$2.25 million Lake Superior Initiative to launch programs to support community organizationsThe Lake Superior Initiative, a three-year, $2.25 million program to build the efficiency, effectiveness and capability of our region’s community organizations, is now under way.
The Lake Superior Initiative, a three-year, $2.25 million program to build the efficiency, effectiveness and capability of our region’s community organizations, is now under way.
The Initiative, a joint project of the Duluth Area Family YMCA and United Way of Greater Duluth, is overseeing two federal grants that will provide services and financial awards to help community organizations build on their strengths.
The Initiative will help organizations in all stages, from the established organization that needs a new strategic plan, the mid-size organization needing to incorporate technology for community outreach, or a new organization wanting to learn the process of filing for non-profit status.
“This is an amazing opportunity for community organizations to do the things to help themselves that they feel they don’t have the money or staff to get done,” said Paula Reed, president of the United Way of Greater Duluth. “This grant gives us the opportunity to work with literally hundreds of community organizations in different ways over the next three years and provide them with all kinds of assistance to make them better, stronger, and more effective organizations.”
Organizations in St. Louis, Cook, Lake and Carlton counties in Minnesota and Douglas County in Wisconsin are eligible for the program’s benefits. Community organizations are broadly defined as community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and tribal entities.
“Community organizations are the safety net that help so many people in our region and the Lake Superior Initiative grants give us a chance to further strengthen organizations and make this region a model for the whole nation,” said Blair Gagne, community services director for the Duluth Area Family YMCA.
This region is one of just two nationwide to be awarded two highly competitive grants from the Compassion Capital Fund of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: a $750,000 “Communities Empowering Youth” (CEY) grant for youth-oriented organizations and a $1.5 million “Demonstration Grant” targeting Community Organizations more generally.
A comprehensive survey of the needs of community organizations is already under way. The next step will be a series of information meetings in late February and early March to explain to organizations how the Initiative could benefit them. The meetings are open to all community organizations. Organizations interested in applying for a grant under the Demonstration Program are strongly encouraged to attend one of the information sessions.
The local meeting will be held from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, March 6, in Room 258 at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, 2101 14th St., Cloquet. Parking is available on campus grounds.