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Initiative Quarterly

Grants Support Small Early Childhood Educators

March 23, 2021

Funding available for distance learning, summer programming, training and safety enhancements

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 and second round of awarded grants can be found here. Learn more ...

Updated grant guidelines have been released for the third round of funding to support vulnerable children* affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This cycle supports early childhood operations serving 20 Central Minnesota children or fewer.
The application deadline is 4 p.m. on April 16.
Applications will be accepted in support of the following categories: 
  • Distance learning (up to $5,000)
  • Summer programming (up to $5,000)
  • Training related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as how to speak to children about the pandemic; adapting your business model to respond to the pandemic; or self-care for early childhood educators. This has typically been awarded at $2,500 for a single entity, or up to $5,000 if multiple childhood education partners are participating.
  • Safety enhancements to purchase sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer, etc., to help keep shared spaces clean (up to $1,000). 
The Initiative Foundation seeks to support at least one grant in each of the 14 counties within its service areaHowever, the primary criteria for evaluating applications will be how many vulnerable children are receiving support per dollar. We anticipate receiving more applications than we can fund, so this will be a competitive process.

* The definition of vulnerable includes: ethnic minorities and/or English as a second language, low-income, special needs and/or those in rural areas who lack access to basic early childhood educational services.
A fourth grant cycle is anticipated in late spring/early summer.
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 grant cycles. A fourth grant cycle is anticipated in late spring/early summer.

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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