Initiative Foundation Awards Nearly $2.8 Million in Second-Quarter Grants

Initiative Foundation Awards Nearly $2.8 Million in Second-Quarter Grants

August 8, 2022 News News -- KKIN-KFGI-KLKS-WWWI 0

Minnesota DEED and Otto Bremer Trust partnerships deliver big impact for businesses and nonprofits
LITTLE FALLS, MN—The Initiative Foundation delivered 233 grants during the second quarter of 2022 totaling nearly $2.8 million. More than half of the grants went to businesses affected by the pandemic through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Another $1 million-plus was awarded to regional nonprofits with generous support from the Otto Bremer Trust. The Foundation also provided more traditional support to nonprofits, schools and local units of government through Partner Fund and Innovation Fund grants.

The second-quarter effort included several partner-based grant distributions:
123 grants for a total of $1.4 million as part of DEED’s Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grants program. Through two rounds, spanning 2020 to 2022, the Foundation delivered 1,527 small business relief grants for a total of $16.24 million.
15 grants totaling $1 million-plus to regional nonprofits. Grantees in the Transformative Funding for Nonprofits round supported by Otto Bremer Trust received awards ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. Projects range from a sweeping homeless shelter remodeling project in St. Cloud to bilingual advocacy services in Long Prairie to a business training program with long-term poverty-reduction implications for Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe youth. See the full list of grantees.

Through its Innovation Fund, the Initiative Foundation awarded 23 grants totaling more than $151,000. The grant awards support housing security programs for renters; a planning study and preparations for senior housing in Eagle Bend; and a September Cultivating Communities conference hosted by the Region Five Development Commission. See the full list of grantees.

Also in the second quarter of 2022, Initiative Foundation-hosted Partner Funds awarded 71 grants totaling more than $196,000. Among other efforts, these grants supported a splash pad project in Pequot Lakes; a back-to-school fair in the Staples-Motley area; and a science, technology, education, arts and math lab for Royalton schools. See the full list of grantees.

“In the second quarter of 2022, we leveraged partnerships and resources to deliver support to where it is most needed,” said Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation president. “The Foundation is honored by the opportunity to award these grants to a wide range of businesses and nonprofits thanks to generous support from Minnesota DEED, the Otto Bremer Trust and individual and business donors.”

View the summary below for highlights of second-quarter 2022 Innovation Fund and Partner Fund grants. For a more comprehensive listing, visit

Innovation Fund Awards

The following organizations were among those receiving Initiative Foundation grants during the months of April, May and June 2022:

HousingLink—Beyond Backgrounds: Creating Housing Security for Vulnerable Renters: $5,000 to help vulnerable renters find and secure stable housing opportunities.

Eagle Bend Area Development Corporation—Hilltop Senior Campus: $5,000 to support planning and preparation for a Hilltop senior campus.

St. Cloud State University Foundation, Inc.—Diversity in Teaching Initiative: $5,000 to support recruitment, retention, graduation and placement of people of color in teaching positions within Central Minnesota.

City of Swanville—Implementation of Energy and Environmental Plan: $5,000 to support a Region Five Development Commission partnership to enhance energy efficiency, including conversion to LED lighting and investment in a more efficient furnace.

Partner Fund Awards

The Initiative Foundation hosts a variety of Partner Funds for families, businesses, nonprofits and volunteer-led groups. The following grants were among those made by our Partner Funds during the months of April, May and June 2022:

Rum River Community Foundation: $1,000 to the city of Milaca to support trail expansion.

Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation: $1,000 to the Hackensack Gamechangers for seasonal community decorations.

Little Falls Education Foundation: $1,300 for a middle school fitness room.

Memorial Hospital Foundation (Serving Greater Isanti County): $12,500 to the Anoka Ramsey Community College Foundation for a telehealth simulation lab for healthcare students.

To support efforts like these or to create your own Partner Fund, visit