United Way of 1000 Lakes and the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, in cooperation with other community funders, launched the Itasca Area Community Response Fund on Friday, April 9, 2020.


The pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, as well as other challenges. Funds raised will help aid agencies providing local COVID-19 relief services, including access to food, health-related services, support learning, and child care services, to name a few.

As the Community Response Fund builds, nonprofits interested in applying for funding will be able to submit a short online application through our Grant Portal.

Eligible recipients must serve populations in Itasca County and the five surrounding communities of Bena (Cass County), Blackduck (Beltrami County), Hill City (Aitkin County), Northome (Koochiching County), and Remer (Cass County).

“This Fund will allow us to rapidly pool and deploy resources to community-based organizations that are offering relief to families and individuals in need,” said Sarah Copeland, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Director of Grants and Programs. “It provides residents, businesses, and institutions – our neighbors – an option for directing their giving to impact local recovery efforts.”

“As the impact of COVID-19 to our community grows, so does the demand for services,” stated Kim Brink Smith, United Way Executive Director. “That’s why we are working together with other community funders to create a fund that works in concert with other community initiatives and provides much-needed resources to our agencies working diligently to keep local people safe and well.”

The Community Response Fund provides maximum flexibility and responsiveness to aid 501(c)3 nonprofits assisting community members who face financial uncertainty stemming from efforts to contain the virus. Examples include, but are not limited to, agencies that provide access to food and health-related services, serve vulnerable populations such as seniors, aid those experiencing homelessness, and support learning and child care needs.

One hundred percent of donations to the Community Response Fund will go directly to organizations serving those in need due to the pandemic. Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation will administer the Fund in close partnership with United Way. The collaboration includes several other local community funders who are volunteering their knowledge and time to review and award grants: Area Community Funds, Bigfork Valley Community Foundation, Blandin Foundation, Deer River Area Health Care Foundation, Grand Itasca Foundation, and Itasca Community College Foundation.

Gifts to the Fund are accepted in a variety of ways, including gifts of cash/check, credit cards, and electronic fund transfers.

To make an online donation, click here. Check donations should be made payable to:


Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation

350 NW 1st Ave., Suite E

Grand Rapids, MN 55744

write Community Response Fund on the memo line.

Questions can be directed to kimberly@uwlakes.org or sarah.copeland@gracf.org.


350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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