Blandin Foundation Awards $5.7 Million in Grants

The Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, has announced grants totaling $5.7 million in support of programs aimed at strengthening rural communities, creating high-quality living-wage jobs, and developing the skills of the state's rural workforce.

Awards in the area of workforce development included $35,000 to the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce to continue coordinating the Workforce Development Initiative in Itasca County and $2.1 million to the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative in support of Invest Early, an early childhood education initiative focused on improving school readiness programs.

In the area of education, the foundation awarded $160,000 over two years to Northland Early Childhood Collaborative in Remer to support access to preschool for every child in the community, early identification of children with special needs, and family engagement and school readiness programs; $292,000 over two years to Itasca Community College in support of its entry-level math, chemistry, and physics curriculum for incoming freshmen; and $175,000 to Northwest Technical College in support of the college's efforts to train skilled workers and strengthen the workforce pipeline in the state's northwest and north-central regions.

In addition, the foundation awarded grants totaling $50,000 to three organizations in Itasca County in support of their workforce development, business development, and community information efforts; twenty-six grants totaling $402,000 for community broadband projects in rural areas of the state; and grants of less than $50,000 each to eighty-five projects around the state, ranging from the development of a data system in support of the Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success to a grant in support of youth and family programming in the Bigfork area of Itasca County.

"Strengthening Rural Economy Is Focus of Recent Blandin Foundation Grants." Blandin Foundation Press Release 07/12/2013.