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Northwest Minnesota Foundation has new program to help area 'thrive'

BEMIDJI--The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has created a new program to continue to help the area flourish as the population continues to grow. The foundation this week announced its Communities Thrive program, an initiative meant to increase in...

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BEMIDJI-The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has created a new program to continue to help the area flourish as the population continues to grow.

The foundation this week announced its Communities Thrive program, an initiative meant to increase investment in the region's cities and towns. According to the release, the foundation launched the program in response to a report showing a steady population increase of individuals aged 30-49.

That report, compiled by Benjamin Winchester, states that many of the newcomers are highly educated with families, ultimately impacting the regional communities in a positive way. The report found that the reason for the migration is largely because of quality of life aspects.

The foundation's new program was launched to assist communities with this trend. According to the foundation, the program will work with one to two targeted communities to help identify needs and provide a mix of tools and resources, such as flexible lending and grant products, to help meet those needs.

"We believe this new program will be a more meaningful way for us to support communities in our region," said Nate Door, a foundation senior program officer. "Communities Thrive is meant to make a lasting impact for generations and equip our communities to create a sustainable quality of life for every resident."

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The plan for the initiative is to work with a community for up to two or three years. Over that time period, the foundation is anticipating an investment of up to $500,000 in a mix of staff time, grants, loans and philanthropic services.

Based in Bemidji, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation is a public, charitable nonprofit organization serving a 12-county area: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties, as well as the Red Lake Reservation and White Earth Reservation.

The foundation's mission is to invest in resources, facilitate collaboration and promote philanthropy in the northwest region of the state.

For more information, visit " target="_blank">www.nwmf.org/grants/communities-thrive/.

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