LITTLE FALLS - USDA Rural Development leaders will join invited staff Friday afternoon from the offices of Sen. Norm Coleman, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Jim Oberstar, of Minnesota, to deliver $234,643 in funding for Initiative Foundation anti-poverty programs.
The foundation will then announce the availability of up to $10,000 in follow-up grants for 15 rural communities.
"The primary goal of our partnership with USDA is to help strengthen the economies in these communities," Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president, said in a news release. "If we can help support projects that keep local business doors open, then that's definitely a step in the right direction."
USDA Rural Development's Rural Community Development Initiative funds will help cities take action on goals established through the foundation's Healthy Communities Partnership, a leadership training and community planning program that includes town hall-style meetings and strong citizen involvement.
Eligible communities in the Brainerd lakes area include Backus, Cass Lake, Hackensack, Jenkins, Longville, Onamia, Wahkon and Walker.
"We're interested in projects like downtown revitalization, economic development and improved cultural relations," Dan Frank, Initiative Foundation program manager for community development, said in a news release. "This grant will enable these communities to continue the great work that they started."
Since 2004, the Initiative Foundation has received more than $484,000 in federal grant support from USDA. The latest grant will also benefit the foundation's Healthy Organizations Partnership, which provides leadership and management training to nonprofit organizations that deal with poverty issues.
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