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Blandin Foundation Awards $4 Million in Grants

sprig by Posted in Blandin Foundation, Grants

Local grants support education, early childhood, housing and economic development.

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Trustees of Blandin Foundation issued $4.05 million in grants at its December board meeting.

Two grants totaling more than $550,000 ($375,000 to Itasca Community College and $180,500 to Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency) provide financial aid support for traditional and non-traditional adult learners from the Itasca County area to continue or pursue college classes, on-the-job training and other post-secondary educational opportunities.  This is in addition to the nearly $1 million that the Foundation provides each year to area students through its Education Awards need-based scholarship program.

Other local grants include support the strengthening of families, such as Baby Steps Boutique and Step Ahead, housing programs including GRACE House and Habitat for Humanity, and economic development efforts by Itasca Economic Development Corporation and others.  A $150,000 grant to Itasca Community Television helps to support their operations during the next two years.

In addition, trustees reviewed and ratified the Foundation’s “quick response” grants (those less than $50,000).  In 2010, 199 Itasca County area organizations received $667,235 through these smaller grants.

For the second year, trustees recommended that $100,000 be allocated for heating assistance in the local area, funds that will be distributed through Kootasca Community Action.

A grant of $2 million over two years sustains Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s (GMHF) work in rural affordable housing, to provide gap loan funding, first-time home-buyer support, and financing for affordable housing developments throughout  rural Minnesota.  Locally, grants to GMHF have played key roles in financing housing throughout the region.  For example, the Grand Plaza project, which redeveloped the former hospital site in Grand Rapids, was funded in part through a Blandin Foundation grant to GMHF.  In Itasca County, 318 families have been served through affordable housing units funded through GMHF.

Full listings of Blandin Foundation grants and its grant-making guidelines can be found at


Photos for download
: Grand Plaza (Blandin Foundation photo—no credit necessary): Grand Plaza is the latest Itasca County project funded through the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, with support from Blandin Foundation.  Grand Plaza, at the site of the former hospital, offers affordable housing through 18 apartments and 18 townhouses in Grand Rapids.

Itasca Community College
(Please credit John Connelly): More financial aid is available to the area’s learners through Itasca Community College and Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency with an infusion of Blandin Foundation grants.  Pictured are Brianna Anderson and Becky LaPlant with ICC’s Nathan Wright.]

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