An additional $1 million in grants will be available to Northland nonprofits in 2022, helping meet needs that have increased dramatically during the pandemic, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation announced today.
“Our region is strong and resilient, but the pandemic continues to present challenges,” foundation President and CEO Shaun Floerke said. “This was the right thing to do, period. Moreover, it has the direct impact of providing $1 million more to our nonprofit partners working on the front lines during these difficult and challenging times.”
The additional $1 million represents a 37 percent increase in foundation grant funds in 2022 over the $2.7 million provided in 2021. The decision to increase funding, made by the foundation’s Board of Trustees, puts the foundation in the top 25 percent of giving nationally among community
foundations when annual grants are measured as a share of assets under management. The numbers are based on a survey earlier this year of 110 community foundations in 35 states.
“We see needs every day, and we know these funds can make a difference,” foundation board Chair Joscelyn Skandel said. “We have always worked carefully to balance grants with funds under management, which generate income for future grants. The board is confident in the strong financial position of the foundation. We want to do more, and we know our community will benefit from this assistance.”
The foundation made the announcement at the Duluth YWCA’s Spirit Valley building, where the YWCA operates a child-care program and a housing program for young mothers. The foundation has provided funding for both programs.
“Helping moms and their children is work that keeps our community thriving,” Floerke said. “In 2022, we will be able to provide more assistance to families, children and others in need because of these additional grant funds.”
Loni Leppioja, director of the YWCA’s Early Childhood Center, said the Twin Ports region, like most parts of the country, suffers from a lack of child care. Her program serves children from six weeks old to kindergarten.
“We get calls every day, if not multiple times a day, looking for child care,” Leppioja said. “There’s a need for a lot of infant and toddler care right now. We have a wait list. We try to give them names of other places, but there are not a lot of openings in the area.”
She added: “We’re here to do more than educate the child. If our families need something, we work to build relationships with them so they feel comfortable coming to us so we can be resources and advocates for them. We have families that come to us for food or housing or because they are in
domestic abuse situations. Our goal is always to keep the children in child care. That routine, consistency and schedule is important, especially if they come from a background of adversity, or trauma.”