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About Grants

Check your project's fit with our eligibility guidelines and areas of focus. All prospective projects must submit an inquiry form.


Eligible organizations and activities are:

  • Be located within the State of Minnesota
  • Authorized by the Internal Revenue Service as having Section 501(c)(3) status, being a public agency, a tribal government entity, or a unit of government
  • Comply with our Anti-Discrimination Policy

   Eligible projects must:

  • Have a clearly defined charitable purpose recognized by the Internal Revenue Service 
  • Benefit and serve rural Minnesota 

Ineligible organizations & activities are:

  • Projects outside the state of Minnesota  
  • Projects that support Minnesota metropolitan areas (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth, Moorhead, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato) 
  • Religious activities
  • Medical research 
  • Travel grants for individuals or groups 
  • Camping and athletic programs 
  • Ordinary government services 
  • Grants solely intended to influence specific legislation or a specific candidate 

Areas of Focus

Blandin Foundation is a strategic grantmaker. Applications from organizations working to strengthen rural Minnesota communities may be considered following the submission of an inquiry.

Blandin Foundation’s most substantial and broadest form of grantmaking occurs in North-Central Minnesota (Itasca County and the neighboring communities of Blackduck, Northome, Hill City and Remer). We support work that helps meet the economic, social, physical, cultural and spiritual/wellness needs of Itasca-area residents.

Blandin Foundation welcomes inquires from organizations that:

  • Prioritize collaboration: diverse people and organizations work together to achieve a common goal.
  • Engage those needed to create the intended change: leaders seek and include a variety of perspectives, especially those directly affected by the problem.
  • Resourcefully build on existing community assets: community context is taken into consideration, has several sources of funding, and demonstrates community support.

Blandin Foundation offers grants to support community leaders as they think holistically and act collaboratively on systems-level (embedded policies or practices that perpetuate community inequities) issues they have identified as critical to the health and resiliency of their community.

Blandin Foundation welcomes inquires from organizations that:

  • Inform and connect community leaders to issues relevant among rural Minnesotans: leaders stay current on topics, trends and issues that impact their communities.
  • Support and sustain networks of rural leaders: leaders are equipped with skills and abilities to strengthen their communities and/or lead on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Grants support projects that improve and align education, entrepreneurship, quality employment and innovations to expand opportunity for every community member.

Blandin Foundation welcomes inquiries from organizations leading projects that:

  • Engage broader sections of the current or potential workforce: create or expand educational and employment opportunities, especially for youth and people who have been persistently excluded.
  • Use existing assets in creative ways: incorporate a community’s economic strengths in new ways to innovate based on existing enterprises and cultural, creative, or natural assets.
  • Forge stronger relationships between education and employment systems: two or more entities work together to improve educational and employment outcomes for people living in rural Minnesota.

Steps to Apply

Step 1: Check for fit

Review the eligibility and areas of focus sections above. Please note that Blandin Foundation grants only to organizations in the state of Minnesota serving communities of 35,000 people or less. Examples can be viewed in our Partner Directory.

Step 2: Inquire first

Prior to completing a full grant proposal, you must submit a letter of inquiry, providing a short description of your project.  Inquiries are reviewed weekly.

Submit an inquiry

Step 3: Anticipate deadlines

Deadlines are noted in each grant type description on the Apply page.

Step 4: Prepare your proposal

If you have been invited to submit a grant proposal, use the appropriate online or downloadable application that falls within the range of your request. If you use a downloaded application, electronic submissions are preferred and can be sent to

Step 5: Notification

For grants $50,000 and above, Blandin Foundation program staff review all grant requests and present recommendations to the Board of Trustees, which makes the final funding decision at their meetings in March, June, September, and December. Applicants receive notification of the results within days of decision and award paid out within six weeks.

Applications for grants $50,000 and less are reviewed as they are received. You will generally receive an acknowledgment within a week and a decision within 30-45 days.

Step 6: Feedback

Blandin Foundation program staff are always trying to improve their grantmaking. Constructive feedback, both positive and negative, are welcome by calling 218-327-8724, emailing or leaving a review on GrantAdvisor.

Google map of Blandin Foundation grantees across Minnesota

Spot Us

Wondering what we have funded in the past? This interactive map gives you a clear picture of grants paid. Click on the map pins for specific grants, or create your own search.

View and Search Grantees

Contact Us

Your feedback strengthens our grantmaking. Contact us to share your thoughts. You may also subscribe to our mailing list, or contact the following Grants team members.


Sonja Merrild

Director of Grants

Send an Email

Direct: 218-327-8746

Linda Gibeau May 2016-crop

Linda Gibeau

Program Officer - Grants Management

Send an Email

Direct: 218-327-8702

LuAnn Robinson

LuAnn Robinson

Grants Program Assistant

Send an Email

Direct: 218-327-8724

More Information

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