Grants Awarded

Northfield Shares 2021-22 Grant Recipients

Northfield Shares distributed $135,552 in grants to 12 recipients during its recent Annual Meeting & Celebration. The organizations and their respective programs receiving grants are highlighted below. The grant awards are made possible through the Grace Whittier Fund, Bill Clifford Family Fund, Nutting Family Fund, Nutting Beautification Fund, the Marston Headley & Dorothy Stone Headley Fund, the Street Family Fund, the Human Services Fund, Engeseth Rinde Fund, EmpowHER fund, and Lamb/Hansen Charitable Fund.

Since the 2007-2008 grant cycle when the organization was called the Northfield Area Foundation, through the 2019-20 grant cycle, Northfield Shares has provided more than $950,000 in funding to local nonprofit organizations.

Note: Grant descriptions were taken from grant applications.

Clean River Partnership

Having a cleaner river and cleaner riverside parks responds to a community need for beautiful places to spend our time in Northfield. The Downstream Film Festival inspires participants to take part in more clean water activities, like the Northfield River CleanUP.

Community Action Center

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, CAC has served double to triple the number of households it had prior to 2020. Food needs, in particular, have increased during this time. CAC has responded flexibly to meet the needs of the community with additional community food access programs, which include opening a satellite food shelf on the north end of town at the Northfield Community Education Center (NCEC) as well as providing mobile food distributions in several Northfield neighborhoods. Funds will be used specifically to purchase food to provide culturally specific and healthy food access for low-income community members in Northfield.


An annual grant provided by the legacy gift from Pat Lamb and Ele Hansen for the purpose of providing young girls an opportunity to try sport and outdoor adventures; leadership opportunities, confidence building activities, service projects, etc. The mission of the EmpowHER Fund is to Ingnite surprise and wonder in young women through sport and adventure.

Friends of Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area

Receiving an Engeseth Rinde Fund grant, the FPCWMA will continue their work in partnership with the DNR to reduce and control herbaceous exotic species at both units of Prairie Creek WMA. The future of both units as places to protect and study wildlife and native ecosystems is highly dependent on maintaining high quality habitats long term. control the spread and removal of invasive species.

Health Finders

Through ongoing community conversation, the community has consistently identified mental health care as an unmet need, as well as a compounding factor for treating underlying disease. Northfield Shares funds will support in-person and virtual culturally-specific mental health care, including opiate addiction services. Mental health care will grow to see at least 30 Northfield youth and families with ongoing and regular case management and therapy services, as well as at minimum twenty with addiction services.

Healthy Community Initiative

Northfield faces a striking childcare shortage. According to analysis by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, there are 446 too few childcare spots in Rice County versus demand. Finding local bilingual providers, as well as any providers willing to provide care during non-traditional hours (to accommodate those working secondor third-shifts), is especially challenging. The project will help to fund a new emerging business person (likely a local woman of color). It will provide childcare to 10-15 local children.

Healthy Community Initiative

Northfield YouthBank is a youth-led grant-making initiative which channels money into projects that will improve the quality of life for youth in our community. It is also a process and way of working with young grant-makers that encourages and trains them as they develop essential life and job skills. YouthBanks are run by young people, for young people in their community.

Project Friendship

Project Friendship is being proactive to help youth struggling to find a sense of normalcy again and to ensure that there are positive supports in place for youth in our community that need it the most whether academically, emotionally, or physically. Currently, there are about 175 youth enrolled in Project Friendship and 180 mentors. The Northfield Shares grant will support the efforts of the new CARES team will be comprised of four upper- class mentors from Carleton and four from St. Olaf as well as two professional advisors that specialize in youth/adolescent mental and emotional health.

Ruth's House of Hope

Ruth’s House is a nonprofit Emergency and Transitional Shelter with supportive services in Rice County for women and children experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence and other traumatic life circumstances such as illness, disability, substance use disorders, or poverty. So far this year, Ruth’s House has served 57 individuals in our shelter, and 11 women at Sarah’s House. Ruth’s House receives 5-7 program applications and 2-3 phone calls daily from women and families seeking help.

Sharing Our Roots

Our farm is a home base for emerging, immigrant farmers to explore and grow their own small ag enterprises in an inclusive, multicultural and intergenerational space. The primary goal of this project is to develop a commons-based farmer cohort model that can support 14 emerging farmers (80% of which identify as BIPOC/LGBTQ) at the Sharing Our Roots Farm, in launching and/or growing their farm businesses. Sharing Our Roots will provide training opportunities, access to land and equipment, assistance finding markets and securing loans/grants to finance their production.


TORCH was founded to serve students who have historically experienced structural inequities, including demonstrable gaps in high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, and college completion. In the 2017-2018 school year, four Somali students were enrolled at Northfield High School, with no Somali students at Northfield’s Area Learning Center. By 2019-2020, this number had grown to 18 students at NHS and 22 students at the ALC. The Somali Student Support Program is designed to help students and families better understand all programs of education at Northfield High School.


Learning to swim or feel comfortable around bodies of water is a skill that takes multiple lessons to learn, but paying for lessons, lack of community resources and transportation challenges are all barriers to children obtaining these important skills. Expected outcome/impact of the program is 100 confident young swimmers who know how to act in and around the water, reducing the number of injuries and drowning.