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Blandin Foundation

The Blandin Foundation is an independent, private foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota USA. We are guided by a trust established through the will of founder Charles K. Blandin, who passed away in 1958 following distinguished careers in education, publishing and paper-making.

Today, a board of trustees also steers the work of the Foundation. A staff of 26 professionals, based at the Foundation's offices in Grand Rapids, facilitates the work of the Foundation in three primary areas: grant-making, community leadership development and public policy initiatives.

What we do Grant-making: The longest-running program of the Blandin Foundation, grants and scholarships are focused on six focus areas: 1. Strengthening economic opportunity in rural Minnesota communities 2. Supporting the educational attainment of rural Minnesotans who may not have had the same advantage as others 3. Stimulating promotion of fairness and opportunity 4. Supporting specialized leadership development 5. Promoting a stronger rural voice, and 6. Stimulating intercultural competency

A minimum of 55 percent of grants are targeted to the Itasca County local giving area, with the balance used to support initiatives in other parts of rural Minnesota. Similarly the Foundation invests heavily in educational opportunity for its home communities, including scholarships and innovative early childhood programs such as Invest Early™.

Leadership Development: Over 23 years, 250 rural Minnesota communities have worked with the Blandin Foundation to support the development of their established and emerging community leaders. More than 5,000 rural Minnesotans have participated in the Blandin Foundation Community Leadership Programs. This nationally recognized program builds competencies in three major areas: • Framing opportunities and challenges that lead to effective action • Building social capital for collaboration and resource sharing, and • Mobilizing a critical mass of resources to achieve specific outcomes.

These programs are designed for community teams that reflect the diversity of the community from all walks of life. The core program couplease intensive residential retreat with ongoing workshops and trains leaders in communications, conflict management, networking and stakeholder analysis. Additional programs focus on special needs or particular communities, such as persons living in poverty.

Public policy programs: These programs bring research, people and organizations together to address opportunities to strengthen rural Minnesota. The focus is on encouraging informed citizen action to assure that rural perspectives are well represented in public discourse. In particular, the Foundation focuses initiatives on four critically important rural Minnesota policy issues: forest resources, broadband technology, inclusiveness and rural voice.

Whom we serve The legacy of Charles K. Blandin stems from a childhood marked with deep poverty, hard work, progress, business success and more. It's a life story that culminated in a deep relationship with Grand Rapids, Minn., the community that was both home to the paper mill that bore his name as well as the place to which he was personally committed. Upon his death, Mr. Blandin wished that his considerable and hard-earned assets be used to perpetuate the betterment of rural communities, especially the Grand Rapids area. Reflecting the significant growth from his original endowment over decades, the Blandin Foundation today is focused on strengthening communities throughout rural Minnesota (and still especially in the Grand Rapids area). The Foundation works toward healthy communities grounded in strong economies, where benefits and burdens are widely shared. Thousands of rural Minnesota volunteers, social service professionals, business people, public officials, emerging leaders, families, educators, peers, seasoned and new voices, and others are the communities we serve. We recognize that it is only when paired with the passion of community members that the true legacy of Charles Blandin's endowment shines.

For more information, contact Allison Ahcan 218-327-8717


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