United Way of 1000 Lakes and the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation announce that applications for funding from the Itasca Area Community Response Fund opened on January 1st, 2021. Nonprofits and community organizations looking for assistance with meeting COVID-19 specific needs, as well as those helping with longer-term recovery efforts, are encouraged to apply for crisis relief funding.

The fund has provided $155,500 in COVID-19 response funds in its first three rounds of grantmaking, supporting 27 local nonprofit programs in their efforts to respond to and navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

“Over the past year we’ve seen our community work together to get through challenges,” stated Kim Brink Smith, United Way Executive Director. “The fund is an example of that. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we’re able to continue helping local nonprofits deliver vital services as we head into the new year.”

The Response Fund was established in April, when a collaborative of local funders led by United Way of 1000 Lakes and the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation came together to help the greater Itasca area through the coming months. To date, the fund has raised over $195,000.

Nonprofit and community organizations in the greater Itasca area are encouraged to apply for relief funds, applications for which will be accepted through January 29th. Response grant funds are flexible and can be used for a range of purposes. Organizations interested in applying can submit an online application at gracf.org (select “Go to the Grant Portal”).

To learn more about the fund and to donate online, visit uwlakes.org/community-response-fund/ or gracf.org. Check donations can be made to United Way of 1000 Lakes (Suite A) or Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (Suite E) and mailed to 350 NW 1st Ave., Grand Rapids, MN 55744. Include a reference of “Community Response Fund” in the memo line. Supporters can also make a donation by texting LAKES to 26989 and selecting the “COVID-19 Response Fund” from the dropdown menu.

Who’s Eligible to Apply?

Any group or organization applying for response fund grants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization, or able to receive a tax-deductible donation (this includes schools and other public entities).

Organizations must be located in and serving populations in Itasca County and the five surrounding communities of Bena (Cass County), Blackduck (Beltrami County), Hill City (Aitkin County), Northome (Koochiching County), and Remer (Cass County).

For additional information about the fund and eligibility, visit uwlakes.org/community-response-fund/.

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