The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation Board of Directors on Wednesday announced the grant recipients of their 2018-19 grant round.

Eight local projects, plus several additional organizations received a total of $88,000. Programs that focus on workforce and economic vitality issues were targeted. Eligible organizations were 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, schools or government entities that serve Crow Wing and southern Cass counties. In addition, BLACF's Brainerd Lakes Area Women's Fund granted a total of $20,000 this year.

"Our board of directors continues to focus our grant-making on workforce development projects," stated Karl Samp, executive director of the BLACF, in a news release. "These projects help develop, attract and retain a quality workforce for our area, which is critical to the overall health and vitality of our community. We are paying particular attention to those youth who tend to stay here after graduation. We are excited to support these projects and see their impact."

BLACF is supporting the following projects:

• $15,000 for the second year of funding project coordinators at Bridges of Hope to lead research and implementation of the Self-Healing Communities Model to increase workforce and community resiliency.

• $15,000 to support the development of the Brainerd Family YMCA STEM program, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to provide access to technology, enhanced WiFi capacity and staff training and development around STEM curriculum.

• $12,000 to The Shop to support their PCs for People, Bicycle Recycle, and Girls Who Code programs, by providing asset-building opportunities for transitional age youths through the Brainerd/Baxter Youth Center.

• $10,000 for the continued implementation and growth of the school-based Lunch Buddies Youth Mentoring program through Kinship Partners.

• $10,000 to support the Lakes Area Restorative Justice program to assist eligible juvenile offenders with an opportunity to meet with victims and law enforcement to make amends to deter future problems.

• $8,000 to support the Mark Munson Memorial School of Rock to bring students and instructors together in performing rock music and learn important components around music, managing a band and teamwork.

• $5,000 to support the Junior Achievement programs in Brainerd to provide students an opportunity to start their own business and experience entrepreneurship within the safety of a classroom environment.

• $5,000 to Lakes Area Music Festival for their 2019 Summer Concert Series and outreach programs.

• $3,000 to support the Brainerd Lakes Area Newcomers Club to help market and develop events and activities for all new residents in the area.

• BLACF also supported several organizations that enhance the quality of life and attractiveness to potential workers. These include: Brainerd Community Action's Fourth of July Celebration, The Center's Music in the Park, the Initiative Foundation's nonprofit work in the Brainerd area, and fundraisers for the YMCA, New Pathways and the Jaycees community recognition dinner.

The Brainerd Lakes Area Women's Fund celebrated its 10th year by awarding $20,000 in grants to organizations supporting their vision to help women and girls locally. Organizations receiving funds included:

• $3,000 to Advocates for Reproductive Education, or WeARE, to assist with an education coordinator for increased outreach.

• $5,000 to Advocates Against Domestic Abuse doing business as HOPE, or Healing Opportunity Provided Equally, for support of advocacy teams with outreach.

• $5,000 to Central Lakes College Foundation to support the offering of Voice in Sport Camp for young women.

• $5,000 to the Brainerd/Baxter Youth Center for assistance with staff and training for development of the program Girls Who Code.

• $1,000 to the Northland Arboretum for the Haunted Trail that supports programming and educational initiatives.

• $1,000 to Presenting Yourself program supporting women in transition to assist with personal and professional development.

The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation attracts and administers charitable funds for the benefit of the local Brainerd area. Since 1998, BLACF has grown to over $12 million in assets and awarded over $5 million in grants to nonprofits. The BLACF is governed by a local board of directors and is a partner of CommunityGiving, which is a collaborative of several community foundations united under a single framework to create efficiencies that maximize the impact of our donors. Collectively, CommunityGiving administers nearly 800 funds totaling more than $140 million. Learn more at www.CommunityGiving.org/Brainerd.