When Strengthen ND was started in 2015, we didn’t have a lot. We had no money. We had no clients. No way to make payroll. But what did we have? A whole lot of ambition, optimism, and, most importantly, a willingness to listen and learn. Eventually, months into our operations, we received our first grant from the Otto Bremer Trust, which allowed us to finally begin paying our staff. Year over year, it has been a slow cultivation and accumulation of resources, experience, and expertise – shaping us into a very small but mighty statewide nonprofit.
This morning, the Bush Foundation just announced that it has selected Strengthen ND as its North Dakota partner to design and operate a statewide community-based grantmaking program.
Us. They picked us!
With this honor, our team will have the opportunity to steward millions of dollars into projects led by good people doing great work to better our state over the next six years. Our goal is to deepen the impact of community-driven efforts and empower North Dakotans by co-designing a grant program with residents that prioritizes pioneering solutions.
Pioneering solutions is our guiding mantra for this grantmaking opportunity. We utilize the term “pioneering” to mean new, and we are seeking to support innovative community solutions, be they large or small. A solution is simply a means of solving a problem or an issue; however, it is often not that simple.
Facilitating community solutions has been Strengthen ND’s most diverse portfolio of work, showing up in a myriad of ways, including serving as intermediary support for foundations, corporations, and family trusts so that they may invest in the most-deserving organizations – rather than those with the best grant writer; working with economic development agencies, municipalities, counties, and state departments to execute equitable and responsive planning processes to improve the quality of life in communities; and taking on bold initiatives, including the launch of a movement to increase residents in rural North Dakota through the promotion of community opportunities.
We know this new opportunity – to identify, cultivate, and scale pioneering solutions – will be difficult, but it is definitely work worth doing.
To our past and current clients, board members, colleagues, and supporters: we couldn’t have made any of this impact or progress without you. Thank you for your trust!
Megan Langley Laudenschlager
Founder & Executive Director
P.S. We hope that you will join us to learn more about our approach to pioneering solutions and the work of Strengthen ND at our upcoming Community Solutions & Resource Day on April 7th from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm in Washburn at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.