The in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, has announced ninety-three grants totaling $3.4 million in support of local leaders working to expand opportunity in rural Minnesota.
The awards included $1.5 million to the Reif Arts Council for the renovation and expansion of the , and $100,000 to the Centro Campesino in Owatonna, which works with rural migrant workers and immigrant Latino families and youth, to expose parents and students to college-access resources and boost immigrants' knowledge about their legal rights. "With our sights set always on strengthening rural Minnesota communities, we see great possibility in the blend of economic vitality, active inclusion, and educational achievement," said Blandin Foundation president and CEO Kathleen Annette.
In addition, the foundation's trustees elected to continue the , which provides broadband-related technical support, grants, and convenings across rural Minnesota, allocating a total of $1.5 million to the program for 2015 and 2016.
"We see every day what local leaders can do to address very significant and complex challenges," said Annette. "When it comes to broadband, our role is on the people side of the equation, working with community leaders as they plan for their community's access to — and use of — high-speed Internet so critical to work and life today. Broadband clearly has become the indispensable infrastructure of our time, and rural communities must be part of that picture."