Leech Lake Boys and Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area received a grant from the Initiative Foundation, thanks to a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education.

Foundation Awards More Than $2.6 Million in Fourth-Quarter

LITTLE FALLS, MN—The Initiative Foundation delivered 311 grants during the fourth quarter of 2021 with a value of $2.6 million. A substantial portion of these grants provided support to COVID-affected businesses across Central Minnesota. The Foundation also made significant investments in child care interventions and provided resources for more traditional grant awards to support schools, nonprofits and community and economic development initiatives.

The fourth-quarter effort included several partner-based grant distributions:

  • 177 grants for a total of nearly $2 million as part of the Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grants program. The Initiative Foundation is distributing these grants throughout Central Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). By late spring 2022, the Foundation expects to deliver nearly 1,000 grants to regional small businesses for a total of up to $10.5 million.
  • 19 grants with a value of $190,000 in partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation and its Open for Business Fund. In total, including awards made during the third quarter of 2021, $380,000 in Wells Fargo Foundation funds have been awarded to 38 underserved business owners in St. Cloud and Stearns and Todd counties. See the full list of Open for Business Fund grantees.
  • 13 grants totaling $81,500 through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education. The grants supported learning recovery, distance learning, food assistance and training for regional child care providers. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Initiative Foundation has awarded $ $470,700 to child care providers, schools and organizations in Central Minnesota. These efforts are a result of support from private donors, the Minnesota Council on Foundations and its Disaster Recovery Fund for Coronavirus and the Minnesota Department of Education. See the full list of grantees.

Through its Innovation Fund, the Initiative Foundation awarded 22 grants totaling $102,000. The grants support robotics in Royalton schools; an employee benefits and engagement survey through the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation; and packaged meals for senior citizens and shut-ins in Cass and Crow Wing counties. See the full list of grantees.

Also in the fourth quarter of 2021, Initiative Foundation-hosted Partner Funds awarded 80 grants totaling nearly $239,000. Among other efforts, these grants supported events through the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture; xylophones for the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District; and construction classes at Elk River and Zimmerman high schools. See the full list of grantees.

“We’re grateful for the partnerships that have brought outside resources to Central Minnesota,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. “Our pandemic relief and recovery efforts, together with our more traditional capacity-building grants, make for a powerful and impactful combination.”

Find a summary of fourth-quarter 2021 Innovation Fund and Partner Fund grants highlighted below. See a comprehensive listing.

Innovation Fund Awards

The following organizations were among those that received Initiative Foundation grant funding during the months of October, November and December 2021:

Goodwill Industries, Inc.—Bridging the Gap Created by COVID-19 for Youth in St. Cloud Through Employment Services: $5,000 to support employment and career-readiness training and placement services for high-risk young adults in the St. Cloud area.

Rise, Inc.—Partnership for a Successful Re-entry for People with Mental Illness: $5,000 to support employment services to incarcerated individuals with serious mental illness who are scheduled for supervised release in Central Minnesota.

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota—Pop-up Meals for High-risk Senior Citizens in Cass and Crow Wing Counties: $5,000 to pilot an innovative pop-up meal distribution program for income-eligible seniors and shut-ins in Crow Wing and southern Cass counties.

Royalton Public Schools—Robotics: $5,000 to provide a challenge grant to secure local sponsorship for middle and high school robotics clubs.

Partner Fund Awards

The Initiative Foundation hosts a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofits and volunteer-led groups. The following grants were among those made by our Partner Funds during the months of October, November and December 2021:

Mille Lacs Area Community Foundation: $1,000 to the East Central Regional Development Commission for a Lake Mille Lacs Bird Trail.

Black Oak Getty Community Foundation: $2,500 to Terebinth Refuge to support its shelter program.

Josh Richardson Family Fund: $10,300 to Elk River High School and Zimmerman high schools for woods and construction classes.

Delano Area Community Foundation: $1,000 to the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture for the Delano Community Band.

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