LARA announces second annual grant to protect Crow Wing County’s natural resources
The Crow Wing County Lakes and Rivers Alliance (LARA) announces the second annual grant to help fund environmental stewardship projects within the county through an endowed fund with the Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation
The initial gift that established the fund came from the assets of the Crow Wing Environment Protection Association (CWEPA), a nonprofit organization that dissolved but sought to leave a legacy to the community through its initial gift of nearly $57,000.
In the first year of the grant, the earnings from the fund were used to help two lake associations more rapidly assess the introduction of aquatic invasive species. The Cullen Lakes Association was awarded matching funds to allow the lake association to watch for the introduction of aquatic invasive plants and evaluate any changes to native plant populations.
The Lake Hubert Conservation Association was also awarded matching funds to encourage the involvement of property owners in monitoring and preventing the influx of aquatic invasive species.
Both projects include skills training, leadership development, membership recruitment and educational components that are expected to result in measurable changes in behavior.
Although funds from the first year of the grant were awarded to two lake associations, CWEPA funds are available to all nonprofit or governmental organizations wishing to complete an environmental project in the area.
Proposals must align with the mission of protecting the abundance of natural resources in Crow Wing County. Completed applications must be submitted by Nov. 30. Grants will be awarded in March 2013.
“This is a great opportunity for those of us who care about natural resources,” said Ann Beaver, a former CWEPA board member and a current LARA board member, in a news release. “It’s a chance for people to make tax-deductible donations to a fund, and the benefits will happen right here in Crow Wing County — right here in our own backyard.”
Don Hickman of the Initiative Foundation said donor-advised endowments like the CWEPA Fund are a great way for communities to create sustainable support for the projects they value.
“We are excited to be part of this effort, and we hope it can be a model for other counties,” Hickman said. “In fact, we are willing to match up to $10,000 in new contributions to the CWEPA Fund to help it continue to grow.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the CWEPA Fund, seeking an application to receive grant dollars for their natural resources project, or making a tax-deductible contribution to the fund, should contact Phil Hunsicker at 824-5095, or by email at email@example.com.