United Way of Bemidji Area awards grants to four local organizations

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BEMIDJI -- The United Way of Bemidji Area has awarded $5,514 among four local organizations through its Venture Grant program.

The program is to stimulate creative, collaborative solutions to new and emerging needs in order to effect change, a release said. The grants are intended to provide short-term support for start-ups, or the development of new and untried programs. Additionally, the program can be used to enhance the capacity of existing agencies or delivery systems.

One of the recipients of the program was Village of Hope, which was awarded dollars to support its Rent Wise Community Collaboration program. Rent Wise is a comprehensive curriculum that provides education and skills on renting.

The grant will help expand the program in the community and to other agencies. Village of Hope will also expand the program to groups of people with specific needs, such as people recently out of prison or those with a mental illness, the release said.

Another organization receiving dollars is Evergreen Youth and Family Services. The funding will go toward expanding Evergreen's youth skills program, which focus on areas such as financial literacy and emotional well-being.


Beltrami Area Services Collaborative was awarded dollars from the Venture Grant program for its Beltrami Area Resiliency Team. The team is made up of 20 community members working to build community resilience and to help overcome trauma.

One way the team is doing so is through the 100 Cups of Coffee project. According to the release, the project includes trained volunteers engage with residents over a cup of coffee, with the goal of getting input on what is needed for a healthier, more resilient community.

The Headwaters Science Center also received grant dollars to provide science-based professional development for K-12 grade teachers in the area. Headwaters plans to do so in conjunction with the school district through in-service days and workshops.

Venture Grant program is funded with a portion of dollars raised through the annual United Way Community Campaign.

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