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About Grants

Check your project's fit with our eligibility guidelines and grant outcomes. All prospective projects must submit an inquiry form.


Eligible organizations and activities are:

  • Be located within the State of Minnesota
  • Authorized by the Internal Revenue Service as having Section 501(c)(3) status, being a public agency, a tribal government entity, or a unit of government
  • Comply with our Anti-Discrimination Policy

   Eligible projects must:

  • Have a clearly defined charitable purpose recognized by the Internal Revenue Service 
  • Benefit and serve rural Minnesota 

Ineligible organizations & activities are:

  • Projects outside the state of Minnesota  
  • Projects that support Minnesota metropolitan areas (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth, Moorhead, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato) 
  • Religious activities
  • Medical research 
  • Travel grants for individuals or groups 
  • Camping and athletic programs 
  • Ordinary government services 
  • Grants solely intended to influence specific legislation or a specific candidate 

Grant Outcomes

Blandin Foundation is a strategic grantmaker. Applications from organizations working to move rural places forward may be considered following the submission of an inquiry 

Blandin Foundation’s most substantial and broadest form of grantmaking occurs in North-Central Minnesota in Itasca County and parts of the Leech Lake Reservation, including the border communities of Blackduck, Northome, Hill City, and Remer. Grants are made in this region to advance the following outcomes: 

  • Leaders are using advanced skills to better address disparities.  
  • Leaders are leveraging new resources, inspiring change, and advancing sustainability.  

Blandin Foundation also grants funds to rural Minnesota communities to advance the following outcome:  

  • Rural communities are accessing the power and resources needed to innovate, to change systems to work better for everyone, and to drive development toward a more equitable and sustainable Minnesota. 

Priority projects will:

  • Serve small communities under 20,000. 
  • Embrace change to create an equitable and sustainable future.  
  • Be inclusive and collaborative, engaging those who benefit from the intended change. 
  • Address injustice. 
  • Inform and connect community leaders on issues relevant to rural Minnesotans. 

Steps to Apply

Step 1: Check for fit

Review the eligibility and areas of focus sections above. Please note that Blandin Foundation grants only to organizations in the state of Minnesota serving communities of 35,000 people or less. Examples can be viewed in our Partner Directory.

Step 2: Inquire first

Prior to completing a full grant proposal, you must submit a letter of inquiry, providing a short description of your project.  Inquiries are reviewed weekly.

Submit an inquiry

Step 3: Anticipate deadlines

Deadlines are noted in each grant type description on the Apply page.

Step 4: Prepare your proposal

If you have been invited to submit a grant proposal, use the appropriate online or downloadable application that falls within the range of your request. If you use a downloaded application, electronic submissions are preferred and can be sent to

Step 5: Notification

For grants $50,000 and above, Blandin Foundation program staff review all grant requests and present recommendations to the Board of Trustees, which makes the final funding decision at their meetings in March, June, September, and December. Applicants receive notification of the results within days of decision and award paid out within six weeks.

Applications for grants $50,000 and less are reviewed as they are received. You will generally receive an acknowledgment within a week and a decision within 30-45 days.

Step 6: Feedback

Blandin Foundation program staff are always trying to improve their grantmaking. Constructive feedback, both positive and negative, are welcome by calling 218-327-8724, emailing or leaving a review on GrantAdvisor.

Google map of Blandin Foundation grantees across Minnesota

Spot Us

Wondering what we have funded in the past? This interactive map gives you a clear picture of grants paid. Click on the map pins for specific grants, or create your own search.

View and Search Grantees

Contact Us

Your feedback strengthens our grantmaking. Contact us to share your thoughts. You may also subscribe to our mailing list, or contact the following Grants team members.


Sonja Merrild

Director of Grants

Send an Email

Direct: 218-327-8746

Linda Gibeau May 2016-crop

Linda Gibeau

Grants Program Officer – Small Communities

Send an Email

Direct: 218-326-0523

LuAnn Robinson

LuAnn Robinson

Grants Program Assistant

Send an Email

Direct: 218-327-8724

More Information

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