The Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund and its impact on the community

Paula Carlsen

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Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation/spmcf.org

ST. PAUL, MN — Last year, the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund for coronavirus, or MDRF, gave its first grants to the community in response to the ever-growing threat of Covid-19.

The effort quickly gained footing as people and organizations across the state navigated enormous uncertainty and unprecedented need.

The MDRF was created through a partnership between the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation in March 2020. By August 2020, the fund had raised and distributed $11.6 million and supported 93 organizations throughout Minnesota.

The MDRF granted $200,000 to the Lower Sioux Indian Community to help alleviate the economic stress on households and provide direct cash relief for food and basic needs to tribal members.

The Lower Sioux tribal citizens were also able to operate a small but full-scale clinic. The clinic provides medical, optical, dental, and community health care for the Lower Sioux Nation.

The clinic was able to maintain essential health care services during the pandemic while also integrating COVID-19 care and participating actively in Lower Sioux’s Emergency Operations Center.

The MDRF also managed to fund the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region for $40,000. They identified and supported nonprofits directly assisting residents in Polk County, Minnesota.

They expended all of the $40,000 to regional nonprofits to help with a variety of needs, including staffing, technology, food and housing assistance, and personal protective equipment between April 2020 and January 2021.

The Al-Huda Center, a community center located in East Grand Forks, was one of their grantees. The center primarily serves immigrants and non-English speakers. Funding from MDRF allowed the Al-Huda Center to continue serving multiple crucial functions, including helping people apply for unemployment, job search, and receiving tutoring and ESL lessons.

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