The Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, has announced grants totaling $1.9 million to nonprofit organizations working to strengthen rural communities in the state.
The grants include $308,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids and Greenway to provide essential services to area youth between the ages of 6 and 18, including access to basic needs such as food and clothing and connection to high-quality on-site programs focused on academic success, character building, citizenship, and healthy lifestyles; $100,000 to Minnesota Diversified Industries for investments in equipment that will boost its operational capacity to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities; $375,000 to Itasca Community College in support of financial aid for the 2017-18 school year; $110,000 to the Tribal Sovereignty Institute at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in support of a pilot tribal governance program; and $50,000 in general operating support to Advocates for Human Rights, which provides information, tools, and support to help rural Minnesota communities stand up to hate.
"Communities that reach their fullest potential are those that work for all residents," said Blandin Foundation president and CEO Kathleen Annette. "Grants sought and approved this spring address structural barriers that individuals and communities face as they seek opportunities in education, employment, and community leadership — all vital components of a healthy community. There is a lot of innovation here, and we are proud to stand with these leaders as they do such important work."