(c) Joe Rossi 2012

Focus Areas

Blandin Foundation's vision is to help build healthy rural Minnesota communities. We view our work -- and that of our partners -- through the lens of three focus areas to identify efforts that move most effectively toward our vision.

Vibrant Itasca County

Blandin Foundation's primary geographic focus is Itasca County (north central Minnesota) and a few neighboring communities. This region was the “wood basket” of the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Paper Company when it was owned by Foundation founder Charles Blandin in the early 20th Century.

Today the Foundation’s primary focus -- and the focus of the majority of its resources -- is on its partnerships with its “home communities” of Bigfork, Blackduck, Bovey, Calumet, Cohasset, Coleraine, Deer River, Effie, Goodland, Grand Rapids, Hill City, Keewatin, LaPrairie, Marble, Marcell, Nashwauk, Northome, Pengilly, Remer, S. Lake, Taconite, Talmoon, Warba, Wawina, Wirt, and Zemple.

Blandin Foundation work and giving in the area supports a wide spectrum of partners and initiatives focused on the vibrancy of these communities and the organizations strengthening them.

Invest in leaders

As the only statewide foundation in Minnesota focused exclusively on rural communities, Blandin Foundation partners with communities to build and sustain healthy communities that thrive in times of challenge and opportunity.

Community leaders spearhead these efforts. Individuals from all walks of life contribute their perspectives and passions, and work together to find common ground to create positive change and work for inclusive good. Within this context of leadership, how things get done in a community is as important as what gets done. Energy builds as people see new possibilities in themselves, in one another and in their community.

Every aspect of Blandin Foundation work – grantmaking, community leadership training and convening – supports and encourages people committed to enriching rural Minnesota.

Expand opportunity

An evolving area of work, Blandin Foundation seeks to blend educational attainment, economic opportunity and broader inclusion in rural Minnesota communities, so all residents have greater opportunities to prosper. Emphasis is on work that moves beyond traditional approaches and that increases impact through a synergistic approach. Examples include:

  • Greater educational and economic opportunities for people of all backgrounds
  • Reduced structural barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential
  • Accelerated innovation driven by interaction of more diverse perspectives
  • Increased self-determination

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