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Cultivating a Culture of Compassion

Six programs chosen for 2020 Innovation Funding

The Sourcewell Board of Directors approved more than $402,000 to help support six local community initiatives through Innovation Funding, including a program to address and act upon the mental health needs of local veterans and first responders.

Review Day for local government requests was June 10 and for nonprofits on June 17. Both events were held virtually, where presentations were shared by requesting organizations, and eligible event participants had an opportunity to vote. Final approval was given by the Sourcewell board at its June 16 and July 21 meetings.

“We're excited to support projects that show strong collaboration and will create positive impacts in our region,” said Sourcewell Director of Regional Programs Paul Drange. “This year's awarded projects include communities sharing equipment, counties collaborating to provide better social services, and nonprofits focusing on our communities' mental health needs. We are humbled to come alongside these projects and support their success.”


The following projects will receive funding:


Local Governments

Project: Safe Families for Children
Organization: Morrison County (in collaboration with Cass, Crow Wing, Todd, and Wadena counties)
Description: $85,000 to develop a partnership with the national nonprofit Safe Families for Children and create community interventions in an effort to keep families and children together. SFFC supports vulnerable children and parents in crisis by creating extended family through a community of volunteers and keeps children safe, families intact, and prevents them from entering, or re-entering, into child welfare and deflecting children from foster care.


Project: Vacuum Trailer
Organization: City of Walker (in collaboration with the city of Pine River)
Description: $67,878.50 to purchase a vacuum trailer to share with all communities in Sourcewell's five-county service area. The vacuum trailer's primary use would be to remove pollutants from storm water catch basins and storm scepters. Other uses include sanitary sewer maintenance, hydro excavating, valve exercising, and utilizing software to track said valves and locations.



Project: Developing Resiliency Programs for Emergency Personnel
Organization: Essentia Health - St. Joseph's Foundation (in collaboration with Northern Pines Mental Health Center and Crow Wing Energized)
Description: $100,000 to pilot a resiliency program specifically addressing the needs of emergency personnel in Brainerd/Baxter. The pilot would also provide mental health programs for veterans and the general population throughout Crow Wing County, and replicate these throughout the five-county area. Resiliency programs enable wellbeing through social connection, peer learning, and by decreasing the stigma of asking for help.


Project: Neurofeedback Brain Retraining
Organization: Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center (in collaboration with Sexual Assault Services and MN Adult and Teen Challenge)
Description: $100,000 to provide Neurofeedback Brain Training services to clients of the requesting organizations. Neurofeedback (also called EEG Biofeedback) is a state-of-the-art, non-invasive, drugless method for teaching the brain to function in a more balanced and healthful way. This method provides changes to brainwaves that can help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, memory loss, sleep disorders, learning disorders, and more without the use of medication.


Project: Rx/Vet Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Organization: Sprout MN (in collaboration with Region Five Development Commission/North Central Economic Development Association)
Description: $25,000 to create a Prescriptive Community Supported Agriculture (RxCSA) program with specific target focus areas of geographically dispersed veterans and their families, those who are working to increase adaptation and lifestyle capacity while living with mental illness, and those who are recovering from opioid or other drug additions. This approach offers new lifelong skills that change behaviors, build new adaptation skills, increase self-esteem, grow nutritional sustainability, and provide an overall greater well-being.


Project: Reducing Isolation, Building Resiliency, and Empowering Rural Community Members through Connections
Organization: Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (in collaboration with Wellness in the Woods)
Description: $25,000 to help connect families and older adults living in rural communities within Cass, Crow Wing, and Morrison counties to Central Lakes College nursing students and other student leaders. Through this endeavor, participants would learn technology skills to communicate with family members, gain confidence to connect with peers, family, and even medical providers virtually; as well as learn the importance of creating meaningful connections within their communities.


To learn more about Sourcewell funding, visit