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Daily interviews with a local focus airing at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Northland Morning.

Community Connection: Half Million-Dollar Transformation Grant

A person at a podium looking toward two video cameras on tripods, ten people in the background; interior
Jessica Peterson

"Bigger investment, bigger impact, bigger results." That's President and CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Shaun Floerke summarizing the intention behind the larger-than-usual Transformation Grants awarded recently by the foundation. "Our idea with Transformation was, let's fund folks who are doing beautiful, strong, collaborative work, let's invest, and let's walk with them for five years with a serious amount of money."

Among these larger grants is a $500,000 grant (one hundred thousand per year over five years) going to the Family Freedom Center in Duluth. When it comes to utilizing the grant, leaders are focused on community voices. "It's all about who you bring to the table," says Jacob Bell, Executive Director and CEO for Family Freedom Center. "We have the people that we need to get the job done; we need the tools."

Over the next five years, the grant funds will be primarily focused on creating a physical hub for teaching and learning. "The Transformation Grant is purposed to really achieve some of the long-term objectives... to create a space to build trust within our community, and safety within our community."

For both Bell and Floerke, the message of collaboration and community is paramount. "Let's bring our families, including our youth, and our elders, and our parents and the folks that are actually going to use these programs most often - let's bring them to the table," says Bell.

"We're coming together," says Floerke. "That's actually what changes things."

More information about the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and Family Freedom Center can be found online.

You can hear Community Connection every Tuesday and Thursday at 8am on Northland Morning.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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