WYKOFF, MN, November 8, 2022 – Wykoff Commons will use a $50,000 Blandin Foundation Leadership Boost Grant for full renovation of the kitchen space within the decommissioned school and the implementation of a meal program for those in need.
Leadership Boost Grants were launched to encourage Minnesotans living in rural and Tribal communities to be visionary and creative as they move their communities forward after two years of snowballing challenges.
“The last two years of complex crises have taken a toll on leaders across rural Minnesota,” said Sonja Merrild, director of rural grantmaking at Blandin Foundation. “In times like this, of great challenge and opportunity, the resilience and fortitude of rural people and places shines through. Yet, we recognize the critical need for more resources to move small communities from where they are to where they want to go.”
More than 300 Letters of Interest were submitted for funding, far more than anticipated. Based on the type of requests received, Blandin Foundation opened three grant rounds for Community Planning, Capital Projects in small towns under 3,000 people, and Creative Placemaking. To better support the many strong requests, the total amount of funding available increased from $1 million to $5.5 million after Blandin Foundation’s board approved an additional $3 million in June and a $1.5 million grant was secured from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.
“Rural and Tribal places simply don’t get their fair share of funding and resources,” said Merrild. “When we see stats like only 5% of philanthropic dollars and 10% of federal small business loan funds go to rural, this creates resource roadblocks to future opportunity. While the leaky pipes intended to bring resources into rural communities need a complete overhaul, Leadership Boost Grants are one way we can spark energy and action toward sustainable rural futures.”
Wykoff Commons was invited to submit a full application for a Capital Projects grant.
Wykoff Commons plan to use the renovated kitchen for three purposes over time. First, to implement a “community kitchen,” providing daily meals for seniors and those in need. The kitchen is also part of the Commons’ long-term vision of providing healthy meals for local child and senior day care options. Finally, the Wykoff Commons renovated kitchen will be spacious and could in time present a processing option for a motivated farmer/gardener seeking to fill the farm-to-table and farm-to-school gaps in our region.
For more on Blandin Foundation’s Rural Leadership Boost Grants, and to see other grantee projects, visit https://bit.ly/RuralBoostGrants.