Skip to Main Content

Blandin Foundation awards $2.4 million in grants


GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – During their spring meeting on June 14 and 15, Blandin Foundation trustees approved grants that strengthen rural Minnesota communities.

Five proactive, northwest Minnesota school districts will boost investments in teacher development with a Blandin Foundation grant of $200,000 to Minnesota Rural Education Association.  Bagley, Clearbrook-Gonvick, Fisher, Kelliher and Laporte educators will tap the methods and coaching of the Center for Authentic Intellectual Work to help them equip students for the complex intellectual challenges of work, civic participation, and managing personal affairs in the contemporary world.  Teachers will learn from each other in professional learning teams, critique each others’ lessons, and apply research when designing lessons. 

Northwestern Minnesota hosts some of rural Minnesota’s more diverse rural school districts, and this grant will strengthen these five communities’ pursuit of achievement for every student.    

Center for Rural Policy and Development, St. Peter, Minn., also received a Blandin Foundation grant.  The Center serves as a statewide, non-partisan resource for policy makers and rural Minnesota leaders and produces the Atlas of Minnesota Online.  The Center also convenes discussions of rural economic development, education, health care, access to broadband technologies and other issues critical to rural Minnesota communities.  Blandin Foundation’s grant of $140,000 continues a 12-year partnership to illuminate Minnesota issues from a rural perspective. 

“Clearly, rural leaders are rising to challenges—and opportunities—facing Minnesota communities,” said Kathy Annette, president and CEO for the Blandin Foundation.  “We stand with them, in whatever ways we can, as they build the resiliency and vibrancy of the state’s rural communities.  Our grants are a reflection of hard work happening across the state and we honor those efforts.”

A total of 110 grants totaling $2,404,200 were approved by trustees at the June meeting.   Grant lists, guidelines and application deadlines can be found at the Foundation’s website,  The deadline for the Foundation to receive major grant requests for December consideration is Sept. 15.

Also in conjunction with the June meeting, trustees past and present gathered to honor Gene Radecki, who between 1999 and 2012 served as chief financial officer, interim CEO and trustee of the Blandin Foundation.  Gene, who was recruited to Grand Rapids 50 years ago to oversee Blandin Paper finances and had a front-row seat as the Foundation and mill became completely separate entities, retired from the Board of Trustees this spring.




Located in Grand Rapids, Minn., Blandin Foundation is one of only a handful of foundations in the U.S. focused exclusively on rural communities and the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota.  The Foundation seeks and supports vibrant rural Minnesota communities.  


arrow icon pointing up Back to Top