22:09 PM

Community Projects to Receive More than $600K in Support

Nonprofit, government representatives vote on local projects to receive funding

Individuals representing government and nonprofit organizations from throughout the area turned out to learn about and vote on projects vying for Community Impact Funding dollars this week at Sourcewell in Staples.

Representatives chose six projects in the five-county area to receive $527,348 from Sourcewell, pending the board of directors' approval. The Initiative Foundation made a surprise $75,000 award to one nonprofit, moving the total award amount for the day to $602,348.

“Review Day is always an exciting time as it provides a preview of the incredible projects soon to impact area communities,” said Sourcewell Director of Regional Services Paul Drange. “We are happy so many individuals chose to attend and participate in determining the projects to receive funding – both on a nonprofit and government level.”

Drange said the approved projects will go before the Sourcewell Board of Directors at the June meeting to be formally approved.

Zach Tabatt, nonprofit development program officer with the Initiative Foundation, was also in attendance at Review Day and announced his organization had voted to award additional funding to one of the nonprofit projects up for consideration. As part of the Foundation's Transformative Funding for Nonprofits, the Building Confidence and Employment Skills Together program, developed as a partnership between the Confidence Learning Center and Employment Enterprises, Inc., was awarded an additional $75,000.

“It was an uplifting experience to be in the room when nonprofit representatives from across the region voted amongst their peers to support high impact collaborations serving our area,” Tabatt said. “I am proud of the collaboration between the Initiative Foundation and Sourcewell that allowed us to make an even greater impact to the Building Confidence and Employment Skills program.”


Programs voted to receive financial support include:

Nonprofit funding

Project: Building Healthy Fathers, Builds Healthy Communities
Organization(s): Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, and Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project 
Description: $100,000 to equip men in the community to become great fathers and better role models. The agencies will offer Building Healthy Dads classes, providing five weekend events, and a year-round mentoring program for dads. By building healthy fathers, the program hopes to, in turn, improve the health of local communities.
Contact: Sherri Borowicz


Project: Cass County Critical Home Repairs
Organization(s): Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity and Cass County Faith in Action
Description: $100,000 to provide home repair services to qualified homeowners in Cass County. A combination of a grant and an affordable loan is made to the homeowner to cover the cost of the work. This program will serve low-income families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.
Contact: Kevin Pelkey


Project: Building Confidence and Employment Skills Together
Organization(s): Confidence Learning Center and Employment Enterprises Inc 
Description: $75,000 from Sourcewell and $75,000 from the Initiative Foundation to ‘Build Confidence and Employment Skills Together’ for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities through an education system that focuses on employment skills. The skills learned with the hands-on education will prepare individuals to apply for job opportunities within their communities.
Contact: Sarah Smith


Project: Farm-to-Food Shelf Pilot Program
Organization(s): Lakes Area Food Shelf, Pine River Area Food Shelf, and the Pine River/Backus Community Meal Program
Description: $50,550 for a pilot program designed to provide nutritious, fresh produce to low-income families. The program will be shared with other nonprofits looking to develop local food sourcing for fresh produce.
Contact: Kathy Adams


Government agency funding

Project: Lexipol policy/procedures for Law Enforcement
Organization(s): Baxter, Crosby, Crosslake, Little Falls, Nisswa, and Wadena police departments
Description: $131,798 for law enforcement agencies to purchase the Lexipol software. Lexipol provides the most up-to-date laws, statutes, and legislative rules that are implemented into policy and procedure for law enforcement officers.
Contact: Wadena Police Department
(218) 631-7700

Project: Lifesaving De-escalation Training Through Virtual Reality
Organization(s): Breezy Point, Nisswa, and Pequot Lakes police departments 
Description: $70,000 to purchase a virtual reality training system that will provide an immersive training environment for officers to practice responding to incidents involving mental health and persons in crisis, focusing on de-escalation techniques and tactics.
Contact: Breezy Point Police Department