Itasca Area Community Response Fund Awards $75,000 in Second Round of Funding

This fall, the Itasca Area Community Response Fund concluded its second round of grantmaking, allocating $75,028 in funds to 14 nonprofit and community organizations working in and around the Itasca area.

The Itasca Area Community Response Fund was created in the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just reaching the Itasca area. The fund was created with the goal of providing necessary crisis assistance and alleviating the effects of lost revenue on local nonprofit and community organizations. To date, the Community Response Fund has distributed over $117,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, and will open applications for a third round of funding in November.

Response Fund recipients include:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids and Greenway ($12,500): Funds will help the Boys & Girls Clubs in Grand Rapids and Coleraine cover operational costs, allowing the clubs to provide consistent youth development programming.

Buck Lake Improvement Club ($5,300): Funds will help cover operating costs, allowing the Club to continue offering programming and community resources through the winter.

Deer River Firemans Relief Association ($5,000): Funds will help fill the gap created by canceled fundraisers, allowing the Association to stay operational.

Deer River Warrior Athletic Booster Club ($2,100): Funds will help make up for revenue lost to cancellations and postponements.

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center ($1,750): Funds will help the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center recover from revenue lost during its closure in the spring of 2020.

Grand Itasca Foundation ($11,200): Funds will allow Grand Itasca to implement a Home Care telehealth program, helping patients receive medical care safely from home.

Grand Rapids Farmers Market ($2,500): Funds will support the Market’s Power of Produce Program (PoP), which gives children a chance to learn about local agriculture.

Great Minds Learning Center – Scholarship Funding ($4,000): Funds will subsidize the cost of teaching sessions to help at-risk students improve their reading and comprehension skills.

Great Tails Animal Rescue ($4,300): Funds will help the rescue organization continue their animal foster program in the wake of cancelled fundraisers.

KOOTASCA Community Action ($7,500): Funds will allow KOOTASCA to continue providing technology and Internet service to families and individuals in need, helping students distance-learning, patients receiving telemedicine services, and individuals trying to stay connected.

Marcell Family Center ($1,500): Funds will help the Marcell Family Center stay operational and maintain their community building in the wake of lost revenue.

Nashwauk Area Community Fund – Nashwauk-Keewatin Schools ($3,378): Funds will supply the Nashwauk-Keewatin school district with masks and sanitizing supplies for students and teachers.

Project Care Free Clinic ($9,000): Funds will allow Project Care to continue providing healthcare and medication assistance to uninsured and underinsured Itasca County residents.

United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids – Open Door Coat Rack ($5,000): Funds will support this year’s Open Door Coat Rack, which equips children and teens with outerwear for the winter.

The Itasca Area Community Response Fund is a joint venture between Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, United Way of 1000 Lakes, and other area funders, leaders from which make up an advisory committee that makes funding decisions. Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation and United Way of 1000 Lakes cover the costs of administering the fund, so that 100% of available funds are given to the community.

Applications for the third round of response funding will open on November 1st. Community organizations in the greater Itasca area that are delivering crisis relief services, engaged in long-term recovery efforts, or navigating newfound challenges are encouraged to apply online at The application period will close on November 30th, 2020.

For those who wish to support the fund, tax-deductible donations are welcome through a variety of methods, including gifts of cash/check, credit cards, electronic fund transfers, and text-to-give options. Visit or to make an online donation. Check donations can be made to United Way of 1000 Lakes (Suite A) or Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (Suite E) and mailed to 350 NW 1st Ave., Grand Rapids, MN 55744, and should include a reference of “Community Response Fund” in the memo line. Supporters can also make a donation by texting LAKES to 26989 and selecting the “COVID-19 Response Fund” from the dropdown menu.

More information about the fund, including past grant allocations, application instructions, and eligibility requirements, can be found online at and

About United Way of 1000 Lakes
Since 1963, the United Way of 1000 Lakes has partnered with local nonprofits to identify critical issues, create partnerships, and raise funds to help people in the Itasca Area. Mobilizing the caring power of the communities it serves, the organization’s mission drives work to create a happier, healthier community. They accomplish this by inspiring collaboration, fundraising, and volunteerism. Learn more at

About Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the great work we do and include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner to answer the question, “What good do you want your money to do?” For more information, visit our website at or schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.