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Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) Program

Grants and In-Kind Services to Minnesota Nonprofits
and Agencies to Increase Internet Access

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Blandin Foundation

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Grants and in-kind services to Minnesota nonprofit organizations and government agencies to increase internet access for rural communities. Grant recipients will receive assistance in planning projects, and will have the opportunity to apply for funding to execute those projects.

Blandin Foundation stands with Minnesota’s rural leaders and communities as they create and claim futures that are resilient, vibrant and connected. Abundant and robust access to the Internet (broadband) – and the skills and resources necessary to take full advantage of this access, whether by business owners, students, workers or older adults – are essential as rural communities seek to compete and thrive in a digitally connected world.  

C. K. Blandin Foundation seeks four rural Minnesota communities to participate in the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) Program. Selected through an application process, BBCs will define their community technology goals, receive planning and technical assistance and have the opportunity to apply for resources to implement resulting projects. 

Once selected, Blandin Broadband Community teams will receive planning and facilitation support, and the opportunity to apply for a grant to fund multiple locally developed projects that address identified community technology needs. Communities must meet a minimum standard of active, cross-sector, and inclusive community participation to be invited to apply for funds.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 146657

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Chosen applicants will receive in-kind services and the opportunity to apply for a $75,000 grant program. In addition, participating communities with significant shortcomings in existing broadband services will receive priority to apply for a grant of up to $25,000.

Term of Contract:

Significant commitment on the part of the Blandin Broadband Communities will be expected and required throughout the 18-24 month project period.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The definition of “community” is flexible and based on local definition. Applications can be submitted by an individual city or a group of cities, a county or tribal government, or a self-defined region or community of interest. Eligible organizations must be 501(c)3 nonprofits or units of government, which includes school districts.

Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate established or emerging partnerships between multiple organizations and entities, including economic development, education, housing authorities, and health care.

Pre-Application Information:

- Applications due: January 24, 2020
- Program selection ontification: February 7, 2020
- Kick-off orientation meeting with four communities: February 26, 2020
- Grant application with preliminary project list: June 19, 2020
- Grant award decisions: July 2020
- Review/update community plans: April 2021
- Project evaluation: November/December 2021

Most funded projects require a minimum cash and in-kind match of 25% (1:3) of total project cost; projects funding primarily equipment require 1:1 cash match.

Participating communities with significant shortcomings in existing broadband services will receive priority to apply for a grant to conduct a Robust Network Feasibility Study; this program requires a 1:1 cash match. This study is an optional component of the overall program.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Blandin Foundation with any and all questions regarding the Blandin Broadband Communities program. This includes transmitting draft version of applications for pre-submittal review. All inquiries should be directed to Bernadine Joselyn.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit application materials to Mary Magnuson via email (preferred) or mail to:

C. K. Blandin Foundation
Attn: Bernadine Joselyn
100 North Pokegama Avenue
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Bernadine Joselyn
(218) 327-8728

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota

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