Blandin Foundation Grants Over $50,000

Blandin Foundation

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Next deadline: Dec 15, 2020

Later deadlines: Mar 15, 2021, Jun 15, 2021, Sep 15, 2021

Grant amount: More than US $50,000

Fields of work: Religion & Spirituality Wellness & Healthy Living Community Development & Revitalization Human & Social Services Economic Services & Development Art & Culture Employment Services Workforce Preparation & Job Readiness Entrepreneurship Vocational & Trade Education Adult Education Career/College Preparation Civic Leadership Development Show all

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Government Entity, Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Preferred: Counties in Minnesota: Aitkin County, Beltrami County, Cass County, Itasca County, Koochiching County Other eligible locations: Minnesota

Location of residency: Minnesota

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About this funder:



Blandin Foundation

Blandin Foundation is all about Minnesotans imagining, leading, and growing healthy, inclusive – vibrant – communities.

Our programs train community leaders, support communities as they include and create opportunities for all people, and support work at home in the Itasca Area.

Grants Over $50,000

A minimum of 60 percent of grant funds are awarded to the Foundation’s home communities in the Grand Rapids/Itasca County, Minn., 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.

Eligibility and our areas of focus guidelines apply. Response in 90 days or more.

Areas of Focus

Blandin Foundation is both a responsive and strategic grantmaker. We welcome applications from current and potential grantees working to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, and concentrate our investments in three primary strategic areas of focus.

Focus Area 1: Itasca County Area Vibrancy

Blandin Foundation’s most substantial and broadest form of grantmaking occurs in North-Central Minnesota (Itasca County and the neighboring communities of Blackduck, Northome, Hill City and Remer). We support work that helps meet the economic, social, physical, cultural and spiritual/wellness needs of Itasca-area residents.

Blandin Foundation welcomes inquires from organizations that:

Focus Area 2: Rural Community Leadership

In addition to community leadership training programs, Blandin Foundation offers grants to support community leaders as they think holistically and act collaboratively on systems-level (embedded policies or practices that perpetuate community inequities) issues they have identified as critical to the health and resiliency of their community.

Blandin Foundation welcomes inquires from organizations that:

  • Inform and connect community leaders to issues relevant among rural Minnesotans: leaders stay current on topics, trends and issues that impact their communities. Examples: What’s Left (an exhibit on mental illness and suicide) and MinnPost’s Immigrant Communities Reporting Project
  • Support and sustain networks of rural leaders: leaders are equipped with skills and abilities to strengthen their communities and/or lead on diversity, equity and inclusion. Examples: Minnesota Network of Community Developers, Better OUTcomes for LGBTQI, and the American Indian Oyate Network
  • Equip Blandin Leadership Program alumni to move forward a cohort-identified idea: leaders take courageous action to address barriers in their community, especially socio-economic, racial and cultural barriers. Each community cohort is eligible for three $5,000 grants and are encouraged to use the program-specific guidelines and applications. Examples: Chisholm Kids Plus and MNyou Youth Garden

Focus Area 3: Expand Opportunity

Grants support projects that improve and align education, entrepreneurship, quality employment and innovations to expand opportunity for every community member.

Blandin Foundation welcomes inquiries from organizations leading projects that:

  • Engage broader sections of the current or potential workforce: create or expand educational and employment opportunities, especially for youth and people who have been persistently excluded. Examples: Women’s Foundation girlsBEST program and Northern Opportunity Works
  • Use existing assets in creative ways: incorporate a community’s economic strengths in new ways to innovate based on existing enterprises and cultural, creative, or natural assets. Examples: Rural Entrepreneurial Venture Program and Greater Bemidji’s LaunchPad.
  • Forge stronger relationships between education and employment systems: two or more entities work together to improve educational and employment outcomes for people living in rural Minnesota. Examples: Minnesota innovation Institute and AEOA Adult Scholarship Program

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible organizations and activities are
    • Minnesota organizations serving, and preferably located in, rural communities of 35,000 residents or less
    • Project has a clearly defined charitable purpose recognized by the IRS
    • Align with Blandin Foundation’s focus areas


  • Preference will be given to communities that have participated in a Blandin Foundation community leadership program.


  • Ineligible organizations and activities are
    • Projects benefiting metropolitan areas of the state (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth, Moorhead, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato)
    • Projects outside the state of Minnesota
    • Religious activities
    • Medical research
    • Travel grants for individuals or groups
    • Camping and athletic programs
    • Ordinary government services
    • Grants solely intended to influence specific legislation or a specific candidate


This page was last reviewed December 16, 2019 and last updated December 16, 2019