Nonprofits Receive More Than $1.2 million in 4th Quarter Grants
January 25, 2018
The Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds are pleased to announce that 160 grants totaling $1.2 million were awarded during the fourth quarter of 2017. The grants support organizations and projects primarily in the 14-county region of Central Minnesota. Our aquatic invasive species grants are part of a statewide initiative supported by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
"The organizations we support are doing great work in their respective communities, on everything from early childhood literacy efforts to improving healthy food offerings, advancing economic development, and more," said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. "Together, with many partners, these grants are helping to advance our mission of empowering people to build thriving communities and a vibrant region across Central Minnesota."
Innovation Fund Awards
The following organizations were among those that received grant funding during the months of October, November and December 2017:
- WACOSA--True Friends: $2,500 to support a unique, customized training experience for staff, board and clients with a focus on enhancing leadership skills and equipping new leaders with concepts and techniques to incorporate into their work with clients.
- Tri-County Action Program, Inc.--Central Minnesota Free Tax Program: $5,000 to support the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program that provides free tax services to income-eligible families in the Saint Cloud area.
- Minnesota Fathers and Families Network--Healing the Home: Child Poverty and the Role of Fathers: $1,000 to provide sponsorship to the annual Minnesota Fathers and Families Network Conference on Feb. 6-7 in St. Cloud. This year's theme is "promoting healthy father, child and family relationships through informed practice, public policy and systems change."
- Wadena County--Supporting and Enhancing Early Childhood Education in Wadena County: $7,540 to increase parent engagement by offering opportunities for families with young children to learn about the lifelong significance of early childhood care and education. The grant will also help engage child care and foster care providers as partners in early childhood education and offer a county-wide literacy event to increase school readiness.
- Wildlife Forever--Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species: $238,320 to support the deployment of CD3, a prototype of a self-contained, vandal-resistant cleaning station to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. This is in partnership with Wildlife Forever (a national nonprofit with offices and staff in Minnesota), Big Sandy Lake Association (Aitkin County), Three Rivers Park District and Hennepin County, Forest Lake Watershed District (Chisago County) and St. Louis County. Minnesota Sea Grant and the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are partnering to promote awareness of station locations and proper use.
- Leech Lake Financial Services--Building Collaborative Partnerships for Entrepreneurial Development: $10,000 to foster business creation by delivering entrepreneurship training and support services to the greater Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe community.
Partner Fund Awards
The Initiative Foundation hosts a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteer-led groups. The following organizations were among those awarded fourth-quarter 2017 grants:
- Three Rivers Community Foundation: $4,000 to The Reel Hope Project, an adoption video project.
- Rum River Community Foundation: $1,000 to the Pine County Agriculture Society for an economic impact study.
- Staples Motley Area Community Foundation: $2,000 to Leap, Inc., for a fishing program for fourth-grade students.
- Gaalswyk Family Fund: $700 to the Youth Investment Foundation for Timber Bay Camp.
- John & Bonnie Schlagel Endowment: $3,000 to Minnesota Safe Ride, a sober cab program in Kanabec and Pine counties.
About Initiative Foundation Grants
Since 1986, the Foundation has awarded thousands of grants totaling more than $34 million. The average grant award is about $5,000. All grants support projects that address at least one of the following areas:
- Help small businesses and social enterprises through access to technical assistance, mentorship and education efforts. The Foundation is especially interested in supporting minority business ownership and/or job creation in areas of concentrated poverty.
- Help communities address opportunities or barriers to business growth and creation or retention of quality jobs.
- Support activities that lead to improved skills and employment or advancement in growing sectors for future, displaced or underemployed workers.
- Support community-based early childhood efforts to advance literacy, school readiness and access to dental services for children in poverty.
- Help nonprofits that have a core focus on poverty become more effective or efficient through strategic planning, staff development or board training.
- Support activities that cultivate the next generation of leaders working and living in our region.
- Support planning or start-up funds for community-based amenities or events that help attract and retain skilled workers and young families.
- Help communities respond to and recover from significant local natural disasters.