Greenway Area Community Fund

To provide opportunities to encourage people to give back, improve the quality of life, and enhance the pride of the Greenway Area.

The Greenway Area Community Fund was established in December of 2016 when the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation received a $1 million dollar grant from the Blandin Foundation to match gifts and donations to five area Community Funds. In December of 2019, Greenway Area Community Fund was the first of the five to accomplish the goal of matching $200,000 in gifts and donations.

The Greenway Area Advisory Committee

The Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee consists of 14 local volunteer residents with strong ties to the Greenway Area. Kim Venema, Fund Advisory Committee Member explained, “There are ten cities and townships that make up the Greenway Area, and each of these entities has at least one representative on the Advisory Committee.” Venema continued, “From the beginning, everyone on the committee concentrated on working hard to raise money and meet the match. Regardless of the specific area, we all live in the Greenway Area. Some of our neighbors are new, and some have been around for generations. We all love the Greenway Area and want to see our community thrive.” “This is exactly what Community Funds are about,” noted Sarah Copeland, Interim Director of Operations at the Community Foundation. “This is about Community Giving to Community. The Greenway Area Community Fund, which is an endowment at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, can accept donations and give back grants to the Greenway area forever.”

The First Grant Cycle

“One aspect of serving on the Advisory Committee is that you get to give grants back to Greenway Area. Each community or township in the Greenway Area has a vote when we grant from our fund. The Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee is specifically designed that way. I know Lawrence Lake. Daidre knows Marble. Mindy knows Taconite. We even have a representative of the Beefy Lawson Memorial serve on the committee. We are about our entire Greenway Area,” replies Venema.

This Spring, in celebration of meeting the match, the Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee decided to launch their first grant cycle. Along with the Community Foundation, the Committee designed a grant application specifically for charitable groups and organizations that serve individuals and families in the Greenway Area. The deadline of March 15 arrived, and Greenway Area Community Fund had collected a dozen requests for grants from their neighbors. The Greenway Area Community Fund decided to award six grants back to their community. Over the next few articles, we will share photos and information about the groups that were selected to be the first recipients.

You can still give to the Greenway Area Community Fund. Supporting your community is easy. “Some people choose to give now, others decide to give at the end of their life, and many people have determined it is best to do both,” says Copeland. To me, one of the easiest things is setting up a recurring donation through the website.” Just go to

What is your community worth?

If you can serve on a committee, and have time to volunteer, contact a member of the Greenway Area Community Fund Advisory Committee. Maybe you don’t have much time. Do you have an extra $10 or $25 a month? Set up a recurring donation to the Greenway Area Community Fund online or through your bank. You set up the donation once, and it is automatically taken care of each month. Do you have hunting land you no longer use? Copeland concludes, “This is a great time to take inventory of what you need, what you have, what priorities matter – as a matter of fact, perhaps you already have during this quarantine time.

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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