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    The Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce is a membership based organization which serves its member businesses and the community. We are located in the heart of West Central Minnesota’s premier lakes country destination, Otter Tail County. With its nearly 1100 lakes, rivers, streams and trails offering an abundance of recreational options, its a great place to grow your business.

    We serve as the lead advocate and resource for our members and to create partnerships that foster a healthy business climate.

  • West Central Initiative Awards Changemaker Grants

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    March 18, 2020

    West Central Initiative selects four area organizations to receive Community Changemaker Grants 

    WCI is accepting applications for spring round of Changemaker Grants 


    FERGUS FALLS, MINN — West Central Initiative (WCI) approved $24,000 in Community Changemaker Grants to four area organizations to positively impact their communities. This spring, WCI approved grants totaling $95,500 to 15 organizations within the WCI nine-county service area. 


    "Our goal with the Community Changemaker Grant program has been to help communities arrive at their own solutions," said WCI President Anna Wasescha. "In this round of awards, we can see our nine-county region through the eyes of individuals and groups who know and love their communities and, by working together, have summoned the creative energy to make those places better places to live and work."


    New this year, WCI asked applicants to identify how their proposed projects support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Those 17 goals, featured on WCI’s website, are being addressed by various organizations throughout the region. By tying their grant program to those SDGs, which are one of the keys to WCI’s current strategic plan, West Central Initiative now can help more organizations and causes than ever before.


    The grant recipients are:


    A Place to Belong 

    A Place to Belong is a social club for adults diagnosed with serious mental illnesses. The organization will use the Changemaker Grant to increase club participation by providing safe transportation to the club for rural members and staff. 

    Sustainable Development Goal: good health and well-being 


    Fergus Falls Salvation Army, Pathway of Hope 

    The Pathway of Hope program is designed to build stability for struggling families. A case manager works with families to determine the barriers that keep them in crisis. Together they develop a plan to address barriers and increase stability. The Changemaker Grant will increase the case worker’s hours to the equivalent of an extra day per week to serve families. 

    Sustainable Development Goals: no poverty, good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth 


    Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department, Precious Plastic Mix Workspace 

    The Precious Plastic Mix Workspace will create engaging educational experiences and opportunities for local artists and innovators to fabricate distinctive plastic items out of recycled materials. This will build awareness of plastic consumption and waste and its impacts. Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department will use the Changemaker Grant to purchase and fabricate equipment for the workspace. 

    Sustainable Development Goals: responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities, climate action 


    Wellness in the Woods, Empowerment and Recovery Coalition 

    Wellness in the Woods aims to empower and connect the mentally ill, addicted, minorities, and LGBTQ+ community to resources such as Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), peer specialist training application support, WRAP 2 Facilitator training, and peer mentors with vocational rehab. The Changemaker Grant will support training and mentorships.  

    Sustainable Development Goals: no poverty, good health and well-being, partnerships for the goals 


    WCI is offering the Spring 2020 Community Changemaker Grants now, open to 501(c)(3) non-profits, local units of government and school districts that serve residents of WCI’s nine-county region. “I would encourage anyone who is interested in applying to call me and discuss your idea,” said WCI Programs Director Wendy Merrick. “And while individuals are not eligible to apply for grant funds, often the best ideas are from local residents who dream about making meaningful change.”


    The submission deadline for the second round of the Spring 2020 Community Changemaker Grants is Friday, May 1.


    For more information about the grant program, eligibility requirements and a list of past grant recipients, visit wcif.org or contact Merrick at wendy@wcif.org or 800-735-2239.  

    West Central Initiative is a regional community foundation serving the nine west central Minnesota counties of Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin and White Earth Nation. WCI invests resources in our communities for regional success, using the tools of economic development and community development, and by promoting philanthropy.


    Learn more at wcif.org. 

    Sarah Casey, Strategic Communications
    (218) 739-2239
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