West Central Initiative

West Central Initiative (WCI) provides Community Changemaker Grants to organizations to help them positively impact their communities. 

FERGUS FALLS, MINN — (March 18, 2020) — West Central Initiative (WCI) approved $25,000 in Community Changemaker Grants to three area organizations to positively impact their communities. This month, WCI approved grants totaling $95,500 to 15 organizations within the WCI nine-county service area. 

"Our goal with the Community Changemaker Grant program has been to help communities arrive at their own solutions," said WCI President Anna Wasescha. "In this round of awards, we can see our nine-county region through the eyes of individuals and groups who know and love their communities and, by working together, have summoned the creative energy to make those places better places to live and work."

New this year, WCI asked applicants to identify how their proposed projects support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Those 17 goals, featured on WCI’s website, are being addressed by various organizations throughout the region. By tying their grant program to those SDGs, which are one of the keys to WCI’s current strategic plan, West Central Initiative now can help more organizations and causes than ever before.

The grant recipients are: 

Safe Families for Children Alliance, Five County Expansion

Safe Families for Children is a nonprofit organization that has been working to prevent child abuse, deflect children from child welfare, and supporting/stabilizing families for over 15 years. The organization is expanding to serve west central Minnesota, which includes Grant, Douglas, Stevens, Traverse, and Pope Counties. The Changemaker Grant will help to launch the program in the five counties.

Sustainable Development Goals: good health and well-being, reduced inequalities, partnerships for the goals

United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties

The United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties will use the Changemaker Grant to purchase a multipurpose vehicle to replace the current Traveling Tree House to serve and enhance programs that require transportation such as Backpack Attack, Food Drops, Stuff the Bus, and more.

Sustainable Development Goals: zero hunger, quality education, partnerships for the goals

West Central Minnesota Communities Action Inc., West Central Community Land Trust

West Central Minnesota Communities Action Inc. is establishing a community land trust to serve as a long-term steward of land and to protect affordability and access to housing. The Changemaker Grant will support outreach and education to communities. Several Alexandria area partners are involved in this project.

Sustainable Development Goals: industry, innovation and infrastructure; no poverty; reduced inequalities

WCI is offering the Spring 2020 Community Changemaker Grants now, open to 501(c)(3) non-profits, local units of government and school districts that serve residents of WCI’s nine-county region. “I would encourage anyone who is interested in applying to call me and discuss your idea,” said WCI Programs Director Wendy Merrick. “And while individuals are not eligible to apply for grant funds, often the best ideas are from local residents who dream about making meaningful change.”

The submission deadline for the second round of Spring 2020 Community Changemaker Grants is Friday, May 1.

For more information about the grant program, eligibility requirements and a list of past grant recipients, visit wcif.org or contact Merrick at wendy@wcif.org or 800-735-2239.

West Central Initiative is a regional community foundation serving the nine west central Minnesota counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin and White Earth Nation. WCI invests resources in our communities for regional success, using the tools of economic development and community development, and by promoting philanthropy. Learn more at wcif.org.