Foundation invests in communities and education, shifts its focus to COVID-19 response

Local initiatives receive $370,000-plus in first-quarter grants.


The Initiative Foundation and its Partner Funds announced 91 grants totaling nearly $370,000 were awarded during the first quarter of 2020.

To assist local nonprofits as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in February and March, the foundation offered existing grantees the opportunity to redirect unspent funds to focus on operations and disaster relief efforts.

"For more than three decades our grants have been a source of hope and opportunity," said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president, in a news release. "They fund inspirational ideas. They help build social safety nets. And now, in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, they're serving a vital role in supporting our regional nonprofits as they respond to crucial community needs."

Find more first-quarter 2020 grant highlights on .

Innovation Fund award highlights

The following organizations were among those that received grant funding during the months of January, February and March 2020:


Crow River Trail Guards Inc. — Executive Director Succession and Curriculum Writing: $5,000 to support capacity building and succession planning for Crow River Trail Guards Inc.

Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota — Come to your Census: $1,000 to empower income-eligible people to interact, communicate and recruit other community members to participate in the 2020 Census.

First Children's Finance — Regional Child Care Technical Assistance: $30,000 to provide technical assistance to child care providers in Greater St. Cloud, Todd, Morrison and Kanabec counties and the communities and employers who recognize that access to quality, affordable child care is a key strategy for attracting and retaining workforce.

Partner Fund award highlights

The Initiative Foundation hosts a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteer-led groups. The following Partner Fund grants were made to organizations in central Minnesota during the months of January, February and March 2020:

Rum River Community Foundation: $19,325 to the Veterans Memorial Park project.

Manufacturing Fund of Central Minnesota: $5,650 to the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund to support the Women's Business Alliance.

Albany Area Education Foundation: $1,697 to the Robotics and Science Department to purchase a 3-D printer.

Patriot Foundation — Pequot Lakes: $1,500 to the middle and high school library to expand its digital collection.

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