ADVANCING REGIONAL ISSUES
In early 2022, the Bush Foundation announced Strengthen ND as one of its four partners to develop, implement, and evaluate a new funding initiative: Community-Based Grantmaking Programs. Strengthen ND’s approach has been to deconstruct current inequitable and ineffective systems involved in philanthropy by increasing the accessibility and flexibility of available charitable dollars, leaning into the spirit of “community innovation” as demonstrated in North Dakota’s many diverse communities, and elevating fellow North Dakotans to design the criteria and make decisions about how the funds will be invested. Organizations were able to apply for up to $300,000 over a six-year period.
Through its inaugural grantmaking round for the Creative Community Solutions grantmaking program, which is funded by the Bush Foundation, Strengthen ND has selected 10 organizations to receive $2,275,000 to develop, test, and spread community-driven solutions to some of the state’s most critical needs.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the quality and volume of proposals submitted as a part of our first Creative Community Solutions grant round,” remarked Megan Langley Laudenschlager, Executive Director of Strengthen ND. “We hope the good work that the Creative Community Solutions grantmaking panel chose to elevate through investments in the selected organizations will further inspire North Dakotans to engage in projects that improve their communities and the lives of their friends and neighbors.”
The following are the inaugural projects selected:
- Carrington Rainbow Gardens (Carrington, ND): $300,000 to re-establish a historic Japanese garden, associated cultural programming, and landmarks.
- Communities Acting Together for Change & Hope (CATCH; Anamoose, ND): $300,000 to develop a program of advocacy and facilitation to pilot communities to demonstrate rural places can grow their communities by recruiting newcomers to live and work there.
- Forest River Hutterite Colony (Near Fordville, ND): $33,125 to develop a pictorial database of Hutterite ancestry and appropriately copy sacred texts.
- Kirat Cultural Society (Fargo, ND): $151,370 to perform and conduct cultural programs to promote social harmony, peace, and healthy relationships among all communities in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
- Long X Arts Foundation (Watford City, ND): $300,000 to establish, research, connect, and execute the “Cultural Connections” as an incubator for community building and the creative sector.
- Nyeri Ma’di Cultural Dance Group (Grand Forks, ND): $85,968 to teach financial literacy through cultural dance and programming.
- North Dakota Full-Service Community Schools Consortium (Minot, ND): $300,000 to strengthen and scale the full-service community schools model across rural North Dakota.
- South East Education Cooperative and Child Care Aware of North Dakota (Fargo, ND): $220,000 to create a shared services model for child care providers and programs in North Dakota.
- Standing Rock Community Development Corporation (Fort Yates, ND): $284,976 to document elder stories, recipes, and audio of the Lakota and Dakota Languages, which will then be written into a cookbook for language education.
- Upper Missouri Ministries (Epping, ND): $300,000 to leverage hydroponic technology with the Camp Umm community to provide fresh food for northwest North Dakota and test a diversified financial model.
Strengthen ND will accept proposals for the second round of the Creative Community Solutions grantmaking program through September 30th, 2022. Individuals and organizations interested in learning more are encouraged to review the program criteria on the Strengthen ND website (www.StrengthenND.com) and to then schedule an introductory call with Strengthen ND’s staff.
Together we are committed to strengthening North Dakotan’s in their professional development.