Grants Awarded

The Initiative Foundation makes grants for projects and programs that advance our mission to empower people across Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity.

We seek to make grants across the 14 counties and two Native nations of Central Minnesota.

2nd Quarter 2024 Foundation Grants

Central Minnesota Reentry Project: $15,000 to provide social supports for the formerly incarcerated.

Faith in Action for Cass County—Technology Revitalized: $15,000 to support technology updates.

Emily Emergency Food Shelf—Training: $7,050 for board training and executive development.

Family Safety Network—Trauma-informed Practitioner Certification Training: $7,500 for two advocates to attend the Trauma Training Institute. Certification will allow these advocates to train additional Cass County professionals on trauma-informed care best practices.

Lakes & Pines Community Action Council, Inc.—Compensation Analysis: $5,000 to support a regional analysis of compensation scales of peer organizations to assure the organization is offering appropriate wages to employees.

Parenting with Grace, Inc.—Board of Directors Development and Coaching: $7,500 to fund board training and coaching to provide governance, strategic leadership, fiscal oversight, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.

Rivers of Hope—Elementary School Healthy Relationship Education: $7,500 for expanded programming to support the organization’s mission to end family violence through advocacy, education and interagency collaboration.

Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc.— Staff Training: $5,000 for strategic planning and diversity, equity and inclusion training.

St. Cloud Area Family YMCA—Parent Enrichment and Supervised Visitation Programs: $5,000 for expansion of the parent enrichment and supervised visitation program.

Tiny News Collective, Inc.—Project Optimist: $1,000 to provide unrestricted support for Project Optimist, in honor of Robbyn Wacker, former Intiative Foundation board member.

Walker Area Community Center—Financial Analysis and Consultation: $5,000 to hire a consultant to review the Walker Area Community Center’s financial systems to optimize operational efficiency.

Wright County Community Action, Inc.—Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative: $3,900 to support the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Lighthouse Beginnings—Open Arms: $2,000 to support the Open Arms Community Center.

Conservation Minnesota—Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund Reauthorization: $5,000 to support improved access to conservation funds.

City of Sandstone—Historic Sandstone School Workforce Housing: $5,000 to support the development of additional housing in Sandstone.

North Branch Area Public Schools—Viking Innovation Teacher Apprenticeship Model: $7,500 to support an apprentice teach pilot program.

Northland Foundation—A Stronger Regional Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: $10,000 to support economic development.

Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association—Three Byways 2024 Fall Daytrips Event: $7,000 to support coordinated promotion of three scenic byways that begin in Central Minnesota. The promtions would encourage visitors to extend their visit to the region.

Region Five Development Commission—Workforce Development Career Pathway Mapping: $5,000 to map career pathways to support residents of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

St. Cloud State University—Center for Policy Research and Community Engagement: $10,000 to help establish a new center to provide regionally focused policy research.

Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity—Habitat Community Connectedness 2024: $5,000 to engage black, indigenous and people of color and income-eligible students in developing construction skills by working on homes in the Greater St. Cloud area.

Special Grant Round

Loneliness, Social Isolation

Through a special one-time grant round, the Initiative Foundation and its funding partner have awarded $105,000 to provide more than two dozen grants across Central Minnesota for projects, programs, and community-building ideas that bridge differences and bring people together.

Main Street Economic Revitalization Grants

Through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Initiative Foundation will award $4.5 million to six communities for main street revitalization efforts.

1st Quarter 2024 Foundation Grants

Lighthouse Beginnings—Open Arms Community Resource Center: $6,000 to support the Open Arms project which provides a supportive, sober and safe environment that will help provide individuals with skills needed to break through roadblocks in their recovery.

Sourcewell—2024 Students of Character Sponsorship: $1,000 to support the 2024 Sourcewell Students of Character event.

United Way of Douglas and Pope County—Backpack Attack Program: $7,500 for a pilot Backpack Attack program for food-insecure families in the Long Prairie area.

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation—Minnesota Compass: $5,000 to support the Minnesota Compass program.

Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc.—Strategic Planning Project 2024: $7,500 for strategic planning.

180 Degrees—Building Organizational Capacity: $5,000 for piloting a parent liaison program to help families of youth experiencing homelessness.

Relationship Safety Alliance—Preserving History While Raising Funding and Awareness: $5,000 for developing materials to maximize fundraising efforts.

ConnectAbility of MN—2024 Volunteer Pilot Programs: $6,000 for a pilot program to increase volunteer engagement.

Someplace Safe—Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Project: $5,000 to support strategic planning for DEI initiatives.

Faith in Action in Sherburne County—Capacity Building for Services: $5,000 for increasing capacity of volunteers.

Walker Area Food Shelf—Marketing and Growth Strategy: $5,000 for new fundraising support utilizing new branding.

Main Street Family Services—Capacity Building Training: $5,000 for staff training to increase capacity to meet needs of at-risk individuals, children and families in their region.

Mille Lacs County—Childcare Coalition: $10,000 to improve access to quality child care.

Central MN Re-Entry Project—Vibrant and Equitable Communities Cohort: $5,000 to develop programming to support formerly incarcerated persons in Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties.

Youth Following Our Lead—Capacity Building: $2,000 to provide professional development opportunities for staff and volunteers.

Bear Paws Cultural Art—Cultural Classes: $10,000 to support the organization’s mission of holding cultural classes for the community in East Central Minnesota and the indigenous lands surrounding the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

Lighthouse Beginnings—Vibrant and Equitable Communities Cohort: $5,000 to improve communication strategy, improve volunteer recruitment and update technology.

Meeting Points—Capacity Building: $5,000 for board development and staff capacity building.

Minnesota Humanities Center—Sketches of Minnesota: $15,000 to support the Sketches of Minnesota project in Central Minnesota.

Anderson Center—2024 Scholarships: $10,000 to provide cost-share scholarships to private and nonprofit sector managers to provide access to the high-quality management and leadership training opportunities available through the Anderson Center.

Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation—2024 Annual Investment: $25,000 to provide annual support to the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, the largest economic development entity in Central Minnesota.

Three Rivers Community Foundation—Sherburne County 2024-2025 Housing Study: $10,000 to support a housing study to be completed by Maxfield Research and Consulting.

Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC) —Supporting Economic Growth: $10,000 to support BLAEDC in its work with businesses and organizations needing analytics and data for their business decisions.

Crosby-Ironton Public Schools Foundation—Strategic Planning for Next 5 Years: $5,000 to support strategic planning for the organization.

The Upsala Elementary School playground received a grant to upgrade the equipment thanks to the Morrison County Area Foundation, a Partner Fund of the Initiative Foundation.
The Staples-Motley Area Community Foundation supported a 2022 Back to School Fair.

2nd Quarter 2024 Partner Fund Grants

Rum River Community Foundation

  • Arrows Family Services—Arrows After School: $1,000
  • City of Milaca—2024 Milaca Rhythm on the Rum Parade: $800
  • City of Milaca—2024 Kids Hands-on Event: $550
  • Foreston Fire Department—Turnout Gear Refresh: $1,000
  • Milaca Fine Arts Council—Music in the Park 2024: $800
  • Milaca Fire and Rescue—Fire Safety Week Education and Open House: $1,000
  • Milaca High School Hall of Fame—2024 Induction Ceremony: $500
  • Milaca RecFest & Activities: $750
  • Milaca School District—Milaca Unified Track & Field Meet: $1,000
  • Rum River Special Education Cooperative—Communication Boards Promoting Playground Inclusion: $1,000
  • Trinity Lutheran Church of Milaca—Milaca Wolves Snack Pack Program: $1,000

Greater Pine Area Endowment

  • New Horizon Thrift Store—Safety and Security: $2,000
  • Pine City Athletic Association: $5,000
  • Pine City Youth Hockey Association—Free Opportunities for Pine City Youth Hockey: $3,540
  • Pine Technical & Community College Foundation—Lakeside Student Rec/Life Center: $11,000
  • Pregnancy Resource Center of Pine City—Relocation Signage: $4,000

Staples Motley Area Community Foundation

  • LEAP, Inc.—Staples-Motley Grad Blast: $4,200
  • Motley Community Events Organization—2024 June Fest: $3,000
  • Staples Motley Beyond Poverty—Community Cleanup Support Project: $1,000
  • Wadena County—Free Rides for Summer Recreation/Activities: $1,500

Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation

  • Deep Portage Foundation—Weather Station: $1,000
  • Hackensack Game Changers—Hackensack Community Garden: $500
  • Northwoods Arts Council—2024 Lakeside Concert Series: $500
  • Northwoods Arts Council—2024 Music Festival Featuring Josh Duffee and his Big Band: $500
  • City of Hackensack—Local Housing Trust Fund: $500
  • Game Changers Beautification Team—Hackensack Neighbor Helping Neighbor Community Clean-up: $500
  • Hackensack Game Changers—Beautification Flower Team: $675
  • Pine Mountaineer Senior Center—Community Support: $800

Princeton Revolving Loan Fund

  • City of Princeton—Revolving Loan Fund Payout: $111,008

Gull Chain Preservation Endowment Fund

  • Gull Chain of Lakes Association—Emergency Distribution: $47,422

Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

  • Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Inc.—Amphitheater Project: $65,000

Prairie Lights: Pioneering

  • CommunityGiving—Bryce Mink Memorial Scholarship: $1,000

Little Falls Education Foundation

The following grants were awarded to Little Falls Community School District:

  • Flexible Seating for the English Classroom: $964
  • Flexible Seating: $1,000
  • Classroom Items: $23
  • Henry’s Room: $1,000
  • Innovative Minds: $1,400
  • Games and Activities for Personalized and Individualized Learning in Preschool: $1,500
  • Social Emotional Learning: $953
  • Interactive Notebooks in the Middle School Classroom: $200
  • Exploration Duration: $1,500
  • English Office Private Space: $645
  • Document Camera and Classroom Furniture: $150
  • Piano Keyboard Lab Updates: $1,500
  • Flyer Robotics Team 4623: $1,200
  • Powder Coating Setup: $1,500
  • Classroom Materials: $1,000
  • Special Education Classroom Materials: $680
  • DSLR Cameras: $1,500
  • Classroom Support Materials: $1,252
  • Horseshoe Table for Small Group Interventions: $1,000
  • Exploration Station: $1,204

Lake Region Christian School Education Foundation

  • Scholarships and Classroom Enhancements: $34,500

Braham Area Education Foundation

The following grants were awarded to Braham Area Schools:

  • Early Childhood Family Education and Preschool Outdoor Learning Area: $650
  • S.M.A.R.T: $1,250
  • Elementary All Star Summer Reader: $1,463
  • Flexible Seating: $750
  • Elementary Sensory Walk: $3,000
  • Braham Student Council—Service at 2024 Spring Gala: $250

Royalton Education Foundation

  • Royalton School District—Care Closet: $1,500

Pillager Education Foundation

  • Pillager School District—Scholarships: $22,575

Pinckney Fund

  • Friends of Linden Hill, Inc.: $250

Patrick & Jane Mitchell Family Fund

  • St. Cloud State University Foundation, Inc.—Baseball Support: $3,000

Colette & Paul Cameron Donor Advised Fund

  • Friends of Pine Grove Zoo—Animal Acquisition: $7,500

Shawn Grittner Memorial Fund

  • Little Falls Community School District—Shawn Grittner Memorial Scholarship: $1,000

Madden’s Pine Beach Scholarship Fund

  • Pillager School District—Madden’s Pine Beach Scholarship: $3,500

Artesian Homes Charitable Fund

  • Bridges of Hope—General Operations: $500
  • Heritage Church—General Operations: $10,000
  • Lincoln Evangelical Free Church—General Operations: $50,000
  • THE LINK—General Operations: $25,000

Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation

  • Freshwater Education District—Purchase a Certified Comfort Dog: $1,000
  • Lakeshore Conservation Club, Inc.—Lakes Area Shooting Sports Event: $1,000

1st Quarter 2024 Partner Fund Grants

Three Rivers Community Foundation

The following schools receiving scholarship funding from the Three Rivers Community Foundation:

  • Elk River High School: $8,000
  • Rogers High School: $8,000
  • Zimmerman High School: $5,000
  • Ivan Sand High School: $2,000
  • Spectrum High School: $2,000

Black Oak Getty Community Foundation

  • Crow River Trail Guards, Inc.—Funding for Three Canoe Back Packs to be Used by the Youth in the Crow River Trail Guards: $1,000
  • Sauk Centre Dollars for Scholars—Black Oak Getty Community Foundation Scholarships: $1,000

Tollefson Scholarship

  • Pine City School District—Tollefson Scholarship: $15,000

Mary Jean Tillman Healthcare Scholarship Fund

  • Little Falls Community Schools—Mary Jean Tillman Healthcare Scholarship: $5,000

Irene Myres Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Pequot Lakes High School—Irene Myres Memorial Endowed Scholarship: $1,200

Silver Lining Scholarship Fund

  • Little Falls Community High School—Silver Lining Scholarship Fund: $500

Dorn Family Fund

  • Delano School District—Dorn Family Fund Scholarship: $1,100

Bert and Helen LeBlanc Legacy Scholarship Fund

  • Central Lakes College Foundation—Bert and Helen LeBlanc Legacy Scholarship: $500
  • St. Cloud State University Foundation, Inc.—Bert and Helen LeBlanc Legacy Scholarship: $1,000

Archie and Isabelle Powell Family Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Elk River High School—Archie and Isabel Powell Family Memorial Scholarship Fund: $1,500

Gull Chain Preservation Endowment Fund

  • Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation—Gull Chain of Lakes Association Aquatic Invasive Species Fund: $21,100

Sacred Heart Area School Endowmennt Fund

  • Sacred Heart Area School—2024 Operating Support: $2,300

Staples Knights of Columbus Council #1803

  • Staples & Motley Dollars for Scholars—Staples Knights of Columbus Council #1803-Lloyd & Marion Giddings Scholarship Fund: $2,900

Julius Kurpius Family Fund

  • Staples & Motley Dollars for Scholars—James & Susan Kurpius Fund for the Staples & Motley Dollars for Scholars Scholarship: $3,900

Minnesota Pioneer Park Fund

  • Minnesota Pioneer Park—2024 General Operating Support: $1,000

Manufacturing Fund of Central Minnesota

  • Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Inc.—Women’s Business Alliance – 2024: $9,000

Braham Area Education Foundation

  • Braham Area Schools—Special Education New Resource Room: $1,000
  • Braham Area Schools—Fundamental Chemistry Lab Equipment: $3,700

Memorial Hospital Fund

  • New Pathways, Inc.—New Pathways Program Support: $10,000

Royalton Education Foundation

The following grants were awarded to the Royalton School District:

  • Enhancing Classroom Engagement, Creativity, Learning and Social Skills Through Educational Games: $520
  • Grade Two Innovate—Flexible Seating Revolution: $1,013
  • An Art Room for Creative Minds: $530
  • Mrs. Thoma’s Lego Education Kits: $320
  • Class Set of Microscopes: $1,000
  • Robots and Books: What More Could you Want?: $170
  • Increasing Independence: $1,000
  • Preschool STEAM and Social Emotional Learning: $450

Wadena City Library Fund

  • City of Wadena—Library Renovation Project: $146,160

EAA Chapter 551

  • St. Cloud Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 551—Close-out Grant: $5,176

Bottemiller Family Fund

  • Wadena-Deer Creek School District—Bottemiller Scholarships: $1,600

Lakes Area Medical Development Association

  • City of Fifty Lakes—Fifty Lakes Park: $2,000
  • Lakes Area Interfaith Caregivers—Interfaith Volunteers Medical Development Fund: $4,000
  • Community Action of Pequot Lakes—Splash Pad: $4,000

Brainerd Public School Early Childhood Fund

  • Brainerd Public Schools Foundation—Early Childhood Support: $1,600

Onamia Early Childhood Endowment Fund

  • Mille Lacs Health System—Story Time Fun at Onamia Depot Library: $1,100

The Bruske-Johnson Scholarship Fund

  • Isle High School—The Bruske-Johnson Memorial Scholarship: $3,000

Pillager Education Foundation

The following grants were awarded to the Pillager School District:

  • Dyslexia Support: $1,439
  • Flexible Seating: $600
  • LIGHT TABLE: $861
  • Word Work and Independent Work Time Enhancement Materials: $450
  • Word Work Manipulatives: $1,650

Paula and Chad Becker Fund

  • Christ the King Catholic Church—Church and School Operations: $10,000
  • Never Surrender, Inc.—ALS Support and Research: $3,000


  • Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers Alliance—General Operating Support: $3,800

Family Farm Fund

  • Raising a Farmer—Farm Engagements: $3,000

The Thrive Fund

  • Milestones—2024 Disbursement: $7,000

Alternative Sources of Energy Fund

  • Milaca Scholarship Foundation—Alternative Sources of Energy Scholarship: $4,350
  • Milaca School—Science Department: $1,450

Land and Waters Preservation Trust

  • Whitefish Area Property Owners Association—2024 Operating Support: $14,900

Colette and Paul Cameron Donor Advised Fund

  • Friends of Pine Grove Zoo—Animal Acquisition: $12,000

Beverly M. Pantzke Scholarship Fund

  • Little Falls Community High School—Beverly M. Pantzke Scholarship Fund: $24,000

Anderson Brothers Family Fund

  • Lord of Life Lutheran Church—Peer Ministry Training: $2,500

Mark Wood Foundation

  • Lincoln Elementary Mentorship Program: $5,900

Paws and Claws Animal Shelter

  • Paws & Claws Rescue & Resort—Operating Support: $1,700

William & Ethel Nelson Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship Fund

  • Little Falls Community School District—William & Ethel Nelson Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship: $1,700

Betty Ford Menzel Scholarship Fund

  • Crosby-Ironton High School—Betty Ford Menzel Scholarship Fund: $2,700

Shawn Grittner Memorial Fund

  • St. Cloud Technical & Community College Foundation—Shawn Grittner Memorial Fund Scholarship: $1,100

Lake Region Conservation Club

  • Sullivan Lake First Response Team—Operating Support: $550
  • Hillman Area First Response Team—Operating Support: $550

H. Eugene Menzel Scholarship Fund

  • Aitkin Dollars for Scholars—H. Eugene Menzel Scholarship: $2,100

Artesian Homes Charitable Fund

  • Sports Boosters Club, Inc.—Hallway Turf Project: $10,000
  • Stare Academy—General Fund: $50,000
  • Pillager School District—Pillager Huskies Fishing Team: $1,000

Corey Borg-Massanari Foundation

  • Vail Mountain School—Emily Franciose Outdoor Learning Fund: $1,000

Fregin Foundation

  • Little Falls Community High School—Fregin Foundation Scholarship: $1,200

Skolmate Fund for the Welfare of Animals

  • Paws & Claws Rescue & Resort—Operating Support: $3,150
  • Morrison County Animal Humane Society—Operating Support: $3,150