Community Foundation provides funding for Itasca Community Connect


Connecting Itasca County residents with resources to help meet their needs

Itasca Community Connect is a public event held every year at the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids. A committee comprised of various entities seek out funding, other resources and put the whole event together. Community members can connect with the available services in the area that can help them meet their needs. Interactive opportunities provided include lunch, photos, haircuts, flu shots, elderly foot care, employment information, rent-wise activities, and a mobile pantry where food boxes were distributed for participants. The Endowed Sharing Fund awarded a $1,312 grant for the 2019 Itasca Community Connect Event.

PHOTO: One of the booths at the Itasca Community Connect event

A Little Goes a Long Way

This grant of $1,312 went a long way to assist people in our community. About 478 adults and 250 children were impacted and assisted through this event. Of that number, 338 Households were registered at the door, which does not include children and adults that chose not to register.

• 270 food boxes were distributed

• 250 quilts were given away

• 530 free lunches were served

• 58 free haircuts

• 25 free flu shots

• 45 free family portraits were taken

• 30 free diabetic & elderly foot care services


“This event is not successful just because of the numbers – although they are impressive,” notes Sarah Copeland, Interim Director of Operations at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. “The resources that people can connect to are extremely valuable to everyone in our community.”

PHOTO: Itasca Community Connect set-up volunteers


Alice Prtine from MDI speaks about this year’s event. “The date has been previously set for October 1. We plan to start meeting in July to see what it will look like this year with COVID-19. We are hoping to be able to do the event, because there are a lot of area people who benefit from everything Community Connect does each year.” Prtine continues, “So many different types of people benefit from Community Connect. Folks who are new to the area, young families with little children, newly retired, and homeless. Everyone is welcome, and everyone learns new things about our community.”

PHOTO: Quilt table at Itasca Community Connect provides beautiful quilts of all sizes to people who need them.

The Endowed Sharing Fund Helps Forever

You can support Community Connect and other resource sharing events by giving through the Endowed Sharing Fund at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. The Endowed Sharing Fund provides grants for individuals and families that are experiencing some type of crisis. In 2002, Hannah Hetteen started the fund with $30,000. In 2005, Dorothy Kennedy, Founder of the Teen Sharing Fund, left a forever gift in her will. In 2013, Hannah’s will increased the size of the Fund, and in 2015, Harold Unger left an amazing Legacy of over $500,000 for the Endowed Sharing Fund. Other families have given gifts over the years. Your gift to the Endowed Sharing Fund lasts forever, and the Foundation provides grants every year from the earnings of the Fund.


The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the good work we do, and to include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner to answer the question “What good do you want your money to do?” For more information, schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.

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

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