$263,000 in Grants Awarded

Donations made by more than 1,000 individuals and businesses during the 2017–2018 United Way campaign will enable Northfield Area United Way to make grants totaling $263,000 to 16 nonprofit agencies providing critical services to area residents.

Penny Hillemann, Northfield Area United Way’s executive director, said, “The organizations receiving grants have strong track records of helping people get through periods of crisis and trauma, helping our kids succeed and thrive, and helping people to be healthy despite obstacles. These remarkable agencies are essential partners in the United Way’s commitment to fight for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in our community.”

The grant-making process was advised by panels made up of 24 community volunteers who reviewed the applications and had the opportunity to ask the applicants questions during panel presentations. Seven local financial professionals also donated their time and expertise to conduct financial reviews of the organizations applying for grants. Funding priority was given to programs that serve the greatest needs and help the greatest number of community members.

This year’s grant recipients are described below. Grants are awarded for the period July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.


  • Community Action Center of Northfield, offering emergency assistance, advocacy, case management, employment assistance and supportive relationships to people in crisis who have limited income. The CAC served nearly 3,000 individuals last year.
  • Hope Center, an advocacy agency providing direct support to victims of domestic and sexual violence in Rice County, providing collaborative support to other organizations that serve victims, and providing educational support to the entire community.
  • Northfield Union of Youth, giving power and voice to area youth by creating a caring and enriching community for youth, and working to diminish the isolating effects of poverty on youth through a combination of enrichment activities and supportive services.
  • Ruth’s House, providing safe shelter and supportive services for women and children experiencing homelessness, with the goal of helping families work toward stability and self-sufficiency.

EDUCATION – $61,000 awarded

  • Camp FRIENDS, providing social, recreational and educational programming in the summer for middle school and high school students with disabilities.
  • PRIMEtime, providing approximately 850 low-income and at-risk Northfield children in grades K-8 with free tutoring, skill-building workshops and cultural enrichment programs after school and over the summer.
  • Project ABLE, providing social, recreational and educational opportunities for adults with disabilities in Rice County and surrounding areas.
  • Project Friendship, pairing more than 130 youth in grades 2-7 with college-age mentors who work to instill confidence, cultivate positive self-esteem and provide guidance to their mentees in making healthy life choices.
  • Serve Minnesota’s Reading Corps program, combining the people power of AmeriCorps with the science of how children learn to read, to help struggling readers become confident learners.
  • TORCH, seeking to increase the graduation and post-secondary attendance rates of Northfield’s students of color, students from low-income families and those who will be first-generation college students.

HEALTH – $53,000 awarded

  • Student Support Services Division, Northfield Public Schools, addressing the social and emotional well-being of students with chemical and mental health services provided by Omada Behavioral Health to students and their families.
  • Exchange Club Center for Family Unity, a child abuse prevention agency providing supportive and educational in-home services to families at risk of child abuse and neglect, though a parent mentoring program.
  • HealthFinders Collaborative, providing quality health care, advocacy and wellness education to people in our community who have limited healthcare alternatives, and implementing a unique community-embedded care coordination program to extend the reach of the clinical team and support patients to be healthy.
  • Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, serving as a backbone organization for youth and family efforts in Northfield and striving to identify needs for youth and families in the community, build coalitions to develop and run programs, and write and manage large collaborative grants to bring additional resources into the community.
  • Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative, a coalition of local youth sports associations that work together to increase the number of low-income youth participating in Northfield sports regardless of their families’ financial circumstances.
  • Semcac Senior Dining, serving well-balanced, low-cost noon meals in a congregate setting to people age 60+, Monday through Friday at the Northfield Community Resource Center.

In addition to these grant awards, Northfield Area United Way is the local sponsor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, promoting early childhood literacy by sending free, age-appropriate books each month to approximately 700 area children from birth to age five.

Northfield Area United Way aligns its youth-focused funding with the benchmarks of Northfield Promise, the collective impact initiative designed to achieve community-level change for children and youth growing up in Northfield.

About Northfield Area United Way

Northfield Area United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. Living United, we mobilize the resources and caring power of individuals, organizations and networks to strengthen the community. Donations to Northfield Area United Way stay local, improving the lives of people who live and work in our community.

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