Nonprofits receive nearly $295,000 in third-quarter grants

LITTLE FALLS--The Initiative Foundation and its partner funds announced 77 grants totaling nearly $295,000 were awarded during the third quarter of 2018.

LITTLE FALLS-The Initiative Foundation and its partner funds announced 77 grants totaling nearly $295,000 were awarded during the third quarter of 2018.

"We are proud to invest in these great organizations, all doing great work in the counties and communities they serve," said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president, in a news release. "So far in 2018 we've supported projects helping to support innovation in education, improve quality of life with bike trails and more."

Innovation Fund Awards

The following organizations among those in the area receiving grant funding during the months of July, August and September include:

Central Lakes College Foundation-Support for Innovation: $5,000 to support small grants for staff and faculty members with innovative ideas to reduce or remove barriers to student success, increase student retention and better prepare students to meet workforce needs.


Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota-Making Brainerd, Baxter, North Branch and Chisago Lakes Communities Bicycle Friendly: $7,500 to support planning, community engagement and implementation of improved bike trails.

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Business Committee-PCs for People: $5,000 to support the launch of PCs for People. Staff will help young adults "scrub" hard drives of donated, used computers and refurbish them for use by income-eligible students and families.

Brainerd Community Action-Brainerd Lakes Area Newcomers Club: $3,000 to support efforts to attract and retain young families and skilled workers through creating a welcoming community. This grant will serve as a challenge grant to area employers to help support the ongoing operations of the Newcomers Club hosted by the Community Action Council of Crow Wing County.

Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project-Strategic Planning: $1,000 to support a planning process that will help develop the board of directors and set direction for the near future.

Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc.-Strategic Planning and Organizational Development Activities: $2,500 for strategic planning and organizational development facilitation between staff and the board of directors with a goal of reviewing core values as they relate to the mission of providing civil legal services to income-eligible individuals on the Leech Lake Reservation.

Boys & Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area-"We Are the Future-Nation Building" Program: $5,000 to support the "We are the Future-Nation Building" program that matches fifth-grade students with community mentors to develop social-emotional learning with the goal to increase high school graduation and college entry rates.

College Possible-Programming for Income-Eligible Students in Central Minnesota: $3,000 to support College Possible's Tech-Connected High School program that provides intensive coaching services to income-eligible students to increase college readiness and admission, addressing workforce shortages and educational disparities

Central Minnesota Housing Partnership-Strategic Planning: $4,000 to support development of a guiding plan to assist individuals and families with affordable housing over the next three years.


City of Menahga-Thriving Communities Initiative: $5,000 to develop and implement training, marketing and necessary materials to make local projects led by a team of champions successful. Through their participation in the Thriving Communities Initiative, residents of Menahga were able to identify opportunities to enhance their community. After seeking input from both public and private interests, several key priorities were identified: creating a tiny village to serve as a business incubator; conducting a business retention and expansion survey; and establishing a community garden.

East Central Regional Development Commission-Mille Lacs Lake Area Scenic Byway Start Up: $5,000 to support planning, public engagement and promotion of the Mille Lacs Lake Area Scenic Byway, a federally designated route recognized for its beauty, ecology and value to the tourism sector.

Partner Fund Awards

The Initiative Foundation hosts a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and volunteer-led groups. The following organizations were among those that received grant funding during the months of July, August and September:

Area funds included:

Anderson Brothers Family Fund: $1,000 to Crow Wing County United Way, Inc., and Operation Sandwich.

Innovative Schools Fund: $7,500 to the Browerville Innovative Schools Project.

Morrison County Area Foundation: $1,000 to the Little Falls School District for personalized learning opportunities for middle schools students.


About Initiative Foundation Grants

Since 1986, the Foundation has awarded thousands of grants totaling more than $34 million. The average grant award is about $5,000. Go to for more information.

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