Rendering of the Community Dental Care Clinic in Wright County
The Community Dental Care clinic opened in 2022 in Buffalo.

Foundation Awards More Than $5.9 Million in First-Quarter

LITTLE FALLS, MN—The Initiative Foundation delivered 596 grants during the first quarter of 2022 with a value of $5.9 million. A substantial portion of these grants provided support to COVID-affected businesses across Central Minnesota through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The Foundation also made significant investments in child care interventions and provided more traditional support to nonprofits, schools and local units of government through Partner Fund and Innovation Fund grants.

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

  • 489 grants for a total of nearly $5.45 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 DEED. By early summer 2022, the Foundation expects to deliver more than 900 grants to regional small businesses for a total of up to $9.5 million.
  • 19 grants totaling $80,300 through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The grants supported catch-up learning opportunities, food assistance and crisis child care services. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Initiative Foundation has awarded more than $705,000 to child care providers, schools and organizations in Central Minnesota. These efforts were supported by the Initiative Foundation, private donors, MDE and the Minnesota Council on Foundations and its Disaster Recovery Fund for Coronavirus.

Through its Innovation Fund, the Foundation awarded 20 grants to regional nonprofits and local units of government totaling $136,500. The grants supported career exploration programs; a leadership program for underserved communities; and a planning and community engagement process for Highway 8 in Chisago County. See the full list of grantees.

Also in the first quarter of 2022, Initiative Foundation-hosted Partner Funds awarded 68 grants totaling nearly $244,000. Among other efforts, these grants supported scholarships for Central Minnesota high school graduates; a greenhouse for the Albany Area School District; and a home-buying program for traditionally underserved people in the Leech Lake area. See the full list of grantees.

“Thanks to the support of private donors, government entities and national and state nonprofits, we are able to deliver grants to pandemic-affected businesses, schools, nonprofits and early childhood professionals,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president.

Find a summary of first-quarter 2022 Innovation Fund and Partner Fund grants highlighted below. For a more comprehensive listing, visit

Innovation Fund Awards

The following organizations were among those that received Initiative Foundation grant funding during the months of January, February and March 2022:

Anderson Center—Forum Scholarships: $10,000 to provide scholarships for private and nonprofit sector leaders to benefit from the array of professional development training offered by the Anderson Center.

Friends of Career Solutions—Career Trek for Teens: $5,000 to support Career Trek, a career exploration program.

Leech Lake Housing Authority—Homebuyer Program: $41,250 to support a down payment assistance program, improving the resiliency of the community and supporting increased homeownership. This grant was funded by The Funder’s Network and its Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership.

Community Dental Care—Workforce Pipeline Project: $10,000 to support a partnership with St. Cloud Technical and Community College to recruit, retain and place dental hygiene program graduates at the new Community Dental Care Clinic in Wright County. Learn more about the project.

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 January, February and March 2022:

Staples-Motley Area Community Foundation: $3,757 to the city of Staples for a playground project.

Mary Jean Tillman Healthcare Scholarship Fund: $5,000 to Little Falls Community High School for a scholarship for a student pursuing a healthcare-related career.

Albany Area Education Foundation: $1,625 to Albany Area School District for a greenhouse.

Paula & Chad Becker Fund: $2,000 to Browerville Public Schools for high school athletics.

Create your own Partner Fund.