Guest View: A private solution to a public disaster
It has been heartwarming and uplifting to witness our community's shared positive and powerful response to the recent flooding in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Our elected officials have effectively marshaled public sector resources in a concerted effort to provide relief. They have provided bold leadership while clearly illustrating their commitment to our region's citizens. Yet, we cannot depend solely on a public sector solution to our shared challenges; we, too, need a private solution to this public disaster.
Thankfully, local community leaders, who lead private organizations, have orchestrated a concerted private response to address the needs of our businesses and families. Specifically, two organizations are marshaling the generosity of several local businesses and organizations into two bold and beautiful relief efforts. Praise and honor should be bestowed upon these two community treasures: the Northland Foundation and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.
Shortly after the flood, the Northland Foundation established their Business Flood Recovery Fund to assist organizations in northeastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin with recovery from flood damage. Grants up to $5,000 each are being focused on the replacement or reconditioning of tangible assets including inventory, equipment, furniture and supplies, along with building and site repair. These dollars are being allocated to businesses that sustained flood damage that focus primarily on: Aitkin, Carlton, St. Louis, Douglas, and eastern Lake counties, as well as other areas in the Foundation's seven-county service region. Applications for funding are being reviewed at an ongoing basis with responses provided within two weeks. For information about this fund, contact Erik Torch, grant manager at the Northland Foundation, at 218-723-4040 or online at www.northlandfdn.org.
Also in response to the flooding, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation created the 2012 Flood Immediate Response Fund. The fund supports area nonprofits with grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The grants from this fund provide extra dollars needed to meet the increased community demand for goods and services. Applications for fund support are currently being accepted. The applications are reviewed and decided upon within one week. Interested nonprofits can inquire with the Foundation at 218-726-0232 or online at www.dsacommunityfoundation.com/grants/funding_inquiry.php.
The quick response of these decision-makers, the quick distribution of financial support to successful applicants, and the simplicity of the application process should be a welcome relief to weary business owners and operators who are recovering from flood damage. I encourage you to utilize these resources of efficient and effective support: the Northland Foundation and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation funds.
David Ross is president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.