Northwest Area Foundation Awards $1.8 Million in Second-Quarter Grants

The Northwest Area Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, has announced grants totaling more than $1.82 million to nonprofit organizations in eight states and the District of Columbia working to bolster small businesses and boost workforce development.

Among other things, the grants will support programs that provide individuals and small businesses trying to recover from the Great Recession and this spring's devastating tornadoes with entrepreneurship and job training, access to loans, and small business assistance. Recipients include Rural Dynamics, Inc. in Great Falls, Montana, which was awarded $100,000 for its Mobilizing Rural Communities initiative; the Portland Development Commission, which was awarded $100,000 for its Metropolitan Contractors Improvement Project and a green careers scholarship fund; and the Neighborhood Development Center in St. Paul, which was awarded $100,000 for its entrepreneurship programs and to share its national model with regional and national organizations.

The foundation also awarded a total of $325,000 to promote civic engagement, community organizing, and advocacy for public policies that increase the net worth of area residents; and $260,000 to support the work of State Fiscal Analysis Initiative (SFAI) affiliates, a network of organizations that analyze tax and budget policies. In addition, four organizations received grants to help strengthen the leadership and organizational ability of asset- and wealth-building nonprofits. They include the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders in San Antonio, Texas ($250,000); the Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis ($150,000); the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in Porcupine, South Dakota ($70,000); and the Native American Community Development Corporation in Browning, Montana ($50,000).

"Small businesses are often the engines driving job creation," said Northwest Area Foundation president and CEO Kevin Walker. "Investing in nonprofits that help them is an important strategy during a time of roller-coaster unemployment and unexpected hardships. The grants are intended to open paths to prosperity for low-income families through workforce development, public policy initiatives, and leadership development."