We love serving as the Northland’s community foundation. We do a lot. Sometimes that means we get a lot of questions. No worries. We love sharing the story of our work—and how you can get involved.
We’re one of more than 400 community foundations nationwide committed to improving our communities and providing an easy and effective way for donors to impact the places they love. Community Foundations are tax-exempt public charities serving thousands of people who share a common interest—improving the quality of life in their area. Individuals, families, businesses and organizations can give to and create funds that help their regions meet challenges.
We began in 1983 and now support programs and organizations that serve the residents in the seven counties of northeast Minnesota (Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis) and three counties in northwest Wisconsin (Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas), along with seven tribal communities throughout the area:
- Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Mashkiiziibii
- Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Zagaakwaandagowininiwag
- Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Nah-Gah-Chi-Wa-Nong
- Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Gichi Onigaming
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
- Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
- Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Gaa-Miskwaabikaang
We are a tax-exempt public charity governed by a Board of Trustees composed of volunteer community leaders. Trusted financial professionals invest and administer our assets. Our expert staff and community partners know the charitable needs of our community. We go beyond making grants to advance community leadership by identifying current and emerging issues and providing resources to support growth and development that prepares our region for the future.
Applicants use online systems when seeking grants and scholarships. Application deadlines occur throughout the year and are updated on the appropriate webpages. The Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees, aided by grant and scholarship committees and our staff, approves all grants and scholarships.
An organization must be classified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or classified as an organization under Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code; or have secured a fiscal agent. Organizations also must be located in or provide services to residents within the seven counties of northeast Minnesota (Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis) and/or the three counties of northwest Wisconsin (Ashland, Douglas and Bayfield) we serve. We also serve seven tribal nations: the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, (Mashkiiziibii); the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, (Zagaakwaandagowininiwag); the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, (Nah-Gah-Chi-Wa-Nong); the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, (Gichi Onigaming); the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, (Gaa-Miskwaabikaang). Some funds have additional geographic restrictions.
We administer a broad range of unrestricted, field-of-interest and donor-advised funds and make grants for a variety of purposes and projects. The largest fund, the Community Opportunity Fund, is for projects that meet the changing community needs in the following areas: Opportunity, Resilience, Belonging and Transformation. The Board of Trustees may, from time to time, emphasize one interest area over another when emerging needs or opportunities require special attention. In addition, we make grants from dozens of field-of-interest and donor-advised funds designed to address a range of community needs.
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