Initiative Foundation announces grants opportunities for nonprofits

The goal is to fund high-impact strategies for regional nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

LITTLE FALLS — The Initiative Foundation announced Transformative Funding for Nonprofits, a new grant cycle supported by the Otto Bremer Trust to help nonprofits transform their organizations and the support they provide to underserved communities in central Minnesota.

The goal is to fund high-impact strategies for regional nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Initiative Foundation will be awarding multiple grants for a total disbursement of up to $700,000 during this initial round, with additional funding to follow. Grants will go to organizations that articulate a clear vision and a plan to increase their impact, efficiency, financial sustainability or scope of services.

A top priority of the Otto Bremer Trust is to support organizations led by and/or serving communities that are majority Black, Indigenous and people of color. About half of the funds will be awarded in rural areas where underserved populations are less likely to have Black, Indigenous and people of color concentrations and are more likely to represent other underserved groups.

“The Foundation is open to supporting nearly any investment to a qualifying organization as long as it results in some form of organizational transformation,” said Zach Tabatt, program officer for nonprofit development at the Initiative Foundation, in a news release. Examples include investments in technology, capital expenses, leadership or staff development, fundraising infrastructure, and the creation or expansion of social enterprise ventures that generate revenue for the nonprofit.

“We have a truly unique opportunity through this generous support from the Otto Bremer Trust,” Tabatt said, “and want to go big by helping grantees transition to the new nonprofit landscape rather than merely respond to general operating or capacity-building requests.”


Central Minnesota nonprofits that meet the criteria can complete a letter of inquiry at their earliest convenience.

Important upcoming dates include:

Feb. 28: Nonprofit leaders can register for a 30-minute online information session at 1 p.m. where grant goals will be explained. The session will be recorded for later viewing.

March 18: Letters of inquiry due by noon.

March 23: Organizations selected to move forward to the full application will be notified by 4 p.m. A strategy/budget adviser will be assigned and paid by the Initiative Foundation to help short-listed applicants develop and refine their proposals.

May 20: Final applications due at noon.

June 1: Grant award winners will be announced.

In addition to strategically outlining a proposal and budget, applicants are encouraged to explore partnerships with parallel and like-minded organizations to maximize local impact. The Initiative Foundation will not fund duplicate services in overlapping geographical areas, and applicants are encouraged to collaborate rather than compete for support.


This round of funding is part of a $2 million grant to the Initiative Foundation from the Otto Bremer Trust. A second round of funding is planned to support small businesses harmed by the pandemic. It will be followed by a planned third round of funding by mid-summer for additional nonprofit support.

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