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Blandin Foundation Grant - Over $50,000

Grants to Rural Minnesota Nonprofits and Agencies
to Promote Healthy, Inclusive Rural Communities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Blandin Foundation

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Grants starting at $50,000 to rural Minnesota nonprofit organizations, tribal government agencies, and other units of government for programs and projects that focus on promoting healthy, inclusive rural communities. Funding will specifically be provided for proposals that focus on one of the following areas:

Focus Area 1 - Expand Opportunity:

Blandin Foundation seeks the blend of educational attainment, economic opportunity and broader inclusion in rural Minnesota communities, so all residents have greater opportunities to prosper.

Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate:

- A strategy involving inter-relationships between economy, education and inclusivity
- Clear outcomes such as expanded enterprises and entrepreneurship, increased educational or economic success for populations that have faced historical barriers, and expanded relationships between educational systems, employers and parents.

Focus Area 2 - Itasca County Area Vitality:

The Foundation carries on the legacy and commitments of businessman and Blandin Foundation founder Charles K. Blandin to his adopted hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and surrounding communities. These are grants primarily for cultural, social services and educational activities that directly benefit communities of Itasca County and the neighboring communities of Blackduck, Northome, Hill City, and Remer, Minnesota.

Please Note: A minimum of 60 percent of the Foundation’s grant-making is reserved for the direct benefit of its home communities. This includes grants made through other focus areas.
Low priority is placed on large capital grants, recreation, and community amenities.

Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate:

- Clear articulation of strategies and outcomes that will strengthen the local community, with particular consideration given to proposals that allow vulnerable families and individuals to live in greater dignity.
- Cost-effective service delivery strategies, including evidence of collaboration with organizations addressing similar issues. Also, commitment to continuous improvement.
- Evidence of significant matching contributions.

Focus Area 3 - Rural Community Leadership:

Blandin Foundation has had more than a quarter-century commitment to developing and sustaining the capacity of rural residents to build healthy communities. Its primary investment in this focus area has been, and will continue to be, through its Blandin Community Leadership Programs. In addition, a small number of grants will be made to support leadership development efforts that complement those of the Foundation.

Please Note:

- Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate rural leaders acting collaboratively on community strengthening efforts.
- Grants are available for Blandin Leadership Program alumni through a separate fund, Blandin Leadership Program grants.
- Grants for communities pursuing broadband feasibility studies and efforts to increase broadband adoption and use are available through Community Broadband Projects.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182385

Estimated Size of Grant:

These grants are over $50,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible organizations and activities are:

- Located in rural Minnesota*
- Have Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 status or are a tribal government or unit of government
- Align with Blandin Foundation’s focus areas, listed above.

*Geographic Focus:

A minimum of 60 percent of grant funds are awarded to the Foundation’s home communities in the Grand Rapids/Itasca County, Minnesota area, including the communities of Blackduck, Hill City, Northome, and Remer.

Outside of the Foundation’s home giving area, grants are focused on fewer, high-impact awards to projects with the potential to establish models that can be emulated by other communities. Preference will be given to communities that have participated in a Blandin Foundation community leadership program.


Projects targeted to the following metropolitan areas of the state are ineligible:

- Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Duluth
- Moorhead
- Rochester
- St. Cloud
- Mankato

Projects with the following purposes are ineligible:

- Outside the state of Minnesota
- Urban projects
- Religious activities
- Medical research
- Travel grants for individuals or groups
- Camping and athletic programs
- Ordinary government services
- Grants benefitting individuals
- Grants solely intended to influence specific legislation or a specific candidate

Pre-Application Information:

Applications Due: March 15, June 15, September 15, December 15

Click on the link in the Supporting Documents section below to download the application.

Additional Links:

About Grants:

General Guidelines:

Application Process:

- Prior to completing a full grant proposal, it is best to submit a simple letter of inquiry, providing a short description of your project idea. Inquiries are reviewed weekly. See the Contact Information section below to access the link to submit an inquiry online.

- If your inquiry is consistent with Foundation objectives, you may be invited to submit a full proposal.

- If you have been invited to submit a grant proposal, use the appropriate online application, or download the appropriate application form. If you use a downloaded application, email the completed grant proposal to the email address listed below. Electronic submissions are preferred. Do not feel that you must turn to outside experts or consultants to help you write the proposal.

- Notification: For grants $50,000 and above, Blandin Foundation program staff review all grant requests and present recommendations to the Board of Trustees, which makes the final funding decision at their meetings in June, September, December and March. Applicants receive notification of the results within days of decision and payment within six weeks (broadband grants may vary).

- Organizations that receive awards are required to provide progress reports and other documentation relating to use and impact of funding provided. Blandin Foundation grants staff will provide additional information about this requirement.

Contact Information:

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

Click here to submit your inquiry online:

If you use a downloaded application, email the completed grant proposal to

For more information, call 218-326-0523 or email the Foundation at the above email address.

Staff Contacts:

Sonja Merrild, Director of Grants
Phone: 218-327-8746

Linda Gibeau, Program Officer - Grants Management
Phone: 218-327-8702

Kyle Erickson, Program Officer

Diana Daigle, Administrative Assistant - Grants
Phone: 218-327-8724

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota: Rural Minnesota Areas (Primarily, the Grand Rapids/Itasca County Area, including the communities of Blackduck, Hill City, Northome, and Remer Communities)