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Blandin Foundation awards $1.7 million in grants, continues with broadband

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (April 3, 2012) – Key local initiatives were awarded grants  during the Blandin Foundation’s March 23 board meeting, according to Mike Johnson, chairman of the Foundation’s board of trustees.

Arrowhead Economy Opportunity Agency (AEOA) will receive $350,000 over two years to continue the Adult Scholarship Program.  Through AEOA, scholarships are available for tuition, books, transportation, child care, living expenses and required equipment needed for a degree program.  One of a series of programs, AEOA’s Adult Scholarships support approximately 60 low-income adults at a time in developing skills and opportunities needed for living-wage employment.

Trustees also continued the Foundation’s support for the KOOTASCA organization, which has been delivering programs and services to low- and moderate-income residents of Itasca and Koochiching Counties for 46 years.  In support of the organization’s mission of “building community to end poverty,” trustees awarded $590,000 over two years for five programs: Circles of Support, Crisis Nursery, Teenage Parent Program, Community Engagement and Homeless Prevention.

In support of engineering education, trustees awarded $250,000 to help equip a new Iron Range Engineering program laboratory at Mesabi Community College in Virginia, Minn.  Iron Range Engineering was launched in 2010 to deliver years three and four of a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and is a collaboration of Itasca Community College, Mesabi Community College and Minnesota State University (Mankato).

A total of $1,695,600 in grants were approved by trustees at the March meeting, all of which can be seen on the Our Partners page at the Foundation’s website, Grant guidelines and application deadlines also can be found at the Foundation’s website.

In other action, trustees chose to continue the Foundation’s investment in high-speed broadband through 2014.  Through grants, program support such as a convening, and technical support for communities, the Foundation’s Broadband Initiative has worked since 2003 to: 1) Increase awareness about the value of broadband telecommunications use and services, 2) increase business and residential use of broadband in rural communities, and 3) increase public and private investment in rural broadband capacity.    Program and grant-making details of this stage of the Blandin Broadband Initiative will be available at the Foundation’s website in fall 2012.


Blandin Foundation, Minnesota’s largest rural-based private foundation is located in Grand Rapids, Minn.  Its mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area, through grants, leadership development programs and public policy initiatives.

For additional information, contact:

Allison Rajala Ahcan
Director of Communications, Blandin Foundation
direct: 218-327-8717
cell: 218-259-2893

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