an outdoor classroom. 
“The funds will provide equipment that allows these children a wider variety of learning experiences and coping strategies,’ said Tom Otte, principal at Pioneer Elementary in Pierz. “Over time, and with specialized teacher guidance, children in this program learn to improve a wide variety of skills and learn how to best cope with their own needs.” 
Staff at Ogilvie Early Childhood will distribute developmentally appropriate learning kits for children who are not able to attend in-person class due to the pandemic. “We would like to thank Initiative Foundation for this wonderful opportunity and look forward to supporting our community with this $15,000 grant,” Ogilvie early childhood staff wrote on their Facebook page

View the full list of grantees


Ogilvie Early Childhood staff will distribute Roaring Into Learning Kits to area preschool students who are not able to attend in-person instruction. 

 About the Initiative Foundation

The Initiative Foundation’s 14-county service area includes Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright counties and the sovereign tribal nations of the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe. Based in Little Falls, the Foundation exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities in Central Minnesota by offering business loans, nonprofit grants, leadership training and donor services through its Partner Funds programs. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds have invested multiple millions in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments.

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