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Community projects to receive more than $600,000 in support from Sourcewell and the Initative Foundation

Nonprofit and government representatives voted on which projects should receive funding early in June.

Sergeant Josef Garcia at Sourcewell meeting
Breezy Point Police Sgt. Josef Garcia gives a presentation on de-escalation through virtual reality, one of the projects granted funding.
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STAPLES — Individuals representing government and nonprofit organizations from throughout the area turned out to learn about and vote on projects vying for community impact funding dollars at Sourcewell in Staples in early June.

Representatives chose six projects in the five-county area - Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena - to receive $527,348 from Sourcewell, pending formal approval from the board of directors at a meeting in June.

“Review Day is always an exciting time as it provides a preview of the incredible projects soon to impact area communities,” Paul Drange, Sourcewell director of regional service, said in a news release. “We are happy so many individuals chose to attend and participate in determining the projects to receive funding - both on a nonprofit and government level.”

The Initiative Foundation, an organization based in Little Falls with a grants program serving central Minnesota, made a surprise $75,000 award, moving the total award amount for the day to $602,348. The award was presented to the Building Confidence and Employment Skills Together program, developed as a partnership between Confidence Learning Center and Employment Enterprises, Inc., as part of the Foundation’s Transformative Funding for Nonprofits.

Area programs voted to receive financial support include:

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Nonprofit funding

Building Healthy Fathers, Builds Healthy Communities

Organization(s): Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge and Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project.
Description: $100,000 to equip men in the community to become great fathers and better role models. The agencies will offer “Building Healthy Dads” classes, providing five weekend events and a year-round mentoring program for dads. By building healthy fathers, the program hopes to improve the health of local communities.

Cass County Critical Home Repairs

Organization(s): Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity and Cass County Faith in Action.
Description: $100,000 to provide home repair services to qualified homeowners in Cass County. A combination of a grant and an affordable loan is made to the homeowner to cover the cost of the work. This program will serve low-income families, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Building Confidence and Employment Skills Together

Organization(s): Confidence Learning Center and Employment Enterprises Inc.
Description: $75,000 from Sourcewell and $75,000 from the Initiative Foundation to “Build Confidence and Employment Skills Together” for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities through an education system that focuses on employment skills. The skills learned through hands-on education will prepare individuals to apply for job opportunities within their communities.

Farm-to-Food Shelf Pilot Program

Organization(s): Lakes Area Food Shelf, Pine River Area Food Shelf and the Pine River/Backus CommUnity Meal Program.
Description: $50,550 for a pilot program designed to provide nutritious, fresh produce to low-income families. The program will be shared with other nonprofits looking to develop local food sourcing for fresh produce.

Government agency funding

Lexipol Policy/Procedures for Law Enforcement

Organization(s): Baxter, Crosby, Crosslake, Little Falls, Nisswa and Wadena police departments.
Description: $131,798 for law enforcement agencies to purchase the Lexipol software. Lexipol provides the most up-to-date laws, statutes and legislative rules that are implemented into policy and procedure for law enforcement officers.

Lifesaving De-escalation Training Through Virtual Reality

Organization(s): Breezy Point, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes police departments.
Description: $70,000 to purchase a virtual reality training system that will provide an immersive training environment for officers to practice responding to incidents involving mental health and persons in crisis, focusing on de-escalation techniques and tactics.

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