LITTLE FALLS -- The Initiative Foundation of Little Falls will receive a $300,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to provide support and training for 44 nonprofit organizations and government officials in 19 communities.
The announcement was made Thursday by Steve Wenzel, Minnesota state director of Rural Development of the USDA. Wenzel also represented the Little Falls area in the Legislature before his appointment.
The Initiative Foundation will use the money to provide technical support, training and financial support to nonprofit organizations and to elected and appointed officials in 19 qualifying rural communities. The training will be through the foundation's Healthy Organizations Partnership Program and will be in area's such as sustainable community development, strategic planning, conflict resolution and leadership.
"By building the skills and confidence of nonprofit, elected and appointed leaders, we will help rural communities tackle emerging regional issues like rapid growth, economic development and family priorities," said Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president in a statement.
Wenzel, who credited Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., with working on the project, said the money will come from the U.S. farm bill, signed by President George W. Bush in May 2002.
In March 2004 the Initiative Foundation was awarded a $250,000 USDA Rural Development Grant to promote the Healthy Organizations Partnership Program. Thursday's announcement of a grant brings the agency's total assistance to the foundation to $550,000 in the last two years.
The communities that will be served by the Initiative Foundation grant will include Backus, Cass Lake, Emily, Garrison, Hackensack, Hewitt, Isle, Verndale, Long Prairie, Longville, Motley, Pine City, Remer, Staples and Walker.
Among the nonprofits that will be assisted by the grant are Bi-CAP Community Action, Faith in Action Cass County, Great River Arts Association, Habitat for Humanity Morrison County, Boys and Girls Clubs of Leech/Cass Lake, Bridges of Hope, Cass Lake Family Center, Crisis Line and Referral Service, Ottertail Wadena Community Action, Paul Bunyan Nature Learning Center, Pillager Family Center, Pequot Lakes Area Development Organization, Sustainable Farming Association of Central Minnesota, Tri-County Community Action, Mounted Eagles, Junior Achievement, New Pathways, Partners for a Healthy Wadena Region and the Pine River-Backus Family Center.
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