The Longest Table, a free community dinner meant to foster conversations and friendship, welcomed 850 guests next to Sertoma Park in mid-September. Today, the results of those conversations continue to build momentum with funding awards for seven projects, totaling $10,000, set to launch in 2024.
The event featured an uninterrupted table spanning 1,250 feet along 11th Avenue South. Organized by the Community Foundation and the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, participants gathered for facilitated discussions focused on healthy habits to achieve better mental and physical health. Following the event, participants were invited to apply for funding of up to $2,000 with the goal of getting ideas off the table and into the community.
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region is the recipient of the 2023 North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations’ (NDANO) Partnership Building Award. The Partnership Building Award is given to an organization that has demonstrated community leadership and built partnerships within the North Dakota nonprofit sector.
“It is an honor to present this award to an organization whose work has reached across so many charitable sectors,” says Dana Hager, NDANO Executive Director.
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region is a nonprofit, community foundation created by and for the people of the region to encourage a spirit of philanthropy. Working in partnership with hundreds of individuals, families, businesses, and trusted advisers, the Community Foundation manages over 145 charitable funds and provides grants to a variety of nonprofits, schools, libraries, civic agencies, and other charitable causes.
“We are committed to transforming collective generosity into the greater good for the region,” said Becca Baumbach, Community Foundation Executive Director. “From strengthening local nonprofits and helping students reach their educational goals, to empowering women leaders and investing in new opportunities for area children, we plan and collaborate to ensure that regional philanthropy has a real impact.”
Over the past 25 years, the Community Foundation has deployed over $12 million to improve the quality of life of the region’s residents and enhance the vibrancy of communities. This past year was one of the most impactful years in the Community’s Foundation’s history. In all, the Community Foundation received 462 gifts from donors and distributed a record $1.35 million to improve health and education, aid community and human services, amplify creativity and culture, and support economic development across Grand Forks, Walsh, and Polk Counties.
The Arts Regrant Program, for example, has been an invaluable opportunity for many. With funds provided by the City of Grand Forks and the National Endowment for the Arts, the program supports the growth and success of arts and culture organizations and secures their vital role in the community. In 2022, the Foundation distributed the Arts Regrant pot of nearly $260,000 among 14 nonprofits. These funds have proven more impactful than ever as many award recipients continue to recover from the financial and logistical crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among last year’s recipients was Arts for Vets, a young organization facilitating the creative expression of military veterans. “We started at my kitchen table in late 2015,” said Kim Wilson, Founder and Executive Director. By 2019, Wilson and other artists had secured a lease for a location large enough to house their quickly growing “nomadic tribe” of members.
Wilson didn’t let the pandemic, which hit the U.S. in early 2020, ruin her vision. “We did art and grocery drops, bought iPads and phones for shut-ins, and paid for wireless and internet services for some members so people could stay connected.” By late 2021, the organization launched two substantial art shows. With the help of the Arts Regrant funding, they would go on to do much more.
Arts for Vets upped its number of participants last year and more than doubled their audience attendance. “In 2021 we had 51 participants in our classes, and shows reaching an audience of 4,495 people,” said Wilson. “In 2022 those numbers jumped immensely: our participants increased to 219, with shows reaching an audience of 12,601!” The welcomed growth resulted in a need for more space. Thanks to their 2022 award, Arts for Vets now has two locations for year-round shows and exhibits. “We expanded our gallery at 215 N 3rd from 1,000 to 4,000 square feet to accommodate the increased demand for our shows, classes, community space, and studios. In 2022, we had several highly praised exhibits, and we also secured a permanent gallery at the University of North Dakota. Through generous collaboration with UND, our Veteran Artists have a permanent rotating show called Creative Forces located in UND’s old medical school.”
The Arts Regrant funding was applied to more than expanding their grounds. “The award assisted us in meeting every aspect of our mission to provide quality classes, production, and mentoring for people that would either not be able to afford those things or not feel comfortable in a less supportive and less personalized environment.” Wilson went on, “I like to say, ‘This group can knit a sweater out of lint if we have to.’ But we had a very limited income last year, and the grant funding helped us to keep going.”
Art has long been known to offer therapeutic effects to creators and their audiences. With its resident Air Force base, Grand Forks is a prime location for an organization hoping to help veterans express themselves. “We do not edit people’s expressions to serve any purpose but their own, and even though some of the topics for veterans and participants can be tough, they say they feel completely supported in exploring their thoughts and experiences freely,” Wilson provided. Arts for Vets offers multiple classes, including: Native American Beading, Writing and Poetry, Paint Pour, Art as Small Business, Individual Mentoring for Artists and Musicians, Water Media, Card Making and Collage, Family Art Makers, Frame Shop, Woodworking, Stained Glass, Writing A Great Song, and Spoken Word Presentation. Wilson expects class participation to further increase from 219 to 250 people.
“I have the privilege of witnessing artists evolve on their journeys,” Wilson said. “Arts for Vets is honored to hold that space for them, to uplift them and help them be seen.” Wilson, who herself has always found healing through creative expression, believes Arts for Vets to be an integral part of not just an artist’s life, but the community at large. “We provide an interface between the business community and at-risk populations that elevates, equalizes, and celebrates artists and community offerings in a safe, respectful, and fun atmosphere. The Community Foundation’s support contributes to the stability and consistency of these most-needed collaborations.”
Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that the Community Foundation was the recipient of a $50,000 grant to assist local arts organizations with their projects in 2024. This funding will bolster support offered through the Arts Regrant Program, increasing the program’s reach next year.
Also among last year’s grant recipients was Golden Link Senior Center, which was awarded through the Community Opportunity Grant Program. This particular program focuses on improving the quality of life in our region. Located in Crookston, MN, the Center itself is a pillar of support in the community. “It’s the only place in Crookston for seniors to gather,” said Tamara Parkin, Grant Chair and Secretary of the Board. “We also open our facility to all nonprofit and service groups to hold meetings and events.” Currently, 16 organizations utilize the Center’s building, making it an even more valuable asset to the community.
In 2022, Golden Link applied specifically for funds to help with their Educational Programming Series, an eight-week course on medical and legal subjects. “It’s essential to keep current on issues we face as we age,” Parkin said. Some of the programming’s covered topics included general nutrition, stroke and heart attack prevention, and medication management. The funding contributed to the acquisition of course materials and the overall success of the series.
As with Arts for Vets, Golden Link saw an increase in patrons last year, as well as a record number of programs. Parkin is excited for this growth to continue into 2023. “You are never too old to learn and to play. We already offer so much variety in our programming, from exercise to movies. We have card playing, music and arts programming, patron trips, and coffee time. We have something for everyone.” But, with a growth-centered mission, the Center wants to do even more. The 2022 Community Opportunity grant award paves the way for greater initiatives, such as bringing in medical specialists to directly discuss health issues older adults often face.
Besides serving as a philanthropic partner to donors and nonprofits, the Community Foundation also strives to enhance community engagement through unique, shared opportunities. On September 14, the Community Foundation will once again join with several local organizations to hold the third Longest Table, an international award-winning event that welcomes 1,000 residents to sit down for a free meal in a welcoming environment with people they may not know to foster stronger connections, exchange ideas, and promote community engagement around a central topic. Stay tuned for more information about the Longest Table at longesttablegf.com.
Community Foundation Announces 14 Recipients of Arts Regrant Funding Totaling $260,000 in Grant Awards
In its initiative to direct funds toward local creative and cultural endeavors, the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region has named the recipients of the 2022 Arts Regrant Program.
The Arts Regrant Program offers financial support for local arts and culture organizations who seek to educate, entertain, and inspire the community with their creative vision. This year’s grant program consisted of funding from two separate pools, evaluated independently from one another:
Combined funding totaling $257,999.94 was distributed among 14 nonprofit organizations including:
"The Arts Regrant Program works diligently to support programs that offer low-cost educational and artistic experiences to Grand Forks families, to increase access for both artists and diverse audiences, and to encourage the growth our community’s creative and cultural sectors," said the Community Foundation’s Executive Director Becca Baumbach.
Baumbach says the Arts Regrant Program investments have created ripples of hope across the community, especially given that the arts sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Organizations had to think critically and creatively to survive, and many are rebuilding capacity as audiences have begun to return.
ArtWise, an organization that saw dramatic change in their funding levels from 2020-2022, said receiving Arts Regrant funding allowed them to restructure their programming and open a new facility in the Columbia Mall, taking on gallery shows and educational opportunities to support local artists and families.
The North Dakota Ballet Company’s Executive Director, Laura Arneson, also talked positively about the impact of the arts both during the pandemic and as restrictions continue to lift. “The positive influence of our programming over the past two years has been most prominent on our young artists as these uncertain times have created increased isolation and depression. It was important for the North Dakota Ballet Company to continue to provide this outlet for our dancers, as well as encourage the community as they ease back into in-person experiences.”
With the return to some normalcy and the availability of additional funding, many applicants to the Arts Regrant Program shared their enthusiasm to return to pre-pandemic audience numbers while implementing the lessons learned and the new ideas generated over the past two years.
“The Arts Regrant Program supports so much of the quality of life we enjoy in Grand Forks,” said Baumbach. “From artists receiving professional opportunities, to children thriving because of creative outlets, to audiences and visitors supporting our economy, this grant program has a huge impact.”
Over the next 12 months, it is projected grantees will offer opportunities to 6,440 professional artists and aspiring creatives and will welcome over 60,800 visitors and audience members to their facilities.
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region is pleased to announce they have been selected to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. The Community Foundation is receiving $150,000 and will use this funding to distribute grants in their community to eligible recipients to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $20,200,000 to 66 local arts agencies nationwide for subgranting.
“The NEA’s significant investment in local arts agencies, including the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region, is a key element in helping the arts and culture sector recover and reopen, while ensuring that American Rescue Plan funding is distributed equitably,” said Ann Eilers, NEA’s acting chair. “These grants recognize the vital role of local arts agencies and will allow them to help rebuild local economies and contribute to the well-being of our communities.”
“We are deeply appreciative to our federal partners for this funding from the American Rescue Plan,” said Becca Baumbach, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “This much-needed opportunity will provide critical support to our creative sector, ensuring that museums, theaters, galleries, and studios are well positioned to re-open with new safety protocols in place and regain a solid financial position for long-term sustainability. For many households during the pandemic, these organizations brought entertainment, creativity, and a touch of normalcy during periods of seclusion and uncertainty. From outdoor theatre and live-streamed ballet performances to Zoom-based arts classes and virtual book readings, these nonprofits have gone above and beyond to create a vibrant community regardless of the circumstances dealt to them over the past eighteen months.”
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region will distribute the funding to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with an arts and/or culture-based mission and principal operations in the City of Grand Forks in conjunction with its annual Arts Regrant Program. Applicants will be able to apply for funding to assist with salaries, facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts. The Arts Regrant Program will open for applications at 9:00am on February 1, 2022, and will close at noon on February 28, 2022. Applications will be evaluated based on artistic quality; impact, existing or potential, on the communities and audiences the organization serves and/or plans to serve; and organizational capabilities. Preference may be given to nonprofits that have not received any prior American Rescue Plan funding. Grant recipients will be announced by March 31, 2022. More details about the program will be available at gofoundation.org beginning in January.
This is the second of three installments of the NEA’s American Rescue Plan funding. Last April, the NEA announced that 40 percent of its $135 million in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. The third installment of ARP funding to arts organizations to support their own operations will be announced in early 2022.
For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of local arts agencies funded in this announcement, visitwww.arts.gov/COVID-19/the-american-rescue-plan.
About the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region is a nonprofit, community foundation created by and for the people of the region to encourage a spirit of philanthropy. Working in partnership with individuals, families, businesses, nonprofits, and trusted advisers, the Foundation manages over 100 charitable funds and provides grants to qualified nonprofit organizations, public entities, and other charitable causes.
Since 1998, the Foundation has granted over $8 million to create stronger, more vibrant communities across the middle and upper Red River Valley, with a focus on Grand Forks and Polk Counties.
Learn more about the Community Foundation and its work at gofoundation.org.
$100,000 GE FOUNDATION GRANT TO COMMUNITY FOUNDATION HELPS GF SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFER SAFE LEARNING OPTIONS
GE Foundation today announced a $100,000 COVID-19 Community Response Grant to the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region, which will support the Grand Forks Public Schools “Smart Restart” initiative. The grant will help the district offer students the opportunity to choose face-to-face or remote learning options for the 2020/2021 academic year.
The grant will allow 18 schools in the community to retrofit their spaces to better meet COVID-19 safety standards such as providing access to personal protective equipment (PPE), protective barriers, and sanitizing supplies. The grant will also provide funds to help students access distance learning classes and support professional development for educators as they shift to more online teaching.
“The greatest gift we can give our country is educating our future,” said Dr. Terry Brenner, Superintendent, Grand Forks Public Schools. “Within the COVID-19 pandemic framework, we have been faced with enormous financial challenges beyond our budget’s capacity. Through the generosity of the GE Foundation, specifically to the sum of $100,000, we will be financially better positioned to absorb the extraordinary costs of personal protection equipment for students and staff, thereby continuing to focus general fund dollars on teaching and learning. In public education, there is no such thing as a 'windfall' of revenue. The GE Foundation just changed that. This surprise announcement is exhilarating and will benefit 7,500 students and 1,500 colleagues in the Grand Forks Public School District. On behalf of all district stakeholders and the entire community of Grand Forks, we are grateful.”
“The Foundation has worked tirelessly to support the people of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and the surrounding region. We have partnered with many community leaders to determine our greatest needs and where we could make a significant impact to overcome the many challenges associated with COVID-19,” said Becca Baumbach, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region. “We learned that preparing for a safe return to school is a top priority for our community, and we're delighted to have the compassion, connection, and support of the GE Foundation. Through this collective effort, we know we will overcome many of the immediate challenges facing our schools and neighbors, and we fully believe in the strength and resolve of the students, their teachers, and the school staff across our region.”
"The entire GE family has come together to support COVID-19 response efforts around the globe," said Linda Boff, President, GE Foundation, and Vice President for GE. "We’re proud to be part of the Grand Forks community and are pleased to provide these critical funds to ensure the safe reopening of public schools for students and staff."
LM Wind Power Grand Forks Plant Director Tom Leighton-Haggy said, “LM Wind Power has worked to be a good corporate citizen during our twenty years as a major employer in the Grand Forks community. On behalf of our employees, we are proud to partner with the Grand Forks Community Foundation to support this important initiative as part of a community-wide effort to address the impact of this global pandemic.”
GE and GE Foundation are supporting the fight against COVID-19 worldwide. For example, GE Foundation pledged financial support to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and Boston Resiliency Fund and contributed to disaster-relief organization Americares to deliver 1.4 million protective masks to healthcare workers across the U.S. Learn more at www.ge.com/about-us/covid-19.
About Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region is a nonprofit, community foundation created by and for the people of the region to encourage a spirit of philanthropy. Working in partnership with individuals, families, businesses, and trusted advisers, the Community Foundation manages charitable funds and provides grants to qualified nonprofit organizations and causes. The Foundation has over $12 million in assets and has granted over $7 million to create stronger, more vibrant communities within the region. Learn more at www.gofoundation.org.
About GE Foundation
GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is committed to transforming our communities and shaping the diverse workforce of tomorrow by leveraging the power of GE. GE Foundation is developing skills by bringing innovative learning in community health globally and STEM education, scaling what works, and building sustainable solutions. GE Foundation is inspiring others to act by connecting GE people with communities through matching gifts, leading on emerging issues such as the opiate crisis, and convening community leaders to maximize our impact. Learn more at www.gefoundation.com or follow the us on Twitter at @GE_Foundation.
About LM Wind Power
LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business, is a world leading designer and manufacturer of rotor blades for wind turbines, with a global manufacturing footprint that includes blade factories in Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, India, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the United States, as well as technology centers in Denmark, The Netherlands, India, the US and UK. The company has produced more than 228,000 blades since 1978, corresponding to more than 113 GW installed capacity and global savings of 242 million metric tons of CO2 annually. In 2018, LM Wind Power became the first carbon neutral business in the wind industry. Follow us at www.lmwindpower.com, on www.linkedin.com/company/lm-wind-power, or on www.twitter.com/LMWindPower.
The City of Grand Forks Arts Regrant Program provides funding to nonprofit arts- and/or culture-based organizations in the City of Grand Forks that facilitate the creation of art for the benefit of the public. Funds are provided by the City of Grand Forks and administered by the Community Foundation through a competitive grant cycle held in February and March of each year.
2020 IMPACT AWARDS
A new opportunity for 2020, the Impact Award is presented to one or more organizations that have gone above and beyond in capacity-building, accelerating partnerships, supporting local artists, and/or employing new or innovative methods within the field. No applications were accepted for the award. Recipients were chosen from among the 2020 Arts Regrant applicants.
With the disruptive nature of the current COVID-19 situation, the 2020 Impact Award highlights two nonprofits that are responding and adapting in new and experimental ways to engage residents of our community.
$1,000 - Northern Valley Youth Orchestra for "Music in Bloom": The program was selected as it employed a unique and innovative way to connect young musicians and music enthusiasts in a virtual environment during the uncertain and isolating experiences that our community is now facing.
$500 - North Dakota Museum of Art for "Art in Isolation": The program was selected as it is engaging patrons through art and creativity while practicing social distancing.