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3 nonprofits receive Venture Grants in 2014

BEMIDJI — The United Way of Bemidji Area recently awarded $5,757 between three organizations through its Venture Grant program. The programs and projects selected represent a range of community needs within United Way’s focus areas of education, income and health, officials said in a press release.

The purpose of Venture Grants is to stimulate creative, collaborative solutions to new and emerging needs in order to effect change. The grants are intended to provide short-term support for startup or development of new or untried programs and/or to enhance the capacity of existing agencies or delivery systems. Venture Grant applications are accepted and reviewed once per year.

The following programs and projects will receive funding in 2014:

• The Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area, to support the purchase of computers for the Career Launch project, which will support teenagers in career exploration and job readiness by helping develop skills essential to their success in high school, college, and as they enter the workforce. Developed to introduce young people to the “working world,” Career Launch provides a range of services from preparing job resumes and cover letters, to preparing college applications and necessary forms.

• The Bemidji Community Food Shelf, to fund the introduction of Healthy Choices, a program that will change the way the food shelf serves families. A nutrition education project will prepare meal plans for five different shopping lists, which are based on family size. Meal plans include recipes with portion sizes that will show families how to stretch the food they receive to nine to 10 meals. Signage in the food shelf store will give clients information on the nutritional value of specific items and will direct diabetic/pre-diabetic clients to more healthy choices. In the reception area, clients will be offered meal plan recipes, samples of food prepared in the recipes and cooking demonstration for preparing the recipes.

• Northwoods Caregivers, to purchase First Aid and CPR manikins, training packs and other responder resources to provide internal training for staff who provide homemaking, respite, grocery shopping assistance and transportation services, for those who wish to remain in their own homes as they age. Northwoods Caregivers provides care for approximately 800 clients, which represents 3,000 hours of direct care each month in the community. The ability to have these training resources available is a great investment in an on-going internal training initiative.

United Way of Bemidji Area’s Venture Grants are funded with a portion of funds raised through the annual United Way Community Campaign. For more information about the Venture Grant process or for an application, call the United Way office at 444-8929 or visit