$240,350 in Grants Awarded

Four young women wearing Center for Family Unity t-shirts line up under a banner with the same logo reading "5k to Prevent Child Abuse. It shouldn't hurt to be a child."
A child abuse prevention agency, Exchange Club Center for Family Unity, is one of 17 organizations and programs that will receive Northfield Area United Way grant funds in 2019.

Northfield Area United Way has awarded $240,350 in grants to 17 local nonprofit agencies and school-related programs that assist people suffering hardship and crisis, improve financial stability, increase access to health and wellness, and promote youth success.

Three initiatives received United Way grants for the first time:

  • Neighbors United, for a financial education and inclusion program
  • Northfield Community College Collaborative, providing a supportive environment for students to pursue post-secondary education in Northfield
  • Northfield Public Schools’ multi-tiered support initiative to meet the complex needs of chronically absent students.

Donations to Northfield Area United Way were down this year, but public response to fundraising appeals in the spring helped reduce the shortfall by more than $16,000. Ultimately, the amount awarded in grants was about eight percent less than in the past several years.

Penny Hillemann, Northfield Area United Way’s executive director, said, “We’re grateful for the community’s generous response to our spring appeals, and for the hundreds of supporters who made their United Way donations last fall and winter. These grant awards provide essential operating and program support to important 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 of community donor-volunteers who reviewed the applications and had the opportunity to ask questions during the applicants’ in-person presentations. Six 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, 2019, to June 30, 2020.

FINANCIAL STABILITY– $130,000 awarded

  • Community Action Center of Northfield, empowering the entire Northfield community to live out “neighbors helping neighbors.” Providing help in the moment and hope for the future, CAC supports the basic needs of families throughout the Northfield community. The CAC served nearly 3,000 individuals last year.
  • Neighbors United,a nonprofit advisory, advocacy and action group for the most vulnerable in Rice County, awarded for a Financial Inclusion project designed to help participants learn strategies to promote financial well-being.
  • Northfield Union of Youth, giving power and voice to area youth by creating a caring and enriching community for youth. NUY helps connect youth to each other, caring adults, and the Northfield community, with a focus on providing a safe and nurturing space and services for Northfield’s most at-risk and disenfranchised youth.
  • Ruth’s House, providing safe shelter, food and basic needs, and supportive services for women and children experiencing homelessness, with the goal of helping families work toward stability and self-sufficiency.

EDUCATION – $61,550 awarded

  • Camp FRIENDS, providing social, recreational and educational programming in the summer for middle school and high school students with disabilities.
  • Northfield Public Schools for a multi-tiered support initiative responding to the emotional / academic / physical needs of chronically absent students and employing best-practice strategies for improving attendance and promoting stronger student-to-school association.
  • Northfield Community College Collaborative, striving to provide an accessible and supported environment for students to pursue their post-secondary education.
  • 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 K-3 students become confident readers.
  • TORCH, working to support and empower Northfield students in graduating from high school and pursuing future goals, with an intentional focus on partnering with students of color, students from low-income families and those who will be first-generation college students.

HEALTH – $48,800 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, a community health center providing comprehensive health and wellness services to marginalized families in Rice County and engaging communities in their own health.
  • 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.
  • Semcac Senior Nutrition Program, 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 stay local, improving the lives of people who live and work in our community.

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