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Foundation awards $4.3 million in grants


Blandin Foundation awards $4.3 million in grants

 Bovey Coleraine Youth Center, entrepreneur development and other regional work supported

 GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (January 28, 2010) – Blandin Foundation trustees approved $4,270,850 in grants during their December meeting, including $1,831,300 over two years in sustaining grants for long-standing local grantees.    

Among the 40 grants awarded was operating support for the Bovey Coleraine Youth Center, which provides area high school students a safe, supportive environment during after-school and overnight hours, and includes work space, adult mentors and food. The grant of $170,000 over two years also will help the center to serve as a meeting space for youth-focused groups such as the award-winning Greenway Key Club.

A major leadership development grant also was awarded for a ground-breaking Native Youth Leadership Program focused on rural Minnesota.  Building on the experiences and learning of the Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program, this $555,000 grant to University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Enigikendaasoyang Center for Indigenous Knowledge will use Ojibwe and Dakota principles of leadership to develop youth leaders over the next three years.

A grant to the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund Inc. will provide business planning training and access to financing for unemployed and underemployed men and women in Itasca County.  This $110,000 over two years supports the delivery of business development training and lending in close cooperation with Itasca Economic Development Corporation, which also will receive a grant of $225,000 to promote economic development in the Itasca County area.

Itasca Community College will receive $350,000 for financial aid assistance for Itasca County high school graduates for the 2010-11 school year.  This follows a September 2009 allocation by trustees of $975,000 for Foundation’s Education Awards scholarship program for 2010-2011.

“We are especially mindful in this difficult economy of the need for us to be a stable resource for our partners, and to demonstrate our commitment to the Grand Rapids area,” said Wade Fauth, director of grants for Blandin Foundation. Of grants approved in December, 83 percent of grants were awarded for the Foundation’s local giving area (Grand Rapids and greater Itasca County).  Over the six-year period of 2003-2008, 76 percent were to the local giving area.

Blandin Foundation approved an estimated $10.9 million in grants in 2009, plus $7 million for the Upper Mississippi Forest Project easement.  The Foundation also invested an estimated $3.2 million in its community leadership training and public policy work in 2009.

Grant applications are accepted by Blandin Foundation three times each year.  The next deadline is March 15, for decision by trustees in June.  Details can be found at the Foundation’s web site,, or by contacting the foundation directly at 326-0523.


Note to editor:  A full listing of all Foundation grants awarded at the December 2009 board meeting is posted on the Foundation’s web site:

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. 

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