GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Blandin Foundation announced recently that it has awarded 30 grants totaling $314,513 to assist rural Minnesota leaders as they grow high-speed Internet access and use in their communities.
Projects funded will strengthen existing broadband work happening in communities designated as Blandin Broadband Communities (2014-2016) or Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (2010-13). Both programs were designed to provide planning, technical and financial support to communities that demonstrate the determination to bring home the benefits of a broadband-enabled economy.
“It takes persistence and perseverance from local leaders to really bring the promise of broadband home to our rural communities,” said Dr. Kathleen Annette, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation. “We’re honored to stand with rural communities across the state that recognize access to and use of broadband is essential to survive and thrive in the 21st century.”
Projects focus in a number of areas, including:
- STEAM in our Schools (Red Wing): Project support to strengthen Red Wing School District’s STEAM education by facilitating community partnerships with existing Red Wing technology-oriented companies as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- Baudette Youth Broadband Expansion (Lake of the Woods): Project support to provide interactive learning experiences for at-risk youth through access to full wi-fi to enhance student success as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- One to the World (Stevens County): Project support to fully integrate technology into the classrooms for each learner through Internet access and mobile devices as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
Health and Wellness
- Using Tablets to Help Senior Citizens Access Healthcare Information (Lake County): Project support to provide senior citizens of Lake County with access to online health information through the use of mobile devices and staff assistance as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- Training Facility for Redwood County Citizens and Employees (Redwood County): Project support to equip a training lab in the courthouse to provide a venue for technology training for the general public, employers and Redwood County employees as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- Expanding Technology and Educational Opportunities in the Central Woodlands (Central Woodlands): Project support to provide computer classes and a wi-fi public access site in the Mille Lacs lakes area as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- Sherburne History Center Broadband Service (Sherburne County): Project support to provide public access to computers in the Sherburne County Historical Building and equip a community meeting room with appropriate technology, including a robust wi-fi network as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- Leveraging Broadband to Web Stream Two Harbors Community Radio (Lake County): Project support to provide live streaming capacity for Two Harbors Community Radio, allowing interested listeners to hear broadcasts beyond the limited reach of the FM signal as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
- Connecting with Wi-Fi (Kandiyohi County): Project support to increase wi-fi access in Kandiyoi County by installing access points on buses, a mobile daycare center and at the community center as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.
Since making rural broadband use and access a focus in 2003, Blandin Foundation has partnered with leaders in more than 60 communities and 80 organizations across the state.
“Blandin Foundation is privileged to be able to stand with the talented people behind these projects who are committed to ensuring a technologically-enhanced future for their communities,” said Bernadine Joselyn, director of Public Policy and Engagement. “Local leadership matters, and we are inspired by these examples of communities rolling up their sleeves to do this hard work.”