33 grants available in Central Minnesota to support underserved children during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

LITTLE FALLS The Initiative Foundation was recently awarded $416,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Education and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund to create a series of three grant cycles.

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

The foundation will issue three sequential grant-making rounds. Emphasis 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.

This first round of grant-making will provide immediate support for educational programming:

  • Two grants of $15,000 to support summer programming,

  • Four grants of $15,000 to support distance learning.

The first round also will support mental health services or support for educators or providers; social, emotional and physical health supports for early childhood professionals and children; and training and development to more effectively operate and address student needs during the pandemic.


  • Four grants of $5,000 will be awarded to support regional training that supports multiple sites or groups,

  • Five grants of $2,500 to support community-level training for child care providers and educators.

Safety enhancements also are eligible:

  • Eighteen grants of $1,000 each will be awarded for supplies and equipment or training for providers/educators to aid in their efforts to adapt to COVID-19.

The application for the first round of funding opened at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 17. The application period will close at 11 p.m. Aug. 28. For questions or clarity, please contact Don Hickman at For background and eligibility details, visit .

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