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McKnight Foundation commits $7 million to local nonprofit

Communities in northeastern Minnesota will continue to benefit from a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving the well-being of children, youths and families.

Communities in northeastern Minnesota will continue to benefit from a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving the well-being of children, youths and families.
On Wednesday, a reception was held in the DECC's new Harbor Side Ballroom to announce that the McKnight Foundation has committed $7 million to the Northland Foundation over the next five years.
This money will be used for established Northland Foundation initiatives, such as the Kids Plus and the new Youth In Philanthropy programs, as well as toward administration costs and fund-raising support.
Tom Renier, president of the Northland Foundation, said the reception celebrates the future as well as the past.
"The McKnight Foundation has made an extraordinary commitment to the people and communities of northeastern Minnesota," Renier said in a press release. "By renewing its commitment to this region, the McKnight Foundation will not only help our organization continue to offer high quality programs, but also provided the flexibility to focus on specific areas, such as early childhood, strengthening families, aging and other public policy issues."
The Northland Foundation was created as one of six Minnesota Initiative Funds in 1986, and the McKnight Foundation has been its major benefactor. During Northland's first 15 years, it has received approximately $27 million from the McKnight Foundation.
"Everyone of every age deserves to live with dignity and respect," said Patty Petite at the reception. Petite is chair of the Northland Foundation's Board of Trustees.
To date, Northland has made $12 million in grants, loaned more than $15 million to businesses, and claims that it has participated in the creation and retention of 1,600 jobs.
At the reception, Rip Rapson, president of the McKnight Foundation, commended the Northland Foundation for its accomplishments. He said the organization has become an engine of regional economic activity through business start-ups and new business sustainability, that Northland is an invaluable resource for careful reflection and planning in the region and that it continues to act as an important force in local social service networks, especially through its Kids Plus Programs.
He added that Northland's role is even more important today with the rural economy under stress and the future of children in question as the fiber of society continues to fray.
"It (Northland) has touched dozens of communities and reached thousands of kids," Rapson said.

Sandi Dahl is a news reporter for the Budgeteer News. To reach her, call 723-1207 or send e-mail to sandi.dahl@duluth.com .

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