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Initiative Quarterly

Grants Support Distance Learning for Vulnerable Children and Early Childhood Education Training

December 10, 2020

In August, the Initiative Foundation was awarded $416,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund to create a series of three grant cycles. The first round of awarded grants can be found here.

The application for the second round in this grant cycle is now open. The application period will close at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31. Grants will be awarded in early January 2021.

The overarching goal is to support early childhood programming that benefits children birth to 8 who are adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including illness, economic displacement and the interruption of educational and/or development supports.

Emphasis for the second round of grants will be placed on equity in support of underserved communities, including:

  • Areas of concentrated poverty
  • Ethnic minorities and/or English-as-a-second-language
  • Disabled individuals and/or those in rural areas who lack access to basic early childhood educational services

The Initiative Foundation seeks to support at least one grant in each of the 14 counties within its service area. However, the primary criteria for evaluating applications will be how many vulnerable children are receiving support per dollar.

"The region was already experiencing a child care crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Any inequities that were there pre-pandemic are only magnified, now,” said Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation vice president for community and workforce development. "Those children who are most vulnerable are the ones suffering. We want to make sure we get help where it's needed."

The Foundation will issue one more series of grants in spring 2021.

For questions or clarity, please contact Don Hickman at dhickman(at)ifound.org. For background and eligibility details, visit our information page.

Note: No applicant will receive funding in more than one area during any of the three planned grant cycles. The Initiative Foundation will make every effort to award grants in each of the 14 counties it serves to support a geographically diverse approach.

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. 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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