Faces: Grants, donations and education notes

Table of Contents

  • Essentia Health has announced a $25,000 gift to STARBASE Minnesota-Duluth to support its capital campaign. Tonya Loken, Community Relations Manager shared, “Essentia Health is proud to support STARBASE and their dedication to developing health care workers of the future. We are committed to partnering with organizations like STARBASE to provide equitable access for all children to STEM education across our region. We are rooted in our values and we hope this partnership inspires youth from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in the fields of science and technology.”

Education Notes

  • Erin Sheets, associate dean in the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Swenson College of Science and Engineering, was recently named a fellow in the third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy. This is a leadership program aimed at helping STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities. Dean Reed participated in the first IAspire cohort in 2019-2020. UMD is one of the few universities that has had more than one participate in the Academy.


Between April 1 and June 30, the Northland Foundation awarded 46 grants totaling $571,635 to benefit the people and communities within its service area. These numbers do not include 13 already announced Maada’ookiing grants awarded to Indigenous individuals through the foundation’s newest initiative.)

Sixteen grants totaling $166,991 went toward work specific to the wellbeing of children and youth in the region. In addition to funding for academic help and out-of-school time enrichment programming, an award to Family Rise Together ($20,000) will help support a new program connecting Black, Indigenous, and other Youth of Color in the foster care system with family members who can help care for them. Another two grants will help fund alcohol and drug use prevention efforts for young people, one to McGregor KIDS PLUS/Something Cool, Inc. ($25,000) for a new, youth-led program in the McGregor area and one to ISD #317 – Deer River School District ($15,000) aimed at helping young people in the Deer River area.

Grants awarded are as follows:

Children and Youth

School District Teams, Northeastern MN $11,991

The following 6 grants were awarded to PreK-Grade 3 School District Teams that attended the Northland Foundation’s 2021 Early Childhood Summit. These grants support planning and activities that strengthen the learning continuum from early childhood through 3rd grade.

Ely Public Schools – ISD #696, Ely: $1,000

Mesabi East Schools – ISD #2711, Aurora: $991

Virginia School District #706, Virginia: $1,000

Duluth Early Childhood Family Education, Duluth: $4,000

Invest Early, Grand Rapids: $4,000

Cloquet Public Schools-ISD #094, Cloquet: $1,000

Outside the Box, Duluth $20,000

To support out-of-school time enrichment programming about design thinking and creativity.

Friends of the Finland Community, Finland $20,000

To support out-of-school time enrichment programming for youth in the Finland area.

REACH Mentoring Program, Cloquet $5,000

To support young people in their path to high school graduation through credit recovery efforts, well-being activities, enrichment activities and service-learning opportunities throughout the summer.

Mesabi East Schools – ISD #2711, Aurora $5,000

To support an inclusive, multi-generational community garden program in the Aurora-Hoyt Lakes area.

Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community, Carlton $5,000

To support youth programming associated with the visit of US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

McGregor KIDS PLUS/Something Cool, Inc., McGregor $25,000

To support the creation of a youth-led alcohol and drug prevention program in the McGregor School District.

Deer River Schools – ISD #317, Deer River $15,000

To support drug and alcohol use prevention programming for youth in the Deer River area.

Rock Ridge Public Schools – ISD #2909, Virginia $25,000

To support the creation of programming to support academic success for PreK – Grade 1 students.

Family Rise Together, Duluth $20,000

To support new programming to connect BIPOC youth in the foster care system with relatives who can care for them.

Children’s Dental Services, Inc., Minneapolis $15,000

To support access to dental care for at-risk families across northeastern Minnesota.

Individual and Community Wellbeing

Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Hibbing, Hibbing $20,000

To support a new program to help residents in public housing achieve greater economic security and independence.

Servants of Shelter, International Falls $20,000

To support housing and services to people experiencing homelessness in International Falls.

Northland Counseling Center, Inc., Grand Rapids $25,000

To provide supportive housing services and housing-related resources in Itasca County.

Falls Hunger Coalition Inc., International Falls $15,000

To increase food security and access to fresh foods in rural Koochiching County.

Zeitgeist Center for Arts and Community, Duluth $2,000

To support programming to increase understanding of Asian American experiences.

Project Care Free Clinic, Hibbing $20,000

To provide health care access to the uninsured.

Old School Lives, Incorporated, Cotton $4,600

To support mental health services in the Cotton area.

Access North Center for Independent Living, Hibbing $25,000

To support programming to make homes more accessible to older adults and people with disabilities.

Economic and Community Vitality

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Saint Paul $1,000

To sponsor the Greater Minnesota Nonprofit Summit.

Integrated Rural Community Aging Program – Community Planning and Care Coordination

The following two grants were made through the Northland Foundation’s Integrated Rural Community Aging Program to increase access, awareness, and availability of services to help older adults and their family caregivers age successfully in their setting of choice. The foundation is partnering with 7 lead aging services organizations across northeastern Minnesota to support community-based work.

Koochiching Aging Options, International Falls $65,000

To support efforts to improve access, awareness, and availability of services and supports that help Koochiching County older adults and their family caregivers age successfully in their homes and communities.

North Shore Area Partners, Silver Bay $65,000

To support efforts to help increase awareness, availability, and access to aging services and supports in the Silver Bay area.

Integrated Rural Community Aging Program – AGE to age Implementation

The following grant was made through the Northland Foundation’s Integrated Rural Community Aging Program to provide multi-year support for intergenerational activities in AGE to age sites.

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Cloquet $30,000

To provide multi-year support for intergenerational activities through the Fond du Lac AGE to age program.

COVID Relief and Recovery

School and Community Organizations, Northeastern MN $98,544

The following 15 grants were awarded in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education on behalf of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund for emergency wrap-around early care and education services. The grants are designed to support northeastern Minnesota children ages 0-8 from underserved populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legacy of Excellence Foundation, Moose Lake: $5,000

Minisinaakwaang Leadership Academy, McGregor: $1,400

YWCA of Duluth, Duluth: $4,400

Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Nett Lake: $10,000

Little Lambs Learning Center, Duluth: $4,944

Lake Superior School District – ISD #381, Two Harbors: $5,000

Virginia School District #706, Virginia: $10,000

Grand Rapids School District-ISD #318, Grand Rapids: $5,000

Citizens for Backus, International Falls: $5,000

Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, Duluth: $10,000

Cook County Early Childhood Coalition, Grand Marais: $5,000

First Witness Child Advocacy Center, Duluth : $7,800

Ely Community Resource, Inc., Ely: $10,000

Hibbing Public Library, Hibbing: $5,000

McGregor Schools – ISD #004, McGregor: $10,000

Licensed Child Care Providers, Northeastern MN $13,500

The following three grants were awarded through the Northland Foundation’s Emergency Child Care Grant Program, with the support of numerous funding partners, to licensed family and center-based child care providers serving the children of emergency and essential workers.

Brandie’s Little Bear Learning Center, Hibbing: $4,500

Children of Grace Childcare & Education Center, Hibbing: $4,500

Kiddy Karousel Child Care Center, Hibbing: $4,500