Community Giving

Introducing the CommunityFoundation IdeaCenter…
Empowering community foundations by learning and sharing from each other.

Brainerd Lakes Area Grant

Online Application Open: December 1st, 2020
Deadline: February 1, 2021 at 11:59pm - Decisions Made Within 100 Days of Deadline

Brief Description

The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (BLACF) supports specific community initiatives through a variety of grants. BLACF seeks to make smaller grants for general operations and programs to address changing community needs. BLACF also seeks to make significant grants that will be the "Difference Maker” in bringing about community-wide, lasting, and positive changes in the Brainerd Lakes area. BLACF is looking to provide leadership and financial support that goes beyond the grant in order to advance the project or initiative that needs a large dollar amount to get started or completed.

What we fund:

  • Small grants: General operations and project/program support
  • “Difference Maker” Grant: Capital and other strategic investments that support community-wide, lasting, and positive changes (By invitation only)

Eligible organizations: 501(c) 3 nonprofit Organizations, schools or government entities.

Geographic Area: Crow Wing and southern Cass Counties in Minnesota

Funding Amount Range:

Small grant: $5,000 to $15,000
"Difference Maker" Grant: $15,000 to $30,000 (By invitation only)

Focus Areas:

  • Workforce Development - projects that help Develop, Attract, and Retain a quality workforce for the Brainerd Lakes Area, now and in the future.
    • Develop – projects that help build foundational, technical and soft skills that prepare young people for our future workforce. Projects that help students with challenges to become productive members of our community are preferred. We want to help close the opportunity gap.
    • Attract – projects that support efforts to draw people to the Brainerd Lakes Area to join our community and workforce.
    • Retain – projects that welcome newcomers to our community. Projects that create social connections, create an open/welcoming community, and address aesthetics and improve the quality of life through art and active recreational opportunities.

Favorable Considerations:

  • Are likely to make a clear difference in the quality of life or a substantial number of people.
  • Propose practical approaches to resolve current community problems.
  • Address diversity and positive change in a constructive manner. (Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Policy)
  • Matching funds - 50% or more if possible.
  • Help nonprofit organizations manage themselves and their finances more effectively.
  • Focus on prevention.
  • Encourage cooperation and eliminate duplication of services.
  • Stimulate others to participate In problem-solving.
  • Promote leverage for generating additional funds.
  • Sustainability - has a plan for future funding.

What We Don't Fund:

  • Individuals
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes (Funding for Faith-Based Organizations Policy)
  • Political organizations or political campaigns.
  • Annual fundraising drives
  • Endowments
  • Debt retirement or deficit financing
  • Projects or portions of projects that have already been completed
  • Scholarships or medical research
  • Grants for travel or conferences
  • Full cost of a project


  1. Submit application online using the CommunityGiving Grant Management System. If interested in applying for a Difference Maker Grant, contact Karl Samp (see below).
  2. The Grant Advisory Committee will recommend applications for funding to the Board of Directors.
  3. The Board of Directors will make final funding decisions.

Organizations may only submit one grant application per year per grant round.

All notification about this grant will be through emails.

Payout of Grants: upon receipt of electronically signed Grant Agreement.

Grantee Required Documents: Grant Agreement, possibly a Progress Report and Final Report. Required follow up documents will be submitted through the CommunityGiving Grant Management System.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Karl Samp at 218-824-5633 or to see about programmatic fit with current BLACF priorities.

For question about the online Grant Management System please call Sherri at (320) 257-9715.

Click here to begin the application Process