Bemidji organizations receive key grants from Otto Bremer Trust

A trio of important Bemidji nonprofits received an Otto Bremer boost totaling more than $200,000 this week.

Otto Bremer Trust web art

BEMIDJI -- A trio of important Bemidji nonprofits received an Otto Bremer boost totaling more than $200,000 this week.

According to a release, Otto Bremer Trust awarded a total of 151 grants of $8.6 million across the state. Locally, $100,000 went to Evergreen Youth and Family Services, $80,000 was provided to Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota and $50,000 was provided to Northwoods Volunteer Caregivers.

Jana Wolff, the executive director of Evergreen, called the assistance a "huge relief."

"These types of grants -- grants that can be used for operations -- make or break our budget in any given year," Wolff said. "The Otto Bremer Trust funds are critical to our ongoing operations. . . . Having resources upfront allows us to keep programs operating without interruption."

Evergreen operates two facilities in Bemidji. One is a youth crisis center on Mississippi Avenue for children ages 9-17 who are referred by law enforcement and social workers . The other is an office at 610 Patriot Drive NW, which is centered on parent/guardian coaching, family counseling and independent living courses.


"Due to COVID-19, two of our fundraising events, which provide unrestricted revenues to support administrative overhead, along with emergency needs that are not addressed through grant and public funding, were cancelled in 2020," Wolff said. "Like so many businesses and nonprofits, we are faced with having to rethink how we do business, not only as it relates to program delivery, but also as it relates to our fundraising efforts . Receiving the Otto Bremer Funds for this year is a huge relief. We are so grateful to be included in their philanthropic priorities again, particularly this year with the pandemic."

At the Family Advocacy Center, the $80,000 will also go toward general operations.

"The grant from Otto Bremer is for our general operating budget," said Aria Trudeau, the organization's executive director. "Otto Bremer in particular has always been such an asset to the Family Advocacy Center. We've received funding from them before."

According to Trudeau, a lot of the funding goes toward staffing the organization, which works on three programs.

"One is a children's advocacy center. Any time there's an allegation that a child has been maltreated in some sort of way, they come to us and we do forensic interviews and medical exams," Trudeau said. "Part of our children's advocacy center is working as a multi-disciplinary team to work with law enforcement, mental health and social services."

The other two are the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program and the Family Violence Intervention program.

For the Northwoods Volunteer Caregivers, the $50,000 helps enhance support services for the elderly, disabled and their families. According to the release, the organization works in the Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Nation and Lake of the Woods County.

Additionally, the grants included $75,000 to Anishinabe Legal Services in Cass Lake, which provides civil legal services and educational outreach campaigns throughout rural Anishinaabe reservations in Minnesota.


"With this latest round of grants, we are reminded of the critical need that communities and individuals across the region continue to have as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and economic impacts," Charlotte Johnson, Co-CEO and trustee of Otto Bremer Trust, said in the release.

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