Community Innovation

Grantee Learning Logs

An important part of creative problem solving are the lessons learned along the way. As a learning organization, we realize how important these discoveries are and have intentionally included time for reflection and sharing as part of how we work. 

In that same spirit, we ask our Community Innovation grantees to share their reflections and learnings through interim and final reports. Their learning logs are a great resource for what went well, what didn't and what others might take away as they work to make our region better for everyone.

Helpline Center

Term: August 01, 2021 - August 31, 2024

This grant builds on a previous Community Innovation grant. Helpline Center will test the coordinated social services delivery model they developed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in two new cities: Brookings and Watertown. They will document their efforts to share with others. The work in Sioux Falls has been very successful and as the state explores what is possible for a statewide system, having two medium-sized towns pilot the Sioux Falls model will further contribute to the efforts to build a statewide network.

South Dakota State University

Term: February 01, 2020 - December 31, 2022

Conducting community deliberations to enhance inclusion among Brookings area businesses

Native American Community Clinic

Term: August 01, 2021 - August 31, 2023

This grant supports the Native American Community Clinic to adapt its telehealth visit model to meet an urgent need for coordinated health care for Native Americans living in Minneapolis. This work will transform the existing health care system serving Native Americans, prepare for when extra state funding ends and a possible recurrence of COVID-19. This grant builds on a previous Community Innovation grant to support this work.

Southside Harm Reduction Services

Term: December 01, 2020 - December 31, 2022

To build a community-based overdose prevention site in Minneapolis

Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center

Term: December 01, 2020 - December 31, 2022

To establish Minnesota Safe Harbor for All, a statewide effort to address sex trafficking and prostitution

University of South Dakota

Term: October 01, 2020 - September 30, 2023

Advance Care Planning and Palliative Care: Quality Conversations to guide End of Life decisions

Friends of the Finland Community

Term: November 01, 2018 - October 31, 2022

To advance an interrelated food system that increases access to healthy foods and builds local wealth in Finland, Minnesota

Region Nine Development Commission

Term: November 01, 2019 - November 30, 2022

To support five rural communities in south central Minnesota in developing a model of pairing economic development with inclusion through the Welcoming Communities Project

North Dakota Rural Electric Cooperative Foundation

Term: November 01, 2020 - November 30, 2022

Implementation and evaluation of a rural grocery redistribution hub to demonstrate how distribution channels can be modified to improve rural food access and to benefit the regional economy


Term: October 01, 2020 - September 30, 2022

To elevate the profile of microbusinesses, access data on needs and practices, and create a pipeline to resources and funding

Tasks Unlimited

Term: September 01, 2020 - September 30, 2022

To develop a low-barrier housing model that can provide stable housing for individuals experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Latino Economic Development Center

Term: July 01, 2020 - July 31, 2022

To support and rebuild immigrant-owned businesses in the Twin Cities

World Wildlife Fund

Term: August 01, 2021 - August 31, 2024

This grant builds on a previous Community Innovation grant to align the stewardship of Pine Ridge tribal lands with community needs and aspirations. The next phase of the work is to form an innovative public/Native nation partnership that indigenizes conservation by bringing the Oglala Lakota peoples' perspective to co-management of the 133,000-acre, tribally owned portion of Pine Ridge Reservation, designated the South Unit of Badlands National Park. This work has the potential to transform the way Native nations manage and regain cultural connections to their lands within national park boundaries.

Exodus Financial Services

Term: August 01, 2021 - August 31, 2023

This grant supports the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to expand the use of its community organizing model to protect consumers where payday lending is prevalent. This effort aims to make payday lenders modify terms of loan products under more competitive market conditions and transform how individuals access loans. This grant builds on a previous Community Innovation grant to support this work.

Sacred Pipe Resource Center

Term: August 01, 2020 - August 31, 2022

To facilitate a healing process that addresses long-standing shared trauma between Native and non-Native community members

The Enitan Story

Term: August 01, 2020 - August 31, 2023

To facilitate the expansion of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor laws to include labor trafficking

Ducks Unlimited

Term: August 01, 2020 - August 31, 2022

To develop a demonstration farm in Beadle County, South Dakota to improve soil and water health with input from producers such as farmers, ranchers and landowners in the James River Valley region

Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

Term: August 01, 2021 - August 31, 2023

This grant builds on a previous Community Innovation Grant to surface innovative strategies that prevent gentrification and displacement. With this work, the Alliance and its partners hope to use the critical momentum around eviction prevention to explore and establish sustainable wins for renters in Minnesota that will provide benefit long after the temporary eviction moratorium ends.

TNT Kid's Fitness

Term: November 01, 2020 - July 31, 2022

To adapt and test an online learning model created for students with special needs, their parents, and paraprofessionals in rural southeast North Dakota school districts

Helpline Center

Term: February 01, 2018 - August 31, 2021

To fund a coordinated social service system of care for low-income individuals called the Sioux Empire Network of Care

University of South Dakota

Term: October 01, 2017 - December 31, 2019

To lead a statewide effort to increase the number of residents who participate in Advanced Care Planning in order to ensure that families and health care providers know and respect the wishes and goals of individuals at the end-of-life

The Network

Term: September 01, 2017 - September 30, 2019

To build sustainable educational efforts to improve services for sexual assault victims with disabilities, in partnership with the South Dakota Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and Community Service for the Deaf

Family Housing Fund

Term: August 01, 2018 - August 31, 2020

To assess the accuracy of current screening indicators as a predictor of successful tenancy and create more equitable, effective and accurate screening tools and an implementation plan

Merrick Community Services

Term: July 01, 2018 - January 31, 2021

To further the collaborative development of equitable workforce solutions through an exchange between employers and residents on the East Side of Saint Paul


Term: July 01, 2017 - December 31, 2020

Studies show that high quality out-of-school-time programs really make a difference in the lives of young people. However, young people of color and from families with lower income access these programs at lower rates. Urban Arts Academy is creating “Agents of Change”: a highly collaborative, sustainable youth program model fueled by youth-driven engagement. The 20 organizations in the Agents of Change collaborative believe that they will better serve youth and families in the Bancroft, Bryant Central and Powderhorn neighborhoods of Minneapolis if they truly listen to youth and work together.

NAMI South Dakota

Term: May 01, 2018 - September 30, 2020

To facilitate the process of expanding community-based mental health support within three rural communities in South Dakota

Community Connections

Term: April 01, 2017 - April 30, 2019

Affordable housing is one of the most pressing issues in Western North Dakota. The influx of people arriving in Western North Dakota in search of jobs in the oil fields created an unprecedented demand on service providers. Williston, a community at the center of this rapid growth, experienced extraordinary burdens on services. In response, six churches in Williston, together with Community Action Partnership, Job Service ND, Veterans Administration, ND Veterans Department and the Williston Basin Resource Coalition, will collaborate on an effort to better understand and respond to this issue in their community and surrounding rural areas. Together, they will collect data about the homeless population in the area, present findings to community stakeholders, develop a plan to address the issue and test some of their ideas.

Rochester Area Foundation

Term: March 01, 2018 - December 31, 2020

Realizing Well Care: Achieving a sustainable system for community-based chronic disease management and prevention

Oyate Hotanin

Term: February 01, 2018 - February 29, 2020

IN Equality: Testing a new model of partnership between community members and juvenile justice system leaders to find innovative alternatives to confining youth in institutions and to transform Ramsey County Juvenile Justice Practices

Cedar Riverside NRP

Term: June 01, 2016 - May 31, 2018

To solve the need for better access to affordable, culturally competent, quality early childhood education services (ECE) in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood (West Bank)

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Term: September 01, 2017 - March 31, 2019

To build community collaboration and inspire action on climate change through rural climate dialogues

Lakota Funds

Term: June 01, 2016 - June 30, 2018

A pilot program to remove barriers to Native home ownership in South Dakota