STAPLES-Three community initiatives in Region Five were given a preliminary nod to receive a cumulative $372,511 in Sourcewell Innovation Funding.

Five projects came before a group of regional leaders, all vying for financial support from Sourcewell's Cities and Counties Innovation Funding process. The May 22 review day in Staples allowed each project champion an opportunity to share their funding request and answer questions regarding each project. Official approval for funding the projects is dependent upon Sourcewell board approval, a news release stated.

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Following a group vote, three programs were selected to move on for Sourcewell board approval at its June 18 meeting:

• Crow Wing County/Region V+ Comprehensive Re-Entry Project-$278,000 to further integrate this existing project to cover all Region V+ counties. The Region V+ Adult Mental Health Initiative has developed and implemented the Comprehensive Re-Entry Program regionally through Sourcewell funding received in 2018. The program addresses coordination of services between law enforcement, jails, courts, hospitals, counties and tribes in the region to provide a continuum of care to people with acute or chronic mental or chemical health issues who become involved with law enforcement.

• Morrison County Public Health Enhanced Family Home Visiting - $48,811 to support a program targeting expectant mothers and young families in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties. Funding would allow public health nursing staff to become trained in a variety of programs to provide services and resources to expectant and new mothers in areas including mental health, breastfeeding, postpartum depression, positive interactions between caregiver and child, and self care.

• Cass County/Region Five Development Commission Regional Yellow Ribbon Program - $45,700 to create a comprehensive network that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, resources, and employers throughout Region Five to proactively support service members and military families. This is completed by setting strategic direction, ensuring participation with community members, service delivery, specialty project completion, evaluation structure and providing leadership to new and existing yellow ribbon programs.

Additional projects seeking funding included the Crow Wing County Sonar Drowning Victim Locator for $55,327 and the City of Pillager for dewatering equipment for $74,041.

Since 2014-15, cities, counties and schools across Region 5 have received more than $10 million through Sourcewell's Innovation Funding program.

"It is a privilege to empower our region to innovate, collaborate, and select projects together that have the greatest impact," stated Anna Gruber, Sourcewell manager of city and county solutions, in a news release. "This process and these applications speak to the level of creativity and teamwork taking place in our region, and we look forward to supporting them on their initiatives."