Local Nonprofits Put Northfield Shares Grants to Use Part 2

Second of a three-part series featuring grants in action


Northfield Shares, a community foundation centered on philanthropy, volunteerism and collaborative leadership, distributed over $68,000 to 15 local nonprofits as part of its annual grant cycle. Grants were awarded to organizations whose projects create long-term solutions to core issues affecting the Northfield community, enhance the overall well-being of the area and generate a significant multiplier effect. Several funds under Northfield Shares’ management make it possible to award these grants.

The organizations that were selected to receive grants from Northfield Shares represent a wide variety of nonprofit work and outreach. Grant recipients for 2017 include Cannon River Watershed Partnership, Community Action Center of Northfield, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, Greenvale Park Community School, HealthFinders Collaborative, Laura Baker Services Association, Northfield Area Learning Center, Northfield in Bloom, Northfield Booster Club, Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (Reading Rockets and YouthBank), Northfield Senior Center, Northfield TORCH, Northfield Union of Youth, Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative and Project Friendship.

Northfield Shares Executive Director Mike Krance said, “There are so many wonderful nonprofit organizations in our area that are dedicated to making the community a better and healthier place, and Northfield Shares is committed to supporting their efforts. We want to empower these organizations as they work to strengthen Northfield. Positive community impact is strengthened when we support each other and collaborate.”

Cannon River Watershed Partnership

The Master Water Stewards program of Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) will be supported through a $2,449 grant from Northfield Shares. CWRP’s water pollution prevention efforts focus on three main program areas – conservation, community engagement and small community wastewater. Staff, volunteers and partners carry out the clean water work that CWRP performs across the watershed. Kristi Pursell, CRWP interim executive director, said, “Funding from Northfield Shares will allow us to support community leaders as they prevent pollution, educate community members and improve our region’s environment and water quality. Toward the end of this growing season we’ll have a community volunteer opportunity for Northfielders to help our area Master Water Stewards get their hands dirty planting for clean water and making Northfield more beautiful.”

Laura Baker Services Association

A $1,200 Northfield Shares grant will support the Family Support Services program at Laura Baker Services Association (LBSA). Family Support Services is an ongoing initiative at LBSA designed to meet the needs of parents and caregivers of children and adults with developmental disabilities. These services provide a system of support to families through activities like monthly respite events and family networking opportunities. Lynn Miland, director of community relations, said, “The support we receive from grants like this allows us to continue to build a dependable support system for families, keeping their health and well-being in mind. Our hope is that this program transforms the community in a significant way by improving the quality of life for many families.”

Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys

Funds from a $1,750 Northfield Shares grant will help support the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys as they continue to offer ConnectZ, a dedicated, culturally-responsive leadership program that helps local girls learn, grow and build skills for a successful future. ConnectZ partners with schools and community sites to bring the program to girls where they are, at no cost to participants or their families. Yer Lor, director of community partnerships, said, “Community support of the of the ConnectZ program will help us as we empower girls to learn and explore a variety of topics – from healthy relationships and self-esteem to college readiness and service learning. Funding ensures that we are able to continue offering the program to girls in the Northfield area.”

Northfield Area Learning Center

The Backpack Food Program, initiated by students in the Work Experience program of the Northfield Area Learning Center (ALC), will be supported through a $1,000 Northfield Shares grant. Students saw a need for food at the homes of many students, families and senior citizens in Northfield. Using their own transportation, ALC students fill and deliver the bags each week. Approximately 500 bags of food are distributed each year. Cheryl Mathison, a business education teacher at the ALC, said, “Our youth have such unique ideas which, when supported, have the ability to flourish and create positive community-wide impact.”

Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative

A $1,000 Northfield Shares grant will go toward the Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative’s scholarship fund, which provides low-income youth with registration fee assistance for local youth sports organizations. Cheryl Strike, Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative convener, said, “Community connection has proven to be vital to the ability of our youth to thrive and participate in sports. Grants like the one from Northfield Shares help us do just that: support youth in their desire to be on a team. As a result, youth experience a boost in self-confidence and connectedness to their community and school as well as being exposed to positive role models.”

Jennifer Sawyer, chair of the Northfield Shares board, said, “I am inspired by the positive work our local nonprofits constantly put forth. At Northfield Shares, we believe that vibrant communities are the result of powerful collaboration, and we are proud to support the visions of these organizations.”

Contact Krance at or 507-403-9755 to learn more about Northfield Shares’ granting process.

Northfield Shares is the Northfield area’s community foundation founded to advance philanthropy, inspire volunteerism and promote collaborative leadership.

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