Grants for Community Farming, Green Businesses, Financial Education, Leadership and Public Policy
ST. PAUL, Minn. (November 4, 2010) Efforts to overcome poverty are taking a decidedly green turn, supported by Northwest Area Foundation grants. The Foundation has announced 35 grants totaling $1.79 million. Funded initiatives span farm fields in southern Minnesota to green jobs training in Oregon.
The largest investment will support training for low-income entrepreneurs, a key approach for building assets and wealth. The Foundation’s $140,800 grant to the Main Street Project of Minneapolis, Minn. will bolster the Rural Enterprise Center Agripreneur Training Program. An innovative way of creating prosperity, it offers Latinos culturally-relevant training in a system of small-scale sustainable farming. Families increase assets through access to community garden plots for growing vegetables and to land for raising poultry.
Nearly 2,000 miles away in Portland, Ore., a $125,000 grant to the Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA) focuses on developing green jobs and small businesses. NAYA will form partnerships to establish career development services and a job training center for green energy opportunities. A new Family Center Marketplace will offer small entrepreneurs a place to test business plans before launching their ventures.
“These grants will leverage new opportunities by creating jobs in industry, including green opportunities. We’re supporting projects designed to open avenues for low-income workers to get in on the ground floor and take advantage of emerging industries and new careers,” said Kevin Walker, president and CEO of the Foundation.
Besides increasing assets and wealth, the Foundation supports building leadership and improving public policy. The following are highlights of the grants made.
To implement workforce development and small business strategies - $640,800 was awarded to five nonprofits:
- Main Street Project of Minneapolis, Minn. received $140,800 for the Rural Enterprise Center Rural Agripreneur Training Program.
- Mountain States Group of Boise, Idaho and its microenterprise program, META, received $125,000 for the Growing Green Businesses project to offer assistance, training, and small loans to low-income green entrepreneurs, with a focus on refugees and Latinos in southwest Idaho.
- Montana Community Development Corporation of Missoula, Mont. received $125,000 to expand job creation and economic development in eastern Montana and on five Native American
- Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA) of Portland, Ore. received $125,000 to support the Green Job Training & Small Business Development project.
- Enterprise Cascadia of Ilwaco, Wash. received $125,000 to support a lending pool to assist women, minority, and low-income contractors in bidding for weatherization jobs and contracts through the Seattle Community Power Works project.
To combine asset-building and economic development - $332,853 was awarded to five nonprofits:
- Four Bands Community Fund of Eagle Butte, S.D. received $100,000 to integrate the Making Waves youth financial training within the curriculum of Tribal schools.
- Hacienda Community Development Corporation of Portland, Ore. received $60,000 to provide Latinos access to small business loans, financial education, leadership development, and completion of GED classes through the Plaza Comunitaria adult education program.
- Washington State Microenterprise Association of Federal Way, Wash. received $72,853 to link asset and wealth development tools, including low-income tax credits and individual savings accounts, with small business training and assistance.
- First Children’s Finance of Minneapolis, Minn. received $100,000 to strengthen childcare businesses and the quality of childcare in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa to benefit low- and moderate-income workers.
- Oregon Native American Business & Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN) of Tigard, Ore. received $100,000 to continue its work increasing family assets, the Indian Entrepreneurship Development System, and partnerships to create new sources of Native capital.
To build leadership for reducing poverty - $150,000 has been allocated to the following organizations:
- Native Youth Leadership Alliance of Pine Ridge Reservation received $100,000 through a grant to its fiscal sponsor, Native Americans in Philanthropy, to assist in launching a leadership development and advocacy program for Native American college students in South Dakota, Washington and Montana.
- Farmworkers Housing Development Corporation of Woodburn, Ore. received $50,000 to support the CAPACES Leadership Institute capital campaign. The money will be used to develop curriculum and construct a building to house the Institute. This unique partnership between nine nonprofit organizations provides leadership training across a diverse sector of Latinos.
To improve public policy solutions - $50,000 was awarded to one organization:
- The Statewide Poverty Action Network of Seattle, Wash. received $50,000 through its fiscal sponsor, Solid Ground. The grant will support the Grassroots Activism and Advocacy project to establish and train statewide coalitions. They will advocate for policies that increase assets and wealth for people with low incomes.
To increase impact on poverty reduction - $125,000 has been allocated to two nonprofit organizations:
- Headwaters Foundation for Justice of Minneapolis, Minn. received $75,000 for the African American Leadership Forum to address critical challenges facing the Twin Cities African American community.
- Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees of Sebastopol, Calif. received $50,000 to engage Foundations within the Northwest region in conversations about economic integration of immigrant families.
For a complete list of the grants included in this announcement, visit www.nwaf.org.
The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts by the people, organizations and communities in eight states to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity. The Great Northern Railway, founded by James J. Hill, served these states. Hill’s son, Louis W. Hill, established the Foundation in 1934.
The Foundation is currently accepting grant proposals only on an invitation basis. For more information, please visit www.nwaf.org.
Sylvia Burgos Toftness
Northwest Area Foundation
(651) 225-7704 - office
(651) 269-6843 - cell